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ABT 2015 Met season

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I could have sworn that Simkin did Desire at a prior run of SB.

According to his own web site, he debuted on July 3, 2013, with Sarah Lane. Interesting that Ratmansky didn't cast him in the new production. Lane is partnered (twice) by Cornejo instead.

http://www.daniilsimkin.com/photo-and-sleeping-beauty-is-overrrrrrrr-thank-you-to-my-partner-sarah-lane-and-all-of-abt-photo-by-rob-davellar-a_dancers_life-costume-onstage-abt-ohandhappy4thofjuly-thesecapesmustbehorri/

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Uh...if not an 'old-timer' I am at the very least a middle-aged timer

Oh I like that characterization very much -- I'll make sure to credit you if I borrow it!

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You're not kidding, Abatt. I have never seen the like of Misty's claque. Whenever she is performing, there are big groups of black girls and women cheering and whooping and yelling for her, and they gather together at intermissions all atwitter about their heroine/role model/spokesperson. One wonders if they even know what they're watching onstage, just as long as it's... HER. Very strange.

I am also (as Drew describes) a middle-aged timer, and was in the house for several performances by Nureyev and Baryshnikov that were packed with adoring fans who leapt to their feet at the slightest provocation. (sometimes missing the truly astonishing dancing being performed by others onstage). These were people who would otherwise have likely never gone to see the performance, and yet, there they were. They didn't all come back for other shows, but a few of them did -- they were hooked, as are we all here, and have become avid and discriminating viewers. The same phenomenon has repeated itself over and over again in the history of dance, or any other performing art. Pavlova drew first-time audiences into the theater on the strength of her celebrity, and so we got Frederick Ashton. I'm not assuming that among all the Copeland fans there exists a stellar choreographic talent, but I know there are many people who, once they get into the theater, are going to come back for more. And as Martha Stewart might say, that's a good thing.

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Simkin is a very fine demi-caractere dancer. It's a different genre of dancer, with particular skills. I hate the current idea that everyone has to dance everything, and if you're not The Prince you're second best. The classical tradition is richer than that. ABT has had, and has, some wonderful demicaractere dancers, and I've long wished they'd bring back some of the balletsthat were made for those skills!

It's a balancing act -- one of the reasons Baryshnikov came to the West was to get a chance at a wider variety of parts than the standard emploi system would allow for. But you get no argument from me about the "second best" stereotype -- I would love to see it move both ways, with the smaller dancer in the central role and the tall guy as the loveable sidekick.

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Regarding Simkin: I had him on my mind yesterday at Fall for Dance. If ABT ever did Ashton's Les Patineurs--performed by the Sarasota Ballet, and it was TOTAL bliss--there's a role that's absolutely made for him, the blue boy whose variations include multiple jumps, cartwheels, lots of pirouettes. Of course, the part would also be perfect for City Ballet's Danny Ulbrecht and Antonio Carmena, but Simkin might even outdo them. Did anyone else see this?

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Regarding Simkin: I had him on my mind yesterday at Fall for Dance. If ABT ever did Ashton's Les Patineurs--performed by the Sarasota Ballet, and it was TOTAL bliss--there's a role that's absolutely made for him, the blue boy whose variations include multiple jumps, cartwheels, lots of pirouettes. Of course, the part would also be perfect for City Ballet's Danny Ulbrecht and Antonio Carmena, but Simkin might even outdo them. Did anyone else see this?

I didn't see the Sarasota performances, but is that the role Baryshnikov did in the 70s? Yes, Simkin would be great in that, as he would have been in Push (with some serious coaching on the acting elements, of course).

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Don't know about Misha; Bujones is credited in the clip on YouTube, but the images are so blurry, damned if you can actually identify anyone in it! Maybe it's unfair to judge from such a poor video, but to me Sarasota's performance was superior to ABT's in every way--certainly their (borrowed) production is much prettier.

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Don't know about Misha; Bujones is credited in the clip on YouTube, but the images are so blurry, damned if you can actually identify anyone in it! Maybe it's unfair to judge from such a poor video, but to me Sarasota's performance was superior to ABT's in every way--certainly their (borrowed) production is much prettier.

Arlene Croce (in Writing in the Dark), discusses Baryshnikov in Patineurs, but I don't find any clips.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Unl-kVxVs3sC&pg=PT73&lpg=PT73&dq=baryshnikov+patineurs&source=bl&ots=J9h-IBO8iA&sig=yK4vD0RyL6FwgFusSDiLsWQS6qg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RzxFVMulHKnE8AGO4oHgBg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=baryshnikov%20patineurs&f=false

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It's a balancing act -- one of the reasons Baryshnikov came to the West was to get a chance at a wider variety of parts than the standard emploi system would allow for. But you get no argument from me about the "second best" stereotype -- I would love to see it move both ways, with the smaller dancer in the central role and the tall guy as the loveable sidekick.

