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Veronika Part

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This has been bouncing around on the web but I hadn't seen it discussed here. Video of a Q&A with Part:

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Nice interview. Very candid, although I was saddened to hear that she remains somewhat estranged from her family.

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Very nice interview. Thank you, Dale.

My wish for as long as I've known about her is to see her perform Swan Lake at a Mariinsky Festival. I'm glad to hear her say that she feels that she is at the top of her career, so maybe it'll still happen and I'll still keep hoping for it.

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Interesting insights into ABT. It seems aside from Ratmansky not much guidance is happening

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Always interesting to hear about a dancer's background, and experiences in training and company life. She's not the first dancer to mention the difficulty of getting particular roles at ABT ("sometimes asking is not enough"). It's interesting to contrast that with more 'regional' companies like SFB, PNB and MCB where the principals generally are expected to perform in major roles for each program. It does seem strange that she's never been Giselle or Swanilda.

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Something has always puzzled me: I've read/heard previously that Veronika had a hard time adjusting to life in NYC when she first arrived and she mentions it again here - shopping for a duvet and not knowing the name. If Kolpakova urged her to go to ABT and with Irina and Max still in the company weren't there any Russian speakers who could have given her advice or at least offered to be a shopping buddy? It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally. I'm glad to hear she is leading a happier life now. Another thought - she mentions Marcelo and yet is usually cast with Stearns. Please give her a Swan Lake (or Giselle) with Marcelo!

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Thanks for the video, was very interesting.

Makes me sad to hear her talk about the typecasting, though. We all know it exists at ABT (and probably at most places) but it's still makes me sad that someone as talented as her will probably never get a Giselle at the Met (nor will Gillian or Stella, as well). As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Also sad to hear about the lack of support professionally. Her comments about Ratmansky were good to hear, though. The dancers of ABT are lucky to have him there.

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Something has always puzzled me: I've read/heard previously that Veronika had a hard time adjusting to life in NYC when she first arrived and she mentions it again here - shopping for a duvet and not knowing the name. If Kolpakova urged her to go to ABT and with Irina and Max still in the company weren't there any Russian speakers who could have given her advice or at least offered to be a shopping buddy? It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally. I'm glad to hear she is leading a happier life now. Another thought - she mentions Marcelo and yet is usually cast with Stearns. Please give her a Swan Lake (or Giselle) with Marcelo!

Well ... at the time Veronika arrived I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of professional jealousy towards her from ABT's roster. She was already somewhat of an established star and I don;t think anyone anticipated that her road at ABT would be so rocky. She also admits in her interview that she came across as aloof and unapproachable at first, because she's shy and not used to the culture.

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It seems so callous to invite an artist to join a company and then leave them on their own to sink or swim both professionally and personally.

I've heard of this happening at numerous companies, and I think it may partly be due to the lack of funds to set up proper support (and support staff). The attitude tends to be, "you've been given this great opportunity, now show us that you deserve it!". And the dancer/new employee ends up wondering just what was so great about this 'opportunity'. ;)

It's difficult to move to a new place, especially a new culture, and try to survive on your own. If you don't speak the language to begin with, it can be a nightmare.

And regarding Kaysta's statement:

As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Would this have anything to do with short program schedules, and the need to stick with certain favorite dancers (that is, the public's favorites) for those few dates? ABT does a lot of touring, so I would expect that to produce more opportunities, but perhaps Kevin McKenzie doesn't think that way. There does seem to be a bit of "rigidity" to the ABT approach.

I'm much more familiar with SFB, and it just hasn't been a problem there for principals to dance starring roles (perhaps more times than they care to). 2015 is actually the first year when there would seem to be more willing female principals and soloists at SFB than parts, but, they've been adding extra dates to the season, and if last year's tour is any indication, there will be lots of extra opportunities there. Where there is a will - and a chance for more money - there is a way.

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Everyone is making interesting points.

Part was moving to a new country without knowing the language or culture. Did she ask if there would be a support system? What were her expectations?

Her example of not knowing how to shop for a duvet is kind of funny. I'll bet a bunch of people in the US don't know that word.

She must have have some help. After all she found an apartment and got groceries.

