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Peter Martins successor


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#31 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 09:47 PM

Well, I don't know how interested they would be.....in working as a team, that is.....and I'm not advocating the idea, but they are both very bright, intellectually curious, and well informed.

#32 Helene

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 10:44 PM

My personal pick would be a Heather Watts - Damien Woetzel team. They are savvy, clearly ambitious, and fearless of provocative decisions.

There would just be such irony in that.

#33 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:40 AM

I definitely need to lie down with a cold compress.

#34 bart

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 09:34 AM

A fascinating discussion. But I want to ask, with respect, a question -- Although I frequently saw Watts dance in the late 70s and the 80s -- and although I am aware of the relationship issues re Martins -- what other qualifications or experience has she had to be paired with Woetzel as a possible candidate for running the Company?

I remember Watts because, on that huge stage in that vast barn of a theater, her distinct personal style of movement made her stand out among the others. I looked for her.

As to running an institution of the size, complexity, tradition, and potential as the NYCB, however .... ? Or is there a touch of irony in this that I have missed?

#35 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 11:11 AM

A fascinating discussion. But I want to ask, with respect, a question -- Although I frequently saw Watts dance in the late 70s and the 80s -- and although I am aware of the relationship issues re Martins -- what other qualifications or experience has she had to be paired with Woetzel as a possible candidate for running the Company?

I remember Watts because, on that huge stage in that vast barn of a theater, her distinct personal style of movement made her stand out among the others. I looked for her.

As to running an institution of the size, complexity, tradition, and potential as the NYCB, however .... ? Or is there a touch of irony in this that I have missed?


She certainly did stand out, and, though, in terms of her dancing, I was a "Heather Basher" as it was then called, I met her several times, and was always impressed by her intelligence and understanding of issues in ballet management and fundraising. She did, to my thinking, have a very sardonic/ironic outlook/attitude, which is very foreign in the ballet world, and I don't know how constructive that would be in a position of authority.

#36 aurora

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:07 PM

A fascinating discussion. But I want to ask, with respect, a question -- Although I frequently saw Watts dance in the late 70s and the 80s -- and although I am aware of the relationship issues re Martins -- what other qualifications or experience has she had to be paired with Woetzel as a possible candidate for running the Company?

As to running an institution of the size, complexity, tradition, and potential as the NYCB, however .... ? Or is there a touch of irony in this that I have missed?


I wasn't the one who made the suggestion, my guess, however, is that they were suggested as a pair because they are married. Not this necessarily qualifies them to run a company together, but they are both experienced in NYCB and she did have the experience of dancing under balanchine.

#37 On Pointe

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:49 PM

"I definitely need to lie down with a cold compress."

LOL. See what happens when you open this can of worms! In the early years of Martins' leadership, some disgruntled fans were certain that Heather Watts was running the company. As for her qualifications - other than her personal relationships - for a number of years she ran a pickup company with NYCB dancers and others that toured in this country and abroad. So no doubt she does have experience and skills in the area of administration, casting, etc.

#38 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 03:48 PM

"I definitely need to lie down with a cold compress."

LOL. See what happens when you open this can of worms! In the early years of Martins' leadership, some disgruntled fans were certain that Heather Watts was running the company. As for her qualifications - other than her personal relationships - for a number of years she ran a pickup company with NYCB dancers and others that toured in this country and abroad. So no doubt she does have experience and skills in the area of administration, casting, etc.


She also ran the summer institute (I don't know what it was called) affiliated with SPAC and Skidmore college.

#39 kfw

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 04:44 PM

As for her qualifications - other than her personal relationships - for a number of years she ran a pickup company with NYCB dancers and others that toured in this country and abroad. So no doubt she does have experience and skills in the area of administration, casting, etc.

Experience, yes. But that pickup company showed up at George Mason University one year billed to dance Balanchine, but substituting Martins and The Dying Swan and I forget what else instead. In the pre-performance talk Watts made some sort of excuse, but the real reason for the change was that the Balanchine Trust wouldn't give them permission for the Balanchine.

