Catherine

Mariinsky Open Letter to Minister of Culture

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It was suggested to me to post this again here to open up discussion. In short this issue has been going on since May of 2012 and has heated up considerably in the Russian press in the past 3 weeks.

Daria Pavlenko and Dmitry Piikhachev, as representatives of the dancer's union, met with Gergiev in May this year (just after the troupe appointed Daria to that position) to address issues of casting, salary, repertoire, etc. The issues were not addressed and subsequently three dancers (Pavlenko, Piikhachev and one other) sent an open letter (that was published in the newspaper) to the Minister of Culture requesting he address a list of Labor Code violations. That prompted a series of articles in the press, and also a *press release* response to the letter.

Pavlenko then emphasized that she was asking the Ministry of Culture to look into the violations before addressing them internally with the Theatre's administration.

Here is the latest English language summary which skips over about 90% of what has happened (it's hard to summarize it all in one article) but the crux of it is here:

http://sptimes.ru/in...story_id=36603

I have maintained a log of the previous articles/ publications on this issue here:

http://www.ballet-da...hp?f=31&t=36477

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I had reservations over aspects of Vaziev's tenure, the promotion of Somova for starters, but the company has simply fallen off a cliff since Fateev took over. Looks like their grubby little secrets are seeing the light of day at last and that can only be a good thing in the long run.

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Absolutely, Mashinka. It was also interesting that, in this article, the MT's press representative, Oksana Tokranova, is quoted as saying that Keenan Kampa (USA) and Kim Kimin (S. Korea) are soloists (along with Xander Parish of the UK, who is at the Choryphee level). I suppose that Tokranova means that they are being given soloist-level roles (which is true)...but, last time that I checked both the Russian and English-language rosters of the company, Kampa is Corps de Ballet and Kimin is Trainee (not even corps de ballet). The rosters were published well into the current season (early October); it could be that this letter and concerns of the dancers' union may be why Kampa, in the end, was listed as corps & Kimin remains 'trainee'?

I am also wondering what may be the unofficial role of foreign tour sponsors, like Ardani/Kings of Dance, in the casting and opportunities for promotion? Yuri Fateev is, after all, a co-producer of Kings of Dance (as cited in his bio on the Kennedy Center playbill for two seasons in a row)...meaning a possible financial tie with Ardani, the main producers of Kings of Dance. One would hope that Fateev's role in tours does not influence the possibilities/fate of his dancers back home, i.e., that a perceptionof Western Aesthetics does not influence promotion of dancers who, for example, may not have the 'long legs' that Russians THINK the West wants to see.

It's all very interesting. 'Bravi' to Daria Pavlenko, Dmitri Pykhachev, and others who are the leading the Dancers' Union and calling for a government investigation.

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This open letter and the Theatre's and Maestro Gergiev's replies confirm everything that's been going on. I've been waiting for something like this to happen. I'm ecstatic that the dancers finally went public. It's about time!

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Now this is seriously interesting! Please do keep us updated and thank you for adding the English version, translating can take forever and doesn't always come out so well.

Very happy to see Kimin finally get promoted and have a official status that is compatible with his performance and partnering ability/ responsibilities.

I shall be on pins and needles to see how this new development plays out.

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Kim Kimin is now listed as First Soloist on the English roaster. http://www.mariinsky...dancers2/kimin/

WOW - a record promotion from Trainee to First Soloist in one fell swoop. He is absolutely fantastic, from what I've seen. This must have just happened today, as I printed the roster just yesterday and it still showed him as Trainee. CONGRATS!!!

Pavlenko's inclusion in the October 2012 Kennedy Center tour of CINDERELLA is all the more miraculous in the context of what we now know as her leadership of the Dancers' Union and this letter/complaint. Somova - who danced CINDERELLA with Sergeev (Pavlenko's husband) in her debut last April - was replaced by Pavlenko for this tour because of Somova's pregnancy. The Mariinsky had no rcourse but to have to send Pavlenko to Washington, DC. It is amazing how things turn out sometimes!

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This open letter and the Theatre's and Maestro Gergiev's replies confirm everything that's been going on. I've been waiting for something like this to happen. I'm ecstatic that the dancers finally went public: It's about time!

I hope this does not affects Daria's return to more principal roles in the company.

