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Veronika Part leaving ABT

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

 

I have a feeling they're in for a pretty anticlimactic experience, but I guess we'll see. I'm actually surprised, logistically, that they decided on after. Now these intense fans will have to decide between staying inside for the very last "Brava!" or getting outside to address the largest possible audience. But I suppose logistics isn't really what's driving this.

 

I'm surprised they chose after as well. I mean I guess this means they won't be waiting at the stage door, and they might have to leave the curtain calls early before the rest of the audience disperses. 

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4 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Part has posted two responses to the public-facing Facebook thread we've all been talking about:

  • It is done deal. They gave my contract away to some dancer. I don't know who..
  • You can let them know you're not excited about this turn of events, but can you change it, I don't know ..

The first was posted in English. The second has been translated from the Russian.

 

The first statement is, in a way, unfortunate. Whoever gets promoted (and Kevin M. please do it already) will be looked at by some as the dancer who took Part's job. 

 

However this plays out (and I don't think she'll get the job back) ABT has done a terrible PR job.  The director of marketing should be stepping in and cleaning up the mess. Among other things, that's what he gets paid for. (I believe his salary has been mentioned above)

 

Aside from that, I am confused by the economics of it. Are there a specific number of principal contracts to give out or is there a pool of money for dancers' salaries to be divvied up. What about sponsors? I thought they covered the salary of the dances they sponsored, or do they pay part of it? If you sponsor a soloist that gets promoted, are you expected to raise your donation level?

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13 minutes ago, vipa said:

The first statement is, in a way, unfortunate. Whoever gets promoted (and Kevin M. please do it already) will be looked at by some as the dancer who took Part's job. 

 

However this plays out (and I don't think she'll get the job back) ABT has done a terrible PR job.  The director of marketing should be stepping in and cleaning up the mess. Among other things, that's what he gets paid for. (I believe his salary has been mentioned above)

 

Aside from that, I am confused by the economics of it. Are there a specific number of principal contracts to give out or is there a pool of money for dancers' salaries to be divvied up. What about sponsors? I thought they covered the salary of the dances they sponsored, or do they pay part of it? If you sponsor a soloist that gets promoted, are you expected to raise your donation level?

 

I imagine there will be more than one promotion, so that should insulate any one person. With as few female principals as there are left, (and will kochekova be back? honestly if Part was forced out and she isn't, I'll be annoyed. Her injury certainly didn't last past the ABT season; she started performing again immediately after her ABT commitments ended.) I'd be very surprised if not.

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58 minutes ago, vipa said:

The first statement is, in a way, unfortunate. Whoever gets promoted (and Kevin M. please do it already) will be looked at by some as the dancer who took Part's job. 

 

However this plays out (and I don't think she'll get the job back) ABT has done a terrible PR job.  The director of marketing should be stepping in and cleaning up the mess. Among other things, that's what he gets paid for. (I believe his salary has been mentioned above)

 

Aside from that, I am confused by the economics of it. Are there a specific number of principal contracts to give out or is there a pool of money for dancers' salaries to be divvied up. What about sponsors? I thought they covered the salary of the dances they sponsored, or do they pay part of it? If you sponsor a soloist that gets promoted, are you expected to raise your donation level?

 

I too would like to understand how the economics work. I looked on their website (as I swore it explained somewhere how much a sponsorship cost per principal, etc) but couldn't find any numbers. I thought sponsors only paid a part of their salaries, but perhaps I'm not remembering correctly. I did look at one of my recent Playbills where they list who sponsors who out of curiosity. Part's sponsor has been Theresa Khawley, who until Vishneva retired was also her sponsor and who is currently Shevchenko's. Khawley doesn't sponsor any other dancers. A quick Google search told me that Khawley only sponsors Russian dancers at ABT, but interestingly not Kochetkova (in the past she also supported Dvorovenko, Osipova, Seminova and some others. Link here: http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/g33/photos-of-american-ballet-theatre-sponsorship-program-dancers/.) Also in Playbill she's listed as a Trustee, she also contributes between 100-199K to their Annual Fund and also an undisclosed amount to their Education and Training initiative. I'm not implying anything here, I just find it interesting. I didn't realize until I looked this up that a dancer's sponsor could/would sit on the board as well. But so does Stearns, Boylston's, Bolle's, and Cornejo's.

