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January 09, 2018

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H, I saw 'Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer' yesterday (save comment about the movie itself for later!), but whats the latest you've heard on MG? It was so sad watching it/him knowing what was about to happen in his future. I am still stunned. And BTW, I agree! Im living for the upcoming 'Divertimentos' at NYCB!

I cannot wait for the NYCB Winter Season to start. I will probably skip Martins’ R&J. I wish they weren’t doing so many performances of that.

When I saw McGreggor was re-doing Rite of Spring, I was appalled, but not really surprised. Have you seen him “coach” his ballets at the Royal Ballet website? It’s all onomatopoeia nonsense. Whooomp and whoosh and fooom. Best of luck to the ABT dancers. Really wish we were getting the original.

I’m hopeful that Ratmansky’s Harlequinade will be good. Is he “reconstructing” the Petipa version like he did Sleeping Beauty?

Oh, I didn’t even think anything about it being paired with Firebird. That’s gonna be a lot of Stravinsky for people there who only want to see Copeland. I feel bad for whoever pays money for that program.

I also received the brochure this week and my heart sunk to see Marcelo's picture. Very eager for the winter season to start though. These past weeks of sadness and conjecture need to be cleared from the mind with beautiful dancing. I have never seen Apollo live. Looks like Martins has been replaced by Adrian for the lecture on the 27th.

The brochure was just strange.

Why did they tease everyone with a photo of Abrera and Hallberg in R&J? It is fairly obvious Hallberg is hogtied to two of the most boring dancers on the roster. Plus he is taken out of circulation in Giselle to escort one of Khawly's Russian imports (I have my theory on that peccadillo).

There are so many dancers that Hallberg would look beautiful next to as a partner. It isn't as if this company is shallow talent wise (Amazingly enough), it just suffers from leadership problems.

Ditto heart sinking when I saw Marcelo in theABT brochure. I’ll avoid Firebird by seeing AfterRite at the spring gala!

As soon as I saw that McGregor had styled the title of AfterRite with that silly red R, I was worried. I mean, it's his prerogative to call the piece what he likes, but it just seems so pretentious and fussy.

I haven't seen Ferri since her official ABT farewell, but I might be curious to see her in contemporary rep; then there aren't memories from the past competing.

The overall casting of the ABT season leaves a lot to be desired. We're constantly forced to take the good with the bad (e.g., Hallberg with female Cindy, Abrera with male Cindy). There's rarely been a duller lineup of Swan Queens in the past decade, though I'm of course looking forward to revisiting Teuscher in the role and seeing Shevchenko in her debut. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for some favorable shifting of casting now that Gomes is out (as sad as it is that he's out).

FOF, ITA with the pathetic casting that matches up undesirables with the respected artists. Now that Whiteside has had his hernia fixed, can't he lift some of the heftier ladies like Boylston and Copeland? Why doesn't ABT simply put all the undesirables together and give everyone a break? I'm really considering not going to any performances of those three no matter who they are matched up with. I honestly don't want to see Petipa soiled by these three.

ABT needs to stop being such asses and try harder to work things out with Marcelo.

I'm still hoping that Osipova pulls out of her Giselle. Not for Hallberg's sake but then maybe Lane/Cornejo can swoop in a pick up that Friday night slot.

You people do know that Hallberg loves dancing with Osipova, and very likely requested to perform with her? On a different note, it looks like KM has finally decided to bring along some of the younger corps dancers. Joon Won Ahn is performing Solor during Met season, and rumor has it another young corps dancer is learning, and possibly performing, some of Marcelo's roles.

So Haglund - do you know if ABT actually IS trying to work something out with Marcelo, or is that your (our) wishful thinking?

Strictly wishful thinking.

Ballet Fan, it's great that a few corpsmen are getting a boost. And once again, it appears that McKenzie has to find substitutes for his unreliable import Alban Lendorf for the first part of the year.

There's a lot of talent there particularly in Klein, Shayer, Frenette, and Whiteley. Aran Bell's physical abilities impress but he has devolved into a static, botox-ed performer, almost as bad as McKenzie was.

No replacement for Marcelo will come along for a long, long time. With regard to Hallberg, the chances of him dancing full out in Giselle and Manon at the Royal Ballet and then making it through an 8 week Met Season are Power Ball odds. Good luck to anyone who bought tickets.

The last Manon show is on April 13. Hopefully a month of no performances is enough recovery time? I know there are mixed feelings about Osipova here, but I am very excited to see their Giselle...

Hopefully Osipova will be eager to show us what she has learned at the Royal Ballet in the areas of refinement and behavior. I never cared for the way she flew out of the cottage during her first entrance in Act I already in the middle of her mad scene. Perhaps the RB toned her down a bit and cleaned up her shoes. We'll see...

Given the chance, both Skylar Brandt and Cassandra Trenary could probably give performances of Giselle comparable to Osipova's.

