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Veronika Part leaving ABT

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3 minutes ago, abatt said:

I loved Part's performances and always went to her shows.   ABT's conduct is reprehensible. They behave more like Walmart every year.  I understand that McKenzie probably did not have the funds to make all these promotions and keep Part as a full time worker, but would it have been so awful to make Shevchenko or Teuscher wait one more year for the promotion?

 

Yes, I certainly don't think Christine or Devon themselves deserve any blame for this (and I know you weren't suggesting that, abatt), but it's hard to avoid the speculation that KMcK wanted to keep his options open to see how the female soloists did this season, then decided on a rather large number of female principal promotions (when's the last time we saw three soloist-to-principal promotions at one time for a single gender?), and subsequently decided to send Veronika packing.

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That is indeed what it looks like happened. It leaves me with a heavy heart, and with very mixed feelings about the successes of the season. 

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10 minutes ago, nanushka said:

 

... but it's hard to avoid the speculation that KMcK wanted to keep his options open to see how the female soloists did this season, then decided on a rather large number of female principal promotions (when's the last time we saw three soloist-to-principal promotions at one time for a single gender?), and subsequently decided to send Veronika packing.

 

Yep. This seems to be exactly what happened....

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Regarding Part--it's a sad situation. We can draw inferences, but there is great risk of being unfair to all the parties. But I will say that she is a remarkable dancer who has accomplished much for the company and it is baffling that ABT couldn't or wouldn't find reasons to keep her. 

 

:offtopic: The Nina Alovert entry reminded me that I was always puzzled that Malakhov's departure from ABT didn't get more attention--perhaps I missed it? I don't even recall much discussion among fans. He was a great classical dancer and very much a personal favorite of mine.

 

Edited by Drew

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FWIW Diana Vishneva, Veronika Part and Christine Shevchenko all have the same sponsor: Theresa Khawly. Vishneva and Part are both out and Shevchenko was promoted. Hmm ...

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1 minute ago, Drew said:

We can draw inferences, but there is great risk of being unfair to all the parties.

 

Certainly. It's always essential to clearly identify what is merely speculation or possibility rather than fact.

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14 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

:offtopic: The Nina Alovert entry reminded me that I was always puzzled that Malakhov's departure from ABT didn't get more attention--perhaps I missed it? I don't even recall much discussion among fans. He was a great classical dancer and very much a personal favorite of mine.

 

 

If I remember correctly, he may have withdrawn from a bunch of performances in his last season at ABT. And then he became artistic director of the Berlin State Ballet. I didn't realize he had truly left until way after the fact. It felt more like he left quietly and was chose to refocus his energies on Berlin. I don't remember a "he got shafted by ABT and didn't get a proper farewell" vibe among us here on Ballet Alert, but perhaps others with sharper memories may recall. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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If, in the end, neither Bolle nor Kochetkova are renewed, then they will have left without farewells. At least Part got her "farewell moment" with the bouquets & confetti, albeit low key.

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Those are both false equivalencies though. Maybe I could see a stretch to compare Bolle to someone like Vishneva but they (Kotchekova and Bolle) are outsiders and haven't spent 15 years, year-round with ABT.

 

I'm really appalled by how ABT handled this. I also find it weird the other principals weren't/aren't more vocal in at least sending Veronika off. I'd start worrying when McKenzie was going to do something like this to me.

Edited by ksk04
to clarify which dancers I was speaking about

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

 

Certainly. It's always essential to clearly identify what is merely speculation or possibility rather than fact.

 

Most people do a good job of that, but there's another category to consider--which is insinuation.

 

What I'm thinking about now is ravishing performances--and I'm far from Part's biggest fan--yet wow!! I thought her Lilac Fairy Variation in Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Simplified variation? Well, it was a notated variation that had Petipa's imprimatur, and I defy any other ballerina to make such a little dance masterpiece of it.  In fact, it was much the most magical Lilac Fairy dancing I saw from any of the other Lilac Faires I saw in that production (both very good as it happens--Teuscher and Abrera--dancing the other variation). 

 

Part's Terpsichore in Ashton's Sylvia was a majestic-yet-absolutely direct and unaffected incarnation of the Muse. Putting it a different way, an incarnation of Delibes' music for Terpsichore. I also very much liked her Nikiya--the closing image of the one performance of Bayadere that I saw her dance has stayed LONG in my memory. I have already mentioned her performance in Ratmansky's Symphony no. 9 (Shostakovich Trilogy): what depth and warmth--as if she bore within herself and within her dancing all of the historical memories the ballet tries to capture. (My Swan Lake memories are interfered with by memories of the overactive child who was sitting in front of me, but even so, I remember one or two beautifully sculpted images full of poetry.) Veronika Part--a genine Ballerina!

1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

If I remember correctly, he may have withdrawn from a bunch of performances in his last season at ABT. And then he became artistic director of the Berlin State Ballet. I didn't realize he had truly left until way after the fact. It felt more like he left quietly and was chose to refocus his energies on Berlin. I don't remember a "he got shafted by ABT and didn't get a proper farewell" vibe among us here on Ballet Alert, but perhaps others with sharper memories may recall. 

