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Alexandra

Peter Boal "leading candidate" for AD position

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The company press release:

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET CONFIRMS LEAD CANDIDATE

IN SEARCH FOR NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

SEATTLE, WA —Pacific Northwest Ballet trustee and Chair of the Search Committee, Carl Behnke, confirmed today that Peter Boal has been selected as the lead candidate in the search for PNB’s new Artistic Director. Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, artistic directors of PNB and the PNB School since 1977, will retire at the end of the 2004-2005 season. Their replacement is expected to be announced by January 1, 2005.

Selected from a group of nearly 50 initial applicants which was subsequently narrowed down to five semi-finalists, Mr. Boal, age 39, was selected as the lead candidate for this final phase of the selection process after extensive interviews and a two-day visit to PNB which included work in the studio with PNB’s Company. Mr. Boal received high marks during this process, which was established by PNB’s Artistic Director Search Committee. The Search Committee is comprised of PNB leadership Trustees, and is assisted by two advisory panels. Members of the panels include dancers, musicians, administrative staff, trustees and community leaders.

After nearly two years of planning and meetings, the search committee identified several hallmark attributes that define PNB and which would, ideally, be reflected in and compatible with the skills and experience of its new artistic leader. These attributes include a creative and imaginative individual able to challenge and inspire PNB artistically, a deep commitment to dance education and ensuring the strong positive symbiotic relationship between the company and its school, and an individual who has varied experience in performance and choreography as well as demonstrated ability to direct a ballet company.

“Peter’s connection with the Balanchine tradition, his noted career as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, and his strong commitment to dance education made it possible for all participants in this broadly inclusive search process to arrive at the consensus of Peter as our lead candidate,” said Behnke. “We were also impressed with his quiet confidence, his obvious integrity and his ability to articulate a clear artistic vision. We’re looking forward to talking with him further about joining us in Seattle.”

Mr. Boal is highly respected in the dance world. Tobi Tobias of The Village Voice describes Mr. Boal as “a paragon of classicism. Both his stellar dancing and his teaching of the School of American Ballet’s rising generation are lessons in purity, exactitude, and refinement.”

Mr. Boal will return to Seattle during the third week of October to engage in further discussions with PNB’s Artistic Director Search Committee, meet with PNB’s Board of Trustees, and have another opportunity to meet again with PNB’s Company of dancers. The Search Committee has not yet made a recommendation to PNB’s governing Board but expects to finalize its work by its original target date of January 1, 2005. Stated Boal: “I have great respect for Kent and Francia and their many accomplishments as well as PNB’s long tradition of presenting the works of George Balanchine. PNB’s talented Company of dancers, its internationally respected ballet school and its unique community support reinforce the many attractive attributes of this opportunity.”

About Peter Boal:

Currently a Principal with the New York City Ballet, Peter Boal became a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1983 and became a Soloist four years later. In 1989 he was promoted to the rank of Principal.

Mr. Boal has been featured in numerous ballets including many of the works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, as well as numerous others. Mr. Boal’s television appearances include Dance in America’s “Balanchine in America” performing WESTERN SYMPHONY and “The Balanchine Celebration” performing AGON, the Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of “New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography,” dancing in RED ANGELS; and the May, 2004 Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of “Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100,” dancing in DUO CONCERTANT.

In addition to touring with New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal has performed as a Principal Dancer with a number of National and International companies. In 1996, Mr. Boal was a recipient of the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his solo performance in Molissa Fenley’s STATE OF DARKNESS.

Mr. Boal, while also maintaining full-time faculty member responsibilities at the School of American Ballet, recently founded and directs "Peter Boal and Company", a group of four NYCB dancers that commission new choreography and revivals. Having premiered this past March, the group has since performed at the Joyce Theater in Manhattan, Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts and the Biennale in Venice, Italy.

Mr. Boal is married to dancer Kelly Cass and the couple has two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, and one daughter, Sarah.

ABOUT PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

Founded in 1972 and under the artistic guidance of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell since 1977, Pacific Northwest Ballet is one the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States. The Company of forty-six dancers presents over ninety performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States with celebrated appearances in Washington D.C. and New York City. Pacific Northwest Ballet School, under the direction of Ms. Russell, is nationally recognized as setting the standard for ballet training offering a complete professional curriculum to over 850 students. The School also provides comprehensive dance education to the greater Seattle area reaching over 10,000 adults and children each year through DanceChance, Discover Dance, Bravo!Ballet and other outreach programs and activities.

