Jump to content


Joy Womack has left the Bolshoialleges corruption


  • Please log in to reply
269 replies to this topic

#211 swanchat

swanchat

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:49 PM

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

I think this is sound advice for her since she's unwilling to make an official complaint. 

 

The following is another example of inconsistencies in her story and these sorts of things are exactly why people are questioning and searching for facts. Not boredom, or a bad day at work but the whole mess is just too murky to believe without questions.

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.

 



#212 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:10 PM



 

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. 

...

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.

...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. ...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...

 

 

1.  She is criticized for having pursued (being advised to pursue?) a bad, high profile, (risky?) social media pr strategy, which backfired, and now you suggest she follow a standard Hollywood pr strategy, by going to rehab?  

2.  By the way, rehab for what?  Having had childhood dreams?  Growing up? Moving on? Giving up a dream? Not buying the hype? That is not an addiction.

3. I am sure after you suggest that she pursue a pr advised rehab period, the criticism of her credibility for going to rehab would follow.

4. I don't understand the dancer for Jesus claim or the quotation or how it applies.  Do religious people have to be infallible?  Did she claim to dedicate her dance to religion? I am not familiar with the for/against quotation, so I am not sure to what it refers.

5. Her dream of the Bolshoi "collapsed", true, but she seems very willing to accept that fact.  That doesn't seem like a basis for vitriol or the pr disappearing route suggested, but maybe some people are happy for others to fail.



#213 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:15 PM

 

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

I think this is sound advice for her since she's unwilling to make an official complaint.

A big difference exists between a threat and sound advice.  



#214 swanchat

swanchat

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

Who threatened her? Did she name those who threatened her? Filin gave her advice that she didn't like but I didn't read that he threatened her. She adds more to every interview but they are her words, her views. No way to substantiate them as she refuses to file a formal complaint or go to the authorities. Maybe she didn't like Filin's advice and complained of extortion. Maybe she didn't like the advice to be silent and said it was a threat, who knows? If I were threatened, I would go to the authorities. If I were her parent, I would insist that she go to the authorities and ask for protection. If she feels unsafe in doing so, then she might want to reconsider where she's chosen to live. Which brings us to the whole, that's the way it is in Russia thing. As outsiders, it's really not our privilege or responsibilty or opportunity to say when it doesn't fly anymore. As an American, she's an outsider, even if the sham marriage makes her a Russian citizen. Any changes at the Bolshoi will only happen when those in power (both at the company and from the state perspective) decide to change. The complaints of a disgruntled dancer will not cause that change. Unless she's willing to make formal charges of extortion and threats, no one is going to listen.



#215 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,767 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

Who threatened her? Did she name those who threatened her? Filin gave her advice that she didn't like but I didn't read that he threatened her. She adds more to every interview but they are her words, her views. No way to substantiate them as she refuses to file a formal complaint or go to the authorities. Maybe she didn't like Filin's advice and complained of extortion. Maybe she didn't like the advice to be silent and said it was a threat, who knows? If I were threatened, I would go to the authorities. If I were her parent, I would insist that she go to the authorities and ask for protection. If she feels unsafe in doing so, then she might want to reconsider where she's chosen to live. Which brings us to the whole, that's the way it is in Russia thing. As outsiders, it's really not our privilege or responsibilty or opportunity to say when it doesn't fly anymore. As an American, she's an outsider, even if the sham marriage makes her a Russian citizen. Any changes at the Bolshoi will only happen when those in power (both at the company and from the state perspective) decide to change. The complaints of a disgruntled dancer will not cause that change. Unless she's willing to make formal charges of extortion and threats, no one is going to listen.

 

I strongly disagree with this. I disagree with it when the same argument is used in the U.S. against immigrants -- "That's the way it is if you don't like it get back on the boat" rhetoric. It's the 21st century. The things that MANY Bolshoi dancers have described as "standard operating procedure" are not acceptable by 21st century standards.



