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Drug scandal at the RDB?


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#46 ksk04

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:50 AM

But Peter Martins must be thrilled by what that statement implies about him and the dancers of New York City Ballet.


Martins doesn't really have room to complain or say much, his own son got arrested with cocaine a few years ago.

#47 leonid17

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:15 AM

I am in general shocked at the level of muckraking that has infected this thread.

#48 Quiggin

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:42 AM

mashinka:

very strongly object to the description of the Royal Danish Ballet as a "moribund institution" it is not and never has been. Frank Andersen, Hubbe's predecessor, happened to be an excellent director and the company was in first rate shape


Simon may have been being ironic, contrasting the Royal Danish Ballet to the "business guru" Helle Hein and her rigid primadonna-archetype theory in seach of a character – but it's also interesting how quickly RDB has become so identified with Hubbe, marketable with him, unimaginable without him ... When the Murdoch story first broke, the Times seemed not to know how to treat it, fell back into their personality-news bias and framed it in terms of "what will this do to James Murdoch's career?"

Regarding Simon and dirac's comments on Hein, this chronology was in the Copenhagen Post (in English):

Hein delivered her finished report to Jacobsen on May 1, just a few weeks before the Royal Ballet began its US tour in California. Jacobsen oriented the theatre’s board of directors as to its contents. However, the board first saw the actual report when Hein decided to forward it to them herself, according to Politiken newspaper.

That led to a meeting of the board on June 22, just three days after the Royal Ballet finished their US tour in New York City. During the meeting, the board gave Jacobsen and the Royal Theatre’s management its full support in their handling of the situation and the report remained a company secret.

Last week, however, Jyllands-Posten newspaper obtained a leaked copy of the report and the story went public.


Brief interview with a company physician:

Jørn Thaning is an addiction specialist who has worked with the Royal Theatre since 2003, helping its employees overcome drug and alcohol dependencies. He said the Royal Ballet has no more drug-addicted employees than other workplaces do.

“In the last year and a half I haven’t had one dancer in therapy for either cocaine or pill abuse,” Thaning told DR Kultur. “There was one with alcohol problems. And after summer I will most likely be treating one person for cocaine addiction.”

Thaning added that there could be more cases of cocaine addiction than he is aware of, since he only treats those who ask for help or are referred by a colleague. “If they don’t perform badly, we can’t tell,” Thaning said.

He added, however, that eating disorders were a bigger problem than drug addiction among weight-conscious ballet dancers.


Copenhagen Post


Also short piece on "How to tackle your primadonnas" :

They are smart, creative and enterprising, but also self-important, spoiled and will decide for themselves.

Prima donnas are a type of employees who can give most managers gray hair. They are also indispensable for many businesses due to the leading lady nature of their knowledge and commitment (på grund af primadonnaens viden og engagement).


Sådan takler du primadonnaer

#49 aurora

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:34 PM

But Peter Martins must be thrilled by what that statement implies about him and the dancers of New York City Ballet.


St Peter, the wife abuser and drunk driver. Evidence of occasional cocaine use would of course be much worse than those two activities which actually potentially cause injury to other people.

#50 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:55 PM


I quite agree about drawing too many conclusions from statements taken out of context. Nevertheless, "Nobody lives in New York for 15 years without trying cocaine," sounds suspiciously excuse-making.

For me as a New Yorker, that line was the great scandal of the story, so patently untrue it made me laugh. Perhaps it was just his misjudged way of admitting that he had "inhaled" at some point, perhaps only once, during his time in New York, in case that subject ever comes up in court one day.

But Peter Martins must be thrilled by what that statement implies about him and the dancers of New York City Ballet.


Martins must have rolled his eyes into the next county at that one.

Thanks, kfw. :flowers:

#51 leonid17

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:46 AM

My concern is not just for love of the company as you suggest, my concern is for the institution it once was and that might one day, be recaptured.

As to my wishing "the allegations to be ignored", what allegations are we talking about. Supposed statements by supposed unnamed persons by definition can have no status, so there can be no sunbstantive allegations that alone a substantive statement of evidence.

What we have seen so far are,"Empty statements," that is to say statements that are purported to provide information, but in reality, provide no genuine or "admissable" information at all. Someone allegedly said something to someone about someone.

Surely the pot has to have something tangible in it before it can be stirred.

