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2017-2018 season

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On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 1:55 PM, balletomane said:

So is casting up for Nut yet? I can't find it.

Per Sterling Baca's Instagram feed, he's guesting with Gillian Murphy in Nutcracker performances this weekend. So, at any rate, he's maintaining his ties with ABT.

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51 minutes ago, miliosr said:

What I question is how deep that well may be. It's not like Pennsylvania Ballet is a new company. In addition, New York dancegoers can see ABT perform the multi-act story ballets every spring and summer and can see City Ballet perform the Balanchine repertory year round. Is Pennsylvania Ballet under Angel Corella distinctive enough in either area that it will produce a stampede from New York to Philadelphia? I don't know.

[....]

I was wondering about this too.  The first draft of my post--which I left up for about thirty seconds--was a little sarcastic on the subject. But Corella was very loved in New York (as he was elsewhere) so who knows? He himself is perhaps what is "distinctive" ...and no reason the company shouldn't go looking for money wherever it can be found.  

But even if that is so, it still seems that their main, long term donor base as a matter of course is going to be made of supporters in the Philadelphia area...so...uh...the company should try not to alienate them....even by mistake. Which this episode may have been.

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4 hours ago, miliosr said:

Per Sterling Baca's Instagram feed, he's guesting with Gillian Murphy in Nutcracker performances this weekend. So, at any rate, he's maintaining his ties with ABT.

His Instagram says he's dancing with Murphy in Harrisburg PA for PA Regional Ballet.  This gig appears to be unrelated to ABT.

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James Whiteside was originally scheduled to dance with Gillian Murphy, but is injured for PA Regional Ballet.

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6 hours ago, abatt said:

His Instagram says he's dancing with Murphy in Harrisburg PA for PA Regional Ballet.  This gig appears to be unrelated to ABT.

Sorry if I was unclear. I wasn't saying that he was performing in an official capacity with ABT. Instead, I was suggesting that he's still maintaining his ties with the wider ABT family. Even as a last-minute replacement for Whiteside, Baca is smart to keep up relations with ABT.

Edited by miliosr

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I think Angel's eye is on the prize which is the successor to Kevin McKenzie. He wants to build up enough of a fanbase in NYC so if he takes over ABT he can bring over some PABallet dancers who NY audiences are familiar with.

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7 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I think Angel's eye is on the prize which is the successor to Kevin McKenzie. He wants to build up enough of a fanbase in NYC.....

This is exactly what has been on my mind especially with the creation of the NY Friends assoc. It's a two-for-one: getting some much needed cash for now while potentially lining up future donors.

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

I think Angel's eye is on the prize which is the successor to Kevin McKenzie. He wants to build up enough of a fanbase in NYC so if he takes over ABT he can bring over some PABallet dancers who NY audiences are familiar with.

Agreed, which is even more annoying given all of the changes he’s made (and not all of them for the better).   

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

I think Angel's eye is on the prize which is the successor to Kevin McKenzie. He wants to build up enough of a fanbase in NYC so if he takes over ABT he can bring over some PABallet dancers who NY audiences are familiar with.

Is he a realistic contender to succeed McKenzie? I would think that Ethan Steifel or Marcelo Gomes would be the more likely candidates to succeed McKenzie. And, it sure would be messy to abandon Pennsylvania Ballet to its fate by taking some of his PB dancers with him to ABT and then purging the ranks at ABT to make room for them. Messy.

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15 minutes ago, miliosr said:

Is he a realistic contender to succeed McKenzie? I would think that Ethan Steifel or Marcelo Gomes would be the more likely candidates to succeed McKenzie. And, it sure would be messy to abandon Pennsylvania Ballet to its fate by taking some of his PB dancers with him to ABT and then purging the ranks at ABT to make room for them. Messy.

I would think the board would look to prior experience managing a major company -- Steifel's experience at New Zealand Ballet and Corella's at Pennsylvania. But don't forget Bocca's in Uruguay. We all love Gomes, but he hasn't had any management experience with a ballet company - that would be quite a gamble.

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9 hours ago, miliosr said:

Is he a realistic contender to succeed McKenzie? I would think that Ethan Steifel or Marcelo Gomes would be the more likely candidates to succeed McKenzie. And, it sure would be messy to abandon Pennsylvania Ballet to its fate by taking some of his PB dancers with him to ABT and then purging the ranks at ABT to make room for them. Messy.

I don't know about realistic, but the board would be weighing his star power, which is huge and bigger than Steifel's and Gomes', plus his schmoozing/fund-raising ability against all he's done at PA ( the good, bad, and ugly) and at his own company prior to that. IMO that resume has some extraordinary achievements peppered with several low-class/unprofessional bullet points. But, let's say for a moment he does go to ABT, if he's truly honest with himself (and I think he would be) I don't think there'd be much purging to make room for PA dancers; the talent across corps, soloist and principal between the two companies is not comparable. Baca was in the corps before going to PA as a principal (though he seemed on the verge of getting promoted). If he brought over his principals to be principals at ABT, I think he'd lose a lot of balletomanes and donors and be skewered by the critics and he wouldn't last. He's made some (many?) bad judgment calls in how he's handled some things in PA, but I think in terms of recognizing talent he's very smart so I can't imagine he'd bring over scores of dancers; maybe a few but they'd come in at a lower level. And, how many would be willing to do that anyway? 

