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June 29, 2018


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Gabe Stone Shayer was not promoted. He has been in many roles this season, including Principal roles. This is disturbing.

Hi, MoMo. Thanks for your comment.

The male soloist rank is glutted. Even with today's addition of three women, the soloist rank still is not even M/F.

If McKenzie would do what he SHOULD do, which is move Hoven and Forster up to principal, there would be a little bit of room for the likes of Gabe, Jonathan Klein, Joo Won Ahn, or Aran Bell -- all of whom were granted princpal opportunities this year.

This reluctance on McKenzie's part to give Forster and Hoven opportunities has all the markings of what he does when he's running around the world shopping for imports and guest artists. He simply doesn't see what is right in front of his eyes.

Also, Roman Zhurbin is budgeted as a soloist when, in fact, he is a principal character artist. He can no longer adequately "dance" in classical productions and hasn't been able to do so passably for quite some time. (I imagine we'll see him in Tharp's In the Upper Room, but that's not what I'm talking about.) He is absolutely peerless in character roles, better than Victor Barbee ever was, and he should have his own category of Principal Character Artist. That might loosen up a little room in the soloist rank for another man.

With regard to Gabe, I'm not sold on his technical clarity or classical form yet. He needs to do whatever Simkin does to make his legs look long and sharp as swords. I really think that Klein is the most ready to move up, but unfortunately he has been injured for most of the season.

Thank you for the update Haglund. Congratulations to all three lovely ladies!!! A few years ago I had the pleasure of taking a class along side Katherine Williams and she was glorious to watch and always stands out in teh corps.I'm thrilled for her success!

Kaho and Betsy are both excellent choice for 2019 promotions!

Haglund, Thank you for the update. I am happy with all the female promotions: All three have had my attention on stage for a while and are very deserving, but the male situation is abysmal. Hoven and Forster need to be made principal dancers like yesterday. McKenzie's inability to recognise what the audience sees is mind-boggling. And it's most likely because neither one has crowd recognition or large social media presence. And you are absolutely right regarding Zhurbin.
HMarcelo's absence is critically felt (and constantly mentioned by the audience) but even when he was there he filled too many spots. Now Whiteside is thrown into every opening. And the corps dancers who dance these roles are not even recognised. I have no idea what's happening with the company but it's getting harder and harder to donate.

I completely agree with you about Roman. I thought he deserved that separate special status years ago. No one can do what he does, not even close.

Haglund, once again your ideas are far sounder than ABT management's. I've been so eager to see Blaine Hoven in principal roles like Albrecht or Siegfried, I would actually consider buying a ticket to see him perform with the likes of Boylston or Hee Seo if he were cast. Management seems to be penny-pinching this year but that's no reason to have kept Hoven and Forster from leading roles. I certainly hope Jonathan Klein is back in form for the fall season. I think he's a far better dancer than Shayer, whose muddy movement has always annoyed me. When Shayer dances with Skylar Brandt, she outshines him in every way. And I'm so excited to see our three new female soloists in upcoming performances, especially Zhong-Jing Fang, who has languished in the corps for far too many years (more wasted talent), and in addition is the most stylish dresser in the company. A Vogue layout would be far more suitable for her than say, Copeland, who has no sense of personal style but receives image-enhancing fashion publicity via professional stylists. Go Ziggy!

I certainly can agree about Zhong-Jing Fang's stylishness. She really knows what's she's doing in terms of fashion art & design.

But I won't go for teaming Blaine up with Boylston in a full length Petipa ballet. He's an actual classical dancer with integrity built into his dancing from head to toe. Let Boylston flop around with Whiteside and they can giggle their ways through whatever they're doing. Blaine with Seo -- I would probably buy a ticket even though he would be better with Abrera, Murphy, Shevchenko or Teuscher.

So happy for Katie, Cate, and Zhongjing! I caught Katie's debut as Queen of the Dryads and saw Zhongjing rehearse Mercedes at the dress rehearsal. All three of these promotions are well deserved.

Let's hope these ladies are given the chance to step up, and performances aren't continually misallocated. Sarah Lane gave what I considered a quite candid interview to the NYTimes ahead of her Kitri debut this week and spoke openly about the way the reliance on guest artists held her back, and how happy she is at the pursuit of homegrown talent.

Was surprised to see no promotions on the male side, considering the major departures in the male ranks this year. Agree that the lack of recognition for Blaine is the most sad.

Echo sentiments as to Zhong's style as well - that woman can rock headgear like no one else.


What do you think ABT’s plans for Ribagorda are? For someone who is just back in the corps from 4 years of selling real estate, he has certainly turned up in a lot this season. His Gamache in tandem with Zhurbin’s Lorenzo at yesterday’s DQ cannot be beat I think. Those two were hilarious playing off each other, and unlike others I could mention, they did not step out of character ever, even when the spotlight was nowhere near them. My eye kept drifting away from center stage just to see what these two were up to on the side.

Sorry it took me a while to get the review posted. It's up above now. But with regard to your question, I have no idea. Ratmansky has high regard for him and uses him, but McKenzie, well,... I would think that if Ashton's Cinderella returns soon, we would see Luis repeat his role as the jester. He was peerless.

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