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Training Directors -- the serious version


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 09:11 AM

We have a "joke" thread going about a mock course for training artistic directors, and I thought it might be a good idea to have a serious one going as well.

If you were starting a university program to train artistic directors -- and executive directors -- what courses would you have?

#2 Danielle DeVor

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 09:32 AM

I think a good start would be a course dealing with dance psychology. Namely being aware of body dysmorphic disorders, the stress and strain of performing, and how to tell a dancer what they need to work on amicably.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 09:41 AM

Good idea!

Less immediately practical, but I'd want a good solid course on dance history.

#4 vrsfanatic

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 09:51 AM

I am not saying this as a joke. Having studied ballet as a child through professional would be a requirement I would think would be nesessary for as artistic directorship. There was the case of one of our largest companies having had an Artistic Director for two years with no ballet background at all.

It also would help in the administrative side as well.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 09:54 AM

I think that's a good point -- I would HOPE that the case of having an artistic director who was not a dancer would never be repeated. But there's a change going on, and more and more the managerial side is taking over. Rather than having an Artistic Director with a management team supporting him/her, you have a management team hiring the Artistic Director to do all that stuff we can't do -- and make hits, and sell tickets.

For an executive director's course -- yes. Two years required ballet. Might weed a few of them out that way :)

#6 mbjerk

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 10:36 AM

Three courses from my MBA that I find useful:

Organizational Development (to include career development for the dancers as well as succession planning).

Leadership in Organizations: What it means to lead effectively across functional boundaries while energizing others to fulfill the vision.

Financial Management: What questions to ask when - important for board, donor and executive staff meetings.

Two that I had at GE:

Time Management and the Covey principles.

Leading Change - the Change Acceleration Process (Stakeholder analysis, communication planning and company culture issues).

Finally a course in philosophy so all learn the world is not only about them........

I think the dance history course is perfect. It should also include the intrigues during the tsarist and other royal sponsor times!! As well as the critical acclaim (or disclaim) through the ages and be required for executive directors also.

The 200 courses should include the various training methods as used by the directors for their ballets (Balanchine, Bournonville, and the Vaganova-Petipa connection from the 1920 - present). And for both AD and ED: the relationship of a school or tradition to contemporary (era not style) repertoire - choreography.

The 300 courses would focus on not repeating current history (lack of successors, Going where the culture will not want outsiders, putting bad trendy ballets on to sell tickets only to loose your loyal following, others?)

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 10:41 AM

The last post is a requirement, Michael, and they can't graduate without passing it with at least a B :)

I'd add a course on Aesthetics, too. And perhaps the course with an awful title that's so necessary: "Dance Appreciation" :) And then a course on "Dance Aesthetics."

#8 Calliope

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 10:51 AM

I'd add anger management.
How to talk to people
Union management
And make them take an acting class so when none of the above work, they could at least fake it :)

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 11:02 AM

And as long as we're mentioning the Covey principles, let's get a unit on W. Edwards Deming's Total Quality Management in there. While the barebones structure of the Deming methodologies is not especially conducive to arts administration, benchmarking the points at which they are harmonious would be of profit to all on both the artistic and adminstrative sides of the house. Especially the issues of Continuous Improvement, Adaptability, and Loyalty (of both the employee to the company, AND the company to the employee)!

#10 mbjerk

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 11:37 AM

Actually Deming is very appropos. I was a Six Sigma Quality BPR at GE. For training dancers and rehearsing ballets, the idea of reducing defects and changing how one works to keep the defects out of the system is perfect. It also helps with respect to the operational stuff: daily scheduling, multiple casting, production scheduling and working in the theater - lots of processes to examine.

One good example: Some smaller companies rehearse an entire cast when adding new people. as there is only one ballet master/mistress. At Joffrey we only rehearsed the new people, one at a time, and then brought everyone together at the end. This let the old guard work on new stuff and let the new guard work without everyone looking at them with stares that suggest they are not learning fast enough.

If one defines the art as a customer, then the quality control and customer defined design work. Seems more in tune than defining the public at large as the customer and defining your art to that.

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:07 PM

[for those of you who may have seen it, I'd replied to mjberk's last post, and then realized that his example of rehearsal practices might make an interesting topic, and so have split the thread off and moved it to Aesthetic Issues. If you're interested in discussing how ballet companies rehearse, come on over and please forgive the confusion.]

http://www.balletale...70845#post70845

#12 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:46 PM

Oh, and ethics! Ethics would be nice.

#13 mbjerk

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:47 PM

That would also be taught by ex-ENRON, LYNCH or WORLDCOM executives? - Apologies to Alexandra, but I could not resist.

Please add sexual harrasssment and diversity training - all those HR courses are needed.

#14 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:57 PM

No wonder you did so well at your MBA work. You've had these convictions and instincts since you were seventeen years old, just as glebb has had the photographic choreographic memory. That would be another thing to train for - search methods to discern candidates of long-held ideas and talents that serve the customers (audience, other workers, and the art in general) best.:)

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 04:41 PM

Originally posted by mbjerk
That would also be taught by ex-ENRON, LYNCH or WORLDCOM executives? - Apologies to Alexandra, but I could not resist..


I think that's in that other university, the joke one :)

Does anyone teach ethics anywhere today?


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