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Peter Boal "leading candidate" for AD position


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#16 Helene

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 10:19 PM

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.

#17 sandik

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 11:00 PM

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.

#18 dewdrop

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 11:52 PM

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.

#19 GeorgeB fan

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 04:15 AM

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.

#20 Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 04:24 AM

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!'"

#21 Ari

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 04:58 AM

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.

#22 Helene

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:31 PM

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.

#23 Helene

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:03 PM

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.

#24 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 06:09 PM

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.

[I now see this budget issue has been taken up in another thread, my apologies]

#25 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 06:50 PM

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.

#26 sandik

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 12:30 AM

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.

The press release didn't go out until Monday morning, Seattle time, and the NYT may be waiting on interviews. Or perhaps just waiting.

#27 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 05:49 AM

Maybe they'll do an article when it's a done deal. I'm still unsure why PNB announced anything without a contract signed.

#28 sandik

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 10:20 AM

Maybe they'll do an article when it's a done deal.  I'm still unsure why PNB announced anything without a contract signed.

I've been thinking about that part of this situation quite a bit, as well as looking at other companies and how they managed similar transitions, and I have to say I have yet to see a really good model. Some companies have managed to keep everything under very tight wraps until the final choice was announced -- a process that frustrated their communities and made those "not in the know" feel excluded. In some cases the actual transition went pretty smoothly, with the incoming director embraced and supported by the community, but in a few examples, it was a very rocky process, involving legal action and creating the opinion among the general population that the organizations didn't know how to run themselves. ("Oh, those crazy artists.") I understand that the hiring committe at PNB wanted to avoid that situation if possible, hence the short list of candidates released earlier this year. Although they did get a number of "What in the world?!" responses from outside the area, local opinion has been pretty muted.

As far as this latest announcement is concerned, I'm enough of a small-type-reader to note the distinction between the committee agreeing that one candidate leads the group and having that translate into a recommendation to the board at large. And knowing that there are several steps after that recommendation that will also have to be navigated, I can see why they might think this is a reasonable place to make another announcement. Like many of us, I'm not sure how much to read into the language of the press release.


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