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Bingham, she HAS been dancing quite a lot at home of late...but 'harem pants' roles as inScheherazade and Fountains...not Odette-Odile and other classical roles that should be hers, now that she is absolutely fit and slender, even more slender than her pre-pregnancy days. And her interpretive (dramatic) powers are stronger than ever. So she is being thrown a few carrots and, miraculously, was allowed to perform Cinderella twice in DC, although some would argue that giving her 3rd Cast and the Saturday matinee was an insult of sorts, compared to novice Shirinkina getting opening night (reviews) + Saturday night + closing performance (and being asked to substitute the injured Osmolkina on Friday night)...the newbee danced 4 performances vs. 2 for Pavlenko, and those 2 Pavlenko performances were in the less-desirable spots.

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Bingham, she HAS been dancing quite a lot at home of late...but 'harem pants' roles as inScheherazade and Fountains...not Odette-Odile and other classical roles that should be hers, now that she is absolutely fit and slender, even more slender than her pre-pregnancy days. And her interpretive (dramatic) powers are stronger than ever. So she is being thrown a few carrots and, miraculously, was allowed to perform Cinderella twice in DC, although some would argue that giving her 3rd Cast and the Saturday matinee was an insult of sorts, compared to novice Shirinkina getting opening night (reviews) + Saturday night + closing performance (and being asked to substitute the injured Osmolkina on Friday night)...the newbee danced 4 performances vs. 2 for Pavlenko, and those 2 Pavlenko performances were in the less-desirable spots.

She deserves O/O, Nikiya,Diamonds and her other famous roles.

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Absolutely, Mashinka. It was also interesting that, in this article, the MT's press representative, Oksana Tokranova, is quoted as saying that Keenan Kampa (USA) and Kim Kimin (S. Korea) are soloists (along with Xander Parish of the UK, who is at the Choryphee level). I suppose that Tokranova means that they are being given soloist-level roles (which is true)...but, last time that I checked both the Russian and English-language rosters of the company, Kampa is Corps de Ballet and Kimin is Trainee (not even corps de ballet). The rosters were published well into the current season (early October); it could be that this letter and concerns of the dancers' union may be why Kampa, in the end, was listed as corps & Kimin remains 'trainee'?

I am also wondering what may be the unofficial role of foreign tour sponsors, like Ardani/Kings of Dance, in the casting and opportunities for promotion? Yuri Fateev is, after all, a co-producer of Kings of Dance (as cited in his bio on the Kennedy Center playbill for two seasons in a row)...meaning a possible financial tie with Ardani, the main producers of Kings of Dance. One would hope that Fateev's role in tours does not influence the possibilities/fate of his dancers back home, i.e., that a perceptionof Western Aesthetics does not influence promotion of dancers who, for example, may not have the 'long legs' that Russians THINK the West wants to see.

It's all very interesting. 'Bravi' to Daria Pavlenko, Dmitri Pykhachev, and others who are the leading the Dancers' Union and calling for a government investigation.

Thank you for posting this information.

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Leonid, I appreciate your words but, lest we forget, it was Catherine who brought this general situation to light. The rest of us can wonder and ask hypothetical qs based on bits of knowledge.

Bingham, I totally agree with your list of roles that Daria Pavlenko deserves NOW.

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Absolutely, Mashinka. It was also interesting that, in this article, the MT's press representative, Oksana Tokranova, is quoted as saying that Keenan Kampa (USA) and Kim Kimin (S. Korea) are soloists (along with Xander Parish of the UK, who is at the Choryphee level). I suppose that Tokranova means that they are being given soloist-level roles (which is true)...but, last time that I checked both the Russian and English-language rosters of the company, Kampa is Corps de Ballet and Kimin is Trainee (not even corps de ballet). The rosters were published well into the current season (early October); it could be that this letter and concerns of the dancers' union may be why Kampa, in the end, was listed as corps & Kimin remains 'trainee'?

I am also wondering what may be the unofficial role of foreign tour sponsors, like Ardani/Kings of Dance, in the casting and opportunities for promotion? Yuri Fateev is, after all, a co-producer of Kings of Dance (as cited in his bio on the Kennedy Center playbill for two seasons in a row)...meaning a possible financial tie with Ardani, the main producers of Kings of Dance. One would hope that Fateev's role in tours does not influence the possibilities/fate of his dancers back home, i.e., that a perceptionof Western Aesthetics does not influence promotion of dancers who, for example, may not have the 'long legs' that Russians THINK the West wants to see.

It's all very interesting. 'Bravi' to Daria Pavlenko, Dmitri Pykhachev, and others who are the leading the Dancers' Union and calling for a government investigation.

