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Maria Kochetkova leaving San Francisco Ballet

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just posted on her FB page

I will be leaving San Francisco Ballet after this season. Unbound festival will be my last shows with the company. I’m very lucky and grateful for the career I had with San Francisco Ballet. I want to thank the dancers I shared the stage with, all the choreographers and teachers that I worked with in the past 11 years who made me the dancer I am now. I’ll be forever grateful to Helgi for putting his trust in me, for taking a risk and giving me a principal contract. Thank you to the people in the audience for coming to see my performances and supporting me. Thank you to everyone who helps to make this company a special place.

The time has come for me to move on to other opportunities. I don’t know what my next big step is going to be but I’m excited to see where it takes me.

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This was just posted. Looks like she's not retiring but just leaving sfballet. 

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Wow, I didn't see this one coming. I'll miss seeing her energy and finesse on our stage.

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My guess: she will follow Danilo to Berlin, especially if he's not happy about partner possibilities there.

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I am so glad I got to see her perform in San Francisco.  Best wishes to her in whatever comes next :flowers:

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Just got the email myself.  Surprised and sorry to see her leave.  I wonder if there will be a place for her at ABT, or maybe she's just going to freelance for a while.  She will be missed, and it will be interesting to see where she ends up next.  Lucky company that gets her.

The question has to be asked, will this leave room for another promotion?  The female principal group is a strong one, but with Tan and Sylve approaching retirement age, and Kochetkova leaving, I hope that leaves an opening for Lauren Strongin.

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11 minutes ago, PeggyR said:

Just got the email myself.  Surprised and sorry to see her leave.  I wonder if there will be a place for her at ABT, or maybe she's just going to freelance for a while.  She will be missed, and it will be interesting to see where she ends up next.  Lucky company that gets her.

The question has to be asked, will this leave room for another promotion?  The female principal group is a strong one, but with Tan and Sylve approaching retirement age, and Kochetkova leaving, I hope that leaves an opening for Lauren Strongin.

I can't imagine she'll be returning to ABT. They just promoted 3 women last year and they have a lot of outstanding talent among short women in the soloist ranks. 

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I feel very fortunate that I got to see Masha develop from a practically unknown corps dancer to one of the world most sought after ballerinas.  But the news doesn't come as a big surprise to me.  Throughout the season I had a feeling it might me her last one at SFB. I don't think it was a particular successful and fulfilling year for her. 

Best of luck to Masha in her future endeavor. 

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She was just in Argentina doing Corsaire with Simkin and Cornejo:

 

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She's one of my favorites, both as a great artist and from what I can tell from a distance, a lovely person. I hope that she'll be very happy wherever she is.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, California said:

My guess: she will follow Danilo to Berlin, especially if he's not happy about partner possibilities there.

That is my feeling as well. The ABT diehards never really warmed to her - it's always been the young audience that follows Masha religiously. With her good friend Daniil Simkin leaving ABT for Germany, it looks like the pull is definitely towards Europe. And although I don't have proof, it seems like her marriage may have dissolved a while ago, so it is possible she feels less emotional attachment to SF with her usual male partners retiring.

Edited by pherank

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Didn't see this coming and am so sad. But ah well, it's all part of the game. There are some beautiful young dancers on the SFB roster (and all around the world) so I'll look forward to discovering them (or seeing the already discovered ones test ever bigger roles). They deserve the new opportunities.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, pherank said:

That is my feeling as well. The ABT diehards never really warmed to her - it's always been the young audience that follows Masha religiously. With her good friend Daniil Simkin leaving ABT for Germany, it looks like the pull is definitely towards Europe. 

In at least one of the two possible ABT Swan Lake series that she performed at, that I went to mainly to see Veronika Part, I thought that she gave one of the best performances that I've ever seen. Glad to be part of the young crowd.

Edited by Buddy

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8 minutes ago, Fleurdelis said:

Most probably she could no longer afford the Bay Area rents.

:o:D (Fleurdelis you disappear and reappear like Odile in Burmeister's Leb. Ozero !)

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11 minutes ago, Fleurdelis said:

Most probably she could no longer afford the Bay Area rents.

LOL - I wonder if Helgi Tomasson can either.

The SFB school maintains a shared home - similar to a dormitory, for the students, and it has been a big success. It seems to be time for the SFB organization to create a similar shared building space for the new professional dancers, instead of just forcing everyone into the local rental market, which is a nightmare even for people who know the area. Obviously, older dancers and veterans with the company will always be looking for their own housing opportunities, but the world has changed. Shared living spaces are going to become more prevalent in the big cities.

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2 hours ago, California said:

My guess: she will follow Danilo to Berlin,

I sure hope so, but I think there is real chemistry between Danilo and Yana - I had touched on this previously, posting some videos from galas they appeared in.

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Wasn't it Messmer who could only afford San Francisco because in addition to what sounded to me like beaucoup $$$ rent, her SO was fixing the place up for her landlord?

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28 minutes ago, Helene said:

Wasn't it Messmer who could only afford San Francisco because in addition to what sounded to me like beaucoup $$$ rent, her SO was fixing the place up for her landlord?

You have insider information.  ;)
I remember it being next to impossible to get any details about Messmer when she was in SF. Messmer and SFB was a situation that never really jelled. SFB never needed Messmer, but it would have been great to have her as part of the team. I think in her mind, it was time to be a principal and she didn't want to jump through anymore hoops to get it - she was looking for a company to say, "you will be our star!" But that wasn't going to be SFB.
I think Masha has achieved all that she needed to at SFB and is trying to figure out how she will finish her career, and where. And of course, what will she do afterwards? She hasn't shown an interest in  teaching, yet (not everyone has that gift, either).

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12 minutes ago, pherank said:

You have insider information.  ;)

Nyet.  This was either on social media or in an article about her when she first arrived.  I remember the discussion about how her SO was big in the ABT set/stagehand hierarchy, so he had the skills.

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2 minutes ago, Helene said:

Nyet.  This was either on social media or in an article about her when she first arrived.  I remember the discussion about how her SO was big in the ABT set/stagehand hierarchy, so he had the skills.

I've said in the past that companies located in cities (like SF) need to do a lot more to help their employees find affordable housing (or create it). This figures into the survival of the art form, so it's time for the ballet organizations to get creative in another way.

No Corps member can afford their own SF apartment unless it's shared with 2 or 3 others (couples, or not). Or they can somehow stand to live in the most dangerous and ugly parts of the inner city. Not recommended for a 18 year old dancer, or anyone else.

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Considering that the announcement of Kochetkova’s leaving has been made so late into the season without giving her audience the chance of digesting and preparing for it, I have to wonder if it was a somewhat impromptu decision on her part.

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8 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

Considering that the announcement of Kochetkova’s leaving has been made so late into the season without giving her audience the chance of digesting and preparing for it, I have to wonder if it was a somewhat impromptu decision on her part.

It may well have to do with when contracts need to be signed (Helene might know when that happens for SFB, I don't). And even if she and Daniil are, for example, talking to Berliner Staatsballett about Masha appearing there, it may not be the time to sign contracts or get any guarantees from the management.

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