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Kent, Herrera and Reyes to retire during 2015 Spring season


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Didn't even focus on the May 18 date. That is late. The Met Opera season ends on SAt May 9. Is Kevin trying to push the season further into July to accomodate more guest appearances for the season? (Osipova?)

Is it possible that ABT will take a week off while the Royal Ballet performs in New York? Maybe the RB will perform in the Met rather than the Koch? (Wishful thinking, I know...)

I think just as likely or even likelier a reason to push the ABT season later might be the thought of fewer weeks competing with NYCB...though I don't know how many New Yorkers clear out after July 1st which may counter-balance that...

Regarding the Royal: I had thought the Royal was coming later in season, but whenever they are coming, I personally would rather see them at the Koch/State theater than the Met...

Promotions? I don't see how anyone can/should be promoted to principal at ABT if they have not proven themselves able to carry the major full length roles that dominate much of the company's repertory--especially at the Met. One doesn't expect someone to be strong in every full length especially early in a career, but in a number at least. If dancers haven't been given the opportunities in those roles (and preferably with ABT or a company of at least comparable caliber), then I don't really see how responsibly to promote them or even call for their promotion no matter how talented one may judge them to be. I suppose the retirements may force the director's hand in terms of giving some new opportunities to soloists--or making clear his intentions if he doesn't.

Put a little differently: ABT needs principals, but more than that it needs ballerinas: I think these retirements make clear what some perhaps were already feeling--that this is a transitional time for the company and perhaps likely to be rough in patches, if also at least potentially exciting.

Edited to add: I don't begrudge Kent her long career or Reyes hers (a little less long I think?), but it says a great deal about Herrera's choice of moment to retire that she can plausibly announce Aurora as her farewell performance. Don't know if I will make it to NY for that or not, but I would enjoy being there for sure.

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Wishing Xiomara Reyes all the best and grateful for so many beautiful performances, some of them, as others have mentioned, very recent. She is a wonderful actress and a great technician too. I was suprised to read of her retirement but will definitely make her final performance.

As to who will partner Cornejo, someone mentioned the many guest artists he has partnered with, such as Cojocaru and Osipova. I saw him dance Copellia with Misty in the Spring, and he partnered her easily. She is terrific in that role, however, I do not think she is ready to be promoted yet.

I'm joining the pray for Stella campaign. Unless she has some unkown injury, I think she is ready for principal full lengths. Ratmansky seems fond of her. He cast her as the ballerina in Bright Stream, as well as principal roles in Seven Sonatas (my screen saver is Stella and Gennadi Saveliev in Seven Sonatas, and it makes me so happy) and the Nutcracker. I mean, has there ever been a filipina principal ballerina? Stella would also be making history. And Julie Kent's retirement will open up some spaces. For instance, I'd love to see Stella's Juliet. And wouldn't she make a lovely Aurora in Ratmanksy's new Sleeping Beauty. Also, Sarah Lane will shine in the role, I think.

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For instance, I'd love to see Stella's Juliet. And wouldn't she make a lovely Aurora in Ratmanksy's new Sleeping Beauty. Also, Sarah Lane will shine in the role, I think.

I agree with all of this completely. Lane will also make a beautiful Juliet.

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Lane won a monetary award a few years ago (the Annenberg award?) that enabled her use the money for any ballet related training. My recollection is that she used the money to obtain training from Ferri in the role of Juliet. Sadly, year after year, McKenzie has not cast Lane as Juliet. I'm not holding my breath for any such casting this year. I hope at least that Lane gets an Aurora in the 2015 spring season.

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We've talked quite a bit here about ABT's male principal problem. It seems like there will be an issue regarding the female principal problem. As Amour indicated, is the plan going forward to poach some ballerinas, or promote the in house ones.

Kent was hardly dancing, so her departure will not leave a huge gap. However, Paloma and Xiomara were both appearing frequently in the Spring season. In addition, Xiomora was Herman's most regular partner. Who is short enough to be his regular partner going forward? As Amour indicated, are they planning on offering Kochetkova a more regular gig so Herman has a partner?

I actually have a lot of respect for Paloma and Xiomara leaving while they are still dancing well. It's better than hanging on till the bitter end when the entire audience is well aware of your obvious decline. It shows self respect and resepct for the audience.

Maybe, KM will get Kochetkova but i am hoping for E Obratzova instead. She is a beautiful dancer and is short enough for Herman. Her NYC debut is long overdue.

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Maybe, KM will get Kochetkova but i am hoping for E Obratzova instead. She is a beautiful dancer and is short enough for Herman. Her NYC debut is long overdue.

If the company is going to develop new relationships with outside artists, then I think that is a great idea! Obraztsova has danced in NYC (Most recently I think in Little Humpbacked Horse and Symphony in C with Mariinsky), but it would be fabulous to see her dance with ABT and with Cornejo. I would, though, like to see Lane get more opportunities as well...

