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ABT Fall 2019 NY season

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6 minutes ago, abatt said:

Common views on relationships in our culture have changed a lot since the 1950s. While open marriages and the like have doubtless always existed in certain forms and cases, they are now more commonly recognized as legitimate alternatives to the exclusive dyad. In my opinion, a long-term relationship with one referred to as one's "partner," and with whom one has had a child, is not a "liaison," whether the tabloids cover it or not.

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4 hours ago, angelica said:

It shouldn't have to take the presence of any single choreographer to point out a dancer's flaws, since these appear in every ballet she dances. Somebody on the artistic staff needs to coach her or else present her with the need to get an outside coach, as many dancers do. There are too many ballets I have to avoid because she is dancing the leading role.

Maybe the artistic staff thinks she looks just fine? 

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Alessandra Ferri and Natalia Makarova have been brought back to coach certain roles, and for Harlequinade Eddie Villela was also brought to coach. The dancers are also free to go outside for coaching, which wasn't the case at NYCB when Peter Martins was there. Not saying the coaching situation is ideal at ABT but it's different than the Martins era at NYCB.

Edited by canbelto

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[Admin Hat On]

Do not discuss the discussion.  If you have facts to counter someone's argument, state them.  If they say something is their impression/opinion, it's their impression/opinion.

Likewise, if you're going to assert something other than an opinion, cite your source, whether it's a mainstream media article, an instagram post by the dancer, etc.

[/Admin Hat Off]

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29 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Alessandra Ferri and Natalia Makarova have been brought back to coach certain roles, and for Harlequinade Eddie Villela was also brought to coach. The dancers are also free to go outside for coaching, which wasn't the case at NYCB when Peter Martins was there. Not saying the coaching situation is ideal at ABT but it's different than the Martins era at NYCB.

Not to mention Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner just coached ABT in Jardin aux Lilas for Vail and have just been coaching Some Assembly Required. 

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51 minutes ago, abatt said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/arts/dance/review-abt-american-ballet-theater-swan-lake-isabella-boylston-alban-lendorf.html

Maybe, but the issues with her torso and neck have been noticed, at least by the NY Times, as a negative limitation on her success in certain roles.

I'm not disagreeing, but it wouldn't be the first time a company's artistic leadership (and not just ABT's) appeared to be unfazed by something that looks less than ideal (at the very least) to the audience. 

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To repeat myself, Balanchine casting Ashley and von Aroldingen in Emeralds, which is on video in the Jewels excerpts first aired on PBS.  Also casting Heather Watts, who got some horrible things written about her, and Balanchine told her he didn't care what others thought: it was his opinion that mattered.  (She was a highlight, if not the highlight, of that Jewels performance in the pas de trois.)

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Gardner and McKerrow created the roles in "Some Assembly Required" (and evidently both casts did beautifully under their direction last week), Natalia Makarova coaches the "La Bayadère" production she staged and choreographed for ABT, Eddie Villella was invited by Ratmansky to coach the mime in "Harlequinade".  Gardner and McKerrow are working with the Tudor Trust as well as licensed stagers/regisseurs.  Ferri I believe coaches the MacMillan repertory having worked closely with him during her career.  I believe that both Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky are headed in the same direction as coaches and regisseurs.  I hope ABT makes greater use of them.  Radetsky is currently leading the studio company and is a company teacher.

I think the steep decline in the level of male dancing in the company is indicative of the lack of training and coaching available in the company.  For example, in this last run of "Theme and Variations" neither Cory Stearns nor Joseph Gorak could dance the male solo acceptably.  We will see how Joo Won Ahn does this weekend.  Since the generation of Hallberg, Gomes and Cornejo, no male dancer of that calibre has emerged from within the company.  Daniil Simkin was already an international prodigy when he joined ABT over a decade ago.  

BTW: this discussion has made me think of some ballets I wish would return to the ABT mixed repertory.  One is the "Bruch Violin Concerto" by Clark Tippet that hasn't been done in over a decade.  https://www.abt.org/ballet/bruch-violin-concerto-no-1/

Also Makarova staged the "Paquita" Grand Pas for ABT back in the eighties.  It was last done in the early nineties when I saw Julie Kent dance the lead ballerina role in it.  It would be nice if that came back either restaged by Makarova or have Ratmansky do his a new staging of his authentic version from the Harvard Sergeyev notes.  I also would love to see Ashton's "Birthday Offering" come back.

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Some dancers do grow into roles. I'll never forget the first time I saw Maria Kowroski dance Diamonds. This was over 15 years ago. It was a horrific performance. There were two major falls, one at the very end. She looked miserable. The next time I saw her she omitted the Scherzo and didn't even attempt some of the steps in the finale. Had I just packed it in on her right there and then I never would have seen her dance Diamonds with the kind of calm serenity she now exudes.

I think a bigger issue at ABT is how it's hard to grow in a role with such a chopped up schedule. It's hard to grow in Giselle when you have one shot every two years. 

