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Almost 40% of dancers to leave Pennsylvania Ballet

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He's looking for dancers who can do everything? Can his new dancers perform Balanchine choreography the way it is supposed to be performed? How much Kylian and Forsythe have the new dancers done? I just would not use that as an excuse.

And many dancers today, while they profess to wanting to "do it all" admit that doing so many styles can wreck havoc on their bodies. More injuries happen. Some lose stability in their more "classical" training in an attempt to do the more Contemporary stuff. Something has to give.

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Thank you for that reminder, Mme. Hermine. I had forgotten about the defenestration of Peterson.

I believe Baryshnikov moved switftly to terminate Peterson when he took over in 1980 as artistic director. I was trying to find a report specifically on that episode, but could only find hazy references to Peterson's early career as a principal at ABT: http://www.abt.org/education/archive/choreographers/peterson_k.html

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I don't know anything about that, but at the time I was in California, Kirk was a principal dancer in San Francisco Ballet. The specific reference wasn't originally to anything about ABT, but to compare press coverage of the first year or so of Helgi's time in San Francisco to the coverage of Angel's first year in Philadelphia.

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I don't know anything about that, but at the time I was in California, Kirk was a principal dancer in San Francisco Ballet. The specific reference wasn't originally to anything about ABT, but to compare press coverage of the first year or so of Helgi's time in San Francisco to the coverage of Angel's first year in Philadelphia.

While most welcomed the arrival of Baryshnikov as AD, that transition was not without its bumps either. Peterson was just one dancer not welcome. Kirkland was quickly removed, too, although she returned later.

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Sounds like the Pennsylvania dancers have a much better contract than the ABT dancers in 1980 -- a full year to impress the AD and look for other work, compared with a few months.

Union contracts have been improving over time.

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Haven't listened yet, but I imagine Kerolis' will have a thoughtful approach -- he was a union rep here at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

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This season is the first time I have ever seen PA ballet. Most of the ballets I have seen since my childhood are from NYC Ballet or ABT. I have seen a few performances from other companies when they have been in the NY or Boston area. Although I do not know what the company was like before Mr. Corella took over, I have to say that I have been impressed with the ballets offered this season. (I did not see the performances at the Joyce). I have no ties to the current dancers or Angel Corella and I do not know any of them personally.Before I went to see Pennsylvania Ballet I had heard that Mr. Angel Corella was a new AD and that with that usually comes lots of turnover. It is sad to see anyone lose his/her job but it happens often in this business I guess, hopefully for the right reasons. Hopefully to better the company, draw more patrons and keep ballet alive. I believe the dancers were informed of their contract renewals in January.

On Mr. Veyettes Facebook post announcing his retirement back in January I was under the impression he was looking forward to having more time to focus on PAB2 as he said, "I have been blessed to find my second career while I was doing my first. This is extremely rare for a dancer and I am keenly aware of how lucky I am in that regard. As a director and teacher at PA ballet ll, I believe I have found my little life's true work...Thank you Angel Corella for giving me a life after dancing and letting that be my home!" So I was surprised to read his quotes take on a different tone in the Philly.com article.

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Do principal dancers who can no longer perform their jobs commonly get to hold positions as like honorary members or something? If so is it with pay? I don't know anything about the inner workings of a ballet company but I would think that if they were to hold these positions with pay that would take away from spots that need to be filled, or are these dancers only paid per performance?

I ask about this because I was surprised to read in the Philly.com article when Mr. Veyette said, "I'm too old and broken to try and get a job with another company but was hoping to dance one more year." If one is too old and broken (I am not saying Mr. Veyette is old and broken, he did. I have no idea. I do not believe I have seen him dance.) Does this mean he would expect to be cast in Principal roles? or just hold a spot? When I read Ms. Moore's quote, "I am retiring from ballet because of my ankle, but I am leaving Pennsylvania Ballet because I was let go." I was equally confused. Would she have been kept on as a principal dancer even if she couldn't dance or had retired from ballet?

How does it work?

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I know at NYCB Jennie Somogyi for one was kept on the roster despite rarely dancing because of two horrible injuries. Jonathan Stafford also retired (and joined SAB) because of many injuries. Wendy Whelan as well. It seems to be the NYCB custom to give longtime dancers a "farewell" after it's clear their careers can't continue because of injuries. Don't know what the backroom conversation looks like but I imagine having a big farewell gala makes the whole contract renewal/nonrenewal process less bitter.

