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Peter Martins successor


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#61 carbro

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 09:31 PM

I also think that his SB and SW will be seen to have been important things to do at some point. . . . I've heard a lot of complaints about them, but I don't care, can't be much worse than that Mackenzie thing ABT televised.

Wow, you have no idea how far out on a limb you've just gone, comparing Swan Lake to Swan Lake.

NYPL's Dance Collection may have a video of Martin's SL available for viewing. It, too, was televised.

#62 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 09:40 PM

I also think that his SB and SW will be seen to have been important things to do at some point. . . . I've heard a lot of complaints about them, but I don't care, can't be much worse than that Mackenzie thing ABT televised.

Wow, you have no idea how far out on a limb you've just gone, comparing Swan Lake to Swan Lake.

NYPL's Dance Collection may have a video of Martin's SL available for viewing. It, too, was televised.


I had edited my wrong 'SW' to read 'SL'. You mean really, though? I thought all sorts of people here had already said they hated Mackenzie's, but some hated Martins's even more. Will they do Martins's 'Swan Lake' in the spring? I'll go then if they do. I don't really want to see them except live. In the meantime, do his SB an SL bring in good audiences, better than the ones I've been seeing at other things (even Nutcracker)?

#63 sandik

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:10 PM

A couple of comments -- as far as husband/wife directorships are concerned, their success depends entirely on what skills they bring and what tasks the company needs filled. Stowell and Russell at PNB filled a variety of roles that a young and growing company had need of near the beginning of its life. Stowell contributed a significant amount of choreography that was tailored to the abilities of the dancers (both highlighting their particular skills and helping to groom them as performers), as well as working within budget constraints. At the beginning, Russell closely supervised the development of the school curriculum and the selection of its teachers, as well as nurturing performers. Her credibility as a Balanchine stager meant that the company had access to a significant repertory, constantly maintained, without needing to spend great sums on outside stagers or coaches. As a couple they created a very supportive environment for dancers in the company -- their particular skill set and the needs of that ensemble meshed extremely well. Russell didn't have the title of co-director until later in her tenure with the company, but in fact she acted as one for most of her time there.

This doesn't mean that all husband and wife teams bring the same attributes, nor does it mean that every company has the same job description for their artistic director. NYCB is a very different institution, with specific needs. It has been run by choreographers for its entire life -- I would suggest that, whatever you think of Martins as a dancemaker, that perspective is very different than a caretaker/curator director. I don't know if Woetzel thinks of himself as a choreographer, but at this point I believe that Boal does not. It's very interesting to see the transition here in Seattle from a director who makes dances to a director who commissions/buys them -- I'm not sure if that's a path that NYCB wants to travel.

#64 carbro

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:15 PM

Will they do Martins's 'Swan Lake' in the spring? I'll go then if they do.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- no. Maybe next winter?

The houses do tend to be fuller for the evening-length ballets. I'm always taken aback by the number of empty seats at some Nuts. They used to sell out completely weeks in advance.

There are things I like very much in Martins' Beauty. Things I dislike, too. On a pass/fail basis, it easily passes.

#65 Helene

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:43 PM

Isn't it more likely that it is the NYCB Board, and not Peter Martins, that wants a new R and J? No doubt their marketing surveys indicate that this would bring in considerable revenue from the full length ballet fans. Because everyone is familiar with the story and/or the score, Romeo looks like the most logical candidate for a box office winner.

Apart from when there are dissenters, like Robert Gottlieb, or scandals, like when Anne Bass resigned, or around the succession to Martins and Robbins, we rarely hear about the workings of the Board from official sources. Ultimately, we don't know what they do, what areas outside finance they influence -- they have a fiduciary responsibility to do the latter, and I assume they do so -- whether their influence is specific or general, or whether and how this has changed over the years.

We don't know who initiated the surveys, what the results were -- except that, according to an article in The New York Times, college aged peers of a dancer didn't recognize the names of great choreographers -- whether they actually pointed to any clear conclusion, and, most importantly, to your question, whether the Board took note of them in any or all details, and if they had any influence whatsoever on Board actions, suggestions, or influences.

There's been nothing, however, to suggest that the Board does not support Mr. Martins in his roles as artistic director, even if that is not his title.

#66 On Pointe

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 08:46 PM


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.)


The NY Times today announced that Mark Morris is choreographing Prokofiev's Romeo, so it could be that it's just in a lot of people's minds that now is the time to re-visit this score. According to the Times, it will "include six new dance numbers, 15 minutes of new music and a radically different ending to the ballet, which was conceived in 1935 and changed to meet the demands of Soviet cultural officials". Do you suppose they have Friar Lawrence's wacky plan succeed, and Romeo and Juliet skip happily out of the tomb and into the sunset? Another plus for Cliff's Notes - they don't change the end of the story!

#67 Amy Reusch

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 06:52 AM

Going for the demolition derby angle of attraction?

#68 sandik

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 10:41 AM

Going for the demolition derby angle of attraction?


Oh, I will be very interested in seeing what he does with this!


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