Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

ABT in London


Recommended Posts

Papeetepatrick, when you talk about the differences between NYCB under Martins and Balanchine, could you elaborate on the issue of whether the seasoned NYCB balletgoers think the overally quality of dancing at the principal level has waned during Martin's era? I ask this because I think NYCB has recently produced some excellent Balanchine dancers who have also been able to tackle the non-Balanchine repertoire just as well as any of the top dancers in the more "classical" companies today, which makes me think that they are pretty "complete" dancers overall.

Ashley Bouder is one, and obviously, it is no surprise that she is getting her Kitri debut at the Kirov. Ansanelli has impressed me in works like Ondine. I would be very interested to see her in more dramatic roles like Juliet and Giselle, which I am sure she'll get a shot at very soon. Of course, I heard Gelsey Kirkland was a legend, even when she danced with Dowell at the RB in the mid 80s, though I guess one could argue she was partially an ABT product. (Do people view her as more of a NYCB or ABT type dancer or just both, in retrospect?)

Yes, that's not mainly what I was talking about, and what I was talking about is a bit unfair, because the Balanchine Era as such is over, in that he is no longer there to make works on chosen dancers. I've seen a fair amount of Ashley Bouder and Maria and Nikolaj (while he was there); sure, there was lots of great work to see. What I'm talking about with the 'magic gone' is normal, things die; Petipa is long-gone too, and there's no way that the beginnings of these opening works don't have a special innocence and exceptionalism to them that can never be recpatured; and there's nobody around to tell us about those first perfs. For example, not announcing casts so that the NYCB seemed to have no 'star system' actually had a mystique back in the days of Villella, Farrell, McBride, Hayden, P. Martins, Verdy, etc., by now it really doesn't have any substance--which doesn't mean I haven't adored performances by Ms. Bouder. And Macaulaywrote about how Von Aroldingen danced with much personality but would probably not be chosen today as a result of higher technical standards (I'm not sure I understand this, and I can't find the exact quote.) It's the company as a whole is a continuation of the old company--so it cannot have the power of exclusivity it had when Balanchine was alive, and yet since it's mostly about Balanchine anyway and not Martins, nobody wants a 'pure Martins company', for heaven's sake (there's quite enough of it even without any more.) This is something people are very opinionated about, so cannot be answered exhaustively here even if I had the chops to do it. Gelsey not an 'inner circle' NYCB dancer, but she was dancing there in the Golden Age as well, but the others I named are more a part of the time that those of us who saw it extensively are doubtless always going to prefer to what we see now at NYCB. But if you mean purely technical standards of the principals, obviously these are kept high, but carbro and nysusan and faux pas and other regular NYCB-watchers can be more specific about this. My only point is that, as Helene says, yes 'this is the Balanchine house', but it is more accurately only 'originally the Balanchine house', it is now the Martins house whether or not anyone likes it, and it's not going to ever be a 'pure Balanchine house' again. While it's true that NYCB still has enough from the past to make if more 'famous' than PNB and MCB, this doesn't mean that a lot of what people are reporting, both at BT and Macaulay I believe was talking some months back about Villella's work at MCB, and then more talk about PNB's Jewels recently--these developments are valuable and should be celebrated; but they do mean that NYCB under Martins has no monopoly on 'excellence in 'Jewels', and the Kirov production of it last April at dread City Center I preferred to what I saw at NYCB in 2004, even with some terrible sets (these are best at POB). And recordings of Jewels, like the POB, very good except for Diamonds, Ms. Letestu may do it better now, I don't know. So all this spreading out of Balanchine all over the coutnry and the world inevitable means NYCB cannot be the kind of magnet it was when all eyes were on it. They're not anymore.

Things like that. There's just no mystery at NYCB anymore, even though there are great talents. It's not some thing you go to as to a rarefied pilgrimage into an inner sanctum, it's rather prosaic while also being excellent.

