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

Macaulay on ABT Spring Season


Recommended Posts

What's up with this 'in-grown home talent' obsession? Sounds so West Virginia to me:) But seriously, it's not only 'slow and painful' but can be fruitless, too. You all talk like the results are guaranteed, but they're not. See, the problem with developing home talent is that the key word here should be talent, not home, otherwise the results will be boring and amateurish, which is exactly what ABT looks these days. Throw in a pretentious choreograph who can't choreograph anything of any interest or value and you get the final product: rows and rows of empty seats, stacks and stacks of unsold tickets.

As for replacing Swan Lake, I'm 99% sure Olga and all other Ratmansky fans will get their wish in 2018, which will be pretty much the end of ABT as we know it(((((((

Link to comment
As for replacing Swan Lake, I'm 99% sure . . . Ratmansky fans will get their wish in 2018

From the July 2016 Dance Europe interview with Kevin McKenzie:

Did you pass on Ratmansky's other reconstructions, like Swan Lake? Would you be interested in bringing other reconstructions to ABT?

Yes, I would, but probably not Swan Lake. I have my own production that works and is iconic to the company now.

Link to comment

From the July 2016 Dance Europe interview with Kevin McKenzie:

Did you pass on Ratmansky's other reconstructions, like Swan Lake? Would you be interested in bringing other reconstructions to ABT?

Yes, I would, but probably not Swan Lake. I have my own production that works and is iconic to the company now.

Good news for those of us hoping that PNB gets it!

Link to comment

From the July 2016 Dance Europe interview with Kevin McKenzie:

Did you pass on Ratmansky's other reconstructions, like Swan Lake? Would you be interested in bringing other reconstructions to ABT?

Yes, I would, but probably not Swan Lake. I have my own production that works and is iconic to the company now.

Not surprised he feels that way. In any event, I believe Ratmansky said in a recent interview he was working on another reconstruction for New York.

Link to comment

Enjoying this thread a lot. Responses to a few remarks made above:

I'm team Ratmansky all the way (I even liked--no, I loved--much of The Tempest) and he makes ABT an important part of the conversation about ballet as a serious art form. Yet I did have some questions about the impact of the Shostakovich trilogy as a full-evening work when I saw it this spring at the Met. I suspect that that its impact was a little blunted for me partly because of the shadowy lighting mentioned in a post above and (in the first two works) the dark and/or limited color palette of the costumes. Bluntly, the effect was kind of homogenizing and I even found the dancing sometimes a little hard to really see. The shadowiness also put more pressure on the dancers to project effectively and not all of them did. However, I plead guilty to sitting upstairs and, on the eyesight front, middle age.

I gather it's a forlorn hope but would like to see Mckenzie's Swan Lake replaced. I am very eager to see Ratmansky's production in any case. But still, deep down, I suspect, when it comes to ABT, I would prefer a "middle way" production to a strict reconstruction--say, the original libretto/choreography as template but letting aspects of the dancing soar and convey worlds of fantasy that reflect (up to a point) the way the ballet's interpretation has evolved with dancers' bodies/techniques.

On the international star front: I would just like to add that Herman Cornejo is the peer of any international male ballet star and widely recognized by critics and many fans as such. No-one has to like any dancer, but I think he merits recognition as a world class artist. Cornejo is not enough, perhaps, to compensate for other weaknesses in the ABT roster--and, as I often say, I'm a ballerina-centric fan myself--but I think it worth registering how lucky ABT is to have him. People may point to his age and injuries, but I think he still dances with remarkable beauty and charisma--I saw him in Ratmansky and Ashton, and I even think he has gotten...uh...sexier with age. (I tried to find a more high-minded way to say that, but gave up.)

Edited to say: I guess I should have said something about Macaulay since this is the dance writing thread! Mostly I'm struck by the critical support he is giving to the overall season--not just to the rep that he likes, but (as he has in the past) comparing ABT favorably to the Royal when it comes to Ashton. No matter how much the Royal's Ashton may have fallen off, that's still strong praise. In general in his writings, whether re ABT or Sarasota ballet, he seems to try hard to build an audience for Ashton (that shouldn't be necessary to do, but seems to be anyway) -- and even here, looking back over the season, presumably wants to keep championing ABT as a home for Ashton. I appreciate that since I want ABT to be a home for Ashton too.

