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June 30, 2015


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I was so happy when I read the news that I actually started to cry! Can't wait to see Stella on Sat. afternoon in "Cinderella." I thought of you, immediately, when I read the great news, Haglund!:) So thrilled for Stella and all of her fans (including us!).

here's a great video Julie Kent posted: https://instagram.com/p/4j1bgGI3_B/?taken-by=juliekentofficial

CONGRATULATIONS to BOTH Misty & Stella!!! Both highly deserved. Happy for the new soloists, too.

Thanks g. LOL, wonderful video.

sorry for the amount of comments but Julie posted another video with Misty's announcement, and (interestingly.. haha) the reactions between the two were pretty different

g, keep the posts coming. Yes, you're right in your observation.

Congratulations to them all, but I am thrilled almost beyond words for the merited promotions, finally, of Stella Abrera and Tom Forster.

I am so happy for Stella, I have tears in my eyes. Overdue for so so so long.

Wonderful news about Stella! I so hoped that Sarah Lane's name would also be announced as principal. Not thrilled that Kotchetkova was named principal as well. She is already a principal with SFB. Give me break!

Me, too, SM. I think everyone who watches the company and has half of a ballet brain knows that Sarah is a much better performer than Misty when it comes to classical ballet. Polished classicism has not been a priority of ABT's for a long time, mainly due to years of failure under McKenzie. So, if Sarah's strength is not ABT's priority, well, she should move to somewhere where it is a priority. We would follow her just like we have followed Jared and Yuriko and are about to begin following Simone in Miami. They are our folks and always will be.

Just thrilled for Stella. KM, to his credit, does not look too thrilled to announce MC's promotion, but he always seems like such a drip to me, anyway. Darling Sarah Lane keeps getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

This picture taken by Simkin, omg,:

I'm very happy that Stella Abrera was promoted. I hope we have more opportunities to see her dance. Sarah...to be a bit fair...I wonder if they are saving her for Gorak. Congrats to Misty as well.

Thank heaven Stella finally got the promotion she deserved (though KM had to be shamed into it by her success as an international guest artist—thank you! to all who made that possible). I'm so relieved I'm almost not even happy yet.

Poor Sarah...

Oh g, that applause was thunderous! What a wonderful video.

That picture by Simkin in stunning. They gave her a well deserved standing ovation!

I'm beside myself with excitement that Stella has been made a principal! Also very happy about the several promotions to soloist. I hope that a great partnership develops between Thomas Forster and Stella, as they have worked together so beautifully in the past. Also, may they invite Shklyarov back as a guest artist for her because, although we are generally unhappy about inviting guest artists, he was surely instrumental in helping to make that Giselle performance so divine.

I fear that Sarah ruined her chances of promotion with those two performances of Sleeping Beauty's Rose Adagio. Perhaps Pennsylvania Ballet would be a good next move for her.

Ok, I’ve mixed feelings about Misty’s promotion. If this happened prior to her aggressive marketing campaign when she was mesmerizing the audience with her dance skills, then I’d be over the moon that not only a talented dancer rose to the echelon of the ballet world but that she’s also a woman of color that could ignite little girls and boys who come from humble environments to dream big and achieve like she did. However, it came after years of her bombarding the press with her different tales of one thing or the other depending upon if her pr isn’t working due to criticism or the reporters actually back checking the fact. So now IMO, she got promoted not due to her dancing but her relentless pr campaign that would make Kevin look bad if he didn’t promote her at some point. Now I hope that she’ll stop all of the pr nonsense and just get on with her job and show that she’s worthy of the title of principal dancer; the first woman of color at ABT. ..

Sarah Lane should leave ABT. She's been looked over for years and not been given the chance to do some big roles that she would be fabulous in- like Cinderella, Giselle, and Swan Lake. I feel like ABT deferred to public opinion re Misty. She's good but not exceptional. And the rotating door of Russian guest ballerinas gets old. Enough already.

Jf, couldn't agree with you more. This may be 2015, but I am of the mind that ballerinas should seen and not heard. Her constant self-promotion is very, very off putting. Including interjecting her race into every issue. If she was a top-class ballerina, race would not need to even be acknowledged. I feel KM bowed to public pressure. I miss the days where ballerinas were mysterious creatures. And poor Sarah, she should join another company. Maybe PNB like Carla Korbes did.

