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October 20, 2011


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I absolutely agree!! ABT should give all of the Soloists a chance to do the big roles instead of bringing in guest artists.

We have stars in the ranks just waiting for an opportunity to shine in Principal roles!!

Thanks, Judy. You're right. The ranks are filled with enormous talent that is not getting the spotlight it deserves.

I never donated to ABT, I never buy tix starring guest artists, and I will gladly protest at Lincoln Center!


hmmmm..... while i certainly agree in theory i'm afraid i'm of two minds on this one. i really adore alina & would love to see her dance live (i haven't yet)but certainly can't afford to go to london to do so! i also love ivan's charisma & daring and really enjoyed seeing him dance last year with ABT, tho i would have chosen herman if he was healthy. as far as natalia, while i think she is spectacular in many ways, i don't find myself terribly moved by her (youtube viewings only- haven't seen her live either) and would certainly have preferred to see someone promoted than have her as a permanent principal. (however, i'm afraid i have to admit if it were marianela nunez, for example, i would probably be really excited.)
it's really a tough call for me- dance is so worldly and universal- is it wrong for me to want to see some of the greatest dancers in the world that i would not get a chance to see otherwise? and how do you feel about american dancers guesting in other countries? is that also wrong? should stella not dance in new zealand because that is taking jobs away from new zealanders?
anyway, i certainly see your point but for me it is not so black and white.
sooo...i wish i could say i would boycott the guests for the good of the home team but there's no way i missing herman's solor ;)

Hi Robin. I can agree that it can be nice to see certain foreign guest dancers perform live. But it doesn't balance out the harm done to the equally talented company artists who are losing opportunity after opportunity. Who doesn't prefer a home-cooked meal to take-out or delivery?

With regard to Stella, she is a world-class ballerina who has been unfairly denied opportunities in her home world class company. She's guesting in a foreign company that, while very good for its size, has a ways to go before it can produce the scope of work that might compare to ABT. Having Stella guest at RNZB is comparable to having Lopatkina guest at ABT which everyone would benefit from.

Cornejo's Solor is a token role begrudged him by McKenzie. Herman debuted spectacularly as Ali in Corsaire the last time around, but the role has been taken away from him and given to a foreign guest artist, Vasiliev - who is also dancing Solor. Is there even one good reason we are not seeing Cornejo as Ali and Siegfried?

'Import less skilled dancers then American born'?? That's a strong statement. You think Osipova or Bolle are not skilled enough? Art is a special part of life and it has nothing to do with economy.

"and/or American trained," lk. There isn't a single guest artist hired for the Spring season at the Met who is better than the company dancers available at ABT. Not one.

If you think that art has nothing to do with the economy, I'll just let you go ahead and think that.

hi haglund-
ok, stella at RNZB maybe not the best example- david joining the bolshoi i guess would be a better parallel, but i know what you think of him & maybe we shouldn't go there! do you feel the same about vishneva and bolle as osipova? i absolutely love diana but can take or leave roberto- i'd rather watch jared matthews. still a tough call for me....also neither economics nor politics is my strength i'm afraid- i just like who i like.
as far as herman goes i saw an interview where he said bayadere is his favorite ballet & solor his dream role so i'm happy for him- tho it certainly could have come sooner. as far as him not dancing ali or siegfried that is completely beyond me- i think he's brilliant in every way. (nice that he's got conrad, tho).
well, i am kind of rambling but i suppose occasionally i may prefer take out- just depends on the dish ;)

I agree that Herman is brilliant in every way and it is a shame and a crime that McKenzie doesn't fully respect his talent.

Yes, I do feel the same way about Vishneva and Bolle. I initially saw the need for Bolle for the benefit of Veronika Part. But now, McKenzie is matching him up with Herrera and Kent which doesn't make for anything special. I tended to bypass Vishneva until she started dancing with Gomes. She's a lovely dancer, but there are dancers in ABT who would have surpassed her by now if they had just been given opportunities to dance.

McKenzie's legacy is going to be one of wasted talent. In his two decades of stewardship, he has cheapened ABT so that it is no longer a company - just a presenter of so-called star dancers trained by other better artistic managements.

i LOVE diana and marcelo together. (well, i am in love with marcelo, period)
well, you certainly make some valid points but don't know that a boycott would make things any better. i don't despise kevin as you do & think running a company of this size and grandeur has got to be an enormous challenge- so many people to answer to. and it's not like all the dancers were happy under baryshnikov either.... at least now they are not all anorexic cokeheads?

ABT is not my "hometown" company, I fly into NYC from LA to see them. And occasionally that includes going purposefully to see a guest artist. But I've traveled some great extents to see a particular dancer perform. So having them travel closer to me, I consider to be a plus at times. However, let me say that as a fan of ABT, I would very much prefer that they promote from within. I do not at all understand why when someone is injured that they do not let an understudy perform. Isn't that what they are for?! The ranks of the corp and the soloists are replete with wonderful talent so it makes no sense to bring in dancers. This last season was kind of appalling in that sense. A guest should be just that, a guest artist not a semi-permanent replacement.