OK so let me get this straight . . . ABT uses a photo to advertise (make money) of an artist whom they made so uncomfortable that he left . . . so are they promoting for their own greed someone they no longer support . . . WTF? Just shameful.

Before you buy your ABT tickets, consider this: compare the recent on-line outpouring of support, or at least commentary on Martins vs Gomes. Regardless of the individual situations, the majority of NYCB expressed their shock and sadness via social media at the departure of Martins, vs the dearth of comments by his colleagues at ABT, even his ‘best friends’ other than Murphy and Kent, at the departure of Gomes. Did Marcelo ask everyone to keep it quiet? Do the members of the company know something we dont? Or was it ‘suggested’ to the company by the board and management not to mention it, so as not to cause controversy, and not to loose funding, at risk loosing their contracts. As Haglund has mentioned many times, ABT is not the touchy-feely dancer centered company that they present to the media.

Hi Haglund,

I saw Osipova/Hallberg in Giselle about 6 years ago at the Met. I enjoyed the performance and there was certainly chemistry between them, but even as I watched it I felt that Osipova did not excel in the lyrical aspects. In adagio, she didn't fill the music. Her leaps and ballon were thrilling! But sometimes they were overdone and had a gymnastic quality. Hallberg was impressive; I had never seen him. However he didn't do the brises in Act II but rather did a gazillion entrechats. I don't think they're expressive and after watching a few, I am bored. I saw Osipova & McCrae in Giselle a couple of years ago because the Myrtha was Veronika Part and it was my only chance to see her that season. I thought Osipova's Giselle was much more lyrical and refined. It's probably the result of being at the RB and also think she wants to refine her interpretation.

I too received the ABT brochure this week and was disheartened at how many performances Copeland is dancing in. It is truly a slap in the face to the rest of the (more qualified) ladies. Did anyone notice the tribute to Bolle? His 10-year anniversary, but guess what he is only dancing that day!! Ha ha! Were they trying to make a laugh with that? A tribute for someone only dancing 1 day?
Unless I missed some things, I was really disappointed. But that is actually what I have come to expect from ABT in the past several years - continual disappointment. Oh to have a touring ballet company that is decent visit NY this year!!!

All the more reason to hop down to Philadelphia & see what Corella is doing w/the PA Ballet

...Mayara Pineiro is the prima that Copeland is not.

Gstavella, I wouldn't necessarily assume bad intentions on ABT's part for including Gomes in the brochure. I bet the brochure had gone to press before Gomes resigned. Nonprofit mail can take up to 15 business days to be delivered, so it's possible this item was even mailed before Gomes resigned (especially given all the business days that were lost due to the holidays). No PR department would want to attract negative attention by listings a dancer who resigned amidst controversy.

FoF, I'd like to believe that ABT's PR department is innocent, but it has a long, long, long history of selling tickets on the strength of an artist's name while knowing full well that the artist would not appear.

Given that the brochure was sent out by the Met Opera, not ABT (see postmark), it may be that the Met really didn't give a hoot about what had happened with Marcelo and wasn't going to pay for a re-print/re-mail of the brochures. ABT probably didn't put up much of a fuss either. That said, there are surely plenty of occasional ballet goers who are choosing their performances based on Marcelo's name.

Foundoffouettes, Oh I agree. Any marketing dept worth the money they are being paid would instantly remove a resignation/firing off their advertising materials, if it were possible. They run the risk of beings sued for false advertising with him still in the brochure. Im sure it was too late to 'stop the presses'. I was reacting to the 'company', as in Gomes fellow dancers, lack of comment about his departure on social media not the ABT management. It looks like only Julie Kent, and Gillian commented in some form. Whereas, Mearns, Fairchild(s) LeCrone, T Peck, Bouder, etc all had something to say about Martins.

gstavella,

I'm fairly sure that the dancers were told not to comment. Gillian, Mearns, LeCrone, and Tiler Peck all made ambiguous comments without specifically naming who they were speaking about, although many of the commenters picked up on it. Robbie Fairchild spoke out because he was no longer employed at NYCB. I didn't see any mention of Martins resignation by either Megan Fairchild or Bouder.

I'm sure that many of them would have loved to comment, and LeCrone and Hyltin probably risked their jobs by reaching out to the NYT at the last moment. They were upset, as many are, about the irresponsibility of the press and how the company's gag orders made it look like no one was supporting their boss. NYT is not so different from "the late" Gawker.

Speaking of not updating casting, Stella Abrera will replace Devon Teuscher as Juliet in Detroit. The ABT website hasn't been updated, but the Michigan Opera site has been.

Haglund, I was so looking forward to Aran Bell’s first big featured role, in Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions, during the upcoming Kennedy Center run...same performance with Lane/Cornejo’s Other Dances. So has Aran become as stiff and Botox-ed as you report?

