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Vanessa Zahorian & Davit Karapetyan retiring at season's end

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Yes, not a happy announcement for SFB. I wish them both much luck in their new careers though. Two excellent people.


My guess is that Davit's back injury is proving to be a real problem for him, and I'll bet they both want to start a family. And plans have to be made for the future after dance...

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I saw the announcement on FB


I also received an email.  I was not expecting this.  There are so many performances - both individually and together - I can remember.  I think for most people it would be Romeo & Juliet.  I am sad to see them go.  Merde to a great season and best wishes in their future roles with Pennsylvania Ballet Academy!!

Edited by sf_herminator
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7 minutes ago, its the mom said:

sf_herminator - This is not Pennsylvania Ballet.  Pennsylvania Ballet should be so blessed.  This is a school very close to the area where Vanessa grew up.

Thanks, I did update it to Pennsylvania Ballet Academy.  I am always happy to see dancers passing on their knowledge to future generations.

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Well, I am very unhappy about this and blindsided.  I also received that email.


 I have loved watching the beautiful Vanessa Zahorian since seeing her in Allegro Brilliante many years ago, and I was torn apart, twice, seeing her with her husband, Davit Karapetyan, in Onegin.  I would have loved to see her in The Sleeping Beauty. She completely masks a bravura technique with exquisite lyricism.   And Davit Karapetyan is one of the very best male dancers on stage.  Hats off to them for leaving the stage at this point in their careers. I was in the audience when he proposed to her after Romeo and Juliet. I do hope that Davit recovers from his recent injury to dance this season.  Vanessa is dancing in the premiere of Myles Thatcher's new ballet in April and I will be there.  Lucky Pennsylvania Ballet Academy. 


All the best to these two exemplary dance-artists and lovely, generous people.

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It's funny how quickly things start to look 'unstable'. Ah well.

SFB keeps losing its most experienced danseurs (and best partners). Now I'm wondering if the early promotion of Sasha was meant to mitigate this heavy loss. Will Jen Stahl, or Lauren Strongin, be promoted at the end of the season?

I'm very curious about who will be chosen from among the Corps to be soloist - who is truly ready?



And who to replace Davit? Will Hansuke be promoted? The most exciting male soloist may be the brand-new Angelo Greco, but he has to prove himself over the course of the season. It's very possible he may follow his countryman, Carlo Di Lanno, and be promoted very rapidly.

Edited by pherank
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Really, no one can replace Karapetyan.  He is perfect.   But I saw newly hired principal dancer Aaron Robison in The Nutcracker and was impressed with his ardency, beautiful technique, expressive quality, and his love of performing.  He fills the stage.  Robison danced with Sasha, who was pouring out happiness in the Grand pas de deux. 


I also saw Lauren Strongin dance the Snow pas de deux in the last show, and she was channeling Vivien Leigh while dancing with beautiful delicacy and classical lines you seldom see in the U.S. 

Jen Stahl had, for me, a new assurance in the classical Snow pas de deux and she is moving beyond the soloist stage.  The entire company looked invigorated in the last three evening Nutcrackers I saw.  Best of all were Vanessa and Taras Domitro in the Grand pas de deux, which was on another level from the outstanding dancers due to the relaxed ease of their brilliant technique; plus they had a complicity performing together which was infectious for the audience.

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2 hours ago, Josette said:

Really, no one can replace Karapetyan.


Aesthetically and technically speaking, you are quite right - Davit is irreplaceable. But, still, some danseur has to be brought into that principal position. It's too early to tell how Greco will develop. For me personally, there isn't any soloist or Corps member, currently with SFB, who can dance and act on Davit's level. That person may have to come from outside the company.

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8 hours ago, pherank said:

It's funny how quickly things start to look 'unstable'. Ah well.

SFB keeps losing its most experienced danseurs (and best partners).


And who to replace Davit? Will Hansuke be promoted? The most exciting male soloist may be the brand-new Angelo Greco, but he has to prove himself over the course of the season. It's very possible he may follow his countryman, Carlo Di Lanno, and be promoted very rapidly.

Yes, the fortunes of a company can turn so quickly. That's four principal men departing within two years. Good thing they have Houston Ballet and La Scala as their farm teams! :wink:

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Was so very sad to hear this news, too. Davit K is far and away my favorite male principal, and if you count the retirements of Damian Smith (liked him SO much) and Rubén Martín Cintas, that makes a whopping six they've lost in three (?) years. While the current principals are certainly talented, (please, Tiit Helimets, don't go anywhere) there now seems like a big hole in the male principal roster. I very much enjoyed Hansuke dancing the Grand Pas during the Nut Run, but he seems to be more along the lines of the principals they already have - lean, great jumps, fine partners, but not the powerful theatricality and stage presence of Davit K. Not to mention his breathtaking technique. I'm very sorry to see Vanessa go as well, but, knowing this was her 20th year, I knew it was a matter of time (I, too, expected the exodus of one or two others first, tho). But it seems to me Helgi's got some wonderful female talent in the company, at all three levels. 


Now would be a great time for Helgi to poach a world class Russian male principal, huh? (One can dream, right?)


I saw Steven Morse performing alongside principals in more than one ballet last season, and I thought he fit in splendidly. Not that that helps the principal situation, but it seems to me he's read to be bumped up at least to soloist.


In spite of my own sadness, I am, of course, happy for the two of them. And Josette, lucky for you, to have been in the audience the night Davit proposed to Vanessa. That had to have been absolutely thrilling!

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Terez, the proposal was a particular thrill because I was sitting next to someone who knew it was going to happen and he told me before the performance started.  Vanessa was caught unawares.

 I will never forget the delighted cries of the audience when Davit knelt on one knee in front of her and everyone realized what was happening.


PeggyTulle, I too am glad that it was announced now, before their last season is underway.

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Just a quick interruption of our sadness to show that life goes on, and the 2017 season rehearsals are getting underway again:


Is that Feijoo and Cruz shadowing Froustey and Walsh?


I couldn't help but laugh at Masha's predicament - she's been trapped on Highway 1 (due to weather closures). Perhaps she's finally made it through?




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Josette - you certainly get to hold on to the memory of a lifetime! I've seen someone's YouTube footage of the moment after he gets on one knee, and it charms me over and over.


Pherank, thanks for the entertaining links. Yes, life goes on, and it goes on beautifully, at the SFB. Just love seeing Masha scampering off after she does her little dévelopé off the road sign. Whoops, bad timing for a Big Sur road trip! (IS that Cruz with the beard?! Not something I see on the dancers too often - the advantage of rehearsal weeks, I suppose.)

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