#52 kfw

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:30 AM

Leonid, I'd be interested in your response to the following from canbelto in response to Simon earlier in the thread:

If this study was an academic study, all findings would have to be from anonymous sources, as all subjects are anonymous in such studies. So the four dancers you're so angry at might not have had a choice but to speak on the condition of anonymity. Besides, if privacy is valued, why do they have to endanger their jobs and reputations? Making anonymous whistleblowing complaints is fine, there's nothing inherently immoral about that.


my concern is for the institution it once was and that might one day, be recaptured.

I understand that, but your position here doesn't flow inevitably from concern, and the opposing position isn't in conflict with it.

#53 canbelto

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 10:36 AM

Nikolaj Hubbe is a big boy, and very capable, I'm sure, of handling allegations, whether they're true or not. If they're not, then he should have nothing to hide. If they are, then it needs to be brought to light, because it would not be a healthy work environment for anyone, Hubbe included. Respect/veneration for any institution shouldn't make people blind to the potential dark side of anyone.

Leonid and SimonG seem to think that there shouldn't even be an investigation about this matter. That's a point of view I don't really get. If dancers in any company, anonymous or not, are complaining about work conditions, don't you think that whether it's the Queen of England or a teacher in a public school, that these complaints should be investigated to see whether there's validity or not? There are no sacred cows in life. Just to point out a parallel in real life, a couple years ago a student accused me of stalking her through social media. It was completely false, I didn't even know the student in question, but turns out the student had created a ghost account under my name. If it weren't for an investigation, people would have continued to believe her. As a result of the investigation that was made into the matter, this deeply troubled young lady was able to get the help she needed and my name was cleared.

#54 KayDenmark

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:01 AM

Why is this anyone's business? Because my tax kroner (we pay a 60% income tax rate, plus 25% sales tax on everything we buy - the world's highest tax rate!) finance the Royal Danish Ballet. This is not a story about Hubbe doing lines while on vacation in the Bahamas. This is a story about him taking drugs as a public employee, with other public employees, on public property. On my time, basically. And - which I think is worse - allegedly creating a hostile work environment for other employees, so hostile that 20 out of 92 are considering leaving a top-tier company to look for other jobs in a very difficult business.

According to one of the Danish papers (Jyllands-Posten, a 'national provincial' paper comparable to the Washington Post or Chicago Tribune), Hubbe would scream at dancers from a distance of one or two feet. "We're used to harsh criciticism - we're brought up with it from a very young age. But this was not normal," dancers were quoted as saying.

Today's news is that Hubbe is supposedly getting a coach to help him deal with personnel better. "Seen from outside, it could seem like this man is totally out of balance," says the ballet's administrative head, Henrik Sten Pedersen, to the Berlingske Tidende, a New York Times type of newspaper. "But that's because he has great artistic sense and great artistic temperament. His behaviour doesn't reflect any kind of management theorey." Pedersen also says he doesn't think Hubbe has a drug problem, but acknowledges that dancers may have assumed he was under the influence because of his mercurial temperament and behaviour. If he's drug-free and his employees are still experiencing him as abusive, there remains a serious problem to address.


I have followed Hubbe's career since the NYCB and met him on a couple of occasions. I have absolutely zero knowledge about the fairness or unfairness of these allegations. I think he's done good things from the Royal Danish Ballet. The company looks better and sharper since he took over, and I'm sure that in order to create an omlette, he's had to break some eggs. Some of the truly terrible dancers from Frank Andersen's reign are gone and not missed. As an audience member, I like his work.

But that doesn't mean that these allegations aren't worth taking seriously. They are.

This is not the first report Hein has produced for the Royal Danish Ballet: it is the third, and she has been associated with the company since 2006. Apparently they were pleased with all her previous studies, or they would not have hired her again.

She interviewed 55 members of the company, as well as several "external business partners" of the company and the consensus was that the cocaine problem was pervasive and growing: Jyllands-Posten, a legitimate newspaper, also interviewed many members of the company and reached the same conclusion. In other words, this is not a case of four sour dancers. According to the report, numerous attempts had been made to approach the board about the situation before the report was released, but those doing so were either not taken seriously or told they would have to approach Hubbe himself.

