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Spring 2020 New York Season


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When I first arrived in NYC,  I took classes at ABT and there were plenty of NYCB dancers in attendance.  Some years later when I studied at Steps and David Howard's school,  there were tons of ABT and NYCB dancers,  from corps members to principals.   Maggie Black was popular,  too.  These days,  lots of company dancers take class with Nancy Bielski.  While it may be frowned upon,  company dancers have always taken outside classes.  Many of them also manage to find the time to attend college,  or raise a baby or two.  No need to rub the company director's nose in it,  but even with their busy schedules,  dancers can fit in additional coaching if they want to.

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Yes and Gelsey was coached by Maggie Black during her later years at NYCB when she refused to take company class and instead did Maggie’s barre separate from the other dancers backstage. Balanchine called her “Black Magic” which was a dig. 

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May I add that,  interestingly,  it was amazing to me how there were corps dancers and soloists who were far more compelling in class than they ever were on stage.   But some principal dancers,  even famous artists,  just blended in to the woodwork at the barre and even in center.  They seemed to be saving the magic for the audience instead of the mirror.

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1 hour ago, On Pointe said:

When I first arrived in NYC,  I took classes at ABT and there were plenty of NYCB dancers in attendance.  Some years later when I studied at Steps and David Howard's school,  there were tons of ABT and NYCB dancers,  from corps members to principals.   Maggie Black was popular,  too.  These days,  lots of company dancers take class with Nancy Bielski.  While it may be frowned upon,  company dancers have always taken outside classes.

I haven't read any evidence here that directors (or administration more generally) actually as a general rule tend not to want their dancers getting outside coaching, but if it's true that they don't, I wonder if they wouldn't view taking outside classes as rather different (and more acceptable) than that. Isn't there a rather substantial difference between the two? (I have never been a dancer, so I don't know.)

Edited by nanushka
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I've seen teachers coach in class.  It isn't like being in the Mariinsky and having an assigned master teacher/former Principal who is there to make a dancer stage-worthy for a particular role or competition, but it can go farther than just giving corrections or combinations, especially if a teacher knows that the dancer is studying a role or preparing for a competition.  

Rehearsal periods are short, it's expensive to bring in stagers, and every minute counts.  Where there are revivals, dancers-turned-faculty and dancers who've done the roles can coach/advise, but they are in-house.  Why would a director want an outsider to influence and possible contravene?  And a director with the kind of power an AD wields over company members' careers tends to get (mostly) his way, just as (mostly) his predecessors have.  It's just as easy to control people by what's not said than by what it. 

Balanchine allowed his exceptions for classes, however begrudgingly, but the well-known instances, ie, book- and article-worthy, tended to be people he wanted to keep, however begrudgingly.  Villella wrote about being physically unable to take Balanchine's class and still get onstage at one point in his career, and clearly needed the kind of warm-up class that Balanchine distained.

That there are dancers more compelling in class than onstage, that's not unusual: there have always been "classroom" dancers, and sometimes that is the underlying reason why some promotions and casting is so ???.  Or why when classes are used as auditions, particularly when a choreographer or stager is new to a company, sometimes the original choices don't end up panning out.

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55 minutes ago, Helene said:

That there are dancers more compelling in class than onstage, that's not unusual: there have always been "classroom" dancers, and sometimes that is the underlying reason why some promotions and casting is so ???.  Or why when classes are used as auditions, particularly when a choreographer or stager is new to a company, sometimes the original choices don't end up panning out.

Oh, very interesting. I had never heard nor thought of this as a common phenomenon before.

Edited by nanushka
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One very major difference is ABT’s large lay-off period which enables the dancers to pursue other projects. In most other companies, these larger periods of lay-off are not common. With class, and six-hour rehearsal days, and with some companies working 5-1/2 to 6 days a week, pursuing outside coaching would be a challenge. During the summer, when most companies are on lay-off or holiday, there would obviously be more time to pursue outside coaching. However, most dancers are working other jobs - summer projects, teaching, etc. Brandt is blessed with that luxury. Good for her, but I don’t believe most dancers have that luxury. I also know that several of the directors Helene lists (in her post above of the major companies) do not look kindly on even taking class elsewhere, let alone coaching. 

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26 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Does anyone know when single ticket sales start?

I’m pretty sure it’s the end of March. I want to say the 22nd or the 29th, not sure which, but it’s usually a Sunday starting at noon.

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I just called the box office and they said March 22 at noon. Since single-ticket sales are far more popular than subscriptions these days, I don't know why they make this info so hard to find. I guess they want to push subscription as much as possible...

Edited by fondoffouettes
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59 minutes ago, Leah said:

That’s when subscription tickets are mailed, right? For some reason I seem to remember them coming around January last year but I must be making that up.

I just received my subscription tickets two days ago. You're right, they used to come in January. I was about to call ABT to inquire, just as they arrived.

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13 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I just called the box office and they said March 22 at noon. Since single-ticket sales are far more popular than subscriptions these days, I don't know why they make this info so hard to find. I guess they want to push subscription as much as possible...

Thanks FoF!

