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May 09, 2022


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You say "custodial foster care" like it's some sort of hospice. Many people think this is what the company needs right now - someone whose tenure was during its so-called (most recent) golden years and has given no indication that she plans to alter the fundamental underpinnings of what has sustained the company artistically, in spite of whatever weakness there may be to address in repertory, casting, roster, etc. I'm willing to bet that many others did not want the job for a variety of understandable reasons, including the enormous challenges of the job right now. I'm willing to give her a chance not because it could have been worse, but because she may have what the company needs right now.

Maybe "hospice" was lingering a bit in the back of my mind. Only time will tell.

Jaffe loved Onegin; so hopefully that will be near the top of her list. I think the company possesses several potential Tatianas within the soloist and principal ranks. We're also due for a dose of Ashton's Dream. And with the change in AD, perhaps Jaffe will be able to retrieve Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto which she was lovely in. So there are some bright possibilities...

such an anticlimactic result. But yes - Bring back the Dream. (And have Stella coach please).

And I think The Green Table might resonate well these days.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Haglund. You can always be counted on to tell it like it is. As you've pointed out, Jaffe has not distinguished herself as an arts administrator. I can't imagine what the Board was thinking. I fear for the future of this company, which I used to love.

It’s certainly NOT due to low pay— Kevin Mackenzie made $475K in 2019!
It will be fascinating to see if Ms. Jaffe was deemed worthy of such a lofty sum by the board when the next Form 990 comes out.

I guess low salary is comparatively speaking. Helgi Tomasson last received $805K with $168K in benefits; Stanton Welch received $409K with $26K in benefits; and Peter Martins received $975K in his final year, which is the last Form 990 published.

Pittsburgh's Terry Orr received $213K with $13K in benefits for his final year. It's doubtful Jaffe got that much for her plebe year at PBT. So, ABT may have been able to strike a fairly good bargain to get her although it's now unlawful to inquire about a person's salary when considering him/her for a position. We won't know what she gets for quite a long time, though--possibly 2024 or 2025.

Susan Jaffe has been a big champion of Helen Pickett both in North Carolina & Pittsburgh. We may finally see a Pickett ballet at ABT? PETAL comes to mind.

ABT commissioned a brief work from Pickett for last summer’s virtual season, titled DESIRE…Erica Lall was featured, if memory serves…Erica being related to Susan Fales-Hill, I think.

Correction: In last year’s ABT SUMMER CELEBRATION virtual show, Erica Lall was presented as “my cousin” by the show’s emcee, Tony Award-winning actress Renee Elise Goldsberry. Susan Fales-Hill had emcee’d an earlier ABT virtual event from NY City Center Theater.

Hope that Erica and other talented ABT dancers will see more “live” opportunities under Susan Jaffe’s leadership!

So who Haglund would you have chosen? I think this is a good choice. Susan had ABT history on a number of levels. The current dancers seem to support this. They will have to report to her.

MoMo, we're rooting for Susan Jaffe but are not very optimistic. Beloserkovsky, Bocca, Bolle, Corella, Dvorovenko, Herrera - all would have been excellent choices who wouldn't have hesitated to scrape the dead cells off the company's feet to reveal their beauty.

Or, as another possibility, imagine how excited donors and ticket buyers would have been to hear about appointments of Corella to AD and Herrera to head the JKO School.

It's hard not to think that the ABT Board placed obstacles in its own path which prevented it from choosing a director who could energetically cure what ails the company. If in December we say toot-a-loo to McKenzie but he remains a board member, it will be a sign that the board chose not to make a directional change at all.

Momo, a reader sent us a link to Susan Jaffe's FB page which shows good support for her appointment. Let's hope that support turns into dollars.


By the way, along with the various changes in ballet directors around the continent have come some possible opportunities for ABT. Julian Mackay of SFB is now a free agent. He apparently wasn't seen as an acceptable fit (rival) for the Hernandez-Roja regime.

Also, wouldn't it be fabulous if former ABT principal and former Jaffe partner, Ricardo Bustamante (now also at SFB), decided that he'd rather work here than there?! And it's probably time to bring in some people from the next generation of AD's. Jared Matthews has been the ass't AD in Estonia for a few years. It's time to come home.

Hopefully, Jaffe will not be too nice to do the type of housecleaning at ABT that needs to be done.

Could've been even worse, hahaha.


Looking at the byline, a Pulitzer, like much else, ain't what it used to be.

I was hoping McKenzie would pick up Julian MacKay when he left Russia (wise decision on his part), but McKenzie, as usual, rested on his laurels. With strong Russian classical training and a large internet fanbase, he could be the big ticket draw ABT needs to lure a younger audience. I think he'd be a great partner for Shevchenko, as he worked with her previously. I hope ABT picks him up this time around.

ABT is in desperate need of ballet mistress(es)/coaches. Irina K. can't have very many years left as sad as that thought is. Hopefully, searching for some suitable candidates is Priority 1.

I was wondering if ABT is planning a Fall ‘22 season at the Koch Theater and, if so, if Kevin McKenzie will still be the A.D.? Isn’t this big send-off happening this summer, at the end of the Met season? Susan Jaffe doesn’t take over until December ‘22. An interim A.D….Clinton Luckett?

Haven't seen an announcement of McKenzie's exact departure date. There might be splashy tributes during the Met Season, the Koch Season, and then at Nutcracker in Orange County where ABT has been trying to build a following and where its current board chair primarily resides. At some point, it all has to end even though it seems endless at this time.

LOL, Haglund! It’s the modern version of opera star Nellie Melba’s infamous “farewell tour” that continued forever!

@Haglund : no please, Jared Matthews has to become the next Houston Ballet AD … nothing too exciting going on over there right now…

Melissa, FYI:

Jared talks about his job in Estonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSL2lj9zgJo

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