Just a month and change ago, I was able to see Stella Abrera’s gorgeous performance of Giselle and maybe a great new partnership with Shklyarov. At the time, despite the standing ovation, I was sad that Abrera may not get her due and be promoted.
But I feared too early. Stella Abrera has finally been promoted to principal at ABT. I’m so happy for her. And selfishly, I’m happy for myself to get a chance to watch Abrera in more lead roles.
Sadly not all news was good. Sarah Lane was not promoted this year. She is a beautiful dancer and despite small mishaps in the recent Sleeping Beauty (entirely due to awful costumes and bad gaffing tape on the stage), I think she deserves to be a lead. She has the most beautiful technique and on top of that uncommonly beautiful features. Who wouldn’t want Sarah for their lead?
Of course, I could spend the rest of this post ragging on ABT. But maybe…(grasping at straws here) there is another reason why Lane was not promoted. It was also spoken of on ballet blogs that Joseph Gorak was not promoted either. He has gained much notice recently for beautiful technique and attractive stage presence. In just the past year or so, he was paired with Lane frequently. Mainly because they are an attractive couple, dance well together and create a potent mix of romantic and sexual tension. It can even be seen in this rehearsal picture below:
I recalled reading Merrill Ashley’s auto-biography in which she wrote about her disappointing years in which she was not promoted. Even though she received good notices and was an audience favorite. She finally discovered a few years later that she was held back not because of ability but because Balanchine liked a group of dancers who grew up in the company together (of which Ashley was one). He wanted to see all of them ascend to principal status together. The only thing holding everything back was that one dancer was not developing in the way he wanted.
So I thought, could it be that Sarah Lane is being held back temporarily for Gorak? Even though their partnership is lovely, Gorak is a few years younger than Lane and not as technically secure. Lane is still a young woman, it is possible for her to wait an extra year or two in order for Gorak to become her equal. The question is would Lane want to wait for him? I would totally understand if she didn’t and decided to leave the company.
Other promotions were, unsurprisingly, Misty Copeland.
Also the totally unnecessary promotion of outside dancer Maria Kochetkova. Who was so ungracious enough to announce her promotion ahead of the company on her own FB page.