The New York Times is reporting that David Hallberg will join the Bolshoi Ballet for the 2011-2012 season, while still performing with American Ballet Theatre and other companies only on a limited basis.
I have mixed feelings on this - on the one hand, since most of the guest artists brought in to ABT this season danced (or were scheduled to dance) with Hallberg, I can only hope that his move means less guest artists next Met season. While I appreciate Hallberg's beautiful dancing, he isn't my favorite romantic lead, so my not-so-secret wish is that this means Sasha Radetsky and Jared Matthews will finally get the chances they deserve to step up. On the other hand - clearly something is amiss at ABT with so many principals splitting their time now overseas or just plain missing for entire seasons.
Just how long are we going to have to wait to see Stella Abrera, Sascha Radetsky and Jared Matthews promoted to principal? And Alex Hammoudi to soloist is overdue.
I hope McKenzie doesn't use this opportunity to promote Daniil Simkin - his Don Q and Coppelia performances clearly showed he's not ready to be a leading man; his partnering and subtlety still need a LOT of work.
All that said, I have a nagging feeling that this turn of events might mean MORE guest artists, not less, and poaching from without rather than promotion from within. We shall see.....
(Will be interested to see who is cast as the male leads in Nutcracker, since Hallberg was first cast last season, and Gillian Murphy is off in New Zealand with Stiefel anyway....perhaps Sascha will be freed from his Mr. Clean costume and be allowed to dance? There are so many lifts in those pdd that not many left at ABT (outside Met season additions) right now seem to have the strength and acting ability...Gomes, Cornejo, Hammoudi, Matthews and Radetsky are all that seem to come to mind (though I know Stearns danced it last year, he still makes me nervous in lifts, as does Eric Tamm when he's cast opposite Part, though I loved him opposite Misty Copeland.)