I too am happy for both of them - and excited for Forster as well. I don't mind Misty's publicity and exposure at all. It's great for her and great for ballet, and I do have the confidence that she will continue to grow as a principal. She may never be their finest classicist but she is a helluva dancer. I feel both of these dancers will outshine Isabella as principals in the years to come (I'm not a Boylston fan, especially of her upper line and shoulders, and her tendency to mug to the audience.)

I hope Sarah Lane stays on and fights the good fight. I want to see her make it. And yes, I also wish they hadn't brought in Kochetkova.

I can't believe this has finally happened. I'm thinking of all the roles we have been robbed of seeing her in for so many years--she better stay fit so we can bask in all of them for years to come!

Stella Abrera is a woman of color, too. Is she the first Filipino-American principal at ABT? She never exploits this issue though. She relies on her dancing. Diversity should be celebrated but after awhile it gets ridiculous.

Simkin's picture of Stella has done me in.

Hooray for Stella!! I didn't think the AD had it in him to do the right thing, but am so very glad he did. So excited for Saturday's Cinderella performance; I expect my favorite new principal will be "dancing on air"!!

“Diversity should be celebrated but after awhile it gets ridiculous.”
Exactly. At the end of the day, Misty doesn’t have to do anything beyond her first performance as a principal dancer because she’s made history. IMO, I believe that’s more important to her than actually putting in the work and getting a good performance judging how her marketing campaign was created. It’s beyond annoying when the race issue is exploited for either holding someone back or as a tool to coerce and manipulate to get what you want. Now let’s see which way she’ll go.

STELLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! What incredible news.

Haglund, have there been any other Asian-American (not just Asian like Seo) female principals at ABT?? I'm wracking my brain to think of any-- I think her promotion is just as historic as Misty's, though you wouldn't know it from the news (Misty got her own NY Times push alert. Seriously?)


This pretty much sums up the promotion of Misty.
Congrats to the other dancers that got promoted without any marketing.

Unbelievably, the New York Times even plugged Copeland's manager for her.

Quote from the NYT article. It's pretty bad for ABT when it's viewed this way.

NY 1 hour ago

This is the American Ballet Theater. More interested in drama and selling tickets than the actual ballet performance. It about the dance. Not your "position in society". If making Misty Copeland a principal was so grievously not done before, it might have been because she's not a "principal" in the true dance sense of the word. And ABT should call itself an entertainment group, not a ballet company. Prima donna is an opera term for the first lady, the main star. It is used in the vernacular as a pejorative term. Not used in ballet. The very first ballet dancer to use social media and "show" interviews with pop culture media to blackmail the ABT in to this move. Congratulations! And they get to dance in the Koch Hall. NYC is so about the money it's old. Really old. Art is dead in NY.

Shortly down the pike, this will be a case study at Harvard Business School in how to will what you want when you don't have what it takes. Everything can be bought and this is an example of how to do it in the 21st century.

It's too bad that the press has not noted that Stella is the first Filipina-American and that now both of New York's major companies have Filipino/a-American principals, not that either of the individuals would ever want their ethnicity to be made an issue.

Yes, all the news stories are plugging Misty. The Los Angeles Times had Stella's story almost as a footnote to Misty's. The Filipino community in L.A. is huge! Stella certainly deserves as much space, especially after her charity work in the Philipines this past year. They don't even mention her performance as Giselle.

I’m overjoyed for Stella... and frankly, very surprised, too. I never thought I'd see this happen. I'm so glad I already have a ticket to see her on Saturday. Stella joined ABT as a corps member back in 1996 (19 years ago!) and spent 14 years as a soloist (2001-2014). I wonder if this is the longest any dancer in the company has ever had to wait before being promoted to principal. Do you happen to know, Haglund?

Misty and Luciana are not exactly overnight sensations, either. They both joined the company in 2001. So, there's still hope for Sarah Lane.

I'm disappointed about Maria Kochetkova, even though I fully expected this to happen (after all, she was already calling herself an ABT principal even before the announcement). I saw Maria last week in Swan Lake. And I've seen her dance three or four times over the past couple of years. In my opinion, she's OK, but really nothing special. Sarah Lane deserved to be promoted instead.

