LFmg finals at the Met
Never have we seen so many 3-point shots taken in a final – swish, swish, swish. Nothing but net all night long. And when it was all over, they raised the MVP, Stella Abrera, high into the air so that she could cut the net and take it home as a souvenir. No question – it was the best of the 3 1/2 performances of La Fille mal gardee that Haglund saw this week. (He skipped Act II of Wednesday night's performance because what preceded it was plainly awful.) Last night's cast was phenomenal and completely deserved the standing ovation and enthusiastic response from every corner of the house - though it appeared less than half sold.
Unfortunately, Haglund never observed anything like this video clip from ABT's Colases James Whiteside, Cory Stearns or Herman Cornejo. Keep in mind that as good as Steven McCrae's Colas is in this clip, he doesn't rise to the level of David Wall Blair in 1960. Given the fact that La Fille mal gardee was on the ABT schedule for a year and that the technical requirements would have been no surprise to any of the dancers, we don't understand why ABT's men fell so short in this section. It wasn't just the paddle turns that were a problem this week. No one seemed to be able to battement the second leg in a tour jete in order to find that beautiful split position. There seems to be a widespread breakout of "I'm OK, you're OK" circulating among the principal men these days. Not OK.
ABT's sad marketing
Haglund compared the amounts spent on advertising for ABT and NYCB (from the Form 990) and found that NYCB spends nearly $1 million more per year than ABT spends. Also, they have that crack media team that comes up with fabulous ideas that they can actually execute.
The new slick docu-promo videos that have recently surfaced on ABT's social media are being produced by the Lubow agency who says that we will get a new video for each week of the Met season. So, that's something to look forward to - be thankful for small blessings. But the videos are aimed at the core audience which is already closely following the company and buying tickets. Why not aim some slick marketing at the Met Opera audience or the NY Phil audience? As a crossover audience member of both, Haglund knows that there is opportunity that isn't being leveraged.
How interesting that Liudmila Konovalova has been seen out and about visiting New York. She graduated from the Bolshoi school with Semionova, and likewise, didn't join the Bolshoi company but a smaller Russian company where she quickly moved up the ranks before heading for Germany where Semionova was dancing. Same feet, same body type, same face. In case anyone asks, we don't need her at ABT. Not in a pinch, not as guest, not as a substitute, not for any reason. ABT has plenty of its own dancers who need opportunities and can competently pick up a performance if need be.
Houston Ballet First Soloist Aaron Robison is set to join San Francisco Ballet as a Principal. His Des Grieux to Yuriko Kajiya's Manon was a highlight of last year - second only to Stella Abrera's Giselle. We've been keen on Robison since Angel Corella brought him to New York with the Corella/Barcelona Ballet several years ago. San Francisco balletomanes will adore this dancer.