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ABT 2015 Met season


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Interesting Lane/Cornejo are not cast for the California premier of Sleeping Beauty. It's all a mystery at ABT

They also didn't cast Stella as Cinderella at the Kennedy Center. Instead, they have Seo dancing twice, and Kent dancing. Thank goodness for the Reyes/Gorak pairing or I would have skipped it all together.

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Really - Luis is no longer at ABT? I didn't know that. That is interesting in terms of Sarah's career. Also, I too would be very surprised if Kochetkova joined ABT. A others have said her rep at SFB is more interesting and she has a big guesting career.

As far as guesting goes, why should Kochetkova have to limit those if she joins ABT? Hallberg is not only a principal at the Bolshoi but he also guests all over the world (Australian Ballet, La Scala to name two). Bolle only dances at the Met (usually) because he too performs with other companies. Gomes, Simkim, Whiteside and Boylston also do a lot of guesting (just read their Twitter feeds). Kochetkova could become a principal (or maybe I should say "principal") and just dance during the Met season. I'm not advocating that arrangement, but look at how many others do it and are members of the company. If that happens, of course the company will still be short handed during their tours.

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Though people on here seem to think that Copeland is McKenzie's "golden goose," she is very clearly determined to be a principal, and I don't think she wants to linger at the soloist rank for much longer a la Abrera. If she is not promoted within the next year or two, I could see her going to a place like SFB or Houston (where she could join the company as a principal).

As for Kochetkova, I think that New York is still regarded as the center of the dance world in America. As superficial as this sounds, being an ABT principal - despite whatever one may think about its current state - does carry more prestige than being an SFB principal.

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Frankly, I just don't see Misty performing classical works. She just doesn't have the line or the body. And as evidenced by her poor showing in Duo Concertante last spring and her failure to be cast in T&V, she also can't dance Balanchine, which does not make SFB a good option. I could see her at Houston. Also Complexions seems like a good fit. They do mainly contemporary work. And if it's good enough for Desmond Richardson, it should be good enough for Misty (who isn't half the dancer he is).

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Misty is clearly not your cup of tea, which is fine, but I know that other BA commenters enjoyed her Coppelia and Duo Concertant (I think one person even said that they enjoyed her interpretation of the latter piece more than Megan Fairchild's at City Ballet). I didn't see her perform these pieces, so I can't offer my own opinion. I'm sure any contemporary ballet company in the country would love to work with her.

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[Admin beanie on]

We have a long-standing and strict policy about not discussing the opinions posted in blogs and other media written by non-professionals or posted to other discussion boards.

The company forums are for what you think about what you see, not what critics think.

[Admin beanie off]

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I would like ABT to try to recruit Marianela Nunez to come over more often. I think she is a gorgeous dancer and she seems perfect for ABT's classical repertoire. Maybe they can get Thiago Soares to guest with her.

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ABT has not made good choices about new ballets for the past 10 years, IMO. They have also not nurtured their inhouse dancers. The last 2 really good promotions McKenzie made were Cornejo and Gomes and those were almost 15 years ago.

David Hallberg doesn't make that list? I'm also a fan of Part though I realize not everyone is. But surely Hallberg is without dispute.

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ABT has not made good choices about new ballets for the past 10 years, IMO. They have also not nurtured their inhouse dancers. The last 2 really good promotions McKenzie made were Cornejo and Gomes and those were almost 15 years ago.

David Hallberg doesn't make that list? I'm also a fan of Part though I realize not everyone is. But surely Hallberg is without dispute.

No, of course Hallberg makes the list. I just forgot him (he's been injured so much lately I've hardly seen him dance) But his was also a promotion that was made about 15 years ago, I believe.

I'm on the fence about Part. I don't think she is a strong dancer so I can't really call her promotion a great thing.

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David Hallberg doesn't make that list? I'm also a fan of Part though I realize not everyone is. But surely Hallberg is without dispute.

No, of course Hallberg makes the list. I just forgot him (he's been injured so much lately I've hardly seen him dance) But his was also a promotion that was made about 15 years ago, I believe.

Hallberg was promoted to principal 8 years ago in 2006.

I'd also add Gillian Murphy to the list of good (with no hesitation) promotions. She was promoted to principal in 2002, the same year Gomes was promoted. And, Part. But, in my opintion that's it.

