Posted 29 June 2001 - 12:47 PM
On a newsgroup or unmoderated message board, Anything Really Goes, and someone can land from a far galaxy and post anything they want. "Did you know Maestro will only cast his mistresses in principal roles? Gee, too bad La Sublimova has Parkinsons Disease. Guess that's why her pirouettes were a bit shaky last night."
Every moderated message board has its own rules, and all of us, I think, are torn between letting the internet be a bastion of free speech and having a back-of-the-board view of who actually is reading this stuff and the damage it could cause. Because Ballet Alert! is the offshoot of a magazine, I try to use, as much as possible, rules that would work for a print publication.
What do you think should be off limits? If Everybody really truly knows that La Sublimova is really La Drekova, but is blackmailing Maestro because of his cocaine habit, and there's a thread where 25 people have said, "I just don't understand why everyone loves La Sublimova. My daughter, who won gold medals in 77 international competitions, is about to quit ballet and become an international property lawyer because she doesn't want to be in the same art form as someone so putrid who continues to get leading roles," is it ok to hint that there's something going on here that can't be spoken about publicly and for goodness sakes, tell her daughter to hang in there?
[Disclaimer: All of the characters in this post are fictional and any relationship to any persons, living or dead, is in the imagination of the reader.]
If a dancer is dancing on a sprained ankle/torn ligament -- in absolute agony, plucky little thing -- and is terrified for the driection to know it because it's her first season of getting solo parts, but she's getting panned, run over by a truck, in the reviews and your boyfriend knows her roommate, do you defend her?
If.... but you get the point.
What are your thoughts?
As a sidebar, a few of the people on this board are dancers, teachers, administrative employees, writers, or have some other connection with companies. What rules should apply to them? What fears do/should they have about posting?
Posted 29 June 2001 - 01:49 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 02:08 PM
-- sex/drugs rumors. If I didn't shoot up with Sheezno myself, or reliably know the person who witnessed Heezno Nureyev hanging naked like a bat having sex in the chandelier -- no go. These are rumors that do deadly damage, are easily distorted particularly online, and beneath a serious discussion of an art form (my pinky finger is now arched around a teacup). Moderators seem to keep this at a minimum on BA and that's fine with me.
-- secret knowledge of injuries. What do dancers owe audiences? Your best. To step on stage knowing that you can't deliver the quality performance that earned you that spot to begin with means you deserve whatever critical blasts befall you. Of course dancers are on stage all the time taped, strapped, medicated and defying all kinds of injuries that would fell a football player but one hopes they don't step out of the wings already knowing they can't deliver.
If you post someone elses health/fitness data on line, I think it's inappropriate, even in defense of that person. And you may be doing more harm than good. Don't know how the moderators can/should handle such posts, however. It's not like dance companies publish injured reserve lists like sports teams.
-- On the obligation to state your role. This is tricky. If you are positng on someting relevent to your profession I'd say you have to state your appropriate credentials. Moderators should not have to worry about school directors recruiting or closet advertising, for example. Now, having said that, I don't want to pretend to dance expertise I don't have when I post my humble, semi-educated-but-none-the-less-firmly-stated opinions. I'm a feature writer, not a critic. So I don't want my professional work confused with my personal BA addiction. Neither do I want strangers -- even the nice BA strangers -- connecting my wacky ideas and personal prejudices with Kid-o-Samba.
[ 06-29-2001: Message edited by: samba38 ]
Posted 29 June 2001 - 02:22 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 02:55 PM
Perhaps if you really hate a person and want to do them harm and feel that you are justified in doing so OR if the person in question has a real chance to harm another AND posting it on a message board is the best way to get the word out.
Otherwise, even if you know that someone engages in behavior that could cause harm to himself or others there should be better ways to deal with it than BalletAlert.
