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Just wondering what people's predictions for promotions at the Royal Ballet might be?

Carlos Acosta is about to retire soon, which leaves a gap in the principal ranks and Deirdre Chapman also retired this season, leaving a gap in the first soloists too! 

 

I personally think Matthew Ball, Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambe will promoted up the ranks. 

Also Akane Takada, seems a firm favourite at the Royal Ballet after her debut in Swan Lake, so she might be promoted to Principal alongside Alexander Campbell maybe?

 

What are people's thoughts?

Edited by Bleaden94
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I agree that MB, FH and MS should be promoted;  they have all had a wonderful season and have shown us their high calibre.  Already a Soloist, for me Hayward should be shoo-in to the vacant First Soloist position.

 

I didn't hear anyone rave about Takada after Swan Lake, and I am not sure that she is ready to be a Principal yet.  I think that Yuhui Choe would be ahead of her in the queue.  Having said which, I love Yuhui's dancing but am not as enamoured of the dramatic and emotional sides to her performances.  However, that is improving so I have high hopes. 

 

I also can't imagine that Campbell is ready to be a Principal yet;  he hasn't danced any of the big lead roles with the RB, although he has danced good roles in many of the short pieces.  He is about to make his RB debut as Colas, but maybe he needs another season and a go at some of the 'prince' roles, and perhaps Romeo and other MacMillan lead roles, before promotion.  I can't see that any of the male First Soloists are Principal material yet.

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Also Akane Takada, seems a firm favourite at the Royal Ballet after her debut in Swan Lake, so she might be promoted to Principal 

 

Where Takada is concerned, there seems to be a difference in perception between that of the RB management (highly favourable and affording her many opportunities) and that of many fans (reflected on here in not so favourable a light!).

 

 

I didn't hear anyone rave about Takada after Swan Lake, and I am not sure that she is ready to be a Principal yet.  

 

This comment from Sim is but one illustration of fans' response. Interestingly, if my memory serves me correctly, noone posted on here after either of Takada's scheduled Swan Lakes. It seems that other dancers are able to connect more with their character and their audience.

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I see my other post hasn't posted, so I must go and sort that out later.

 

I was also going to say that O'Hare thus far, as far as I can see, hasn't seen the need to fill "vacant" positions just because they are vacant.  I hope that will continue: over the years I've seen several people promoted seemingly more on the basis that they were the best one available at the time, rather than that they were ready for the promotion.

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I predict that Hayward will be the next principal at the RB unless a female principal is recruited from outside in the near future which is, arguably, necessary given the number of times that guest female principals have been brought in this year. I suspect that Choe's time has gone and that Campbell is seen as a safe pair of hands as a first soloist, dancing the occasional lead, like Choe. Takada still has to develop dramatically and Hamilton has limitations as a classical dancer.

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Alex Campbell has performed (wonderfully) Romeo and he also danced the Prince (brilliantly) in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella at BRB.  I could also add Will Mossop, Eros in Sylvia, and the most wonderfully moving Cyrano.  He learned the male lead in Mozartiana in 90 minutes and performed it best out of any of the performances of that awful work I had the misfortune to sit through!

 

I think Alex has earned his stripes and would most definitely be a wonderful addition to the RB's principal roster!

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The fact that O'Hare hasn't promoted anyone to principal since he took over makes me assume that he has very high/specific requirements of principals. I don't see either Takada or Campbell being promoted any time soon, and in fact would be rather bemused if they were, because then I would have absolutely no idea what he was looking for in a principal.

 

EDIT: This was the post I thought my computer had posted just after Bleaden94 started the thread, if that makes more sense :)

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I see what some of you mean when you say that some first soloists are not quite ready for principal roles, but I do think a new principal is needed, if not just to give Steven McRae a regular partner!

But sadly it does seem that Choe is not to be promoted, as much as audiences love her! 

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I see what some of you mean when you say that some first soloists are not quite ready for principal roles, but I do think a new principal is needed, if not just to give Steven McRae a regular partner!

But sadly it does seem that Choe is not to be promoted, as much as audiences love her!