I personally feel that the company is in big trouble and I don't have the same level of respect for them as I did 5-8+ years ago (perhaps I should change my screen name). I think the retirements of Kent, Herrera and Reyes this year will have a huge impact. Whatever a person's individual feelings are about any one of them, they are beloved by many, they carry the full-length ballets, and they have been at the company for most (Reyes) if not their entire careers, rising through the ranks (Kent, Herrera), which is becoming rarer these days as many of us have discussed. If McKenzie plans on solving these vacancies with bringing in principals-for-hire, that will again send a very bad message to the company and to the many balletomanes who care and who are tired of seeing guest artists (or part-time principals) fill the many important principal roles. I would expect a mass exodus if that happens (haven't enough left already in the past year?).

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The golden age of ABT of 10-15 or so years ago is over. Ananiashvilli, Ferri, Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Steifel were world class. ABT was the envy of the ballet world. These were not guest artists. They were full out members of ABT. Now the regular members are mostly mediocre, with a few exceptions. Even those who call themselves regular members of ABT like Bolle, Hallberg and Vishneva actually spend very little time with ABT. There is an increasing number of "house" principals at ABT who I have no interest in seeing.

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The golden age of ABT of 10-15 or so years ago is over. Ananiashvilli, Ferri, Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Steifel were world class. ABT was the envy of the ballet world. These were not guest artists. They were full out members of ABT. Now the regular members are mostly mediocre, with a few exceptions. Even those who call themselves regular members of ABT like Bolle, Hallberg and Vishneva actually spend very little time with ABT. There is an increasing number of "house" principals at ABT who I have no interest in seeing.

My memory is that Ananiashvilli did not do much touring with ABT (if any). In later years of her career I don't think Ferri toured with them either. I am speaking of U.S. tours--that is, they primarily appeared with the company during the Met seasons. They were "regulars" there of course. That doesn't much change the larger point you are making, but is worth noting. ABT has long-standing problems getting some of its biggest stars to tour with them. (Ironically I remember a season or two in which Kirkland gave extraordinary performances on tour in D.C. and then pulled out in New York.)

I will give the company this: of their "regulars" Cornejo and Gomez are nothing if not world class. I consider Cornejo to be one of the finest male dancers I have ever seen. (I date back to Bruhn and Nureyev, though the first generation of male dancers I saw in a range of roles was a little younger--Baryshnikov/Martins/Dowell etc.)

And, though I don't see the company regularly, I have also seen Simkin and Stearns give some performances that merit better praise than "house principal." Zhurbin is genuinely terrific in an admitedly very specialized "character" repertory.

That said, I'm mostly a ballerina-centric ballet fan--and the ballerina situation is, to put it kindly, in flux.

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I too, am all about the ballerina and none of the new Principals like Hee Seo or Boylston are worth seeing. The Corp de ballet is very ragged/ under-rehearsed, and the AD is all but said that he thinks his in-house dancer's are inferior. He might as well come out and say it at this point like Fatayev because it's obvious. I can go on with the problems at ABT... As an American I was once proud that we had our own classical ballet company that was 1 of the best in the world. Now, ABT just makes me sad for what it has become. It's living off of a past legacy that it just is not anymore.

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I too, am all about the ballerina and none of the new Principals like Hee Seo or Boylston are worth seeing. The Corp de ballet is very ragged/ under-rehearsed, and the AD is all but said that he thinks his in-house dancer's are inferior. He might as well come out and say it at this point like Fatayev because it's obvious. I can go on with the problems at ABT... As an American I was once proud that we had our own classical ballet company that was 1 of the best in the world. Now, ABT just makes me sad for what it has become. It's living off of a past legacy that it just is not anymore.

Unfortunately I agree with you. As a result I buy tickets to fewer and fewer performances. Hee Seo and Boylston are worthy soloists. I don't know what KM is thinking but as many others I think it is time for a change. Another thing - when you look at the performance calendar the weeks of work for dancers is embarrassing. They used to have long tours.

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The golden age of ABT of 10-15 or so years ago is over. Ananiashvilli, Ferri, Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Steifel were world class. ABT was the envy of the ballet world. These were not guest artists. They were full out members of ABT. Now the regular members are mostly mediocre, with a few exceptions. Even those who call themselves regular members of ABT like Bolle, Hallberg and Vishneva actually spend very little time with ABT. There is an increasing number of "house" principals at ABT who I have no interest in seeing.

I totally agree with you. Just wanted to add Susan Jaffe & Amanda McKerrow to the list of greats. It's sad but true; ABT is now a very mediocre company.

