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Who will be the next RB director?


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#1 mussel

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:33 PM

As the question is raised by Alastair Macauley in tomorrow's Sunday Times.

Who do you think will be or should be RB's next director? Should (s)he be the innovator or keeper of traditon? There're many names being tossed around like Cope, Kobberg, Wayne McGregor, Wheeldon, and even McKenzie (who was in the running to succeed Dowell). Don't know if Darcey Bussell is interested.

#2 kfw

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 06:05 PM

Should he be the innovator or keeper of traditon?

Innovative choreographers will always come knocking at the door. Best to choose a director who loves the Royal's history, who will both want and have to bring in the new folks, but won't do so at the expense of the old ones.

#3 leonid17

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 03:48 AM

Should he be the innovator or keeper of traditon?

Innovative choreographers will always come knocking at the door. Best to choose a director who loves the Royal's history, who will both want and have to bring in the new folks, but won't do so at the expense of the old ones.




The Royal Ballet/Royal Opera House has shown continuous bad judgement in choosing Artistic Directors arising from the influence of Dame Ninette de Valois who helped to push Sir Frederick Ashton out of his post. There has not been one subsequent AD making a truly good fist of the job, including Kenneth MacMillan(later Sir)whom Dame Ninette championed for the post and took the company into the doldrums and began to change its trade mark identity.

Whilst Dame Monica Mason had recovered much of was lost under Sir Anthony Dowell and Ross Stretton, the Royal Ballet’s repertoire is a pale shadow of what brought it international fame in the 1960’s when Dame Ninette de Valois (until 1963) and Sir Frederick Ashton held the fort (1963-1970.)

As to innovative choreographers, there are exponents of classical ballet who have and can create innovative works, so why employ choreographers who work outside the genre?

For me the likes of Wayne McGregor(whose name has been mentioned as a potential AD working with the Royal Ballet is little more than a gimmick. He appeared on the scene at the same time as the rise of so called celebrities that infest our television networks and the press with its cadre of wannabe celebrity critics seeking a profile by encouraging non classical ballet works in the RB repertory.

As I recorded some years past, Mr McGreor's first work at the Royal Opera despite publicity,resulted in hundreds of seats being empty. In the end the audience will always be the judge.

There is perhaps also a politically populist induced gimmick that keeps saying we must attract more young people to the Royal Ballet, as if there is some elderly elite or other barriers preventing them attending performances.

Young people who want to watch ballet as I did, find their own way to becoming a Royal Ballet regular. In my generation, the young people I met came from various walks of life and educational backgrounds.

McGregor's so called rise in status can be blamed on those critics who do not want to see the raison d’être repertoire of the Royal Ballet, ie its classical ballet productions year in year out unlike those who willingly pay to go to see what they want to see with different casts over and over again, especially in the case of 'the classics'.

From an interview given just over eight years ago with Wayne Eagling on being asked what might have prepared him for the role of Artistic Director(of the Dutch National Ballet) he replied:-

“That, to his mind, "one learnt on the job." He doubted that there could be a ‘school for artistic directors’. The role required management awareness, and an understanding of the financial implications of artistic decisions, rather than specific financial competencies. An understanding of dance and of people was crucial. “You don’t really have to have been a great dancer or choreographer. It depends too on the company. If you’re someone like Jiri Kylian, you can get by, by being a good director by the strength of your choreography. To be director of the Royal Ballet, you must have people skills.”

For full interview
See http://www.ballet.co...yne_eagling.htm

#4 Michael

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 06:46 AM

McGregor is much too young and inexperienced even in his own metier; and has no experience whatsoever in administering an organization, fundraising and politics. No one who is thirty something and has no administrative experience should be promoted to such a job. Being a choreographer yourself is not a requisite for this job; it's even a shortcoming as you can see from other companies. You don't want someone who is by definition competing with the institutional repertory and who has every motive to downplay it in relation to their own ambitions.

Mason has been ideal. She comes (I think) in the wake of the Ross Stretton fiasco? They should use Mason as an ideal and build on what she has started, the restoration of the companies' values, identity, and institutional health. This means someone who:

(1) values the artistic legacy of the house, its staff and repertory - someone who can stage what they've got and who will love to do it; and, someone who -

(2) has integrity - personal and institutional (who comes not to loot and exploit the company) - whom the dancers, the artistic staff and company staff (lighting, costume) will respect, appreciate, even love to work for. Someone fair in institutional and employment matters.

(3) someone who can run company class and grow dancers.

#5 leonid17

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:21 AM

McGregor is much too young and inexperienced even in his own metier; and has no experience whatsoever in administering an organization, fundraising and politics. No one who is thirty something and has no administrative experience should be promoted to such a job. Being a choreographer yourself is not a requisite for this job; it's even a shortcoming as you can see from other companies. You don't want someone who is by definition competing with the institutional repertory and who has every motive to downplay it in relation to their own ambitions.

Mason has been ideal. She comes (I think) in the wake of the Ross Stretton fiasco? They should use Mason as an ideal and build on what she has started, the restoration of the companies' values, identity, and institutional health. This means someone who:

(1) values the artistic legacy of the house, its staff and repertory - someone who can stage what they've got and who will love to do it; and, someone who -

(2) has integrity - personal and institutional (who comes not to loot and exploit the company) - whom the dancers, the artistic staff and company staff (lighting, costume) will respect, appreciate, even love to work for. Someone fair in institutional and employment matters.

(3) someone who can run company class and grow dancers.



Amen

#6 4mrdncr

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:13 PM


McGregor is much too young and inexperienced even in his own metier; and has no experience whatsoever in administering an organization, fundraising and politics. No one who is thirty something and has no administrative experience should be promoted to such a job. Being a choreographer yourself is not a requisite for this job; it's even a shortcoming as you can see from other companies. You don't want someone who is by definition competing with the institutional repertory and who has every motive to downplay it in relation to their own ambitions.

Mason has been ideal. She comes (I think) in the wake of the Ross Stretton fiasco? They should use Mason as an ideal and build on what she has started, the restoration of the companies' values, identity, and institutional health. This means someone who:

(1) values the artistic legacy of the house, its staff and repertory - someone who can stage what they've got and who will love to do it; and, someone who -

(2) has integrity - personal and institutional (who comes not to loot and exploit the company) - whom the dancers, the artistic staff and company staff (lighting, costume) will respect, appreciate, even love to work for. Someone fair in institutional and employment matters.

(3) someone who can run company class and grow dancers.



Amen


Ditto. Concerning the Royal Ballet, I totally agree. But what 'Michael' wrote was also interesting to me because I got to witness someone "barely thirty something" with "[limited] experience in administering an organization, fundraising, and politics" become an AD, meet most of the other criteria you list:
(to paraphrase) 'valuing a classic legacy and staging it, earning the respect & appreciation of both dancers and the artistic and company staffs, and able to train and grow dancers' and succeed at it.

Let us hope the new choice for the AD of the RB does too.

#7 Michael

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:04 AM

You make an really good point 4mrdancr -

which aptly shows that being 30 something and inexperienced is not what matters most - the crux is the qualities and character of the person, i.e., valuing the repertory, growing dancers, being fair - and when these are present they override inexperience. Experience is a plus all the same; and it also gives you a good read on whether the candidate possesses the qualities we mentioned.


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