However, though Gomes has had no management experience as California mentioned, McKenzie didn't either (unless you count his one year as an artistic assoc at Washington, whatever that meant). I'm not saying that's a good formula, I'd rather see someone with experience like Steifel or Bocca.

But, I think McKenzie has another decade or so left anyway.

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If such speculation about Corella's goals is correct, then it would be still another reason why the main fundraising base for Pennsylvania ballet has to be its local audience. People who will be loyal to the company, and not take their dollars elsewhere when Corella departs. (Though I imagine there are hopes for him to stay a long time in any case. )

At this point, Julie Kent is gaining management experience as well...and she may have something of a fan base among donors as well.

 

Edited by Drew

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10 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

However, though Gomes has had no management experience as California mentioned, McKenzie didn't either (unless you count his one year as an artistic assoc at Washington, whatever that meant). I'm not saying that's a good formula, I'd rather see someone with experience like Steifel or Bocca.

If you read McKenzie interviews over the years, he says, essentially, that the ABT board was desperate, that everybody else had turned them down, and McKenzie was a last desperate hope. So the lack of management experience almost didn't matter. It's a very different story now, with people like Steifel, Corella, and Bocca around. 

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10 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

but the board would be weighing his star power, which is huge and bigger than Steifel's and Gomes', plus his schmoozing/fund-raising ability against all he's done at PA ( the good, bad, and ugly) and at his own company prior to that. IMO that resume has some extraordinary achievements peppered with several low-class/unprofessional bullet points. 

But, I think McKenzie has another decade or so left anyway.

I had the opposite thought regarding the continuing magnitude of Corella's stardom. Ever since he went off to found the Corella/Barcelona Ballet in Spain, I've felt there's been a cooling off to his fame. I really felt that way when he had his sendoff from ABT, which (in my opinion) had a perfunctory quality to it. Oh well, I guess these things are hard to quantify.

I agree that McKenzie isn't going anywhere. He's only 63. And it's easy to underestimate how much good will he has with the ABT board given that he got the company through the near company collapse in the early-90s, the dot com collapse (and attendant funding collapse) in the early 00s, and the Great Recession (and attendant funding collapse) in 2008. Actually, the two plum positions to be had sooner rather than later are those of Helgi Tomasson (75) and Peter Martins (71) (although I think Peter Martins may go out feet first.)

9 hours ago, Drew said:

At this point, Julie Kent is gaining management experience as well...and she may have something of a fan base among donors as well.

 

Yes, she deserves consideration as well. The field shouldn't be limited to these "primo ballerino assolutos".

Edited by miliosr

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5 hours ago, California said:

If you read McKenzie interviews over the years, he says, essentially, that the ABT board was desperate, that everybody else had turned them down, and McKenzie was a last desperate hope. So the lack of management experience almost didn't matter. It's a very different story now, with people like Steifel, Corella, and Bocca around. 

That's true. The point I was making though, and not very clearly, is regardless that no one else wanted the job, McKenzie was hired without experience. So, the precedent has been set for someone without management experience to be able to come in and successfully run the company, turning them around financially and keeping them afloat during subsequently difficult financial times (despite what many of us may think about his casting decisions....). If down the road, some on the board wanted to hire someone like Gomes (assuming he obtained no management experience in the meantime), they could turn to the naysayers and say "Look, McKenzie did it, and during extremely difficult times, and we believe Gomes can too (or Joe or Jane Smoe)....".

I agree that Julie Kent should be considered as well. From what I see, she's doing wonderful things over at Washington. 

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Did Beverly Sills have much administrative experience before she ran City Opera (and then Lincoln Center)?

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I've decided to head to Philly for their Swan Lake run next month. I'm looking forward to seeing Baca in a lead role, and how he's progressed since his ABT days. Feels like he left NYC eons ago, but it's barely been 2 years. And, this will be first time seeing Lillian DiPiazza.

Separately, looking at their roster, it's interesting that they only have two soloists (one male, one female) and that neither of them are doing the leads, but several of their corps dancers are. Perhaps O/O and Siegfried doesn't suit the soloists' temperaments; I've never seen them dance. Even though it seems to be Corella's MO to give corps dancers a shot at lead roles, still nice to see so many of them cast.

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I had been hoping to see Sleeping Beauty in the fall but the Harry Potter convention took up all the city's hotel rooms. Now I want to see Swan Lake but it's the flower show! ... and my favorite hotel is booked up. I will have to make it a day trip. I am considering the matinees on March 10 and 11, and possibly the evening show on March 10. Can those of you familiar with the company evaluate/recommend casting? I would be most interested in a lyrical, soulful Odette. Thanks for any comments! Also, is there standing room?