Don't know if I agree with Helene that the men don't drive ballet in some cases. I'd go to ABT just to see the men, because they are more interesting than in NYCB, they are big stars, whether Cornejo, Hallberg, Corella, or Gomes. I was interested in Carbro's assessment of Cornejo, but have only seen him on tape, because I hadn't heard of any contemporary dancer being thought to be the 'greatest male dancer they'd ever seen'. I think it's all right that ABT is mainly great male mega-stars, not everybody goes primarily for the women, except in some ballets. I also wouldn't care, for example, that Corella is not 'home-grown', nor Gomes either. It's the productions I have a harder time with, that Mackenzie Swan Lake on TV was enough for me forever. But I might go see an ABT R & J or a couple of other things, just not SL or SB--too tacky.

Sketchy and a mess, but I don't have time to polish it. Probably full of inaccuracies, hope the gist of your question comes across.

Link to post

Hello all! I 'm not going to comment here on the merits of the current NYCB vs the Balanchine era NYCB – that's a very polarizing topic, and a very complex one. I will say that I think ABT is a well known company with an international reputation, and I think Mr. McKenzie believes in his Swan Lake, and the power of any SL to sell tickets.

I don't think his SL is awful, I just don't think it's great. I find the costumes & scenery beautiful, and I don't object to his most obvious change which is turning Von Rothbart into a split role. I don't think the ballet needs this change, but I think it's an interesting idea that kind of fits in with all of the philosophical dualities of the ballet. It becomes a really interesting idea when von R is danced by Gomes or Hallberg. For me, the major problem with this staging is that McKenzie is obsessed with "streamlining " Petipa, he's shortened everything but the 4th act has taken the worst beating and I find it robs the story of much of it's pathos.

I agree that Part/Gomes/Hallberg is the only SL cast to see UNLESS you require technical fireworks from your Odile – Part is not a virtuosa. You can expect 32 singles and not much more - her Odile will dazzle you with her personality, but not with her fouettees. If you want technical fireworks then you may prefer to see Murphy with Corella or Carreno. However the Part/Gomes/Hallberg cast is very strong – all 3 are wonderful and as good as Part & Gomes are on their own, they have a chemistry together that makes their partnership something very, very special. BTW, I am heading to DC to catch this cast in SL since ABT seems detemined not to let Part & Gomes dance it together in NY anymore...

I also feel that ABT's men are much, much stronger than their women (with the exception of their guest ballerinas who are not scheduled to appear in London). For that reason I would choose Corsaire casting based on the male roles. Typically they list the casting in this order: Conrad, Lankadem, Ali, Birbanto. Corella is my favorite Ali but you really can't go wrong with Stiefel, Cornejo or Carreno in the role either.

Link to post
I agree that Part/Gomes/Hallberg is the only SL cast to see UNLESS you require technical fireworks from your Odile – Part is not a virtuosa. You can expect 32 singles and not much more - her Odile will dazzle you with her personality, but not with her fouettees.

Your description of Part as Odile is exactly how an academic classical ballet dancer should perform Odile.

Unfortunately the vulgarity of multiple turns in many academic classical ballets in my opinion appeals only to those that go to ballet for entertainment.

Whilst classical ballet as an art can entertain it is not entertainment,

In a Gala or concert performance when a pas de deux is out of context and the evening is meant to be one of entertainment, of course it is great fun when you see someone start with a multiple pirouettes and end with them but whilst they can be on the music, they are also above the music and therefore have no place in being called an academic classical ballet performance.

I well remember the multiple pirouettes and fouettes of Lupe Serrano with ABT an outstanding dancer but perhaps not a natural Odette/Odile but she for me at least, never offended my appreciation of the performance whilst many modern dancers do so. It is a myth that dancers are stronger today. There have always been exceptional virtuosi but they were cast in the roles that they were classified to perform. As Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg and her otherwise status, she was allowed to spew pirouettes all over the place and it helped to distract the audience from her other shortcomings. They were her trick and not Petipa's or Legat's who were the balletmasters of the company.

For me it would take a very great interpreter of a role to make the sort of 'fireworks' some people enjoy acceptable.

I have many fond memories of Veronika Part with the Kirov and I am really looking forward to seeing her in Swan Lake.

Link to post

I am very surprised to read some posts here questioning abt as one of the top-5 companies in the world.