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Also, if Veronika felt that management was callous, at least she can console herself with the fact that it's not personal. She joins a long list at ABT who spoke of a harsh, callous, management system and non-existent rehearsals and coaching. It seems to be the ABT way. The good thing was eventually it worked out for Veronika. She got to be principal and dances regularly in lead roles. There are so many other ABT casualties during the Kevin McKenzie era ...

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And regarding Kaysta's statement:

As a non-dancer who doesn't know much about the politics of a company, I don't understand why an artistic director wouldn't give one of his principal dancers at least one shot at dancing a role like Giselle (especially considering Giselle is performed essentially every spring) to see if they could handle it.

Would this have anything to do with short program schedules, and the need to stick with certain favorite dancers (that is, the public's favorites) for those few dates? ABT does a lot of touring, so I would expect that to produce more opportunities, but perhaps Kevin McKenzie doesn't think that way. There does seem to be a bit of "rigidity" to the ABT approach.

I'm much more familiar with SFB, and it just hasn't been a problem there for principals to dance starring roles (perhaps more times than they care to). 2015 is actually the first year when there would seem to be more willing female principals and soloists at SFB than parts, but, they've been adding extra dates to the season, and if last year's tour is any indication, there will be lots of extra opportunities there. Where there is a will - and a chance for more money - there is a way.

I get needing to keep the "customer" base happy, given how important fundraising is, but KM typecasts even his most popular dancers. As far as I know, Gillian Murphy has only danced Giselle with RNZB, not with ABT. I would buy tickets to see Gill in Giselle in a heartbeat, and I don't think I'm the only one. But I guess I'm getting off topic.

All I know, is that of the few performances I've seen of Veronika Part (Kitri, Nikiya and O/O), I've thoroughly enjoyed. Watching that video, I wonder if she is really happy at ABT, and hopefully she won't get sick of the politics and depart for different pastures.

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She celebrates 20 years on the stage next year. Why would she pull-up roots and start again in another company? She must be 37/38, although she remains lovely.

It may sound cruel but the best way for an adult to learn a new language is the cold-turkey, sink-or-swim approach. No coddling; just plunge in. Folks did her a favor.

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In comments under a fan's publicly facing Facebook post, Veronika Part has confirmed that her departure from ABT is imminent, but that it is not voluntary. Apparently ABT has declined to accept further sponsorship of her salary. Part writes that she tried everything possible to reverse the situation, but that she has no fight left, and ABT "has already sucked so much blood" out of her. She also writes, basically, that ABT can go to ****.

 

You'll find Part's comments in Russian in a lengthy chunk of 35+ sub-replies.

 

 

Edited by volcanohunter

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Thanks for the link, Volcanohunter. What we read is mostly somebody's  ("Viktoriya's? Part's?) very negative "review" of Whipped Cream. Ouch! Who wrote this babble?

 

As to her upcoming departure from ABT...I'm at a loss... This appears to be so unfair. ABT probably doesn't quite realize what they would be losing, not just as a current classical ballerina but also as a potential coach and "principal character artist" in the future. To have essentially the soul and knowledge of her Mariinsky and Vaganova mentors - Zubkovskaya foremost among them - makes her a living treasure on so many levels!  So sad that 15 years of beautiful performances with ABT would end this way.

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1 hour ago, Natalia said:

 

As to her upcoming departure from ABT...I'm at a loss... This appears to be so unfair. ABT probably doesn't quite realize what they would be losing, not just as a current classical ballerina but also as a potential coach and "principal character artist" in the future. To have essentially the soul and knowledge of her Mariinsky and Vaganova mentors - Zubkovskaya foremost among them - makes her a living treasure on so many levels!  So sad that 15 years of beautiful performances with ABT would end this way.

Thank you for saying this.

 

In recent years I've tried to avoid piling on when it comes to various attacks on artistic directors; I'm not convinced I know best or know everything about what's happening behind the scenes. I'm not a ballet professional and fans and observers who know more than I still are not the ones who have the big responsibilities of the artistic directors.  And, to be honest, I've never been a particular fan of Veronika Part ...I can't afford to see everything/everyone and only once did I take a trip particularly to see her (only to have that particular Swan Lake pretty much ruined by a hyperactive child...)

 

But..this news? Wow...Unbelievable.

