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More problems at New York City Ballet

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Shocking. 

 

This will leave - with De Luz's departure in November - the NYCB principal male contingent keenly undernourished.  Surely the Angle brothers can't dance EVERYTHING.  Having seen NYCB this summer both in Paris and Copenhagen I am worried.  I have long been a fan of Tyler Angle - brilliant partner that he is - but based on my viewings this summer - and only on my own observance - he appeared somewhat out of shape.  Surely Garcia, La Cour and Veyette are coming to the natural end of their own careers.  I adore Adrian Danchig-Waring - and he was superb as the Angel in the opening performance of Serenade in the Tivoli Gardens theatre - but he has only recently returned from injury - and he has sadly been injured often.  Danny Ulbrecht (not a spring chicken himself now in ballet terms) is small - and Huxley is even smaller (think James Hay size). Who does that leave - with the noted 2018 suspended absences (Ramasar and Catazaro) and Finlay's resignation (his name is now removed from the roster) - to fill in the blanks?  I like Taylor Stanley but, again, he is not especially tall and is very much a 'Peck' man (J that is, not T).  This may be his chance to flourish and certainly will bring Janzen to the fore.  Somehow I don't think a Fairchild return can be on the NYCB political cards.  Sadly the soloist male rank is not burgeoning with appropriate fillers.  Gordon, Schumacher and Suozzi - all fine dancers - do not themselves have the necessary height to partner such as T. Peck, Mearns, etc.  That leaves Harrison Ball given that Justin Peck - and that would REALLY not be appropriate - has already said he is thinking about stopping dancing to concentrate on his internationally celebrated balletic choreographic creations and more theatre outings after his Tony Award for his Broadway work on Carousel this season.  Certainly this leaves vast openings for lads from the corps - long a NYCB tradition.  Coll, Chamblee, Farley, young Mejia and Villalobos would all seem prime - but might this not be a tad too much too soon.  Hopefully overkills are not looming unnecessarily.  Who really is steering - or will - the boat?  These waters are definitely choppy.  

 

The RB's relative and enormous wealth in rank in this current regard is certainly something to cherish.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Russell Janzen at least is tall. I have only seen him a couple of times, but when I saw him most recently found his dancing rather beautiful.  But no doubt the situation heightens the sense that this is a time of transition at the company....

 

(I actually think Stanley has real "star" quality, but as you say, he is not especially tall.)

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I agree about Taylor Stanley. He was impressive at the full company's season at the Chatelet several summers ago, and has continued to improve. In Copenhagen his spectacular dancing was the only thing I liked about Justin Peck's frantic The Times are Racing, and his quality shone in Martins's cliche'd Hallelujah Junction.

Only one of the three dancers performed at Copenhagen, Zachary Catazaro, and he was very disappointing in Serenade (fortunately Danchig-Waring was the other male; he seemed to have taken over from Stanley in Symphony in Three Movements, as Stanley was listed but Danchig-Waring performed).

I was more impressed by Huxley in Copenhagen than in the recent Paris performances; he was expressive and lyrical in the Square Dance solo which promised well for his dancing in Four Temperaments. He did not disappoint in that (although no-one will ever match Bart Cook, in my eyes).

Of the other males I saw, Ask la Cour was disappointing in Four Temperaments, although the home crowd loved him, but was competent in the After the Rain pas de deux. I liked Joseph Gordon the first couple of In the Night (he and Lauren Lovette were outstanding) and the 3rd movement of Symphony in C (in which  Teresa Reichlen was again disappointingly tense in the 2nd movement, partnered by Russell Janzen). Ulbricht was his usual exuberant self in Tarantella, and Veyette and Garcia just danced in the wonderful Pictures at an Exhibition, alongside Tyler Angle, Joseph Gordon and Aaron Sanz.

So, yes, there is a shortage of top quality male dancers in the upper ranks of City Ballet.

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Bruce Wall said:

The RB's relative and enormous wealth in rank in this current regard is certainly something to cherish

 

I was interested to read that NYCB will still have 10 male principals available, though. The full 14 seems a lot when compared to the RB's 8, not all of whom are suitable for parts of the repertoire, even when fit.

 

Or are the ranks not comparable?

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37 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I was interested to read that NYCB will still have 10 male principals available, though. The full 14 seems a lot when compared to the RB's 8, not all of whom are suitable for parts of the repertoire, even when fit.

 

Or are the ranks not comparable?

