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ABT 2020 Promotions.


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Excited for the promotions, as I like all of those dancers.

I’m not going to stress over Lane until it’s confirmed that she is leaving, or has left.  Unless I’m missing something, I see nothing on her social media accounts that indicate she has left.

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Agree with most comments here about the promotions and time will tell. I do agree with a comment upthread about promoting dancers who haven't proven themselves in multiple principal roles, other than Forster who is one of my favorites with both his emotional presence and his technique.

As much as all the others have the technique and what I call tricks, I just don't feel they carry the emotional part as some of the great past primas IMHO Marcelo, Roberto, David, Julie, Xiomara and of course Sarah. I too am happy they finally promoted Gabe and glad his outspoken social media has helped him, but I do wonder if he will be another Craig Salstein (another loss) sitting in soloist rank till the end of time 😏

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I have to say, I agree with both Stuben and Drew. Certain dancers are much better prepared for this transition, given the parts currently in their repertoire. 

Royal was certainly the biggest surprise, I never thought he would be one to go all the way up. I know he was rehearsing R&J before the cancellation but has he danced a single lead in a classical ballet? I would have thought they would have needed given him a trial run at one or two big parts to be seriously considered for a promotion considering the repertoire of the company.  The other guys promoted to principal all have 2+ leads in big classics.

Trenary is another case. She has danced roles highlighting her sweet persona, Aurora and Princess Praline but I wonder how she would do as more dramatic characters. She did do Gamzatti, I would be curious to see it. 

To me, she and Royal are the biggest 'wildcards'. I will certainly be  interested to watch all of the newly promoted dancers grow and develop, however I am especially partial to Ahn and Brandt. 

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52 minutes ago, stuben said:

Agree with most comments here about the promotions and time will tell. I do agree with a comment upthread about promoting dancers who haven't proven themselves in multiple principal roles, other than Forster who is one of my favorites with both his emotional presence and his technique.

As much as all the others have the technique and what I call tricks, I just don't feel they carry the emotional part as some of the great past primas IMHO Marcelo, Roberto, David, Julie, Xiomara and of course Sarah. I too am happy they finally promoted Gabe and glad his outspoken social media has helped him, but I do wonder if he will be another Craig Salstein (another loss) sitting in soloist rank till the end of time 😏

I think "time will tell" is often the case with promotions. There were dancers in the past promoted to principal who sadly never fully fulfilled their seeming potential (in my opinion, Michelle Wiles was a dancer who notably stagnated).

But I think it is worth remembering that when promoted, not all of those greats you mentioned had the emotional range and weight they eventually developed either. This is certainly the case with David (and not meant at ALL as a knock on him, he's one of my absolute favorites), but he grew and matured as a principal, as indeed have many others. I am optimistic that these dancers will all, likewise, grow into their new roles

 

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Royal will get his chances in full-length classics; if he doesn't prove himself technically, they can keep casting him in more neoclassical and contemporary works. He's great in Ratmansky ballets and his Apollo was well received. However it all goes, promoting him -- and choosing to give promotions at all right now -- does look good for the company from a publicity standpoint in 2020.

A real shame about Lane, who's still in her prime. Echoing others, my gut feeling is that there are personal issues we'll likely never know about. Anyone who saw her dance in the 2019 Met Season can plainly see she's a special talent. Murphy (in her 40s, with a baby) and Copeland (frequently injured, very downhill technique) are clearly closer to retirement-ready than Lane.

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On 9/11/2020 at 10:46 AM, JuliaJ said:

Royal will get his chances in full-length classics; if he doesn't prove himself technically, they can keep casting him in more neoclassical and contemporary works. He's great in Ratmansky ballets and his Apollo was well received.

Agreed. It happens with female dancers all the time, where they may be technically less impressive but their artistry and 'it' factor makes up for it (Ferri, Kent, Copeland...just examples, I know many will disagree). He may or may not nail a Solar or Basilio, but he has so much to offer the company and audiences. If I were a choreographer I'd love to create pieces for him, especially seeing how he really tore into the Fall season and several Spring season supporting roles (his arms in Apollo are a thing to behold).

I don't agree (slightly implied here and very implied on other forums) that his promotion is publicity fueled. 