Link to comment

What's up with this 'in-grown home talent' obsession?

Because a focussed, well-wrought, and sustained commitment to developing and showcasing talent in-house — ideally starting with a school of one's own or a feeder system of schools that understand one's aesthetic and programming objectives — helps foster that increasingly rare thing: an actual company style.

To each his own, but I'll take a company with its own coherent style over a company stuffed with stars who look like they came from different planets any day.

Now that ABT has a school and a resident choreographer, who — and this is important — has the care and maintenance of his own rep among his responsibilities it may develop a clearly identifiable style of its own. Carefully nurturing its Ashton and Tudor rep will help, too.

Link to comment

Edited to say: I guess I should have said something about Macaulay since this is the dance writing thread! Mostly I'm struck by the critical support he is giving to the overall season--not just to the rep that he likes, but (as he has in the past) comparing ABT favorably to the Royal when it comes to Ashton. No matter how much the Royal's Ashton may have fallen off, that's still strong praise. In general in his writings, whether re ABT or Sarasota ballet, he seems to try hard to build an audience for Ashton (that shouldn't be necessary to do, but seems to be anyway) -- and even here, looking back over the season, presumably wants to keep championing ABT as a home for Ashton. I appreciate that since I want ABT to be a home for Ashton too.

I think almost everyone who knows Ashton's repertory wants to promote it. I wish Pacific Northwest Ballet would stage something from that rep, but I'm afraid it's not going to happen any time soon.

Link to comment

Because a focussed, well-wrought, and sustained commitment to developing and showcasing talent in-house — ideally starting with a school of one's own or a feeder system of schools that understand one's aesthetic and programming objectives — helps foster that increasingly rare thing: an actual company style.

To each his own, but I'll take a company with its own coherent style over a company stuffed with stars who look like they came from different planets any day.

Now that ABT has a school and a resident choreographer, who — and this is important — has the care and maintenance of his own rep among his responsibilities it may develop a clearly identifiable style of its own. Carefully nurturing its Ashton and Tudor rep will help, too.

Sounds great. Too bad they will be excelling in that elusive style of their own in an empty theater. Nobody to appreciate it except for a few dozens aficionados and close friends/family of the home-grown 'stars'

And who exactly are they developing while their audience longs for really good dancers? Forgive my bluntness, but there's no Ulanova, no Guillem, no Maximova, no Fonteyn, not even Makarova in sight. ABT will end up raising another bunch of Boylstons and Seos that nobody wants to see, especially in Ratmansky productions. Probably the whole thing will be eventually relocated to LA where the culture-starved audiences will lap up anything for a couple of years, before the last trip to total oblivion in a storage dump somewhere in Nevada desert.

Link to comment

Because a focussed, well-wrought, and sustained commitment to developing and showcasing talent in-house — ideally starting with a school of one's own or a feeder system of schools that understand one's aesthetic and programming objectives — helps foster that increasingly rare thing: an actual company style.

To each his own, but I'll take a company with its own coherent style over a company stuffed with stars who look like they came from different planets any day.

Now that ABT has a school and a resident choreographer, who — and this is important — has the care and maintenance of his own rep among his responsibilities it may develop a clearly identifiable style of its own. Carefully nurturing its Ashton and Tudor rep will help, too.

It can be exciting to see a program with astonishing guests, but as you point out, it doesn't really help to foster a coherent identity for a company. There have been companies that were primarily about the guest stars, but they didn't really last very long, or foster a sense of identity with its community.

The fact is that you don't get a Ulanova or Fonteyn through a frequent flyer program. They were nurtured by their home theaters, over a long period.

