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  2. And his management approach could just as easily have made her conclude that it was the wrong approach, just as it could have for Woetzel and Whelan. With the upcoming Robbins Festival, our local press has been inundating us with the stories about Peter Boal working with Jerome Robbins, and I haven't seen any evidence that Robbins rubbed off on him in any negative way in his management of PNB. In fact, Boal has been vocal about choosing choreographers and dancers who can create a respectful workplace. If I were in a decision-making capacity, I would be more cautious about someone for whom Martins was a mentor, or who had voiced agreement with Martins that I found troubling. However, even a close working relationship with an abusive personality isn't a guarantee that the person will manage in the same way, and, in fact, it can make them determined to avoid it.
  3. Yes, it's Broadway, but it's also ballet. Great chance to see Robert Fairchild in an incredible performance. Check for movie theatres near you at this website. https://www.anamericaninpariscinema.com/
  4. Nope, but it appears that the new AD will have to be a bit of a hard-ass to get control of an organization that has been allowed to float, at least since the beginning of 2018 and probably before that. The fact that Stafford has always been a "temp" must have made it hard for him to put his foot down. You're right in that Lopez has experience under Balanchine that the other two do not. But she did dance in the Martins company for nearly 15 years, so it's hard to say she wasn't influenced by his management approach.
  5. Whereas I see a difference, a very big difference, between criticizing the Company for what she sees as advertising its dancers as sexual commodities and writing about sex, among other things.
  6. A new AD will not prevent the Chase Finlays of the world from screwing over their girlfriends. It was his action that started all this, and now it's turned into a ballet blame game, with everyone else somehow responsible. None of this would be known or talked about, even in the international press, if NYCB had just given Waterbury the money when she asked for it. (Besides the Guardian, the AP piece has been picked up by the Daily Mail, a definitely down-market periodical, where the prevailing sentiment is absolute astonishment that there are so many straight ballet dancers.)
  7. Yep. . . and honestly, I found that memoir, to quote her "vulgar" and "amoral." Pot talking to kettle IMO.
  8. First, Lourdes Lopez was a Balanchine-trained dancer who joined NYCB in 1974, a contemporary of Kyra Nichols, and she was promoted by Balanchine to Soloist. I don't think this description is apt. As far as Woetzel and Whelan are concerned, I think this would depend on how much they were in step with Martins-era culture and what they would have in mind going forward.
  9. Or one can argue that the Company did a two-month investigation of the communications and made their decision based on the results of the investigation. They, indeed, changed their decision I'm not seeing an argument that wrongdoing is intrinsic in the art form of ballet. There are some differences between ballet and musicians, for example, that create conditions that can be exploited in ballet in a way they aren't in other arts. The first is that, for the most part, ballet companies hire from their affiliated feeder schools, which exerts specific cultural pressures that are different from coming from a conservatory. Most orchestras and choruses, at least in the US, don't have that relationship. Not that conservatories and university music departments don't have their own cultures, but their graduates go farther and wider. The second is that even if a musician aspires to be the next Perlman or Galway, there are a myriad of ways that the musician can create a living with or without being a member of a unionized, full-time orchestra, or perform easily outside around institutional and training schedules in a way that ballet dancers cannot, and this makes them less dependent on the few institutions with great jobs: they can teach, they can perform in a wide variety of spaces and collaborate with colleagues without needing a big stage or particular kind of floor or stagehands, they can cut their own albums/downloads, they can freelance more readily. Similarly for theater, where actors can do commercials, voice-overs, books on tape, perform in small venues, put on their own one-person shows easily, etc. Freelance careers for dancers are a lot rarer, and they often depend on first having a medium-major career to make it work. If I were a musician, I could go into the basement at 2am to practice; that wouldn't fly if I were a ballet dancers and needed to take a full class. The third is that many orchestras have blind auditions, and a person's appearance or gender is not a job requirement. Even in theater, where appearance is extremely important, there is a much wider variety of types needed, whereas in ballet, it is rare to see much diversity, even among non-dancing supernumeraries. In most professional opera choruses I've seen, there is less pressure for slim and pretty than their seems to be for leading singers in this video age. Thank goodness for the wide range of costume sizes in stock, or this might change, too. The fourth is that the demographics of most orchestras and choruses skews a lot older. That doesn't mean that people don't have affairs and behave badly, but, generally speaking, they are in very different places in their social lives, and their co-workers aren't their primary dating pool.
  10. Which raises the question of whether the new AD should come from outside the Martins-era NYCB culture entirely. In other words, not Woetzel, not Whelan, not Lopez.