You are so right about the article JF. This statement from the article is very telling "Three other dancers, enormously respected within the dance world but far less famous outside of it, were also made principals with Ballet Theater." And there you go. You can't buy respect. The response to Stella's promotion from her peers on social media compared to the silence or lukewarm response to Copeland's speaks volumes.

Oh my, I am DELIGHTED that Stella Abrera is named a Principal!!! When I saw her dance in Giselle as one Myrta's (Veronika Part) attendants in Chicago in 2005, I couldn't take my eyes off her! Hope we see her cast often! Always thought Luciana Paris was a strong performer and am glad she is now a Soloist, along with the other fine dancers who have been promoted. My only regret is that Sarah Lane didn't get a well-deserved promotion to Principal. We appreciate you, Sarah!

Yes, Georgiann, it can't be said enough – we DO APPRECIATE SARAH very much.

I am going to save a lot of money NOT buying tickets to Misty performances. Shame on the company for falling into the she is black so there is a separate set of standards for her mentality. Kevin needs to be honest with himself, the rest of the company and the audiences and say why Misty was really promoted. She should not even be a soloist.

[Editor's note: If you don't see your comment published, look for an email from H.H. as to why. Of course, if an authentic email address was not provided with the comment, well....]

I'm crying with happiness here, my (Filipina) cleaning lady is ecstatic and she hardly knows anything about ballet but she knows who Stella is. We're in rural Australia for those who don't know.

I am thrilled that Abrera is recognized like this. And Aaron Scott- I love that guy! I freely admit to being a fan of Lendorf. I'm happy for the others, too, but Copeland's situation diminishes them all, diminishes the company.

She probably won't last long, bad feet, bad technique, hyperextension, lousy professionalism, and the reviews will start being truthful soon. No more than 2 years. She'll use this as a way to some other celebrity/star situation. But, the saddest is part is that for the rest of her life, the artistic integrity of ABT will have been compromised.

So happy for all of the homegrown talent promoted! Sad that ABT had to import 3 dancers (Kotchekova over Lane? Really?) and sad for the backlash Misty is facing from some people. The comment section under that NYT article is pretty brutal. I hope she proves all of her naysayers wrong and continues to improve. I saw her Juliet and was pleasantly surprised! I was expecting a horrible dancer from some comments I've read online but she was lovely.


I want to pick up on something elfantgirl said by bringing up Boylston—it seems unfair to single out Copeland too much as the emblem of lowered standards at ABT. If Isabella Boylston, Hee Seo and third-rate imports can be principals, why not her? The artistic integrity of ABT was already in a sorry state. I don't agree with the way she got to the top, but if her success inspires others it has some value just for that.

I am SO thrilled about Stella's promotion. But Misty??? For me, it is a very sad day when the gorgeous Sarah Lane gets overlooked but a publicity hound like Misty who can't do the choreography gets promoted.to principal. Very sad.

I was watching the news and the reporter was saying that Misty's been told many times that she's too muscular and too short to become a ballerina and she perservered to break into the highest position in the ballet world. I guess this is another angle her pr team will tell even though she herself admitted to a reporter n tv (either Nightline or the nighly news that she herself didn't get that criticism.
If this promotion had happened after she danced Firebird a few years back, I'd be over the moon for her. I can't though. I think of the Williams sisters who worked very hard at their tennis games and broke through in the elite sport of tennis and made history over and over without using any heavy handed press campaign. They got on with it. Anyway, as a poster said upthread, I agree that she'll use this as a stepping stone for other things. She's a beautiful girl so I suspect she'll be an ambassador for make-up brands, fashion, etc.

Sooo happy for Stella!!!

As for Misty - It is just such an absolute shame. It's appalling and insulting to the ballet world.

Roll up, roll up! Come and see the circus!

I pity the fools who spend their time working on form and technique rather than working the press. They either have to leave to get the recognition they deserve, or get held back five years in favor of social media hounds.

Re: Misty's promotion. I saw on the NYT article comment section that several people said ballet needed a shot in the arm. By what? Marketing a sub-par ballerina with terrible feet and the inability to do a lot of things her peers can whip off easily? Ballet got a shot in the arm in the 1970s when Misha and Markarova came over and you had the Misha/Gelsey pairing that was just electric. But those dancers worked their ASSES off. I hope Misty uses this promotion to improve. She needs it. And if she refuses to put the work in, she should quit ballet and go walk the red carpets she loves so much.