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I’d really appreciate reports on Ahn’s turn in T&V. From what I’ve seen he can be a little sloppy at times but I think he has huge virtuosic potential.

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

...but I think he has huge virtuosic potential.

Yes, indeed:

 

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8 hours ago, stuben said:

My thoughts exactly! In any job I would think a boss would never want to feel threatened by their employees to surpass their successes. Sadly though in this case of performing arts the artists suffer for this type of power grab. Question about the coaching outside though, would the company pay for such help or does the individual dancer have to use their own salaries? Assuming that costs quite a bit especially for well known coaches like Max, if so this has to be tough on the small salaries that dancers make.

I would disagree with this.  First class people hire first class people and hoped that their hires would surpass them so that they will benefit from quality of their hires.  Second and third rate managers will only hire those lower than them.  

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35 minutes ago, Novice123 said:

I would disagree with this.  First class people hire first class people and hoped that their hires would surpass them so that they will benefit from quality of their hires.  Second and third rate managers will only hire those lower than them.  

I agree with this.  I was just listening to a podcast interview with skating coach Bruno Marcotte who spoke with admiration about how Patriots coach Bill Belichick surrounds himself with younger staff and is always interested in learning from them and keeping on his toes.

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11 hours ago, Helene said:

To repeat myself, Balanchine casting Ashley and von Aroldingen in Emeralds, which is on video in the Jewels excerpts first aired on PBS.  Also casting Heather Watts, who got some horrible things written about her, and Balanchine told her he didn't care what others thought: it was his opinion that mattered.  (She was a highlight, if not the highlight, of that Jewels performance in the pas de trois.)

I guess I have missed something, Helene. My apologies.

Would you please care to explain what you mean when you mention that casting for Emeralds by Balanchine?

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8 hours ago, Novice123 said:

I would disagree with this.  First class people hire first class people and hoped that their hires would surpass them so that they will benefit from quality of their hires.  Second and third rate managers will only hire those lower than them.  

 

7 hours ago, Helene said:

I agree with this.  I was just listening to a podcast interview with skating coach Bruno Marcotte who spoke with admiration about how Patriots coach Bill Belichick surrounds himself with younger staff and is always interested in learning from them and keeping on his toes.

I see both points, indeed first rate employers would groom their hires, I guess I should have added - .....I would think an insecure boss would never want to feel threatened.....

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1 hour ago, eduardo said:

Would you please care to explain what you mean when you mention that casting for Emeralds by Balanchine?

Unlike at ABT, where four or five different pairs of dancers are cast in each of the week-long ballet runs -- which has its own issues -- there were ballets, especially during Balanchine's time, where there were three or four performances in a season, and dancers "owned" roles, unless they had to be replaced.  If you didn't like them in a role, the only way to avoid them was to not go/leave early.

Ashley and von Aroldingen in Emeralds was generally considered one of Balanchine's major miscasting flops that wasn't driven by necessity (injuries, illness substitutions, etc.), and one he stuck with and even immortalized for the TV broadcast. Casting Emeralds is tricky enough in the best of times, since the originals, Verdy and Paul, were considered magical.  Ashley was a great technician, but there was no "je ne sais quoi" about her: everything about her dancing was front and center.  von Aroldingen could be very moving in a number of roles, like the Clara Schumann character in Davidsbundlertanze, but I found her hard in Emeralds, which needs at least a dab of perfume from its two female leads.  

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Thank you Helene! I see what you mean, especially about Ashley (I never had the chance to see von Aroldingen).

Sometimes people enjoy that kind of challenges: try what doesn't seem obvious. Or even further: try what looks obviously a non fit for someone. I've seen that in a law firm (assigning cases to different people) with varying degrees of success. Any chances Mr. Balanchine might have seen it that way? In many different ways, I see him as a challenger.

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19 minutes ago, eduardo said:

Sometimes people enjoy that kind of challenges: try what doesn't seem obvious. Or even further: try what looks obviously a non fit for someone. I've seen that in a law firm (assigning cases to different people) with varying degrees of success. Any chances Mr. Balanchine might have seen it that way? In many different ways, I see him as a challenger.

Along those lines, with Raymonda Variations Balanchine apparently wanted to give Patricia Wilde an opportunity to show her adagio side, since she was primarily known and praised as an allegro dancer.

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Then there was the time he cast Suzanne Farrell in the Patricia McBride role of Who Cares? which caused quite a dustup backstage. She danced one performance and then the idea was quickly dropped.

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I have vague memories of seeing a Dance Magazine photo spread with McBride in the Siren costume, but from this distance, maybe 50 years, it feels like I must be imagining it.

Edited by lmspear
Typo

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2 hours ago, eduardo said:

Thank you Helene! I see what you mean, especially about Ashley (I never had the chance to see von Aroldingen).

