Jump to content
Quinten

Olga Smirnova and Jacopo Tissi denied entrance to US

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

When I read the Post account, I got the impression that it was the presenter that made the mistake regarding the visa problem, and the presenter was attempting to deflect blame by vaguely blaming it on an anti Russia policy.

 

At the gala last night, the host, Hoda Kotb, said that Smirnova would not appear due to a last minute problem with her visa.  No  specifics were provided, though. Tissi was not mentioned at all.

When I opened my program and saw that Smirnova was supposed to dance the pdd from Pharaoh's Daughter, I nearly cried.  I love that ballet and it has not been danced here in the US for quite some time.

 

Edited by abatt

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

In addition to Pharaoh's Daughter, Smirnova was scheduled to also perform a modern work premiere.  Neither of the works that she was supposed to perform stayed on the schedule.

They added Tiler Peck to the show.  She did the  Fascinatin Rhythm solo from Who Cares.

They also added Whitney Jensen. Whitney Jensen and a partner whose name escapes me did a modern pdd.  I don't have my program so I can't identify what it was. 

I thought last night's  gala was weak compared to prior years (in terms of the Stars of Today segment). Daniil Simkin brought out his solo routine to Jacques Brel songs for the millionth time.  

Edited by abatt

Share this post


Link to post

Smirnova was to have performed Garrett Smith's choreography.  His piece did stay on the schedule and he performed it with Whitney Jensen, rather than Smirnova and Tissi.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for clarifying re the Garrett Smith / Jensen piiece.

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, Vs1 said:

I know an African rhode scholar surgeon who was denied before ample appeals 

It's trickier with an arts applicant -- one of the criteria that the Homeland Security people use is if the applicant is a significant member of their field.  That kind of proof in the sciences (especially in medicine) uses a different evidence set than in the arts.  While I'm sure it's getting harder in the sciences as well as in the arts, I think that we still have the more difficult path.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, nanushka said:

What is there in the facts of the case that might suggest it was an application of Trump-related immigration restrictions that resulted in Smirnova and Tissi being denied entry? Again, this is what the Page Six account cites as the rationale given by immigration officials:

Are there other news accounts that suggest anything different? (I haven't looked.) There may have been political motivations behind the decision to enforce this rule (which the article suggests is not always so strictly enforced), but it doesn't  seem to have anything at all to do with the immigration restrictions that Trump introduced.

I haven't seen much coverage about this yet, and haven't had a chance to talk with friends in the field.  If anyone here sees any more coverage, could you please link it here?

Share this post


Link to post

 

10 hours ago, nanushka said:

Are there other news accounts that suggest anything different? (I haven't looked.) There may have been political motivations behind the decision to enforce this rule (which the article suggests is not always so strictly enforced), but it doesn't  seem to have anything at all to do with the immigration restrictions that Trump introduced.

I think we're having a semantic issue here. Strict enforcement can result in greater restrictions on immigration. This situation has nothing to do with the muslim ban, if that's what your referencing.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
On 4/19/2018 at 5:18 AM, volcanohunter said:

Remember that several years ago Edward Watson was unable to obtain a work visa to appear at a gala in the U.S., and he certainly isn't Russian. Since these visas were denied to a Russian and an Italian alike, I suspect it has little to do with nationality, and more to do with the visa application itself. Or just an ornery consular officer. 

The State Department has gutted its staffing levels under the current administration.  This may have slowed processing visas and eliminated some arts experts who could have smoothed the way in time for an application adjustment.  

Edited by Jayne
Corrections

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Quinten said:

I think we're having a semantic issue here. Strict enforcement can result in greater restrictions on immigration. This situation has nothing to do with the muslim ban, if that's what your referencing.

Your phrasing made me think it (or some other Trump initiative) was what you were referencing:

18 hours ago, Quinten said:

Trump's purpose in tightening immigration restrictions is to exclude brown non-Christians but the same rules, if strictly applied, could probably be used to exclude Russians (or in the case of Tissi, a non-Russian associated with a high profile Russian company).

Sorry to have misunderstood.

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, abatt said:

When I read the Post account, I got the impression that it was the presenter that made the mistake regarding the visa problem, and the presenter was attempting to deflect blame by vaguely blaming it on an anti Russia policy.

Yes, I haven't seen anything to suggest that it's anything other than what it seems on its face: YAGP applied for the wrong (or at least not exactly right) type of visa — though it's a mistake they've made in the past and it's never been a problem — and for whatever reason this time it didn't go through. The current political climate is one possible excuse for why that happened (though, again, there's nothing to suggest that it was the actual reason), and so it was invoked.

6 hours ago, Jayne said:

The State Department has gutted its staffing levels under the current administration.  This may have slowed processing visas and eliminated some arts experts who could have smoothed the way in time for an application adjustment.  

Quite possibly this is part of why the visa that worked before didn't work this time.

As fondoffouettes notes above, Russian artists have been traveling back and forth for other companies and other endeavors without any apparent trouble. The fact that these were two prominent ballet dancers made all of us here at BA sit up and take notice, but I don't get the sense that anyone else has (beyond, of course, the initial article). Maybe more details will emerge, or maybe this will somehow become more of a live story — but from what I've seen, nothing more has come of this, except the frustration of those who didn't get to see Smirnova and Tissi perform.

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

It could be that these artists have current multi year, multi entry visa that allows him to come and go without having to apply each time. I know several Russian athletes have 3 year multi entry visas that allow them to come to the states for competitions. 

Tissi was just here less than a year ago, so I am surprised he is having trouble. 

Edited by Deflope

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, Jayne said:

The State Department has gutted its staffing levels under the current administration.  This may have slowed processing visas and eliminated some arts experts who could have smoothed the way in time for an application adjustment.  