I am just going to throw some questions here that I think may clarify my point.

where do A Ferri, Nina A, J. Kent, J Bocca, JM Carreno and others have been dancing for the last 20 yrs ?

where is Ms Vishneva, one of the biggest stars nowadays, performing every year (other than the Kirov, of course) ?

where is Ratsmansky going to work for the coming 5 years ?

where will the future star N.Osipova will be performing in the coming years ?

Not to mention current-starts like : S. Zakharova, the above mentioned Cojocaru, and the beloved Acosta who have performed as guest stars at abt too (Acosta was a principal for a few years)

Honestly, I dont think any of the mega-ballet stars mentioned in this list had been be willing to perform in a company which is not internationally recognized as one of the best companies in the world. I am not saying is the best or anything, but just to question that is not in the top-5 its to me quite unfare.

All those names are at the very top in the list of best dancers in the last decade.

Is abt famous in Europe now ? I dont think so, which is not surprising if you think that they hadnt toured in London/Paris for the last 10 yrs (until last year when they toured in both cities). Is RB famous in the US ? they are known but I dont think they are famous as its not POB. Does that means that RB or POB are not good ? of course not, we all know that these 2 troops are also in the top-5 list. Its all about marketing, I think.

If you look at the cast that ABT offers during the sping seasson, you will see that you can get at least 1 world-class couple performing for every single ballet, if not 2 or 3. ABT its been a mega-star company more than probably any other company. They actually have been all about mega-stars more than anything else and is always been like that.

Currently, I think they are going into a transition stage, especially with the female dancers.

If you look at their male roster: Gomes, Cornejo, Corella, Carreno, Hallberg, Sitefel and now Bolle (for the Spring), is easy to realize that very few companies can match this list.

On the female side, they are not as strong as they have been, and I think thats Mckenzie's fault.

Ferri retired couple of yrs ago, Nina A is leaving this year and Kent will retire soon as well.

However, there are dancers like Murphy and Part who are very very talented (very different from each other) and I am sure that with a good marketing behind them could reach certain level of stardom.

To keep the female-star-list during its spring seasson, Mckenzie has brought Vishneva and now Osipova. The problem is that when they go on tour none of the famous female dancers travels, and this is something that I particularly dislike.

In my opinion it is very difficult to find a mega-star female dancer who can be the best in everything, although some of them have come pretty close. I rather like to analyze different ballets and think who do I enjoy more dancing in them.

For example, recently, I have had the oportunity to see Swan Lake by RB (Rojo, Nunes), Kirov (Lopatkina, Vishneva), Bolshoi (Zakharova) and ABT (almost all the females), to mention some of the ones discussed in this forum.

Def, Mckenzie's production is not the best (is probably the one that I like less) however, I havent been amazed with the RB ballet production either or the performances of Rojo/Nunes, as I have been with the russian productions and some of their female dancers (Unf I cant have an opinion about POB, which i am sure must be superb).

Although I think all the performances that I just mentioned were real good and it would be unfare to dismiss any of them, in my opinion, Part is the best of all the Odettes I have seen so far. After her, I would pick Lopatkina, Ananiashvili and Zakharova. As for Odile, Murphy is probably the one that I enjoy the most.

If I have to pick up just one, I stay with Part whose beauty and delicacy is to me unparallel (by the way, I am also making the trip to DC to see the Part/Gomes performance). Part is a kind of ballerina that we rarely see anymore.

Her Bayadere also is just out of this world.

I hope abt can have a good tour in London and audiences in europe can get to know their dancers better, I am sure they will apreciatte it a lot.

Link to post

this may not be the right thread for this question, but I read that you saw ABT II on their recent visit to south Florida... would you be able to post your thoughts on these young dancers and the program they danced? I'm sorry I missed it. tia.

Re: ABT's lack of home-grown stars. Having just seen a performance of their ABT II company, I noticed that most of the dancers were now trained at (or finished at) the relatively new company school. Perhaps they now have a mechanism for training future stars, and not just corps members?

Ruteyo, don't worry about the :) If this quite interesting diversion develops, I'll start a new thread to accomodate it, so that the ABT London visit can be the focus here. :flowers:

Link to post

Thank you, Classic Ballet, for your full-throated defense of ABT!