Sometimes people enjoy that kind of challenges: try what doesn't seem obvious. Or even further: try what looks obviously a non fit for someone. I've seen that in a law firm (assigning cases to different people) with varying degrees of success. Any chances Mr. Balanchine might have seen it that way? In many different ways, I see him as a challenger.

It seems likely that is exactly how he saw it, eduardo, certainly as far as Ashley was concerned. Possibly he put Ashley into “Emeralds” in order to encourage her to focus on her upper body work and other areas where her chief strengths did not lie. The ballet may not look its absolute best for awhile, but you get an improved dancer who benefits from the experience and expands her range. Von Aroldingen was a favorite of Balanchine’s who looked best in the roles he custom built for her.

(Of course there were other occasions, as Croce wrote, where you couldn’t figure out what the hell he was thinking.)

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First class people hire first class people and hoped that their hires would surpass them so that they will benefit from quality of their hires.  Second and third rate managers will only hire those lower than them.

  Not necessarily true, unfortunately. First class people also have their insecurities, which can express themselves in preferring underlings who will stay under. (I doubt that Bill Belichick is one of those people and he's a great coach, maybe the best ever, but his coaching tree is not particularly distinguished.)

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Also casting Heather Watts, who got some horrible things written about her,

I believe she was receiving a good deal of favorable critical notice in those earlier years; Croce wrote highly of her, praising her debut over that of Nichols in T&V. She also had good things to say about Watts in the early ballets Martins composed for her. I understand most of the “horrible things” came later and were not entirely undeserved.

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While open marriages and the like have doubtless always existed in certain forms and cases, they are now more commonly recognized as legitimate alternatives to the exclusive dyad.

It is certainly true that Sir Mick has never been big on the “exclusive dyad,” at least as far as his own share in it is concerned. From what I have read, he dictates the terms.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

I believe she was receiving a good deal of favorable critical notice in those earlier years; Croce wrote highly of her, praising her debut over that of Nichols in T&V. She also had good things to say about Watts in the early ballets Martins composed for her. I understand most of the “horrible things” came later and were not entirely undeserved.

Not according to several podcast interviews: this was early in her career, and Balanchine told her to ignore them.  She was a young dancer during Farrell's exile, when "Not Farrell" was a common dilemma, but, in Watts' case, the complaint was that she was too angular in the extreme and distorted the line.  And those were some of the nicer things said.

Although she was no longer dancing Emerald Pas de Trois by the time I saw her live, my favorite Watts performances were that part on video, the Act II Divertissement from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the Hayden role in Liebeslider Walzer, not what people typically think of. 

I think that Martins emphasized her mannerisms, except in more lyrical works like Songs of the Auvergne and A Schubertiade.

 

But she was another example of Balanchine telling his dancers to ignore the outside world regardless of his intensions when casting any particular role, and I've never seen any evidence that McKenzie cares much about what people say about his casting or promotion decisions.

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13 hours ago, stuben said:

 

I see both points, indeed first rate employers would groom their hires, I guess I should have added - .....I would think an insecure boss would never want to feel threatened.....

I work in the knowledge field and the first rate boss doesn't necessary groom their hires but hire them for their expertise, expertise that the boss doesn't have.  The manager's role becomes one of maximizing their hires productivity, retaining the talents, building on their strengths with the hope that the talent will stay, otherwise they will leave for potentially better opportunities elsewhere.   A similar field would be profession athletics, the coaches/ managers most often are not good as their star athletes, they don't have a big a salary, but their jobs is to maximize the productivity of these athletes and retain them for as long as they can.   You can see this pattern with the elite sports teams, majority of these coaches were nowhere near as successful as the athletes under their charge.  Now, with second tier athletic teams, you will more likely find a coach, who in their primes, were better than the athletes currently under them.   A current example would be Jill Ellis, the just-retired coach of the US Women's National Soccer team.  She played collegiate soccer but was nowhere near the level of the players under her.  Yet, she coached the team to two consecutive world cup championships.  

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Tonight was.....interesting.

New American Romance: Meh. Some nice, creative choreography, but too much cutesiness: broken wrists, swirling hands, hand-to-forehead a la I’m gonna faint, bobbing/nodding heads. Hurlin and Bell were the best part. They also had the best choreography. The ladies trio part was cringe-worthy.

Garden Blue: my first time seeing this and I liked it. Not love. What the dancers did with the props was cool and it worked. Some really beautiful moments, mostly with Hurlin and Bell again. They are the newest power couple. (I cannot wait to see her O/O someday soon). Both are mature beyond their years. Hoven and Forster were also striking.

A Time There Was: this piece needs settling in, but Bond has some interesting ideas. No need to have the men add fringey skirts half way through; why? Lane and Hoven as the main couple looked unusually odd, lacking in energy and chemistry. Very unlike them. As the second cast with only one show, maybe they needed more rehearsal and performance time. Granlund was the standout. Great commitment, sharpness and presence. However, several people around me in the first ring walked out about half way through. 

Edited by ABT Fan

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