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June 23, 2015


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Bravo Haglund! You certainly echo the thoughts of all ballet lovers who have watched the disgusting display of greed by MC and her PR team the past two years. Copeland is simply not ready technically or artistically to dance the ABT rep and therefore should not be promoted. KM has one last chance to redeem himself and not promoting her is it. I am truly saddened at what ABT has become.

Eight years until she's 40. That's what I keep telling myself. That's assuming she stays injury-free.

1-2 years at the most, until McKenzie imports a more exciting Flavor of the Month who garners higher ticket sales through her technical prowess. And again in another year, and after that.

Now, if I could only set a blocker on my web browser to filter her name out wherever possible...

THANK YOU, HAGLUND! Thank you for writing a TRUE summary of her “career.” I wish more media outlets would follow suit (*cough cough* New York Times *cough*).

I also agree with you. I think that Copeland shouldn't be promoted, not least for her disrespect to those who paved the way before her. That's the least of it. The main thing, the only issue here is that she is technically and artistically deficient and inconsistent. Her "paint job" isn't the issue, but unfortunately, she has made it the issue. This is pure and simply blackmail, (or) a more sanitized version of extortion. With Kotchetkova also looming on the Principal horizon, yes - ABT's box office bottom line will go (further) south. The NYT, (A. Macaulay), will not do due diligence because it isn't in his best interests to do so. There is a narrative that he is *obliged* to perpetuate.

You contend that Sarah should sue ABT and Mr. MacKenzie for all and etc. Let's suppose, hypothetically that she did sue. Would that help her? Really? I contend that it wouldn't help her cause. It would worsen her career at ABT (if that were possible). She would be in no particular order black-balled and terminated. So, here's the next hypothetical: Where would she (could she) go in the aftermath? What company would hire her? If Sarah is smarting, (and I'm pretty sure she's silently seething), she ought to "pull an Obraztsova" and leave for greener pastures and to promote elsewhere, as so many unsung talents from ABT have done. She should become ABT's latest refugee and make her "statement" as the other refugees have done. It's understood: We all know what's going on. I think that Lane should post her curriculum vitae and forward it to the Artistic Directors of other major companies, sit back, get her offers, take the best one, resign and go. This would be the superior option rather than suing persons who aren't worth the legal costs that she would undoubtedly accrue. An ABT backbencher doesn't have deep pockets like the management of M.C. apparently have. Money talks - and it dances. The situation is the same at the Mariinsky Theatre - and has been for years. There's a new danseur noble there who is the scion of an oil oligarch, and the other new danseur noble is the beneficiary of an extremely wealthy sponsor. It shouldn't be that way, but unfortunately that's how it is in that Theatre.

In Sarah's case, she should consider leaving regardless of whether Copeland is appointed a Principal or not. Finally, Copeland's PR Team has proven it is just as, if not more cut-throat than the management firm that represents the Russian prima ballerinas at ABT; and we know who they are.

I agree with Haglund's thought that Sarah should sue. I read this post to be more about the need for a spotlight to be put on ABT's non-ethical employing/promoting criteria; not so much a revenge plot for Sarah.

A brilliant piece re: ballerinas of color, if you havn't already read it.


Thank you for that link, frmrdncr. The discussion that follows the piece is extraordinary, especially the ongoing compilation of names of African-American ballerinas and danseurs who have stood on their talent and artistry alone.

RIP Albert Evans, Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet.

How will she, or her promoters, feel when, in the not too distant future, someone comes along who really does have the skills- the technique, the artistry, and the elegance- to become what she most desperately wants to be.

Who am I kidding. She'll take credit for it.

They've been holding back Courtney Lavine, a much better dancer, for the benefit of Copeland. Courtney has the traditionally beautifully tapered ballerina body and is an outstanding classicist. She also was a tremendous success at SAB - the school that Misty couldn't get into and claims discriminated against her.

I was quite taken by Olivia Boisson's dancing over at NYCB on my last visit to New York. Hopefully she will rise up the ranks to a position of prominence.