(I share your "bravi" to the courage of Dasha and Dmitry for addressing this in such a black hole of communication. While it should not threaten their internal standing, that nonetheless is always a risk...)

I would not split hairs over categorization in ranking. Inside the company, there are only two salary rates: soloist and everyone else. Then within those categories salaries are individualized. There is more discussion in the West, than in Petersburg, about what rank a given dancer has -- "is she in the corps? Is she a first soloist? Is she a coryphee?" Internally that is not such an issue as it is here -- and as I think I noted before and others have also noticed, the Western program rankings on some tours may bear no relationship to the dancer's actual ranking inside the company. When I interviewed Fateyev this June, he said Kampa had been hired as a coryphee. But she's listed as a Principal or soloist on tour and a corps de ballet member on the website -- none of that matters really except how she's viewed internally by him in comparison to the other dancers (which also dictates salary levels at least for the Russians) as that will also determine what roles she's given, if they give her a personal pedagogue (none, as of October, that I"m aware of) and so forth. In any case this issue with the labor code violations began well before Kampa joined the company and before Kimin was promoted... As Pavlenko pointed out, the Law was created in 1986 and that country no longer exists, therefore the law should be updated as a start.

Regarding foreign sponsors, Ardani as I understand doesn't sponsor the company -- they just arrange the appearances. (I speak of, for example, the annual Kennedy Ctr stop, or this year's West Coast tour). Others may sponsor individual productions (new premieres) or tours, such as Mr. Takahashi.

I haven't seen the the Kings of the Dance written programs -- if it's true what you say Natalya then yes, that's a mutual working relationship between Fateyev and Ardani for that program.

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I would not split hairs over categorization in ranking. Inside the company, there are only two salary rates: soloist and everyone else. Then within those categories salaries are individualized. There is more discussion in the West, than in Petersburg, about what rank a given dancer has -- "is she in the corps? Is she a first soloist? Is she a coryphee?" Internally that is not such an issue as it is here -- and as I think I noted before and others have also noticed, the Western program rankings on some tours may bear no relationship to the dancer's actual ranking inside the company. When I interviewed Fateyev this June, he said Kampa had been hired as a coryphee. But she's listed as a Principal or soloist on tour and a corps de ballet member on the website -- none of that matters really except how she's viewed internally by him in comparison to the other dancers (which also dictates salary levels at least for the Russians) as that will also determine what roles she's given, if they give her a personal pedagogue (none, as of October, that I"m aware of) and so forth.

The dancers seem to be well aware of the five rankings from the website. For example, Tereshkina recites them in this interview (around 3:15): http://www.1tvnet.ru...e-balerini.html, and lists some privileges that come with the rank of prima ballerina---specifically, being able to dance only the leads.

Are you saying that Fateyev personally decides individual salary levels, roles, teacher assignments, etc, without any regard for the ranks posted on the website? If so, it seems like a recipe for disaster. What's the point then of having these ranks?

As to the incredible promotion of Kim Kimin from trainee to first soloist just at the time when the article and the company's response to it started receiving some publicity---I'm sure that's simply a coincidence. wink1.gif

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Yes obviously the principals are at another level. But to differentiate between first soloist second soloist and coryphee, when they often all interchange the same roles -- my point was that this is given more focus in the West than it is there.

As soon as a dancer achieves "principal" status -- and obtains a title of state (honored artist, for example) there are a slew of additional awards and privileges that come with it -- that is a fact and that sets them apart greatly from the others in the company/companies in question. Honored artists, or People's Artists, for example, receive monetary awards. Those are not just state honors, there is financial compensation involved as well.

No, Fateyev is not the only one who decides individual salary levels or rankings. I never wrote that he was.

He and others in the company don't pay much attention to the website though.

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"Are you saying that Fateyev personally decides individual salary levels, roles, teacher assignments, etc, without any regard for the ranks posted on the website? If so, it seems like a recipe for disaster. What's the point then of having these ranks?"

"Yes obviously the principals are at another level. But to differentiate between first soloist second soloist and coryphee, when they often all interchange the same roles"

I have no insider knowledge of the K-M, but in general nuances in casting (who gets what) tend to shift more quickly and more often than employment status and/or rank. In most companies I know, people are often cast "outside their rank" depending on their current status with their director, and the needs of the moment.

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I have no insider knowledge of the K-M, but in general nuances in casting (who gets what) tend to shift more quickly and more often than employment status and/or rank. In most companies I know, people are often cast "outside their rank" depending on their current status with their director, and the needs of the moment.

