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Spring 2020 New York Season


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1 minute ago, ABT Fan said:

...It seems obvious from that article that McKenzie wasn’t going to have any staff teach or coach her in the role (otherwise he would have said “we’re going to have you learn the role” or something to that effect).

I don't think that was obvious at all. He said it in the context of their discussing what she might work on during the summer break — a time when staff wouldn't be teaching or coaching her anything, presumably. She wanted to get a head start, I think. I don't think McKenzie was suggesting that she had to the learn the role on her own and she wouldn't get cast unless she did.

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So how expensive is it to get coaching from Irina and Max on the side?  We know that Royal is doing it, and he is getting a soloist salary.  We also know that Lane has done the same in the past, and that Shevchenko is also getting coaching from them.

Murphy got her coaching initially at New Zealand ballet, where she did Giselle many times years before McKenzie ever gave her the role at ABT.  Stella also did numerous Giselle performances at Australian ballet before she got the role at ABT by virtue of the fact that Semionova cancelled her entire ABT season.  So knowing the role, and having performed the role many times,  doesn't serve as a guarantee that McKenzie will give you the role.

 

Edited by abatt
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3 minutes ago, nanushka said:

It wouldn’t be the first time someone wrote something a little illogical and hypocritical while airing grievances unwisely on social media.

The exact quote from Sarah is:

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It has always been my standard for myself to #workhard because, for me, it is important to know in my heart that every opportunity that I have gotten came simply from that work and not a penny more. Money can’t make an artist. I want to be authentic and, at times, have been honest to a fault. However, I love to express what’s in my soul through this beautiful art form. “There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting.” -Hope Hicks

As I said, posting this the day after a highly successful debut for Brandt in Giselle AND right after the big NYTimes article (which I guess could be counted as publicity) makes it awkward and like shade towards Brandt. Also not a single ABT member has commented below, and many ABT members left nice messages to Sarah on her other IG posts.

Like this one where Brandt was the first to comment:

 

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

So how expensive is it to get coaching from Irina and Max on the side?  We know that Royal is doing it, and he is getting a soloist salary. 

He has also been in a number of ad campaigns and in magazines (recently Avenue magazine with Copeland) so he does have some supplemental income.

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20 minutes ago, abatt said:

So how expensive is it to get coaching from Irina and Max on the side?  We know that Royal is doing it, and he is getting a soloist salary.  We also know that Lane has done the same in the past, and that Shevchenko is also getting coaching from them.

We’d need to know how much coaching each dancer received and what other financial resources they may have — none of which we know, I assume.

I agree with you that Brandt has well deserved her opportunities though.

Edited by nanushka
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10 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I don't think that was obvious at all. He said it in the context of their discussing what she might work on during the summer break — a time when staff wouldn't be teaching or coaching her anything, presumably. She wanted to get a head start, I think. I don't think McKenzie was suggesting that she had to the learn the role on her own and she wouldn't get cast unless she did.

I wasn’t suggesting that McKenzie told her to learn the role or else she wouldn’t get cast. I was suggesting that he told her to learn the role because she probably would be cast (or it would be a strong possibility), but clearly they weren’t going to teach it to her.

The only videos Brandt posted of learning the role were with Irina and Max. She posted maybe 2 videos of recent run throughs with ABT, just a week or so before DC. If she had been in the studio getting coached by Kolpakova, then I guess I assume we would have seen those videos as well (or at least a post rehearsal photo with her, like many dancers do).

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It's also the frequency of the coaching. Royal and Shevchenko seem to get occasional coaching, while Brandt seems to get frequent coaching. I'm sure finances play a big role in the length and frequency of the coaching sessions.

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15 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

I wasn’t suggesting that McKenzie told her to learn the role or else she wouldn’t get cast. I was suggesting that he told her to learn the role because she probably would be cast (or it would be a strong possibility), but clearly they weren’t going to teach it to her.

The only videos Brandt posted of learning the role were with Irina and Max. She posted maybe 2 videos of recent run throughs with ABT, just a week or so before DC. If she had been in the studio getting coached by Kolpakova, then I guess I assume we would have seen those videos as well (or at least a post rehearsal photo with her, like many dancers do).

I just don’t think we can assume that — much less that it was obvious — from what was in the article. Once she started working with Irina and Max, she may well have wanted to see that through. (She has the resources to do so, it would seem.) That doesn’t imply that McKenzie would have cast her then withheld sufficient coaching/teaching from the ABT staff.

Edited by nanushka
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I think the only other person besides Brandt who was in the running for a Giselle debut but has not yet gotten a chance is Trenary.  She seems like a good fit for Giselle, more so than Shevchenko, who strikes me as  better at the Petipa roles than the romantic role of Giselle.

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A little bit off the topic. It seems, Irina and Max are top-notched coaches with terrific results. So, why hasn't ABT grabbed them as ballet masters/coaches. Irina K. can't do everything. Just a thought.

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

I think the only other person besides Brandt who was in the running for a Giselle debut but has not yet gotten a chance is Trenary.  She seems like a good fit for Giselle, more so than Shevchenko, who strikes me as  better at the Petipa roles than the romantic role of Giselle.

I agree with the above, and was quite surprised with Shevchenko being cast.

1 minute ago, bingham said:

A little bit off the topic. It seems, Irina and Max are top-notched coaches with terrific results. So, why hasn't ABT grabbed them as ballet masters/coaches. Irina K. can't do everything. Just a thought.

