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nanushka

ABT 2019 Swan Lake

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10 minutes ago, abatt said:

Agree one hundred percent.  Lane is not Misty's back-up dancer.  Lane has earned the right to be cast in her own SL.

Also agree. So now we’ll all be waiting to see what happens Saturday night. It sounds like Copeland is dealing with a possible injury. If that is the case, and although I don’t want this to happen again after this week, I’d understand them doing the same thing again since this is last minute and her fans would be crushed if she withdrew now. I can’t picture Lane doing Odile with Hallberg though. Boylston would be the obvious choice to me since they’ve danced together several times in other ballets.

Separately, I’m utterly thrilled to hear that Lane knocked it out of the park! McKenzie, wake up and cast her already! Next year let Lane/Cornejo have a show and Copeland/Hallberg one show. 

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9 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Also agree. So now we’ll all be waiting to see what happens Saturday night. It sounds like Copeland is dealing with a possible injury. If that is the case, and although I don’t want this to happen again after this week, I’d understand them doing the same thing again since this is last minute and her fans would be crushed if she withdrew now. I can’t picture Lane doing Odile with Hallberg though. Boylston would be the obvious choice to me since they’ve danced together several times in other ballets.

Separately, I’m utterly thrilled to hear that Lane knocked it out of the park! McKenzie, wake up and cast her already! Next year let Lane/Cornejo have a show and Copeland/Hallberg one show. 

Lane could have danced with SL Simkin, as she did in her debut SL two years ago.  All kinds of casting choices were possible, but instead McKenzie decided that Hee Seo and Misty both had to have two SL shows.  In summary, the two weakest technicians in the company are each given two performances of one of the most difficult roles in the classical rep.  That's what I call brilliant planning.

I'm not convinced that these developments are due to an injury.  It is equally likely that general deterioration due to age is the cause of Misty's limitations.

I would love to know if Misty herself decided to withdraw from Act III, or if McKenzie determined that she was unfit to dance Act III.

Edited by abatt

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2 minutes ago, abatt said:

Lane could have danced with SL Simkin, as she did in her debut SL two years ago.  All kinds of casting choices were possible, but instead McKenzie decided that Hee Seo and Misty both had to have two SL shows.  In summary, the two weakest technicians in the company are each given two performances of one of the most difficult roles in the classical rep.  That's what I call brilliant planning.

Teuscher and Bell also got two performances. Stronger, but Bell is still in the corps. Why Lane was shut out remains a mystery -- bad blood still from the Black Swan movie episode? Any evidence that Seo has a following that sells tickets?

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3 minutes ago, abatt said:

Lane could have danced with SL Simkin, as she did in her debut SL two years ago.  All kinds of casting choices were possible, but instead McKenzie decided that Hee Seo and Misty both had to have two SL shows.  In summary, the two weakest technicians in the company are each given two performances of one of the most difficult roles in the classical rep.  That's what I call brilliant planning.

I'm not convinced that these developments are due to an injury.  It is equally likely that general deterioration due to age is the cause of Misty's limitations.

I would love to know if Misty herself decided to withdraw from Act III, or if McKenzie determined that she was unfit to dance Act III.

I understand why Misty has two shows. She's a box office draw and ABT can little afford to throw that away. She'll be like the dying swan out there, still dancing until she has nothing left.

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All of the SL's are sell outs or near sell outs, so I'm not buying into the idea that McKenzie needs to give Misty multiple Swan Lakes to boost ticket sales.   Yes, that theory works for lesser titles that the public is unfamiliar with, but SL tickets sells very well regardless of casting.

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6 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

I understand why Misty has two shows. She's a box office draw and ABT can little afford to throw that away.

True. There's not a single ticket available for purchase in the entire house right now for Saturday night. Granted, that's with Hallberg as well, but still. (Was last night a sell-out as well, does anyone know?) 

Just as with the aging, much-maligned production, McKenzie has a strong incentive to keep casting Misty (especially in this particular role, which has such resonance for her fans and in ballet generally) as long as he can conceivably manage to do so, even if compromises (e.g. split casting, last-minute substitutions, changed steps) need to be made along the way.

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15 minutes ago, abatt said:

All of the SL's are sell outs or near sell outs, so I'm not buying into the idea that McKenzie needs to give Misty multiple Swan Lakes to boost ticket sales.   Yes, that theory works for lesser titles that the public is unfamiliar with, but SL tickets sells very well regardless of casting.

I just looked, and at least for the remaining performances, that's not really the case. Saturday matinee is the closest, but there are a lot of tickets for Thursday and Friday.

Financially, for performing arts organizations, I believe the difference between a 90% capacity house and a 100% capacity house is quite significant.

There are probably 250-300 seats available in orchestra for Friday night, and I believe that section's capacity is about 1350. Those are among the seats that bring in the most profit.

Edited by nanushka

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

(Was last night a sell-out as well, does anyone know?) 

Out of curiosity, I looked at ticket availability Wednesday night an hour before curtain. Maybe a dozen seats in the orchestra + some second rows in parterre side boxes. That was about it and I imagine they were gone by curtain.