#40 papeetepatrick

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 10:14 PM

People give up too easily, act as if one major new development--such as Wheeldon's current plans-- are to be figured into some future which really is not less vague than Peter Martins's own plans, which may not include retirement for quite a long time.. Kay Denmark may be right to point out that he should be thinking of it even if youthful and in good shape, but maybe he's not even if he should, and I frankly want to keep thinking of him doing it--at least instead of some neat, businesslike-sounding formation like Woetzel/Watts--as long as he can. This, even with tempi that seem like they'd be better used for 'Mighty Mouse' in the operatic caricatures rather than in the Nutcracker. He's still part of the Balanchine tradition, and grew up imbued with Danish ballet, descended from ballet dancers; and if Wheeldon doesn't change his mind over the next 5 or 10 years, who says Peter and Suzanne won't? They might figure out a way to cooperate. She'd certainly slow down those hysterical tempi. Much of this has to do with people's dissatisfaction with Peter Martins, of course, many valid. The Farrell/Martins problems surely must have to do with both their egoes, not just his, even if his seem more distasteful. Egoes come in different varieties. He makes messes, but I think what he's done with the company is at least always alive and has some dynamism to it. He's mediocre in some ways, but the company definitely sparkles a lot of the time, and sometimes just as it used to.

Well, this just came to mind after finally reading the whole article about Woetzel's retirement. He's a good dancer, but I don't see the charisma that others find so compelling. He's got all that administrative background also. It's true I've only seen him a couple of times, and he's very good, that's true. That article is not all that impressive. The Harvard stuff doesn't seem to be to be a selling point for being head of NYCB at all. He has a nice, prosaic personality outside of his dancing. 10 years ago, Robin McNeil joined the board (very nice, I don't know what his connection is currently) and we saw him talk to Peter Martins on PBS, now we've got David Gergen as Woetzel's mentor (that's a little less interesting, at least to me--no, it's a lot less.) We have a thoroughly embarassing moment in one of Woetzel's classes when he tries to gloss over Kofi Annan's (non-)involvement with Rwanda at the important moment (the one Clinton regrets most) reported by ththe Times writer (surprisingly, I must say.) If people don't think Martins is much of a romantic figure, then some triumvirate with Martins/Farrell/Kistler might have some Balanchine punch to it (I don't mean this necessarily literally, for one thing I wouldn't know how to, just pointing to some kind of direction that has some resonance to it, some musical and artistic resonance). Kistler's not going to dance all that many more years either. Kistler knows stuff, and again, Wheeldon may not do his Morphoses forever. Is there any reason to think he's written off NYCB forever?

What I've just said is a mess, too, but Woetzel/Watts just sounds so anticlimactic, and the ambitious tone in Woetzel's words was off-putting as well, sort of like a twit. It sounds like a real diminution, another mutation of the continued anti-romantic period we seem to be stuck with unless every stone is not left unturned.

#41 drb

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 10:29 PM

Maybe Ratmansky will defect. That would solve all problems.
(Only wishful thinking.)

#42 KayDenmark

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:42 AM

Ratmansky would definitely not be MY wishful thinking.

#43 bart

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 05:37 AM

How important will the daily job of courting the wealthy and keeping the Board happy be in these calculations?

Also -- if considering couples -- does the Stowell/Russell partnership at PNB have anything to suggest?

#44 Haglund's

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 06:01 AM

How important a role will the daily job of courting the wealthy and keeping the Board happy play in these calculations?

It probably shouldn't play any role. It's the board's and executive director's responsibilities to find donors and raise money while the artistic director is the guardian of artistic output. A much stronger board may be what NYCB needs, not an artistic director who functions like a king and oversees all things. A stronger board would be able to say 'no' to new, expensive productions that do not fit within the realm of the institution's mission. (I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Martin's production of Romeo and Juliet will be one example as I expect it will be another stripped down, revved-up, Cliff's Notes version of a classic. There is nothing wrong with Cliff's Notes. They are just not the same as literature.)

For artistic director, we might hope for someone with the talent and human relations skills of a Peter Boal.

#45 BalletIsLife

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 06:57 AM

I was also going to suggest Peter Boal. If Martin's has 20 or so years left as AD...maybe at that point Mr. Boal will leave PNB and move back to NYCB.


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