 

Can ABT really not figure out what to do with this remarkable artist? A fully fledged ballerina ... and they are not prepared to try to keep her?? Don't want to make use of her knowledge and skills??  I am ... kind of gobsmacked.  I tell myself perhaps her story, as she presents it online, is not the whole story, but it does seem to be the case that she is being "retired" from the company against her will.


Just a year ago, I saw Part give an exceptionally beautiful performance in the opening ballet of the Shostakovich Trilogy, Symphony no. 9.  I had greatly enjoyed Teuscher in the same role the night before (I remember I wrote on this site that Teuscher looked like a "ballerina in the making"), but Part -- a ballerina in full bloom and, one supposes, probably having a better understanding of Ratmansky's relation to Soviet history than Teuscher -- gave the more profound, more richly dimensional performance. When I use the word "dimensional"  I am talking about her dancing not just her dramatic presence or physical beauty. Altogether it was a warm, womanly, deeply felt performance expressed through the choreography.

 

I can't come up for Part's Mozartiana (and it's not altogether easy for me to picture her in the role), but I very much wish I could. I don't know what her life plans are, but surely some other company should try to grab her if only for guest appearances.

Edited by Drew

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I can  certainly believe that she is being forced out, because McKenzie has pulled that stunt before (Reyes, for example). 

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Drew - I agree with pretty much everything you said, but you expressed it better than I think I could have. I too loved her in Symphony No. 9 - a very mature, deep expression that I'm so sorry I'll never get to see again.

 

Separately, maybe I'm blanking out but I don't remember Reyes being forced out. What a tragedy.

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This is abominable. What a way to reward years of devoted artistry. 

 

I don't think I can bear to attend her forced farewell. I hope she speaks publicly about how she's been treated by the management at ABT. And I hope she tells Kevin to take his bouquet and shove it.

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43 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

...., maybe I'm blanking out but I don't remember Reyes being forced out. What a tragedy.

 

Me neither. I'd just assumed that she was one of three ABT ballerinas who "happily" chose to retire in the same year. We're happy to have Xiomara Reyes here in DC, on Julie Kent's team.

 

As for Veronika Part's forced farewell, Mozartiana is a poignant choice. I doubt that eyes will stay dry during the opening Prayer. I bet that she'll be grand in the ballet, which I especially loved when performed by Ananiashvili...another "womanly woman" type of ballerina. It's mostly legato, then lots of lovely footwork in the Tema e Variazioni. It has lots of interesting partnering but only 5-6 quick lifts, that I recall.

 

Sorry that I won't be seeing tomorrow night's first performance of the run but am looking forward to the final one on Saturday matinee. At least management had the good sense to move her ballet to the end of bill. I hope that the Misty Fans (there for what is now the first ballet) stick around to help Veronika's fans pay tribute...lending their voices!

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27 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

This is abominable. What a way to reward years of devoted artistry. 

 

I don't think I can bear to attend her forced farewell. I hope she speaks publicly about how she's been treated by the management at ABT. And I hope she tells Kevin to take his bouquet and shove it.

 

Have to agree that that last comment! This is very dismaying as was the treatment of Reyes. When a long standing artists is leaving for whatever reason, there should be an appropriate announcement and send off. The AD should show respect for the art form and the artist.

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It's possible Veronika did not want a big send off, particularly since she is being forced out.  

Edited by abatt

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The cynic in me wonders if in order to promote 2 soloists to principal dancer and raise their salary from soloist to the lowest rung of principal, the money has to come from the fixed salary pool for the dancers, hence from dancers whose top tier salary will be freed up by their retirement --in this case Part and Vishneva. I am not intimating that either was encouraged to retire, but if promotions have some connection to retirements, in what dire financial straits is the company this year? They did not have to pay out for a string of guest artists who command top salaries in the Bolshoi or the Royal Ballet, to name two prominent companies. As far as I know only Ferri was a guest artist this season. What do you think? And do you think the AD will wait until the season is over and Part has retired before announcing promotions, to show some grace to Part? I remember when Reyes retired, amid what seemed to be an awkward situation, with little advance fanfare, and the cool reception she gave the AD when he presented her with flowers after her last performance. If only ballet did not get stuck in the mire, the way politics does. 

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Totally different and off topic but in terms of the company I wonder about Kochetkova

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