Edited by ABT Fan

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This whole thing creeps me out a bit. Sponsoring particular dancers and sitting on the board - really? How much does this affect promotions and casting? How much does Kevin M go to bat for talent that he wants to develope vs the money?

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21 minutes ago, vipa said:

This whole thing creeps me out a bit. Sponsoring particular dancers and sitting on the board - really? How much does this affect promotions and casting? How much does Kevin M go to bat for talent that he wants to develope vs the money?

1

I think any donor, ideally, would understand that sponsoring a dancer is actually a donation to operating expenses with a nice little perk of having your name listed next to a dancer's name in the program. The key word there is "ideally"! (I know that sometimes there is a closer relationship between donor and dancer, though, as described in a NYT article a couple years ago.) That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there are donors who cross the line and feel as if they have the right to be involved in the artistic decision-making process.

 

It's a pretty great enticement to potential donors to say "Give $100,000 and attach your name to a dancer." A bit more exciting than having your name engraved on a brick in the wall. The benefit to ABT must outweigh the annoyance of entitled donors.

 

I only really follow ABT and NYCB closely. Does anyone know if the practice of sponsoring dancers is one that's widespread in the ballet world?

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Actually it shocks me that a company like ABT doesn't have a part of its budget siphoned off for dancer salaries, and that salaries are dependent almost entirely on individual sponsors who also have to donate to the company. I mean all arts organizations are dependent on donors and fundraising but individuals "sponsoring" dancers sounds a bit like the old grand dukes sponsoring ballerinas in the Imperial Era ... 

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1 hour ago, vipa said:

Aside from that, I am confused by the economics of it. Are there a specific number of principal contracts to give out or is there a pool of money for dancers' salaries to be divvied up. What about sponsors? I thought they covered the salary of the dances they sponsored, or do they pay part of it? If you sponsor a soloist that gets promoted, are you expected to raise your donation level?

 

Is there anything remotely like this at City Ballet?

 

When did ABT sponsors start paying the salaries of the dancers? Are there other companies that do this? It sounds like an area ripe for conflicts of interests, as if there aren't enough of those already in this company.

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11 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

Is there anything remotely like this at City Ballet?

 

When did ABT sponsors start paying the salaries of the dancers? Are there other companies that do this? It sounds like an area ripe for conflicts of interests, as if there aren't enough of those already in this company.

I've always assumed that these donors aren't actually paying the dancers' salaries. I thought it was kind of like how you donate money on NYCB's website to pay for extra snowflakes or toe shoes in the Nutcracker, but obviously your money is going toward anything they want to spend it on. I assumed that having your name attached to a dancer was just a perk of giving a large annual gift, but that the dancer's actual salary wasn't dependent on that specific gift.

 

If all these dancers are actually depending on their individual sponsors for their salaries, that's a really hairy situation. Is ABT's endowment so crappy they can't pay more of their salaries from the money they make from it? 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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9 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

Is there anything remotely like this at City Ballet?

 

When did ABT sponsors start paying the salaries of the dancers? Are there other companies that do this? It sounds like an area ripe for conflicts of interests, as if there aren't enough of those already in this company.

For better or worse I believe NYCB is a different animal with a different tradition. 

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Since the ethos of NYCB is that the choreography is more important that the dancer, I  hope we never, ever see the ABT style sponsorship of dancers at NYCB.  

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ABT's model is certainly based on the idea that the more you give, the more access you get to the dancers. I can only imagine what a nightmare it is to deal with donors who feel like they've purchased the right to give their two cents about artistic issues. But it must be worth it...

