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Joy Womack has left the Bolshoialleges corruption


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#121 duffster

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:18 PM

Me either- I thought that Olga Smirnova was married to the son of Filin's assistant.



#122 macnellie

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:18 PM

Olga Smirnova married Dilyara Timegarzina's son this fall. Joy married a fellow dance student last year named Nikita. None of these people are in tiskaridize's camp.

#123 Helene

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:21 PM

Thank you Jayne, duffster, and macnellie for the correction.  I've been reading more on the Bolshoi than I ever wanted to know, and I got the two issues (attack on Filin and trial reports vs. Womack leaving the Bolshoi) scrambled.
 
I've made a correction in the original post (struck out the incorrect info and added (*) the correct info, so that no one is misled by my mistake.  My apologies to writer.

#124 writer

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 03:45 AM

That's no problem, Helen. There is quite a lot going on at the Bolshoi.

 

Is it common for teenagers to marry in Russia? I understand Joy needed a visa, but Smirnova is obviously a Russian citizen.

 

Here is the latest interview with Joy:

 

http://www.latimes.c...0,7437189.story

 

She seems to clear up some things. It has become apparent to me that the adults around her were leading her on. Some were trying to be nice (letting her dance on her birthday) but they could not shield her from the harsh realities of the theater.

 

I agree that if Bolshoi were a law firm, it would be a top white shoe law firm. However, it is not necessary to work in one to be a great attorney.  Same with Joy, she can find success in a different company. She seems very resilient and I am sure she will find her place. What a person wants at 18 is usually not what they want at 25. This is a huge blow for her but I think in the end it will work out.

 

 

ETA: Her version of her Nutcracker solo is that she did well, some reports are that she did not. We'll really never know unless we can find an uninterested witness.



#125 swanchat

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:37 AM

Does anybody know the veracity of whether or not Womack was given a red diploma and how common that is at the Bolshoi? Who else might have gotten one and how is that dancer faring? 

I wondered the same thing. The only thing a google search shows up is on her springform site; she states that she got the red diploma and goes on to state that Nastia Limenko also received a red diploma. She also states that Nastia Limenko went to the Stanislavsky. The Academy's Facebook page doesn't seem to list the graduates or honors for them but there are several entries from a Womack- dad? with photos and videos of her performing what looks like the lead in the school's performance of Paquita. Perhaps someone who understands Russian or has access to the school announcements from JW's graduating class could confirm her statements but a simple google search only shows statements in social media.



#126 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 07:05 AM

 

 

ETA: Her version of her Nutcracker solo is that she did well, some reports are that she did not. We'll really never know unless we can find an uninterested witness.

 

Or a video, I suppose. Easier to assess for oneself when it's not filtered through others' ideas.



#127 puppytreats

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 08:14 AM

 

 

 

I agree that if Bolshoi were a law firm, it would be a top white shoe law firm. However, it is not necessary to work in one to be a great attorney.  Same with Joy, she can find success in a different company. She seems very resilient and I am sure she will find her place. What a person wants at 18 is usually not what they want at 25. This is a huge blow for her but I think in the end it will work out.

 

 

ETA: Her version of her Nutcracker solo is that she did well, some reports are that she did not. We'll really never know unless we can find an uninterested witness.

 

Catherine, on 20 Nov 2013 - 05:55 AM, said:snapback.png

 

 


Yet those first years often have three years of reviewing documents and sitting in a library doing research during their minimum 80-hour/week summer internships during law school, were editors of their Law Reviews, and were mentored not only by the best academic legal minds, but also by teachers with years of actual experience in some law schools. If they can't expect more than anonymous scut work as a first year, why would a newly minted member of the corps at the equivalents of Skadden, Arps, et. al. expect special opportunities?

Interesting analogy. It would be interesting to hear from someone who had a similar experience at a white shoe law firm or a big law firm.   (I once read a book, a long time ago, which, I think, asserted that Skadden was formed as a response to discrimination in white shoe firms, so I have never thought of it as "white shoe".)

