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Peter Martins successor


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#16 papeetepatrick

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 10:48 AM

Also true is that Martins may or may not be thinking all this early about his successor as Balanchine was. In any case, there was no question he'd keep it as long as he was physically able. Mainly, there were no calls for other successors, as there have been many hopes that Martins would be succeeded, and expressed by several here. So, one difference is that nobody wanted Balanchine to 'give it up' as long as he was alive and able. The same is not true with Martins, but I don't know what that implies as to what people should or should not say.

#17 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 10:49 AM

Maybe there have been too many "discussions about the discussion" here already, but I don't see how this is impolite to Peter Martins. It's not about him, it's about the entity called New York City Ballet--it's dancers, its administration, its repertoire, its artistic mission, etc. What could be more interesting or important than that? Just today, there is an article in the New York Times about how Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor have realized the need to plan ahead for what will happen to their companies after their deaths. I've heard Martins say in interviews that he doesn't intend to keep his job until his dying day.

I don't have anything to add to the discussion itself, except that I hope NYCB takes under advisement all the intelligent and well-meaning comments I regularly read here on Ballet Talk!

#18 papeetepatrick

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:05 AM

I've heard Martins say in interviews that he doesn't intend to keep his job until his dying day.


Well, he looks pretty healthy and may not want to keep working in his 90's if he gets up there.


I don't have anything to add to the discussion itself, except that I hope NYCB takes under advisement all the intelligent and well-meaning comments I regularly read here on Ballet Talk!


But they don't ever. Leigh explained how they don't when we were complaining about the prestissimos for poor Dewdrop. They don't listen to the dancers about the tempi either.

#19 Helene

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:16 AM

Just today, there is an article in the New York Times about how Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor have realized the need to plan ahead for what will happen to their companies after their deaths.

According to the article,

On his death in 1983 George Balanchine left his dances to several former dancers, not to his company, the New York City Ballet. An out-of-court settlement prevented a court battle, and a trust now controls the rights to his dances.

A potential court battle is something I'd never heard before. Not all of the ballets went to the Trust immediately. For example, John Taras owned the rights to Symphony in C, and according to Francia Russell in a post-performance Q&A from a few years back, he insisted on a particular version. Again, according to Russell, Taras allowed a grateful Russell to stage a different version for a gala, and Peter Martins was willing to suspend performances of the ballet, because Taras insisted on a different version than NYCB performed, until Taras relented. Suzanne Farrell still owns the rights to Don Quixote. (I'm not sure about Meditation.) I wonder if part of the settlement Solway writes about granted lifetime rights to the works, to revert to the Trust when the recipient died.

For those that still hold the rights and have not given them to the Trust during their lifetime, the issue of succession could be a driver to giving up the rights immediately and/or to granting NYCB permission to perform them. Mark Morris made it very clear that he would grant rights to his work to PNB because Boal took over the company, but not before.

#20 Helene

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:25 AM

Also true is that Martins may or may not be thinking all this early about his successor as Balanchine was.

We don't even know if this is his decision to make. The earlier boards were there to support Balanchine, and they had to deal with Lincoln Kirstein's formidable will. It isn't clear who will determine who will succeed Martins and what form the leadership of NYCB will take.

What does seem to be clear is that the board supports Martins in his current role and that it is Martins' perogative to decide when he's no longer interested.

#21 KayDenmark

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:51 AM

I work for a large financial corporation, and there is a succession plan for every single management job here - there is even a guy whose only job is planning successions.

The idea being that if, God forbid, someone is hit by a falling brick, the institution and all the people who depend on it can keep running.

Peter Martins may be young and spry, but hundreds of people rely on NYCB for their livelihood, so in my opinion he should have a succession plan in place already. Not having one is scary.

#22 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 11:26 AM

Re Meditation & Suzanne Farrell, the NYCB website lists the copyright as belonging to her.
http://www.nycballet...ep.html?rep=319

(by the way, the board's software about links seems a little strange... the link button didn't work but I see the URL turned automatically into a link on it's own)

#23 carbro

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 12:17 PM

:)
Which board, Amy? NYCBallet.com?

Which link? The music credit for the audio snippet is a pop-up. If your browser blocks pop-ups, perhaps that's the problem.

#24 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:06 PM

To go back to the original point of this discussion, I'd nominate Sean Lavery as Artistic Director. He has been working on programming for many years now, worked under Balanchine, knows his dancers, has taught and coached roles and has the fervent love of anyone who ever saw him dance or spoke to him. I agree with those who've nominated Suzanne as the keeper of the Balanchine flame -- I mean repertoire -- and JP Frohlich and Russell Kaiser to maintain the Robbins repertoire. There now will be a question about who maintains the Martins repertoire, and the Wheeldon works!

