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Three Year Bolshoi Contract On Verge of Being Signed


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#1 Helene

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:25 AM

From Ismene Brown's blog, commentary on the completed and waiting-for-signature three-year labor contract, which includes dancer participation in the bonus pool distribution and a translation of the Izvestia report/announcement:

 

http://www.ismeneb.c...dy_at_last.html

 

Brown writes,
 

 

The announcement of the imminence of a several-times delayed contract coincides with a warning on Monday by Cultural Minister Vladimir Medinsky of a wholesale shakeup of arts world salaries that he intends to see through.  I'm translating that separately, but the Bolshoi's Urin is quoted as being doubtful about Medinsky's plan - it's unclear whether in fact the two are mutually incompatible.

 

 

Brown also links to her article in this month's "Dance Magazine," in which she writes,"Urin’s had to make the Soviet-devised payment system work in modern times for modern theaters." If Medinsky's plan is a departure from the system and not a cosmetic re-shuffling, it could be to Urin's advantage, especially since it's hard to imagine a system that doesn't have Gergiev's blessing, ie, with no diminished power for him.  I think that if the new contract is rendered moot by Medinsky's plan, it still is a win for Bolshoi management, since management's concession on the bonus pool distribution can be seen by the dancers as a victory for them, even if it's later revoked by the government, and, at best, a sign of good faith and reconciliation by management.

 

In the article there are extensive comments by Ratmansky, who thinks the contract is feel-good for the dancers, about working conditions at the Bolshoi.  Aside from maternity leave and menstruation leave that applies to all the women in the company, the main corps-specific thing he addresses is short rehearsal time on the days of performance and company-specific lifetime employment, but a lifetime contract isn't terribly helpful to corps members who are being starved out by being paid per performance and minimally cast. ABT dancers don't have the same guarantees or coaching, if he's comparing the companies mentally, but at least for the year, anyone on contract knows what his or her paycheck will be, and there's a union to protect it.  Presumably the extra paid month off at the Bolshoi is an amount known in advance.



#2 abatt

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:43 AM

Menstruation leave? huh.png  Do any American companies provide that? 



#3 Helene

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:56 AM

I don't know of any American contracts that are that specific.



#4 Helene

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 12:25 PM

I didn't realize that Ismene Brown also tweeted the link to her summary and translation of the report on Medinsky's proposals, which are based on Putin's directives:

 

http://www.ismeneb.c...s_Medinsky.html

 

The proposal is that institutions compete for project-based funds, rather than what has amounted in practice to regularly renewed fixed allocations, and, as a manager, Urin does not believe this will work. The proposal tries to revert back to the nominal purpose of the grants, renewed every three years, to support projects, instead of being used primarily to bolster salaries to keep top artists from leaving Russia.  One proposal is that part of the funds be used as a block grant and part should be used for project-based allocations.

 

They are talking about less than $100million a year.  With all that gas money, this can't be purely about the bottom line, especially since arts are a precious cultural commodity and part of the national identity in a way that they are not in North America.  The way I see it, this is a big win for Gergiev and Tsiskaridze, since I expect full funding for the projects they propose.  If the Bolshoi wants to revive Grigorovitch, great, but a program of Western choreography? Not so much.

 

This sounds like the worst of communism plus the worst of short-term, revenue-measurement-based capitalism applied to the arts.

 

ETA:  Just to be clear, this is a budget originally earmarked for projects that has been used consistently for salaries.  The operating budgets, which the companies have felt is inadequate, noted in the article especially to keep Russian dancers from leaving, are allocated separately.



#5 canbelto

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 05:52 PM

It's so funny, Filin just said in an interview that the Bolshoi audience is becoming more conservative, not less, and all they want to see is the Grigorovich spectacles:

 

http://www.ismeneb.c..._and_after.html




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