 

In terms of NYCB I think Lizbie1 you have to consider how many of these are very senior and those (Garcia and the talented Danchig-Waring) who have been repeatedly plagued by injury.  There are cavities on the 2018 shelf where taller ballerinas are concerned and the overall balance would seem precarious in face of any future male impairment.  That said - you are quite right - in the sense there are currently only nine principal NYCB ballerinas.  Still - in terms of NYCB's past - there is a frightening lack of substantial size in the male soloist rank both in terms of height and dramatic forward projection so key in both Balanchine and Robbins (noting that Suozzi has made great strides in the latter regard of late.)  A settlement in terms of the artistic leadership suggests itself as being urgent.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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It is so encouraging to see the NYCB taking what appears to be swift and decisive action when it has clear evidence of inappropriate behaviour.  

 

It would have really hurt to take this action when the result impacts the whole company so significantly.  It reminds me of a story about the changes that the NZ All Blacks rugby team took to change their team culture.  (The Australian Wallabies tell this story)  The All Black dressing room creed became ano d-head policy!  Members of the team, for example, take turns to sweep the dressing-room floor, thereby proving that they're not a d-head..  This helps to keep big stars humble and the team take ownership to keep all players in check.  The player leadership group rather than coaches set and enforce stds.  When one top player missed his flight to a game he was answerable to his team-mates rather than the coaches.

 

“As an All Black, you understand the team powers above the individual and you are part of a wider legacy, which has been passed down to you from the ages. In this particular period, it is your time and it is your moment. We want people to cherish and understand that and nourish it for the next generation, leaving it in a better place than what it was.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/newzealand/11208617/How-New-Zealand-assistant-coach-Gilbert-Enoka-turned-All-Blacks-around-with-a-strict-no-dheads-policy.html

Edited by DD Driver
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Out of the male principals at New York City Ballet: Catazaro, Finlay and Ramasar are out. De Luz is retiring. Garcia and Veyette are coming towards the end of their careers. Dachig-Waring is a wonderful artist but frequently out with injuries. Jansen and la Cour are tall and reliable, and both have given notable performances in certain ballets, but don’t really shine in the majority of their rep. Huxley, Stanley and Ulbricht are great solo dancers but limited in their partnering ability. Jared and Tyler Angle are still dancing well and reliable partners, and are really carrying most of the work load right now. 

 

The thing about NYCB is that they have a lot of tall women and a lot of short men, which makes casting partners a bit of a challenge. 

 

Within the soloist rank Gordon is a beautiful dancer who had a great last season, and personally I think he’s ready for promotion. Ball is out injured right now and has been seriously injured before. Suozzi gives good performances but isn’t tall and is also near the end of his career. Neither Peck or Schumacher are dancers of note. 

 

I actually do think NYCB is a company with a lot of depth in talent, but with limited rehearsal time and a massive rep, it’s hard for junior dancers to make debuts that leave lasting impressions. Still, Coll and Mejia are doing well and headed towards promotion, and there are other male corps dancers with potential like Chamblee, Farley and Villarini-Velez.

Edited by stella
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I don't know the NYCB at all and have found all the above posts interesting to read.

 

When you say NYCB has limited rehearsal time and a massive rep (so does The Royal Ballet in London), and that it is hard for junior dancers to make debuts that leave lasting impressions...the AD at the RB manages to give his most talented junior dancers debut opportunities and they do leave lasting impressions, why wouldn't NYCB be able to do so too? 

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People's livelihoods and reputation are at stake here.  I expect that, after consultation with lawyers and PR experts, a dancer will want to get out there with their own message.  To be on the front foot.

 

This might range from: I can't comment right now.  I have lawyers looking into this but can I say, the overwhelming outpouring of support has meant the world to me...

all the way through to:  Please forgive me.  I'm now seeking help/going to rehab. 

Edited by DD Driver
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51 minutes ago, Xandra Newman said:

I don't know the NYCB at all and have found all the above posts interesting to read.

 

When you say NYCB has limited rehearsal time and a massive rep (so does The Royal Ballet in London), and that it is hard for junior dancers to make debuts that leave lasting impressions...the AD at the RB manages to give his most talented junior dancers debut opportunities and they do leave lasting impressions, why wouldn't NYCB be able to do so too? 

 

Although I only get to see the company occasionally, I just wanted to remark that I've seen some quite remarkable debuts at New York City Ballet in recent years--certainly I won't soon forget Laracey's debut in the second ballerina role in Concerto Barocco last spring!  She danced the first ballerina role just a few weeks later but unfortunately I wasn't in NY to see it; I certainly read praise for it. (Other debuts that I missed have been very warmly received -- including by dancers such as Indiana Woodward and Roman Mejia--who was also mentioned by Stella above as "doing well" when she made her comment.)

 

In other cases I have seen dancers grow in a role pretty quickly. Huxley did fine with an early performance of Four Temperaments I saw a little over a year ago--he had made his debut shortly before--but a year later, this past spring, he seemed to me still much better. I'd say that's a good thing...no debut by a serious artist is going to be the whole story.