Combined with Ahn, Bell and Forster, the Principal ranks seem quite balanced to me (except the only reason whiz bang technical trickster we have left is Simkin, wondering who will fill that type of role). I'm especially excited to see how Ahn matures into the big classic ballet roles. Happy for Shayer too, and I wish him a glorious injury-free ascent. 

I'm sad to miss out on the Lane debuts we'll never see, but I can't really side with anyone there unless I know the full story. Her IG was pretty salty / odd for a while and I stopped following. 

 

Edited by Inge
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I too am bummed about Sarah Lane, if it is true that she is no longer with ABT. She had become a really fine dramatic artist of depth and beauty. It is weird that Kevin M. bothered to promote her but then didn't cast her.

I'm a bit surprised Gillian Murphy is still on the roster. Her comeback from maternity leave was interrupted by COVID so I wouldn't have been surprised if she decided to retire. I also wonder about Misty Copeland. A month or so ago, in an interview, she said she hadn't been able to do much physically during the shut down because of injury.

ABT will return a changed company. I'm glad to see faster promotions!

 

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2 hours ago, Inge said:

He may or may not nail a Solar or Basilio, but he has so much to offer the company and audiences.

Sadly, he was not able to be an in-person Artist-in-Residence at Vail this summer, but the good news is that he will be Artist-in-Residence in 2021.  I think that having Watts and Woetzel as Vail mentors following the grant he received to be able to plot his own course of artistic development has contributed greatly to having earned this promotion, and that we may see Solor and Basilio yet, if that's what he wants, because Watts and Woetzel stretch Vail artists beyond type.

One of the advantage of living in the sticks is that we're exposed to a good range of Basilios, at least.  (Still waiting for Solor, hopefully in the production that Doug Fullington and Phil Chan are formulating with an updated setting in America.)

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As far as I'm concerned, the announcement of Ahn, Bell, Brandt, Forster, Royal, Shayer, and Trenary's promotions is a ray of sunshine in a dark time. It's heartening to see a U.S. arts organization embrace its future in the face of so much uncertainty. I've enjoyed watching each of these dancers perform and have gone out of my way to catch some of them when they've been cast in featured roles, so I'm delighted to see their careers advance.

 

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17 minutes ago, Helene said:

Sadly, he was not able to be an in-person Artist-in-Residence at Vail this summer, but the good news is that he will be Artist-in-Residence in 2021.  I think that having Watts and Woetzel as Vail mentors following the grant he received to be able to plot his own course of artistic development has contributed greatly to having earned this promotion, and that we may see Solor and Basilio yet, if that's what he wants, because Watts and Woetzel stretch Vail artists beyond type.

One of the advantage of living in the sticks is that we're exposed to a good range of Basilios, at least.  (Still waiting for Solor, hopefully in the production that Doug Fullington and Phil Chan are formulating with an updated setting in America.)

Thank you for this insight! I've had to make the case to some that he is indeed suited for difficult high tech roles and forgot about his Artist-In-Residence status. 

Speaking of, I could really go for an interesting new Don Q production at ABT if they insist on bringing it back all the time. 

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1 minute ago, Inge said:

Speaking of, I could really go for an interesting new Don Q production at ABT if they insist on bringing it back all the time. 

What would make for an interesting new Don Q? (Not being sarcastic, I'm curious!)

I really enjoy the current one, I have to say, but I'd be thrilled to pieces if they got rid of those horrible 1980s heavy metal/hair band gypsy costumes. They are the WORST!!!!!

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36 minutes ago, Inge said:

Speaking of, I could really go for an interesting new Don Q production at ABT if they insist on bringing it back all the time. 

The current production is "staged by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones."

https://www.abt.org/ballet/don-quixote/

I'm guessing they receive some royalties for each performance. How eager are they to give them up? How do costs compare with staging Ratmansky's? I have to assume that the next several years are going to be a real struggle financially for this and every other company.

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32 minutes ago, JuliaJ said:

Very cryptic post here... maybe I'm reading too much into it but I wonder if it's really about the dog...

 

Very effective allegory, although we'll never really know for sure!

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Aww congrats to Fang! Some happy news for a change.

About that Lane post, it's not the first time she posts to try and help find a pup a home. She's done that quite a few times in fact, so I wouldn't look into that for clues or anything like that.

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13 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Very cryptic post here... maybe I'm reading too much into it but I wonder if it's really about the dog...

 

I thought that was a repost?

Edited by PeggyTulle
clarification
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