My own feeling about ABT is that Lucia Chase hardwired its DNA over 40 years ago when she turned ABT into a showcase for stars. The ballet intelligentsia in New York may not want that but the mass audience does. Baryshnikov tried to change all that with his City Ballet/Kirov/downtown dance fusionary experiment in the 80s -- to no avail. (A good thing he failed, in my opinion.) As the late critic Anita Finkel pointed out, the ABT audience wanted "grand personalities" and "false eyelashes" and "stylized histrionics" and "fandom". Good luck to the ABT school and Mr. Ratmansky in the future but I think they may find that they will be no more successful than some of their predecessors in changing the DNA.

Link to post
My own feeling about ABT is that Lucia Chase hardwired its DNA over 40 years ago when she turned ABT into a showcase for stars.
She did, indeed, but it was still a different and more interesting (IMO) company that boasted (if a bit defensively most of the time) about its "eclecticism." I don't think too many people think of ABT's rep as eclectic these days, even though its most recent and excellent City Center season argued that it can be.
Link to post

Well, carbro, I won't disagree with you that ABT's repertory outside of City City (where it practically becomes a different company) is conservative to the point of reaction. Part of the problem may be that the present regime is still reacting (or overreacting) to the eclectic -- and polarizing rep -- of the Baryshnikov regime. It appealed to the intelligentsia but it was off-putting to that larg(ish) faction within the ABT audience which loved the Golden Age in the 70s with its stars/guest stars/full houses/shredded programs galore. Maybe the current leadership thinks things became too schismatic by the end of the 80s and are trying to hold the "warhorse"-loving audience together. Or maybe ABT is just stuck performing in a too big house (the Met) which precludes much in the way of innovation. Hard to say, really.

Link to post

:)

this may not be the right thread for this question, but I read that you saw ABT II on their recent visit to south Florida... would you be able to post your thoughts on these young dancers and the program they danced? I'm sorry I missed it. tia.

mira, I didn't mention individual dancers, partly because I don't feel qualified to comment publicly about very young dancers at this stage of their careers. I had my favorites, of course, and there are a couple whose careers I definitely will be following over the next few years. But all -- individually, and especially in ensemble -- were impressive.

The large audience -- a combination of older dance fans, many of them obviously experienced, and a nice sized group of young dancers from local training programs (Harid, Boca Ballet, FAU) -- was enthusiastic.

Here is the link to my posts:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=28894

Link to post
I am very surprised to read some posts here questioning abt as one of the top-5 companies in the world.

I am just going to throw some questions here that I think may clarify my point.

where do A Ferri, Nina A, J. Kent, J Bocca, JM Carreno and others have been dancing for the last 20 yrs ?

where is Ms Vishneva, one of the biggest stars nowadays, performing every year (other than the Kirov, of course) ?

where is Ratsmansky going to work for the coming 5 years ?

where will the future star N.Osipova will be performing in the coming years ?

Not to mention current-starts like : S. Zakharova, the above mentioned Cojocaru, and the beloved Acosta who have performed as guest stars at abt too (Acosta was a principal for a few years)

Honestly, I dont think any of the mega-ballet stars mentioned in this list had been be willing to perform in a company which is not internationally recognized as one of the best companies in the world.

Ferri performed with La Scala Ballet for many years as well, and it is not one of the best companies in the world unless the number of "best" is quite large. Nureyev did a lot of guesting with companies that would have been considered, if not second-, third-, and fourth-rate, second-, third-, and fourth-tier, at least in their times. Dancers have many considerations when dancing with a company; reputation is only one: funding, salary, schedule, rep, location, theatre, company atmosphere are others.

Vishneva and Ananiashvili were, in many ways, unofficial guest stars with ABT. Ferri and Bocca are no longer on the roster. Kent had been out on maternity leave, and Carreno is dancing less and less. What names on the roster in London should Londoners recognize to draw them to performances? Ananiashvili has one performance of "Swan Lake" in DC, Careno one Albrecht. In London, Carreno has a "Swan Lake" and a "Corsaire". Corella has a "Swan Lake".

Murphy, Reyes, Wiles, Herrera, Hallberg, Gomes, Stiefel, et. al. may be wonderful dancers, but international stars? I'm not so sure about that or their ability to draw crowds on their own, at least advance crowds. Word-of-mouth could drive some more sales after the fact.