 

People who see the company more often than I may see more mixed results across the board with debuts...and NYCB has a long history of throwing very inexperienced dancers on stage in major roles -- I was rather charmed by Miriam Miller's Titania debut just out of school a few years back, and Sara Mearns' Odette-Odile when she was new to the corps de ballet, and which I did not see, made her something of a star from the get go. The company also has a long history of asking people to sub on very little notice. I don't doubt the results must be mixed sometimes and the company faces challenges, but I'm not sure one should get the impression (or that Stella intended to give the impression) that that the company hasn't also fielded some very successful debuts in recent years.

Edited by DrewCo

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With this happening so close to the start of the season I would assume that a lot of the casting has already been set so juggling that casting around must surely be a major exercise.  I believe NYCB's rep is mostly mixed programmes so that is going to make it even harder.

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10 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

With this happening so close to the start of the season I would assume that a lot of the casting has already been set so juggling that casting around must surely be a major exercise.  I believe NYCB's rep is mostly mixed programmes so that is going to make it even harder.

 

Janet, in Balanchine's day the casting was announced to ALL at the end of the week prior to the performance one.  (Robbins was famous for only confirming casting on the day.)  Matins kept this tradition for a long time.  In recent years this has changed at NYCB to the point where casting now seems to be announced a couple of weeks in advance.  (It's not a fixed pattern.)  The only exception to this is the casting for The Nutcracker which is announced at one advance point in full given the large resources it employs and - I assume - allowing Company personnel to know when they might be able to spend time with their families.  There also seems to be an exception for the annual Washington (Kennedy Center) tour as casting is often there given a little more advance notice than, say, for the Saratoga sojourn (annual upstate NY season which now is only one week) and foreign tours.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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2 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

Janet, in Balanchine's day the casting was announced to ALL at the end of the week prior to the performance one.  (Robbins was famous for only confirming casting on the day.)  This has changed at NYCB to the point where it now seems to be announced a couple of weeks in advance.  The only exception to this is the casting for The Nutcracker which is announced at one advance point in full given the large resources it employs and - I assume - allowing Company personnel to know when they might be able to spend time with their families.  

 

The timing of a casting announcement may not reflect when the casting was decided...

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

The timing of a casting announcement may not reflect when the casting was decided...

 

Janet, I have a feeling the current NYCB powers that be must have had some sense of what they were doing.  Finlay's resignation I'm sure came as a surprise ... and I have a feeling must have involved other factors for the lad ... but the Winter Season of mixed rep at NYCB is always short because of The Nutcracker.  In the short term it will give the corps lads more chance to originate roles in the couple of items being created in that interim.  As it was Ramasar was expected to be out in any event as obviously no one knew that the Broadway production of Carousel in which he's playing Jigger would close on 16th September - only very recently announced - and he was contractually committed until the end of '18.  (I'm angered as I wanted to see the choreography that Peck won the Tony for - and, yes, Ramasar - as I've been a fan since his SAB days - and I'm not in NYC until just before the Balanchine Celebrations for City Center's 75th involving - among others - the RB - but hey ho!  That's life, huh.)  I assume that both Ramasar and Catazaro will both be back in January for the launch of the Spring season and the main feast of mixed bills.  Finlay's loss is notable but not I think overwhelming.  

 

We don't know what happened, of course, but I was reminded yesterday that Ramasar had at least been in these surrounds before.  Amar was in the car with Nilas Martins - then a NYCB principal - when he got tagged for cocaine in Saratoga.  Nilas, (the prodigal son) got the Company wrap (a short suspension) on that occasion .... but did return.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall

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2 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

I don't know the NYCB at all and have found all the above posts interesting to read.

 

When you say NYCB has limited rehearsal time and a massive rep (so does The Royal Ballet in London), and that it is hard for junior dancers to make debuts that leave lasting impressions...the AD at the RB manages to give his most talented junior dancers debut opportunities and they do leave lasting impressions, why wouldn't NYCB be able to do so too? 

 

They have a very busy concentrated schedule in the autumn - from Sept 18 to Oct 14th I think I counted 26 different ballets in eight different programmes. That's fairly intense. The RB's performances are spread over a much longer period, and don't involve so many different works. 

 

https://www.nycballet.com/Season-Tickets/18-19-Season-Page/Fall-2018.aspx

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Thank you to those posters more familiar with the company than most of us, I'd guess, for their takes on the current roster of dancers at NYCB.  It seems to me that there's been quite a bit of turnover in terms of higher-ranked dancers in the company in recent years, and I for one am not hugely familiar with the names of some of the newer-comers, so full names every now and then would be very welcome :) 

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52 minutes ago, alison said:

Thank you to those posters more familiar with the company than most of us, I'd guess, for their takes on the current roster of dancers at NYCB.  It seems to me that there's been quite a bit of turnover in terms of higher-ranked dancers in the company in recent years, and I for one am not hugely familiar with the names of some of the newer-comers, so full names every now and then would be very welcome :) 

 

Good point, Alison ... and sorry (at least on my part) for sounding mysterious.   