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If we are back to the star stopgap situation then there is Svetlana Lunkina out there in Canada. Some kind of guest artist situation could be worked out with her. She has worked with Ratmansky - though I can't say whether he had a good working relationship with her or not - Ratmansky worked with Tsiskaridze when he ran the Bolshoi as well... I remember him announcing her promotion to prima ballerina at the Bolshoi from the Met stage before a performance of "The Bright Stream". Maybe lure back Erica Cornejo? Simone Messmer?

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If we are back to the star stopgap situation then there is Svetlana Lunkina out there in Canada. Some kind of guest artist situation could be worked out with her. She has worked with Ratmansky - though I can't say whether he had a good working relationship with her or not - Ratmansky worked with Tsiskaridze when he ran the Bolshoi as well... I remember him announcing her promotion to prima ballerina at the Bolshoi from the Met stage before a performance of "The Bright Stream". Maybe lure back Erica Cornejo? Simone Messmer?

Simone M ? She was not very complementary of ABT in her interviews so she would not want to return.

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Maybe, KM will get Kochetkova but i am hoping for E Obratzova instead. She is a beautiful dancer and is short enough for Herman. Her NYC debut is long overdue.

If the company is going to develop new relationships with outside artists, then I think that is a great idea! Obraztsova has danced in NYC (Most recently I think in Little Humpbacked Horse and Symphony in C with Mariinsky), but it would be fabulous to see her dance with ABT and with Cornejo. I would, though, like to see Lane get more opportunities as well...

I sure would like Sarah to do Aurora/ Juliet and Giselle this coming season. Hoping she will get ,at least, one of these roles.

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Reyes, Kent and Herrera all dance Juliet, so I'll hold onto some hope that maybe Lane will get cast now that they're leaving (but would she get cast in 2015 while they're still dancing, or would she have to wait until the following year?).

I could never see Simone Messmer returning; her interviews on why she left ABT say it all. And, I doubt Erica Cornejo would return. She's had a much better career at Boston ballet.

I could see KM bringing in Olga Smirnova, Svetlana Lunkina, Viktoria Tereshkina and Maria Kochetkova as "full-time" principals (more performances than they've done as guest artists, but nothing beyond the Met season). But, he'd still need to hire (or heaven forbid, promote) at least one true full-time female principal (I say at least only one because Kent/Reyes rarely toured anymore).

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Reyes and Herrera will already be retired by the time R&J is performed this Spring, based on the dates in the press release. Julie Kent's is the last retirement of the season in late June. When is the Royal Ballet tour allegedly coming to NYC? I'm guessing McKenzie may try to reunite Osipova and Hallberg in R&J, especially since R&J will be late in the Met season.

Speaking of Hallberg, I wonder if he will be sufficiently recovered to participate in the Spring Season.

McKenzie cast Semionova as Juliet in the last run, but I didn't think that worked out so well. She did not click at all with Hallberg in this ballet, and Hallberg looked like his veins and eye balls were about to pop when he did those tricky lifts of Semionova.

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Reyes, Kent and Herrera all dance Juliet, so I'll hold onto some hope that maybe Lane will get cast now that they're leaving (but would she get cast in 2015 while they're still dancing, or would she have to wait until the following year?).

I could never see Simone Messmer returning; her interviews on why she left ABT say it all. And, I doubt Erica Cornejo would return. She's had a much better career at Boston ballet.

I could see KM bringing in Olga Smirnova, Svetlana Lunkina, Viktoria Tereshkina and Maria Kochetkova as "full-time" principals (more performances than they've done as guest artists, but nothing beyond the Met season). But, he'd still need to hire (or heaven forbid, promote) at least one true full-time female principal (I say at least only one because Kent/Reyes rarely toured anymore).

I read in an interview with Sarah Lane that she learned Juliet on tour because Hee Seo had a possible injury, but then Seo was able to perform so Lane didn't gat a chance.

Maybe some would disagree, but Kochetkova has more dance opportunities at SFB than she would at ABT. They do big ballets, but a greater variety of rep than ABT. I guess it depends on where she is in her career and what she wants out of it, but it seems to me she'd dance a lot less at ABT than she does at SFB.

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vipa, that is good to hear about Sarah Lane and Juliet. My membership in ABT depends on the casting of the Spring Season. If Sarah gets a Juliet, that just might be enough for me to renew. If Stella also gets a leading role, I'm in for sure.

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. . . My membership in ABT depends on the casting of the Spring Season. . .

A little off-topic, but did others notice that the "prices" of the Friends levels for 2014 increased from 2013? I am sure some join just to support the company, but for others, these contributions get you into rehearsals, company class on stage, seminars, etc. I don't know when this went into effect. They've also moved a few things around by categories, but not that much.

Friend: increased from $75 to $90

Contributor: increased from $150 to $180 [company class on stage instead of spotlight seminar]

Affiliate: increased from $300 to $360 [added spotlight seminar]

Sustainer: name changed to Supporter: increased from $500 to $600

Sponsor: increased from $750 to $900 [added fall spotlight seminar]

Patron: increase from $1000 to $1200

Golden Patron: increased from $1500 to $1800

Benefactor: increased from $3,000 to $3,600

Golden Benefactor: increased from $5,000 to $6,000

The Junior Council now costs $600. I don't know what it was last year.