 

I can attest to lots of "scut work" at small firms, too.   One of my main jobs there was to make love and war with the photocopy machine (an olden day, broken down, beaten up, miserable s.o.b. who caused me many late nights and misery.)   The dungeon document reviews were a reprieve and relative pleasure in comparison.  Boring, tedious, skin destroying, but a break from the fight with the toner and paper jams.   

 

Back to ballet:  an uninterested witness would give his opinion, but we have seen wide divergences of opinion, from observers of the same performance.  



#128 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 08:19 AM

Answering Writer here: Yes, it is very common that teenagers marry in Russia. Why it is like that I don't know. It is certainly not to get away from parents, as many newly weds have to live with their in laws. Maybe it is just a local custom, like here in Sweden people tend to get married very late and first time mothers are getting older all the time - I think average age of a first mother here is about 35.

#129 sandik

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 08:37 AM

 

I can attest to lots of "scut work" at small firms, too.   One of my main jobs there was to make love and war with the photocopy machine (an olden day, broken down, beaten up, miserable s.o.b. who caused me many late nights and misery.)   The dungeon document reviews were a reprieve and relative pleasure in comparison.  Boring, tedious, skin destroying, but a break from the fight with the toner and paper jams.  

 

 

I spent a chunk of time working for a small firm when I got out of school -- greetings to another vet of the Great Copier Wars!



#130 tutu

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 09:21 AM

The Morning News has published a story describing a talk Womack gave at a Virginia library five days before leaving, and may have summed up the whole mess  perfectly:

 

Joy’s fairy-tale role as the first American to dance with the renowned Bolshoi had become a cautionary tale for those same young dancers she had hoped to inspire.



#131 Mashinka

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 09:34 AM

Answering Writer here: Yes, it is very common that teenagers marry in Russia. Why it is like that I don't know. It is certainly not to get away from parents, as many newly weds have to live with their in laws. Maybe it is just a local custom, like here in Sweden people tend to get married very late and first time mothers are getting older all the time - I think average age of a first mother here is about 35.

20 years ago it was customary for the happy couple to receive a generous supply of vodka to mark the occasion from the state.  Perhaps this still happens.  In the UK people are becoming increasingly averse to marrying at all.



#132 Helene

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

A quote from the LA Times article:

"It was a huge lesson for me," she said. "They have so much money at the Bolshoi, they have the best building in the world, they have so many talented people. What they however need is attitude adjustment."


That will go over well, I'm sure.

#133 puppytreats

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 12:02 PM

This recent quotation exemplifies why I discounted as convenient, facile, or insufficient, the suggestions that her ego and demand for solo roles, and her inability to deal with being a small fish in a big pond:

"I begged to be put in corps de ballet just to be able to dance on the stage. 'No', they would say. 'You are sticking out, you are too different, you raise your leg too high, you do it way too emotionally.' She had to live on less than $500 a month in Moscow, one of the most expensive cities in the world, trying to eat her meals at the theater's canteen to save money. And even then she didn't always get paid. 'They even forgot to pay my salary on time and would sporadically pay me something in cash when they realized I was there,' she said. In March, Womack persuaded Galina Stepanenko, then the acting ballet chief, to watch her dance her Cinderella rendition for "The Sleeping Beauty," which had a four-show vacancy for the role. Stepanenko told her she was 'charming' and that the part was quite 'fitting' for her but the role suddenly went to a friend of Filin's wife, Womack said. 'I was frustrated and really desperate,' she said. 'Never on any cast list. I was always on the reserve showing up for performances and sitting in the wings. Dancers and teachers started making jokes about her. 'Someone said that I was an American cheerleader with the company, dancing and noiselessly screaming 'Yeah! Yeah!' in the wings," she recalled, her brown eyes tearing up. 'It would have been funny if it were not so sad.' One teacher said he couldn't stand watching her doing nothing and managed to arrange for her to appear in the corps in "Ivan the Terrible" on April 20, her birthday. That was a birthday gift she would never forget, she said. In the year that she was with Bolshoi, she danced the "Nutcracker" part once and made seven appearances in three different shows with the company corps. ...'She was such a hardworking young woman and real fan and patriot of the Bolshoi from the very beginning, said Vyskubenko, who Womack said helped her get her bearings in the theater. 'She was ready to do any work, to dance anything, but she was kind of lost and little noticed from the very start. Soon she practically turned into a kind of ghost on the premises.'"

