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55 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I’m certainly not offended but I also don’t think Forster has really been tested and/or failed such tests. Has he fallen short with any consistency  in roles he’s been given?

I like Forster in poetic or dramatic roles with less challenging ballet steps like Les Sylphides, Lilac Garden and Jane Eyre.  However, I question his ability to pull  off full length roles like Albrecht or Siegfried. This is just based on seeing him in smaller roles like Ballroom Rothbart. 

Significant talent tends to rise to the top.  It was not a coincidence when last season Bell got the role of Romeo when Lendorf withdrew.  Sometimes McKenzie makes bad choices, but he seems to also be able to recognize prodigious talent when it's before him. 

I believe there are often other factors at work that have nothing to do with talent or ability when a marginal dancer  is elevated to principal at ABT.  Was it mere coincidence that Hee Seo made principal at the end of the 2012 Met Opera season, shortly before ABT embarked upon its tour to Asia (including South Korea)? 

Edited by abatt
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58 minutes ago, canbelto said:

It’s really hard to tell what happens once a dancer makes principal. Remember Michele Wiles? Here Seo? And to a lesser extent Devon Teuscher? Both great soloists who just weren’t/aren’t interesting in principal roles, 

otoh Christine Shevchenko is someone who has grown by leaps and bounds since making principal. 

Devon looked excellent this season.

Hee (who I had avoided for a while)  was in some ways the most technically secure of the 3 Auroras I saw (Sarah Lane and Cassie Trenary the others). And was lovely and gracious throughout. Really a lovely Aurora.

People see and appreciate different things!

That said, I agree totally on Michele Wiles and Shevy. And I'd even grant that Devon seemed to have a bit of a rough season last year.

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14 minutes ago, abatt said:

I like Forster in poetic or dramatic roles with less challenging ballet steps like Les Sylphides, Lilac Garden and Jane Eyre.  However, I question his ability to pull  off full length roles like Albrecht or Siegfried. This is just based on seeing him in smaller roles like Ballroom Rothbart. 

Significant talent tends to rise to the top.  It was not a coincidence when last season Bell got the role of Romeo when Lendorf withdrew.  Sometimes McKenzie makes bad choices, but he seems to also be able to recognize prodigious talent when it's before him.

I agree that he has recognized and promoted prodigious talent. (Another reason the psychological argument doesn't really work. Such dancers have been promoted throughout his tenure.) I wonder if he's quite as good at cultivating less prodigious talents. A really solid roster probably needs to be populated by both types: those who were born to be principals and those who were made principal. (I'm using "born to be" metaphorically — obviously tons of hard work goes into and comes out of both types.)

He tried to cultivate Gorak, I think,  but it didn't really work out. Same with Hammoudi. But I think for every 10 you try, you'll see results from...1 or 2?

I don't think Forster has been given enough of those types of challenging technical roles. Why doesn't he dance Benno, for instance? (Hoven does.) He finally got Nutcracker this year, and by all the reports I saw on here he was quite impressive. He's done very well in Whipped Cream, I believe. I've generally found his ballroom Rothbart to be quite solid, arabesque balances aside (a quite unusual step in the male principal repertoire). He looked great in Symphonie Concertante last fall (a lot of partnering, but also some tougher short solos in the finale).

If it were enough for significant talent to just rise to the top, the company would have more than three full-time male principals. There has to be more that could be done.

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26 minutes ago, abatt said:

I believe there are often other factors at work that have nothing to do with talent or ability when a marginal dancer  is elevated to principal at ABT.  Was it mere coincidence that Hee Seo made principal at the end of the 2012 Met Opera season, shortly before ABT embarked upon its tour to Asia (including South Korea)? 

I know people love to attribute ulterior motives to all these decisions, but I'd guess that yes, it was mere coincidence.

Giving her principal roles on that tour, why of course I'm sure that was, to a degree, calculated to appeal to the audience.

But I can't imagine it would make much (or any) of a difference to the audience size whether the Korean dancer playing the lead was a soloist or principal. Certainly not enough of a difference to off set the jump in salary they would have to pay her (and continue to pay her for years).

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5 minutes ago, nanushka said:

If it were enough for significant talent to just rise to the top, the company would have more than three full-time male principals. There has to be more that could be done.

If McKenzie did  not allow dancers like Hallberg and Simkin to seek opportunities elsewhere, I think they would just quit.  That's part of  the reason the ranks are so thin for the non-Met season among the principal men.

