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February 10, 2012


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Not that anyone wants Jared to dance like Kevin....

How about they spend that guest money on hiring an additional coach for the men in general and get Tamm and Matthews brought along quicker? With dancers like Joseph Gorak, Alex Hammoudi, Gray Davis and Tom Forster right behind them?

This is absurd! From the video I've seen Muntagirov is impressive mainly due to his partnership with Klimentova, who has many years of experience which she brings to the stage. Exactly what is wrong with the guys ABT currently has? They are no farther along in their stage development than either of these guys, so where's the advantage?

True, Rachel - to all you said. We don't need another dull Albrecht like McKenzie.

The $64,000 question: Why hasn't ABT hired any illustrious coaches? Maybe none of them want to work for McKenzie on a regular basis?

Imagine what a stint with Bocca would do for Matthews, Tamm, and Gorak? With respect to the women - Cynthia Gregory has her own coaching center set up in Las Vegas - a CENTER. Why isn't ABT sending any of its women out there?

Kay, I agree with you. McKenzie wants Muntagirov because OTHER people have said they were impressed with him. Honestly, why hasn't the dancers' union complained about ABT outsourcing the dancers' opportunities?

I almost hate to admit this, but Muntagirov looked very good with the company in Bayadere last SAT. An easy elegance and an effortless technique without any sense of showing off- well, you know, within the limits of good taste. And, from what I saw of albeit limited off stage interactions, he seemed to get along with the company quite well.

Joseph Phillips proved to be growing into the refined artist we want the members of this company to be, without losing any of his fireworks (unlike another sparky soloist who seems committed to competition dancing). Aaron Scott's Bronze Idol is exquisite. Matthews, outstanding in the Taylor piece. Messmer's Gamzatti will be one of the best.

All in all, this KenCen run looked to be a more pure ABT experience than will happen at the Met. I love these dancers.

All good points, DC. Muntagirov may well be a good dancer, but ABT has its own talented men who are not receiving the coaching and opportunities that they deserve and whose development should be the priority over poaching other artistic management's fine work.

Look at ABT's male coaching staff: McKenzie, who is limited in his abilities and has no particular charisma that he can impart on or lend to any male dancer; Victor Barbee who never danced leading principal roles, although he is superb coaching the character roles for talents like Zhurban and Bragado-Young; and Clinton Luckett, who never danced anything of any significance and never even made himself a memorable corps dancer. That's it. That's what they have. Is it any wonder why they are in such bad shape?

That is just sad. Is it "American" Ballet Theatre or not???!!!

By the way, Haglund. Thanks for writing. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

Hi, lbj. Thanks for reading H.H.

I agree that yes Mackenzie is doing severe damage to ABT, however there are very few dancers with the range, technique and height of Muntagirov knocking around. I think he's being actively pursued by several companies however his loyalty to Klimentova is touching. ABT would be blessed to have him as would the RB.

Hi Kimmy. Thanks for stopping by H.H.

McKenzie is not only doing severe damage to ABT, but to companies around the globe. He acts like any dancer he wants to buy is an unrestricted free agent, regardless of what employment agreement might be in tact with another company. He is being criticized throughout the ballet world for it, and NO ONE - not a single artistic director or official from another company has defended McKenzie's dirty tactics.

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say that McKenzie is damaging ABT by hiring outsiders instead of developing all of the talent that is in the company, and then also say that ABT would be blessed to have some other company's dancer. It's like promoting vegetarianism with a mouth full of steak.

Every dancer who McKenzie hires from the outside, especially when they are no better than the dancers he has, is one more failure on his part as an artistic director. He's not anything more than another Ardani john these days.

He's aware of the criticism. Why do you think that Semionova, who he has been trying to poach for a while now, made an unsolicited notification that this would be her last season as a fixed member of the Berlin company? Because, I speculate, ABT wants to make it look like she made her decision to leave Berlin before she was poached by them. They think we all have IQs of -2.

None of these imports - NONE - are any better than what ABT has in its garage and most are worse. The problem is that the artistic management doesn't know how to drive the talent, can't even get out of first gear, and can't steer the wheels.

Regardless of what he may have accomplished in his first ten years at ABT, McKenzie's legacy is going to be one of wasting talent, misdirection, and underhanded tactics.

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