An interesting note: NYCB's webpage offers the choice to "View Dancers by Name" or "View Dancers by Rank." A more democratic approach is actually reflected in their web design!

I know the technique and training is not interchangeable, but if I were a young dancer, or advising one, I would certainly aspire to NYCB rather than ABT. Where good dancers get to dance, not get stuck as scenery standing "near the water," as the Russian say.

I totally agree with you, Annie H.

I don't really have a horse in this race, as I stopped going to see ABT several years ago, though I do believe that more diversity in ballet is a good thing.

That said, I find it rather telling that on social media during Stella's Giselle debut there was widespread love & support, Merdes, photos, etc, even and especially among dancers from other companies (e.g. NYCB). Now, my follows are by no means exhaustive, and her support in fact may have been legion outside my own lens, but I saw scarcely a peep about Misty's debut from the dance community.

Agreed to Missy's point. If you follow a good number of ABT company members across social media, you'll note that very few like or comment on Misty's postings. They are otherwise incredibly supportive of each other. I often wonder if this is reading too much into it, or if it is a sign of some interpersonal strain...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have felt as if I was wandering the wilderness alone. Misty does not have the technique to be promoted, she doesn't have the charisma to be promoted, and even in the steps she can do she has no lightness and she doesn't really act on stage. I admit she had a difficult background, but she certainly isn't the first or last dancer who's upbringing was less than ideal. And yes, ballet has had a aesthetic of white frail ballerinas (I was told to not go in the sun because ballerinas couldn't be tan) but that is not the only aesthetic that makes the ballet world exclusive. Have you ever seen a dancer in ABT that is not extremely thin and with beautiful feet and legs? I understand Kevin needs to sell tickets but I'm so disappointed in how Misty has manipulated the company and audience members. Maybe just maybe those 32 fouettes will bring some sense to the Misty Copland frenzy!

Hi Whitney.

The admonition to ballerinas not to get tan is/was really not to get tan MARKS which are difficult to hide with makeup for the stage. Even a sliver of white mark from a thin bathing suit strap looks bad on a swan or in any other costume. The marks show through tights around the cheeks. Worst of all is when a ballerina who wears bangs has been out in the sun too much before having to pull the hair back to dance.

With regard to thinness in ABT's dancers, I would say that the company clearly has more dancers who are not particularly thin than any of the truly top tier companies: POB, NYCB, Mariinsky. Most are in the corps; a couple really stand out from everyone else for the wrong reason. A former ABT dancer indicated to me that s/he did not like how the corps has "grown" so to speak and seemed to think that the tolerance for carrying around "extra" perhaps was related to the extra that some of the rehearsal staff carry around themselves.

Who would be surprised if there was a trend at ABT to fatten-up and muscle-up the thinnest ballerinas to make Misty look better in comparison. There simply is no end to making excuses and compromises for her.

I don't know, one of the few positive things I have to say about ABT is that they don't exclusively demand the anorexic racehorse look. I assumed that was due to McKenzie's association with Martine van Hamel.

That said, a few additional pounds or slightly relaxed fitness has a negative impact. Veronika was able to control her dancing better and be partnered more easily when she got extra vigilant. I feel for the tall dancers.

Noticed your point on Courtney Lavine. Thank you for mentioning her! I've been keeping an eye on her this season in particular. Lavine has the most GORGEOUS arms that are immediately visible on stage, especially in SL (even from the back, which is absurd because she should be smack dab front and center of the swans). Really hoping McKenzie gives her more prominence. I'd like to see what she can do.