The renewal form names the level you had a year ago, but doesn't mention that the "price" is now higher.

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. . . My membership in ABT depends on the casting of the Spring Season. . .

A little off-topic, but did others notice that the "prices" of the Friends levels for 2014 increased from 2013? I am sure some join just to support the company, but for others, these contributions get you into rehearsals, company class on stage, seminars, etc. I don't know when this went into effect. They've also moved a few things around by categories, but not that much.

Friend: increased from $75 to $90

Contributor: increased from $150 to $180 [company class on stage instead of spotlight seminar]

Affiliate: increased from $300 to $360 [added spotlight seminar]

Sustainer: name changed to Supporter: increased from $500 to $600

Sponsor: increased from $750 to $900 [added fall spotlight seminar]

Patron: increase from $1000 to $1200

Golden Patron: increased from $1500 to $1800

Benefactor: increased from $3,000 to $3,600

Golden Benefactor: increased from $5,000 to $6,000

The Junior Council now costs $600. I don't know what it was last year.

The renewal form names the level you had a year ago, but doesn't mention that the "price" is now higher.

True, California. I was definitely shocked to see that the price for membership had gone up from last year. For me, the most important benefit is the studio rehearsal, where you're in a large ABT studio with only 25 people in two rows of chairs and you can practically touch the dancers when the choreography sends them in your direction. Last year I took my then-eight-year-old balletomane granddaughter to a studio rehearsal, and we were able to see, up close, Veronika Part working with Irina Kolpakova (they are both breathtakingly beautiful), and Hee Seo rehearsing Gaite Parisienne with, if I remember correctly, Marcelo Gomes. Afterwards, in search of a ladies room, we found ourselves face-to-face with several of our favorite dancers and spoke with them--mostly we told them how much we love them!

I would hate to miss out on that studio rehearsal this spring, but if my favorite dancers aren't cast, what's the point? With three female principals retiring, this is the year that will make it or break it for me at ABT.

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How charming -- it reminds me of all the Ninas in Hirschfeld's images. I can recognize a few titles in large type on her skirt -- does anyone know where there's a list of the ballets used in the image?

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Interview with Paloma Herrera on training, teaching, her retirement, her future and social media.

http://dancetabs.com/2015/08/paloma-herrera-former-american-ballet-theatre-principal-dancer-and-teacher/

Thank you for sharing this volcanohunter, loved reading it and this quote really says it all too! I am glad to hear that Herrara is sharing her skills with the next generation and I am sure whomever she ends up teaching will hear about this quote in the interview:

".... Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there. I don’t want my career to be tarnished by that sort of thing."

A very interesting observation in her part, hummm smile.png ... wonder whom she is talking about! I can think of a few. Based on what she said, I am feeling a bit guilty myself being on a blog. I think I will just go now and enjoy reading a book instead.

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".... Now, if someone makes it you don’t know whether it’s because they really have talent or because the media helped get them there. I don’t want my career to be tarnished by that sort of thing."

A very interesting observation in her part, hummm smile.png ... wonder whom she is talking about! I can think of a few. Based on what she said, I am feeling a bit guilty myself being on a blog. I think I will just go now and enjoy reading a book instead.

I also found this a very interesting interview. I think one should underline, too, that in context Herrera expresses feeling distant from the entire new "generation" that uses social media--which takes in a lot of dancers--and her comments, therefore, do not seem too pointed to me though she may have some people in mind.

Whether or not her comments were pointed at a particular dancer or dancers, I think it's a bit over the top to use expressions like "tarnished" about careers that involve extra-dance publicity. I doubt Baryshnikov feels tarnished--or Darcey Bussell. Nor, in my opinion, should other dancers even if they aren't on the level of a "Baryshnikov" or "Bussell." People lament ballet being out of the mainstream, but it usually enters the mainstream due to extra-dance stories and events as in Cold War politics (which not only helped to fuel several careers but also fueled such artistically important events as NYCB tours to Europe) or as in movies (Red Shoes etc.). Today's mainstream is indeed very mediatized, so to speak, including a heavy does of self-promotion systems. Ballet may be rarified, but it does live on planet earth.

I'm older than Herrera and occasionally have mixed feelings about social media and other kinds of self-promotion too...but I think ballet as an art is likelier to be tarnished by the ill discipline Herrera laments in young students. (Though her perceptions of that, too, may reflect a generation gap. I don't know.)

Herrera herself got major roles almost as soon as she entered ABT and thus was spared the problem of how to get noticed by management etc. If only that could be the fate of all gifted dancers! Of course, Herrera did get noticed (one assumes) because of her prodigious talent as a dancer--absolutely. But not all talented dancers do...and an argument could be made that she never had quite the career as a mature ballerina that her exciting early performances promised. That was my own view.

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She was specifically talking about dancers who tweet during the performance and who give details about what went wrong during the performances.

There is a simple answer to those who don't want to know: don't follow them on social media.

As far as people opening up their cell phones at intermission, the only way to avoid that is to stay home, the same way you can avoid other people's perfume, talking during the performance, unwrapping candies, blocking your view, humming along with the music, or reaction/lack-of-reaction to the work.

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