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More firings, and more changesColorado Ballet still undergoing strains of change


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#1 Golden Gate

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 02:53 PM

As if there weren't enough changes in this company over the last two years (+), things are still evolving... but who's to say in what direction.
Jocelyn Labsan and Andrew Thompson have been fired from Colorado Ballet (see Marc Shulgolds article in the Rocky Mountain News, and both Marc and Kyle MacMillan (denver post) will be posting articles regarding this in their respective Sunday papers). :clapping:
Both Labsan and Thompson worked under previous Artistic Director Martin Fredmann for 18 years at CB. Jocelyn and Andrew both danced, and then Jocelyn became asst. AD and was a core essential of the company for the last several years; most importantly during this last year when Martin was fired in October, one week before the season opener Sleeping Beauty was done... (talk about atrocious timing). She stepped in immediately as Interim Artistic Director and saved the companies 'you know what', supported the dancers and staff, kept as many of the patrons in the audience as she could, and struggled with this unthinkably gigantic task all season long - without complaining at all. Her husband Andrew supported her, kept up with company classes and choreographing, both worked with such patience and strength - and both of them were let go without much more than a brief paragraph in the press release that was sent out two days ago.

Thankfully the press took the release and put the spotlight where it should have been, on the departure of these two incredible people and 6 dancers, and put quite a bit less emphasis on the other changes occurring within the company, such as Arthur Espinoza being named General Manager, and some minor changes in staff/addition of dancers.

Guess we shall see where this 'new ballet' company is headed, as the house is now cleaned and everything old has been made new. :clapping:

#2 vrsfanatic

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 05:27 PM

Golden GAte, thank you for expanding upon the recent turmoil at Colorado Ballet. The outcome is not a surprise. May Colorado Ballet go forward. Many people have worked for many years to develop this very fine company. The best tribute to all of the hard work done by the artistic staff and dancers over the past 18 years is the company's survival. No artist wants to see their product die. The survival of Colorado Ballet truly shows the fantastic job of Mr. Fredmann and all of his talented dancers and staff, from the merger of Tampa/Colorado days to the present. Hopefully, one day the bridges may be mended, as they have been at Pennsylvania Ballet with Barbara Weisberger. This shows the true fortitude of a company. :clapping:

#3 YouOverThere

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 03:00 PM

And Boggs hired his wife? While his wife is undoubtably highly qualified, firing people and hiring your spouse as one of the replacements hardly creates a good impression.

#4 YouOverThere

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 06:45 PM

Marc Shulgold's column contained the statement "Meelis Pakri left for England". I assume that doesn't mean that Pakri is on vacation.

#5 vrsfanatic

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 07:31 PM

Mr. Parki will be a wonderful addition to the faculty of the Royal Ballet School. :clapping: :P

#6 Amy'sMom

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 09:43 PM

I'll second that, vrsfanatic! :P Mr. Pakri is not only a fabulous teacher, he is also a very nice man. Royal Ballet is lucky to have him. My DD is also fortunate to be able to take a master class with him before he leaves. I wish him all the best!

#7 Helene

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 09:45 PM

Just a note for people not familiar with Ballet Talk for Dancers terminology.

I believe "DD"=Dancing Daughter.

Amy'sMom, please tell me if I'm wrong.

#8 Amy'sMom

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:22 AM

Yes, Helene, you are correct. I forgot which BT board I was posting on. :P Please let me know if it's preferred that we spell things here, rather than abbreviate. :clapping:

#9 YouOverThere

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 08:33 PM

I can't buy into the claim that firing the staff is routine when a new director takes over. When Jeffrey Kahane took over as the music director of the Colorado Symphony, he didn't run off the remaining artistic staff members. Yet the CSO has clearly become his orchestra, and his vision is dominant.

The Colorado Ballet has lost my respect. They will have to re-earn my loyalty and patronage.

#10 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 02:58 AM

Please be assured that Mr. Bogg's did what he deemed necessary for the survival of the company. Assuming you are a fan, please understand there are always things the public is better off not knowing. The real shocker was the firing of Mr. Fredmann. The season that followed his firing was his, he just was not present. Ms. Labson and Mr. Thompson did the job they were then hired to do. Beyond that, the company had no obligation to them. Perhaps many were naive in thinking it could/would end in any other way. :thumbsup:

#11 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 05:36 AM

I'm sure Boggs did what he deemed necessary but I think YouOverThere is perfectly right to say that Colorado Ballet needs to win its audience's trust all over again. It's an entirely new company. If someone new came in at City Ballet, fired one quarter of the dancers and the ballet masters, I would probably reserve judgment as well. I agree that an AD needs to have flexibility in who s/he hires and fires to get the best artistic outcome, but I have seen plenty of situations where there was an agreement either limiting the number or outright stipulating that no one would be let go in the first year of transition. It's better for morale.

#12 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:24 AM

I guess it depends whose morale one has at heart. It is recognized that the audience does need to be considered, but in this case perhaps the dancers' morale was considered before the audience?

#13 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

I'm not sure I follow you. It's usually not considered good for the dancer's morale if a new director comes in and makes a round of wholesale firings because the dancers feel that they could be next.

#14 YouOverThere

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:26 AM

I guess it depends whose morale one has at heart. It is recognized that the audience does need to be considered, but in this case perhaps the dancers' morale was considered before the audience?


vrsfanatic, your last 2 posts seem to imply that you have knowledge that the dancers didn't like one or more of the recently departed artistic staff members (Labsan, Pakri, Thompson). If there are good reasons for all the changes that have been made, there are tactful ways of communicating them. After all, one of the co-chairs of the Board of Trustees owns a public relations company. I have absolutely no interest in giving money to an organization that keeps everyone in the dark about what's going on. When things are kept secret, I assume the worst.

#15 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 12:13 PM

:) Perhaps a ballet teacher's viewpoint of the survival of a ballet company is different from the viewpoint of an audience member! All ballet companies have their ups and downs artistically, administratively and financially. There will always be the employment of hardworking ballet dancers at stake. The dancers are not paid the salaries of the top level of the administrative and artistic staff and yes, even the board members in their private sector jobs. They are in the middle of all of the turmoil. Is one to hope for the demise of the Colorado Ballet? Perhaps some do hope for this. Some think of the dancers in the company and the students studying in the schools. None of this was their doing. How can Mr. Boggs be considered a bad guy until he has been given the opportunity to show what he can do with the dancers and the school.

The decision of the Board to handle the PR in their way is their decision. Hopefully one day they will be accountable for the choices they have made, but most likely not.

YouOverThere, you do sound like a truely compassionate, involved audience member. The dancers for the most part are the same as they were prior to the firing of Mr. Fredmann and the resignation of Mr. Pakri. Try to give them your support through this very difficult time. As the dust settles more will become clear.


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