American Ballet Theatre announced its Spring 2012 season today, and contrary to my hopes, but for a technicality - the appearance of Natalia Osipova now on the principals page of the ABT website (i.e. she's no longer a guest artist) - the scheduled guest artist leads look to have increased, rather than decreased, from 2011.
Of course, understandably, ABT is somewhat lacking in healthy, experienced male principals currently, but other than soloist Daniil Simkin's debut in Swan Lake (which I find an odd choice and do NOT want to see, except that the prospect of Isabella Boylston's gorgeous legs dancing Odette/Odile may sway me in the end), no male soloists seem to be slated for new leading roles. Rather than letting corps member Blaine Hoven dance the Sylph in The Bright Stream as he did in LA, those performances are going to the visiting Johan Kobborg? Haglund's chronic "Guest Artist Syndrome" has found no cure.
Hee Seo seems clearly destined for promotion to principal soon, with Isabella Boylston on her heels.
Stella Abrera seems destined to remain the Susan Lucci of ABT, only scheduled to repeat her semi-leading role in The Bright Stream and one performance each of second leads Gulnare, Gamzatti and Myrtha.
My last ray of hope right now is in the few principal slots still listed as "TBA". Is a Kajiya/Matthews or Lane/Gorak Romeo and Juliet too much to ask? How about a Matthews or Radetsky Solor? Take a risk and let Alex Hammoudi dance Siegfried? Maybe give Christine Shevchenko a shot at Myrtha? Come on people, give us something to get excited about? (Remember, while the NY Yankees are great at bringing in all-star free agents, where would it be without a great farm system?)
On the bright side, I'm really looking forward to the additions of Onegin and The Firebird to the ABT repertoire, and the return of Le Corsaire and The Dream.
What are your initial reactions? Happy? Irate? Confused? Me too.