I didn't mean to suggest that Malakhov got "shafted" (though Alovert did imply "injustice") and I don't think he danced with the company as long as Part either--I was only recalling that major dancers have left the company without getting a formal "farewell." But honestly I really just like to take any excuse I can to recall what a wonderful classical dancer Malakhov was 'cause I don't think he gets mentioned enough :).

 

 

Edited by Drew

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8 minutes ago, Drew said:

I didn't mean to suggest that Malakhov got "shafted" (though Alovert implied "injustice") and I don't think he danced with the company as long as Part either--just recalling that major dancers have left the company without getting a formal "farewell." But honestly also just taking any excuse I can to recall what a wonderful classical dancer he was 'cause I don't think he gets mentioned enough :).

 

 

1

Ah, sorry -- no, I didn't think you were at all. I was just trying to say that I don't really seem to recall any feeling of injustice among balletomanes at the time. I think it may have been that we didn't realize he was leaving at the time, or he did so quietly. I can't remember the exact circumstances. What I regret is not being able to see more of him. I caught him at the tail end of his ABT tenure, and he was amazing!

 

Feeling ever more saddened by the Part situation...

Edited by fondoffouettes

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9 minutes ago, ksk04 said:

Those are both false equivalencies though.

 

These are false equivalences. Malakhov had never been a full-timer at ABT. During his time with the company he was simultaneously a principal in Stuttgart and Vienna also. His departure for Berlin was more like Ana Sophia Scheller leaving New York City Ballet for San Francisco Ballet, and he was no where near retiring from performing at the time.

 

If Kochetkova were to leave ABT after a few years of working there and go back to dancing full time in San Francisco, it also wouldn't be anything analogous to Part's situation.

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19 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

 

These are false equivalences. Malakhov had never been a full-timer at ABT. During his time with the company he was simultaneously a principal in Stuttgart and Vienna also. His departure for Berlin was more like Ana Sophia Scheller leaving New York City Ballet for San Francisco Ballet, and he was no where near retiring from performing at the time.

 

I tried to make clear in answering FondofFouettes that I was not suggesting an equivalence. (I can't speak for Nina Alovert.)  In fact, that's why I originally used the "off topic" emoticon when I first brought him up. But evidently I was not as clear as I intended. I'm still bummed he left ABT and that I got to see him so little.

 

Above, I've tried to express what a beautiful dancer I think Part is and what a loss for ABT.

 

Edited by Drew

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I just want to add my voice to those who are angry and bereft at the firing of Veronika Part. She is a sublime dancer, and has brought an elegance and stage drama to ABT that will be sorely lacking without her. Technique is one thing, depth is another. While I salute the new female principals, especially the promotion of Sarah Lane, I find it difficult to believe that their promotion depended on the availability of Veronika's contract. Is money that tight? Ridiculous! Whoever wrote above about Walmart got it right. ABT should have invested in finding a suitable partner for her, someone with her high level of training and experience, someone whose eloquent body matched hers, and then promoted them to the hilt. Shame on ABT!

 

As for Malakhov, I remember his gorgeous line and beautiful feet. And his deep plies in the role of Lankendem. Feel free to delete this, Moderators, but someone once whispered to me that ABT found him too "feminine."

 

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I didn't have you in mind, Drew. I'm sorry if you took it that way. Dancers leave companies under various circumstances, and I certainly wouldn't expect them to leave in the same way. But if, as in Part's case, the dancer spent many years working for a company, doesn't have a second (or even third) home company and isn't likely to find a new artistic home, then this "end of the road" scenario calls for a particular sort of send off.

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1 minute ago, volcanohunter said:

[...] if, as in Part's case, the dancer spent many years working for a company, doesn't have a second (or even third) home company and isn't likely to find a new artistic home, then this "end of the road" scenario calls for a particular sort of send off.

 

Completely agree!

 

(Sorry to have been overly sensitive...I'll take the 'internet' excuse--sometimes it's hard to tell what's intended.)

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43 minutes ago, angelica said:

 While I salute the new female principals, especially the promotion of Sarah Lane, I find it difficult to believe that their promotion depended on the availability of Veronika's contract. Is money that tight? Ridiculous! Whoever wrote above about Walmart got it right.

 

Actually, I think money is that tight.  I think McKenzie probably has a fixed amount of money to work with to pay dancer salaries, so that a new promotion to principal is highly dependent on the departure of someone who is already a principal.  Since Veronika was very senior, her firing may have paid for one new "junior" principal, plus a portion of the money needed to promote Royal. It's an ugly business at ABT.

 

Edit to add: I think that when Veronika said on her instagram or other social media that  "they already gave my contract to some other dancer", this is an implicit statement that the pool of available money is indeed very limited, and that McKenzie could not promote the people he wanted and also keep Part on as a principal.  Zero sum game.

