Dale

Veronika Part leaving ABT

417 posts in this topic

4 minutes ago, canbelto said:

From everything I've read or seen about Wendy, she seemed to have been one of those ballerinas whose motto is: "My work is my life and my life is my work." In Restless Creatures she says "If I don't dance I'd rather die." She probably thought that having a baby would disrupt her total and complete dedication to her career and was stung when NYCB moved on without her. 

 

Again, I only bring this up because for years Wendy was described as a completely down-to-earth, devoted-to-her-craft ballerina and she handled her retirement with a lot less equanimity than expected. 

 

Yes, that's very interesting. I think abatt's reference to "self awareness" is spot on, then. Because if your implicit motto is "My work is my life and my life is my work" –– well, unless you're planning ahead for the inevitable, you're going to face a crisis.

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Posted (edited)

I will say this so: the last couple times I saw Wendy I was shocked at how much her technique had eroded. For instance in La Sonnambula those silky smooth bourrees were rather effortful. I already mentioned Glass Pieces too.

 

With Veronika I didn't any erosion of technique -- in fact she seemed to be getting more consistent and was also coming out of her shell on social media. She posted some very funny pictures. So I think her dismissal must have come as a greater shock because she might have felt that she'd finally arrived at a good place -- getting along with her colleagues, becoming more consistent, having roles created on her (via Ratmansky). 

 

 

Edited by canbelto

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14 hours ago, nanushka said:

I've gotta say, I just can't feel too terrible for her. That all sounds pretty reasonable to me. 

 

If you're "the marquee star of the company" and you're 44 years old and you have a major surgery and you come back with noticeably diminished flexibility –– well, you have a choice. You either stick it out and face the fact that your role in the company is going to change –– that you may no longer be given all the roles that you've been dancing for 22 years –– or you decide you don't want to face a reasonable decline in reportoire and casting opportunities and you get out before that happens. Either of those options seems respectable to me.

 

"I want you to only look best on stage. And I don’t think this makes you look your best." –– That doesn't sound like a terribly unreasonable thing for an AD to say  to a dancer in that situation. Things are going to change. He didn't fire her or force her to retire at that point. He altered her position in the company in what seems to me like a reasonable way.

 

I agree. I understand Balanchine, for one, would just start taking your roles away, and if confronted he was a lot less diplomatic. Martins didn't take away the part and let her stew, he called her in to tell her face to face what was going to happen and why. There is no way such a conversation is not going to hurt, but even by Whelan's own telling Martins seems to have done a difficult thing in a decent way.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, canbelto said:

With Veronika I didn't any erosion of technique -- in fact she seemed to be getting more consistent and was also coming out of her shell on social media. She posted some very funny pictures. So I think her dismissal must have come as a greater shock because she might have felt that she'd finally arrived at a good place -- getting along with her colleagues, becoming more consistent, having roles created on her (via Ratmansky).  

 

1

I agree, canbelto. When she had glitches, they were usually in turns, though she became much more reliable in the past several years. She also learned how to roll with the punches and not let imperfections interfere with her performances. For instance, in her recent Swan Lake, she had to switch legs during the end of the adagio in the Act II pas de deux (the part where Odette flutters her free foot). This must have been necessitated by her ankle injury. In her early years with ABT, Part often became visibly disturbed by issues like these, but she got to a place where the bobbles were far less frequent, and when they did happen, she didn't let them interrupt the overall flow of the performance. There has been some loss of flexibility in the past couple seasons (perhaps also related to a back injury), but she still looked beautiful. She also managed to stay in remarkably good physical shape, despite being given reduced performance opportunities.

 

I expected her to have at least one more season, if not two or three. I still think she has some beautiful Odette/Odiles and Nikiyas left in her. It's too bad she didn't get to dance Aurora after the Kirkland production was scrapped, but I understand she's not everyone's idea of an ideal Aurora. And I can't decide whether or not the reconstruction would have been a good fit for her.

 

Edited to add: I hope this isn't too dramatic, but I still feel like I'm in a state of mourning about not being able to see those future Odette/Odiles and Nikiyas on the Met stage, or possibly anywhere. It hasn't fully sunk in for me.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Posted (edited)

Can coaching positions  have sponsorships/endowments/ fellowships?   Part's resume [Vaganova School, danced soloist and principal roles at the Mariinsky and ABT, over 39 years old] indicates a transition to a teaching/coaching position with ABT [JKO] with occasional performances.  

 

Part's experience is unique in the US and ABT needs coaches for it's repertoire.  I saw the Part/Whiteside SL at the KC.  Part did about 25 fouettes but used the music-planning.  

Edited by maps

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I'm not sure everyone is cut out for teaching or coaching simply because they have a strong personal resume.  I have no idea whether Part would be considered a good candidate for that type of job.  Communication skills and personality factor into the equation.

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Based on the reports about how most of the dancers onstage after Part's final performance did not extend to her the same affection and, let's face it, respect as they did for Vishneva, I'd say that she and they are not good fits in terms of coaching. The relationship needs to be mutually respectful.

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A factor we'll likely never know for sure: the details of the supposed negotiations for her to make occasional appearances next season. Perhaps she thought she was worth more money or more appearances than McKenzie was willing to offer. Until they both come clean in their memoirs some day, all we will know are rumors and speculation about why she was cut off this year.