 

I think if Choe were to have been appointed it would have happened after she replaced Osipova in Beauty and the fact that Odette/Odile did not come her way despite a plethora of cast changes would seem to confirm that she has gone as far as she is likely to go in terms of promotion, I'm not quite sure when the new Swan Lake is due but if it is in a couple of seasons time, ungallantly, it probably might also be said that time had passed in terms of that particular debut. Indeed with Takada cast this season (for the second time after her debut cancelled through injury a couple of seasons back) and Fumi Kaneko hopefully fully restored to fitness and seeming a more likely candidate for casting I would definitely think that has now passed her by. It's a pity: I don't rate Choe quite as highly as some on here but I do remember the delicate freshness of her Dances at a Gathering when it seemed she was set to escalate especially after being featured in one of the Royal Ballet films and, without wishing to speculate, I can guess at the frustration and disappointment this may well cause her, although you'd never guess it from her smiling ease on stage.

 

Campbell I like very much indeed. Hasn't he danced Beaity, Don Q and Nutcracker male leads ahead of his Colas debut? His relatively compact stature shouldn't necessarily be a problem (as it hasn't been for McRae)

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Campbell I like very much indeed. Hasn't he danced Beaity, Don Q and Nutcracker male leads ahead of his Colas debut? His relatively compact stature shouldn't necessarily be a problem (as it hasn't been for McRae)

 

yeah I like Campbell too! Yeah he has been Basilio and the Prince in the Nutcracker, and I'm looking forward to his debut as Colas. Plus the new article on the Royal Opera House on Campbell alone shows something I suppose.

Though my main hope is to see Cuthbertson back on stage soon!

Edited by Bleaden94

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I'm only comparing these two because of their similar height and frame, but I would much rather see Valentino Zucchetti be promoted to Principal than Campbell. I think he's stronger technically and has proven that he can act (his Mercutio death scene was pretty haunting!) so for me he should at least have more opportunities to dance Principal roles, even if it means without the promotion. Such a shame he will miss Fille. I also think James Hay would be wonderful in bigger roles. Has he ever done Mercutio? I could seem him as Colas too...

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Francesca Hayward is the most gifted but I think it's too soon for Principal, I have doubts about most of the other soloists with regard to either technique or expressive qualities, the dancer I would promote would be Alexander Campbell.

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(Sorry, pressed send too soon)

 

However, I can absolutely see that he is extremely useful at First Soloist level.

 

With Acosta due to retire and rumours swirling around Yanowsky and Cervera being taken out of Colas cracks seem to be showing in the hierarchy. The long term future of Morera and Watson, neither of whom has much of a presence in the classics (particularly Watson) cannot be guaranteed either surely, and I'm not sure that there's much left for Marquez either.

 

As others have pointed out, Hamilton rarely convinces in the classics, Crawford had one go at Lise which hasn't been repeated, Kobayashi has danced Nikiya and Aurora which I didn't see but seems to have been in nothing all this season until the approaching In the Night (and I was not convinced by her Myrtha), Hirano has danced Beauty, Nutcracker and Pagodas (I think) but also seems to do some character roles (Gremin), Stepanek is no longer cast as Lensky (in which I thought be was terrific) but as Gremin and, even so, seems an unlikely candidate for principal roles. Hristov has been at First Soloist level for a long time and despite the occasional principal role (and I thought he was great in Winter's Tale) would surely have been promoted by now if it were to happen. Mendizabal again I like very much (and she did get Tatiana and Firebird by default) but would surely have been on the Swan Lake debuts if she were going higher and Gartside might get Character Principal but that's a different line of duty.

 

It seems to me that this lack of backup at First Soloist level is a current weakness of the Royal Ballet. O'Hare's wish to promote carefully and provide opportunities for lower ranking dancers is laudable but it can't disguise the existing problem as I see it and I'd think it inevitable that a couple of principals will be brought in from outside.

 

Does anybody else feel that the current situation shows a loss of managerial foresight and even control? I'd always thought very highly of the previous Director (and in many ways still do) but this situation does seem to have developed on her watch. Perhaps I'm being unfair and, as always, I am very open to correction from those mor informed than I.

Edited by Jamesrhblack
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yeah I like Campbell too! Plus the new article on the Royal Opera House on Campbell alone shows something I suppose.!

