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July 08, 2017

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The rest of the afternoon's tedious program vanished as soon as Part and Hoven took over the stage. What a great team! I'll remember this performance always. That makeshift and rushed sendoff was hardly worthy of a distinguished principal dancer. Veronika was so gracious to all, but it appears the AD has little regard for anyone but himself. Both Hoven and especially Marcelo Gomes were the real class acts in the farewell, both treating her with kindness and the respect due an honored colleague. Their humanity truly was a welcome sight.

(Edited version)

Hi Haglund,

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make this afternoon's performance. Glad I could read about it on your blog. Sadly, Veronika says this was her final time dancing on stage--ever. She posted this on her Instagram account: "Last performance.. I'll never go to any stage ever again. Saying goodbye to that art from (form)."

Hopefully, she will change her mind and be open to guest artist opportunities in the future.

Posted by: B | July 09, 2017 at 02:12 AM

I thought Veronika was glorious and beautiful in Mozartiana yesterday. Having seen Suzanne in the 1981 premiere, I always come to this ballet with the baggage of ridiculously high standards:) But, of course, Veronika was superb in it. And I agree about Blaine Hoven -- he was excellent, and a most gracious partner for Veronika.

That said, I do hope Veronika reconsiders her decision -- announced on her Instagram account last night -- about totally retiring from the stage (and "the art"). The idea of never seeing Veronika dance again is just too awful for words.

Most especially I want to thank you, H., for your always great reviews and commentary during the spring ballet season here in NYC. I will look forward to reading your pieces about the upcoming "Jewels" at Lincoln Center in a couple of weeks (I can't wait, and will be seeing multiple performances).. And thankfully, our NYCB fall season is less than two months away (and speaking of NYCB, I'm off to SPAC in a few days to see NYCB there, too), followed by ABT's fall season at the NY State, too. We're so lucky here!

That's very sad to hear. Hopefully, Veronika will reconsider. As she and Kolpakova hugged, it seemed another big fissure in the Vaganova tradition was breaking open. I believe that Veronika's beloved teacher, Inna Zubkovskaya, was the Odette/Odile to Semenov's Siegfried (Mr. Kopakova) when the Kirov made its first visit to New York.

ABT should have certainly granted her another year, a farewell in Swan Lake, and pleaded with her to pass on some of what she knows to a few of its dancers in the corps who might be potential Odettes/Odiles.

I truly hope that McKenzie gets a good taste of his own shabby, shoddy treatment of Veronika real soon.

Veronika's departure was a crummy way to conclude what has otherwise been a thrilling season. Christine getting two Kitris and two Medoras, Sarah getting two Giselles, an Odette/Odile and creating Princess Praline, Devon getting an Odette/Odile, and Skylar getting two Medoras. I thought that signaled that things in ABT were going to be different.

Check out Craig Salstein lietrally giving a "Grand Allegro" with cartwheels (then grand jete) on the last day of ABT's company class...no joke.

There ya go...

Thank you Haglund for another insightful review. ABT does not have a dancer that can interpret the roles that Veronica is best suited to in the way that she did. They will have a huge void that will be difficult to fill. it seems that the Bolshoi is following suit and forcing retirements on some of their great principals.

Haglund, your eloquent review is much appreciated. It is some compensation for all of us who couldn't attend Part's last performance at ABT. Now this fresh hell that she will never dance again is really casting a shadow! As Elizabeth and others have said, Part is unique and the most purely classical dancer at ABT. I'll be going to ABT a lot less often. Thanks again.

Here is some Russian-language coverage of Veronika's departure from ABT, including some quotes from Veronika herself:

http://www.balletinsider.com/archive/history/7887

One quote that seems particularly interesting is this, run through Google Translate:

"At first it was promised to me that I would be partially engaged in some ballets next season, then left only "Swan Lake", and later just was deprived of everything, fired with nothing," said the ballerina. "I was unnecessary."

Thanks, nanushka. I was busy preparing a post about it when your comment came in. This totally disgraceful treatment of Veronika by McKenzie and ABT. She needs a lawyer.

I'm still reeling from Part's departure. Even the idea of McKenize whittling down her future season to just one Swan Lake makes me sick. Not only is it terrible treatment toward an artist who has given so much, but what effect is this going to have on company culture? Getting rid of guest artists has been a big boon to the company, but showing such disregard for time-honored artists is going to send an awful message to younger dancers.

Just look at how well Kowroski seems to have been treated by NYCB throughout her relatively difficult return from maternity leave and subsequent injury. A senior-ranking ballerina deserves respect!

Again, just really demoralized over this whole debacle. I want to see Veronika emerge triumphant in some way...not sure how that would be.

FoF, I share your misery. I understand that Veronika has been given the names of attorneys who might be able to help her if she calls them. Let's hope she does. As Kevin McKenzie knows well - the employee who neglects to look after her own rights is the best type of employee to have.

Potentially, Veronika has the power to take McKenzie down and change how directors deal with employees on the verge of receiving protection from age discrimination. If she chooses not to apply herself to help herself; then, there's nothing anyone can do.

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