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This is really strange. I fully support due process and administrative transparency - and wish that many other organizations were as open as PNB - but this is just too much information IMO. PNB already released a shortlist - let us know when you actually select someone - this could just set someone up for an embarassing situation.

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It already sounds like a done deal. Why don't they just say so?

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Oh my.....I am in shock how this 'came out'. The article certainly sounds official with quotes from PNB officials. Isn't weird that a smaller newspaper got this story?

From a Board member maybe?????

I'll wait for an official announcement I guess....... :)

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A company press release is about as official as it gets. And what "smaller newspaper"?

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Sorry folks...some reason when I went to this topic it went to Perky's post. :blink:

Forgive me Major! :innocent:

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And what "smaller newspaper"?

Check today's Links for the story, Mel.

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I wonder if we could get them to take Peter Martins instead?

Thems are fighting words! :innocent:

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It may just be semantics, but the press release emphasizes that the committee has not yet made their recommendation, while the King County Journal article implies that the decision is more concrete.

I think the KCJ does have a smaller circulation than the Seattle Times or Post-Intelligencer, but it is not necessarily a lesser paper -- it is based in the suburbs surrounding Seattle. The reporter who covers dance for them, as well as other beats, was the dance critic for the Seattle Times for several years, and has good connections to members of the board and administration.

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Just to clarify, what I posted is, as stated in the post, the company's press release. Seattle dance writers would have gotten the same press release, of course.

It is an unusual procedure -- it will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit. It would leave everyone in an awkward situation if the Board makes another decision.

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I find it hard to believe that the company would issue a press release along these lines unless the decision was 99% made. That said, there are occasions when that 1% can make all the difference in the world. I hope they know what they’re doing.

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I don't think they'd release this unless it was 99.999%. They have probably already "polled" the board and it's a slamdunk all aound. Mr Boal must also be showing great eagerness. It bodes well.

Congratulations to PNB.

Condolences to NYCB and SAB.

We left-coasters will keep you posted.

Yippee!

Watermill

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And if it happens, does this mean we will never get to see Peter Boal dance again? It seems unlikely that he would do any more performing as Artistic Director, doesn't it? I'm beginning to have mixed feelings about this...

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My main point was that it will be hard to fill Peter Boals shoes especially when we already know we're going to have to replace jock somehow. Maybe there's some already developed Cuban dancers available from their last tour?

Filling Peter Boal's shoes is going to be an impossible task. I think that all of the candidates for the PNB AD position had to apply, rather than be nominated, and I'm still in shock that Boal is on the list. I didn't expect him to consider retirement for a couple of years, and he's got so much going on in his solo career and small company.

I just can't help thinking that if Boal does not become AD, it will be because he doesn't want the job, not because anyone at PNB has rejected him. PNB Board Member and Search Committee Chairman Carl Behnke stated for the King Country Journal article in today's links,

We consulted all the artistic groups -- the search panel itself, plus the company panel including dancers, musicians and staff, and the community panel,' ... And Peter came out on top. He was clearly the only person for the job.

That sounds to me like tempting fate to knock the Company on its bum.

By those comments, I think it would be impossible for anyone else who applied to take over PNB. The lack of confidence implied in the last statement would make any other AD the equivalent of Schuyler Chapin at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Filling Peter Boal's shoes is going to be an impossible task.  I think that all of the candidates for the PNB AD position had to apply, rather than be nominated, and I'm still in shock that Boal is on the list.  I didn't expect him to consider retirement for a couple of years, and he's got so much going on in his solo career and small company.

Like everyone else here in Seattle, I've been mulling over the people on the "short list." I admit that at first I was surprised by Boal's name, not that he'd be part of the list, but that he had applied, but then, there are some times when you need to step up to the opportunities when they present themselves, rather than deciding when you're ready for a change and then seeing what's available.

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That sounds to me like tempting fate to knock the Company on its bum.

I'd say they just set him up to get top $ for the position.

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Talk about a textbook definition of the word bittersweet. If this really come to past it will be a very bitter pill for us New York City Ballet goers. Peter Boal is more then just one of the strongest male dancers at City Ballet but more importantly is currently the greatest male interpreter of the works of Balanchine and Robbins. His possible departure would be a major, major lost to NYCB!