As to the rights to the ballets, Ballet Review had a long and detailed article on Mr. Balanchine's will, probably in the late '80s. I don't have access to mine, but the libraries do have it.

#25 carbro

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:17 PM

I agree, regarding Lavery's qualifications, but I don't think more than ten years separate him and Martins. Don't you think, assuming any change happens later rather than sooner, they'd choose a younger candidate?

#26 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:48 PM

Sorry Carbro, I'll to the appropriate forum re the link thing.

#27 flipsy

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:24 AM

As the topic starter, I’d like to weigh in on the question of taste and propriety.

I decided to open the discussion because it had already been started in the media, with Woetzel’s rather impolitic confession to wanting the job, and Wheeldon’s thinly veiled jabs at Martins. (He’s leaving to start his own company because he doesn’t like the way things are run in big companies, the casting isn’t always sensitive, etc.)

I also have had several frissons of profound terror, at what I perceived to be hints that Nilas Martins was also angling for the job, or being angled by someone. In a company that has been rightly accused of nepotism and insensitive casting, it could happen.

My fears were specifically set off by the appearance of the Nilas Martins Ballet Company, a pickup troupe of NYCB dancers performing at Central Park’s Summerstage the last two Augusts. And then, the recent cover shot on the NYCB website of N. Martins as Apollo, being anointed by three lovely muses.

I think it’s legitimate to bring these questions out into the open, rather than have them raised darkly or subliminally. And I do feel strongly that this very important decision, whenever it comes, should not just come from the powers-that-be at NYCB in a closed room. The public has an interest in this, no?

#28 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 09:51 AM

At this moment I'm speaking as a moderator and the answer is Yes.

Just so we won't keep discussing the discussion, Yes. Period.

The basic no-nos in a discussion that require a moderator's intervention are ad hominem comments and news not substantiated publicly. For everyone, if you have a question about an appropriate discussion, please ask a moderator via the "report" option or private message, rather than derailing the discussion into a discussion of whether we should be having the discussion. That's why we're here.

And with that, I'd like to ask that this branch of the discussion stop. This is completely appropriate.

#29 hbl

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:38 PM

To get back to the discussion at hand.....
I think it would be a disaster to have two equal heads to run any
organization. Especially an artistic one. The AD or Ballet Master or
Ballet Master in Chief or whatever needs complete and total control
and support of the Board. Anything else will lead to problems. That
is not to say that there shouldnt be lots of assistants to share the running
of such a huge organization. And there are now. And there will
always be there in the future.

So who should replace Martins when the time comes......
First I think it needs to be a Choreographer. This
should be a choreographer led company. It is the tradition and I think
a choreographer looks at a company in a different way than a dancer.
That would lead me to Wheldon as a first choice assuming this is not anytime
soon. Woetzel has done some choreography as has others in the company
(Liang did some great stuff that was shown at the Joyce last year). Maybe
Milessa Barak way down the road. She did some really nice stuff for SAB a
while back. And I think she would like to continue doing that.

But we may be many many years from having to deal with this. Martins
could easily continue for another 20 or 25 years. So assuming that you would
want to follow Martins with someone say in their 40's - that would suggest we
should be looking to the SAB students and the Corps dancers..... :blush:

#30 balletchic101

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 07:44 PM

I disagree. I do not think that a choreographer would be the natural or best successor to Peter Martins. In picking a successor I think it is important to remember that Balanchine can never be replaced, and that his choreographic genius coupled with his amazing ability to lead a company and shape and nurture dancers is basically an anomaly in the ballet world that has yet to be paralleled. Also, he had Lincoln Kirstein with him, always.
I would say that it would be best not to have a choreographer leading the company. As we have seen from Martins' repeated choreographic endeavours, good choreography is hard to come by. And while Martins feels the need to choreograph each and every season, sometimes more than one ballet per season, plus revive various of his earlier works, an Artistic Director who does not choreograph would have more time to spend working with the dancers, rehearsing other ballets (like the Balanchine works!), and dealing with the multitidue of other issues at hand. Directors who double as choreographers, especially those to follow in Balanchine's stead, must inevitably feel pressured to live up to their predessecors' genius, an impossible task. So why not try to better preserve the multitude of Balanchine ballets, nurture and develop the talent in the company, coach the principals in prime roles, and play a more active role in the daily company life.
I am not saying that NYCB should not perfrom new works, but the Artistic Director should not be compelled to choreograph them, merely recruit those more talented who should.
The main problem with post-Martins NYCB era speculation is that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Essentially, whoever succeedes Martins could prove to be an even more divisive figure than Martins. And as highly coveted as the position is, it is also a thankless job -- it is impossible to please all of the avid NYCB fans and attendees. My personal pick would be a Heather Watts - Damien Woetzel team. They are savvy, clearly ambitious, and fearless of provocative decisions.


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