MC used to impress me in soloist parts with her dynamism and musicality. Remember when she was such an exciting Firebird? And such a spirited Princess Florine? And her charming charming Peasant PdD in Giselle? We're not crazy, I used to really enjoy her, and you always spoke well of her. But lately I haven't been especially excited about her. I feel like the comments about her body shape are kind of irrelevant (Veronika Part doesn't have a traditional body, nor did Paloma Herrera, nor does the incomparable Gillian Murphy); but I do agree that her technique has become, if anything, LESS balletic than it was before. And, admittedly, when you have a nontraditional figure, you have to compensate a little with more lift in your line. I'm all for bringing new ideas and forms and kinds of movement to ballet, but I don't think you can forgo the essential elegance. It's disappointing, because I thought she was going to be one to watch, and she seems to have sort of... well, technically stagnated, to put it mildly. Thanks for telling it like it is.

VGN, that's exactly my view on Copeland. At one time she was one to watch for the right reasons, but something changed.

VGN, comments about Copeland's body are hardly irrelevant. She made it all relevant by introducing it into her media campaign and clearly trying to equate her body as a racial characteristic and thus equating objections to her body with racism. She did this in her book and did this in interviews. I direct your attention to this NY Mag interview. http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/03/misty-copeland-on-ballet-race-and-her-new-book.html When asked if she experienced racism at ABT, Copeland responded by immediately referencing objections to her body type. It was only after months of public destruction of her argument, including a lot of it on this blog, that she altered her message and backed down from the my-body-is-my-race message.

People forget that she brought this controversy on herself and has made one heck of a lot of money from it. But that was 10 minutes ago, so no one remembers.

Frankly, I think that Veronika Part's body is the most gorgeous thing in a tutu that walks the earth today. Sure, she's too tall to dance with most men, but so was Cynthia Gregory. I don't think that anyone who doesn't have a perfect body for ballet is unacceptable. There is a range. But in Copeland's case, there is simply too much body for the shortness of her limbs. The body is supposed to be a conduit of the lines being created by the arms and legs. The body should seamlessly connect the lines of the arms and legs, not interrupt them. The torso is not supposed to be a blob from which limbs stick out. For contemporary, that's fine; for classical, I don't want to see it.

I think she changed after her injury she couldn't hide when she finished dancing Firebird. The only way she should get to be promoted to principal should be fore her to knock a few performances out of the block.

Well, here you go. ABT promotions.


Thank you Haglund for your honesty. Everyone seem to be afraid to speak up the truth for the fear of being politically incorrect. I have been following ABT and other classical ballet companies for past 25 years and can't agree with you more. If MC was an another white girl, she will still be a memeber of corps de ballet -which is nothing to be ashamed of. This whole thing made me realize how far we are from becoming a color blind society.

I saw MC for the first time in March in Costa Mesa. Her Princess Florine was flat and unsteady. I don't care for her lines and she's not pretty or inspiring to watch. I was sorry to hear she had been promoted and I believe it's just that ABT wants her for $$ and media. Cant imagine her in a key principal role.

It’s disheartening reading the last few comments. This is not how she should be viewed or promoted as she made history. Unfortunately, this is what her pr campaign has done; made people pay more attention to her dancing and coming away very uninspired. It’s a shame really because she’ll go down in history as the girl who used the media to push her agenda and not the one who’s dancing got her through. I hope for her sake that now she’s principal, she’ll stop the pr stuff, hire a private tutor and work on technique prior to next season. It’ll not bode well for her or ABT if she constant gets bad reviews and have it questioned why she was made principal in the first place. I suspect though, that she’ll dance a year in her new role and use it to branch off into other thing that doesn’t require her to work that much; modeling, acting, guest designer, etc.

. . . like a two-week stint in On the Town at the end of August? It should be interesting, because the choreography calls for a whole lot of fouettes. Maybe she'll spin those into elementary single pirouettes and woo the Broadway audience.

I saw Misty Copeland guest with Rochester City Ballet when she was only a teenager and she was lovely. I am glad for her success, although a little less PR hype would have been a nice touch.
As Haglund has wisely pointed out, however, Sarah Lane is the more beautifully nuanced and technically proficient ballerina of the two and deserves to be an ABT principal (she deserved this 7 years ago). She has been exquisite as Aurora, as Giselle, and Juliet is her destiny. She would grace any world stage and I hope that the Royal Ballet has the brains to scoop her up.

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