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May 12, 2016


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Very unkind, and very ignorant, too -- they would be a huge draw for donors.

This was just posted on ABT's Facebook: May 12 Evening Ticket Holders: Gillian Murphy is injured and unable to dance in “Sylvia” this evening. In tonight’s performance, Act I will feature Isabella Boylston as Sylvia and Aminta by Marcelo Gomes; in Act II, Sylvia will be danced by Maria Kochetkova; in Act III, Sylvia will be danced by Hee Seo and Aminta by Roberto Bolle.

They could not find one couple to dance the entire ballet? Am I overly sensitive, or is this just bizarre?

Wow, ABT is going to try to make a funny joke out of Sylvia. In desperate times, the dumb get dumber.

I can't imagine how this will not be incredibly jarring for the audience. It does not matter what you think of the respective calibre of the dancers when there is no continuity of experience. And the three Sylvias could not be more physically dissimilar...

Jarring is right. They tried to do this sort of thing with DonQ at a gala some years back. Three sets of tired dancers doing the three acts. It was a really bad joke.

If people do not want to buy tickets to see Boylston's Sylvia, and people do not want to buy tickets to see Kochetkova's Sylvia, and people do not want to buy tickets to see Seo's Sylvia, what kind of a lame brain would think that people want to see all three of them together?

Not one single understudy has been prepped to step into this role. Why? At the very least, they should have prepped Veronika to dance it again in a pinch. And instead of loading soloist roles from Firebird and Symphony No. 9 on Stella, why wasn't she dancing Sylvia? The incompetence in the artistic management is astonishing and would never be tolerated in a CEO of a major public company. Never. He would be thrown out on his ear by the board of directors.

It will be like attending a dress rehearsal. On the other hand, ticket holders, feast your eyes on Bolle because right now he is simply gorgeous, and who knows how many more years he'll look and dance at the top of his game.

Irina & Max were the most glamorous couple at last year's gala and Irina's gown was the most gorgeous. Methinks that "some" may be jealous?

You may be right, Jeannette. The spotlight loves Irina and Max and they take dynamite pictures. Given that Misty Copeland's agent has formally managed the PR for the ABT galas for years (and may be doing so this year - I don't know) and has been in charge of bringing in the celebrities (all those tired overweight talk show hosts), it isn't inconceivable that the beautiful Irina got put on the No-Fly List for Misty's safety.

Wait, Haglund, don't you know that according to some folks , it is impossible to train understudies? It's amazing to me that some people (obviously not your readers 😏) accept mediocrity when it comes to basic management skills and scheduling. There are a lot of enablers out there, lucky for old KM.

Three different Sylvias in one show is insane.

I'm willing to bet Lane was an understudy and the powers in charges would rather let the company dance around an empty spotlight than put her in the show.

Bolle is perfect. This performance of Sylvia is going to Act III Aminta for the win. The audience won't see anyone else.

What a waste with such gorgeous potential in the ranks. :(

I don't know whether to laugh or cry for those who, having gone out of their way to avoid those three dancers all season, are now saddled with ALL OF THEM in a single night. Perhaps this is ABT's cunning plan to force single ticketholders to purchase subscriptions so that they can avoid this nauseating prospect in future.

I saw the ‘Three Faces of Syliva’ last night and HH called it right, it was kind-of jokey, circusy. ‘The Big ABT Circus’. Without the excitement. Izzy B was Sylvia in the 1st act, Maria Kalashnikov in the 2nd ( and man, is girlfriend tiny or what??), then Hee Seo in the third. Gomes, Aiminta #1, and Bolle Aiminta #3. Simkin was Orion, whom I liked a lot. He does a good ‘drunk’. And Craig Salstein as the ‘butchest’ Eros I think I've ever seen. Those thighs! As much as I like Izzy, (I know, I can just imagine H rolling his eyes), I liked Teenie Maria the best. She ‘played’ it. Used her face, and eyes. Remember Ladies and Gentlemen, this one was choreographed for Fonteyn. So its all about ‘The Face’. The boys, Gomes/Bolle were as you would expect them to be, radiant. And not leave out Devon Teuscher who’s 3 and half minutes of Diana alone was worth the price of admission. My thoughts about the multiple casts; Fail! Sylvia is a charming little ballet. Other than the arrival of Sylvia’s posse in act one, there is no excitement or bravura. The ensemble dances are kind-of weird (dont get me started on that Music Hall/Contra Dance in the 3rd act! Sir Fred, WHAT were you smoking??). So all that is left is the relationships between the principals. And when you shuffle them between acts, Sylvia stumbles and falls.