However if it is true that Boal will become the next AD of PNB I couldn't be more happy for him as he starts a new chapter in his extraoridinary career in dance. I think he will do a very fine job. Its very sweet.

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I've been involved over the years in quite a few search committees, and very often we were constrained by various laws and regulations that prevented us from revealing to candidates who their competition was. After every one of these searches, there has always been at least one unsuccessful candidate who has told me, "If I had known that s/he had been up for the job, I would have withdrawn and said, 'Take him/her, s/he's perfect for you!'"

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About Peter Boal applying for the job -- this article says that one of the other finalists, Victoria Morgan, was "invited to submit her name." Perhaps Boal was, too.

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I'd say they just set him up to get top $ for the position.

If my dear culture vulture Peter Martins is pulling in $490,000/yr plus perks--Any guesses as to what Boal might get ? I GUESS it would be close to that but not as much and certainly more than what pb currently makes.  If there is a downside for Boal I 'd say its only how far away his NY life will become.

I'd agree that they are saying to the Community: Here's your chance to hire one of the premier artists of his generation who has intelligence and vision, and one of the last direct links to Balanchine among those in his general age group. He's heads and shoulders above everyone else who is not already running a first-rate Balanchine-based company. If you don't start donating enough money to hire him, you only have yourselves to blame, because...

Somewhere in the last decade there was a Seattle Magazine survey listing salaries for various professions, and if I recall correctly, Principal Dancer Julie Tobiason was making about $32.5K per year. There used to be, and may still be, a Building Manager Mafia among the men in the Company in order to supplement their salaries and support their families. Last year at a Q&A, Francia Russell said that they weren't promoting deserved dancers, because they didn't have the money.

I don't think Boal is ever going to make a fortune at PNB. But there are at least three upsides to a move to Seattle:

1. If he owns overpriced real estate in NY, he should be able to turn that into overpriced real estate in Seattle. Although it is unlikely to have nearly the same character. On the other hand, Lake Washington, Eliot Bay, Puget Sound, the Olympics, the Cascades, etc. have more than enough character to make up for lackluster architecture.

2. There is no state income tax in Washington State, although that's not a forever guarantee. When I changed from a NYC resident paying state/city/.5% commuter tax to Yonkers to being a resident of Washington, there was no difference in my take home pay, despite having taken a $12K cut in salary. (I didn't own property, so most of my NY taxes went to covering the standard deduction.)

3. Seattle is a much easier place to live and raise children. Private school is not a requirement, it's an option, and many of the schools are diverse. People don't obsess about sending their kids to the right pre-school so that they can get into Harvard someday. (Well a few of them do, but they're easy to ignore, because they're the aliens. Actually, being from the West Coast is a bit of an advantage in applying to East Coast schools.) Conspicuous consumption is not the norm, even with the influence of Microsoft money (luckily much of it is ensconced across Lake Washington, out of sight unless sought after). Dresses worn by major donors to Opening Night at the Symphony and Opera are so uniformly understated and tasteful that Edith Wharton's mother might have approved. As a friend of mine put it, "Barney's is where yuppies from Seattle go to buy the clothes they wear when they visit New York."

In my opinion, the only downside to a population that prefers to send their kids to University of Washington or Washington State instead of Princeton is the general obsession with big-time college football.

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A PM from Carbro got me thinking,

Perhaps the message from the Board is, "Here's your chance to hire one of the premier artists of his generation who has intelligence and vision, and one of the last direct links to Balanchine among those in his general age group. He's heads and shoulders above everyone else who is not already running a first-rate Balanchine-based company.

He's not going to be the chief choreographer, so if you don't start donating enough money so that he can produce enough new work to be artistically challenging, then you only have yourselves to blame.

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He's not going to be the chief choreographer, so if you don't start donating enough money so that he can produce enough new work to be artistically challenging, then you only have yourselves to blame.

Yes, what of this? PNB has managed to be very frugal what with Kent Stowell choreographing so much of the repetoire. If memory serves, Peter Boal told some reporter something along the lines that he had experimented with choreography and his wife & mother both liked it but that no one else had much positive to say and that he had taken the hint.

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Isn't weird that a smaller newspaper got this story?

I do think it's strange that the NY Times hasn't had anything to say yet about it... after all, this is pretty big news for the ballet world.

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