Exactly.

There is more news this morning, I can barely keep up with it. I will add the latest articles and try to translate/summarize.

First a meeting between the dancers and the company took place -- announced 20 minutes before the actual meeting, therefore attendance was limited, in which Gergiev spoke to the troupe. He said he would try to find housing for the dancers. The Rosbalt article suggests that while that is a great thing, the dancers were hoping for a concrete solution to the labour issues (and probably not just housing)

That article is here:

http://www.rosbalt.r...tion_ref_map=[]

It suggests that Gergiev promised to meet the artists again on Dec. 25th by which point, sources say, an answer from Moscow should be available to the dancers.

"As you recall, the ProfSoyuz of the ballet troupe of the Mariinsky turned to the Minister of Culture of the RF Vladimir Medinsky with a request to check the financial activity of the institution and the observance of legislation by the Mariinsky administration. [...]Gergiev later announced that the artists' concerns were understandable but not supported by any official dialogue "Even on the level of the ProfSoyuz, there has been no concrete conversation. Daria Pavlenko and a couple of dancers came to see me. Ten years ago Pavlenko was among those whose names were celebrated inside the Mariinsky Theatre. Today it's difficult to speak kof her with such certainty. Maybe her lesser employment today compared to those years disturbs her," Gergiev said.

Then Gergiev says that the majority of the artists' concerns is linked with not having a place to live [Note: opinion not fact] And then he says that needs to be discussed not by means of a letter but with the governor/president. I dont handle that."

Pavlenko pointed out that Gergiev had not addressed a single point in the letter they sent to the Culture Minister.

:http://www.rosbalt.r...tion_ref_map=[]

The other article I think I posted previously as it's date is rather old but I repost - as it mentions the $500/mo starting salary for corps members:

http://www.rosbalt.r...13/1057766.html

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I'm ITA with Catherine's posts re the internal workings of the company. Alleged violations of the Labor Code should be investigated if there’s a hint of fraud. I don’t doubt that government benefits (i.e. maternity leave funds, money paid under the table, pay to dance scams - etc.) have been misappropriated to certain people and not others. The question is can it be proven and is there tangible evidence of it. The Mariinsky receives State support. Plus it’s the nation’s “second” theatre - not some provincial backwater opera house in the steppes of Siberia. Why hasn't the Minister of Culture responded yet? Another question I have is where are the other Principals like Lopatkina, Korsuntsev (i.e. those who actually "matter" -> theoretically) on this?

Perhaps Mr. Medinsky has already been “tackled” or reeled in by the Mariinsky management i.e. long before this development. Or perhaps he’s dealing with the grievance du jour, (you know, 'one mess at a time,' - for example Kolya Tsiskaridze’s latest run in with the Bolshoi Theatre and “his” open [proxied?] letter signed by Bolshoi Opera greats a few weeks ago). That letter was almost immediately disavowed by some of them who later claimed 'functional illiteracy' at time of signing. Kolya Tsiskaridze may or may not be behind the latest Iksanov brouhaha; he hasn’t publicly denied it in the Russian media. But Dasha and Dmitri aren’t trying to start a Theatre coup d’etat. They're aiming to help bring about a decent living, casting and humane professional conditions for the members of the Mariinsky Ballet. Gergiev said (at least, what I understood of his reply), was that since the entire company hadn’t met or signed on to the letter, the complaints were not to be taken (too) seriously. It's "not his job" to address grievances; it's the Ministry of Culture's responsibility.

If he really feels that way, maybe the Maestro shouldn’t be running the entire enterprise (brand) any longer? Maybe he's overwhelmed with his enormous workload? He runs the Mariinsky Theatre, he's music director of the LSO and umpteen other orchestras too numerous to mention here. He runs musical festivals all over the Federation and throughout the world. He’s shown where his expertise lies and it’s not the ballet. In other words, he may (now) need an “Iksanov” type to be appointed as General Manager and Director of the Mariinsky Theatre to be his boss, and let him concentrate fully on the music and the singers just like he has always done. It occurs to me that he might be more attentive to the dancers' letter if they were also singing and/or playing an instrument under his baton. Obviously, Fateev should be ousted and an active and exhaustive search for an Artistic Director should begin immediately. To my mind, the Maestro has been either: 1) Too busy jet setting, conducting, collecting medals, doctorates and awards, and/or 2) too lazy to launch a meaningful and serious search for his ballet company. The company needs this position to be opened, posted for qualified applicants and filled yesterday. I hope that Mr. Medinsky reviews the letter as soon as possible (by Dec. 25), makes the inquiries, conducts the investigation and, if necessary, takes the appropriate action(s) that will favor the dancers, and make their lives more tolerable. All of the above is MO.

