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nanushka

Irina Dvorovenko on her careers as dancer and actor

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nanushka   

profile of Irina in the Times by Gia Kourlas, focused on the former's current role in The Americans. What she says in the last two paragraphs, about the support she feels as an actor, in contrast to what she felt as a dancer, is particularly striking.

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abatt   

I was also struck by her comment that she felt unimportant as a dancer.  She does not expand on what she means, but it appears to be an indirect reference to the manner in which McKenzie operated ABT.  Personally, I have many terrific memories of her performances with her husband Maxim. that I still cherish.

 

I hope the workshop of the Stroman musical she mentions comes to fruition and gets to the stage.  So many of those projects never see the light of day.  I'm still waiting for a New York production of Stroman's Little Dancer.

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ABT Fan   

I didn't realize she was on The Americans (or any other show currently on TV). What a difficult life she had in Ukraine.

 

I don't find her comments about the ballet world surprising at all. She's given several interviews (one was a video made for ABT of all things and a few in print) where she and her husband criticized ABT for bringing in so many guest artists when they were still there. (We had some lengthy discussions on this board about the same issue.) They basically felt that it took away critical stage time from the current principals and that the home team was not getting the coaching and development it needed to bring enough people up through the ranks. Even though she and her husband gave many memorable performances, she probably feels there could have been more if more attention was paid to the full-time dancers. So, I get that she felt unimportant.

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laurel   

I find it more than ironic that Max and Irina are no longer invited to ABT's spring season opening night galas, yet the Times chose to accompany the article with a photo of them performing at the opening night gala five years ago.  I saw Irina in the Encores! production of On Your Toes four years ago, and her natural ability at comedy was a revelation, her dancing, of course, superb.  It's a pleasure to know that her career on TV is flourishing.

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Well, it seems that McKenzie got the message, as soloists have been given lead roles and corps members have been given solos in the last couple seasons. Which is extremely gratifying to see. The only guest artist (after Vishneva leaves) is Kochetkova, right? I imagine that they'll be letting her go at some point, as she's barely a presence with ABT.

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abatt   

I don't think it's so much that McKenzie got the message that his own people needed opportunities.  Who can forget his assertion a few years back in an interview when he essentially said that there was nothing wrong with being a premier soloist, or words to that effect.

 

Rather, I think that scheduling difficulties and diva/divo behavior by certain invited guests started to create problems. I'll point to Cojocaru's cancellations as an example of the issues created. As a result, inviting so many guests started creating more problems than it solved.  Now we have only one guest, Ferri.

 

Additionally, the "Misty factor" plays a large role here.  No matter what you think of her dancing, she sells tickets - at least for now.  McKenzie no longer needs to bring in famous guest artists to sell tickets as long as Misty remains popular and creates buzz that translates into ticket sales.  The cutback on guest artists caused, in part, by Misty's popularity has created opportunities for other dancers in the company.

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Barbara   

The change in the guest policy also seems to have coincided with the departure of the former Exec Director. Could that be a factor? I think the absence of so many guests has had a remarkable effect on the company as a whole who seem to be rising to the occasion. Just look at the depth of talent in both the male and female dancers, especially the females. Lots to be happy about.

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ABT Fan   

McKenzie said: "What exactly is so bad about being a flagship soloist....."

 

That interview is burned into my brain: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/arts/dance/american-ballet-theaters-director-kevin-mckenzie.html

 

I agree that Copeland has a lot to do with others getting opportunities now. How many of the previous guest stars had sold out shows, and regularly?

 

But, I also think that McKenzie (and the board) had to hear the complaints about said guest stars and it wasn't just Dvorovenko and her husband from the company who went public with their criticism of the home team being ignored. (Not to mention more and more balletomanes like us posting about it.) When Abrera was promoted to principal two years ago, a few current dancers (and if I remember correctly at least two principal dancers) posted on social media not only their joy at her finally being promoted, but they made a point to say that she was a "homegrown" ballerina who was finally getting the recognition and opportunities that a regular company member should get. When your own dancers start criticizing you on social media and in interviews, that shines a very bad light on the company. 

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