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June 03, 2016

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This wonderful little video snippet of Yuriko rehearsing and talking about her role in Giselle was posted earlier on Houston Ballet's Facebook page. Some ADs have excellent taste.

https://www.facebook.com/houstonballet/videos

Thank you so much LLF. That is a charming video. Yuriko looks beautiful.

I fixed the link in the first line of the post. Everyone should be able to bypass the paywall and access the text and pictures now.

Out of curiosity I went to ABT's web page and compared a list of the sponsors of principal dancer's performances vs who is on the board. Out of 17 principal dancers listed, 11 of them were sponsored by someone on the board. I am not sure if this is the norm, but how can a board be objective when they have a horse in the race?

Marcelo Gomez - Sponsor: Monica and Ali Wambold, Board position: Ali Wambold, Chair Nomianting Committee
David Hallberg - Sponsor: Avery and Andy Barth, Board position: Andrew F. Barth, Honorary Vice Chair, Executive Committee
Maria Kotchetkova - Sponsor: Beth Chartoff Spector, Board position: Co-Chair, Development Committee
Misty Copeland - Sponsor: Valentino D. Carlotti, Board position: Co-Finance Chair
Daniil Simkin - Sponsor: Sharon Patrick and The Mattes Family, Board position: Sharon Patrick, President
Diana Vishneva - Sponsor: Theresa Khawly., Board position: Trustee
Veronika Part - Sponsor: Theresa Khawly, Board position: Trustee
Isabella Boylston - Sponsor: Linda Allard, Board position: Trustee
Cory Sterns - Sponsor: Howard S. Paley., Board position: Trustee
James Whiteside - Sponsor: Andrew J. Martin-Weber, Board position: Trustee
Roberto Bolle - Sponsor: William J. Gillespie and The ABT Golden Circle Council., Board position: William J. Gillespie, Trustee
Stella Abrera - Sponsor: Mary Jo and Ted Shan, Board position: none
Polina Semionova - Sponsor: Sheila Grant, Board position: none
Herman Cornejo - Sponsor: Sheila Grant, Board position: none
Hee Seo - Sponsor:  Pamela and David B. Ford., Board position: none
Gillian Murphy - Sponsor: Mary Jo and Ted Shen., Board position: none
Alban Lendorf - Sponsor: exchange artist, Board position: none

Thanks for the breakout, SM. It really seems like an environment that is rife with the potential for inappropriate influence.

Theresa Khawly was quoted in a Town & Country magazine article as saying "Whenever Russian dancers catch my attention at ABT, I sponsor them." Russians and Ukranians are all she is interested in. At the time of the article, she was sponsoring Shevchenko, Vishneva, Osipova, Semionova, Dvorovenko, and Muntagirov. If McKenzie wants more money from her, he has to serve up an enticing Russian import or guest artist. It's that simple.

The other obvious case of misuse of philanthropy is Carlotti buying out Copeland's performances (reported in NYT) along with her other promoters who have vested interests in her success to make her look more successful and important than she really is. Hopefully his influence will decline because his unit at Goldman Sachs was identified as the one with the worst performance and greatest losses last quarter leading to layoffs and -- catch your breath -- reductions in entertainment spending for the GS bankers. Maybe Carlotti is spending a little too much on Misty. Hopefully, his dismal performance at GS will keep him out of the running for the next Chairman at ABT.


@SM

Thank you for what I suspected the whole time about the ABT Board favoritism.

Also notice how they can't bury the non-Board sponsored dancers because they are established and audience favorites (Murphy, Cornejo, Abrera) It seems Lane has the short end of the stick because she hasn't been allowed to become established and therefore immune to the hazing. The fact that Seo doesn't have Board backing makes me think the better of her. I would have thought Part would have received more support but she is buried more often than not.

What is going on at ABT? They need a complete overhaul, EVERYONE needs to be cleared out from the bottom to the very top.

To return to Yuriko Kajiya for a moment, I am delighted to see this exquisite ballerina getting her due - and from the company director!

I second melponeme_k thoughts, I too had suspected this for many years, and don't believe this was the case in the pre-KM years? Does this happen in NYCB or HB? If this is true I would think that many in the company like Lane and even in the corps will stand no chance unless they get a wealthy board member for a sponsor!? Guess money does talk! I would hate to think that is so, as it is robbery to me, robbing these talents of their youth and passion! Overhaul is in order for sure if so!

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