I'm glad he got his chance to dance what he wanted, but I've always thought he was at his best in demi-charactere roles. His Harlequin, for example, was much more interesting to me than his Siegfried or Albrecht (or the excruciating "Les Sylphides," I saw, in which he could not have looked more bored), and he was superb recently in Mark Morris' "A Wooden Tree," much more so than in lots of the "straight" modern things I saw him do for the White Oak Project.

Speaking of Baryshnikov, Philippe Noisette just retreated this great photo of Asylmuratova, Baryshnikov, Ruzimatov, and Makarova:

https://twitter.com/Juliet_ME_1987/status/523096019379449857

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Bujones did Blue Boy for the ABT/Dance in America program (where Patineurs was matched with Billy the Kid) -- I thought he was splendid. I never got to see Mark Goldweber do it with the Joffrey, but freinds who did say he was a wonderful fit.

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It's a balancing act -- one of the reasons Baryshnikov came to the West was to get a chance at a wider variety of parts than the standard emploi system would allow for. But you get no argument from me about the "second best" stereotype -- I would love to see it move both ways, with the smaller dancer in the central role and the tall guy as the loveable sidekick.

I'm glad he got his chance to dance what he wanted, but I've always thought he was at his best in demi-charactere roles. His Harlequin, for example, was much more interesting to me than his Siegfried or Albrecht (or the excruciating "Les Sylphides," I saw, in which he could not have looked more bored), and he was superb recently in Mark Morris' "A Wooden Tree," much more so than in lots of the "straight" modern things I saw him do for the White Oak Project.

He was wonderful in Wooden Tree when they played it here in Seattle (fully committed to the group -- a very generous performance) but I liked him in the White Oak rep as well, especially their revival of Graham's El Penitente and the solo Tharp made for him to Pergolesi. As smartypants as anything else she made for him, it was laced with references to all kinds of iconic ballet moments that would just flash by -- I almost lost it when he did a couple arabesque voyage. He made a lovely Wili.

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There's one person who has been at almost every Q&A I've been at and asks the dancers directly which roles they want to do, so it would be hard for them to hedge that.

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There is a myth is certain obsessive ballet circles that Misty's recent acquisition of principal roles has been at the expense of Sarah Lane and Stella Abrera. THEY HAVEN'T. Misty has clearly earned by her dancing of the last few seasons the current opportunities she is getting, and she is making the most of them. It has nothing to do with Sarah and Stella.

And ballet's inherent racism, and the apparent racism and body fascism of some of her more vocal detractors is a big factor as well.

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For the rest: I still don't see why love of (some) Russian Ballerinas and admiration of Balanchine ticks off so many people...who also seem to take it personally.

I don't know if you are asking this rhetorically or not but I'll give it a go to the second part of your question.

My objection to the ubiquity of Balanchine has nothing to do with his works per se and everything to do with the lack of imagination on the part of so many company directors. Take Kevin McKenzie at ABT. I have no objection to him programming Theme and Variations, which Balanchine made for ABT and ABT is right to maintain. But there's no discernible point to the other Balanchine works he programs. With the exception of someone like Gillian Murphy, who is commanding in whatever she does, most ABT dancers don't do well in Balanchine and, in any event, there's another company in the same theater/right across the plaza that does perform Balanchine better. I guess what I'm objecting to is this "curatorial" mindset that so many company directors have which makes them think they have to have one of everything: Balanchine and Robbins and Forsythe and Ratmansky and Wheeldon and Millepied and now Peck and Scarlett. The sheer sameness becomes deadening after awhile.

That's why I prefer free thinkers like David Bintley at Birmingham Royal Ballet or Iain Webb at Sarasota Ballet or Peter Boal at Pacific Northwest Ballet (when he programs people like Molissa Fenley and Ulysses Dove) or Charles Jude at Ballet de Bordeaux (when he programs an all-Lifar bill). They go their own way and that's more interesting to me than coalescing around the international mean.

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There are many Balanchine leotard ballets that are really cheap to present. Case in point - ABT's presentation last season of Duo Concertant. Two dancers in leotards, piano and violin - that's it. Cheap. ABT did not dance it well, but McKenzie didn't have to do much thinking or pay much money to fill the program with this ballet. It was a completely cynical choice on McKenzie's part, especially since the performances were poor. To add insult to injury, McKenzie made this extremely short ballet one third of a mixed rep program, whereas NYCB (which now dances Duo superbly) always pairs Duo with another short ballet.

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I wouldn't mind ABT presenting Balanchine so much if they were bringing it to audiences who didn't have the opportunity to see it danced by NYCB. If they insist on doing Balanchine, I wish it would be pieces that are not in the current repertory. I've seen Allegro Brilliante and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (both of which I love) too many times in recent years.

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ABT has at least two Balanchine ballets that NYCB never performs: "Bouree Fantasque," the ballet that made me go to NYCB in the first place, and "Symphonie Concertante."

McKenzie isn't the first AD at ABT to sprinkle some Balanchine into the ABT mix: it's been a tradition there since before Children of Balanchine started their own companies and every company in the world is eating from the Trust's trough. It's not as if he's greatly expanded the Balanchine rep at ABT.