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44 minutes ago, abatt said:

If McKenzie did  not allow dancers like Hallberg and Simkin to seek opportunities elsewhere, I think they would just quit.  That's part of  the reason the ranks are so thin for the non-Met season among the principal men.

Does the current roster (even counting Bell as a principal in all but title) seem sufficient then?

Even for the Met season I’d argue that the ranks are too thin. Hallberg’s and Simkin’s travels (plus injuries, etc) all have to be factored into the mix. It’s McKenzie’s job to account for such things. Last week we had a corps dancer pick up two lead role performances (this dancing 4 of the 8) and drop a solo to get through it all.

Edited by nanushka
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46 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Does the current roster (even counting Bell as a principal in all but title) seem sufficient then?

Even for the Met season I’d argue that the ranks are too thin. Hallberg’s and Simkin’s travels (plus injuries, etc) all have to be factored into the mix. It’s McKenzie’s job to account for such things. Last week we had a corps dancer pick up two lead role performances and drop a solo to get through it all.

I agree that the male roster is too thin, even with Bell dancing leads. I also wouldn’t rule out Mack joining for the upcoming season. He will be a guest with ENB through the fall so perhaps he’ll dance with ABT starting in the winter. Or, just guest again at the Met. 

Regarding Forster, he hasn’t been adequately tested to rule him out. Why not? I’d love to know. Dramatically, I think he’d be amazing, perhaps astonishing, as Siegried or Albrecht. Technically, I cannot say but I believe he should be given the chance (in contrast with Royal, who would have a LOT of difficulty with the choreography).  I don’t see him as Benno though, partially due to his size and natural authority. I think it would look odd to have Siegried’s sidekick tower over him. I don’t see him in this role at all, I guessed for other reasons I cannot explain. 

And, I agree with abatt that if the AD wasn’t so lenient with Hallberg, he’d be out of there in a millisecond. He’s proven that ABT is his last priority. 

It’ll be interesting to see if Lendorf actually dances this season.

Edited by ABT Fan
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17 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I don’t see him as Benno though, partially due to his size and natural authority. I think it would look odd to have Siegried’s sidekick tower over him. I don’t see him in this role at all, I guessed for other reasons I cannot explain. 

He’d hardly tower over, say, Whiteside. (Stearns would be more I’d a problem, though less due to size — he’d just seem so much less dynamic than Forster.) And I don’t know that Forster is all that much taller than Hoven. I think the choreography would suit him quite well. I completely understand that there are other intangibles and matters of taste though.

And as a separate note, to clarify my earlier comments: Forster is just my personal favorite. Setting him aside, my views on the current state of the male roster would remain the same.

Edited by nanushka
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1 hour ago, aurora said:

Devon looked excellent this season.

Hee (who I had avoided for a while)  was in some ways the most technically secure of the 3 Auroras I saw (Sarah Lane and Cassie Trenary the others). And was lovely and gracious throughout. Really a lovely Aurora.

People see and appreciate different things!

That said, I agree totally on Michele Wiles and Shevy. And I'd even grant that Devon seemed to have a bit of a rough season last year.

It happens in other companies too. For awhile Chase Finlay and Lauren Lovette were a heavily promoted young couple at NYCB and given lots of roles and promoted quickly. Neither of them developed the versatility and technique to really keep up with NYCB's marathon schedule. Finlay is of course no longer with the company for ... reasons, but Lovette is still maybe the weakest principal technically. 

As for Forster I know a one-acter is not the same as, say, dancing Romeo but Forster looked excellent as the male lead in The Seasons. And he pulled off that torch lift of Abrera at the end with no problems.

Another principal who had a few rough seasons before finally finding her groove was Isabella Boylston. 

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5 hours ago, nanushka said:

He’d hardly tower over, say, Whiteside. (Stearns would be more I’d a problem, though less due to size — he’d just seem so much less dynamic than Forster.) And I don’t know that Forster is all that much taller than Hoven. I think the choreography would suit him quite well. I completely understand that there are other intangibles and matters of taste though.

And as a separate note, to clarify my earlier comments: Forster is just my personal favorite. Setting him aside, my views on the current state of the male roster would remain the same.

i read somewhere that Tom is 6'2 or 6'3.

 

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I tend to feel that, given the current state of their repertory and programming policies, no-one should be promoted to principal at ABT until they have established that they can carry full length ballets--ideally in both the nineteenth-century and 20th-century repertories, though I certainly accept that dancers have different strengths and weaknesses.

