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Veronika Part leaving ABT

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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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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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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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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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2 minutes ago, angelica said:

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.

Personally I thought the Golden Cockerel a real waste of money. Whipped Cream seemed to be popular, we'll see if it has legs, I certainly hope so. The Ratmansky Nutcracker wasn't a financial success in NY. I hope it has better success in the west. The Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty is controversial (I wouldn't recommend it to a new or casual ballet goer). Now he's been given a big check for another "historically accurate" ballet. 

 

I understand that there are different pools of money for dancer salaries and new productions. I also admire many of Ratmansky's works BUT maybe the overall direction of the company needs an overhaul.

 

I digress with a discussion about the artistic vision or lack there of. Bottom line is that ABT made a mess of the departure of a ballerina who deserved better.

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11 minutes ago, vipa said:

Personally I thought the Golden Cockerel a real waste of money. Whipped Cream seemed to be popular, we'll see if it has legs, I certainly hope so. The Ratmansky Nutcracker wasn't a financial success in NY. I hope it has better success in the west. The Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty is controversial (I wouldn't recommend it to a new or casual ballet goer). Now he's been given a big check for another "historically accurate" ballet. 

 

I understand that there are different pools of money for dancer salaries and new productions. I also admire many of Ratmansky's works BUT maybe the overall direction of the company needs an overhaul.

 

I digress with a discussion about the artistic vision or lack there of. Bottom line is that ABT made a mess of the departure of a ballerina who deserved better.

 

vipa, I think you would make a better AD than McK. I agree with everything you said.

 

But to place so much money at the feet of Ratmansky and to strain the budget for dancer salaries seems like a very poor choice of resource allocation.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours 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.  

Actually, Hallberg is dancing in the fall season.  It is Gomes who is skipping the Koch.

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3 minutes ago, abatt said:

Actually, Hallberg is dancing in the fall season.  It is Gomes who is skipping the Koch.

 

Gomes is going to be dancing in the Matthew Bourne production of "The Red Shoes." As I understand it, in every performance at City Center, but I'm not sure about other venues. He'll be playing the role of Julian Craster. Be still my heart!

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3 hours ago, nanushka said:

 

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?

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adea.cfm

 

The federal age discrimination act applies to people 40 and older.  However, even if she had been terminated at age 40 instead of 39, I doubt that she would have been able to establish a viable age discrimination claim.  

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3 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

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...?

 

I'm assuming that yes Brandt/Trenary will have to wait until someone else leaves. I'm pretty sure they're both 24, so they can afford to wait 2 or 3 years (I sure hope no longer than that). It would be different if they were 27 or 28 like Teuscher and Shevchenko. And, as of right now neither of them has carried many full lengths and with the three promotions, those new principals will be tapped for debuts in next year's war horses. So I wonder if either of them will get any new opportunities next year. I guess that'll depend on whether or not Kochetkova comes back AND if we have a repeat like this year with injuries galore. Plus, if they're promoted before someone leaves, the principal roster will be very heavy and it's hard enough as it is already for everyone to get one measly SL or SB or whatever (with the exception of Copeland). ABT just doesn't perform enough for that many principals. Imagine being promoted and only getting to do one lead in one full length during the Met season. Vishneva performed twice this season in a ballet that may not be repeated next year, and Part less than a handful (not counting Mozartiana). And, Kochetkova once? So while the company gains space on their website and in Playbill (and money from their salaries) with their departures they don't gain that many openings on the schedule for the new principals. Shevchenko had such a breakout season because Murphy was injured for most of it and she subbed for her in DQ, Le Corsaire and as Myrta (Teuscher subbed for her in Whipped Cream) and she rose to the challenge. If Murphy and the rest of the female principals are mostly injury free next year or at least not out for weeks like this summer, it will be challenging for the principals to have enough to go around let alone give Brandt/Trenary any new challenges. I would rather see Brandt/Trenary have to wait a little longer for that promotion than, sure get the title and the money but have very little to do. Sorry, didn't mean to rattle on for so long....

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I'm still trying to fully absorb and come to terms with what happened to Part. I really don't know how she held it together those final two weeks. As noted above, her relatively happy demeanor at Vishneva's farewell seems to suggest she wasn't aware at that point that her time with ABT was over. The idea of her unknowingly giving her final Swan Lake performance, only to be told a week later she was fired (following a love-fest farewell for a fellow Mariinksy dancer) seems too much for anyone to bear. Her patched-together farewell, complete with a NYT article stating she was fired, must have been humiliating for her. ABT could have hardly treated her departure more poorly than they did. Oh, not to mention that she was forced to give her farewell during a matinee, in a mixed program, rather than in one of the full-lengths she's most closely associated with. And then a few people gave her bouquets while others stood in the background wearing shorts and other street clothes. She was disrespected in so many ways. Not to mention that she now has no income for the next season. I guess ABT found a way to fire a dancer with two weeks notice and suffer no repercussions.  

Edited by fondoffouettes

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7 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I'm still trying to fully absorb and come to terms with what happened to Part. I really don't know how she held it together those final two weeks. As noted above, her relatively happy demeanor at Vishneva's farewell seems to suggest she wasn't aware at that point that her time with ABT was over. The idea of her unknowingly giving her final Swan Lake performance, only to be told a week later she fired after (following a love-fest farewell for a fellow Mariinksy dancer) seems too much for anyone to bear. Her patched-together farewell, complete with a NYT article stating she was fired, must have been humiliating for her. ABT couldn have hardly treated her departure more poorly than they did. Oh, not to mention that she was forced to give her farewell during a matinee, in a mixed program, rather than in one of the full-lengths she's most closely associated with. And then a few people gave her bouquets while others stood in the background wearing shorts and other street clothes. She was disrespected in so many ways. Not to mention that she now has no income for the next season. I guess ABT found a way to fire a dancer with two weeks notice and suffer no repercussions.  

 

Part was also at Marcelo Gomes' 20th anniversary performance and she seemed pretty happy then too. You can see her in the background in this video.

 

 

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