Link to comment

Sounds great. Too bad they will be excelling in that elusive style of their own in an empty theater. Nobody to appreciate it except for a few dozens aficionados and close friends/family of the home-grown 'stars'

And who exactly are they developing while their audience longs for really good dancers? Forgive my bluntness, but there's no Ulanova, no Guillem, no Maximova, no Fonteyn, not even Makarova in sight. ABT will end up raising another bunch of Boylstons and Seos that nobody wants to see, especially in Ratmansky productions. Probably the whole thing will be eventually relocated to LA where the culture-starved audiences will lap up anything for a couple of years, before the last trip to total oblivion in a storage dump somewhere in Nevada desert.

Boylston's Swan Lake was basically sold out, so I think plenty of people wanted to see it. Her Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty was almost sold out as well even though according to you that should have been empty, what with a Boylston and Ratmansky pairing.

Link to comment

Sounds great. Too bad they will be excelling in that elusive style of their own in an empty theater. Nobody to appreciate it except for a few dozens aficionados and close friends/family of the home-grown 'stars'

And who exactly are they developing while their audience longs for really good dancers? Forgive my bluntness, but there's no Ulanova, no Guillem, no Maximova, no Fonteyn, not even Makarova in sight. ABT will end up raising another bunch of Boylstons and Seos that nobody wants to see, especially in Ratmansky productions. Probably the whole thing will be eventually relocated to LA where the culture-starved audiences will lap up anything for a couple of years, before the last trip to total oblivion in a storage dump somewhere in Nevada desert.

Well, each of those dancers mentioned were nurtured by their own individual companies. And probably represent a more "European" or "Russian" esthetic or style. Here in NY we tend to look to and appreciate the more open and athletic style of America. It's what Balanchine loved so about the dancers he found and trained here and what certainly influenced all that came after. I would argue that there are no finer dancers anywhere than at City Ballet (Sara Mearns comes to mind) and there are many at ABT that are also simply thrilling to watch. Skylar Brandt, Cassie Trenery come to mind. Catherine Hurlin in that list also. Tastes are what they are, I guess, but my vote still goes to bringing them up through the company and nurturing them accordingly.

Link to comment

Well, each of those dancers mentioned were nurtured by their own individual companies. And probably represent a more "European" or "Russian" esthetic or style. Here in NY we tend to look to and appreciate the more open and athletic style of America. It's what Balanchine loved so about the dancers he found and trained here and what certainly influenced all that came after. I would argue that there are no finer dancers anywhere than at City Ballet (Sara Mearns comes to mind) and there are many at ABT that are also simply thrilling to watch. Skylar Brandt, Cassie Trenery come to mind. Catherine Hurlin in that list also. Tastes are what they are, I guess, but my vote still goes to bringing them up through the company and nurturing them accordingly.

Who are 'we' exactly? I know plenty of people who are not appreciative of athletic ballet. For Balanchine style (of which I personally am not a fan) we already have City Ballet in NY and plenty of other regional companies that are athletic, open, modern, what have you. ABT used to be the only more or less European, traditional, classical ballet theater in the US. Now it's going to be just like everybody else. Sorry, but I fail to see the point.

Link to comment

Hahahaha

I take from this that Makarova is the least of what you're willing to sit through a performance of?

Geez.

That's absolutely right: of all the ballerinas mentioned above I've always liked Makarova less than others. But by today's ABT standards she was a genius.

Link to comment

Hmmm ... I don't think any of those ballerinas are available, even if McKenzie were of a mind to fly them over.

Who would you like to see him import?

Pretty much any leading ballerina from the Kirov, Bolshoi, POB, Royal, etc. would be better than the incessant parade of Boylston, Seo, Copland, etc. Maybe it's just me, I don't know, but financially the season was a disaster, and that's not an personal opinion, but a fact. And my feeling is that it will get much worse before it gets any better.

Link to comment

That's absolutely right: of all the ballerinas mentioned above I've always liked Makarova less than others. But by today's ABT standards she was a genius.

I have a feeling that our tastes are quite different, but I'm curious -- what is it about Makarova that you find objectionable?

Link to comment

I have a feeling that our tastes are quite different, but I'm curious -- what is it about Makarova that you find objectionable?

For me, Makarova always lacked true refinement. She was a phenomenal technician, of course, but (again, for me) never brought anything really new to the parts she danced. As an artist she was bordering on vulgar, was too obvious, too 'in-your-face' (just as Vishneva is today, which is why I've stopped going to her performances). Strictly IMHO, of course, and never meant to offend anybody.

