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  1. I attended the opening Robbins/Bigonzetti/Ratmansky program on Wednesday September 22. Opened with Opus 19/The Dreamer which was a lovely performance in all. Tiler Peck seemed joyous and thrilled to be once again onstage. She enjoyed contrasting the dreamy lyrical portions of the choreography with the more sparkling allegro sections. Gonzalo Garcia was a wonderful partner for Tiler - attentive, engaged, supportive - and had beautiful port de bras. However his solos were kind of underdanced with some unfinished steps and he ran out of steam a little bit. He is retiring this season and has also been out of commission for a year and a half. "Amaria" is the new Mauro Bigonzetti pas de deux for soon to retire principals Maria Kowroski and Amar Ramasar set to music by Scarlatti. The title is a conflation of their two first names and it seemed an occasional piece for two veteran dancers, no more. It was short - only about ten to thirteen minutes - and mainly was there to show off Kowroski. If you saw Bigonzetti's "Oltremare" at NYCB this was a similar style - lots of lifting and turning of the woman who does contortions with a sort of adagio dancing sexual tension going on between the male and female dancer. Maria was getting down on the floor a lot and being lifted up by Amar and doing wide splits, etc. She has still got great flexibility. Maria was in a below knee length dress and wearing ballet slippers, no pointe work required. Amar was in a light colored linen shirt and pants. Amar was a great partner but didn't have much to do himself. Both looked good in a work tailored to show off their current strengths. You have seen it before but it was very well done. The final piece was Ratmansky's "Russian Seasons" which I have seen before and didn't like much. The dancers I saw on Wednesday were very engaged in the work and brought a lot of specificity and humor (typical of Ratmansky) and I liked it much better this time. Megan Fairchild as the woman in green was very energetic and the modern choreography let her work her way into it more easily - I saw no technical limitations and lots of artistry. Unity Phelan was radiant as the 'Spring Bride" figure and Georgina Pazcoguin was all passion and abandon as the woman in red. Wonderful work from Adrian Danchig-Waring as the boy in orange. Lauren King brought a lot of freshness to her dancing as usual. Kristen Segin made a strong impression in a supporting role. Jovani Furlan replaced Aaron Sanz and danced very well. The folk touches in the choreography, the mixture of humor and foreboding and the variety of movement were all beautifully realized and I wasn't bored this time. "Russian Seasons" seemed lighter and more upbeat in general.
  2. FauxPas

    Sarah Lane

    I think we need to remember that we are only hearing Sarah's side of the story - not Herman's and not other company members. I hope we don't forget the really repellant social media post during the "Giselle" run in Washington about "earning" her status by hard work and citing Hope Hicks. That is no longer up. Clearly that post was directed at another short ballerina - the rising Skylar Brandt who just debuted as Giselle with Herman. Creating problems with your colleagues and publicly suggesting that management is taking cash or donations in exchange for promotion within the company is not a way to endear yourself to management and your colleagues. Ratmansky (whose character and judgment I trust) seemed to have distanced himself from her as well. She was pulled from his ballets in a season dedicated to him and she was one of his protegees over the years. Sarah is extremely vague about how exactly she left ABT - it seems obvious she knew that the Spring 2020 Met season would be her last with the company. But did she jump or was she pushed? Sarah doesn't let on. She makes it seem as if it was her decision to leave. What is sad is that everyone loses here. Sarah losing so much of her career including a farewell. ABT losing a lovely principal ballerina capable of an exquisite Giselle. The loss of a beautiful partnership with Herman Cornejo and a fruitful artistic collaboration with Alexei Ratmansky. What also seems to be a losing situation is Sarah citing the lack of rehearsal and coaching that goes on at ABT and seems to be a hallmark of Kevin McKenzie's management in this decade. Dancers have to be in charge of their own development and training including going outside the company to learn roles with Max and Irina - as Sarah did and Sklyar and Christine S. and others.
  3. Just to mention that Gene Marinaccio seems to be still living in Santa Barbara, California. He is currently 89 years old and will turn 90 in July 2021. There is no email address, phone number or social media account publicly available.
  4. Just to mention that Gene Marinaccio seems to be still living in Santa Barbara, California. He is currently 89 years old and will turn 90 in July 2021. There is no email address, phone number or social media account publicly available.