Which article is that?

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Zucchetti does seem to be favoured by the present management.  I don't think he's done nearly enough to be promoted, based on what O'Hare hasn't done recently, but then I could be reading him wrongly.  It's difficult to tell when only appointments from outside have been made this far.

 

I suppose that now we seem to be returning to a system where lower-ranked dancers are being cast as of right rather than out of necessity, it's less vital for dancers to be promoted to principal, anyway.

 

In addition to predictions of promotions, there are several dancers I wouldn't be surprised to see leaving to try their luck elsewhere, but it would be inappropriate to mention names.

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With Acosta due to retire and rumours swirling around Yanowsky and Cervera being taken out of Colas cracks seem to be showing in the hierarchy. The long term future of Morera and Watson, neither of whom has much of a presence in the classics (particularly Watson) cannot be guaranteed either surely, and I'm not sure that there's much left for Marquez either.

 

As others have pointed out, Hamilton rarely convinces in the classics, Crawford had one go at Lise which hasn't been repeated, Kobayashi has danced Nikiya and Aurora which I didn't see but seems to have been in nothing all this season until the approaching In the Night (and I was not convinced by her Myrtha),

 

Does anybody else feel that the current situation shows a loss of managerial foresight and even control? 

in fairness to Kobayashi, she has just had a baby

Also it would be a huge loss when Zenaida and Morera retire, but it is inevitable, so surely O'Hare has got plans in place?

The first soloists seem to be cast in more productions than Marquez too! 

Praise to Nunez too, for filling in for all the injuries this season, I think she is finally being fully appreciated!!

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Kobayashi has danced Nikiya and Aurora which I didn't see but seems to have been in nothing all this season until the approaching In the Night 

 

Pregnancy does have a habit of restricting your opportunities :)

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I'm so happy for Hikaru Kobayashi, I was missing her, so glad it was for a good reason :)

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I've loved watching Choe ever since she joined as an apprentice. That she hasn't been given more opportunities is quite disappointing to me too. Galeazzi, Morera and Watson were promoted a bit later in their careers, and it took a while for Nunez to be given dramatic roles as well, so I hope there is still much more for Choe to come. I'm really excited about her Fille, which is the only one I've booked to see :-)

Edited by Sunrise
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Pregnancy does have a habit of restricting your opportunities :)

As I wrote, willing to be corrected and didn't know that. It explains her absence although I stand by my reservations over her Myrtha.

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It would be tragic to see Morera retire at any point soon...she's got years left in her! I think Galeazzi could have gone on for much longer too...

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I predict that Hayward will be the next principal at the RB unless a female principal is recruited from outside in the near future which is, arguably, necessary given the number of times that guest female principals have been brought in this year. I suspect that Choe's time has gone and that Campbell is seen as a safe pair of hands as a first soloist, dancing the occasional lead, like Choe. Takada still has to develop dramatically and Hamilton has limitations as a classical dancer.

 

Perhaps in a few years time, it is possible. They heavily promoted her in Rhapsody, Manon and Alice and she was lovely as Clara too but Hayward hasn't danced any major classical tutu roles yet as far as I am aware (the Bluebird pd2 yes). I think it takes a lot more before a dancer can attain that rank, one only has to look at Yuhui Choe: technically very accomplished, dancing 12 years with RB of which 7 years as a First Soloist. Hamilton has indeed her limitations as a classical dancer and  she has never been able to convince me otherwise.  Akane needs more time and Hikaru must be approaching her mid-30's. The First Solist rank is short of impressive dancers (bar a few).

 

There are female Soloists I can definitely see as future First Soloists but they were only promoted to Soloist last year so another promotion for them would be too soon (unless Kevin O'Hare fast tracks Hayward but there is always the danger of too much too soon). As the audience we may wish so but only Management knows if a dancer is physically and mentally ready to move up a rank). Calvert (lovely) and Cowley (great in McGregor) have had to deal with recurrent injury, so has Fumi Kaneko (one of my 3 favourite Soloists) so who will be moving up to First Soloist rank? Hay perhaps. 

