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Dancers v. Stretton

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#1 Alexandra


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Posted 08 September 2002 - 07:12 AM

There's an article in The Independent today (Ari posted it on Links) that I thought might spark a discussion. The talks between the dancers' union and Covent Garden resume this week.

One of the things that's interesting about this article is the several quotes from Australians -- dancers and critics -- which are negative to Stretton, and far from the "they're just being mean to him because he's an outsider" cries that we've read lately.

Here's a sampler, from the end of the artcle. There's much more to it, so I hope you'll take a look before discussing :)

Dancers out of step with Royal Ballet chief

Unnamed dancers quoted in The Australian newspaper last month said they were "not surprised" that similar allegations had been levelled at Mr Stretton in Britain.

One Australian critic, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I have no idea how he scheduled casts here but there were many situations when the 'wrong' dancer, that is someone not suited to the role, went on.

"This happened on opening nights of seasons as well as other times. One dancer was often cast in roles which other dancers might have been better suited to, and so on. This includes men who might have expected to have been cast in lead roles only to be left languishing on the sidelines."

Accusing Mr Stretton of maltreating his audiences by constantly chopping and changing his casts, another Australian critic, Lee Christofis, added: "He's treating it [the company] like a kind of Russian fiefdom of the 19th century, instead of what it has become: a place where stars make their names and add lustre to the company. He is acting as if all his dancers are interchangeable.

"It's a scandalous breach of public confidence and accountability to the taxpayers who are paying his salary."

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