  5. We may be segueing into a new topic but any new artistic director would have to work well with Alexei Ratmansky. Ratmansky I hope will remain at ABT a long time. One model might be to expand Ratmansky's artistic role without giving him the administrative/financial/board duties that would interfere with his work as a choreographer. Then hire a business administrator with a dance background to be the administrative director who handles money, fundraising, staffing, union issues, advertising, hiring and firing, season planning, dealing with the board, etc. This person would work closely with Ratmansky.
  6. I am wondering when Kevin McKenzie's contract as Artistic Director expires. He celebrated his 20th anniversary with ABT in 2012. At that time his contract was extended another 10 years. Is 2021 the last season he is contracted for or is it 2022? Or did the ABT board foolishly extend his contract longer? Canceling the 2021 season might mean that there are no more Met seasons for McKenzie to plan if the ABT board wisely gets some new blood in there. COVID-19 might be cutting McKenzie's career at ABT short.
  7. If I remember correctly, Waterbury mentioned that she was approached by a pimp looking to employ her as an escort on account of having seen the explicit and personal videos that Finlay shared. Unless this pimp is a NYCB employee with a dicey side gig, then Waterbury's photos were shared outside the group chat circle which consisted of at least 20 people. So I agree with Kathleen O'Connell above.
  8. By the way, Sarah Lane's dancer page is still archived on ABT.org. If you look at the top under her name it says "Joined ABT 2003/Principal 2017-2020" So she is no longer a principal and no longer a member of the company. https://www.abt.org/people/sarah-lane/?type=performer
  9. I would say the handwriting was on the wall when sometime during the 2018-2019 season, Lane became professionally (if not personally) alienated from two of her most crucial artistic collaborators: Alexei Ratmansky and Herman Cornejo. Both these men are known as good colleagues and Ratmansky was an ally and mentor to Lane. When Sarah lost their support and collaboration, her days at ABT were numbered. I won’t assign blame or guilt since I don’t know what happened but Sarah must have done something professionally or personally to lose their support.
  10. Perhaps because the Fall 2020 ABT season was canceled, Sarah has been given enough months of lead time per the union contract before the next ABT season? If Sarah Lane is being notified now that her contract is not being renewed as a principal dancer, she has a certain number of months to look for another job. It is still a not nice way of going about things but that is show biz, folks. Also, of course any soloist promotions will not be be made until late 2021. But new soloists need to be developed from the corps which means that dancers need to be chosen and trained in soloist roles.
  11. All of the principal promotions (and one soloist promotion) are richly deserved. Sarah Lane has also not updated her Facebook page which states that she is an ABT principal and company member since 2002. She has a bunch of online master classes scheduled. I wish Sarah the best wherever she goes next. San Francisco Ballet has a repertory that would suit Sarah well. So does Pacific Northwest Ballet. I do see that with all these promotions to principal, the soloist roster is rather scanty. Arron Scott and Alexandre Hammoudi have both retired this past season without an actual farewell performance. Shall we discuss who among the ABT corps is worthy of some soloist assignments whenever performances resume? Keeping an eye on the next generation of ABT leading dancers? Eric Tamm I always felt was principal material and was on that path until he decided to move away from ballet. His friend and former business partner Luis Ribagorda is a talented dancer (also Sarah Lane's husband). Marshall Whiteley I think could be a danseur noble with his height and good looks. He also is interested in acting and has potential as Prince Siegfried, Albrecht and Romeo. Luigi Crispino, Cameron McCune, Jonathan Klein, Patrick Frenette, Carlos Gonzalez and Tyler Maloney have potential to do more. Among the corps ladies: Scout Forsythe, Zimmi Coker, Erica Lall and Betsy McBride are good bets.
  12. In the 1970's, ABT played its Spring/Summer season at the New York State Theater (now the K*ch). In fact, the videos of Makarova in "Giselle" (with Misha) and "Swan Lake" (with Nagy) are filmed at the NY State Theater. They could open their season after NYCB closes in late May and play until July. Most of their productions are designed to tour different theaters so the sets are flexible, so why not move their Spring season to another house? One problem about extending their Met season into July is that the Metropolitan Opera starts prepping productions on the Met stage in July and starts rehearsing in August for their late September opening.