To add disgust to yesterday's messy media orgasm over Misty Copeland, there is an article about how her sponsor, Goldman Sacks' Valentino Carlotti, bankrolled Copeland's Swan Lake performance. Goldman Sacks had a Misty day when employees were let off work to go to the ballet. The article describes how Carlotti was standing at The Met handing out tickets to colleagues and students. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-30/the-banker-and-the-ballerina-how-goldman-partner-waltzed-misty

It is regrettable to see a mediocre dancer rise to the top like cream because of a sponsor's money and ego. Thank God for the integrity these days at NYCB.

It's rather clear that the only way that Misty can "sell out" a performance is to either buy it herself or get her sponsor to buy the tickets or get ABT to give them away. It is all so sickening to see this fraud, but what should we expect when Goldman Sacks is in the picture? Who knows more about getting away with fraud than GS?

I saw this article on Huff Post and was appalled at this particular quote from Misty:
"I am so honored, so extremely honored to be a principal dancer," she said, "and so proud of my fellow dancers who were also promoted today: Stella Abrera, who's been with the company longer than I have..." Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it stuck out, sort of like "Neener, neener, I made it faster than she did...." Personally, I think that Misty is going to find the next steps (no pun intended) more challenging: her lack of technique will be noted by the critics now that she's put herself squarely in the spotlight, her colleagues don't seem thrilled with her....so yeah, she achieved her goal of becoming a principal, but maintaining that sort of rapturous adulation will be way harder.

The Filipino/American press has taken note in a generous article: http://thefilam.net/archives/18842

What truly blows my mind is that Desmond Richardson, a dancer of unlimited talent, facility and stage presence, was barely allowed to dance more than Othello during his tenure as a principal with ABT, but Misty Copeland, who is CLEARLY very limited in all of the above, is handed the most coveted, iconic, classical roles on a platter.
Haglund, my friends and I are all hooked on your blog. Thank you for your honesty and accuracy.

I recall that Desmond Richardson was very athletic but not one who would have flourished in ABT's classical rep at the time (1997). Here's what he did: he created the title role in Lar Lubovitch’s Othello, a leading role in Nacho Duato’s Remanso, and performed the roles of Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and Carabosse in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty.

I would like to give McKenzie room for doubt. In the last videos I've seen of him, he looks extremely haggard and haunted. There must be some stressful things going on behind scenes that we just don't know a quarter of them.

In regards to Misty, it does look as if she backed everyone into a corner. Hopefully she will now settle down and get some serious coaching and also take on serious physical therapy. Those hyper-extended knees will be the end of her career within two years if she doesn't do something about them. They are the main reason she can't complete the Odile fouettes. We'll see if she can continue to attract audiences now that she isn't a cause celebre. I rather think she will be to the box office what Russian artists are...attracting niche audiences who give cash injections but little else.

In regard to her comment on Abrera. I don't think she was being malicious. She seems to suffer from foot in mouth syndrome. She was probably implying that ABT takes too long to promote but it came out very wrong.

I'm still disappointed Sarah Lane didn't get promoted. But I'm taking heart in the fact that last fall she was invited to dance at the Kaatsbaan Gala, a dance center that McKenzie co-founded. If he really disliked her, I don't think she would have danced there and with Gorak as her partner. So hopefully she still has a leg in the running for the next round of promotions.

The NY Times is going crazy with this. I scanned a paper version at Sbux earlier - an article about her is on the front page. In the middle.

The Goldman connection explains all. Follow the money.

"Those hyper-extended knees will be the end of her career within two years if she doesn't do something about them."
What can she do about them? They are genetic.

I don't buy the hyperextended knee excuse at all when it comes to Copeland not completing the 32 fouettes. Zakharova and Somova have hyperextended legs, and even if their turns or fouettes aren't the best, they don't stop at 16 fouettes.

I was going to comment on hyper-extended legs, as well. They are not a drawback, but they do make gaining strength harder. Sylvie Guillem is another example (beautiful, hyperextended legs and crazy-wonky feet, to boot), and she was one of the generations strongest ballerinas.

[Editor's note: Haglund is closing off the comments here because they've veered so far off the beaten path which was already quite wide. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting.]

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