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October 19, 2016


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It will be a sad, sad day in the ballet world if/when Martins decides to retire. Frankly, I don't see why he couldn't run the company for 20 more years if he so desired. I think Balanchine would be incredibly proud at the state of his company today.

Hi Gerry. I agree that Balanchine would be proud, very proud. When he senses that it is time, Martins can tie up his extraordinary tenure with a neat bow by pursuing a multi-year transition that feeds the eventual successor(s) with experiences that will strengthen them when the time comes to lead. The appointment of a Deputy Ballet Master in Chief would be a good way to proceed. My clear choice would be Jon Stafford. I would be so disappointed to see the NYCB board reach outside of the current in-house talent for leadership and would withdraw my support in total if it ever came to pass that a certain Frenchman and his fluffy actress wife tried to swoop in to glam things up.

I think the POB experiment told us and the NYCB board everything we needed to know about who not to tap as Martins' successor. Kudos to the board for letting Martins run NYCB in the way he sees fit and for not interfering and having pet projects/favorites like the board at ABT (we know how successful that is turning out to be).

Could not agree with SM more and couldn't have said it better myself! Martins is the perfect example of good leadership. Seems PA Ballet is on the right track too, best wishes to Angel and maybe he will grow his company to give us two worthy north east companies :)

I agree, HF, but Martins had a very difficult first decade and a half while trying to prove himself to the remaining dancers who were Balanchine's hires––an all but impossible task given Balanchine's incomparable talents. Some of the dancers were brutally disrespectful to Martins behind his back - I remember hearing the moaning and groaning from them when they would come over to David Howard's studio to take class in the morning. It wasn't until Martins was able to re-align the company with his own hires that things started to smooth out. Some of those former Balanchine hires are still dissing him. That's why it's so important for him to pursue a multi-year transition strategy from within. It would not be in the best interests of the institution to go through such turmoil again.

Thank you for this insightful history as always :) I can imagine the difficulty in transition for those you mentioned in the company, and how it must feel having a "new boss", in any organization, after all the years, but good for Martins to stand strong to pursue his strategy.

I think the company is in a good place now and Martins has led it very well.

However there are many iconic ballets that have lost their edge now because they aren't being properly coached by the original interpreters. Diamonds is in a very sorry state as well as most of Jewels. There are other ballets too that show up less than stellar.

Time is of the essence because all of Balanchine's former dancers are getting on in years. The time to coach extensively and vastly is now. Instead all the original dancers are coaching OTHER companies to success. There is no reason why PNB should be dancing Jewels better than the company Balanchine built himself.

Diamonds is not a problem for everyone at NYCB. Tess and Maria are sublime interpreters and many of us cannot wait for Rebecca Krohn and Ashley Laracey to get a chance in the role.

I have yet to see PNB dance anything better than NYCB regardless of what Alastair Irrelevant claims. PNB is still very much a mid quality regional company no where near NYCB - or SF Ballet, Houston, Miami, or PA Ballet. They certainly strive hard but the gifted direction and talent just isn't there.

I don't read the NY Times critic. I only go by what I've seen. PNB impressed me the last time they were in NY. Its true they aren't a big company nor have the back log of talent that NYCB does. But NYCB is the biggest company in the US. That isn't in doubt.

But I have seen PNB do a better Diamonds. I've even seen Miami Ballet do it better. Why? Because both D'Amboise and Farrell have coached dancers in both companies. If they were coaching NYCB, I highly doubt Mearns would be emoting like a Russian Diva nor would Reichlen be adding Swan Queen touches. Also Rubies would be a lot cleaner if Villella had more input in coaching as well. He would certainly clean up the overly fast tempo that doesn't give the dancers time to breath.

But I want to know why they aren't coaching NYCB's current and worthy talent. Why is the company letting its premiere ballet lose some of its style. It can't only be sour grapes on their side.

Heck, I realize that Balanchine let Farrell have her own way for years and years. But their partnership created the style of the company. That shouldn't be lost due to former jealousy beefs.

I completely missed any Swan Queen touches in Tess' Diamonds, but I'll watch more closely next time. All casts of Rubies don't have problems either. The Fairchild/De Luz cast I would match up against McBride/Villella any day. Can't recall any too fast tempi either although Andrew Veyette showed strain trying to keep up at times - a trait not limited to Rubies. Nor would I call Jewels the company's "premiere" ballet. A half dozen years or so ago, I saw the Diamonds PdD danced by Farrell's own company. It was mostly okay but didn't hold a candle to NYCB's Diamonds - including the overblown cast.

Agree with Haglund. The premiere NYCB ballet is Serenade. I would also throw The Nutcracker in there because let's face it, Balanchine's Nutcracker was the one that started it all.

But, that is a good question that melponeme raised. I remember reading that article about Merrill Ashley and her beef with NYCB's current dancers. Surely she was one of the moaners and groaners back in David Howard's class? Gosh Haglund, you've lived a cool life! Did you ever take class with Gelsey? Forever and always my favorite ballerina.

Not to be nitpicky but I believe that Gonzalo Garcia did not train at SAB? I'm still glad that he's at NYCB but he would keep the roster from being 100% SAB.

True E. Nor did Sofiane Sylve or Nikolaj Hubbe or Nilas Martins or Joaquin De Luz. I really should have qualified that 100%. Thanks.

Agreed, Rose. Gelsey will always be my favourite. I am so genuinely thrilled to see what she is doing with her school and company, and that her gifts are being used to the benefit of the next generation of dancers. I am a ballet teacher and I have students who have attended her summer intensive and been invited to the professional program. I love what I see from GKA -- thoughtful, inspired coaching that teaches young dancers to respect their bodies, develop authentic artistry and become informed interpreters of the classical canon. Students are transformed by her generosity, and she is a gracious, funny and kind presence in the classroom.

Melponeme-who were the principals in this Diamonds that you saw that was better than NYCB? Because if it was say Carla Korbes and Seth Orza, that chalks up another in NYCB tally rather than take away from it since they trained and began their promotions at City Ballet.

Maybe this is because I came to ballet after Balanchine's death, but what is the obsession with original interpreters? To me, Balanchine's parts are designed to have multiple interpretations (think of all the different Apollos or for women, PC2 which was danced by everyone from the goddess, Farrell, to Violette Verdy [RIP]). Could Melissa Hayden honestly teach the Tiler Pecks, Megan Fairchilds, and Ashley Bouders anything more? They are technically just as sound, probably better....

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