Who says a prince has to be tall?

While Jen and I were obliviously enjoying and discussing the Fall for Dance show last night at the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts, little did we know that our little blog had been quoted in the NY Times. Not only that, but we got a response from Kevin McKenzie as well.

I completely understand that artists need to develop their skills artistically so that they don’t fizzle out too soon. I just had a feeling that Herman Cornejo was being held back not for these reasons however, but more for “other” reasons such as his height, etc. that is thoroughly addressed in the article. And since this is something he cannot change, we would never see him in the limelight. Case in point: the meteoric rise of David Hallberg, a newer promoted principal, who skyrocketed into lead roles such as Romeo in his first season as a principal dancer. In addition to being an extremely talented dancer with gorgeous lines, he also happens to be tall and blonde, while Herman Cornejo never got put in these roles for many years. Is McKenzie worried about fizzling David Hallberg out, as he is so concerned about Cornejo?

And yes, he is right, bloggers such as myself have our favorites. I would really like to think however, that most bloggers have our favorites for good reasons and not for stupid single reasons that people may fixate on. Naturally everyone has different tastes, while one dancer might be one person’s cup of tea, he might not be for another.

On the other hand, in the corner of my mind, I do understand. Audiences appreciate princes who look like traditional princes. I just wish in my heart of hearts that people would think more in terms of unconventional casting, because it really presents to the world a different view of what a prince COULD be. This goes with my previous thoughts before on my frustrations with the ballet world and its lack in ability to think “outside the box”. I think audiences are savvier and more intelligent than you give us credit for, and we can appreciate artistry despite blonde Prince Charming good looks and tall height.  And give us something we’ve never seen before! That sort of unconventional casting really excites me and would make me buy a ticket.

Ultimately, I love the dance that McKenzie puts out on stage, and I think having an opinion and discussion supports the dance world and ultimately keeps people interested enough to buy more tickets. 

I’m very relieved that Herman Cornejo is finally getting lead roles, and best of luck to Herman Cornejo as he stretches his artistic muscles in the upcoming months. I really wished he had come to SF Ballet. At least he’d have me as a fan in the Bay Area!

What is everyone else’s thoughts? Would you buy a ticket to see Herman Cornejo as Prince Desire or Romeo?

Jen’s entry that got quoted in the NY Times: here

Who Says a Prince Has to be Tall?

Herman Cornejo, taken from the NY Times article, as Bluebird, a familiar role for him

10 thoughts on “Who says a prince has to be tall?

  1. delirium tremens

    Even given the context, i think to some extent the Mackenzie comment re: bloggers has to do more with promotion issues (why no V Part, why were misty and sarah moving up so slowly) than Cornejo.

    Abyway, I’d be happy to see Cornejo in either of those roles. I’d pretty much be happy to see him in anything, though I think it’s right that in Corsaire he be 2nd bannana (the slave Ali) because that character has the most spectacular leaps and thus seems right up his alley.

  2. M

    Jenn! That is FUCKING AMAAAAAAAZING that you guys got a shout out in the times. Congrats. Very, very proud! Have you noticed a spike in hits?

  3. Jolene

    Hi M! There has definitely been an increase in the hits on this site, it’s very exciting! Let’s spread the word on ABT and Herman Cornejo – any comments on the issues addressed in this article, incl what McKenzie said? :)

    And DT, you’re probably right – he was referring to the people who are complaining about speed of promotion, etc. although it is slightly out of context.

  4. jenchang

    what a pleasant surprise!! it woulda been nice to be given a heads up beforehand though…

    i don’t like the implication that kevin mackenzie mentions that bloggers like me are “a little bit of a problem”…i’m not “in love” with herman cornejo, i think he’s an amazing dancer, and others agree with me as well. i think kevin mackenzie should’ve mentioned some of his restrictions; being able to sell tickets (casting a tall prince instead of a short one), finding a suitable partner, etc.

    instead, he contributes the fan base to fail to understand herman’s limited opportunities are due to the requirement that artists must develop their talent.

  5. M

    Jolene, I just got home and realized how completely IGNORANT it was of me not to include you in my last statement. I’m deeply sorry. I’m so used to comment on Jen’s blog that I need to remember it’s both of you fabulous ladies on this one. Very proud of BOTH OF YOU! Congrats!

  6. tonya

    I second Matt — congratulations!!! I agree with Jen that Kevin’s remarks in the article were worded weirdly. I mean, to an extent he was put on the spot and had to defend himself, but I do hope he sees that blogs are a form of publicity for the company and that discussion and debate can only promote ballet.

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