It wouldn't matter if every US balletgoer knew the name of Vishneva or Lopatkina; if the Mariinsky tours without them, what is there to draw in the casual balletgoer?

Link to post
[Murphy, Reyes, Wiles, Herrera, Hallberg, Gomes, Stiefel, et. al. may be wonderful dancers, but international stars? I'm not so sure about that or their ability to draw crowds on their own, at least advance crowds. Word-of-mouth could drive some more sales after the fact.

It wouldn't matter if every US balletgoer knew the name of Vishneva or Lopatkina; if the Mariinsky tours without them, what is there to draw in the casual balletgoer?

Isn't Gomes, at least, an 'international star' by today's standards? If not, then who is and how does one determine it? By how much they guest with other big companies? I don't think the term means what it used to, because there aren't any international ballet names like Fonteyn, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. I'd seen NYCB for years, but until I came to BT, I never heard of Lopatkina or Vishneva, so I think they're only known if you're involved in a non-casual way as well. But I don't know either.

Link to post

I would define an international star as a dancer who has name recognition as a dancer of major roles, usually someone whose performances would be a draw by themselves, without the draw of the company with which they were dancing.

Would average London balletgoers know Gomes the way New York balletgoers know Cojacaru or Acosta, or the way we knew Hilaire, Guillem, and Legris after the mid-80's tour, or Bolle, who seems to be everywhere, or Lopatkina and Vishneva? Or for past generations, Fonteyn and Soames, then Fonteyn and Nureyev, Natalia Makarova and Baryshnikov, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, and Vladimir Vassiliev?

Link to post
[Murphy, Reyes, Wiles, Herrera, Hallberg, Gomes, Stiefel, et. al. may be wonderful dancers, but international stars? I'm not so sure about that or their ability to draw crowds on their own, at least advance crowds. Word-of-mouth could drive some more sales after the fact.

Isn't Gomes, at least, an 'international star' by today's standards? If not, then who is and how does one determine it? By how much they guest with other big companies? I don't think the term means what it used to, because there aren't any international ballet names like Fonteyn, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. I'd seen NYCB for years, but until I came to BT, I never heard of Lopatkina or Vishneva, so I think they're only known if you're involved in a non-casual way as well. But I don't know either.

I would argue Hallberg is as well--He has done extensive touring in Japan, Russia etc, and I would imagine he wasn't asked to perform at the Maryiinsky festival due to lack of celebrity! I believe Murphy performed there last year in Swan Lake as well. As for Stiefel--I guess it depends who you are asking. While his recent career has certainly been marked by injury, didn't he do that "4 Kings of Dance" thing or whatever it was called? And then there was that movie...which probably makes him a bigger star than any of the others according to some standards...

Link to post
[Murphy, Reyes, Wiles, Herrera, Hallberg, Gomes, Stiefel, et. al. may be wonderful dancers, but international stars? I'm not so sure about that or their ability to draw crowds on their own, at least advance crowds. Word-of-mouth could drive some more sales after the fact.

Isn't Gomes, at least, an 'international star' by today's standards? If not, then who is and how does one determine it? By how much they guest with other big companies? I don't think the term means what it used to, because there aren't any international ballet names like Fonteyn, Nureyev and Baryshnikov. I'd seen NYCB for years, but until I came to BT, I never heard of Lopatkina or Vishneva, so I think they're only known if you're involved in a non-casual way as well. But I don't know either.

I would argue Hallberg is as well--He has done extensive touring in Japan, Russia etc, and I would imagine he wasn't asked to perform at the Maryiinsky festival due to lack of celebrity! I believe Murphy performed there last year in Swan Lake as well. As for Stiefel--I guess it depends who you are asking. While his recent career has certainly been marked by injury, didn't he do that "4 Kings of Dance" thing or whatever it was called? And then there was that movie...which probably makes him a bigger star than any of the others according to some standards...

As far as the ABT season in London is concerned, and given the

recession, it was not good planning for ABT to perform Swan Lake whilst the Royal Ballet is also performing this ballet at the same time just three minutes up the road at the Royal Opera House.

