American Ballet Theatre confirmed yesterday that ballerina Gelsey Kirkland and dancer Patrick Bissell, dismissed as ABT principals last December for rehearsal delinquencies, were rejoining the company for the remainder of the current ABT season, and will dance during the New York run at the Metropolitan Opera House which extends through June 30. Signed contracts were received yesterday from the two dancers, who are presently on the West Coast for a guest engagement.
The announcement noted that in private meetings over the past several weeks, ABT director Mikhail Baryshnikov "has been assured" by Kirkland that "the incidents of last fall and early winter that led to her dismissal will not recur."
Kirkland is scheduled to make her ABT reappearance dancing opposite Baryshnikov in "Giselle" on May 2 at the Met. Baryshnikov was quoted as stating that she had been invited to return to the company because "she has demonstrated a desire to rejoin ABT," and because Baryshnikov now feels confident "that a proper working relationship will be maintained." "I am very pleased to welcome her back to the company," the statement concluded.
An exactly parallel announcement and quote was issued by ABT in the case of Bissell, whose first New York appearances will be opposite Natalia Makarova in "Voluntaries," on April 30 and May 2.