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I think his comments about being too old and broken refer to the fact that he felt he had maybe one or two more years left. Starting over in a new company isn't realistic at that point because it would be counter productive to a new artistic director to invest time, energy, and casting into a dancer that will not produce results for very long. I think in general that is why dancers in their mid 30's rarely change companies. There are many more things to consider when moving to a new company besides performing a few more years. The effort it takes to learn a new rep, having coaches invest time in a dancer who will not be there for very long when that time can be used to help bring a younger dancer up through the ranks, a dancer who has many years to devote and give back to the company (baring injury or artistic changes). Occasionally, if there is a budget for it, and sadly in most cases for US companies there isn't, a dancer of soloist or principal status who can no longer physically maintain principal roles will move on to character roles in the same company. Or take a position behind scenes in the school or company itself. It's rare that a dancer here would be kept on the roster if they are unlikely to be able to perform at that level. You will see that sometimes in the major Russian companies, but it's usually just honorary and the dancer rarely performs.

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Occasionally a dancer will talk about how an AD kept them on the roster for a year or two when struggling with injury, but the only long-time Principal Dancer that I know where it's been documented -- by herself and other -- that she was kept on the payroll because she needed the money was Allegra Kent.

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For me, this speaks volumes about the Balanchine sensibility. How can this be permitted? (By the way, this is a Dark Angel rehearsal.)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BE_o1QgyQf6/?taken-by=maslovaoxy

Oh my -- ballet is not rhythmic gymnastics! Nothing against rhythmic gymnastics -- I enjoy watching it, but these hyperextensions to my knowledge have no place in Balanchine choreography.

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For me, this speaks volumes about the Balanchine sensibility. How can this be permitted? (By the way, this is a Dark Angel rehearsal.)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BE_o1QgyQf6/?taken-by=maslovaoxy

Oh my -- ballet is not rhythmic gymnastics! Nothing against rhythmic gymnastics -- I enjoy watching it, but these hyperextensions to my knowledge have no place in Balanchine choreography.

I agree with Emma--certainly as far as Serenade goes. Is this what the dancers Balanchine trained and coached looked like in Serenade? Not in my experience.

Edited to add: if the ballerina pictured moves musically and beautifully -- well, that might prove more important to me in performance than my problem with the hyperextension.

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I tried to quote you Fraidove but I can't figure out how to do that.

It makes sense to me now, maybe I took it too literally, I think you are right about Mr. Veyette maybe meaning just too old to start something new. (He looks young to me anyway)

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Occasionally a dancer will talk about how an AD kept them on the roster for a year or two when struggling with injury, but the only long-time Principal Dancer that I know where it's been documented -- by herself and other -- that she was kept on the payroll because she needed the money was Allegra Kent.

Jacques D'Amboise in his memoir, I Was A Dancer, says that Balanchine once said of Allegra that of all the ballerinas he ever worked with that she was "the most gifted". He kept her on salary and told her, "When you are ready to dance, come dance. If you dance one ballet a year, it's enough" D'Amboise said Balanchine couldn't always count on her, yet felt she was worth it. (page 298)

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I agree with Emma--certainly as far as Serenade goes. Is this what the dancers Balanchine trained and coached looked like in Serenade? Not in my experience.

Edited to add: if the ballerina pictured moves musically and beautifully -- well, that might prove more important to me in performance than my problem with the hyperextension.

If the move is beautiful, perhaps the skirt should be made opaque... Balanchine liked extensions but not used indiscriminately. I can't remember any pictures of oversplits in his dancers when he was alive...

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Getting ready to see Serenade. Tonight will be my last chance to see some of my favorite dancers before they move on. :(

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I was hoping to hear reports of last night. I am unable to make the shows this weekend. I got a text from a friend after "Serenade" who was extremely disappointed.

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I thought Serenade was incredible, despite my not wanting to like it because I'm still pissed at Angel's politics.

But as I've only seen Serenade once before (on video, by the SAB students) I'm not really able to comment on whether or not they were dancing in the Balanchine style. Oxana Maslova did do her hyperextensions as the dark angel. The star of the show was Lillian DiPiazza as the Waltz girl.

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