I’m sure finances have a lot to do with bringing in extra coaches. Also, Irina was vocal about her forced retirement, so I can’t imagine she’d want to work for McKenzie again.

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4 minutes ago, bingham said:

A little bit off the topic. It seems, Irina and Max are top-notched coaches with terrific results. So, why hasn't ABT grabbed them as ballet masters/coaches. Irina K. can't do everything. Just a thought.

Money? I'm always shocked at how shoestring the budgets are for major arts organizations but ...

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7 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Was is it about Shevchenko’s dancing that makes her seem to some not well suited to the role?

She's real tall and majestic, more of a Myrtha than a Giselle IMO.

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3 minutes ago, canbelto said:

She's real tall and majestic, more of a Myrtha than a Giselle IMO.

As one with a particular fondness for tall dancers, I'm delighted to see one get the role, as I've never bought into the idea that Giselle has to be shorter and frail. Tall sturdy girls can have heart conditions too. IMO it'll only matter if she can't pull off the second act. But I can't think of anything about her dancing that makes me doubt she could.

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Was is it about Shevchenko’s dancing that makes her seem to some not well suited to the role?

Nothing negative about her dancing. She’s an extraordinary technician. I agree with canbelto that she’s regal and more of a Myrta, a natural Myrta IMO, very strong and commanding. And, not at all girlish. Sort of like Murphy whom I can’t imagine as Giselle. 

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30 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Nothing negative about her dancing. She’s an extraordinary technician. I agree with canbelto that she’s regal and more of a Myrta, a natural Myrta IMO, very strong and commanding. And, not at all girlish. Sort of like Murphy whom I can’t imagine as Giselle. 

Gotcha, yeah, I've definitely never seen her do girlish, but her dancing is all around so excellent that I can't imagine not wanting to see her try the role, for the chance she might nail it. Certainly I don't think her physical dimensions make it impossible that she might.

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I've seen Murphy do Giselle and she danced it well but it wasn't a natural fit for her. It wasn't so much height but the strength and sturdiness she exuded. I think in actual height Murphy isn't taller than, say, Stella Abrera but Stella has a girlishness and fragility that are just right for the role.

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1 minute ago, canbelto said:

I've seen Murphy do Giselle and she danced it well but it wasn't a natural fit for her. It wasn't so much height but the strength and sturdiness she exuded.

I completely agree, Gillian didn’t pull it off.

Edited by nanushka
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3 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I've seen Murphy do Giselle and she danced it well but it wasn't a natural fit for her. It wasn't so much height but the strength and sturdiness she exuded. I think in actual height Murphy isn't taller than, say, Stella Abrera but Stella has a girlishness and fragility that are just right for the role.

This reminds me of the response to Martine van Hamel doing Giselle long ago -- a perfect Myrtha, but too strong to be a convincing Giselle.

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Back in 2012 or so, ABT brought Sleeping Beauty to Los Angeles and Christine Schevchenko was the Songbird Fairy in the prologue and nearly stole the show.  

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I really don’t understand this notion of a natural “fill-in-the-blank” role and I don’t think it is a particularly helpful one.  One of my favorite actors Harriet Walter always says to herself before she walks on stage: “It could be you Harriet, it could be you.”  And one of the best pieces of advice I remember receiving as an actor (when I was cast as Juliet and was very self conscious of my double d’s, thinking no one would buy me as 13, I didn’t look right or “natural”.  A more senior actor told me to “act it” if you were 13 and had double d’s, how would that affect you, the way you walk, carry yourself, see yourself etc.  A good story is a set of circumstances, the collective human experience means we can understand and relate to one another, put ourselves in someone else’s shoes “it could be you”.

I understand that acting is not ballet - there are hugely important physical necessities and physical features that are obviously less appealing in ballet - I can think of dancers, in companies we all know, with shorter necks or unfortunately shaped rib cages, maybe these would not be ideal for Giselle, but nor would they really be for any role. As long as the female dancer and the male dancer partnering her are proportionately well matched, then if they can dance the part and live through the role honestly, then it is possible it may be magic - you just can’t say until you’ve seen it.

x no. of years ago ballerinas had to be 5’5”-5’6” that was the standard of classical ballet - outside it was unusual, nowadays everyone from the Bolshoi is bloody runway height! And the Simkin’s and Kotchetkova’s of this world would never be allowed to gain entry - and what a crying shame it would be if everywhere were so rigid.  
5 years ago (I think) I saw lopatkina as Medora - you wouldnt necessarily call her a “natural” Medora or Kitri I don’t think she ever got to play the latter, but I feel sure if given the chance she would make it her own and I would damn well be queuing up for those tix if they came to town because she is a magnificent dancer.

I happened to love Gillian’s Met debut as Giselle with Hallberg in 2017 - she was heartbreakingly beautiful, delicate, vulnerable, and her musicality alone was enough to make you loose yourself in the story (she had Ormsby - ❤️).  Also, have you heard Gillian speak in interviews - she’s soft spoken and giggly blushes every time she talks of Ethan - she’s not a walking Odile!  All humans have so so many sides to them, but good dancers are rare jewels.  I did not adore her recent Giselle in DC as much, but not because she has an innate non-Giselle quality.   Who is Giselle anyway? She is a fiction and as someone on this forum quite rightly said anyone can have a heart defect, anyone can have their heartbroken and maybe madness is but a moment away.  “It could be you.”

Edited by Emily12
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