Learned months ago that Maria Alexandrova was leaving the Bolshoi; apparently she’s been convinced to stay on as a contract player, as has Nina Kaptsova. Both were born in 1978 and are nearing 40.
They are leaving at a time when the Bolshoi’s roster of ballerinas is as strong as it’s ever been. Although Zakharova is getting up in years too (she’s in her 40’s) and may be slowing down, they always have the Maryinsky to pluck new stars from — always plenty of talented, neglected dancers there. They already have Zakharova, Obraztsova and Stepanova, and snatched Smirnova straight out of the Vaganova Academy (there’s at least one more who is in the corps, Xenia Zhiganshina, and I’m sure there are many others).
And of course, with 200 dancers in the troupe — over half of them women — they have a lot to choose from. And so there is little to fear for them in the retirement of a ballerina.
I went from thinking about that to thinking about the situation at the New York City Ballet, oddly enough.
Peter Martins has been in control of both the company and the school for a long, long time, as a reader pointed out. And he’s done well in maintaining the integrity and the status of the company. But I started wondering how long this can continue. He is no longer a young man.
Anyone here know if there is an heir apparent? I’m not NYCB’s biggest fan, but they are one of two truly great American companies. There are several just one step down from them (San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey come to mind), but NYCB and ABT are the top two. It would be a shame to lose one of them. ABT has been through the fires, nearly collapsing in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s, but has come out better than ever. As for NYCB…well, it’s looking like it’s hanging by a thread.