Jeannette, he's not the fresh-faced little charmer who whipped out Basilio's variation as a grade-schooler. He's been performing for a decade or longer, but since joining ABT has seemed flat. He'll be fine in 13 Diversions because it doesn't really require anything other than doing the steps and partnering. I'm sure that he'll eventually come around theatrically. In the meantime, you might want to focus on corpsman Jonathan Klein who will be leading Whipped Cream on Friday night and dancing with Cassandra Trenary.

Haglund, I knew Aran Bell as a young dancer/performer with CPYB and YAGP. He was quite the entertainer- very gifted technically and theatrically. I don't believe that quality goes away. Is it possible, since joining ABT, he has felt unchallenged and a little bored? According to the performance schedule, he will be performing "The Leaves are Fading" with Stella Abrera in Chicago next month. Perhaps, that opportunity will help to reawaken his theatricality.

I don't know that Leaves Are Fading will help, but he's certainly a strong enough partner to get the job done easily. What I wish for him is to get a strong dose of Ratmansky who seems to be able to awaken the theatricality in almost every dancer.

Just received my 100th fundraising call from ABT. I don't ever answer but tonight I did. Before the woman could go into her spiel, I said, "I'd like more information on Marcelo's resignation." She said something along the lines of "Don't worry, it had nothing to do with ABT." My response: "It has everything to do with ABT!". Her response: "He resigned so that what happened in his personal life while he was not at ABT [when was this?? when he was 16??] won't reflect badly on the company". Then, I said I was disappointed in ABT's decision in regards to Veronika Part. Her response, "All dancers have to leave at certain points to do other things. Veronika, like Baryshnikov, has more to give the world then ballet". Then she added, "I see you're well-versed in current ballet news, you must read the NYT a lot." In conclusion, she got no money from me tonight.

Excuse me, Catherine, but WTF? Do you suppose someone left out some words on the telemarketer's "Prepared Remarks Cards In Case Anyone Gripes About Marcelo Or Veronika". Jeeze Louise. Talk about clumsy dancing...

So many wtfs in that conversation I lost count. I forgot to mention, I also brought up that Marcelo is still featured in the programs. She launched into some explanation of how those were printed '6 months ago' and were 'impossible to change in time'. Insert giant eye roll here.

Do we know whether ABT does their own telemarketing or farms it out? There have been so many reports of tone-deaf calls from telemarketers that I've assumed they farm it out. But the caller above at least seems to show some knowledge of the art form and ABT's company politics, even if the replies were clumsy. Hmm...

The comment about Veronika is painful to read. I'm frankly still devastated about her dismissal and the idea of her leaving to "offer more to the world than ballet" is ridiculous.

I used to get calls asking me to donate, become a member and buy subscriptions when I was already buying the cheap student tickets and, later, the 18-29 subscriptions. I mean, I guess there are some young people who have money to burn, but it just seemed misguided to me to ask for donations from a young person who is clearly not yet in a position to be a donor.

FoF, according to ABT's last two IRS Form 990s, they pay way over a quarter of a million dollars to the telemarketing firm SD&A to make calls. SD&A, based in LA, has at one time or another done telemarketing for NYPhil and Carnegie Hall. There is a Los Angeles law firm that has targeted SD&A for illegal robo calls ( http://www.dnc-complaints.com/number/3106932915 ) These telemarketing firms pay a meager hourly wage and incentivize with commissions & bonuses. That translates into the telemarketer saying whatever he needs to say to get a person to buy and to get the phone-hack his commission.

Also noted on the 2015 and 2016 Form 990s, Kevin McKenzie's compensation increased from $301,423 to $383,197. That's one heck of an increase for doing such a crappy job. The financials show that in 2016 they just barely caught up with 2014 when McKenzie's compensation was $298K. The year 2015 was a fiasco financially. Still, McKenzie got an $85K raise from 2014 to 2016 for essentially the same mediocre job performances but with a big fat "F" in the middle for 2015's performance. Why give to ABT when they waste money like this?

Hopefully, every one of the dancers knows how McKenzie's compensation is ridiculously high, and they will hold tight to get whatever they need in the current AGMA contract negotiations -- even if it threatens the spring Met Season.

They definitely hire outside marketers, who, amongst other falsehoods, tell lies about the flexibility within subscription packages which ABT and/or the Met Opera then refuses to honor. I’ve always done “take 3 or more” series rather than a full prescribed season, as I like to choose the individual performances/dancers. Last year I was cajoled by a third party marketer into buying a full season, being promised that I could do my exchanges for the performances I actually wanted prior to other subscriptions being filled. I soon found out that was not the case. Luckily for me, the Met was able to cancel my subscription, but I was nonetheless dismayed to learn that they outsource this critical function to the extent that they do.

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