Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Joy Womack has left the Bolshoialleges corruption


  • Please log in to reply
274 replies to this topic

#196 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:29 AM

"Of course" the hospital *would* tamper with witnesses is an absurd generalization.

I said there was no reason to fire her. (That's what you quoted.) There is not a strong relationship between them not giving out roles and firing dancers. As she was on a contract, they simply could have left her contract lapse had they wanted.

She claims to have left. One of the articles in Links insists she was fired. The company hasn't addressed her claims or made a statement.

The Bolshoi has not used either of the PR strategies you've proposed.

You are right, i should have said "could" instead of "would".

 

Maybe when the person discussed in the article said she was fired, he was saying that she was "fired", or constructively discharged, by giving her little to no work, giving her little to no pay (including "forgetting" to pay her - sorry, I forget which article), having high level teachers taunt her (article of 2 days ago), having high level people threaten her (article 2 days ago).   It is like when a landlord somehow forgets to put the heat on, or fails to repair a leak, or blasts the radio all night, and then tenant loses the war of attrition, and is effectively "evicted."



#197 swanchat

swanchat

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:47 AM

If she wasn't paid, she should have left long ago. Professional dancers expect to be paid for their work. She seemed so intent on making her dreams come true that she didn't do what reasonable people would do. Or maybe she was so publicly invested in the dream to be the "First American principal dancer" that she just didn't know how to let go and save face. Right now, it seems that she is her own worst enemy. Continuing to make these accusations and broaden them without taking official action just makes her appear more immature, more whiny and more like a disgruntled employee (which she is). If she was being threatened and extorted then she should make an official complaint, otherwise, she should use your 1st suggestion of staying silent (as she said she would).  She's gone from the Bolshoi, sour grapes doesn't help her and isn't going to change the environment there. The Bolshoi doesn't seem to care about her and this story is getting stale. She's not convincing, her own social media has inconsistencies that don't make her credible. The story will die (thankfully for her) and she needs to stop giving interviews about this and set about the business of finding a director that is brave enough to take an employee with a history of venting anger to the press and who will give her the chance to regroup and hopefully, will let her start with less hype as a member of the corps and earn solo roles instead of begging for them.



#198 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,269 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:54 AM

Apparently some types of public assertions make management defensive, but not others.

 

http://www.themoscow...ml?ask_mobile=Y

 

I haven't kept track of this whole drama, but...re: the previously unnamed source who suggested Womack to pay for a part or to get a sponsor to do so.  Has he been publicly identified already...?  According to the above article, it was Filin.

 

"Last week, Izvestia reported that Joy Womack, one of the first American ballerinas to graduate from the Bolshoi Academy, in 2012, and formerly a soloist at the Bolshoi Ballet, said that Filin told her to find a wealthy sponsor or pay $10,000 herself to perform on stage..."

 



#199 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:07 AM

If she wasn't paid, she should have left long ago. ... Right now, it seems that she is her own worst enemy. Continuing to make these accusations and broaden them without taking official action just makes her appear more immature, more whiny and more like a disgruntled employee (which she is

1.  She seems to have left quickly - in her first year.   

2. Have you ever had a nonpaid bill, been asked for time to make payment, wait for collections?  Maybe she trusted them, gave them a chance, waited like she was told, expecting to get paid, and then couldn't live on vapors anymore. 

3. I always laugh when employers excuse all of their misbehavior based on label of "disgruntled" employee.  Almost anyone who leaves a job is "disgruntled".  If one is not paid and leaves, one is rightfully "disgruntled."  If one is told to rub the black off one's face, one is rightfully disgruntled.  If one is taunted and chased out, one is disgruntled.  That doesn't mean the employer was not stealing her money and labor, enslaving her, tormenting her, prostituting her, discriminating against her, etc.

4. You are cavalier in ignoring the threats that were made against her. Complaining to the authorities, after being told to STFU, would not help that. It does not make what she said untrue.

5. If you were threatened, I assure you that you would be upset, to say the least. To criticize someone for being angry is strange.



#200 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:38 AM

I have watched a few of her clips on youtube just now, but my eye is not trained enough to really critique her technique. 

 

The above quote is taken from writer's comment about Precious Adams, NOT Joy Womack. I am responding to only that.

I do have a trained eye and watched all five videos (thanks for mentioning that there are videos). Miss Adams, while long-limbed and trim, not only doesn't have a strong enough technique, she is lacking in any Russian technique nuances that students of the Vaganova method have ingrained in them. Granted, the videos are over a year and half old, but she was still old enough to have attained, at the very least, the "Russian look". She dances, in her videos posted in early 2012, like a pretty good dance student with far to go.