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5 minutes ago, California said:

A factor we'll likely never know for sure: the details of the supposed negotiations for her to make occasional appearances next season. Perhaps she thought she was worth more money or more appearances than McKenzie was willing to offer. Until they both come clean in their memoirs some day, all we will know are rumors and speculation about why she was cut off this year.

 

We don't even know whether there were any negotiations, per se. Part's comments (only one side of a very fragmented story, to be sure) in the Russian-language article cited upthread can be read to suggest there weren't:

 

"At first it was promised to me that I would be partially engaged in some ballets next season, then left only Swan Lake, and later just was deprived of everything, fired with nothing," said the ballerina. "I was unnecessary."

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I am a little surprised that everyone is still discussing whether or not Veronika's capabilities had diminished. To me, that is not the point, and completely secondary to HOW she was treated. The way she was dismissed was inexcusable, unforgivable, and I don't care whether there may have been a lack of money in the budget to promote three dancers to principals, and those funds had to come from another principal's salary. Even if that was the case, her firing was handled horrifically. And the last-minute, second-rate send-off she was given on stage was shocking. Either a lot of the dancers don't like her personally or else they were too scared to show their affection or respect for her at her farewell. Weren't any of you there at Vishneva's farewell, a mere few weeks earlier? It was glorious. What they did for Veronika was the bum's rush. To repeat: the ABT administration must really dislike her to have treated her this way, with such public, thinly veneered disdain.

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11 minutes ago, Golden Idol said:

I am a little surprised that everyone is still discussing whether or not Veronika's capabilities had diminished. To me, that is not the point, and completely secondary to HOW she was treated. The way she was dismissed was inexcusable, unforgivable, and I don't care whether there may have been a lack of money in the budget to promote three dancers to principals, and those funds had to come from another principal's salary. Even if that was the case, her firing was handled horrifically. And the last-minute, second-rate send-off she was given on stage was shocking. Either a lot of the dancers don't like her personally or else they were too scared to show their affection or respect for her at her farewell. Weren't any of you there at Vishneva's farewell, a mere few weeks earlier? It was glorious. What they did for Veronika was the bum's rush. To repeat: the ABT administration must really dislike her to have treated her this way, with such public, thinly veneered disdain.

Thank you, Golden Idol. Very well said and I couldn't agree more. All the other points are really secondary. The bum's rush isn't elegant English but it's certainly eloquent. 

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Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, Golden Idol said:

I am a little surprised that everyone is still discussing whether or not Veronika's capabilities had diminished. To me, that is not the point, and completely secondary to HOW she was treated. The way she was dismissed was inexcusable, unforgivable, and I don't care whether there may have been a lack of money in the budget to promote three dancers to principals, and those funds had to come from another principal's salary. Even if that was the case, her firing was handled horrifically. And the last-minute, second-rate send-off she was given on stage was shocking. Either a lot of the dancers don't like her personally or else they were too scared to show their affection or respect for her at her farewell. Weren't any of you there at Vishneva's farewell, a mere few weeks earlier? It was glorious. What they did for Veronika was the bum's rush. To repeat: the ABT administration must really dislike her to have treated her this way, with such public, thinly veneered disdain.

 

I completely agree, Golden Idol.

 

I think the reason some of us have continued to discuss her capabilities is that some of us feel there were two wrongs here: the fact that she was forced out in the manner you describe, and the fact that, given her capabilities, she was forced out at all. It seems like a double affront to some of us.

Edited by nanushka

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Posted (edited)

Did anyone see Part's performance in Don Quixote? She wasn't listed on the official schedule for Don Q (not sure if Queen of Dryads is normally listed) and the only reports on this site just said it was a nice surprise to see her in the role.

 

I also felt like the farewell was quite hastily done, and I wonder if there's an explanation for it - perhaps either she didn't want a big affair, or since the performance hadn't been advertised as a farewell (even after the program order changed) that management decided not to make it a big affair? All the other celebrations (anniversaries and farewells) were specifically listed in the program as such. Either way, I do wish she had had a better send off more befitting of her long tenure at the company.

Edited by Victura

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15 hours ago, canbelto said:

 

I saw Wendy in Nutcracker around 2008. She wasn't the joyful sprightly type but she was technically excellent in the grand pas de deux. The one tutu role I saw her struggle with throughout her career was Diamonds. She wasn't bad, but romantic reverie roles were never her thing, and her upper body was too harsh and angular to look good in the Diamonds tutu.

Her Diamonds in January 2008 was one of the greatest I've ever seen.  At that point her classical technique was still extremely strong.

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There's talk in this thread about Part's injuries.  I don't see many performances of ABT per year, but it seems at least in the MET seasons she has normally fulfilled her assigned performances. I do recall a Kennedy Center run of Sleeping Beauty in January 2016 which she withdrew from, but can anyone give more insight here?  Regardless, there was clearly a bigger reason than chronic injuries as to why she was let go.  Especially as said injuries did not appear to diminish her technique, or cause her to withdraw from a substantial (or even sizable) number of performances in recent years.  

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Posted (edited)

She also withdrew from Nutcracker in California in 2015. She was supposed to have opening night and one other night. She wasn't scheduled to dance in Nutcracker in 2016. 

Edited by AB'sMom

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So basically around the same time, as Beauty was a month later.

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