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Abt In Oc - Casting ?

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Received in the mail yesterday a letter from the OC Performing Arts Center mentioning that two of ABT's upcoming performances will be taped for PBS (Wed & Thurs performances of "The Dream." Letter included a press release about the ABT performances including casting which got me thinking - how do they decide who performs when? Is there any particular order that ballet companies use to make these decisions?

Barring any changes, we'll see Irina & Max.

Edited by OCBalletMom
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The "how do they decide who performs when" question is a good one. Sometimes it's the producer of the ballet -- or if s/he doesn't decide, s/he'll may at least have veto power. But the company direction will know which they consider the "first cast" -- the dancers best suited to the roles; sometimes, too, if there are two casts that are pretty much equal, but one dancers is beter known than another -- well, that can make a difference, too.

I believe Ferri and Stiefel were the first-cast Dream in New York, no?

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Thanks for the help.

Next question - first cast dances which performance - opening night, Saturday night?

ABT is the only major company that tours here every year (now twice a year) and it seems that when casting is announced, I'm usually seeing the same people - I have season seats for Saturday evenings. Not that I mind, I'm just curious.

Yes, the letter did indicate that only "The Dream" would be taped, but it said both the Wednesday and Thursday evening performances would be taped. Stiefel & Ferri are scheduled to dance "The Dream" both nights. Stiefel & Ferri in "The Dream" were featured in all the mailings that went out from OCPAC this year and I have to see it - not just for the dancing, the costumes are so beautiful!

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Ah, now you have brought up on of the great mysteries of life. Casting. Do they do it by dartboard? Alphabetical order? Rumors abound. SHE is the favorite of HIM, or HER, of the season sponsor, or the local critic. None can be believed, yet all may be true -- or vice versa :)

ABT used to dance in DC seven weeks a year 10, 15 years ago, and we were thrilled that the Washington-trained dancers dominated. We always got Marianna Tcherkassky, Susan Jaffe, Amanda McKerrow, Julie Kent, and Cheryl Yeager, Kevin McKenzie and the late Peter Fonseca. We thought ABT was Washington Ballet Theatre for a time. (And this was through several changes of direction.) And then I'd read reviews of performances elsewhere, and the other principals would be featured. Chance? I never knew.

If you have Saturday night seats, though, those performances, in time-honored fashion, often go to the Big Stars. It's considered the fashionable night. My first season I had seats for Wednesday night. I don't even know why I chose Wednesday; I certainly never thought about casting. It didn't take me long to figure out that I'd NEVER see the "big stars." I always got second cast. (My first season I bought 9 tickets to see the company, 9 out of 16. I didn't get Baryshnikov once.)

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I've had a Sat. night subscription at Orange County Performing Art Center since the Dance Season started years ago, and we chose that night for the reason you mentioned: the BIG night. I cannot say we get the big stars; in fact sometimes it's the only night that the big stars don't dance. I don't know if they're hob-nobbing with the Hollywood celebrities, or shopping til they drop at South Coast Plaza, or just what the story is.


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Yes...a great mystery indeed! My memories go back YEARS ago when I was buying single seat tickets to the Royal at the Met. It was so frustrating not to know who would be dancing until it was posted in the New York Times a few days prior and can still remember the anticipation and excitement afterwards when I would read Nureyev was dancing :) Did try to figure out a casting schedule (mostly for him) over the years of their visits to N.Y. but alas he always popped up on the most unlikely days (wed., thurs.) and ofcourse some fri. and sat. evenings as well. In Nuryev's case I think because he danced so much he seemed to be everywhere! I do think the 'partying' issue could have played a role as well!

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I am very pleased at the casting announced for ABT's run at OCPAC! My Wednesday night "Dream" tickets have Ferri and Stiefel dancing as well as Paloma and Marcelo dancing Tchaikovsky Pas. Sounds like a dream to me....Haven't seen Ferri dance here in so. cal. for a long time. Also going to Sat. eve. performance of DQ with Irena and Max in the principle roles. Having seen Julie Kent and Paloma dance Kitri here in past years, this DQ will be new in casting to my eyes. I am excited and curious about seeing them dance together. Would love to know what dancers are performing the other roles in these ballets. Also, the casting was not listed for the Harrison piece. Are there principle roles in "Within You Without You"? And if so, who danced them in NY? I am thrilled they are bringing rep pieces. ABT tends to only bring big full evening ballets with them to LA. This is a treat. :hyper:

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I've been wondering about casting decisions myself, lately. The Joffrey in past years ran each program for one week, and you could pretty much count on Cast A for the opening (Thursday night) and closing (Sunday matinée) performances. Our tickets were for Sunday -- the limitation being, of course, that if one liked the program very much and wanted to see it again, one couldn't.

This year, they have expanded the season and will be dancing each program for TWO weeks. I'd like to get the mid-run Sunday matinée tickets, but I'm worried we won't get Cast A in this case. :):(

Edited by Treefrog
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ABT casting recently also depends on who is available. Nina Ananiashvili or Alexandra Ferri aren't always available for tours. Until cuttng most of her association with the Bolshoi (after the director shakeup of a few years ago), Ananiashvili didn't participate in the City Center season nor some tours. I'd say that, for the most part, ABT sticks with its principal dancers for lead roles. Whether those principal dancers are the ones we like, the AD can't predict. However, ABT is pretty good about sticking to the cast list, unlike the Kirov. This past Met season, every dancer listed in advance, at the performances I saw, did dance. The soloist roles were more difficult to predict.

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One memorable Wolf Trap summer, ABT changed its mind so often that a joke made the rounds that ABT was TBA spelled backwards :) And that's one of the problems with announcing casting. Changes have to be made, through no one's fault, and if someone has bought a ticket to see La Sublimova, s/he is not going to be happy with La Turnova, or vice versa.

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The Dream is being taped for PBS to air next season. I'm not sure if it will be released commercially (although ABT's last three broadcasts have been released commercially and Othello also was released). There has been no word as to what The Dream will be paired with on its broadcast.

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Guest yardred

The Dream is a really interesting 1 act ballet and I look forward to seeing it again with Stiefel and Ferri. Perfect role for Ethan since he can move so quickly.

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Attended the Wednesday evening performance of The Dream, Pas de Deux, and Harrison Tribute. Was able to get GREAT seats even though we waited until just before the show to purchase them. First tier, box seats - a very nice viewing location.

The Dream was beautiful. It was my first time watching Alessandra Ferri and I thought she was very lovely as Titania. Ethan Stiefel as Oberon was also very good, but Herman Cornejo as Puck was my favorite! Amazing leaps and turns and the perfect personality for this part.

The set was gorgeous and costumes spectacular. And the music was so well performed by both the symphony and Chapman University women's chorus. The whole performance was everything I expected and more!

The pas de deux featured Paloma and Gennadi Saveliev. Not my favorite pairing, but both are such amazing dancers.

Enjoyed the Harrison Tribute - some parts more than others. My favorite was My Sweet Lord with the full cast. I also enjoyed Within You Without You with Marcelo and Isn't it a Pity. I loved Angel Corella in Something, he's such a great dancer to watch - everything except his helicopter arms. Some of the choreography was just okay but I really enjoyed the playfulness of My Sweet Lord and it seemed the dancers really enjoyed dancing it, very whimsical.

Can't wait for Don Q on Saturday!

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