As you recall, the ProfSoyuz of the ballet troupe of the Mariinsky turned to the Minister of Culture of the RF Vladimir Medinsky with a request to check the financial activity of the institution and the observance of legislation by the Mariinsky administration. [...]Gergiev later announced that the artists' concerns were understandable but not supported by any official dialogue "Even on the level of the ProfSoyuz, there has been no concrete conversation. Daria Pavlenko and a couple of dancers came to see me. Ten years ago Pavlenko was among those whose names were celebrated inside the Mariinsky Theatre. Today it's difficult to speak of her with such certainty. Maybe her lesser employment today compared to those years disturbs her," Gergiev said.

Really angry.png? I won't even bother to address the Maestro's statement re Daria Pavlenko.

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Why the Minister hasn't replied yet-- unfortunately I don't know, and possibly the dancers do not know either. It sounds like with this most recent meeting the wagon wheels are beginning to turn, so hopefully the suggestion of the Dec 25th meeting means between now and then (20 days) something will be addressed or decided or at least a process begun. One would presume that time span will allow for meeting with the Minister (by Gergiev, or by the ProfSoyuz representatives). We can hope.

As for the principals -- I venture a guess that time plays a part in two ways. First, since they typically dance less frequently than the rest of the troupe, if they're not guesting, they have perhaps fewer rehearsals (I"m not saying they do not rehearse - but the load and focus is different). Corps members can be on stage every night of the week in the MT, in both operas and ballets, learning the new order of steps in yet another opera (or ballet) or filling in for someone who is sick/injured, and that after a full day of rehearsals. Remember - there are no union rules there, so no required breaks, no cut off at 6 p.m. and so forth. Fewer rehearsals means they (principals) can leave the theatre when they're not obligated to be there. They also have fewer performances than someone in the corps (you will never see Lopatkina, for example, dance 6 nights in a row, it just doesn't happen at this point in her career). This results in two things: in the case of Nioradze and Makhalina -- still on the list of principals -- they may never even be in the theatre aside from class (and in some cases, not even ever for class) if they're not performing. For the "active" principals, they will be there fewer hours (perhaps but not necessarily) than some corps members.

Also they have security of salary and rank and in most cases state titles...so the issues addressed in the list of Labor Code violations may not affect them to the same degree as it affects newer, younger dancers. They aren't competing for roles (they already have them) and they aren't trying to climb the ladder (they've already climbed).

The other factor is the "don't rock the boat" approach which many dancers -- in fact most Russians who I know -- still adopt. The idea of confronting authority is not well established in those raised during the Soviet years. (Lopatkina for example, was directly coached by Dudinskaya, lets not forget) It makes even me nervous to think of signing a petition for better conditions when the history of the theatre is such that people who didnt' do what the authorities liked were ushered out of the theatre -- starting with Konstantin Sergeyev himself along with Dudinskaya. If you knew or saw that happen, or heard of it, would you really try to "improve" things? (Granted he wasnt trying to change the system but the authorities did not like him for a number of reasons and he was removed by them) It takes courage for certain, because this path of reform is not well established in Russian culture or history and certainly not in theatre administration either. There is a precedent for...disaster... and there are many who by nature in Russia wont feel comfortable going down that road.

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.... Alleged violations of the Labor Code should be investigated if there’s a hint of fraud. I don’t doubt that government benefits (i.e. materinity leave funds, money paid under the table, pay to dance scams - etc.) have been misappropriated to certain people and not others. The question is can it be proven and is there tangible evidence of it. ....

The Mariinsky management is accused of playing even with Maternity Leave funds? Gee, I wonder ....consider the possibilities.....awwww, I'll just shush-up & let the facts come to light.

Seriously, these are horrendous allegations.

ITA with Cygnet re. Gergiev's petty comment on Pavlenko. I would have expected tha from Fateev, not Gergiev, who doesn't seem to know or care much about the ballet troupe. Perhaps Gergiev was given "talking points" to simply read before the cameras?

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The comment about Pavlenko was a low blow -it was made initially in one of the early Rosbalt articles around Nov. 25th ish, and just repeated in this one. It is clearly aimed at dismissing the issue as a personal gripe of hers, which could not be further from the truth. It demonstrates how dismissive the initial reaction was to this attempt -by a group of dancers not by Pavlenko herself- to rectify some problems. I dont get the idea the Soyuz is attacking the theatre, but it could be seen that way given how it has gone to press instead of being addressed internally... a snowball effect in a way...