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I'm not sure on what thread to post this, so just thought I'd go with here. Last night I attended a THRILLING performance of Swan Lake danced by Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns. I took an eight hour greyhound bus down from NYC to Richmond. Let me say, the exhausting travel was so worth it! Lane and Stearns put on an amazing performance that got several standing ovations/curtain calls. In my opinion, Lane is a natural Odette but her Odile really surprised me last night. Deliciously seductive, taking great pleasure in tormenting the hapless Siegfried. Lane nailed the fouettes. As Odette, I loved Lane's very supple swan arms. So fluid. Amazing how in one performance, the dancer goes from soft, vulnerable, romantic Odette to evil, seductive Odile. Lane flawlessly took on both roles. The gentleman next to me actually thought two different dancers did both roles. He was surprised that Lane could so convincingly dance/act both roles. 

Stearns surprised me. I only went to see Lane but came away equally enjoying his performance. He's never really wowed me but last night he did, especially with the emotion he expressed. I don't think of Stearns as an emotional dancer but last night with Lane really brought something out of him. They had amazing chemistry and made me anticipate their Romeo and Juliet even more. He and Lane are quite good together, I'm definitely hoping their partnership continues to be explored. 

I'm not a ballet expert, so I can't really comment on the technical ballet terms. But from what I can tell after attending many ABT Swan Lake shows, Lane put on a fantastic, comparable performance. Again, ridiculous that she's still being denied her own show this spring. I went yesterday because who knows if she'll ever get to dance this again. 

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15 minutes ago, Lena C. said:

In my opinion, Lane is a natural Odette but her Odile really surprised me last night. Deliciously seductive, taking great pleasure in tormenting the hapless Siegfried. Lane nailed the fouettes. As Odette, I loved Lane's very supple swan arms. So fluid. Amazing how in one performance, the dancer goes from soft, vulnerable, romantic Odette to evil, seductive Odile. Lane flawlessly took on both roles.

Lane has really grown as a dramatic artist in past years. (I remember seeing her first Aurora many years ago and loving her dancing but being rather put off by the one-note smile.) Her Manon last year was a revelation. I would so love to see her full Swan Lake again.

That trip sounds grueling — so glad you had such a great experience at the performance!

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

Lane has really grown as a dramatic artist in past years. (I remember seeing her first Aurora many years ago and loving her dancing but being rather put off by the one-note smile.) Her Manon last year was a revelation. I would so love to see her full Swan Lake again.

That trip sounds grueling — so glad you had such a great experience at the performance!

Yes, I completely agree. Lane has developed a great sense of drama in her roles, ESPECIALLY in her Manon. I was spent just watching her last night. She definitely brought the drama, and I'd say she inspired some emotion from Stearns as well. Even though I saw her her Swan Lake last night, I'd gladly go again! 

And thank you, I did have a lovely experience. I'm very travel tired, I took another bus this morning for Brandt's Giselle! 

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8 minutes ago, Lena C. said:

I'm very travel tired, I took another bus this morning for Brandt's Giselle! 

Lena C., you are a trouper! I admire your dedication and I look forward to your report on Brandt. If you haven't already seen it, you might be interested in laurel's report on the Richmond Swan Lake, in another forum, Richmond Ballet Swan Lake 2020. 

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5 hours ago, cobweb said:

Lena C., you are a trouper! I admire your dedication and I look forward to your report on Brandt. If you haven't already seen it, you might be interested in laurel's report on the Richmond Swan Lake, in another forum, Richmond Ballet Swan Lake 2020. 

Thank you Cobweb! I try, lol. The amazing performances I was treated to made all the travel worth it. Thank you for the tip on laurel's review and I'll post my own of the Brandt/Ahn Giselle in that thread. 

Spring 2020 tip: At the stagedoor today, Sung Woo Han told a fan that he is learning Benvolio for Romeo and is still waiting to see if he'll be cast. I'd love to see him in that role. 

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2 hours ago, Lena C. said:

Thank you Cobweb! I try, lol. The amazing performances I was treated to made all the travel worth it. Thank you for the tip on laurel's review and I'll post my own of the Brandt/Ahn Giselle in that thread. 

Spring 2020 tip: At the stagedoor today, Sung Woo Han told a fan that he is learning Benvolio for Romeo and is still waiting to see if he'll be cast. I'd love to see him in that role. 

Lena C., you are amazing!  Up and down the east coast with ABT!  Thanks for the info. on Sung Woo Han.  I'd like to see him in this new role in the spring.

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Question for the group! My friend and I are planning on getting tickets for Giselle in NYC in June.  However, due to schedules, we can only go either June 9th (Hee Seo/Cory Stearns) or June 10th (misty/Herman).  I’m assuming shoot for June 10th? Thoughts on which cast would be better out of those two? 
 

For context, I have never seen Hee in a full length and have only seen Misty in her Firebird.  

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GB1216, I would go for the chance to see Herman Cornejo. Just seeing him will be worth the price of admission. Misty has been cancelling a lot, so you may see her or perhaps someone else (if you got Brandt or Lane it would be great casting). Whatever happens with Misty, I'd vote for seeing Cornejo. Hee Seo can be lovely, but has technical limitations, and Stearns is a good partner but boring. MHO. 

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14 minutes ago, canbelto said:

OOh Sarah throwing shade at Skylar:

 

Classy (NOT). She's a principal. She should not punch down at a soloist.

And citing Hope Hicks on hard work! 🤮

Edited by aurora
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