Link to comment

For me, Makarova always lacked true refinement. She was a phenomenal technician, of course, but (again, for me) never brought anything really new to the parts she danced. As an artist she was bordering on vulgar, was too obvious, too 'in-your-face' (just as Vishneva is today, which is why I've stopped going to her performances). Strictly IMHO, of course, and never meant to offend anybody.

That's interesting...I don't remember Makarova being considered a phenomenal technician per se. In the ABT of that era, one was more likely to see -- or read about -- Gregory's feats of derring-do.

For myself, I hugely admired Makarova. I did occasionally find her a bit 'calculated' which may be related to Waelsung's complaint about her dancing being "too obvious." Still, until I saw Lopatkina I don't believe I ever saw any Odette I found as wondrously legato.

(At ABT, I enjoyed Ananiashvilli as Odette-Odile, but still didn't think she held a candle to Makarova in the role. I'm not 100 percent sure that reaction wasn't partly influenced by quirks of taste (Kirov versus Bolshoi), but I certainly found Makarova more poetic ... )

Link to comment

Pretty much any leading ballerina from the Kirov, Bolshoi, POB, Royal, etc. would be better than the incessant parade of Boylston, Seo, Copland, etc. Maybe it's just me, I don't know, but financially the season was a disaster, and that's not an personal opinion, but a fact. And my feeling is that it will get much worse before it gets any better.

Our tastes differ, which is fine, of course. I much prefer Boylston to Somova or Zakharova, for instance. I find that the latter two ballerinas seem focussed on presenting the audience with extreme extensions and hypercurved geometries at the expense of musicality and line. (And in fairness to them, perhaps they have been coached to do so.) Although Boylston's legs and feet have a bit more of an "S" curve to them than I personally find ideal (I like a straight leg and don't get me started on winged feet), I like the way she phrases her dancing and very much appreciate the sureness and musicality her attack. Her dancing isn't conventionally pretty, but I don't much care about prettiness.

Also, repertory matters. I certainly wouldn't want to see ABT fly a Somova over to perform any of its Balanchine, Ashton, or Tharp ballets. (Semionova makes shapes to die for, but she was as dull as dishwater in Theme and Variations.)

ETA: As far as I'm concerned, the fact that ABT won't be able to easily airlift in some random Russian to dance Aurora in Ratmansky's version of Sleeping Beauty is a feature, not a bug.

Link to comment

Pretty much any leading ballerina from the Kirov, Bolshoi, POB, Royal, etc. would be better than the incessant parade of Boylston, Seo, Copland, etc. Maybe it's just me, I don't know, but financially the season was a disaster, and that's not an personal opinion, but a fact. And my feeling is that it will get much worse before it gets any better.

The problem, for me, arises when visiting artists from these (and other) companies, only come to do the big, older ballet "warhorses". Which , I suppose, is OK, except they rarely "fit" with the rest of what's going on in the ballet. Stylistically, there's little coherence. They rarely even "relate" to others on the stage. And many, but not all, don't do the more forward looking work that is still a part of the ABT rep. Even Osipova could barely muster a performance out of "Symphony in C". And I would argue that she didn't come up to snuff doing the Ratmansky "Trilogy". For me, I would much prefer if we could see some of these visiting artists more frequently with their own companies, but of course that would mean they all do more touring abroad. The only dancer in current memory that defies all that I just said was Marianela Nunez from the Royal. She seemed to be a nice fit for ABT when she guested here. And Cojocuru. Well, it's an endless argument. One that resides on one's personal tastes. For now, I do support the dancers we have now in the company and enjoy so many of them. One day we may be adding any one of their names to the list you originally stated.

Link to comment

The only dancer in current memory that defies all that I just said was Marianela Nunez from the Royal. She seemed to be a nice fit for ABT when she guested here. And Cojocuru. Well, it's an endless argument.

Well on this point you'll get no argument from me. Nuñez and Cojocaru both seemed to fit into the overall proceedings nicely.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...