 

I can also see, in the video with the Russian teacher coaching her in a Don Q variation, that the teacher is not very interested - more vexed than pleased - and rises from her armchair only a few times to walk toward Miss Adams, her student, in order to give corrections. We see the most attention given in the last run-through of the variation, ending with a curt curtsy (no smile, or God forbid, a hug) by the teacher to indicate the coaching session is finished.

 

Even in the quick port de bras the teacher demonstrates herself during one of her corrections, you see the very Russian-ness of her movement, which you never see in Miss Adam's movements. At that stage of development, technique among Bolshoi students is usually pretty much in their back pockets and they are working on artistry and fluidity of movement. Miss Adams performs a series of steps when she dances - in the way of many an American student who doesn't consider the variation as a whole or think about the meaning of the movements. And she struggles with many of the steps.

 

Without going into any other part of the issue, I offer my opinion solely on the quality of her dancing.



#201 seniordancer

seniordancer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:52 AM

...she needs to stop giving interviews about this and set about the business of finding a director that is brave enough to take an employee with a history of venting anger to the press and who will give her the chance to regroup and hopefully, will let her start with less hype as a member of the corps and earn solo roles instead of begging for them.

 

Yes, Womack is her worst enemy. If she were a young Hollywood wannabe actress, this would be the perfect time for her publicist to announce that she is entering rehab for delusions of (ballet) grandeur. 

 

Yesterday, the Daily Mail UK published a big and colorful article with the headline  "First American at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet leaves claiming she was told to pay $10,000 bribes just for the smallest roles". Only a few hours later, they published a correction, in which the word "leaves" was replaced with "QUITS", in capital letters. One can only wonder who found it so important to get this word replaced.

 

Also yesterday, the New York Times published a correction in regard to their Womack article

http://www.nytimes.c...-2013.html?_r=0

finally pointing out that "she was one of the first Americans — not the first — to join the Bolshoi after graduating from its training academy in Moscow"

 

This was high time because I have been reading for years that there were other Americans before her at the Academy who kept quiet because they didn't want to make a big fuss over this.

 

Yes, she should go back to the barre and reassess her abilities and her goals and learn humility. I find it very sad when you call yourself "A dancer for Jesus" and always mention your faith but use this in the way of "As He is FOR me, who dares to be AGAINST me" - but that's another story.

In my very personal opinion, Womack's big dream collapsed within two minutes and she is unwilling to accept this fact. She started her first season with the Bolshoi in September of 2012 as a corps member who was promised to get the chance to dance a solo part. After rehearsals, the Bolshoi opened the new season in November, and on December 31, 2012, Womack got her solo chance with the Spanish Doll in The Nutcracker. And with this performance, it went all down the drain.

She claims she did well, even offering the world a triple fouetté where only a double was required. But this was not what mattered. The PERFORMANCE mattered, her dancing. And she must have failed in the eyes of those responsible. Again, in my very personal opinion, this was the moment when Womack should have woken up. But she didn't. And she still hasn't. And this cannot be excused with a still not fully developed frontal lobe. Dancers are used to having fans from a very young age. Being the best in your class at your local ballet school makes you the idol for the little ones that dream of dancing like you. This can become an addiction and it seems to be one in Womack's case. So, maybe, going to "rehab" is not such a bad idea...



#202 swanchat

swanchat

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:57 AM

1. She seems to have left quickly - in her first year.


No, according to her, she accepted a job at the Bolshoi right after she graduated in 2012 (2012-2013) season and returned for the 2013-2014 season. If she wasn't being paid, why on earth would she return?




2. Have you ever had a nonpaid bill, been asked for time to make payment, wait for collections? Maybe she trusted them, gave them a chance, waited like she was told, expecting to get paid, and then couldn't live on vapors anymore.


It sounds like she was on some sort of production contract where payment is due only upon being cast, rehearsing and dancing in a production. According to her, she only danced 6-7 times while at the Bolshoi. If she was only paid as a production contract employee, she probably was running on vapors. Putting emotions and dreams aside, no money means it's time to move on. Production contracts aren't unusual in large companies. POB among others award these. I've known a couple of dancers trained other than the POBS who dreamed of dancing at POB, accepted the contract and then weren't used enough to stay and moved on, quietly. If she was on a regular contract and wasn't paid regularly, then after the 2nd missed payment, she should have lodged a formal complaint, requested her pay and left with her training and company affiliation on her resume.


 



3. I always laugh when employers excuse all of their misbehavior based on label of "disgruntled" employee. Almost anyone who leaves a job is "disgruntled". If one is not paid and leaves, one is rightfully "disgruntled." If one is told to rub the black off one's face, one is rightfully disgruntled. If one is taunted and chased out, one is disgruntled. That doesn't mean the employer was not stealing her money and labor, enslaving her, tormenting her, prostituting her, discriminating against her, etc.