#216 swanchat

swanchat

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 03:28 PM

It's ok to dislike the way things are done but I don't see how any of us here are going to change the way things are done at the Bolshoi.  I don't think one 19 year old disgruntled American dancer who makes allegations that she's unwilling to pursue with officials is going to change "the way things are done" at the Bolshoi. There is a difference... those US immigrants stood up for their rights in many cases and took to the courts or went to the police. Without being willing to name the people who commit the offenses, people are able to hide behind the "way things are" argument. Until this happens internally and the management decides to change, the situation will not change. IMO, it will take brave Russian dancers to insist that changes happen but given the recent departure of their stars maybe it's just easier to leave.



#217 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,767 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 04:06 PM

It's ok to dislike the way things are done but I don't see how any of us here are going to change the way things are done at the Bolshoi.  I don't think one 19 year old disgruntled American dancer who makes allegations that she's unwilling to pursue with officials is going to change "the way things are done" at the Bolshoi. There is a difference... those US immigrants stood up for their rights in many cases and took to the courts or went to the police. Without being willing to name the people who commit the offenses, people are able to hide behind the "way things are" argument. Until this happens internally and the management decides to change, the situation will not change. IMO, it will take brave Russian dancers to insist that changes happen but given the recent departure of their stars maybe it's just easier to leave.

 

Well actually in recent years some Russian stars (Maria Alexandrova, Irina Kolsenikova, some others) DID speak out about the extremely harsh and punitive training regimen in Russian schools. It's my understanding that many of the teachers that were named ended up retiring, and school curriculum in ballet schools in both Moscow and Vaganova was changed to be more "well-rounded," academic, more like an actual school than a ballet factory. That led to countercharges that instruction was no longer as "rigorous." 

 

But my point is that the "Russian way" CAN change. Not saying Womack went about this the right way (she didn't), but her complaints echo the complaints of other dancers at the Bolshoi, and so just to shrug it off as the "Russian way" is not productive. 



#218 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 04:33 PM

Who threatened her? Did she name those who threatened her? Filin gave her advice that she didn't like but I didn't read that he threatened her. She adds more to every interview but they are her words, her views. No way to substantiate them as she refuses to file a formal complaint or go to the authorities. Maybe she didn't like Filin's advice and complained of extortion. Maybe she didn't like the advice to be silent and said it was a threat, who knows? If I were threatened, I would go to the authorities. If I were her parent, I would insist that she go to the authorities and ask for protection. If she feels unsafe in doing so, then she might want to reconsider where she's chosen to live. Which brings us to the whole, that's the way it is in Russia thing. As outsiders, it's really not our privilege or responsibilty or opportunity to say when it doesn't fly anymore. As an American, she's an outsider, even if the sham marriage makes her a Russian citizen. Any changes at the Bolshoi will only happen when those in power (both at the company and from the state perspective) decide to change. The complaints of a disgruntled dancer will not cause that change. Unless she's willing to make formal charges of extortion and threats, no one is going to listen.

1. An article 2 days ago stated that two high level people threatened her, and I characterized what Filin's lawyer stated as a threat.  I interpret a threat to mean something very different from advice to go learn the ropes, or a whisper in the ear, saying that is not the best way to achieve one's goals.

2. I don't think anyone can "protect" her and many probably would not even want to protect her. Someone once dumped a body behind a fence across the street in front of my home.  They then walked across the street and asked my mother, "Did you see anything?" She told them, "No, I don't know what you are talking about."  Did she tell her family? Yes. Did she tell anyone else? Of course not. Do you think anyone else would have been able to "protect" her? At what cost?  Would you pay that price?  Would you allow your family to pay that price?  What would you achieve by it?  What would you lose by it?

3. I don't get the impression the 19 year old had a goal to change the way things are done at the Bolshoi.  Why would anyone think she did? From what I read in the newspapers, she just said she was mistreated and was told to do things she did not want to do, so she left. And she said, "This is what happened to me, in case you are looking to follow in my footsteps, beware."