 

She never seems to indicate a dissatisfaction with being in the corps, but rather, a desire to be in the corp.  Her complaints to Sergei Filin also don't seem to be in that vein, either:  

"'When I finally approached him with pleas to give me the lowest corps de ballet contract, he said to me: 'You must be smarter, Joy. You must be sneakier. You should talk with other dancers and find out how it works here and what is the best way for you to be here,'" Womack said. She quit the next day."

 

 

I am not saying she deserved to dance, to be in the corps, or to be a soloist.  I just did not read any interviews that made me think she quit because of grunt work or a sense of entitlement.



#134 Helene

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 12:32 PM

It is not true that she never expressed dissatisfaction with dancing in the corps, because when she went for advice, the advice was for getting prominent parts. She didn't reply, "But I want corps roles, not $10/K per solo roles."

She wanted to be in the corps rather than dance nothing. That is a lament of just about every soloist who has been on the record: not being given solos and not allowed (back) into corps roles. The Bolshoi is not a 30-50-dancer-sized company where soloists have to dance senior corps roles just to put the ballets on stage.

She quotes "them" as to why they didn't want her to be in the corps: she didn't fit the role in their estimation. It's their company; they get to make that judgement call. They could make it on the basis of her line, that she emoted too much, and her dancing didn't meld into the group -- pretty much the "Chorus Line" corrections the Director gives Cassie -- or they could make it on the basis of her enthusiasm, which was a cultural misfit from the start. She says nothing about trying to take that feedback and adjusting her dancing to fit their specs.

Filin, whom she claimed she wouldn't speak about, told her to "talk to the other dancers and find out how it works here and what is the best way for you to be here." She had no obligation to fit in culturally or learn and follow the group norms, and she left to join a smaller company in Russia. (She's confirmed that, only not which one.).

She thinks the problem is with them, and they need to change their attitude, a bigger indicator that she thought much more highly of her place than even expecting important roles. They begged to differ.

#135 swanchat

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 12:43 PM

I am not saying she deserved to dance, to be in the corps, or to be a soloist.  I just did not read any interviews that made me think she quit because of grunt work or a sense of entitlement.

This whole affair is just murky. She was hired into the corps according to her own statements on social media, the AD says she was in the corps but she calls herself a soloist. And she says in many interviews that she asked/begged for featured roles. That's pretty cheeky for a brand new, just out of school dancer. It looks like she danced one night in a solo role in Nutcracker. Many corps dancers are given the opportunity to cover and ultimately dance a solo role. It's a chance for the dancer to show that they can handle being out there in the spotlight alone. One solo role doesn't make anyone a soloist.

 

And now she says she begged to dance in the corps. If she was told she didn't fit in the corps, that's not a good thing in any company- large,small, Russian or anywhere else in the world. It's not a compliment; it makes a dancer less likely to be used. The hard facts that aren't murky are that she didn't dance in the corps or as a soloist to any great degree while she was at the Bolshoi, no matter what rank she describes herself to be. Patience would have been a virtue. She was a new dancer in a very large company. There is a lot of standing around, waiting and hoping in this situation. New dancers are wise to learn every single spot in the corps when they are called to rehearsals. It's not assumed that new dancers will dance corps roles at all and every single person standing in the back (in reserve and on the sidelines) is just hoping for the chance to go in at a moments notice and dance in the corps.

 

And this new interview? Goodness, someone please save this girl and tell her to be quiet now. She's made accusations which she doesn't look prepared to take any further than the press. She's quit her job or she was fired according to one article.  She's thrown her twitter tantrum. And in the process, she has burned bridges and potentially hurt her future ability to be employed. She's not Svetlana Zakharova, or Natalia Osipova; she's a new graduate with unrealistic expectations. The Bolshoi has bigger issues to deal with at the moment; I'm sure they have moved on- Womack would be wise to do the same.




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