  11. My main issues with Bentley's piece are: I think it could have used an aside acknowledging the high level of dancing within the the company in recent seasons. Saying "Mr. Balanchine’s stage is now filled with rot" -- while I don't think this was directed at the company's performance, per se -- could certainly be interpreted that way. Saying the company is at a low point as an institution glosses over the incredibly high level of dancing, especially on the female side, that we've seen recently. She comes off as a bit out of touch/crotchety when it comes to modern dancer culture. Complaining about social media and making a jokey comment about vegan muffins didn't sit well with me. In this day in age, NYCB is lucky to have so many dancers on social media, building up fan bases and new audiences for an art form that is experienced by only about 3% of Americans, according to the NEA's recently released Survey of Public Participation in the Arts for 2017. Think of how Misty Copeland helped create new fans for ballet, using social media as a major tool. In general, dancers do social media very well, and that's an asset to the companies to which they belong. Think of how many times ABT has reposted content created by its dancers. She complains about the sexualizing of dancers in ad campaigns, and yet, she herself wrote an explicit, erotic memoir (though not while she was a dancer). I don't have issue with sexy ad campaigns (and I don't think NYCB's have been very sexualized) nor writing an erotic memoir. I just think it's somewhat hypocritical for her to take such a prudish stance in this piece. Otherwise, I agree with much of what she says, especially about the board protecting Martins and his utter lack of interest in bringing in former dancers to coach ballets.
  12. I actually agree that NYCB is being primarily driven by PR and perception. I just wanted to clarify that the dancers’ feelings was only one part in NYCB’s ultimate decision and may not even have been an important part. I don’t expect NYCB not to care about PR. Nonprofits have to since they rely on donations to survive. But yes, I would like a little more confidence that when push comes to shove, NYCB is actually thinking about what is right, regardless of its impact. And that they have a sense of moral fiber that is independent of PR. After all, they are the ones who know all the facts. If they truly feel that Ramasar and Catazaro did something that wasn’t that bad, then they should have offered a full-throated defense of them and been willing to take the PR hit. Conversly, if they felt it was bad, then why didn’t they fire them in the first place? Doing first one thing and then the other makes it clear they have no guiding principles behind their actions. As a corollary to that, one of the ways to change organizations that do care primarily about PR and perception is when the general public loudly and publicly advocates for that change. Sometimes organizations that change because they are forced to do end up with genuine change. And as Helene said above, hiring a new AD will be critical in that process. Maybe a small silver lining is the fact that this whole mess happened before the new AD has come in so that finding someone who can change the culture will be more of a priority.
  13. An exacerbating factor at NYCB when it comes to cultural change, is that the vast majority of dancers (and many staff), coming from SAB, have never worked anywhere else and have no basis for comparison to determine whether the working culture within the company is "healthy". People can accept the strangest practices as "normal" when they have never known anything different.
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  15. There are arguments that culture is heavily influenced by the example of a leader, in which case, then pointing to a single individual as the source might make some sense: then you change that figure -- cut out the cancer, so to speak -- and the culture rights itself through new leadership, not by announcing a new policy and holding workshops. That seems to me to be Bouder's argument in her recent statement on Instagram. In that case, what NYCB is expected to do here is to 1. Choose a new leader who sets a different example and has different, explicitly stated expectations and 2. Back the new leader up consistently and with clout, top-to-bottom in the organization 3. Remove people who won't comply. For people not covered by an AGMA contract, this means following whatever HR procedures are in place, and then proceeding to fire. For dancers on contract, this can mean firing, not renewing, not casting if the person's status means having to give them a certain amount of notice. (There are some contracts, for example, where senior corps has to be given at least a year's notice, not just not renewed in March/April, after audition season is effectively at an end.) In addition, there have been suggestions that NYCB needs to clean house made by some heavy hitters in the arts, starting with the staff and Board (Brett Egan of the DeVos Institute) and deep self-reflection and change (Michael Kaiser). There are experts in organizational behavior who could help to organize change, but as the saying goes, the light bulb has to want to change. And that will be hard work. Yes, and also by the BBC and other British press, just as the Martins case was last Fall, which, as far as I followed, was covered more extensively both in the international and domestic press, and, generally with far less lurid and click-baity headlines.
  16. This is not always the case. Many of the music abuse cases of the past few years, whether by 'top' teachers at conservatories or by powerful/permanently employed figures in orchestras exploiting deps/casual players, were found to be linked to the aura of mysticism attributed to teachers/performers in the arts space, the dangerous idea of "genius" that exempts people from the usual rules of decent behaviour and the very subjective measurement of artistic merit. Couple that with a massive oversupply of candidates for every job and you have a dangerous imbalance of power. Arguably this is even worse in the US and Russia than it is in Western Europe, because the lack of state funding adds reliance upon wealthy donors into the mix, which carries very dangerous historical resonances, particularly in ballet.