Of the ABT dancers appearing in London, Ethan Stiefel is the most well known and who was widely appreciated by the audience and critics when he was a guest star with the Royal Ballet. He has successfully appeared with a number of famous and well-known ballet companies.

Veronika Part became a favourite in London with her Queen of the Dryads and Lilac Fairy.

In the past it seems ballet companies were more enthusiastic about engaging in the promotion of star performers who in turn, acquired celebrity status and super-stardom which generally benefitted the company’s status. However as famous as Baryshnikov was, he never matched internationally the fame of Nureyev nor Fracci that of Fonteyn. Nijinsky almost singlehandedly like Vestris retain god like fame.

As to how you measure an international star lets take a look at astronomy and stellar magnitude. One way of measuring the brightness of a particular star is the measure of ‘apparent magnitude’ which uses an evaluative scale as if seen by an observer on earth with the absence of atmosphere. Stay with me on this. In this measurement system the Sun’s applied magnitude is -26.73.Mercury is -1.9 and Pluto is 13.65.

Should we on balletalk institute a similar measurement scale for ‘international ballet‘stars so that we are all singing from the same songsheet when we are talking about particular dancers. If there is someone out there who is of a scientific bent who can devise an evaluation method that will suit those who are seriously interested in the art of ballet and send fans into a rage because their favourite ends up at the bottom of the scale, please do not send me personal messages or emails with your system just post in the normal way.

PS

I hope to write about the ABT visit but I will not attend every cast of Swan Lake and Le Corsair.

Link to post
If there is someone out there who is of a scientific bent who can devise an evaluation method that will suit those who are seriously interested in the art of ballet and send fans into a rage because their favourite ends up at the bottom of the scale, please do not send me personal messages or emails with your system just post in the normal way.

:huh:

Link to post
If there is someone out there who is of a scientific bent who can devise an evaluation method that will suit those who are seriously interested in the art of ballet and send fans into a rage because their favourite ends up at the bottom of the scale, please do not send me personal messages or emails with your system just post in the normal way.

:huh:

I don't think such things as 'exacting fame measurements' could have anything to do with the 'serious interest in the art of ballet', nor that most care enough to go into rages about their personal favourites unless they're professional groupies (and those do exist here as elsewhere, I guess.). It's interesting, though, to see how people evaluate these phenomena from different cultures--as, for example, it is obvious to me that Fracci not as 'famous internationally' as Fonteyn, but I wouldn't have thought you could make a difference between "Huge Fames" like Nureyev and Baryshnikov. If so, that's fine with me, I always preferred Nureyev even though I thought Baryshnikov became 'more famous' at one point.

Especially since I prefer Sizova to any of them, and had to find out who she was at Ballet Talk, since she's not nearly as 'famous' as all these others just because of being the best.... Oh, I would just DIE if Ethan Stiefel got too high at the top of the fame magnitude list, since his dancing never excited me. :huh: And what if Chinese started comparing NYCB star fame (where there isn't supposed to be any stardom, although fame is all right) with ABT fame. Primitive ethnic assumptions on my own vile part make me think they'd see ABT fame as 'REAL FAME', since they love all the big B'way show tours, with giant sets.

Link to post
I definitely recommend seeing Marcelo Gomes in anything. I think he's the best male dancer the ABT has. I hope he makes a successful debut at the Mariinsky Festival and gets the international fame he so deserves.

I will be seeing Mr. Gomes in both Swan Lake and Le Corsair.

Link to post
I wouldn't have thought you could make a difference between "Huge Fames" like Nureyev and Baryshnikov. If so, that's fine with me, I always preferred Nureyev even though I thought Baryshnikov became 'more famous' at one point.

I have the impression - mostly from reading this board over the years - that Baryshnikov was much 'bigger' in the USA than in Europe - well, in England anyway. Although he was known here outside the dance world, he wasn't automatic front page news like Nureyev was.

Link to post

Of course Baryshnikov was also a very successful film actor as well as being a dancer and that brought him to the attention of people with no interest in ballet. I would sum up though that Baryshnikov was just famous whereas Nureyev became legendary.