She wasn't enslaved. She could have and probably should have walked away long before now. If she felt tormented, no one was holding her there. If you insist that she was prostituted, look at the facts, it seems that she prostituted herself to become a Russian citizen. If she was discriminated against for being American, she must have known the bias going in... she had been in Russia for 3 years.

 

ETA: withholding taxes is not stealing. (It might feel like it, but that's another conversation!)



4. You are cavalier in ignoring the threats that were made against her. Complaining to the authorities, after being told to STFU, would not help that. It does not make what she said untrue.


I am not being cavalier, accusations of these sort of are highly disturbing to anyone who loves ballet, has a family member in the field or is or was in the field themselves. Without making a formal complaint no one can make an informed judgement about her statements.



5. If you were threatened, I assure you that you would be upset, to say the least. To criticize someone for being angry is strange.

The criticism is not that she is angry, it's that she's inconsistent, unwilling to follow through with her accusation and instead of trying to keep the hype going, just needs to move on and be quiet unless she's willing to see the accusation through. The press is not the place to file a complaint.



#203 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,328 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:01 AM

1.  She seems to have left quickly - in her first year.

She said she left because she would not use her body or her money to get parts.
 

2. Have you ever had a nonpaid bill, been asked for time to make payment, wait for collections?  Maybe she trusted them, gave them a chance, waited like she was told, expecting to get paid, and then couldn't live on vapors anymore.

She did not claim that she never received payment for her contract. In fact, she said she was paid, but that 30% withholding was taken from it.

She said she did unpaid, unofficial work because she thought it would get her exposure in parts.

Many young dancers from NYCB gained invaluable one-on-one coaching and experience for taking part in Jacques d'Amboises little tours. (I've never heard these were unpaid, but they likely paid only a small amount, given the venues where they performed.)
 

3. I always laugh when employers excuse all of their misbehavior based on label of "disgruntled" employee.  Almost anyone who leaves a job is "disgruntled".  If one is not paid and leaves, one is rightfully "disgruntled."  If one is told to rub the black off one's face, one is rightfully disgruntled.  If one is taunted and chased out, one is disgruntled.  That doesn't mean the employer was not stealing her money and labor, enslaving her, tormenting her, prostituting her, discriminating against her, etc.
4. You are cavalier in ignoring the threats that were made against her. Complaining to the authorities, after being told to STFU, would not help that. It does not make what she said untrue.

You can laugh all you want, but it's always been an effective strategy.

Complaining does not make what she said true, either, although I personally don't doubt that a prospective sponsor offered her whatever influence he had in exchange for sex, that a person she respected told her that she needed to pay for parts, although how serious this person is and whether that person was correct is questionable, that she was told to learn to survive in the company by observing/asking how the other dancers did it, or that she was told she was stylistically and (on stage) temperamentally unsuited to be in the corps.
 

5. If you were threatened, I assure you that you would be upset, to say the least. To criticize someone for being angry is strange.

She said she was pressured, but doesn't give details. Pressure is not always coercion: it is often a warning that a person is going down the wrong path for his or her own good. She wrote on Twitter and re-confirmed in an Izvetsia interview before Filin's attorney said a thing. She spoke before she said she was pressured, not in response to pressure not to speak, at least according to the official news on record.
 
 

I haven't kept track of this whole drama, but...re: the previously unnamed source who suggested Womack to pay for a part or to get a sponsor to do so.  Has he been publicly identified already...?  According to the above article, it was Filin.
 
"Last week, Izvestia reported that Joy Womack, one of the first American ballerinas to graduate from the Bolshoi Academy, in 2012, and formerly a soloist at the Bolshoi Ballet, said that Filin told her to find a wealthy sponsor or pay $10,000 herself to perform on stage..."

No, she said she wouldn't name the person out of respect.  At least one of the articles in Links identifies this person as a director, but never states that Womack said this.  I think it's a safe assumption that if she still respected the person, it was not the person who was collecting money for parts, if that is even true.  Since there's no context, it isn't clear whether this was a cynical comment made to her, since she didn't follow up.

#204 Turandot

Turandot

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:33 AM

My impression of Womack trying to come across as a forgiving person stems from two things. First, she insists that she will not divulge the identity of the coach who mentioned the $10k bribe, because she still respects this coach. Womack seems to be portraying herself as a loyal person in that regard. She wants to somehow come across as a loyal person even as she, in a disloyal way, accuses Bolshoi staff of serious crimes. This type of behavior fits the definition of passive-aggressiveness. Being a concerned whistleblower means you should be ready to provide evidence on record. There is no half hearted way of being the whistleblower unless the real intent is not to serve warning to others, but to gain sympathy and publicity for your own plight.

