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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. Some of these ballet companies have problems that extend beyond the events of recent years and reach back to the "glory years" of the Dance Boom of the 60s and 70s. The "boom" could just as easily be described as a "bubble" given how many companies came into being without having a clear reason for being other than someone thought a particular city should have a ballet company. During the pandemic, I bought old issues of Dance Magazine from the 70s and the 80s. Reading those back issues, it's amazing to see how many companies didn't make it because they had no realistic artistic and business plans (or even a realistic view of the city in which they were performing.) The "boom" is long gone but there are still a lot of companies from that era hanging around and still trying to find the way forward.
  2. In and of itself, the name change may be meaningless. But to the extent that the name change becomes emblematic of the company adopting another identity to the one its had lo these many years, then it might be significant. On the other hand, the company may have already absorbed that hit with the change in artistic directors.
  3. Which also suggests that a change in artistic director(s) might not solve the problems some of these companies have.
  4. The danger is that they achieve "negative crossover": people who have been loyal to the entity known as 'Pennsylvania Ballet' for decades are put off by the name change while "Philadelphia Ballet" does not attract a new, numerically significant audience.
  5. I don't think the Julian Mackay hire helped Kelly Tweeddale's cause any. While she was putting out press releases extolling Sab Francisco Ballet's commitment to diversity, the artistic director was moving in a different direction altogether. At best, it looked like one part of the operation didn't know what the other part was doing. At worst, all the press releases from the last year look like nothing more than an attempt to get the press and the public off the management and board's backs.
  6. Ruben Martin has joined the faculty at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school: American Ballet Theatre - Rubén Martín (abt.org)
  7. Houston Ballet for sure. It's lavishly funded but it has no national profile. I'm hard pressed to even describe its repertory. Perhaps they'll just coast along until Connor Walsh is ready to take over? I would put the Joffrey Ballet in second place. During his lifetime, the late Robert Joffrey worked ceaselessly to give the company an unique repertory. How wonderful would it be if the Joffrey was still the repository for all those Massine revivals? Instead, it's like a mild San Francisco Ballet. Los Angeles Ballet would be my third place. What is the point of this company? It slogs along with no discernible purpose and not much funding. (Don't know if you could replace the artistic directors as they and the company may be one and the same.)
  8. I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's Form 990 filings at Guide Star. Their last filing was for 2018-19 (pre-COVID): 2016-17: $1,411,315 (profit) 2017-18: -$251,518 (loss) 2018-19: $164,705 (profit) The company's highest earning year was 2018-19 with $16 million. Their highest expense year was also 2018-19 with $15.8 million. From the 990s, it's not apparent that revenue has been disastrous enough to prompt a reboot (the name change).
  9. Whatever Shearer's exact reasons may have been at the time, I have the sense she was a believer in the maxim that, "You want to leave things just a little before they leave you."
  10. I agree with you that Shearer would have wanted to go out on a better note than Her Cardboard Lover. But she was savvy about life on the Metro lot and she knew it was her time. Thalberg had been dead for 6 years and her days as 'The First Lady of the M-G-M Lot' had already ended. Her contract with the studio was up in 1942 and she would have known that the only way Mayer would have kept her was as a character actress. For someone like Shearer, who had been an above-the-title star since the 1920s, death itself would have been preferable to playing mother or even grandmother parts. Shearer was set for life financially and, at 40, probably didn't want to drag herself out of bed any more to get to the studio at a ridiculously early hour. So, she left on her terms rather than having the studio impose terms on her. They weren't because Mayer hated it. The Postman Always Rings Twice was a big critical and commercial success for the studio and featured what was perhaps Lana Turner's greatest performance. But it went against everything Mayer held dear in the 1940s -- star-spangled "support the troops" musicals, Esther Williams 'aquacals', the Andy Hardy series, Ann Sothern's Maisie series . . .
  11. Specific circumstances aside (the War in Garbo's case and Irving Thalberg's death in Shearer's), I think Garbo and Shearer intuited -- correctly -- that life as a glamorous Metro star would only get harder with each passing year. To sustain the illusion of eternal youth, they would have to rise earlier and earlier in the morning to get to the studio and spend ever increasing time in the makeup chair. This is the exact thing Grace Kelly told Gore Vidal in 1956 when he asked her why she was giving up being a queen of the Metro lot to become a princess of an obscure Mediterranean city-state. She replied that, at age 26, she could still get to the studio at a reasonable hour and not have to spend an eternity in the makeup chair. But Kelly saw the older female stars every morning and knew they had already been there for a considerable amount of time before she got to the studio. (Whatever the movie Mommie Dearest may or may not be, the opening with Joan Crawford getting up at 4:00AM in the morning to get to the studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe is brutally accurate.)
  12. Put me in the camp of those who are mystified by this change. I'm not sure what "problem" they are solving by changing the company's historic name, which has an element of "statewideness" to it even if the company doesn't ever tour the state of Pennsylvania.
