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Helene

Misty Copeland

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What a despressing prospect. Perhaps ABT should just print "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate" at the top of their contracts.

Hope dies last. They can look at Isabella Boylston and think that this might happen to them someday, even though the odds are longer than just about anywhere else.

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Congress needs to rescind that "National Ballet Company' title ABT lobbied and/ or payed for and give that to NYCB.

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Ratmansky is giving her some opportunities so I'm still hopeful.

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and this is how tough it is to get into a ballet company - 2 photos of the not just beautiful Courtney Lavine - she's strong and well-trained as well.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204065649706696&set=a.1389392100001.2053434.1388040132&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203839551494382&set=p.10203839551494382&type=1&theater

Yep, trained at SAB and passed over by NYCB

.

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NYCB can only take a small percentage of the graduates from SAB. There are only a few open slots every year. The fact that Lavine got into SAB, and didn't have to head out to some small struggling company or to a regional company for a ballet job is indicative of her talent level.

Added: As noted below, ABT might have been her first choice anyway.

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Yep trained at SAB and passed over by NYCB

.

How do you know that NYCB passed on her? According to her bio on ABT she graduated from SAB and went straight to ABT in 2008. Perhaps she wanted to be a classical dancer over a neo-classical. There are many reasons why she is not at NYCB that don't include being denied a place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/01/arts/dance/01corps.html

This news story states that the year Lavine joined ABT as apprentice only two other dancers were included with her. This is a big accomplishment, maybe even more so considering how ABT casts its dancers nowadays.

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Congress needs to rescind that "National Ballet Company' title ABT lobbied and/ or payed for and give that to NYCB.

I'd prefer they give it to San Francisco Ballet. Or The Joffrey. Or PNB. Or Houston Ballet. Let's face it. Almost all ballet companies in the U. S. have international rosters. But most allow consistent advancement from the corps de ballet, except for clunky ABT.

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NYCB can only take a small percentage of the graduates from SAB. There are only a few open slots every year. The fact that Lavine got into SAB, and didn't have to head out to some small struggling company or to a regional company for a ballet job is indicative of her talent level.

Added: As noted below, ABT might have been her first choice anyway.

NYCB not a dancer's first choice? The devil you say?! :wink:

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The fact that ABT was able to get the title America's National Ballet Company, or whatever the exact words are, I'm sure has everything to do with their relationship with Caroline Kennedy and her influence in Washington. Really, do you think ABT has sold even one additional ticket because it had that silly designation?

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The fact that ABT was able to get the title America's National Ballet Company, or whatever the exact words are, I'm sure has everything to do with their relationship with Caroline Kennedy and her influence in Washington. Really, do you think ABT has sold even one additional ticket because it had that silly designation?

Excellent point.

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I'd prefer they give it to San Francisco Ballet. Or The Joffrey. Or PNB. Or Houston Ballet. Let's face it. Almost all ballet companies in the U. S. have international rosters. But most allow consistent advancement from the corps de ballet, except for clunky ABT.

Considering how proud they are that everyone is a relative of a relative and this has been so for many years...maybe they should just call themselves Hillbilly Hollow.

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Congress needs to rescind that "National Ballet Company' title ABT lobbied and/ or payed for and give that to NYCB.

While I would agree with this in so many ways, NYCB is still a New York company, not only in name, but it doesn't do the amount of touring elsewhere that even ABT does. While I believe it more readily represents a distinctive "American" style, I'm not sure a title of" National company" would be a good fit.

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Unless a company says they "recruited" or "stole" someone, a dancer says he or she was recruited by a company, or this is reported in the mainstream media, there is no official source for this or any other personnel decision.

We don't care who you are or with whom you went to ballet class or with whom you worked or whom you taught or from whom you heard -- "I heard" posts are the number one reason for posts being edited or deleted and members being put on "Moderated" status -- you are not official sources. Keep these comments off the board, as the vast majority of ballet professionals who post here do.

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Just love the second Lavine photo in particular...

