Manon PdD, Swan Lake Act I PdD, Swan Lake Act II PdD, Flames of Paris PdD, Don Q PdD – my goodness, ABT's opening night gala looks like Fall for Dance except that the tickets aren't $10. Oh wait, there will be students from the school in recital, too, making the whole night a little more like the Youth America Grand Prix.
Not even Honorary Chair Michelle Obama and her husband could save this gala. The only thing that could possibly save this gala would be an appearance by Bill Clinton - and that's kind of unlikely to happen. However, he did perform a very fine warmup act for Tony Bennett last year at the Met. How great it would be for Bill Clinton to come out on stage and give a warm lecture about the unethical, unpatriotic, unappealing practice of outsourcing job opportunities to foreign workers and of course shaking his finger. That would be good. That would be worth seeing. Otherwise, not. So, it will not be old Haglund who you hear booing McKenzie when he shuffles out on stage in his shineless shoes to make the annual case of what a great job he's doing when we all know he should have been fired years ago for wasting the company's human capital.
The mass email advertisement for the gala going around is a hoot. It features a big picture of Diana Vishneva in Swan Lake even though she has been pulled from dancing Swan Lake.
The mass email says the program features "an astonishing 15 principal dancers in highlights from the 2012 season." It doesn't say 15 ABT principals - that's because McKenzie has gone out and borrowed a third of the "astonishing" list in order to try to astonish everyone including himself. What would truly astonish everyone would be if McKenzie gave ABT's senior soloists the spotlights and opportunities they deserve. Now that would be astonishing.
It would be nice to see Sarah Lane in a Swan Lake PdD or actually featured in anything. Angel Corella has such respect for her artistry and abilities that he has offered her a future with Barcelona Ballet that would allow her to split her time between his company and ABT. Haglund hopes she takes it even though McKenzie will make her suffer more for it. See the last paragraph of this link.
And just asking – why are Manon, Flames of Paris, and Don Q PdDs being referred to as highlights from the 2012 season? Is the actual 2012 season so boring that a preview has to be supplemented with fake entries?
This is really piss-poor planning. But since the big donors probably don't embarrass themselves by going to the Fall for Dance programs and snatching $10 tickets away from the masses who really need that kind of economic support, they'll probably enjoy the gala evening and think that they're getting their money's worth.