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Another thing - when you look at the performance calendar the weeks of work for dancers is embarrassing. They used to have long tours.

Long tours are a thing of the past now. The new (new-er) economic reality makes it very, very expensive and difficult to have long tours.

Regarding KM, I'm having a hard time being optimistic about an AD change anytime soon. He's only 60/61 though he's been directing the co. for 23 years. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I can't see him letting go of such a "prestigious" job anytime soon while he's still relatively young. It's not like he's a choreographer and would want to leave to focus on that. What else would he do?

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I want to reply to ABTfan's comment that some balletomanes are tired of seeing guest and part-time principals in the lead roles. I fully agree. This has been a major problem over the last 5 years or so and looks to continue. Who except for the glorious Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes--okay Herman Cornejo too--is left? What you have are "pop-ins" from other companies. For the last 5 years I have taken top-dollar subscriptions for myself and a guest and often been disappointed. I no longer think a $700-800 subscription is worth it and I am not renewing. Maybe if I am moved I'll spring for tickets to one performance, and maybe I"ll just attend more NYCBALLET performances, where I also take a subscription. There the wealth of fabulous dancers overflows and the company consistently breaks new ground. Where is the ABT of yore? I miss it. There is room for 2 world-class ballet companies in New York, but right now, in my opinion, there is only one.

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ABT is the McDonald's of the ballet world. If you're in NYC and need a quick ballet fix ABT is the way to go. However, if you want quality dancing from the entire company (and not just 1 or 2 of the principals), quality sets, etc. I'd say head on over to NYCB for a superior experience. It pains me to say that but that's what it is right now. This upcoming MET season is more of the same garbage. It is a travesty that McKenzie would rather hire non principal soloists like Kim than develop 1 of their own, like Gorak or Forster whom should be dancing those 2 Solor performances instead of Kim. And I like Kim as a dancer but this is just tiring at this point. And after all of the trash talking Osipova has done towards ABT the last thing I would think is that they would hire her again? I understand she fills the seats with a lot of Russians (money talks) but my god, do they not have any pride? (Which that's a whole other topic since if ABT didn't abandon their base and hired all of these guest artists and made their own global stars instead of importing them they wouldn't need to rely on fans of Russian ballet stars to fill seats...) ABT especially should be developing/ pushing some quality ballerina's because the ballerina state at ABT is even worse than the male's. Their is atleast Gomes and Cornejo on the male front. Once Kent, Herrera, and Reyes retire their really isn't anyone else and that should be scary for McKenzie and co. No one I know likes Boylston and Seo, the 2 ballerina's that McKenzie is pushing. And while Part is a lovely dancer, she's barely championed by her own director which is sad since she's the only quality principal ballerina they have right now.

And if things were managed right at ABT it could have had it's own theatre by now...

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Osipova is clearly unreliable, but I don't think she has done any trashing of ABT. If anything, her trash talk has been directed more at the Bolshoi. Osipova doesn't just attract the Russian audience. Her fan base is much broader than the Russian audience now.

There is a signficant portion of the ballet going public who refuse to see rep programs, so NYCB is not an alternative for them. It's story ballet or nothing for such people.

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How much of a loss was Michele Wiles?

I don't think Michele Wiles was much of a loss. She was always so stiff in her upper body.

Plisskin, I think you've forgotten Gillian. But yes, the ballerina front is even worse than the male front. There's been plenty of room to bring up Misty, Sarah and Stella. Will that happen? No. Again, ABT needs a new AD. If it keeps going this way, it may not exist in 5 years.

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Nobody has mentioned Calvin Royal in this discussion, although many of us have singled him out in the past. It's refreshing to read here that he is using some of his Annenberg grant for private coaching from Stiefel. But his planned visits to companies in Europe and Russia make me nervous -- somebody will snatch him!

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/calvin-royal-man-to-man

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Thank you, California--lovely piece about Calvin Royal and, secondarily, Ethan.

Now, I'm going to repeat something I've posted on this site at least two or three times before. Kevin isn't going anywhere. Remember the performance a couple of years ago that celebrated his anniversary as AD? At that time, he was signed to another ten-year contract. Barring some kind of financial debacle that the board attributes to him, and he is compelled to leave, he's here for another eight years. Got that, everyone? Complain all you like, and I agree with most of you, but he isn't going anywhere.

Ethan, do you think you can wait eight years? I hope so.

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