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I've always thought that McKenzie had done his best to dilute Lane's career and that it has something to do with her Black Swan comments years ago.

 Up through two years ago, I wasn't a big Lane fan because I thought she "sat" in the music which, despite beautiful technique, I find bland. But after having seen her a couple more times last year and reading the comments from this year, I believe her growth has been astounding and she is full-tilt international star level.

I don't understand why McKenzie casts Teuscher over Lane. I've never been able to get the least bit excited over her dancing; I'm always disappointed. As someone said upthread, she hasn't shown growth in her weak areas over the past 2 years. And here is Lane on fire! McKenzie should capitalize on that and give her an SL. I would feel badly for whomever he would remove from her second SL, but perhaps that could be a good motivator to that individual to work harder on expression or technique (depending on which is the weakness).  

What kind of director of a supposedly world-class ballet company in financial difficulties would sit out the dancer with the biggest buzz and momentum? 

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

If you can't do the steps, you shouldn't be assigned the role.  It's very simple.

Agree. Which is why I think it’s frustrating this whole situation happened. 

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6 minutes ago, vagansmom said:

I've always thought that McKenzie had done his best to dilute Lane's career and that it has something to do with her Black Swan comments years ago.

 Up through two years ago, I wasn't a big Lane fan because I thought she "sat" in the music which, despite beautiful technique, I find bland. But after having seen her a couple more times last year and reading the comments from this year, I believe her growth has been astounding and she is full-tilt international star level.

I don't understand why McKenzie casts Teuscher over Lane. I've never been able to get the least bit excited over her dancing; I'm always disappointed. As someone said upthread, she hasn't shown growth in her weak areas over the past 2 years. And here is Lane on fire! McKenzie should capitalize on that and give her an SL. I would feel badly for whomever he would remove from her second SL, but perhaps that could be a good motivator to that individual to work harder on expression or technique (depending on which is the weakness).  

What kind of director of a supposedly world-class ballet company in financial difficulties would sit out the dancer with the biggest buzz and momentum? 

It defies explanation. Her comments about Natalie Portman and Black Swan is certainly a possibility, but what did McKenzie himself or the company have to do with the film? Benjamin Millepied has little to do with ABT beyond a couple ballets in the past few years that it certainly cannot be his influence that held her back?? It makes no sense. Lane always seemed like a dancer that held her nose to the grindstone and worked extremely hard and was a team player. Just makes no sense from an outsider's perspective.

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Just now, Fleurfairy said:

It defies explanation. Her comments about Natalie Portman and Black Swan is certainly a possibility, but what did McKenzie himself or the company have to do with the film? Benjamin Millepied has little to do with ABT beyond a couple ballets in the past few years that it certainly cannot be his influence that held her back?? It makes no sense. Lane always seemed like a dancer that held her nose to the grindstone and worked extremely hard and was a team player. Just makes no sense from an outsider's perspective.

Throughout the 11-12 years I've been following ABT and reading BA, there have always been cases like this, of dancers who are, on the one hand, much loved by many on here but are overlooked by McKenzie or, on the other hand, fairly unpopular among many on here but are given lots of opportunities. McKenzie's tastes and priorities when it comes to casting simply seem to differ (in often apparently inexplicable ways) from those of many of us here. I don't think the Black Swan thing has anything to do with it, but of course I don't know.

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10 hours ago, FauxPas said:

Then there is that balance - that wasn't.  He kind of got halfway up into the arabesque and just quit and put the leg down.

Granted I've only been watching ABT's Swan Lake for about three years, but I think I've seen this arabesque balance performed well just once or twice. I'd almost rather they do it well on flat than this bobbling.

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Posted (edited)

I've never thought the Black Swan comments would have negatively impacted Lane's career in the long term. It's interesting that Xiomara Reyes, another very short dancer, was never cast as O/O (at least I don't think she was; correct me if I'm mistaken), and certainly she had technique to spare. I think for a long time, Lane was sort of pigeonholed as a soubrette type, but I think her Giselle was a breakthrough moment for her, showing her profound acting ability. That has only further been cemented by this year's Manon. While opportunities were slow to come to Lane, she is making her way through many of the Petipa roles. I hope she gets her own scheduled Swan Lake next year. 

Regarding the balance in Von Rothbart's variation...I think they need to come up with a substitution, as almost no one seems to be able to do it, and certainly no one does it as well as Gomes used to. As @mille-feuille says, why not just start flat and maybe go up to demi-pointe. Or put something else there entirely.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I also hope Lane finally gets the Juliet performance she deserved and has earned.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

Lane could have danced with SL Simkin, as she did in her debut SL two years ago.  All kinds of casting choices were possible, but instead McKenzie decided that Hee Seo and Misty both had to have two SL shows.  In summary, the two weakest technicians in the company are each given two performances of one of the most difficult roles in the classical rep.  That's what I call brilliant planning.

I'm not convinced that these developments are due to an injury.  It is equally likely that general deterioration due to age is the cause of Misty's limitations.