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NYCB not a dancer's first choice? The devil you say?! wink1.gif

It's unusual for a top year-round student at SAB to want to dance elsewhere, but among the dancers who have, or have switched from NYCB to ABT, the common stated reason for those on the record is to dance the classical and full-length repertoire. It may be too soon to see if Martins' inclusion of "Swan Lake," "Romeo + Juliet," and "La Sylphide" into the rep in addition to his early "Sleeping Beauty" will make a difference to the few who think about going elsewhere, even if NYCB wants them.

ETA: If I were a dancer, I would balance the lower odds of advancement with the opportunity to work with Ratmansky.

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The fact that ABT was able to get the title America's National Ballet Company, or whatever the exact words are, I'm sure has everything to do with their relationship with Caroline Kennedy and her influence in Washington. Really, do you think ABT has sold even one additional ticket because it had that silly designation?

No, and my comment didn't elude to anything of the sort. It was said in jest. That title is eyeroll worthy at best, especially considering that there is nothing American about ABT. I even think they should just revert the name back to Ballet Theatre. That makes much more sense for this company whose AD and staff value international stars dancers.

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I smugly assumed that if I looked at the numbers, they would show that ABT should be tarred and feathered. Imagine how surprised I was to find that the stats for San Francisco Ballet home-grown -- started at SFB and rose through the ranks, without regard for school training -- Principal Dancers are dire:

  • 9-hired directly
  • 7-hired as Soloists, and all but Sarah van Patten promoted to Principal within 0-3 years. (It took van Patten five years). Six were hired from other companies; Yuan Yuan Tan went straight from school and competitions to a soloist position.
  • 2-hired into the corps. It took Frances Chung eight years to rise through the ranks and Vanessa Zahorian, 17.
  • 1-hired as an apprentice. Jaime Garcia Castillo rose to Principal in seven years.

Total: 19. 3/19 can be considered homegrown (16%)

ABT, without guest principals

  • 3-hired directly
  • 4-hired as Soloist from other companies. Two promoted within a year. It took Simkin four and Part seven.
  • 5-hired into the corps, from 1986-1997. They went through the ranks in four (Herrera)-seven (Kent) years.
  • 4-hired from the Studio Company from 2000-2005. They went through the ranks in six (Hallberg)-nine seasons (Boylston)

Total: 16. 9/16, not counting guest artists, can be considered "home-grown" (56.25%)

Trying to quantify Principal casting, based on the roles listed on the website calendar, as of today:

Mixed Bills (Total: 66, after factoring-22):

45-ABT Principals

15-ABT Soloists

6-ABT Corps

Otello (20):

14-ABT Principals

4-ABT Soloists

2-ABT Corps

Giselle (24):

16-ABT Principals

3-Guest Principals

5-ABT Soloists

Sleeping Beauty -- only two leads listed (22):

18-ABT Principals

2-Guest Principals

2-ABT Soloists

La Bayadere (24):

12-ABT Principals

9-Guest Principals

3-ABT Soloists

Romeo and Juliet (8):

11-ABT Principals

3-ABT Soloists

2-Guest Principals

Swan Lake (24):

18-ABT Principals

4-ABT Soloists

2-ABT Corps

Cinderella (16):

10-ABT Principals

2-Guest Principals

4-ABT Soloists

To be conservative, I'm counting the mixed bill roles to be the equivalent of 1/3 of a lead in a full length, and even though I think counting von Rothbart as a major role is questionable, that's at a least offset by the lack of listing for Lilac Fairy, for which I haven't heard of any guest artists coming in. The mixed bill roles after factoring by 1/3 total 15 ABT Principals, 5 ABT Soloists, and 2 ABT Corps.

Total Roles (168):

  • 114-ABT Principals--68%
  • 18-Guest Principals--11%
  • 30-ABT Soloists--18%
  • 6-ABT Corps--4%

(Due to rounding, that's 101%)

For full-lengths only (146 roles):

  • 99-ABT Principals--68%
  • 18-Guest Principals--12%
  • 25 ABT Soloists--17%
  • 4-ABT Corps--3%

Aside from any consideration of who gets promoted because of what roles they dance, like Nikiya vs. Gamzatti -- I have no idea how to quantify that -- if 10 guests are dancing 11% of the Principal roles, or 12% of the full-lengths, taking into consideration how few repeat performances there are in general -- ie how casting tends to another cast, rather than any dancer having three of a full-length -- that translates into, at most, three more Principal spots (or opportunities for Soloists). Even if I translate those three into ABT Principals hired directly, we still have only 6/16, or 38%, compared to 56% for San Francisco Ballet.