I also think it is funny that there are now two famous American so-called whistleblowers taking up residence in Russia. Snowden and Womack.

#205 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,328 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 11:38 AM

Snowden's situation is off-limits to discussion on Ballet Alert!, as it is a political issue that has nothing to do with ballet.

Womack did not flee to Russia to escape the consequences of whistle-blowing elsewhere. If anything, the more dire consequences of her interviews would be expected to be in Russia.

#206 seniordancer

seniordancer

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:35 PM

A little while ago, someone asked the question whether Joy Womack was the only one in her class that was hired by the Bolshoi in 2012. The answer is no. There were two other girls, Anastasia Denisova and Alexandra Rakitina, in her class. They are still with the Bolshoi, in the corps, and if I understood a French article correctly that I read at the time, these other two girls were invited by the Bolshoi to join the company after graduation, while Womack had to go through a regular audition process to secure her spot. And this may be the reason why the Bolshoi now says that she was hired because she was "persistent".



#207 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,319 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:54 PM

Being a concerned whistleblower means you should be ready to provide evidence on record. There is no half hearted way of being the whistleblower unless the real intent is not to serve warning to others, but to gain sympathy and publicity for your own plight.

 

Telling her story serves as a warning all by itself. Choosing to withhold certain details for the sake of someone she respects is honorable in my book.



#208 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

1. Yes, often claiming someone who is rightfully "disgruntled" is "effective" and suffices to eliminate any objective review of the content of the fired employees' complaints, Helene. The smear defeats justice and revictimizes the employees.

2. Turandot, I don't see how being protective of or loyal to a director (whom she does not seem to have accused of wrongdoing) is equivalent to "forgiving" the theater.

3. Turandot, I agree with Helene regarding whistleblowing.  Snowden was granted asylum in Russia, whereas she is in the center of the storm, complaining about her treatment in a Russian school.

4. Turandot/Helene, I think there is a difference between explaining why she left to warn people who had read about her in the news (as a way to promote students to the school?) that her experience was not what she expected, and being a "whistleblower" trying to engage in a formal review or change the system or get people in trouble. 

5. Helene, the threats to be silent were mentioned in the article two days ago.



#209 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,901 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:15 PM

Here;s the thing: I've seen many things in this thread (and elsewhere) simply shrugged off as the "Russian way." This includes securing rich patrons as lovers, abusive coaching practices, bribery, racism, and most of all, a dictatorial system of management. These are not accusations unique to Womack -- other dancers have complained about the same thing. 

 

My question, is, at what point, does the "oh well, they're Russian" excuse not fly anymore? 



#210 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:35 PM

Here;s the thing: I've seen many things in this thread (and elsewhere) simply shrugged off as the "Russian way." This includes securing rich patrons as lovers, abusive coaching practices, bribery, racism, and most of all, a dictatorial system of management. These are not accusations unique to Womack -- other dancers have complained about the same thing. 

 

My question, is, at what point, does the "oh well, they're Russian" excuse not fly anymore? 

Helene says her situation was not unique. Many articles about Womack quote dancers who say that what Womack said is not far off. Others on these boards say it is the Russian way. The "New Yorker" magazine article on the Bolshoi renovation said that the locals thought the bribes and sexual favors were no big deal, and shrugged it off.  Certainly, Pavel D. Nichola Tsiskaridze, A. Voloch__ (sorry spelling) and the open letter writers support claims about the favors and money. Certainly we know about the money lost in the renovation, the power struggles, and the acid violence.

 

That is why I don't understand all the people on the board insisting that Womack is making up a reason for leaving as a face saving excuse to cover for her having been a failure in the big leagues after having been an inspiration to local children in her ballet school.  She can be only suitable to be a minor leaguer and still be truthful about having faced all of the above situations that many people seem to confirm without thinking it is a big deal.

 

Why do they ignore the plethora of confirmations, and say she is only a disgruntled liar?  Because of deleting a twitter account (which she may have thought better of or may have been advised to do)? Because of some social media inconsistencies?  I think some people who write on the internet, even on these boards, sometimes make statements to be provocative, or to debate, or to promote one person at the expense of another, or out of boredom, or to see what people say in response, or because of changed moods, or changed opinions, or a bad day at work.  This may give rise to "inconsistencies", but does not render the people posting as otherwise bad people or warranting disbelief if they were to be put on a stand and sworn in to testify under oath, over something important or of consequence. 




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):