  13. 1931 was a big year for Gable. In addition to A Free Soul, he also appeared with Joan Crawford in Dance, Fools, Dance, Laughing Sinners and Possessed - all of which were big, big hits for Metro. He also appeared in Night Nurse (w/ Barbara Stanwyck) and Susan Lenox (w/ Greta Garbo). I always think of 1931 as representing a big change in the type of leading men Metro employed. The ascendance of Gable dealt the final blow to the waning popularity of the formerly big silent/early talkie stars John Gilbert, William Haines and Ramon Novarro. They would all leave in succession: Haines in 1932, Gilbert in 1933 and Novarro in 1934. (I realize there were other factors in play, particularly in regard to Haines.) Interestingly, the Big Three female stars of the 1920s -- Crawford, Garbo and Shearer -- all carried on for quite a bit longer at the studio. Garbo was done in 1941 (although technically under contract until 1943), Shearer left in 1942 and Crawford was forced out in 1943. Respectively, their tenures were 16 years (Garbo), 18 years (Shearer) and 18 years (Crawford). (Shearer's tenure was actually longer if you give her credit for being under contract to Louis B. Mayer's Metro Productions prior to its becoming part of the cobbled together Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924.)
  14. Norma Shearer's A Free Soul premiered 90 years ago on this day. Shearer was Oscar nominated for Best Actress but lost to fellow M-G-M contract star Marie Dressler for Min and Bill.
  15. With Park's elevation to etoile status today and Eleanora Abbagnato retiring tomorrow, the number of female etoiles holds steady at 10 (as compared to 6 male etoiles.) But, the company will almost certainly lose 5 female etoiles to retirement in the next four seasons.
  16. It's hard to know exactly what her standing is (as compared to her rank.) Based on the published casting for the Roland Petit evening and Romeo and Juliet, I wouldn't say she's cast especially prominently. I don't see her name as one of the leads in any of the Petit one acts and I only see her cast as Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet. This in comparison to her fellow premieres Hannah O'Neill and Sae Eun Park, who are very prominently cast (the Petit evening for the former and Romeo and Juliet for the latter.)
  17. Premiere danseur Vincent Chaillet has announced on his Instagram feed that he will forego his last five years at the Opera. Not really a surprise since, if you follow his feed, he's been involved in a variety of different project outside the Opera for the past few years. Still, as we've discussed upthread, the company will have its hands full replenishing the top ranks with so many male dancers of longstanding retiring or about to retire.
  18. miliosr

    Sarah Lane

    I'm surprised as well. If she was going to make that kind of request/demand, she needed to have a backup plan (or two) in pocket. Her most likely partners were Herman Cornejo, Daniil Simkin and Joseph Gorak. Assuming Cornejo is the oft-injured male dancer (and a much bigger star too), that left her with Simkin, who was transitioning into guest star status, and Gorak, who had plenty of inadequacies as a partner. Marcelo Gomes was gone, Alban Lendorf was injured and would not return, and (the oft-injured) David Hallberg was on the way out. That left a shrunken male principals roster of Cornejo, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside; the latter two who were needed (primarily if not exclusively) to partner the taller ballerinas. So, however genuine her request was, it seems out-of-step with internal company dynamics (unless she was hoping to be paired with future principals Joo Won Ahn, Aran Bell, Thomas Forster and/or Calvin Royal.) If she ended up filing a formal complaint, I think that ship has sailed.
  19. Ganio's only 37 so I would put his retirement closer to 2026. The ranks of the male etoiles are thinner than they might have been under different circumstances because Josua Hoffalt resigned from the company while he was still in his 30s. So, with Bullion retiring soon and Ganio transitioning (in part) to character roles, that leaves only four other male etoiles. That should open up room at the top although I don't think Aurelie Dupont has any interest in elevating Francois Alu and Arthus Raveau to etoile status. Predictions: Pablo Legasa, Francesco Mura and the sujet Thomas Docquir are the most likely candidates to become etoiles.
  20. There will be a wave of retirements in the next three years among the etoiles and premieres. If I have the ages right, etoiles Stephane Bullion, Alice Renavand, Emilie Cozette and Myriam Ould-Braham, and premieres Eve Grinsztajn, Florian Magnenet and Audric Bezard will all retire during that three year period.
  21. A lot of repeats from recent history (Play, the Mats Ek night, A Midsummer Night's Dream) but then the Opera has been reeling first from the strikes that began in December 2019 and then the pandemic. Don Q, Bayadere and Giselle should make people happy, though.
  22. Mathieu Ganio may be at the point in his career where. having played all of the princely roles for the better part of two decades, he now wants to explore the dramatic character roles in the troupe's repertory.. Such a move would not be dissimilar to an older ballerina seeking out roles in which there is less emphasis on technique and more emphasis on mature dramatic ability. (I'm thinking of Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country and Marguerite and Armand, John Cranko's Onegin, and John Neumeier's La Dame aux Camelias.)
  23. With the death of Jacques d'Amboise, that leaves Russ Tamblyn as the sole surviving "brother".
  24. Agreed. Tomasson's primary legacy will be how he took a well-regarded national company and turned it into a ranking international company. But it has to be said that, in terms of diversifying the roster with black dancers (and black American dancers in particular), his directorship has been a failure. I went back and looked at the program for the Harkness Ballet's 1969-70 season, of which Tomasson was a part before Rebekah Harkness disbanded that iteration of the company at the end of the season. It's jarring to see that the San Francisco Ballet of 2021 is no more diverse in terms of black dancers than the old Harkness was in 1970. And the Harkness had far fewer dancers. All these mission statements are worthless if the new director cannot nurture black dancers to principal ballerina and danseur status. Ultimately, that will be how the director -- and the company -- will be judged. The down side to a very public recruiting effort is that you get no takers, which in itself would be a commentary. As for people putting themselves forward, look what happened with Miami City Ballet. A number of dancers came forward on Instagram with stories about how they were treated. But what changed? Did their complaints receive any traction in the dance press, let alone the mainstream press?
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