The State Department has not simply gutted its staffing levels:  it, like many other Federal agencies, hasn't or it hasn't been able to replace the long-time staffers who left because they didn't think they could do their jobs under the current administration.  As a result, the department is not only understaffed and overworked, and staff that has been replaced does not have the same expertise.  In addition, the specific people who could resolve something with a phone call are no longer at the other end of speed dial.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, sandik said:

It's trickier with an arts applicant -- one of the criteria that the Homeland Security people use is if the applicant is a significant member of their field.  That kind of proof in the sciences (especially in medicine) uses a different evidence set than in the arts.  While I'm sure it's getting harder in the sciences as well as in the arts, I think that we still have the more difficult path.

Someone commented on the lack of homeland danger. Are you saying find danger in that? 

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

Someone commented on the lack of homeland danger. Are you saying find danger in that? 

Not Sandik, but I don’t think he/she is saying anything about danger in the arts. Homeland security is the cabinet department responsible for handling visas and the like

As many have stated in this thread, these departments can be very capricious in how they approve visas. When I was in grad school, I had a roommate from Iran who was getting a PhD in the sciences. He had no problems getting a student visa, even with the poor relations between our countries. On the other hand, one of my classmates from India, a country with whom we have friendly relations, was initially rejected for a Visa because of some inconsistencies in how his name was spelled. 

Share this post


Link to post

Re:  a deleted post.

Other forums are not discussion points here.

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Helene said:

The State Department has not simply gutted its staffing levels:  it, like many other Federal agencies, hasn't or it hasn't been able to replace the long-time staffers who left because they didn't think they could do their jobs under the current administration.  As a result, the department is not only understaffed and overworked, and staff that has been replaced does not have the same expertise.  In addition, the specific people who could resolve something with a phone call are no longer at the other end of speed dial.

This is a long-term problem that is being compounded by the current administration and their unwillingness to fill staff positions that have been running the machinery of government.  While artists who come from countries that the US has problematic relations with have had trouble getting visas for many years, more recently that difficulty has been extended to artists from countries we are quite close to (including places like Canada).  And as others have pointed out here, application errors that might have been overlooked or forgiven in the past are now used to send someone back to the beginning of the process, rather like a nastier version of Chutes and Ladders.

 

3 hours ago, Deflope said:

Not Sandik, but I don’t think he/she is saying anything about danger in the arts. Homeland security is the cabinet department responsible for handling visas and the like

As many have stated in this thread, these departments can be very capricious in how they approve visas. When I was in grad school, I had a roommate from Iran who was getting a PhD in the sciences. He had no problems getting a student visa, even with the poor relations between our countries. On the other hand, one of my classmates from India, a country with whom we have friendly relations, was initially rejected for a Visa because of some inconsistencies in how his name was spelled. 

Thanks for stepping in -- that is indeed what I meant.  We have a tendency to think of Homeland Security as border agents with guns, but they administer all kinds of programs for people living in or visiting the US, including green card residents.  They are also involved when US citizens apply for visas in other countries, especially with biometric information.  Their mandate is much broader than most of us realize.

There is an article in this week's New Yorker about a visa expediter in the US that specializes in popular music.  It's more light-hearted than some of the other coverage I've seen, but the general sense that the process is capricious is pretty clear,

Share this post


Link to post

Anybody who lives in Russia and can therefore personally speak to this matter -- please help us understand how this is impacting Russian public sentiment.  Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

To add a personal experience: last year my German Brother-in-Law moved from a research lab on the west coast of the USA to a lab on the east coast.  There were changes in lab ownership part way through, and he needed to update the information on his visa.  It was thought to be a simple change but turned into a 10 month oddyssey!   In the meantime he had to travel to Canada for several days to get unexpected paperwork from the German consulate (a notorious teutonic bureaucracy of it’s own kind).  

It was finally resolved but the delays were driven by the tech companies and third party contract employment agencies gaming the visa system.  Essentially the State department is flooded with millions more applications from India, and there are “mills” in India that produce them - for a hefty fee - in hopes that at least some of them will be approved.   They are turning the H1-B visa for sciences based on merit, into a de facto lottery system.  State dept employees are overwhelmed by the volume and have no funds for additional staff.  

So legitimate, routine science visas are lost in the mess.  Keep in mind that sciences generally send Americans all over the world too in exchange research opportunities - frim Chile to Australia to Japan to Israel and all over the EU.  

Ideally we want the same for artists.  

Edited by Jayne

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
On 4/19/2018 at 9:17 AM, abatt said:

Kimin Kim works for the Mariinsky, but he was allowed entry.   He's here (as evidenced by rehearsal video posted by Boylston) and will appear  at the gala. Why was he allowed in, but not Tissi or  Smirnova? 

Kim is a citizen of South Korea, as far as I know.

The capricious nature of the visa matter and US relations with different not-so-friendly countries, in general, is puzzling. It’s strange how requests from Russians are scrutinized with great care, yet the Kennedy Center is allowed to stage an entire month-long celebration of Cuba, while many US foreign service officers who served in Cuba remain deaf and in constant pain because of the machinations (torture through electronic devices) of the current Cuban Government. I guess that the current administration is ok with Cuba...enough to hold a month-long celebration at the national performing-arts venue in our nation’s capital? 

Edited by CharlieH

Share this post


Link to post

I, for one, applaud the brave men and women of Homeland Security for working selflessly and tirelessly to keep America safe from arts and culture.

Share this post


Link to post

😜 well I am very worried that Smirnova is a spy who will corrupt the YAGP judging.  The horror of that prospect!  

Share this post


Link to post

Who were the judges 

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×