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Backspace on the url and you end up on the homepage. 

http://www.abt.org/membership/specialgifts.asp

 

"As a sponsor, you have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a dancer from one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies:

  • Principal Sponsor: $35,000 annually
  • Soloist Sponsor: $25,000 annually
  • Corps de ballet Sponsor: $15,000 annually"

Meanwhile that facebook page is as public as the New York Times.  

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2 hours ago, maps said:

 

"As a sponsor, you have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a dancer from one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies:

  • Principal Sponsor: $35,000 annually
  • Soloist Sponsor: $25,000 annually
  • Corps de ballet Sponsor: $15,000 annually"

 

 

How much is the standard AGMA salary for a first year corps member?

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4 hours ago, maps said:

Backspace on the url and you end up on the homepage. 

http://www.abt.org/membership/specialgifts.asp

 

"As a sponsor, you have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a dancer from one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies:

  • Principal Sponsor: $35,000 annually
  • Soloist Sponsor: $25,000 annually
  • Corps de ballet Sponsor: $15,000 annually"

Meanwhile that facebook page is as public as the New York Times.  

 

"Develop a meaningful relationship..." My first thought: What pathetic donors who have so little going on in their private lives!

 

Shame on arts institutions being so desperate as to allow this! My modest annual donation to ABT now shifting to NYCB. I've always cared most about repertoire, after all. 

 

As much as I love ballet, I've never had the urge to cross the line, not even to go to the stage door and ask for an autograph (although I respect others' wish to do so), let alone taking selfies with dancers, much less getting into their private lives. My passion is contained to the auditorium - admiration in performance and during the bows.

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This article is an older one, but explains some of this concept.  Again, I believe dancers would be protected here in the US from anything unsavory.  I know in Boston, the dancers who are sponsored have the opportunity to sit with their sponsor(s) at the annual gala/ball.  It really goes no further than that.  

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/15/arts/how-much-is-that-dancer-in-the-program.html

2 hours ago, sandik said:

 

How much is the standard AGMA salary for a first year corps member?

It used to be that the AGMA contracts were published on the internet, but I am not sure they do that any longer.  The first year corps member salary in an AGMA company varies from city to city and salaries are established in negotiations.   

Edited by its the mom

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9 hours ago, vipa said:

This whole thing creeps me out a bit. Sponsoring particular dancers and sitting on the board - really? How much does this affect promotions and casting? How much does Kevin M go to bat for talent that he wants to develope vs the money?

To sit on the Board, one must donate is my understanding.  So, whether the money goes toward "sponsoring a dancer" or to buying new costumes for a certain ballet, etc., I don't understand what the difference is.

 

"Most major cultural institutions stipulate a minimum expected annual donation for their trustees; membership on the board of the New York City Ballet, for instance, typically costs $50,000 a year, according to people familiar with the policy. But institutions will often waive the rules for celebrities, who are recruited less for their deep pockets than for their ability to attract other people to the organization."

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/fashion/arts-groups-seek-celebrities-as-trustees.html

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1 hour ago, its the mom said:

This article is an older one, but explains some of this concept.  Again, I believe dancers would be protected here in the US from anything unsavory.  I know in Boston, the dancers who are sponsored have the opportunity to sit with their sponsor(s) at the annual gala/ball.  It really goes no further than that.  

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/15/arts/how-much-is-that-dancer-in-the-program.html

 

Wow, that article is really eye-opening, and just dripping with subtext. There is so much attempt on so many people's parts to downplay the significance and implications of it all. I'm not at all as confident that those protections are sufficient. "Unsavory" seems like exactly the word for this system.

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The generally accepted notion, at least in NYC, is that Board members of not for profits make special contributions, frequently in the form of money, and/or  in the form of publicity or expertise (for example, investment, financial, fashion). The direct sponsorship of artists however is another matter. I think there is something amateurish about ABT and it shows up in different places. This is one of them. So was the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux on Monday night.

