Posted 22 December 2012 - 09:43 AM
I don't know the sports analogies, but in a smaller company like OBT, the artistic director is fully involved in daily life. Even if they do nothing to plan for the next season, they will give company class, stage and rehearse repertory, oversee the other crafts (sets, costumes, lights), work with staff on marketing and promotion, and generally act as a connection point for the organization. This spring they've got Swan Lake on the schedule, which they've done a couple times before, but is still a big undertaking. Stowell staged it the last time, and I don't know what the status of his works for the company might be without him as director. After that they've got an American music program with two premieres he's arranged for and a third work new to the company, and then an all-Balanchine program that I imagine he would have staged part of (not to mention that his mother has staged a great deal of the Balanchine the company has performed -- if they'd made arrangements for her to work on that program she most certainly will, but the relationship must certainly be different).
And that's just for the spring season on stage. I'm sure that Stowell has been making plans for the 13-14 season, especially if there are new commissions in play (and without him as the director, those projects are in limbo as well), but companies are already starting to make commitments to those schedules, thinking about dancer contracts, lining up partnerships with other organizations, writing and overseeing long-term fundraising applications, and on and on and on. Being without a leader for the next however many months, while a new board figures out what they want from the company and therefore from a new director, and then preparing and running a search for that director, would be a miserable way to try and run a dance company. Mueller, who was a lovely dancer and had a great career at OBT, is well-known and well-liked by the company and the community. She's taking on a difficult task, but I think she's up to the challenge.