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January 22, 2023


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“Ballet is woman.” Apparently not to Stafford and whelan.

Several soloists should be promoted: Gerrity, Hod, Kitka, and LaFreniere at least. Bouder and Mearns should be retiring.

I would throw in Laracey's and Nadon's names as well. That would make six. Hod gets a Firebird debut next week to show her mettle. I expect her to be another revelation in that role. She has extensive capabilities and range while performing superbly in both tulle and black & white ballets. Several other soloists are clearly principal worthy but need more notches on their belts to demonstrate it.

Peter Walker is missing from your roster. That makes it 13 to 6.

There were 11 women before Maria Kowroski retired. I'm guessing they're just taking their time to name replacements. For what reason, I don't know.

Mimi, you're right, Walker is missing!! I snapped these photos off the monitor in the lobby area. Bad form by NYCB to forget to add him. 13 to 6 = shame.

I also find it fascinating to look at the timelines from joining the company to becoming a principal for the veteran female principals. Five years or less for all of them from corps to principal. Meanwhile, nearly all of the recently promoted soloists have spent more time in the corps than then entire time it took for Bouder, Mearns, Fairchild, and Peck to reach principal (Nadon and von Enck excepted). Very hopeful for some promotions this season.

I think there are more older male dancers staying. Veyette, Ulbricht, J Angle are I believe in their 40s. Yet two of the most recently departed women were only 37 and I don't think any women have yet been promoted. I'm sure some will, but there are several very good candidates.

Reality there are only 4 working principles. Bouder and Mearns are out, for God knows how long. I will say upon studying the casting they are working a few of the soloists awful hard. I Believe Nadon was on almost every if not every show. Announce promotions stop this game of holding talent back. It’s gets the company no where and promotes injury with laying to much rep on to few dancers. I’m done whining.

"Just the optics are highly disturbing, but what's behind this inequity?"

Answer: Plenty of principals but not enough principles.

Jonathan Stafford seems much more conservative in his casting and hiring than Martins. Look at the casting for Nutcracker. Under Balanchine and Martins there were dozens of debuts. I can think of only a handful of debuts the past couples seasons for Nutcracker -- a warhorse that the entire company should be able to perform backwards and forwards. Very few promotions and inability to effectively deal with aging principals who are hanging on way too long.

I agree about the inability to deal with aging principals and their out-of-whack sense of role ownership. Once again, as last year, when there was much praise about LaFreniere's Firebird, Bouder could not resist trying to steal the spotlight for herself with old pictures of herself in that same role. Her demeanor is beyond ugly and her sense of entitlement needs diagnosis and treatment.

Is Joseph Gordon not a principal?

Diagnosis is easy: malignant narcissism. Treatment: none.

Yes, Joseph Gordon is a principal. His is the picture farthest to the right of the top row of the men principals.

Lol on your diagnosis and treatment.

Thanks,, Haglund. I had to scroll over to get Gordon in the frame.

That is an interesting visual.

Has any house cleaning been done since the change in leadership? The older dancers should at least be taken aside and told to plan their exits. Allowing them to hold on too long, stifles the progress of the younger dancers. NYCB should be allowed to promote dancers who are in the process of reaching their potential not when they begin to wane.

While there is a large cluster of senior principals who were promoted to principal within 4 or 5 years, that has not always been the case. While some were promoted fast by Balanchine (I think Suzanne Farrell and Patricia McBride made principal within 2 or 3 years), many others were not promoted to principal until they had been with the company 8, 9 or 10 years, sometimes even longer. These included Merrill Ashley, Kay Mazzo, Karin von Aroldingen(who had already been a soloist with a German company) and Heather Watts, who I believe was one of the last to be promoted by Balanchine himself. I'm not suggesting this is a good thing, just that it is not unknown at this company.

Promotions and non-promotions IMO are based these days on talent, yes, but also fear. Fear of whining, lawsuits claiming “ageism” if you fired them (which back in the day Balanchine did all the time “You know, dear, you are getting too old. Better to retire.”), and most importantly money (union principals can negotiate their contract). Mr. B was one of the last of a dying artistic breed who had somewhat autonomy over how they plied their craft . As he correctly predicted “Apres moi, le board!”

@Erich Yetter

I think this problem is really isolated to the New York City Companies. When Angel Corella took over Philadelphia ballet he was allowed to make dance roster changes. This happens in plenty of companies across the US and in the rest of the world.

The problem seems to me a group of people on the boards of both ABT and NYCB who are political and social cultural revolutionaries. They have decided to turn these companies into their soap boxes and now we are seeing problems.

I see that Peter Walker finally got added to the principal pictures displayed on the monitors in the theater.

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