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Diamondpointe

NYCB dancers who didn't go to SAB

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They have been few and far between, especially since SAB was bolstered by the Ford Foundation grant, but I'm not sure if any of the Danes did. 

 

I'm guessing that since the '70's, more men were hired with professional experience and no SAB training than women.  Was Sylve the last ballerina who was hired directly into the company?

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The last people I heard of this happening to were Hübbe (pincipal in 1992), De luz (came in as a soloist in 2003), and Garcia (principal in 2007). I can't even think of when this last happened for a female dancer!

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I agree with Helene the most recent woman I remember is Sylve. 

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Saskia Beskow, who retired from the NYCB corps in 2009, was trained in Denmark joined NYCB as a corps member from the Royal Danish Ballet.

 

She was a truly lovely dancer and one of those corps stalwarts you'd see in three ballets on the same night, night after night.

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La Cour may have been the last one.  He did have an inside track, though, as Nilas Martin's step-brother.  

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la Cour = 2002 - joined as corps, previously corps at RDB

De Luz = 2003 - joined as soloist, previously soloist at ABT

Garcia = 2007 - joined as principal, previously principal at SFB

 

I think maybe that's it on the current roster?

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Are more than a few of the SAB graduates who get into NYCB "pure" SAB products? I was vaguely under the impression that many of the dancers not only  started elsewhere, but in some cases came to SAB mid-training or even towards the end of their training. 

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

Are more than a few of the SAB graduates who get into NYCB "pure" SAB products? I was vaguely under the impression that many of the dancers not only  started elsewhere, but in some cases came to SAB mid-training or even towards the end of their training. 

 

Even a cursory look at the dancers' bios suggest that that is indeed the case. 

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Very few NYCB members started at the school at 8-10, like at Paris Opera Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Bolshoi Ballet.  Those programs are hardcore professional dance training, and the physical vetting process is beyond anything in North America and most schools across the world.   Even then, if you've ever seen footage of the kids being selected, they aren't starting ballet from scratch, so "pure" is relative.

 

Almost all of the students at SAB come into the Professional Division as teenagers, which means they've had extensive training elsewhere.  Very few are NY Metro locals who started at SAB as children and made it into the Professional Division, let alone into the company.  They often come from other schools, even if they're local to NY Metro, they take the summer program, and from there are invited to take the year-round program.   Even if they're in the year-round program, they often do summer programs elsewhere.

 

I'm not even sure the few dancers that started at SAB as children and made it to the PD and NYC, like Peter Boal, Jennie Somogyi, Michael Byars, and Judith Fugate, were "pure" SAB products, in that any of them might have done summer programs.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Helene said:

La Cour may have been the last one.  He did have an inside track, though, as Nilas Martin's step-brother.  

I believe La Cour and Nilas are half-brothers, sharing the same mother, Peter's ex-wife.

 

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Didn't Balanchine accept Valentina Kozlova into the company? It's not recent, but she was trained at the Bolshoi. 

There are so many excellent, beautifully trained women coming out of SAB each year, why would they need to look elsewhere?

Also, I'm curious about the "pure SAB" comment. If a dancer believes in or adheres to the SAB/Balanchine technique and also studies with other teachers does that necessarily make them less SAB trained?

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Am I right that SAB dancers aren't allowed, or at the very least, are strongly encouraged NOT to attend SAB's summer program? Hehe, that would make all, or nearly all, of them NOT "pure SAB".My recollection, from my daughter's summers there, are that SAB uses the summer as a way to audition talented dancers from all over to see whom they'd like to invite to their year-round. 

 

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SAB is more of a finishing school but there are many excellent satellite ballet academies across the country that frequently send students to graduate at SAB. Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is probably the most famous. Ashley Bouder, Carrie Imler, Jeffrey Cirio, and Vanessa Zahorian are among its alumni.

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22 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

Am I right that SAB dancers aren't allowed, or at the very least, are strongly encouraged NOT to attend SAB's summer program? Hehe, that would make all, or nearly all, of them NOT "pure SAB".My recollection, from my daughter's summers there, are that SAB uses the summer as a way to audition talented dancers from all over to see whom they'd like to invite to their year-round. 

 

My understanding is that year round SAB students do not stay for the summer. They go home, do other summer intensives or do other things. To be "pure SAB" is rare. The students in the year round program came from somewhere else before joining the SAB summer intensive. Their home schools can be very SAB (taught by NYCB former dancers) or less so. I don't think a claim was ever made that  NYCB dancers are "pure SAB" with no other training, only that they come from the school and have an understanding of the style and values.

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13 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

Didn't Balanchine accept Valentina Kozlova into the company? It's not recent, but she was trained at the Bolshoi. 

There are so many excellent, beautifully trained women coming out of SAB each year, why would they need to look elsewhere?

Also, I'm curious about the "pure SAB" comment. If a dancer believes in or adheres to the SAB/Balanchine technique and also studies with other teachers does that necessarily make them less SAB trained?

 

Violette Verdy would be another obvious example of a dancer not coming from a SAB background.

 

It's rarely a good strategy for an artist to stick to only one method, technically or stylistically speaking. Most artists are hungry to learn about everything that is compelling and effective in their field. Established professional dancers often seek out renowned coaches to work with - they don't depend solely upon the in-house ballet masters of their company. I would say, the more serious and committed the artist, the more likely they are to seek out advice and coaching from internationally known coaches. But there are obviously some great dancers who spend their entire career within the confines of one company. In Balanchine's day at NYCB, many of the best ballet instructors were concentrated around New York, but things are more eclectic these days. Florida and the West Coast of the US have no problem getting access to top teachers/coaches. Ballet is truly international in that sense.

 

If you mean is it a problem for company dancers to spend time learning/rehearsing with non-SAB coaches? I haven't heard of this particular prejudice at NYCB. When it comes to hiring aspiring dancers (students), NYCB definitely looks first to SAB (and are well aware of the most promising of the students). The same is true for ABT, SFB, PNB, and MCB. The Mariinsky, Bolshoi and Paris Opera Ballet all look to their own schools, but they will occasionally make exceptions for talented young dancers trained elsewhere.

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It may be important to note that the finishing training is quite significant... it is as if at each  level  of advancement the student is capable of learning much more finesse than at the previous level... it is not as if one is just adding the top floor to a skyscraper.  In the US, the level of selection at age 9 is not the same as it is in say Russia...  The intense selection happens later, perhaps around age 14?  There are benefits to this  sytem too... sometimes not all talents are apparent at a very young age... it is hard to spot the artist in the child.

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5 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

There are benefits to this system too... sometimes not all talents are apparent at a very young age... it is hard to spot the artist in the child.

 

I completely agree - if the selection process is overly concerned with physique (e.g. the current fascination with small head, long neck, long limbs, short torso...) then the school may very well miss out on some interesting talents who don't happen to have the 'optimal' physique (by school standards).

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