Link to post
Of course Baryshnikov was also a very successful film actor as well as being a dancer and that brought him to the attention of people with no interest in ballet. I would sum up though that Baryshnikov was just famous whereas Nureyev became legendary.

A very good comparison.

Not just legendary after death, but so clebrated internationally, that he became a legend in his lifetime which is of course that much more than being famous in a lifetime which in my opinion Barishnikov was.

Jane also gets it completely right whe she states,

" I have the impression - mostly from reading this board over the years - that Baryshnikov was much 'bigger' in the USA than in Europe - well, in England anyway. Although he was known here outside the dance world, he wasn't automatic front page news like Nureyev was. "
I have over recent years acquired press cuttings from different countries and his publicity at that time was greater in some countries, than famous film stars.
Link to post

I remember being a poor college student in London in the summer of 1977 when ABT did a tour. I really wanted to see Baryshnikov, but the only tickets for performances in which he was cast were way beyond my budget; I saw three opera and recital performances for the same cost.

That was only a few years after he defected, and he may have been the latest flavor, but from that, I thought he was the draw of the tour.

Link to post

I'm looking forward to the ABT visit to London in April. It is a shame that Swan Lake makes up the majority of their shows, but traditionally this ballet is usually a sure-fire hit in terms of box office sales no matter what company presents it so the programming does make sense though I'd rather see Le Corsaire. Most companies relaunching their London presence always seem to opt for SL as its so safe (I have a recollection Helgi Tommason brought it with his San Francisco company) as it is often a useful way for London audiences to compare various company styles & strengths (or weaknesses).

I saw ABT on their last London visit to the Sadlers Wells when they presented a selection of triple bills & the standard of dancing was erratic to say the least, some very ropey dancing from corps & principals, but some beautiful dancing & obvious talent at all levels, but not much of a 'company ' atmosphere. Here's hoping the Spring season will erase these memories with something better as well as a chance to get a look at some of the star dancers. I'd hesitate to put them in the top 5 of the world's best companies as you'd have to take into consideration the quality of the whole company & not just the top international stars who are probably there as I would imagine the pay cheques are probably good.

Part of the issue with the conservative programming in London as a whole lies with the promotors who insist on box-office gold (Swan Lake) instead of ballets that showcase a companies depth. The Hochhausers bring endless Bolshoi & Kirov SLs etc for example as its the cash cow rather than any of the other gems in the treasure chest & sadly the majority of London ballet audiences just lap it up. NYCB fared badly at the box office last year not only because of high ticket prices, but because no-one knew who the company was or if they were any good, some of my ballet loving friends had no idea who NYCB was despite seeing 40-50 dance shows a year in the capital.

Link to post

I agree with Rebecca D regarding the ABT's last visit to Sadlers Wells, the standard of the dancing was very erratic ranging from excellent to quite poor.

Part of the issue with the conservative programming in London as a whole lies with the promotors who insist on box-office gold (Swan Lake) instead of ballets that showcase a companies depth. The Hochhausers bring endless Bolshoi & Kirov SLs etc for example as its the cash cow rather than any of the other gems in the treasure chest & sadly the majority of London ballet audiences just lap it up.

This is painfully true, though I would say the London audience is made up of both committed ballet goers and casual ballet goers and the former group gives a collective groan when faced with yet more Swan Lakes. The Kirov didn't come to London last year, visiting other UK cities instead; so I'm hoping they will bring the new Ratmansky Humpbacked Horse and The Awakening of Flora this year. If they don't, and it is yet another round of SL's, I for one will be giving them a miss.

NYCB fared badly at the box office last year not only because of high ticket prices, but because no-one knew who the company was or if they were any good, some of my ballet loving friends had no idea who NYCB was despite seeing 40-50 dance shows a year in the capital.

Heavens above! You'll be telling us they don't know who Balanchine was next!

Link to post

The up to date casting for London is on the ABT website @ http://www.abt.org/performances/calendar_index1.asp

What I said in earlier posts about presenting "Swan Lake" to sell seats appears to hold true, as the veteran presenters of Russian ballet in London Victor and Lillian Hochhauser, have the Kirov bringing this same ballet to London in August this year, despite the fact that numerous performances will have been given in this city over the current ballet season.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...