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.... Alleged violations of the Labor Code should be investigated if there’s a hint of fraud. I don’t doubt that government benefits (i.e. materinity leave funds, money paid under the table, pay to dance scams - etc.) have been misappropriated to certain people and not others. The question is can it be proven and is there tangible evidence of it. ....

The Mariinsky management is accused of playing even with Maternity Leave funds? Gee, I wonder ....consider the possibilities.....awwww, I'll just shush-up & let the facts come to light.

Seriously, these are horrendous allegations.

ITA with Cygnet re. Gergiev's petty comment on Pavlenko. I would have expected tha from Fateev, not Gergiev, who doesn't seem to know or care much about the ballet troupe. Perhaps Gergiev was given "talking points" to simply read before the cameras?

ITA also. I am not a Pavlenko fan, but as the spokesperson for the dancers she had the right to be treated with respect, and Gergiev's comments about her were not just petty, but deliberately humiliating. However, whether or not he cares - and plainly he doesn't - by showing such disrespect of a dancer and dismissing the concerns of the company , he is only showing himself in his true, unpleasant colours. His remarks are a disgrace; the way in which he has allowed Mariinsky Ballet to be mismanaged even more so. I can only hope that the ball has now started rolling and all the allegations and rightful grievances voiced by the dancers will finally be addressed. This situation has been going on for far too long.

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.... Alleged violations of the Labor Code should be investigated if there’s a hint of fraud. I don’t doubt that government benefits (i.e. materinity leave funds, money paid under the table, pay to dance scams - etc.) have been misappropriated to certain people and not others. The question is can it be proven and is there tangible evidence of it. ....

The Mariinsky management is accused of playing even with Maternity Leave funds? Gee, I wonder ....consider the possibilities.....awwww, I'll just shush-up & let the facts come to light.

Seriously, these are horrendous allegations.

ITA with Cygnet re. Gergiev's petty comment on Pavlenko. I would have expected tha from Fateev, not Gergiev, who doesn't seem to know or care much about the ballet troupe. Perhaps Gergiev was given "talking points" to simply read before the cameras?

ITA also. I am not a Pavlenko fan, but as the spokesperson for the dancers she had the right to be treated with respect, and Gergiev's comments about her were not just petty, but deliberately humiliating. However, whether or not he cares - and plainly he doesn't - by showing such disrespect of a dancer and dismissing the concerns of the company , he is only showing himself in his true, unpleasant colours. His remarks are a disgrace; the way in which he has allowed Mariinsky Ballet to be mismanaged even more so. I can only hope that the ball has now started rolling and all the allegations and rightful grievances voiced by the dancers will finally be addressed. This situation has been going on for far too long.

I was really disgusted by the Pavlenko comment -- and I have no opinion about her as a dancer at all and did very much enjoy the one time I heard Gergiev conduct and believe him to be a great musician.

It is more dignified to ignore it, but I'm not that dignified. In a way, the comment convinced me (more than a 100 videos of Somova or Skorik with twisted torsos ever could) that there are fundamental problems with the way things are being run at the Mariinsky.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps...perhaps not. When the top guy talks that way, something is wrong.

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The entire system at the Mariinsky is rotten to the core. The top guy has an enormous conflict of interest. As the AD of the opera, he should be (and is!) interested in putting all the resources and effort into the opera and the orchestra. But as the GM of the entire company, he is supposed to pay attention to the ballet and opera companies in equal measure---perhaps more attention to the ballet which I suspect brings in more revenue. And clearly he does not. Knowing all this, no high-caliber ballet administrator or choreographer in his/her right mind would ever accept an offer to become the AD of the ballet. So trying to conduct a search for a ballet AD, as was proposed above, is doomed to failure in the current circumstances. Mariinsky Ballet's only hope is for Gergiev to resign or be dismissed from the position of the General Manager, or for the ballet to separate from the opera and become a stand-alone company. Neither one of these two scenarios is likely to happen, unfortunately.

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Catherine, I read with interest that Nioradze and Makhalina were not permitted to be in the theater if they were not in class or performing. Why on earth is this so?

I have seen Makhalina's name on the roster a couple of times recently which came as a surprise to me, but in my brief history of following MT I have never seen Nioradze dance. Was there some dispute? Or are they considered too old to perform now?

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