4. If she would have gone to file a formal complaint in week 2 about nonpayment, as someone above indicates, do you think she would have had a better or worse reputation? She would have been labeled a "troublemaker", and not a "team player".  Her career would have been dead even before the end of the first year.  Haven't  you been told to "take one for the team"?  Only a very few places of employment are text-book, by the rules places.  Reality is very different than the what one is lead to believe exists when one sits behind the ivy walls of university or in other idealistic places.



#219 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 04:45 PM

She adds more to every interview but they are her words, her views. No way to substantiate them as she refuses to file a formal complaint or go to the authorities. Maybe she didn't like Filin's advice and complained of extortion. M

One cannot "substantiate" words that are spoken. Her filing a formal complaint would not "substantiate" anything.  Sure the cops could send her back with a wire to try to get someone to repeat it, but why would she do that?

 

It is a non sequitur to say she did not like advice to find out the way it is done (a sponsor/lover  and/or a payment)  and then complained (about him? seeking) extortion  She apparently was asked why she left, and, according to Keim, said she did not want to make a payment or get a sponsor.   If one did not like Filin's advice, why would one make up a complaint about him? She simply would not follow the advice.  The problem is, according to Keim, she told Kiem what the advice was, and that she left because she did not feel that following that advice was appropriate.



#220 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,152 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:14 PM

The things that MANY Bolshoi dancers have described as "standard operating procedure" are not acceptable by 21st century standards.

 

You mean not acceptable by our standards. They are apparently acceptable by 21st century Russian standards. It's one thing for Womack to complain about improper sexual advances made to her. But it's not our place as outsiders to protest their system. It's only our place to support Russians who do.



#221 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,572 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:46 PM

Telling her story serves as a warning all by itself.

If Americans stop going to the Bolshoi school, then perhaps the "warning" is meaningful, but the situation of other Americans who've been successful at the Bolshoi tells another story.
 

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.

If the fired employee is in the right. There's no proof that Ms. Womack was right in this situation, because she offers no proof of her accusations.
 

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

It is a claim. Who threatened or "threatened" her and what they said would elucidate whether she understood what was said more than she understood her position in the company, what the feedback that said she was unable to fit into the corps meant, or anything else she was told.

In any case, she spoke to the press and continues to speak to the press; threatening her, if it happened was not successful, but I don't know why they bothered, since her credibility in Russia is nil.

Filin's lawyer reserved the right to sue *after* she had made her statement to Izvetsia, in which she claimed she was not going to speak about it anymore.
 

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?

I don't see anyone saying that any dancer should have to have sex or give money for parts, directly or indirectly. It is the Russians' company as far as casting, typecasting, assessment of talent, promotions, touring, and advancement, just like you or I don't have a vote at NYCB or ABT. It's their taste and judgement, and the idea that all the swans must look alike is hardly specific to Russia: one look around the companies in the world outside Dance Theatre of Harlem shows that regardless of country.

I don't see NYCB or ABT being any less dictatorial, even if the AD's present more Americanized attitudes.

The Russian employment practices may change if there is social change within the country, if their practices lose them students and dancers -- the pipeline has been Mariinsky to Bolshoi, so I don't see that happening soon -- if
someone goes to the UN, and the UN intervenes, in other words, if there is an actual whistleblower, not an unhappy ex-employee.
 

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.

In fact, I said that Womack's situation is hardly unique only in there have been dancers of all ranks in the Bolshoi whose contracts have not been terminated even though they are rarely cast.
 

4. If she would have gone to file a formal complaint in week 2 about nonpayment, as someone above indicates, do you think she would have had a better or worse reputation?

She was not told to file a formal complaint about non-payment. She did not make a complaint about non-payment: she complained that too much withholding tax was taken from her paycheck, i.e., she was paid for the performances listed in her contract, without being issued a Russian tax ID. Urin addressed this and said the theater had handled it poorly. She claims to have done additional unpaid side performances for the experience, but that was her choice

Urin told her to go to the authorities about the criminal accusations she made concerning bribery.
 

They are apparently acceptable by 21st century Russian standards. It's one thing for Womack to complain about improper sexual advances made to her. But it's not our place as outsiders to protest their system. It's only our place to support Russians who do.