 

Here's a full listing with all the names:  https://www.nycballet.com/dancers#rank

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6 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

When you say NYCB has limited rehearsal time and a massive rep (so does The Royal Ballet in London), and that it is hard for junior dancers to make debuts that leave lasting impressions...the AD at the RB manages to give his most talented junior dancers debut opportunities and they do leave lasting impressions, why wouldn't NYCB be able to do so too? 

 

New York City Ballet performs 60 ballets a year, and I’ve often seen their dancers claim in interviews to have only 2 to 3 weeks rehearsal of a ballet before a performance. The Royal isn’t that extreme. 

 

There’s also the issue that NYCB doesn’t have an AD at the moment, and before that Peter Martins was a big believer of the “sink or swim” philosophy (as was Balanchine), which is not the most supportive method for inexperienced dancers. In general I get the impression that NYCB is a harsher environment for dancers than the RB, but that's just an impression. 

Edited by stella
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5 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

The timing of a casting announcement may not reflect when the casting was decided...

 

I know someone who used to dance with NYCB and the dancers did in fact only find out casting a week before! This changed a couple of years ago when the dancers' union demanded that they be given at least two weeks notice so they could organize their lives a bit better. That part I learned from Jared Angle (principal), who was one of the dancer reps for company negotiations when he gave one of my groups a tour of the theatre.

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How can a ballet company sink sooooooo low, omg :( Really disgusting what's going on at NYCB, and all that awful behaviour was allegedly tolerated and not acted upon by those in charge? Shocking to say the least and a very very sad reflection of our times. 

 

Closer to home things don't seem to be any better at the Paris Opera Ballet! 

https://www.dancemagazine.com/paris-opera-ballet-lawsuit-2587608650.html

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/04/16/558714/Paris-Opera-harassment-survey

 

The UK ballet company ENB also had its fair share of criticism recently. Luckily dancers affected at the ENB, NYCB and POB companies had the courage to speak up and bring all sorts of unacceptable behaviour into the public domain. Good for them they no longer accept to be silenced nor grin and bear when choreographers and/or directors behave, speak and treat dancers in a totally unacceptable manner.

Why would those hard working dancers accept anything less but the highest respect, why would they accept working with choreographers and directors who are rude, abusive, disrespectful, condescending, insulting and belittling towards the dancers? Why would they accept having to work in a climate of fear, and of intimidation when they want to speak out?

 

I can only imagine what professional dancers in the past must have put up with.

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I am in total shock! Is this the 21st century ? Is this the USA's supposedly prestigious ballet company...WHAT next????

"The lawsuit also includes a conversation where a company donor suggested they "violate" female dancers and "abuse them like farm animals."

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Reading the actual complaint is ENTIRELY STOMACH TURNING.  Good riddance to Finlay I say ... and may he get what it seems he deserves with full legal effect.  Also surprised that based on the explicit quotations that Ramasar ONLY got suspended for a season.  Don't know that I can bear to watch him again - and that hurts as I have - as I say - been a fan since his SAB days.  The alleged behaviour / involvement by a NYCB donor MORE than brings the Board into the picture - as does ALL.  Get rid of them if the allegation is true.  Where was this interim leadership team if, as is claimed, they knew about this in JUNE?  That poor girl!!!!  I'm sorry to say this but NYCB deserves to lose a lot of funding (which I'm sure will follow) over this.  I dearly love this Company - or at least the Company that I remember and cherish in my heart - but NYCB needs a full re-examination just now.  Things are out of control - and as I suggested above it has now it appears even affected the work.  Balanchine must be on a constant loop of spin in his grave.  If 'Ballet is woman' ....  this is BEYOND abusive.  My vote would be to drop Woetzel in and give him an enormous broom.  Best done quickly. 

 

WHO WOULD - OR COULD - HAVE THOUGHT?  Not me - that's for sure.  

 

Enough said. 

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2 hours ago, Bruce Wall said:

Good riddance to Finlay I say ... and may he get what it seems he deserves with full legal effect. 

 

Indeed: if these allegations are true (and the actions of NYCB thus far would appear to indicate that they are not without merit), I hope she takes him to the cleaners.

 

I've no idea whether NYCB would be legally liable as well, but as Finlay wouldn't the only individual involved it's hard to avoid the conclusion that there should be some moral responsibility at least. (The allegation of the involvement of a donor I find particularly revolting, given the historical resonances.)

 

It is extraordinarily brave of this young woman to go public with such details.

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