 

 

Edited by abatt

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On 7/6/2017 at 4:09 PM, fondoffouettes said:

Part has posted two responses to the public-facing Facebook thread we've all been talking about:

  • It is done deal. They gave my contract away to some dancer. I don't know who..
  • You can let them know you're not excited about this turn of events, but can you change it, I don't know ..

The first was posted in English. The second has been translated from the Russian.

 

Edited to add: I know others have said that dancers are usually informed months in advance that their contracts are not renewed (in order to provide them time to look for other employment). The hasty and seemingly unplanned nature of Part's departure seems to imply that management decided to promote a dancer after the Met season had already started and then needed to terminate Part's contract as a result. Perhaps all the promising debuts of the soloist ladies has led them to promote one more dancer than they'd initially planned. And that additional money needed to come from somewhere...

 

I'm recalling now what Veronika wrote on FB, quoted above (in bold), along with the suggestion fondoffouettes made at that time.

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18 minutes ago, abatt said:

I think that when Veronika said on her instagram or other social media that  "they already gave my contract to some other dancer", this is an implicit statement that the pool of available money is indeed very limited, and that McKenzie could not promote the people he wanted and also keep Part on as a principal.  Zero sum game.

 

We were having exactly the same thought.

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So, assuming Trenary and Brandt continue dancing at such a high level, can they only be promoted next spring if ABT decides to sack Abrera and/or Murphy? Or maybe ABT's finances will magically improve...? Or will they be forced to wait for promotions until they are 28, 29, 30...?

 

Any ballerina in that company approaching her late 30s has cause for concern. Part, Herrera and Dvorovenko all "retired" at age 39. I think many would agree that Part's treatment has been the most abominable. Although I lost interest in Herrera in her later years, she probably deserved more after her many years of service at ABT. At least she and Dvorovenko both got proper farewells, even if they were forced. The detail about Part fashioning a bouquet to give Dvorovenko at her retirement was particularly poignant.

 

Edited to add: Next spring season, I believe Abrera will be 39/40 and Murphy will be 39. Based on her still very high level of technique, I would expect Murphy to dance for several more years, assuming she's able to cope with injuries. Plus, she seems to have a very good relationship with the company. Abera's future remains a question mark for me (and I do love her). She was promoted so late that it would be a shame for her not to get three or four more seasons at least. Who knows?? 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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22 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Part, Herrera and Dvorovenko all "retired" at age 39.

 

This is an interesting detail; I didn't realize that. I've heard that there are some age-discrimination protections that kick in when a dancer reaches 40. Does anyone know if that's the case or know any further details about that?

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28 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Next spring season, I believe Abrera will be 39/40 and Murphy will be 39. Based on her still very high level of technique, I would expect Murphy to dance for several more years, assuming she's able to cope with injuries. Plus, she seems to have a very good relationship with the company.

 

Yes, as we've seen there are certain dancers who are allowed, or welcome, or encouraged to stay for quite some time after age 39. Gillian would certainly seem to fall in that category. At least that would be my guess.

Edited by nanushka

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Gillian shouldn't rest. Julie Kent most likely was allowed to stay on because her husband, Barbee, was a key staffer. My guess.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Natalia said:

Gillian shouldn't rest. Julie Kent most likely was allowed to stay on because her husband, Barbee, was a key staffer. My guess.

 

In part, perhaps. But to be fair, she also had quite a following in her own right.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

Actually, I think money is that tight.  I think McKenzie probably has a fixed amount of money to work with to pay dancer salaries, so that a new promotion to principal is highly dependent on the departure of someone who is already a principal.  Since Veronika was very senior, her firing may have paid for one new "junior" principal, plus a portion of the money needed to promote Royal. It's an ugly business at ABT.

 

Edit to add: I think that when Veronika said on her instagram or other social media that  "they already gave my contract to some other dancer", this is an implicit statement that the pool of available money is indeed very limited, and that McKenzie could not promote the people he wanted and also keep Part on as a principal.  Zero sum game.

 

 

And playing devil's advocate here (in no way am I happy about Part leaving)...as has been discussed on this board, the current crop (pre-promotion) of principals have either had injury issues or cannot technically handle all of the roles in a typical Met season.  While Part has been quite technically secure the last two years or so, she also isn't going to be cast in many of the Met season roles (like Giselle, Kitri, Juliet, ect.).  McKenzie might have needed to move up Teuscher and Shevchenko to have competent technical dancers that can handle most of the met repertoire.  Though I suppose he could put soloists in those principal roles, but if the dancers are dancing principal roles, don't they deserve the principal contract?  

 

I also wonder if a large part of this has to do with finding an adequate partner for Part.  I found it odd that outside of Gomes, none of the principal men who have partnered her, came out to give her bouquets at her final performance.  I'm not blaming Part for that, but outside of Gomes (who we all know is starting to pull back from roles and has less availability) and Hoven (who hasn't danced the "princely" roles yet), does the issue of an adequate partner play into all of this?   It's a shame she couldn't have danced with someone like Camels, because that would have been a beautiful pairing.

 

 

Edited by Kaysta

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