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Alexandra

Training Directors -- the serious version

31 posts in this topic

Originally posted by Estelle

I think one problem now also is that many directors are chosen mostly because they had a famous career as dancers, which says little about their abilities as company directors.

I have often wondered about that myself. Why are you more qualified to be Artistic Director because you were a famous principal dancer? It may be a fundraising asset, but if the company presents a dreary face due to your ill chosen rep or depressed dancers or both, that is not an asset in the long run. I think that people who can observe from a corps dancer's or soloist's point of view might have a broader appreciation of some of the nuts and bolts of the operations.

p.s. I realize I used the word "nut" in the previous post. These two usages are clearly separate and distinct. Just so there's no confusion. ;)

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An OT in response to carbro's OT:

A course in ethics is an accreditation requirement for all U.S. law schools. And it's not a theoretical course, or an attempt to instil values. It's a pragmatic examination of situations in which a lawyer might find himself in violation of the government's Code of Ethics for lawyers, which is complicated and confusing. (And yes, most of them were stiffened after Watergate!) For instance, if you are representing one party to a lawsuit, no one else in your firm may represent, or be in any way involved with, the opposition. That's clear. But what happens if a new lawyer in your firm came from the firm representing the opposition? The concern is the confidentiality of information . . . but I won't bore you with that. :)

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I think it's important that artistic directors spend time in the"real" world and develop healthy interests outside of the theatre. A conservatory education is, perhaps necessarily, isolating...can this still work in an economically/politically challenged world? Yo-Yo Ma and John Adams both graduated from Harvard. Kurt Masur was a civic leader in East Germany, a quality he brought to the NY Philharmonic. This kind of "cross over" is more complicated in dance, though the Mark Morris Dance Center has revitalized the BAM neighborhood. And if Baryshinikov does indeed build his training ground in Times Square - then he'll be doing something most wonderful.:)

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i'm late coming in, here - but: "anger management" - good one! LOL

:)

in the circumstances - reality and all that - if there WERE such a course, i would see it as a one year graduate diploma type of thing - which would have to be very specifically focused on the essentials: HR stuff, finance stuff, marketing stuff...if i seem to be contradicting an earlier post of my own, where i said that i thought the AD should attend to 'A' (artistic) matters (in preference to the admin stuff), i don't mean to. but i think one has to have an awareness of these things, in order to work WITH the people who specialise in these areas (the CEO, business manager, staff or board members).

i would rather hope that things like dance history and aesthetics would be things which the candidates would have individually (formally or otherwise), developed their knowledge and awareness of, over the years PREceding their application for an AD position...

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On the subject of artistic directors who were not dancers, I think throughout the 19th century that was usually the practice. Petipa was not an artistic director as we understand it, more of a resident choreographer. Vzelokovksy (I am sure that is spelled incorrectly) was not a dancer, but he made a wonderful director.

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I think that's a good point. Theaters were structured differently -- and the people who ran them were quite different than those who run them today. In Copenhagen, the Theatre Chiefs during the 19th century were the city's Lincoln Kirstein -- very educated, cultured, well-travelled men (at the end of the century, the Theatre Chief was an actress, but she only got the job because she was the wife of the last, great Theatre Chief). Today they're political appointees. The current Theatre Chief in Copenhagen's last job was the highest civil service employee at the Ministry of Defense! (bullets, ballets, hey, what's one letter....)

I've been re-reading Ivor Guest's "Ballet of the Second Empire" and the director of the Paris Opera would regularly go round to the studios to find new talent -- and had a good eye.

I don't think it would work in today's climate. We are not educating people to make artistic judgments. We do not value those who have a cultivated taste. There are many who are outraged at the notion that there is such a thing.

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