 

I can see a few dancers moving from Artist to First Artist (Mathew Ball) but overall I don't expect many surprises. 

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Carlos Acosta is about to retire soon, which leaves a gap in the principal ranks and Deirdre Chapman also retired this season, leaving a gap in the first soloists too! 

 

I personally think Matthew Ball, Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambe will promoted up the ranks. 

 

Acosta is only a guest artist, so arguably it doesn't make a hole in the ranks, and Chapman hadn't really been cast that much in recent years.

 

I'm not sure about your other mentions: I think they might all end up staying where they are for another year, at what you might call the top end of their current ranks. Hayward is a Soloist already (although that doesn't seem to stop her being cast in the corps).

 

I see what some of you mean when you say that some first soloists are not quite ready for principal roles, but I do think a new principal is needed, if not just to give Steven McRae a regular partner!

 

He supposedly does have a "regular" partner: she just doesn't seem to be being used very much these days.

 

It seems to me that this lack of backup at First Soloist level is a current weakness of the Royal Ballet. O'Hare's wish to promote carefully and provide opportunities for lower ranking dancers is laudable but it can't disguise the existing problem as I see it and I'd think it inevitable that a couple of principals will be brought in from outside.

 

Does anybody else feel that the current situation shows a loss of managerial foresight and even control? I'd always thought very highly of the previous Director (and in many ways still do) but this situation does seem to have developed on her watch. 

 

Maybe O'Hare thinks there is more potential for principals further down the ranks than at First Soloist level?  He appears to be happy to wait.  And there can be disadvantages to taking someone out of FS level and ruling them out of a lot of secondary roles.

 

Lack of foresight?  Well, perhaps a bit, but I don't really think that Rojo, Cojocaru and Galeazzi could all have been expected to leave at more or less the same time.

 

Nina, Matthew Ball is already a First Artist, I think: that's why I said I thought he and the others might stay where they were for now.

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It would be tragic to see Morera retire at any point soon...she's got years left in her! I think Galeazzi could have gone on for much longer too...

She definitely could have, but due to family circumstances made the difficult choice to leave.  On a happy note, she is back and will dance in Woolf Works.  She is at the ROH rehearsing hard and taking class every day. 

 

And I agree about Morera....she has had a brilliant season, and I won't let her go until we have seen her as Juliet and Mary Vetsera.

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I think height really matters for men in a company with a significant classical rep : Campbell & Zucchetti don't have the physique for danseur noble roles so I hope they don't get promoted any further. I think the way Gerald Dowler made this point about "metier" in his review here of McRae's Swan Lake was very interesting. http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=12722When I look at the First Soloists, Soloists and First Artists I can't see a single man who seems to have both the physique and the technique to make him a serious contender for Principal which I find really quite shocking. 

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Francesca Hayward is the most gifted but I think it's too soon for Principal, I have doubts about most of the other soloists with regard to either technique or expressive qualities, the dancer I would promote would be Alexander Campbell.

 

I wouldn't say I have doubts with regard to the technique and expressive qualities of some other Soloists: James Hay, Fumi Kaneko and Yasmine Naghdi all have an excellent technique and expressive qualities ( Naghdi's Olga one of the best I have ever seen, also an outstanding Balanchine technique, and danced a lovely debut in "Symphonic Variations" alongside Nunez and Muntagirov).  Fumi Kaneko is another stunning dancer with a beautiful technique and lovely expressive qualities, sadly she's suffered badly from her injury in Don Q. so she has not been able to fully show us what she is capable of. Emma Maguire is also really lovely.

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I think height really matters ..... When I look at the First Soloists, Soloists and First Artists I can't see a single man who seems to have both the physique and the technique to make him a serious contender for Principal which I find really quite shocking. 

What about Matthew Ball or Nicol Edmund? They are both tall, and impressed many in their role as Lensky, and in other works such as Untouchable and Connectome.

 

  Fumi Kaneko is another stunning dancer with a beautiful technique and lovely expressive qualities, sadly she's suffered badly from her injury in Don Q. so she has not been able to fully show us what she is capable of. Emma Maguire is also really lovely.

Gosh, what happened to kaneko? It must have been a terrible injury to be out this long!

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