The real villain here seems to be the Royal Ballet's board, which should have looked into these charges as soon as they surfaced, and should have taken Hein's report seriously when it was presented to them. I'm quite sure they are doing so now. The Danish Royal Family, which as a previous poster suggested are quite involved with the ballet, does not appreciate any link with narcotics - one of the Crown Prince's friends convicted of cocaine dealing has been very publicly exiled from all contact with the royals. The intelligent, activist Queen will be leaning on the board quite heavily to sort this out.

#55 Simon G

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

Nikolaj Hubbe is a big boy, and very capable, I'm sure, of handling allegations, whether they're true or not. If they're not, then he should have nothing to hide. If they are, then it needs to be brought to light, because it would not be a healthy work environment for anyone, Hubbe included. Respect/veneration for any institution shouldn't make people blind to the potential dark side of anyone.

Leonid and SimonG seem to think that there shouldn't even be an investigation about this matter. That's a point of view I don't really get. If dancers in any company, anonymous or not, are complaining about work conditions, don't you think that whether it's the Queen of England or a teacher in a public school, that these complaints should be investigated to see whether there's validity or not? There are no sacred cows in life. Just to point out a parallel in real life, a couple years ago a student accused me of stalking her through social media. It was completely false, I didn't even know the student in question, but turns out the student had created a ghost account under my name. If it weren't for an investigation, people would have continued to believe her. As a result of the investigation that was made into the matter, this deeply troubled young lady was able to get the help she needed and my name was cleared.



Actually that's not what I think at all. I don't think there should be an investigation because I don't think that doing drugs is that big of a deal and I have absolutely no problem with dancers or anyone else doing drugs - unlike the cabal here who think a full lynch mob/roasting/witch hunt is in order. Especially not in dance companies where believe me it's rife. I actually object to the moral umbrage expressed here which equates coke with a Gelsey Kirkland style horror fest.

My point is that those poor little darlings who snorted coke (allegedly) with Hubbe did so of their own free will. No one made them do it and it's a bit rich to cry shenanigans after the fact, anonymously and claim any kind of credibility. Dancers aren't idiots, spineless, nor utterly weak willed puppets - it takes a bit of effort to snort a line or two, there is personal responsibility AND choice.

Let's be clear about a number of things, I described the RDB as moribund, okay, maybe a bit harsh, but definitely tatty round the edges, with a strict hierarchy, few opportunities for corps & apprentices, several dancers way past their best and a repertory which while eclectic they couldn't actually dance very well. Their one calling card, Bournonville, they resented while having to acknowledge that were it not for Bournonville they wouldn't be classed as one of the world's great companies. Moreover the stranglehold Margarethe II had on the company, or rather the interest, did little to dispel the notion that ballet is a plaything of the aristocracy - it was an institution with a great many cobwebs.

Hubbe, who I have no doubt is a difficult, obstinate, obnoxious S.O.B came in saw what was wrong and decided to lead from the front, in class and tackle the problem of the dance quality head on. He promoted people, fast tracked people, gave apprentices principal roles because he felt they were ready and could do it and why should they wait. He understood that talent shouldn't be tempered and maybe he did some things a tad abruptly - but he got results.
\maybe Hubbe does need to temper his aggression and who knows maybe those anonymous dancers are right, he does like a line every now and then and maybe he likes a line with a dancer from time to time - these things happen. But they're adults, they make their choices and if an investigation is to happen then it should be behind closed doors, dealt with inside away from a rather regressive minority who who equate drugs with the end of civilisation as we know it.

#56 canbelto

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:32 AM

\
Doing lines of coke on their own time is one thing. That I agree is a dancer's business and while I don't think it's the healthiest choice, whatever. The thing that's being alleged is another kettle of fish entirely. It's the Big Boss creating a hostile work environment. It's on the level with sexual harassment -- it's one thing, for instance, to have a dancer make the personal choice to have intimate relations with the ballet master, it's another for the ballet master to threaten the dancer with "put out or get out", to phrase it crudely. I can't believe you don't see the difference here -- what's being alleged is that Hubbe is pressuring dancers to snort coke as an obvious power trip.

#57 leonid17

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:41 AM

Leonid, I'd be interested in your response to the following from canbelto in response to Simon earlier in the thread:

If this study was an academic study, all findings would have to be from anonymous sources, as all subjects are anonymous in such studies. So the four dancers you're so angry at might not have had a choice but to speak on the condition of anonymity. Besides, if privacy is valued, why do they have to endanger their jobs and reputations? Making anonymous whistleblowing complaints is fine, there's nothing inherently immoral about that.


my concern is for the institution it once was and that might one day, be recaptured.