In fact, aside from NYCB, none of the so-called "Balanchine" companies do more than three-four Balanchine ballets per season, and that includes the companies that perform his "Nutcracker." Peter Boal is programming the two-four Balanchine ballets a season and is acquiring the Balanchine "Nutcracker" for next season. We've had a Wheeldon evening and a Wheeldon world premiere, a new Peck, two from Ratmansky, etc. the usual, very welcome suspects.

Most people don't live in NYC and see one or two companies each year. While critics could call the Wheeldon that PNB brought to the Joyce same-old re-heated Wheeldon that he's done for NYCB sixteen times already, Seattle audiences haven't seen the other sixteen works, nor have we seen Peck's work, or Scarlett's, and I'm happy to see anything by Ratmansky except "Anna Karenina" (again).

Some of the reasons that companies perform the same Balanchine -- although few see more than a couple of companies do any ballet -- are: only three companies in the US have the roster to do the biggest ballets, like "Vienna Waltzes" and "Union Jack," and even "Who Cares?" and "Symphony in C" can be a stretch for a mid-sized company, the Trust restrictions on sets and costumes makes ballets like "Liebeslieder Walzer" cost-prohibitive, even if it's a small cast, the Trust controls which company can do justice to what ballets, and there tend to be "starter" ballets and a progression for acquisition.

I prefer when ballet companies perform ballet, not modern or contemporary dance.

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ABT has at least two Balanchine ballets that NYCB never performs: "Bouree Fantasque," the ballet that made me go to NYCB in the first place, and "Symphonie Concertante."

I absolutely loved Symphonie Concertante when ABT last performed it. I wish they would bring it back. I also seem to recall a video of Martine van Hamel in Balanchine's Sylvia pas de deux, which doesn't really seem to get programmed at NYCB (at least in recent memory).

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It's interesting to see how many people like Symphonie Concertante. That was reconstructed from notation in 1983 and performed by ABT. I saw a few performances back then at the Kennedy Center, but not since. The criticism at the time was that it seemed stiff and artificial and needed more coaching. I wish they'd do it at the Met next spring, but it's not on the agenda.

http://www.abt.org/education/archive/ballets/symphonie_concertante.html

After its 1947 premiere by Ballet Society, it was performed by NYCB, but it's not clear in Reynolds' Repertory in Review (pp. 82-83) for how long. The picture in that book is of LeClercq and Adams from the early 50s. But she quotes some interesting comments. Tallchief said "It was no great audience-pleaser . . . It was like taking your medicine every day." Critics were not enthusiastic either. John Martin: "Perhaps Balanchine's most boring work . . . not very rewarding to watch." You can understand why NYCB has not been eager to revive it, but ABT is so hungry for choreography, it perhaps makes sense for them.

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I really loved Symphonie Concertante. Even if I hadn't like the choreography, the music is divine. (Unlike Gounod Symphony.)

It would seem like medicine to Tallchief: in the Six Ballerinas doc, she said that Balanchine was trying to teach her to dance by watching and emulating Leclercq's technique.

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Balanchine's mediocre ballets are much better than most choreographers' best ballets. I like Symphonie Concertante too.

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Sometimes talking about a promotion can jinx things. Take this interview with Giuseppe Picone from 2000:

http://www.criticaldance.com/interviews/2000/gpicone001005.html

Quote: "At the ABT I only do principal roles, it's been two years now that I have been doing principal roles. Last year, just when I was going to get to get promoted, the worst happened. I had an injury, and missed my promotion to a principal. But it's OK, I am now fully recovered and I'm coming back."

Well not too long after this, ABT did not renew his contract. I don't think he ever made principal.

However, I must mention again that Misty Copeland has been dancing at ABT since 2001 - for thirteen years. She was appointed a soloist in 2007 - however during all this time she has almost never danced leading classical roles. There was a Gamzatti recently but it was a Gypsy Girl or the Flower Girl in "Don Quixote" etc. for many, many years. No problem putting her in modern ballets. Her injury a few years ago after getting very good reviews for the lead role in Ratmansky's "Firebird" definitely slowed down her momentum. So Misty was for many years as neglected and pushed aside as Sarah and Stella. Sarah joined the company in 2004 and was dancing leads in "Theme and Variations" and important soloist roles almost immediately before she was promoted to soloist in 2007. So it took six years for Misty to get promoted but Sarah only three. I think, love her or hate her, Misty has paid her dues and deserves a shot at leading classical roles. So does Sarah and it is a shame that Kevin couldn't have made one principal sit out Juliet this year and give Sarah one performance. I don't think Kevin is going to do anything for Stella at this point, so it's not Sarah or Misty that is in her way, it is Kevin.

I also don't get the Misty hate.

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Ballet's inherent racism? Ever heard of Arthur Mitchell, et al.?

Why do you think he had to start an entirely seperate ballet company to give dancers of darker color a chance?

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