  13. What makes Sarah Lane's IG post even more problematic is that if it is aimed at Skylar Brandt, we have a principal bashing a soloist for using money to get roles. Within the company hierarchy, Lane is higher in rank than Brandt. So it looks like someone who is privileged and powerful bashing someone who is trying to rise within the company. Maybe Lane feels that she is not privileged or powerful at all at ABT and that could be the problem. Of course, Lane must be very aware of the fact that she is not being cast as much as several of her colleagues. Even Ratmansky who has been very much a Lane supporter has not cast her in his new ballet and her role of The Rose in his "The Seasons" is TBA this Spring despite the fact that Lane created the role. Another issue is that Skylar Brandt is a very petite dancer as is Lane - Brandt is younger and a more consistent technician. Definitely there is the factor of competition for roles. Also, it is very evident from all the extra coaching sessions that Brandt posts on Instagram that she is working very hard indeed.
  14. Sadly, NYSusan did not opt to go to Kolesnikova and the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, instead attending NYCB's "Swan Lake". I did go on the Saturday opening night (I did a double header "Swan Lake" weekend with NYCB "Swan Lake" on the Sunday matinee with Mearns and Côté.) First of all, it is a nice traditional and conservative production - basically a cut down bus and truck version of the 1950 Konstantin Sergeyev "Swan Lake" from the Kirov-Mariinsky Theater. The sets are almost identical designs. If you remember, the Mariinsky brought the actual Sergeyev "Swan Lake" to the BAM Opera House five years ago. Though it was thrilling to see the dancers, the sets looked like they were pushed too far forward on the shallow BAM stage and the dancers looked cramped. This smaller scale copy fits ideally on the BAM stage. There are 22 swans in Act II, with 16 usually onstage and the Act III national dancers usually have four to six dancers in toto. It works fine. The company looks like a pickup group - the corps and soloist women were better than the men. The corps lack the unity of style and precision of the Mariinsky or Bolshoi corps but looked well-drilled. Denis Rodkin of the Bolshoi was borrowed to dance Prince Siegfried on the SPBT tour which proved a definite asset. It would impossible to identify the other dancers in the Act I pas de trois, cygnets or national dancers since there was no program distributed for the performance - not even a digital e-program one could access on your mobile device. There was a deluxe souvenir program you could purchase from the gift shop but I passed on it. Irina Kolesnikova who is in her late thirties is an elegant old-school dancer of the Kirov school. She has long arms and a pliable back but very strong legs and feet. Her extensions are strictly textbook and there are no 6:00 developpes out there. Her Odette is very slow, liquid and stately in the old school with languid adagio phrasing. Kolesnikova manages to work in some variety and emotional nuances into this slow phrasing and has a certain straightforward vigor that keeps her White Swan from lapsing into mannerism. Her Act IV Odette was particularly moving. (There is the mandated Soviet happy ending.) Her Odile is well danced without being as individual. Again, she has strong pointes and is a solid turner and hit 32 (or thereabouts) single fouettés in the side kick Russian style ending on a multiple with the music. I will not criticize the Odile solo (the traditional Kirov one) since the orchestra at that point totally fell part leaving Kolesnikova stranded at times not knowing where to come in. Kolesnikova was a total professional: she posed and waited until a recognizable phrase emerged she could dance to and kept it together. Rodkin was a handsome, noble and attentive partner who didn't get an Act I reflective solo - was it dropped or does this production not have one? He was a great partner to Kolesnikova in each act and really put emotion on the stage. A certain Chamber Orchestra of New York was in the BAM pit, they started out well in Acts I and II. I suspect that was all they had rehearsed. But by Act III there were whole orchestral parts being left out or coming in at different times. I started to hear shouts, loud shushing and singing emerging from the pit and thought a madman had wandered in there. Well it was the conductor Timur Gorkovenko going insane attempting to restore musical sanity and get something resembling Tchaikovsky out of this band. I thought that Kolesnikova was lovely and preferable to many Odette/Odile interpreters in major companies, a friend felt she was the prima ballerina of a second tier company, no more, no less. I found the company, the ballerina and the production charming and refreshingly unpretentious and satisfying. I was glad I went. A largely local Russian audience were very enthusiastic at the final curtain calls. Hopefully the production will continue to cohere and that orchestra will get their act together.
  15. Lane is the other small ballerina who has danced Giselle with Herman but she danced it the night before. Brandt and Cornejo have been rehearsing I am sure for the past few days. Also, Brandt wants to make principal badly, this was evident in the NY Times interview/profile. This is her test for which she has been preparing for months. Giselle was also the role that broke through for Abrera and Lane to make principal rank. Brandt will seize the opportunity and nail it, Mark my words.
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