[ 06-29-2001: Message edited by: Ed Waffle ]
Posted 29 June 2001 - 05:27 PM
To be fair, though, the same thing is happening in the print world. Once upon a time, editors could catch this kind of thing. "Hmm. Isn't Makarova generally considered one of the great ballerinas of our day? Then why would you write that she'd obtained her present prominence by...." fill in the horror/lie. Today, the editor of a general interest publication or newspaper may not have heard of Makarova, or Whoeverova. (The converse is true, as well. I could probably get someone to write that *I* was the great ballerina of the day and no one would question it -- before it was printed, of course )
We've only had one episode of this, thank goodness -- the infamous Nasty Poster, who obviously had a Huge Ax against three or four individual dancers and chose to grind and chose to grind it here, but luckily I found the posts within an hour of posting (late on a Saturday night) and got them down before many people saw them. There's no way to prevent something like that, of course; one can just react.
Posted 29 June 2001 - 05:33 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 06:19 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 06:23 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 06:45 PM
Posted 30 June 2001 - 09:28 AM
Posted 30 June 2001 - 12:33 PM
Non-renewal of contract can happen for many reasons: lack of development on the part of the dancer; change of focus within the company, and the dancer doesn't "fit" the new profile; the dancer has been there for a number of years, is just "so-so" and the director wants to hire "fresh blood", or the AD wishes to start a stylistic change within the company or wishes to hire more dancers with specific talents; "artistic differences" with the director - which may include anything from not liking the roles he/she is to be given/wanting roles the director doesn't want to give to him/her to not wanting to be paired with a particular partner/not being allowed to dance with the partner of choice, etc. Not all of these reasons imply that the dancer is either incompetent or difficult to work with or not versatile. Sometimes the dancer him/herself is willing to discuss the reason(s) he/she is leaving and sometimes not. In any case, all we really know, unless we have inside information or the dancer him/herself wishes to discuss it, is that the dancer is leaving - whether voluntarily or not. I don't see why, if the dancer is talking, we can't. It can't be kept a secret for long. Directors of other companies have their own informants and would know if someone had been let go (or, strictly speaking, not have his/her contract renewed).
I do think what would be bad is to say things like: "Sheezno and Heezno have been fired because - well, just look at how awful they are. Thank heavens the AD decided to get rid of them!"
As far as ABT goes, the list will be out soon enough. I know about a few more than the people already mentioned on this list as leaving. :rolleyes:
Posted 30 June 2001 - 08:11 PM
Stan, your example is a very good one. I'd feel uncomfortable if that were posted, unless it were confirmed, especially if it provoked the kind of discussion that we'd all probably love to have in the privacy of our living room -- He fired HER? WHAT was he thinking?
felursus, isn't this "They weren't fired, we just didn't renew the contract" the new way of firing people? A close cousin to, "Gosh, we'd love to have you next year, but we're just not doing your repertory!" Or the sneakier, yet popular, "Great news! You can teach for three months next year -- October, February and May. Oh, not enough income for you to maintain an apartment in New York so you'd have to leave? Who'da thunk it. We're so sorry to see you go."
All of these are, to me, firings. There is a distinction, I'll grant you, between calling someone in in March and saying, "Because you haven't been to rehearsals in a month and have violated eight other terms of your contract, as proven by the administrative hearing required by union rules, we regret we will have to terminate your contract" and "We're not going to renew your contract next year." But in reality, the latter is, I would argue, a firing.
Another cousin of these is the, "Since you've totally blown it, we want to get rid of you, but that would make us look like total fools, so we're going to give you three years severance pay and allow you to resign."
I think what frustrates internet posters -- as it has always frustrated journalists -- is that, to take the last instance -- the "did she jump or was she pushed?" question -- often people know the behind-the-scenes story but no one will corroborate it. This is when leaks happen. In frustration.
Posted 30 June 2001 - 10:11 PM
Consider the complex and volatile situations such as last summer when Villella abruptly fired Jimmy Gamonet de los Heros in a multi-layered political/personal dispute eventually detailed in print and on line.
What exactly are we entitled to know? After all, if MCB gives the audience a fine performance -- with or without a Gamonet piece -- does it matter? If Gamonet has a fine career elsewhere, do we need to know if Villella was a scoundrel? Likewise, while we all remain fascinated with every blip and burble of Balanchine's life and nearly ever dancer whose fanny he patted has had a book out of it, does it matter? This reminds me of my husband's reason why he never goes to hear even his most favorite authors give a talk at a bookstore 3 blocks from our house: "They already gave me all they owe me, good books. Who cares what they say."
Posted 01 July 2001 - 11:45 PM
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