I understand that, but your position here doesn't flow inevitably from concern, and the opposing position isn't in conflict with it.




Firstly I would say that the public have no right to know the content of internal reports of any investigation within an organisation whether government subsidised or not. This would be the case in the USA, the UK and no doubt in Denmark.

It would take the process of a court of law to enforce the revealing of such information.

If this matter was subject to a court of law and only adults were involved and no government security personnel were involved, anonymity would not be acceptable in the case of giving evidence.

As regards to statements made by certain parties, the test is not losing their jobs, but substantiating the accusations would be.

Privacy begins and ends when accusations are made.

I am only concerned that the subject should not be discussed in a manner where the line between information and actual judgement may be concerned as if it is an “open day,” to attack anyone and not be held to account for doing so.

My concern is the rights of the accused, which generally states, “innocent until proven guilty.” To my mind the press coverage has undermined and possibly influenced the processes of future investigation which may therefore be abandoned.

The disclosure to the press may be considered a breach of trust on the part of employees in any organisation and therefore subject to a disciplinary procedure.

To Kay Denmark, I would say being a taxpayer does not give a citizen an inherent right to know any or all of the organisational processes of the Royal Danish Ballet or any other Government subsidised organisation. If any Danish citizen is truly so concerned about their small personal contribution to the Royal Danish Ballet, why not get their MP to ask a question in parliament.

Processes exist for a reason and what will be the measure of the fall-out of this affair in terms of the Royal Danish Ballet's
status.

EDITED

#58 Simon G

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:54 AM

Doing lines of coke on their own time is one thing. That I agree is a dancer's business and while I don't think it's the healthiest choice, whatever. The thing that's being alleged is another kettle of fish entirely. It's the Big Boss creating a hostile work environment. It's on the level with sexual harassment -- it's one thing, for instance, to have a dancer make the personal choice to have intimate relations with the ballet master, it's another for the ballet master to threaten the dancer with "put out or get out", to phrase it crudely. I can't believe you don't see the difference here -- what's being alleged is that Hubbe is pressuring dancers to snort coke as an obvious power trip.



Actually, no. What's being alleged is a third party anonymously saying that anonymous dancers did lines of coke with the AD. For you this is an obvious power trip, for me, personally, I don't believe that's the way it went down if it did indeed go down. I think it also muddies the waters to bring in sexual harassment, this is a completely different kettle of fish altogether.

#59 Simon G

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:58 AM

Why is this anyone's business? Because my tax kroner (we pay a 60% income tax rate, plus 25% sales tax on everything we buy - the world's highest tax rate!) finance the Royal Danish Ballet. This is not a story about Hubbe doing lines while on vacation in the Bahamas. This is a story about him taking drugs as a public employee, with other public employees, on public property. On my time, basically. And - which I think is worse - allegedly creating a hostile work environment for other employees, so hostile that 20 out of 92 are considering leaving a top-tier company to look for other jobs in a very difficult business.


The real villain here seems to be the Royal Ballet's board, which should have looked into these charges as soon as they surfaced, and should have taken Hein's report seriously when it was presented to them. I'm quite sure they are doing so now. The Danish Royal Family, which as a previous poster suggested are quite involved with the ballet, does not appreciate any link with narcotics - one of the Crown Prince's friends convicted of cocaine dealing has been very publicly exiled from all contact with the royals. The intelligent, activist Queen will be leaning on the board quite heavily to sort this out.



Hubbe and the dancers pay tax too, which also funds the Ballet. How they spend their money is none of your business. And do you truly believe that the way all public service officials, civil servants, armed forces, doctors etc use their wages for wholly wholesome things? Our taxes also bailed out massive merchant banks when they screwed up with our money and those dudes are some of the biggest drug abusers out there.

And do you truly think that drugs didn't exist within the RDB before Hubbe?

#60 canbelto

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:00 PM

Anonymous sources are part of academic studies. All clinical trials are anonymous, in fact, any study that features the medical statuses of subjects must be anonymous because of the issues of medical privacy. In this study it seems as if there was an investigation that would concern the medical status of several of the dancers, so therefore, the dancers in question would have to remain anonymous. That shouldn't be a reason to dismiss the claims of the dancers.


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