While I understand that having full-time Principals in the Company is not the same as having guest artists, nor is the perception by their fellow dancers the same (for better or worse), I sit here astonished and ashamed that I thought ABT was the worst of the lot in terms of hiring and promoting from within. San Francisco Ballet, with i's overwhelmingly foreign-born and foreign-trained Principals who came in directly from other companies (47%), another five who joined as soloists -- soloists who came from other companies (26%) -- has no claim on America's anything.

Of course, in Canada, we have "National Ballet of Canada," which feels that a yearly trip to Ottawa -- thank you Federal government! -- and an occasional foray into the sticks (aka "Western Tour"), makes the name meaningful.

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Today's digital version of the NY Times reports that tonight's edition of 60 Minutes on CBS will carry a feature on Misty, her childhood struggles and rise to soloist at ABT. If there are people in this country who don't follow ballet (and there are many), but do watch this always top 10-rated TV program, they too will now know her story. After this nationwide exposure, how can she not be promoted to principal?

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Today's digital version of the NY Times reports that tonight's edition of 60 Minutes on CBS will carry a feature on Misty, her childhood struggles and rise to soloist at ABT. If there are people in this country who don't follow ballet (and there are many), but do watch this always top 10-rated TV program, they too will now know her story. After this nationwide exposure, how can she not be promoted to principal?

Thanks for this, CT. I'm away from home but will program Mom's VCR!

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Today's digital version of the NY Times reports that tonight's edition of 60 Minutes on CBS will carry a feature on Misty, her childhood struggles and rise to soloist at ABT. If there are people in this country who don't follow ballet (and there are many), but do watch this always top 10-rated TV program, they too will now know her story. After this nationwide exposure, how can she not be promoted to principal?

"and there are many"

The truth is that MOST people in the U.S. don't follow ballet or any other classical performance art. And most don't feel they are missing out on anything when they don't.

As to Misty making principle, she says it's still her goal, but even if she doesn't make it, she says she's found that her mission in life is to expose more girls of color to the art form.

No matter what happens in her career, that will always be her biggest accomplishment and I think she now realizes that fact.

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Watched and loved the 60 MINUTES segment. Lots of great clips shown, including Odette with WB. Hopefully the skeptics saw the beauty of her line (those legs) and the deeply poetic interpretation that I described on this site after that first SWAN LAKE in DC. In my 40+ years attending world-class ballet I've perhaps seen one superior Odette and her name is Lopatkina.

Other clips included leads in NUTCRACKER (peek-a-boo Sugarplum solo), COPPELIA Swanhilda, BACH PARTITA , Rhoden's AVE MARIA adagio, and Bluebird pdd fm Ratmansky's SB with Gabe Stone Shayer...which leads me to...what the heck is up with the ticky-tacky orange-blue cocktail dress and the cardboard tiara for Princess Florine??? (I hope that Florine's costume is an anomaly but I digress; more of that after the premiere on May 29.) The CBS piece tonight was fantastic. Kevin McKenzie spoke so well of Misty, practically letting us know that she'd soon be not just a Principal but a very special one...maybe Super-Duper Assoluta?

A treasure of a 60 MINUTES segment. Thank you, CBS...and "Brava!" To Misty Copeland.

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I thought she looked awful in the SL costume and the dancing was terrible. I also couldn't believe she fell off pointe in SB. If that's the kind of dancing that will pass for principal, I'll just pass on seeing ABT. I'm almost at that point now, but seeing the mediocrity of Misty's dancing, if that passes for principal dancing, will just put me over the edge.

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I thought she looked awful in the SL costume and the dancing was terrible. I also couldn't believe she fell off pointe in SB. If that's the kind of dancing that will pass for principal, I'll just pass on seeing ABT. I'm almost at that point now, but seeing the mediocrity of Misty's dancing, if that passes for principal dancing, will just put me over the edge.

Can you be specific about what you didn't like?

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