I would love to know if Misty herself decided to withdraw from Act III, or if McKenzie determined that she was unfit to dance Act III.

True, Lane could be paired w/ Simkin as well. Personally, I'd prefer her w/ Cornejo.

Teuscher is the new AD favorite, ever since she was promoted. With the exception of Juliet, she's been given two of everything and has been cast in virtually everything. I like her in some things, but I find her a very incomplete and frustrating artist. Perhaps she'll grow into a more expressive dancer, but for now I find her boring and cannot understand McKenzie's obvious preference for her.

Here is a photo showing the bows from last night on ABT's Instagram. I'm glad Lane was brought out for bows (of course she should have, but I was afraid we'd hear otherwise...).

Lastly, I can put this on another/new thread, but I don't know if anyone else has noticed their upcoming tours for next year. These ballets are guaranteed to show up at the Met next season. So, we can expect to see Lane as Giselle and Nikiya again (but, will McKenzie give her only one show of each like last time?). And, yes, give her a SL, darnnit! I think the AD's issue is he doesn't like petite ballerinas as O/O (with the big exception being Copeland, of course.) Lane has more than proved her mettle - she's not just a Princess Praline kind of dancer. McKenzie needs to get over it.

https://www.abt.org/performances/abt-on-tour/

February: DC - Giselle
March: CA - Ratmansky world premier (we already knew about this one...)
March: Chicago - Bayadere
March: N.C. - Giselle
April: Detroit - SL

Edited by ABT Fan

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I was there last night, too. What a surprise to have Sarah in Act III!! There's not much more that I can add to the conversation. She was absolutely amazing. I'm very happy for Sarah and wish she would get a shot at both Odette and Odile.

Any news on the Wednesday matinee performance? Did anyone see Aran Bell and Jose Sebastian in their debuts? I would love to hear something.

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2 minutes ago, BalletFan said:

Any news on the Wednesday matinee performance? Did anyone see Aran Bell and Jose Sebastian in their debuts? I would love to hear something.

Yes! I'm eager to hear how they did as well, esp Bell.

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I don't understand why given the popularity of Swan Lake, compared with the other full length classics, McKenzie doesn't program 1 1/2 or 2 weeks of Swan Lake and let the audience have a chance to see their dancer of choice, and to let the dancers have the chance to really work in depth on the ballet, and to have the luxury of giving  performance opportunities to those dancers stuck in the pipeline.

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2 hours ago, BalletFan said:

I was there last night, too. What a surprise to have Sarah in Act III!! There's not much more that I can add to the conversation. She was absolutely amazing. I'm very happy for Sarah and wish she would get a shot at both Odette and Odile.

They gave her a shot at SL two years ago and she was positively gorgeous.   Why she hasn't been cast again is an absolute mystery.

Edited by NinaFan

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Posted (edited)

  Per Misty's public instagram, she was allegedly dancing with the flu last night.

Edited by abatt

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4 hours ago, abatt said:

Agree one hundred percent.  Lane is not Misty's back-up dancer.  Lane has earned the right to be cast in her own SL.

If you can't do the steps, you shouldn't be assigned the role.  It's very simple.

Agreed

13 minutes ago, abatt said:

  Per Misty's public instagram, she was allegedly dancing with the flu last night.

I've never attended a performance where a dancer was sick before the performance and chose which sections to dance.  They withdraw completely. 

Edited by NinaFan
add on

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3 hours ago, abatt said:

All of the SL's are sell outs or near sell outs, so I'm not buying into the idea that McKenzie needs to give Misty multiple Swan Lakes to boost ticket sales.   Yes, that theory works for lesser titles that the public is unfamiliar with, but SL tickets sells very well regardless of casting.

Maybe ABT is trying to show diversity within the paying audience, whenever dancers of color are cast, although I'm not sure how that will be proved, other than taking photos of the audience during intermissions. Credit cards used to purchase tix don't identify race, AFAIK.

As for Sarah's surprise performance as Odile last night - I'm so envious of all who were lucky enough to have attended! I have my finger on the trigger, ready to buy performance and train tix the moment that I learn that Sarah may be dancing "O&/orO" again on Saturday night! Or perhaps this may happen at Wolf Trap, closer to home, with the Copeland/Cornejo SL? Not that we wish bad luck on any other principal...

 

Wasn't Sarah Lane a cover for someone else two years ago, when she got her shot at O/O? Or am I mixing that with her two Giselle performances that season?

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Just now, Roberta said:

Wasn't Sarah Lane a cover for someone else two years ago, when she got her shot at O/O?

Kochetkova, I believe.

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Posted (edited)

To be fair, Misty got a lot of flack, especially from her fans, for withdrawing completely from Whipped Cream. (Though the blowback might have been worse with such a nebulous excuse as "scheduling conflicts".)

No dancer wants to get the reputation of being the one who's always sick or always injured. I understand why Misty's fighting for this--even while agreeing it's not fair that Sarah Lane doesn't get her own O/O. 

 

eta: Clarifying my subject.

Edited by LadyCap

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