Okay, scouted out the Instagram post and it says Womack starts in November as a “principal dancer” at the Universal Ballet. Of course she’s not listed on the website yet, but I noted they have only 3 primas at present (as opposed to 6 premier danseurs), so it seems like there’s room. However, remember Womack’s past questionable use of the term “principal dancer” when she was, in fact, a soloist? When called out on that she whined, “no one knows what’s in my contract!” Sigh; I’ve tackled this before. Sometimes you just have to go along with normal usage. Not doing so can cause a lot of interpersonal stress on the job, as well as causing you to appear dishonest.
Anyway, we’ll see how much of a “principal dancer” she turns out to be when her photo is finally up on the website.
It’ll be interesting to see how she fares in yet another foreign atmosphere. I am relieved, however, that she’s soon to be gone from Russia. It’s going to get difficult there for Americans in the near future, I believe, and aside from that she may have finally realized that even if the political situation were better (no Joy, it is not good, nor has it improved, nor will it; I don’t care what Daddy or the Russian media told you) she will never be Russian, nor accepted by Russians. It’s a very isolated and insular society; always has been.
Even if this weren’t true, the fact is that if you’re from Country A and move to Country B, no matter how hard you try to assimilate, you never truly will. You have to leave that to your kids and grandkids. What tends to happen to immigrants is that they end up being people without countries, at least mentally. And after a certain point, it never gets better. Some part of you wants to go home, but when you go home, that doesn’t look or feel the same either and you’re not comfortable there. I believe this is what Womack is experiencing now, in spite of her newfound love of New York City. Even if she managed to find a job there, (and I think she recognizes that that door is probably closed unless she develops a stellar international reputation that would exempt her from starting in a New York company’s corps) for this and other reasons she would not be comfortable, at least at first. You can go home again, but it takes time.
The basic fact is that she was never going to be Russian; nor will she be Korean. She’d better learn to accept this now.
The interesting thing is that the Universal sometimes tours the U.S. west, so at least some of us may actually get to see Womack dance a full-length ballet or two. They also run a large competition in the southeast U.S., so she may end up being exposed to U.S. audiences through that as well. This could be good for her, because right now she’s almost an unknown quantity here except for a few Nutcrackers now and then.
Plus, as has been pointed out, the Universal is a much larger company with a broader repertoire than the Kremlin’s. They do Romeo and Juliet; I know she’s long wanted to dance Juliet. They do modern works, and she’s mentioned that she might be happier in those than in the classical ballets. And she seems to be popular in southeast Asia. As I said, it could be a great opportunity for her.
I do think she’s known for a while that she wouldn’t be going back to the Kremlin Ballet for long, if at all (she’s back now but apparently is being shipped to some outpost with a partner to dance DQ and Swan Lake?). In spite of that, in a recent video she stated that she was looking to stay in Russia and go to school there. When I heard that, I thought, WHAT? Are you nuts?
It is clear that she is being frozen out at the Kremlin, as she has had to rehearse herself, alone, while others mocked her, and she wasn’t given any performances for months. It had always seemed to be a cold, bullying atmosphere with inadequate resources (Russia, but specifically the Kremlin Ballet), but more especially recently when her longtime coach — the one who turned Joy into a true soloist — was clearly no longer interested in working with her. Worse, the company had recently hired someone who appeared to be a replacement for Joy. When stuff like that happens, kiddo, you’re gone — particularly if you’ve been criticizing your employer very publicly and have taken a vacation or two, one apparently without leave.
With this latest vacation, she had indicated that she’d told the Kremlin Ballet that she needed time to relax and rejuvenate at her parents’ clinic or something…then, once back in the U.S., she posted all sorts of tweets, posts and whatnot showing her posing in New York, Washington D.C., and with a mention of an excursion to Atlanta (to audition for the Atlanta Ballet?). Yes, Hurricane Harvey gave her a ready-made excuse not to go to Texas, but still, it was pretty evident that she was not undergoing treatment (working with a personal trainer does not count) and didn’t give a damn who knew it; quite possibly she realized she had nothing to go back to Russia for.
Regarding an incident during this particular vacation, it was interesting to learn about the ties between the Kirov Academy and the Universal Ballet (I never thought to look at the Universal Ballet’s website, lol). I was wondering what was going on when she posted photos of one of her former instructors teaching a class at the Kirov Academy, with glowing remarks about him and the school. I thought, “Wasn’t she kicked out? Why is she hanging around there?” Well yes she was kicked out while in her early teens, and was devastated (supposedly she later took a summer intensive course in New York with Leslie Browne, who encouraged her to keep going in spite of what happened at the Kirov Academy). But now I get it: she probably was auditioning during her visit to the school and decided to keep her mouth shut about it while at the same time rebuilding one of her burned bridges. To be fair, though, that one apparently got burned right out from under her; she didn’t do it herself.
Anyway, as mentioned by one of our commenters, a good percentage of Womack’s workplace problems are her own fault. But also see the paragraph about immigrants above and multiply the typical problems of an immigrant by 100 if you’re someone like Joy. I hope she’s learned something and will comport herself differently at the Universal, but that remains to be seen. I’ll have part of the answer when her photo finally shows up on their website (and I do hope she does not use that awful Vampira-like headshot she’s been using while at the Kremlin Ballet).
All that aside, I honestly wish her the best. Now we get to watch her in earnest. No more hiding in Russia…and I’m sure she’ll soon reach the point where she wonders why she ever wanted to have a dance career in Russia. The world is much bigger than that. May she realize it soon, if she hasn’t already.
P.S. Please read the comments below the post “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been.” Very illuminating.