For that reason, I'm always more curious and concerned about casting/opportunities--which can be very slow-going at ABT--than rank.  I'm a Forster fan and I would think it close to a scandal if he were promoted to principal without having proven himself in successful performances of major full-length roles such as Siegfried or Albrecht on the one hand and Romeo or Des Grieux on the other.

A miracle cure for whatever has prevented Lendorf from achieving full and lasting recovery from injuries would certainly be a wonderful turn of events. . .In any case, here's hoping great futures await Aran Bell and Joo Won Ahn...

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8 hours ago, bingham said:

i read somewhere that Tom is 6'2 or 6'3.

 

That’s about right. Hoven is inches shorter. I recently stood next to him so he’s about 5’10, 5’11 at the tallest.

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14 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Regarding Forster, he hasn’t been adequately tested to rule him out. Why not? I’d love to know. Dramatically, I think he’d be amazing, perhaps astonishing, as Siegried or Albrecht. Technically, I cannot say but I believe he should be given the chance (in contrast with Royal, who would have a LOT of difficulty with the choreography).  I don’t see him as Benno though, partially due to his size and natural authority. I think it would look odd to have Siegried’s sidekick tower over him. I don’t see him in this role at all, I guessed for other reasons I cannot explain. 

And, I agree with abatt that if the AD wasn’t so lenient with Hallberg, he’d be out of there in a millisecond. He’s proven that ABT is his last priority. 

It’ll be interesting to see if Lendorf actually dances this season.

I agree with all you say here, ABT Fan. McKenzie was willing to test Hammoudi who didn’t meet all expectations but has now imo found his real forte in roles like Tybalt. Forster has not been given roles in the Petipa/Macmillan rep that could be considered a testing ground and which are overdue and timely. 

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24 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

That’s about right. Hoven is inches shorter. I recently stood next to him so he’s about 5’10, 5’11 at the tallest.

Ah, that surprises me, given that he partnered Part, who's 5'9 off pointe. I don't have a vivid memory of how their heights compared, though.

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On 7/7/2019 at 10:21 PM, LadyBubbles said:

I think Waski was on track to a promotion until injury struck. Remember that last year she was originally cast as Myrtha and who knows what else until she was sidelined, and that's when K.Williams was given the opportunity, which eventually led to her promotion.

Yes, Paulina definitely mentioned Boston Ballet in her original post. It's funny how things sometimes work out. As Lady Bubbles noted, if Paulina hadn't been injured, then she would have danced Myrtha and maybe she (and not Katherine Williams) would have been promoted to soloist. Oh well, that’s life. Paulina is still very young, and perhaps it’s best to join another company at this point in her career and stretch her wings. I wish her, and the other corps members who are leaving, all the best.

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7 minutes ago, BalletFan said:

Yes, Paulina definitely mentioned Boston Ballet in her original post. It's funny how things sometimes work out. As Lady Bubbles noted, if Paulina hadn't been injured, then she would have danced Myrtha and maybe she (and not Katherine Williams) would have been promoted to soloist. Oh well, that’s life. Paulina is still very young, and perhaps it’s best to join another company at this point in her career and stretch her wings. I wish her, and the other corps members who are leaving, all the best.

 

1 hour ago, LadyBubbles said:

She deleted the post. It was a single picture rather than a collection of them. Maybe Boston asked her to take down the post and wait for a company announcement?

 

23 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

She edited the text, most likely because BB hadn't formally announced its roster for the upcoming season. You can still see Boston referenced in the comments. 

Thank you everyone for clearing this up as I thought I was losing my mind or eyesight 😊 and agree with BalletFan how life works out, and actually Boston has a wonderful rep this coming season starting with Giselle no less (listed now on their website). If so, wouldn't it be wild to see Waski finally do her Myrtha?! Hope she will continue her updates on social media so some of us can keep track and who knows, maybe she will be back again for Met Season .... like Graniero (Washington Ballet)!

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An ABT dancer’s Instagram story today said, “Congratulations on a great career at ABT, Gemma Bond,” and showed Gemma standing at the front of the room reading something and the whole company applauding. Is she officially retiring?

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12 hours ago, AB'sMom said:

An ABT dancer’s Instagram story today said, “Congratulations on a great career at ABT, Gemma Bond,” and showed Gemma standing at the front of the room reading something and the whole company applauding. Is she officially retiring?

Whose Instagram was that?

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

@scoutforsythe

Thanks. Apparently, Bond is leaving, per Forsythe’s Instagram. She shows two images in her story and one says goodbye to Bond and Waski in a “swan hug”.

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