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10 hours ago, canbelto said:

Actually it shocks me that a company like ABT doesn't have a part of its budget siphoned off for dancer salaries, and that salaries are dependent almost entirely on individual sponsors who also have to donate to the company. I mean all arts organizations are dependent on donors and fundraising but individuals "sponsoring" dancers sounds a bit like the old grand dukes sponsoring ballerinas in the Imperial Era ... 

 

I haven't done a deep dive into the relevant Federal, State, and Local law, but on the face of it directly funding specific dancers' salaries with earmarked donor contributions would likely run afoul of any number of labor and non-profit rules and regulations. For instance, would a dancer meet the definition of "employee" if his or her salary were entirely and explicitly covered by a given donor's (or coalition of donors) contributions? Would the dancer then be deemed an "independent contractor" or the legal agent of the donor? Would that dancer then be disqualified for labor protections under the relevant law and/or union contracts? (No overtime for you, sponsored dancer! You must rehearse until you drop and we won't pay you a penny more!) Would the sponsored salaries even be considered a tax deductible donation since they were in effect payments to an individual and not to a tax-exempt organization. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

 

There's a whole 'nother basket of risks for the dance company: what if the sponsored dancer is injured and can't perform? Does he or she loose their sponsored salary? (And would they qualify for worker's comp?) What if the sponsor doesn't let you allocate it to another dancer? What if a sponsored dancer decides that they don't have to do what the AD, or the ballet mistress, or the coach, or the choreographer asks because he or she believes they are only answerable to their sponsor? Etc. Etc. Etc. 

 

 

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There is the unfortunate possibility that the donations are given and board memberships sought by some individuals for social standing rather than love of the art. There is a danger that they are unaware or uncaring about the differences between good governance of "for profit" and "non profit" organizations.  The distinction between "buying" and "giving" is irrelevant to them.

 

Balanchine and Lincoln Kirsten established a culture at NYCB where the needs of the artistic personnel were more important than the desires and whims of the donors.  

Edited by lmspear
Clarity

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Some sense of the shaky finances of ABT can be found in this long interview with Susan Jones:

http://dancetabs.com/2013/10/susan-jones-ballet-mistress-american-ballet-theatre/

 

This part is the one that blew my mind:

Quote

But I think that the hardest part about ABT for me is not the time situation but the fact that we only work thirty-six weeks per year. I get outside work but we’re not always available when other people want us to come. College is expensive. That’s still difficult, after all these years. I’m still collecting unemployment when I’m off.

 

Wow.

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8 hours ago, maps said:

"As a sponsor, you have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a dancer from one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies:

  • Principal Sponsor: $35,000 annually
  • Soloist Sponsor: $25,000 annually
  • Corps de ballet Sponsor: $15,000 annually"

So the implication is that a dancer who has a sponsor has an obligation to make time for that person - perhaps social events, lunches, after performance greets etc. Would this be contractual or merely understood to be expected. It seems to me that there is the potential for problems if the sponsor is too demanding.

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8 hours ago, maps said:

Backspace on the url and you end up on the homepage. 

http://www.abt.org/membership/specialgifts.asp

 

"As a sponsor, you have the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a dancer from one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies:

  • Principal Sponsor: $35,000 annually
  • Soloist Sponsor: $25,000 annually
  • Corps de ballet Sponsor: $15,000 annually"

Meanwhile that facebook page is as public as the New York Times.  

 

Thank you for posting this. This is the info I was looking for but couldn't find. It's interesting that the link you used is an old one but it still works. If you go their regular site and click on Special Giving Opportunities, it doesn't show the amounts, it only states this:

 

Dancer Sponsorship

ABT’s Dancer Sponsorship program was initiated in 2003 in recognition of the Company’s greatest asset: its glorious dancers. Whether choosing to recognize a Principal Dancer, Soloist, or corps de ballet member, your participation as a sponsor will ensure the professional and artistic growth of all of ABT’s dancers and tomorrow’s rising stars.

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