I really don't see the need for Natalia with Misty, Stella, and Isabella in the wings. Vishneva is good with Marcelo, other than that, she seems to be doing her own thing - which is great but either you are with a company or you're not. Which brings me to Bolle, who at this point is just obnoxious. Why is he even taking up a precious principal spot when he only shows up periodically, gets injured and hightails it back to Italy, where he really should stay since they think he's a god there.

I think the lack of stage time Herman gets is egregious. Why is he always relegated to soloist roles?! Heinous.

The reality is that all these "stars" may or may not put butts in seats sporadically but grooming a company as a whole and nurturing that relationship within a community with consistency and over time is what binds a community to a company and that creates sustainability.

just my two cents.

Hi Lorry. Your point about not using understudies when a replacement is needed is a point often overlooked. The understudies spend plenty of paid rehearsal hours preparing. What's the point of spending on understudies if they are not allowed to dance when needed?

It's so great that you fly out here for performances. I had planned to fly to Orange County for the premiere performance of the Firebird, but immediately cancelled that plan when ABT cast Osipova in the role. What a bummer.

Robin, I love Marcelo in everything, too. I hope to be able to see him in Mayerling before he closes out his career. I'd go anywhere to see that.

i've never seen mayerling- i gather it's one of those you love or hate. it seems so dark but i do love macmillan. no doubt marcelo would be amazing.

lorry- excellent point about using guests for injured artists- that's absolutely wrong. really it got almost comical last season- "oh, alina and & natalia's boyfriends are in town- let's just use them!" in those cases company dancers should have absolutely been given the chance.

ABT company dancers should ALWAYS come first and be given the chance to do the Principal roles. Otherwise, they will get fed up and leave the company. If there are no chances of moving up and doing lead roles, why stay. Kevin needs to start using Jared, Misty, Yuriko, Stella and other Soloists in Principal roles. They are all beautiful dancers and deserve the chance to move up. Every place that Kevin uses a guest artist at the Met in 2012 should have gone to an ABT company dancer.

But Diana Vishneva and Roberto Bolle are ABT company members, Haglund. Every ballet company has foreigners! Yes, ABT has way too many guest stars, but do we need to get xenophobia for all foreigners at ABT?

Robin, Mayerling = sex, drugs, guns, political scheming, slow insanity, syphilis, hints of incest – all wrapped up in MacMillan's fantastic and imaginative choreography. It is one of the most incredible pieces of theater ballet ever. You should see the Mukhamedov/Durante video; it's the best. You'd be totally wasted by the end of it.
Yes, it is dark.

So, it appears that the June 12 performance is going to be a special celebration of McKenzie's 20 years. No comment. Yet.

Julie, Vishneva and Bolle show up for a couple of performances during the Met Season. They don't tour with the company. They don't do the fall season. They don't do Nutcracker. Yes, they are listed as Principals, but for what reason?

There are lots of incredible foreign dancers in ABT as there should be, but they've come up through the ranks and paid their dues and deserve their chances. There was a time when ABT did not have a great number of high quality dancers in the corps and soloist levels ready to step up to the principal bat, and there was some need to install new dancers at the principal level. That time has long ago passed.

eep- mayerling sounds terrifying! guess i better see it.
well, haglund- as far as mckenzie's 20th anniversary celebration- i'm sure you'll have plenty to say when the time comes ;)

I have received the ABT subscription renewal brochure, and the absence of a Stella Giselle and a Veronika Myrtha has essentially ruined the season for me. I saw all the guest artists last season, was underwhelmed, and frankly don't want a replay. I am NOT renewing my subscription and will spend the considerable amount of money on POB. I count on you to let us know when the programs are announced and the tickets go on sale! (I am, however, going to two performances of Nutcracker--Veronika and Sarah!)

Yes, it certainly will be a sorry state at ABT this spring.

I'm pretty excited about POB's Giselle. They are also bringing some more modern pieces, including Bejart's Bolero. The lead in Bolero can be danced by either a man or a woman. When I saw it back in the '70s by Bejart's company, I sat in the front row of the theater and caught some of Jorge Donn's sweat as he performed primitively on top of the red table with all the shirtless men performing primitively around him. Ah, those old ballet memories.

I saw POB's Giselle in Paris a few years ago, with Ariel Dupont in the title role and Marie-Agnes Gillot as Myrtha. Marie-Agnes was breathtaking as Myrtha, truly a Wili on the Warpath! When she grand jete'd out of the wings, I gasped and I've been holding my breath ever since. (Stella had some of that too last season.) What I was most struck by, however, was the speed of the footwork by the corps in the first act. Almost impossible to imagine. I'm going to every performance of Giselle they do in New York. I've seen Bolero only on YouTube, but that's a don't miss for me also. How do they remember what to do with the repetition of the music?

POB is going to be a pretty exciting event, that's for sure.

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