Whoa . . . the hissing emails flying around about the casting for ABT's Met season suggest a continued slow death for this company. Once again, many of ABT's brightest classicists have been snubbed and humiliated for the spring Met season while the influx of Flash & Dash Russians and one technically inferior cripple continue to dominate our own great dancers.
Stella Abrera, Yuriko Kajiya, Jared Matthews, Sascha Radetsky –– have all been denied classical leading roles this year. Abrera performed the role of Aurora TEN TIMES last year under grueling touring conditions. TEN TIMES. What the hell more experience do you need? TEN TIMES. Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews ARE Kitri and Basilio and ARE Aurora and Desire and ARE one of ABT's greatest pairings of Giselle and Albrecht. All four of these dancers ARE highly qualified for Swan Lake as well.
What have these extraordinarily gifted dancers done to be denied classical leading opportunities other than be good sports while McKenzie jacks them around and wastes their careers? Wastes. Their. Careers.
ABT's lazy board of directors continues to give McKenzie a pass for his failure to utilize the brilliant talent in the company while importing -- honestly, Muntagirov? Was he not assessed as ordinary, boring and homely last year? We have to be thankful that McKenzie didn't match Munty up with Veronika -- what a surprise. Cojocaru can't even get her own company to give her sufficient work -- why is she being invited to come here? Semionova, Osipova, Vasiliev? It's understandable how the ignorant might be attracted to those three: Semionova is death-camp thin with sky-high, crotch-exposing extensions while the other two are Barnum and Bailey circus animals. But why is ABT trying to appeal to the ignorant at the expense of losing its devoted core audience?
Finally this year Herman Cornejo gets to dance Siegfried in Swan Lake. Does anyone not realize that it's because McKenzie wants to cast Flash & Dash in the same ballet but wouldn't survive the uproar if Cornejo had to sit on the sidelines once again? That Herman is finally getting what he has deserved for ten years has nothing to do with McKenzie finally recognizing how great Herman is. The ulterior motive for granting Herman the good fortune of dancing Siegfried couldn't be more transparent.
And ABT continues to embarrass itself with the absolute worst marketing and press departments in the history of all performing arts --EVER. While NYCB had its dancers strutting in Valentino designs on stage and in the great fashion mags, ABT had its men in their pajamas in Time Magazine. That pretty much sums up the difference between these two companies these days.
It is painful to watch the slow bleeding to death of this formerly great company -- but it is ALL self-inflicted. The only way to stop it is to get rid of McKenzie. Fast.