So while time and money cruelly prevented me from traveling to New Zealand this fall to see Stella Abrera's much-praised debut season as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty with Ethan's Stiefel's Royal New Zealand Ballet...when I heard that American Ballet Theatre had scheduled soloists Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews for their first (and arguably overdue) Giselle, I knew I was going no matter where it would be.
March 25th. Chicago. Be there.
March 25th. Chicago. Be there.
In related news, when ABT came asking for my subscription renewal, I politely explained that while I absolutely love ABT, and anyone who knows me will tell you no less, I subscribe to see (and donate to support) ABT dancers - not guest artists - and so would be holding off on buying any tickets until the schedule is more set closer to the performance dates.
I want to see Misty Copeland. I want to see Stella Abrera (who frustratingly is scheduled for large roles currently only on Wednesday matinees at Met). I want to see Jared Matthews, Yuriko Kajiya, Herman Cornejo, Sascha Radetsky, Simone Messmer, Joseph Gorak, Arron Scott, Brittany deGrofft, Christine Shevchenko, Adrienne Schulte, Nicole Graniero, Julio-Bragado Young, Alex Hammoudi, Gray Davis, Roddy Doble, Roman Zhurbin, Eric Tamm, Sarah Lane.....and all of the other hard working, dedicated, beautiful dancers ABT has selected and trained year after year. If the powers that be think these dancers are not ready - the powers have no one to blame but themselves. Give these dancers the opportunities and more coaching and they will give every ounce of their determination and energy to be ready. To be more than ready. To fly.
I want the dancers to be inspired, to have opportunities to grow and mature before our eyes. I want to show them we support them - and for them to have their turns to inspire us. I want to see artistry and emotion, rather than flashy jumps (to the extent they are accompanied by lackluster partnering and hammy acting). I want ABT to bring back the longer fall season which highlights both the amazing contemporary power of so many of these dancers, and gives more of the company real opportunities to shine.
Dancers like Marcelo Gomes were not created in a day; he was given the chances to push himself along the way. The younger dancers of ABT deserve no less.
So this Met season, and around the country and around the world - I encourage you all to go see and support ABT, and as many times as you can afford....but perhaps pay a little more attention to the casting this year, and try to support the company dancers rather than the guest principals. You may be surprised at how much their fire will inspire you and win your hearts. They will not disappoint.
For me....if Sarah Lane should finally get her full length debut during the US tour...I for one will be doing my utmost to be there. If Misty Copeland wasn't scheduled for Firebird at Met season, you can bet I would be flying out to California to see that too.
The only thing I can really do to make my feelings heard is put my money where my mouth is. And so, this year, and until a change is made, I will.