She isn't accusing anyone in the theater of making improper sexual advances: she accused a potential sponsor. Could NYCB prevent a CEO of a company from making the same offer to a ballerina in the company?

She complains she was told that she would have to pay for roles, which implicates employees of the theater and theater management (if only if their oversight capacity) in criminal activity. Even in 21st Century Russia, that behavior is technically criminal, or Urin wouldn't have told her to go to the police with her claim.

#222 vipa

vipa

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 978 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:56 PM

It truly seems that Womack had a kind of idolized version of Russian ballet and life in the Bolshoi.  She wanted to be a ballerina there, and it became a fixation.  She showed maturity in being able to move to Russian at a young age, learn the language etc. At the same time she showed tremendous immaturity in not picking up on clues along the way on how things work.  Did she really have no idea during the months she worked there that there were people who got ahead and people who didn't.  Did she not examine why some people got cast and others didn't.  I'm not saying that everyone who got cast paid or had a sponsor, I don't know that one way or the other.  But did Womack look at dancers who were advancing to try to figure it out?  I've been watching the AOL NYCB series. In one episode a soloist says that she definitely watches who Peter Martins seems to take interest in and why.

 

 

I'm sorry that Womack has gone through hard times, and had her dream broken.  At the same time she threw herself into a complicated situation that she was ill equipped to handle and now blames external forces.   



#223 Drew

Drew

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,116 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 05:59 PM

 

The things that MANY Bolshoi dancers have described as "standard operating procedure" are not acceptable by 21st century standards.

 

You mean not acceptable by our standards. They are apparently acceptable by 21st century Russian standards. It's one thing for Womack to complain about improper sexual advances made to her. But it's not our place as outsiders to protest their system. It's only our place to support Russians who do.

 

 

I'm very conscious of being an outsider whenever I comment on what I read going on in Russian ballet companies (or for that matter Russian Ballet Schools--see: other Russian ballet scandals--or indeed, though not on this message board, whenever I comment on what I hear from Russian acquaintances about Russian Universities or on what I read in an open letter from a Russian prisoner about conditions in Russian prisons etc. etc.).

 

Still, it's a pretty fine distinction to say it's not for us to criticize as outsiders, but it is for us to support Russians who do criticize. In any given case, why would I support internal critics if not because they shared my own "outsider" views? I may think Russians need to take the lead -- I DO think that in fact -- but I don't think there is no room for someone from outside saying they believe something is wrong or even involving themselves in peaceful protest. (I could give an example but it would take us straight to politics.)

 

I also think the situation is further complicated by the fact that Russian schools/companies are deliberately opening themselves to outsiders: it's inevitable in that context that outsider perspectives on how things operate there are going to be aired. And, I think, in most cases, they should be with the caveat that we certainly should be sensitive to differing contexts.

 

However, none of the above was actually meant as a direct reflection on Joy Womack's experiences or what she says about them or what she ought to do next. She seems to be a talented dancer--I hope she builds a successful career.



#224 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 663 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 06:20 PM

 

The things that MANY Bolshoi dancers have described as "standard operating procedure" are not acceptable by 21st century standards.

 

You mean not acceptable by our standards. They are apparently acceptable by 21st century Russian standards. It's one thing for Womack to complain about improper sexual advances made to her. But it's not our place as outsiders to protest their system. It's only our place to support Russians who do.

 

I wasn't aware we were governed by the prime directive.

 

By this reasoning, it is not our place as outsiders to criticize such practices as female genital mutilation.

 

While I agree it is much more productive for such criticism to come from within a culture, that doesn't mean we have to say or feel that practices that we find morally objectionable are fine because we are outsiders.



#225 puppytreats

puppytreats

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 751 posts

Posted 23 November 2013 - 06:23 PM

 
 

4. If she would have gone to file a formal complaint in week 2 about nonpayment, as someone above indicates, do you think she would have had a better or worse reputation?

She was not told to file a formal complaint about non-payment.

Helene, This was in response to Swanchat, who stated: "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."




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):