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On 12/2/2017 at 7:57 PM, miliosr said:

What I question is how deep that well may be. It's not like Pennsylvania Ballet is a new company. In addition, New York dancegoers can see ABT perform the multi-act story ballets every spring and summer and can see City Ballet perform the Balanchine repertory year round. Is Pennsylvania Ballet under Angel Corella distinctive enough in either area that it will produce a stampede from New York to Philadelphia? I don't know.

My gut feeling is no. Unless the company were to present something very unique, or the casting were exceptional, I wouldn't make the trip to Philadelphia. It's a real schlep by car or NJT/Septa, and Amtrak is expensive. If the company happened to create that perfect Swan Lake that we've all been hoping for, then yes, I'd get on a train.

If I were retired, with more time/money to spend on ballet, then Pennsylvania Ballet would be a more likely option for me. I could imagine a "New York Friends of Pennsylvania Ballet" focused on the older, donor set. 

As a point of comparison, Opera Philadelphia has been able to attract people from the tri-state area and beyond with its world premieres, and especially with its new O17 festival this fall. This was unique programming you couldn't find in NYC. 

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5 hours ago, cobweb said:

I had been hoping to see Sleeping Beauty in the fall but the Harry Potter convention took up all the city's hotel rooms. Now I want to see Swan Lake but it's the flower show! ... and my favorite hotel is booked up. I will have to make it a day trip. I am considering the matinees on March 10 and 11, and possibly the evening show on March 10. Can those of you familiar with the company evaluate/recommend casting? I would be most interested in a lyrical, soulful Odette. Thanks for any comments! Also, is there standing room?

So it looks like the Odettes are Oksana Maslova (3/10) and Mayara Pineiro (3/11).   I enjoy both of these dancers, though I think they have very different strengths.  If you are going with more soulful, I would choose Maslova, with the caveat that she has very Russian technique and if over-extensions bother you, you might be disappointed.  I don't mind the over-extension, but my eyes are less trained than the vast majority on this board. I love her dancing.  She has a beautiful port de bras, and very flexible back.  Sometimes her technique makes me a little nervous, but she surprised me in the fall by doing a great job with the Rose Adagio.  I think her acting/characterization are great though, so I'm pretty sure she'll give a moving Odette.

Mayara Pineiro is my favorite dancer at PAB currently.  She will bring the house down in Act 3 with Odile, and she is an amazing technical dancer.  I think her artistry has grown since she's been at PA, but I don't think her Odette will have quite the soulfulness that Maslova's will have.

In the setting of both O/O, I actually think Lillian DiPiazza is the best suited for both roles.  Her and Baca perform on Friday night, and the following weekend.

Edited by Kaysta

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Also to add, that both Siegfreids are young.  Jack Thomas, who is partnering Maslova, is only a second year corps member.  Zecheng Liang was at Houston ballet previously (corps from 2012- this year), but it is only his first year at PAB and he is also in the corps. I've seen some instagram videos of Liang, and he looks amazing, though I haven't seen him partner.

Edited by Kaysta

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Thanks for the casting recommendations, Kaysta. I can't go that second weekend so unfortunately will have to miss Lillian Di Piazza, whose name I have heard a lot. 

Going back to the "New York Friends of Pennsylvania Ballet" and whether they can attract an audience from New York... my feeling is maybe. I know that I am open to it. I would be limited to weekend performances but I find Philly very do-able as a day trip (roundtrip bus fare is less than $25) and a very fun, arts-filled weekend trip. (There is so much to do in Philly and crowds at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are half of what they are at the Met.) And given the current state of ABT, I would definitely be receptive to a company that delivers solid performances of the classics, and that appears to be well-run, as evidenced by young dancers growing and thriving with the company... and beloved senior ballerinas not being pushed out in a public debacle. Now, all this is hypothetical as I have not yet seen any Pa Ballet performances, and I know Corella's tenure so far has been rocky. I'm just saying that - given the current condition of ABT and the proximity and attractiveness of Philly as a place to visit - they have an opportunity to lure in a New York audience. 

Edited by cobweb

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1 hour ago, cobweb said:

Going back to the "New York Friends of Pennsylvania Ballet" and whether they can attract an audience from New York... my feeling is maybe. I know that I am open to it. I would be limited to weekend performances but I find Philly very do-able as a day trip (roundtrip bus fare is less than $25) and a very fun, arts-filled weekend trip. (There is so much to do in Philly and crowds at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are half of what they are at the Met.) 

Agree. When seeing their SL in March, I'm making it an art-filled weekend myself. I love the Philly art museum; they have world-class collections and great exhibitions. I always visit there when I go to Philly. When you book more than 2 weeks ahead, you can get good rates on Amtrak providing you can be flexible with the travel times. More expensive than the bus, but less than $100 round trip.

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Hi everyone-

Where do I go online to find the casting for SL? How do I know when casting comes out for future performances and how do I search for it?

Can anyone share recommendations for which dancers to try to see? I have been away from PAB for two years and with all the turnover I'd love to hear opinions on who to see. I've only seen one performance since coming back and I was really impressed with Alexandra Hughes. Please let me know who else to look out for!

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