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Kathleen O'Connell

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About Kathleen O'Connell

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  1. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I don't know what the norm is these days, but I certainly hope that institutions of every kind and size figure out how to communicate what's OK, what's not OK, and what to do when there's a problem — and that they also demonstrate that the intolerable will not in fact be tolerated.
  2. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I absolutely agree that although Morgan was within her rights to go on the record regarding her own experience at NYCB, should have steered clear of rehashing rumors and gossip. (I wouldn't advise her to say much about consent, victim's rights, or protecting oneself in an unsafe environment unless she's got genuine expertise in that area or has done her homework.) I simply wanted to point out that the word "rape" didn't come out of nowhere.
  3. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I'm not a Watts enthusiast, but I do want to give credit where credit is due. As Helene pointed out upthread, there was a period of time when Watts was the company workhorse. Did I prefer her to Merrill Ashley in Ballo della Regina or Patricia McBride in Voices of Spring? No, but I enjoyed the performances I saw her give in both roles (and I saw a lot of her in the workhorse years). And, yes, there were roles that I really liked her in: the Midsummer Divertissement, Dewdrop, Rubies, Agon. One reason she might be a valuable as a coach: she was at one point very open about the years she spent in an early-career wilderness because she didn't work hard enough or at least didn't work on the right things in the right way. What to work on and how — from the vantage point of someone who had to figure it out themselves — is useful knowledge to pass on.
  4. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Keep in mind that Morgan's comments are being made in the context of a flood tide of harassment charges against any number of prominent arts, media, and political figures, not just Martins. Many of those charges include rape, attempted rape, and extremely coercive behavior. She may have been trying to draw a distinction between what men like Weinstein and Lauer have been accused of an the kind of behavior Martins was rumored to have engaged in. And yes, Watts had a beautiful jump.
  5. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Those who have only seen late career Watts in the leotard roles Martins created for her might be surprised by something like this. Watts and Helgi Tomasson in the pas de deux from Bournonville's Kermess in Bruges. There was more to her career — and her dancing — than a lot of people remember.
  6. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Stafford joined the corps in January 2000, so she's roughly in the same cohort as Bouder (October 2000), Reichlen (October 2001), Fairchild (October 2002), and Hyltin (June 2003). In a dance, twilight is a relative thing. ETA: Lowery (October 2002) and Laracey (February 2003).
  7. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Maybe we need to clarify the terminology we're using as part of this discussion. Sexual Harassment, per the EEOC: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following: The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome. Sexual Assault, per RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include: Attempted rape Fondling or unwanted sexual touching Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape Force doesn’t always refer to physical pressure. Perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other intimidation tactics. Child Sexual Abuse, also per RAINN: Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some forms of child sexual abuse include: Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor Fondling Intercourse Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal Sex trafficking Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare Note that legally, assault is distinguished from battery, even though we may use them interchangeably in conversation. Generally, assault is a credible threat of bodily harm; battery is the actual infliction of bodily harm. (I learned this while on Jury Duty.) From Wikipedia: "In criminal and civil law, assault is an attempt to initiate harmful or offensive contact with a person, or a threat to do so. It is distinct from battery, which refers to the actual achievement of such contact." It's not clear to me whether sexual assault requires actual physical contact or whether the credible threat of contact is sufficient for something to be deemed sexual assault.
  8. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Also, diverse. And not just in terms of race and gender. It would be interesting to know what the decision making process will be and how Martins' various duties will be parceled out on a day to day basis.
  9. Nutcracker 2017

    I never had to dance with her, so who knows — it could have been hell — but Watts always looked like she got out of her partners' way and let them do their job. She let herself be partnered in a way that, say, Merrill Ashley, simply wouldn't or couldn't. I think Watts may have understood and embraced the theatrics of partnering in a way that a dancer who defines herself by the strength of her technique might not. Watts probably can't tell Peck how to do a more technically pristine fouetté, but she might be able to tell her how to make it part of a more theatrically compelling performance.
  10. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Thank you for that link, Helene! Read the whole thing, as they say, but the concluding paragraph brings it home: "Gossip is not enough, and should not be enough, to end a career. But gossip this persistent—and documented reports to Met management in 1979 and 2016—should have triggered investigations far more serious than those that occurred. There are still people decrying Levine’s suspension from the Met. Still, after four victims and counting have come forward to publicly share their stories. After a police report. Still. One Twitter user wrote, “right on the heels of that magnificent Verdi Requiem, could you not hold off on this cruel public statement until after a fair hearing?” No one wants to think that an artist who has moved them deeply could have also used his enormous power to hurt people so badly. The BSO’s current Music Director, Andris Nelsons, has said publicly that sexual harassment doesn’t occur in classical music because “art makes people better humans.” This too is part of a narrative of genius in which beautiful sounds could not possibly have been made by ugly people. Surely it is past time to kill that narrative dead." I want to live on whatever planet Andris Nelsons lives on. Bad people have both made art and consumed it since the first bit of pigment was smeared on a cave wall.
  11. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Also, to put a more generous construction on it, some will learn what it is and will stop doing it, not out of fear, but because they come to understand that it is unwelcome, disrespectful, hurtful, and wrong. I've had well-educated, professional men explain to me in all seriousness that women should be flattered by harassment since it means that someone finds them sexually attractive. They simply could not wrap their heads around he concept that maybe, just maybe, being found sexually attractive was not the be all and end all of a woman's life, much less the concept that harasser might have been as excited by his power as by the woman's appeal, or the concept that unwelcome advances can actually be rather frightening. (I often think of Margaret Atwood's observation that "Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.") Some context for dancers not speaking out in the 90s and early 2000s: Although the EEOC issued regulations defining sexual harassment in 1980, the United States Supreme Court did not determine that sexual harassment was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 until 1986 (Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson). Anita Hill's charges against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court nomination hearings, which brought sexual harassment into the public eye, didn't happen until 1991. It's not hard to understand why a young woman in her 20s wouldn't have felt she had the law, much less the culture, on her side.
  12. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

  13. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    There are times in every workplace where a private, one-on-one conversation is the only appropriate option. Denying employees the right to have those conversations does them no good service and implies that neither they nor their supervisors can be trusted. — trusted to tell the truth in the case of the employee and trusted to behave appropriately in the case of the supervisor. Better that workplaces should be reliably free of bullying and harassment.
  14. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    It's also quite possible that the union wouldn't have been an option back in the 90s for any number of reasons: in might not have had a clear set of policies or a reasonable grievance reporting mechanism in place; it might have been wary of making harassment or hostile workplace complaints a point of conflict if its leadership believed it needed to keep its powder dry for issues like salary and benefits; its leadership might have had personal or professional ties with important company artistic and management personnel and would not therefore be perceived as a creditable advocate, etc etc etc.
  15. Nutcracker 2017

    Watts was a very good Dewdrop. She was good in a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff was roles that one mightn't have expected to suit her talents, such as Midsummer's Divertissement pas de deux. (I certainly preferred her to Merrill Ashley in that role.) Like Kistler, she was allowed to dance for too long, and her final years tarnished how we tend to remember her.