Thanks for the notes, Gstavella. It's great to hear that Devon did so well. What a shame that ABT made such a mess of Sylvia this year due to lack of planning. Gillian has been dealing with the current calf situation for a few weeks. That's enough lead time to ready an eager understudy. Instead of preparing, ABT stuck its head in the sand and then tried to joke its way out of its predicament.

It is inexcusable to not have an understudy ready and waiting. The corps is filled with talented dancers rotting away! I guess the only way to get a big break at ABT is to have your own PR team. I bet Peter Martins could manage ABT part-time and do a better job.

Hope this is not a double post. I'm not sure this went through the first time:

Hi Haglund,

I attended last night's performance, and contrary to other people on this board, I loved it. Having three Sylvias somehow worked for me, and I didn't find it the least bit "jokey" or "circusy." I originally went because I wanted to see Marcelo Gomes. At first, I was disappointed that Marcelo wasn't in the third act, but Roberto Bolle was absolutely magnificent. I’m so glad I got the chance to see him in the role. All three Sylvias were great, even if they all aren't my favorite dancers. There seemed to be lots of energy in the theater and everyone performed at their very best. I'm surprised I enjoyed the production so much, because I the last time I saw “Sylvia” (in 2009?), I remember not caring for it at all. Last night was a very special production, in my opinion. I'm really happy I took a chance and went. For me, at least, ABT's spring season is off to a great start!

Good to hear that you enjoyed it, B. It is troubling, though, if the only thing that could make Ashton's Sylvia enjoyable for you was a hodgepodge cast where nobody danced the story from beginning to end.

I remember back in the 1970s or early '80s, ABT came to my town with Swan Lake. At a very late hour of the performance I attended, they decided to split Odette and Odile between Jolinda Menendez and Yoko Ichino. I tried to get my money back, unsuccessfully, and I felt so utterly cheated that I had paid to see two ballerinas, neither of which was deemed by the company as being capable of dancing the entire role. They each danced well enough, but it made Swan Lake a failure and without magic. It was just a bunch of steps and flash.

Here we are one month from Swan Lake - plenty of time to get both Abrera and Lane saddled up as a backup for Murphy or whomever. Do you think McKenzie will have the presence of mind to do so? No, he will wait and wait and wait until the last second, having known for a month that Murphy probably will not be able to dance two or possibly even one Swan Lake, and then drop the performances in the laps of Kochetkova and even worse, Copeland. Watch.

Remember when ABT spent time and money teaching Sylvia to oh-so-fragile Natalia Osipova who of course got injured and withdrew? There was clearly no understudy back then, considering that ABT had to ask Xiomara Reyes to learn the role in just a few days, making quite a successful debut--just unfortunately far too late in her career. McKenzie clearly hasn't learnt his lesson. What he should have done was invite Xiomara back for a performance and give Boylston just one Sylvia, knowing that in all likelihood she would get an opportunity to get a second as someone else's substitution.

Yes, Neema, I do remember. ABT wasted a lot of money on Osipova while snubbing its in-house talent.

That's a shame. Irina and Max had some extremely gracious things to say about ABT and Kevin McKenzie in their Youtube video. Unlike some other dancers the comments seemed very from the heart and this was after both of them had been "forced into early retirement," as they say.


Maybe ABT will have a change of heart and offer Irina and Max a couple of Standing Room tickets -- if there are any left over tomorrow.

Here is a very good interview with Irina and Max from October 2012. Pay particular attention to 14:00-17:30 and what they say about ABT company culture.


Yes, L, that is a very enlightening interview.

I am not sure if this is a recent photo but just saw this and it seems Irina and Max had their own party? Good for them and hope they had more fun! Actually I was shocked to see the gala as the fall season one, looks like they got rid for the tent outdoors? Seems smaller and surprised since NYCB is still in season! No corps inside either? Didn't the years past have the entire company or am I really behind the times!? <https://www.instagram.com/p/BFfmCDrSuTD/?taken-by=irinamaxemma&hl=en>

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