Dale

Veronika Part leaving ABT

417 posts in this topic

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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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

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 was particularly curious about Whiteside, who was backstage taking pictures in jeans shorts and a t-shirt (as shown in public videos and pics on Instagram), but who did not appear onstage, correct? And I believe they have a pretty good relationship.

 

Edited to add:

...as demonstrated in his caption on this IG post of his (love the duck icon, a reference to her name!):

 

 

Edited by nanushka

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16 minutes ago, nanushka said:

 

I was particularly curious about Whiteside, who was backstage taking pictures in jeans shorts and a t-shirt (as shown in public videos and pics on Instagram), but who did not appear onstage, correct? And I believe they have a pretty good relationship.

 

 

Whiteside was onstage but just standing toward the back. I guess they were just trying to keep the bouquet presentations as minimal as possible. If they had had more than one principal dancer hand her flowers, then it would have been awkward for the rest standing on stage to not follow suit. 

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Someone raised the question of the lack of suitable partners for Part. Is she that much taller than Shevchenko and Teuscher?

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10 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Someone raised the question of the lack of suitable partners for Part. Is she that much taller than Shevchenko and Teuscher?

 

I don't know if she is taller, but I think she is bigger, more womanly.  In no way am I saying she is too big or fat, I think she is stunningly gorgeous.  I just think she is tall and solid (in comparison to someone waif-like, like Hee Seo), which might make it harder on partners who aren't as secure or strong.

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Posted (edited)

14 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Someone raised the question of the lack of suitable partners for Part. Is she that much taller than Shevchenko and Teuscher?

 

She's been reported in the press as being 5'8. Not sure of the others' exact heights.

 

I don't really buy the idea that the lack of potential partners was a determining factor. The need for tall partners is just as good a reason as many others for giving promising male soloists a shot at principal roles, and they could have done so more with Hoven, Forster, etc. They chose not to.

 

If they wanted Part to dance, there were people around they could have had her dance with.

Edited by nanushka

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2 hours 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.

 

 

 

Hmm this makes me worried for David Hallberg. He's not dancing the fall season and it's unlikely he'll ever be able to dance a normal principal workload again.  

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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Hmm this makes me worried for David Hallberg. He's not dancing the fall season and it's unlikely he'll ever be able to dance a normal principal workload again.  

 

I see what you mean, but I'm not too worried. Can you imagine what the public would do if ABT were to treat David like they just treated Veronika? He certainly may not be kept on as a full principal, but I can't imagine they'd go as far. Plus, he'd have a lot more post-ABT options than Veronika likely has now. I'm certainly not worried for him –– perhaps just worried for us, that we may not see as much of him as we'd like in future years.

Edited by nanushka

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Isn't David Hallberg going to be splitting his time between ABT & Australian Ballet? He'll likely be transferring to a Vishneva-style "periodic Principal" deal. 

 

Lendorf may already have this sort of deal, since he splits time between the US & Denmark...although he seems to have been quite active this season. Definitely has pulled his weight.

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1 hour ago, Kaysta said:

 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?  

Interesting points Kaysta. It seems, that Kevin M. started out by looking at the rep that was coming, the dancers he had, and the money available to him and told Part that he had a few things for her in the next season.  It sounded like a per performance thing, but that's just my guess. Then as time went on, and he continued to look at those factors he felt she was only needed for Swan Lake. Then, for whatever set of reasons, he decided he didn't need her for Swan Lake. In other words she became expendable. 

 

As I've said before, Part was far from my favorite dancer, but she delivered mature, thoughtful and over time (to my surprise) technically consistent performances.  As others have said it would have made sense to let Part have a farewell year and have Shevchenko wait another year for a promotion (lord knows Lane waited a good long time). 

 

Last thing - re unions. I might be totally wrong but I vaguely remember that ABT formed its own independent union. Is that possible? If I'm wrong what union are they part of.

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33 minutes ago, nanushka said:

 

She's been reported in the press as being 5'8. 

 

It's  not just the height but the width (large bone structure). It was a problem with partners at the Mariinsky too. That's why she excelled in light-partnering "decorative" roles like Lilac Fairy...the Marie Petipa type. Very few stabs at O-O and other pure-classical roles.

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Posted (edited)

Teuscher is 5'7; it was reported in a recent NY Times article. (Shevchenko is shorter.) Only an inch shorter than Part but she has a smaller frame. Those two things can make a big difference in partnering.

 

ABT is part of the AGMA union.

 

I wouldn't worry about Hallberg. They're going to treat him well. He's famous. Abrera on the other hand, she's 39. Same age as Murphy but given how long it took for her to get promoted and get better roles, I could see them throwing her aside just like it seems they did with Part.

Edited by ABT Fan

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1 hour ago, cobweb said:

 

 

At Paris Opera Ballet, the mandatory retirement age is 42. At ABT they should set it at 39 if they're going to behave that way. And by "that way" I mean forcing people out at age 39.

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12 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

At Paris Opera Ballet, the mandatory retirement age is 42. At ABT they should set it at 39 if they're going to behave that way. And by "that way" I mean forcing people out at age 39.

Difference is that after retiring from Paris Opera Ballet dancers get a pension!

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16 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

At Paris Opera Ballet, the mandatory retirement age is 42. At ABT they should set it at 39 if they're going to behave that way. And by "that way" I mean forcing people out at age 39.

 

Mandatory retirement ages are illegal in the U.S. except in a few areas (certain gov't jobs for example) --

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Just now, vipa said:

Difference is that after retiring from Paris Opera Ballet dancers get a pension!

 

YES!!! And I don't see how you can run a ballet company like ABT on short rations, i.e., rationing the number of principals because you have only a certain amount of money to spend on dancers' contracts. Those people on the Board should get busy and do more fundraising. Or stop spending all that money on productions like Golden Cockerel and Whipped Cream. McKenzie and the Board really made a mess of this company by bringing in guest artists for so many years.

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3 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

 

Mandatory retirement ages are illegal in the U.S. except in a few areas (certain gov't jobs for example) --

 

So they don't call it mandatory retirement, but they just go ahead and do it.

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26 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

ABT is part of the AGMA union..

Thank you ABT Fan. I guess I was thinking of ancient history from the 1990's when this happened according to the NYTimes:

 

American Ballet Theater broke away in June and then voted this month to ratify a contract negotiated by a new union, the Independent Artists of America, which represents only Ballet Theater.

 

Things must have changed since then! Thanks for the correction

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