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Ross Stretton resigns


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#16 jude

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 12:06 PM

what a shame that even though hes resigned we still have to love through a whole season of rather unapealing programming!!

#17 Brendan McCarthy

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 12:08 PM

The reason I suggested that the new season would be a fait accompli for a new director is that it is usually announced in March. I will be surprised if a new director has been chosen by then. Even if one is announced in January/February, I should have thought that the lead times were so long, that planning for the coming season will be 'locked in' by the time of an announcement. As it is, I suspect Monica Mason will have charge of the company for some considerable time.

The Royal Ballet is well used to pro tem arrangements. It still awaits a music director to replace Andrea Quinn. An announcement was supposed to await the arrival of the Royal Opera House's new music director, Tony Pappano. It will now, presumably, be further delayed until a ballet director is in place.

#18 Lolly

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 12:51 PM

Golly, I go to London and see NYCB dancers for one night, turn my back and look what happens!;) Shocking news. I really am shocked to the core. It is sad about Ross Stretton only staying for a year. Were the problems really insurmountable? I'm glad Monica Mason is in charge though - I really like her.:)

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 26 September 2002 - 08:18 PM

Ismene Brown gets to the bottom of things in the Telegraph:

Double whammy that toppled ballet boss

On Tuesday afternoon, when the Royal Opera House board met, they believed that there was enough doubt about Stretton's professional relations with junior dancers to make him an unfit steward, despite the refusal of anyone to come forward with specific complaints.

And there was also an ultimatum from Lady MacMillan, a fellow Australian and widow of Sir Kenneth MacMillan, one of the company's two central choreographers, that she would withdraw the Royal Ballet's privileged access to the MacMillan ballets if Stretton remained, because he was proving so poor an artistic curator.



#20 katharine kanter

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 12:20 AM

Gang, good news along the rumour pipeline - see Ismene's Telegraph piece today - Mlle. Guillem may be in the running for Ross Stretton's job !

To give us the full flavour, allow me to quote Ismene's interview with the priestess herself, on March 30th of this year:

"There was also her shocking photo-shoot in French Vogue. It is not unusual to see ballerinas in fashion magazines. They make elfin, maidenly clothes-horses, their modesty in front of the camera radiating a more delicate, timeless sort of femininity. When Guillem did Vogue, she wanted to do something "free and 'appy. Natural, simple, joyful. It was the real me, non?" So she photographed herself in the nude, with not a scrap of make-up on. She was accessorised only by her undressed hair and a bashed camera.

Outrage ricocheted around the world. "I think it was the picture with the two legs apart and the camera in the middle mostly," she says, deadpan."

Taste, style, intelligence, she has everything. And she even knows how to use a camera ! "Natural, simple, joyful".

What in heaven's name is the ROH Board waiting for ?

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 02:31 AM

I think they might be waiting for a British subject.;)

#22 Alexandra

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 08:12 AM

My absolutely favorite quote so far is this one, published in The Australian:

"This whole thing has been incredibly upsetting and divisive within the company," says one insider. "People start to wonder how and why they are being judged and cast, and many just didn't know how to react. For one thing, ballerinas are not that used to having heterosexual artistic directors, and the allegations really soured people's attitudes to Ross."


The article is quite interesting, with detals of the final meeting, contract issues, and several quotes from choreographers on the obligations and problems of running a company with a history.

http://www.theaustra...5E16953,00.html

#23 dirac

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 09:23 AM

Oh, dear. I immediately begin concocting fake quotes from ballerinas' complaints to the union in my head: "We're not used to being around men who want to have sex with us. It's simply too unnerving….."



Somewhere, Bob Fosse is laughing.

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 09:41 AM

I thought you'd like this one :) But the idea that if one hires a "heterosexual male," the company automatically becomes his harem and the female dancers should realize this and behave accordingly is absolutely outrageous.

I should add that I picked this sentence out for its content, divorced from the Royal Ballet case. There are whispers of impropriety that have been denied, and no one has spoken of them on the record, which makes them unconfirmed rumors. I'm not trying to discuss that aspect of the issue.

Another point, regarding Ismene Brown's report that Lady MacMillan intervened. What do you think of that? On the one hand, perhaps a good thing, that someone is speaking up for a body of work. On the other, how much power does she/should she have?

#25 dirac

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 10:15 AM

It's difficult to know how to handle the sex thing. On one hand, since actual proof seems not to be available, you could argue that it shouldn't be mentioned. On the other, the company's turmoil is plainly closely connected in part to these allegations, true or no, and it's obvious many believe them. So I think they do have to be reported (although not speculated upon). Otherwise, you have a kind of double standard, where insiders and the press have important knowledge deemed unsuitable for the public.


I also wondered about the role of Lady MacMillan in this. Under these particular circumstances, she looks like a hero; under slightly altered circumstances, however, she might look more like Ron Protas. It is a little worrisome when someone with no connection to the ballet except through marriage has this kind of clout.

#26 Alexandra

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 10:22 AM

I like the hero/Protas analogy :) One wouldn't want to say that relatives or advocates should have no standing, because one would want great art to have an advocate. On the other hand, one doesn't want someone with a vested interest in one body of work to have undue influence.

I agree, too, dirac, with what you wrote about how to handle the sexual allegations. I put up my comment in the post above because I'd quoted that bit from the newspaper article not to spark discussion of whether or not IT happened and who was involved or not involved, but because the sentence about ballet master behavior could be discussed in the abstract.

#27 Manhattnik

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 11:14 AM

That problem was the persistent rumours coming from the dancers and spreading out into the wider ballet world that Stretton was involved in inappropriate relationships with members of his company.

God forbid an artistic director should treat the gals in his company like his own private harem. I can't help but wonder what kind of reception Balanchine's antics would receive today.

"He, he made me ... wear perfume!" she gasped, sobbing.

#28 Alexandra

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 11:16 AM

Not funny, Manhattnik. What was once condoned is not acceptable today -- and never should be, from a female perspective. (I'd also argue that marrying one's muses is not treating the corps like a harem.)

#29 dirac

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 12:48 PM

Actually, I do recall a couple of former dancers actually using the term "harem" in relation to Balanchine, although I don't think they meant he was marauding his way through the corps. While it's true his intentions were (usually) honorable, I think that under today's standards much of his behavior would not be acceptable today, and rightly so, IMO. I remember Melissa Hayden remarking in I Remember Balanchine that during some rehearsals, "He couldn't keep his hands off" or words to that effect.

#30 LMCtech

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 04:58 PM

Hm....are we getting off subject? Or is it just me?

Whatever the reasons for his leaving (and it may be as simple as it wasn't a good fit), it is being handled poorly. Covent Garden needs a new crisis management team. And if they don't have one, they should get one.

I personally think Guillem as the head of the Royal could be just as disastrous as Stretton. Maybe there is a Director of Development somewhere who could step up to the plate.


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