  17. Yes, in France, Greece, South America, Australia, and Asia as well. Anecdotally, many of my friends who are not ballet fans have heard of and expressed shock over the negative publicity,
  18. One could argue that the mistake made was the rush to judgment, and the destruction of two dancers' careers, before there was a full investigation. Whenever a negative story emerges involving NYCB - and they've had their share - the discussion quickly degenerates into a blanket condemnation of every aspect of the company, the leadership, the current dancers compared to the dancers of the storied past, how Balanchine's ballets are currently being danced, etc. Predictably, as the comments to Bentley's article demonstrate, there are calls for abandoning ballet altogether. In other arts organizations, when wrongdoing is discovered, it is considered a matter of individuals behaving badly, not intrinsic to the art form itself. There have been no opinion pieces from second string violinists who played with the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein, blaming the alleged violent sexual and psychological abuse of female players by a few star players on the music director and or orchestral playing. There has been no call to boycott CBS because of the horrific treatment of female producers by Les Moonves and others. (Linda Bloodworth Thomason's account in the Hollywood Reporter is stomach-churning.) Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and so many others are indeed considered "bad apples", and while there is plenty of criticism of the film industry, nobody is calling for its elimination, or claiming that things were so much better in "the golden age" of Hollywood. (They were probably worse.) What is it about ballet that elicits this type of response?
  19. Agree with this 100%! Thank you for articulating these thoughts so well.
  20. It has been picked up international press https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/15/new-york-city-ballet-fires-two-dancers-for-sharing-nude-photos-of-women
  21. The fallout from the Martins situation last fall was far more reaching than the current scandal -- it was picked up internationally and my Google alert for NYCB filled my mailbox with reports of it having picked up across the US -- yet the outcome and the Company response was very different, PR machine or no PR machine. In the Martins case, they took the hit and then let the wave roll back to the ocean. Of course, that was helped by Martins' resignation, for which they did not have the "few bad apples" argument, but, they also had the resignation of Finlay, according to the complaint, the worst perpetrator.
  22. I'm curious to hear an explanation of the "culture" at NYCB. Taking into consideration that the 3 men are gone, along with Martins. Is there someone specifically that you (collectively on this thread) want to call out? It takes PEOPLE to create a culture. Are you worried about a ballet master? Donor? (The one in the lawsuit?) Board member(s)? Dancer(s)? Are audience members objectifying/flirting with dancers at donor events? What specifically, is still worrying? I'm 100% on Waterbury's side, yet I don't quite understand, practically, what else NYCB is expected to do here.
  23. If this is true, reticent or not, the opinions of those who do not want them around won out over those of their friends. Did Catazaro and Ramasar make other dancers feel uncomfortable, threatened, abused, or didn't they? The NYCB community doesn’t just consist of the dancers and employees at the company. Its community also includes audience members and donors, and their opinions count too. The PR fallout from this has been horrific - with articles everywhere, even in international papers. So, this was my point earlier about PR. . . there is such a PR machine at NYCB. The focus is very short term, worrying about "How do we look? How do we look? How do we look? What will people think? What will people think? What will people think?" That NO ONE is asking, "Who are we? How did we get here? What do we need to fix? How can we fix it?" They do not seem to be CHANGING the culture. . .only attempting to change the perception of the culture. It's ALL ABOUT PERCEPTION. It was with Martins. The purpose of the investigation was to test the boundaries of legal liability and improve PR. The focus now is about PERCEPTION. Both, the notion that the company fires someone after originally suspending them and that they don't know how to judge when someone has broken their own policies. I abhor what these men participated in. But NYCB is not acting wisely with this kind of decision making. Certainly appears to be an organization in complete chaos.
  24. Definitely agree with this. I was referring mainly to his use of "unfortunate mistake" -- and in the passive voice, as you rightly note -- to characterize what happened. I also don't think NYCB's cultural contributions over the decades are relevant to the case at hand.
  25. What is vile is arguing/strongly implying that art is more important than humans. It doesn't matter how much "cultural good" an institution does if it facilitates or allows abuse. I'm not saying that is what the company has done here, but that is the argument. It has been very much rehearsed in the context of the various abuse scandals, for example in music schools and conservatories in Europe. Even those of us who love and work in music, ballet or other art forms can believe that artistic or creative excellence doesn't give any person or institution a licence to abuse others.
  26. I certainly understand the "few bad apples" argument, that there is a rare organization or endeavor that is completely squeaky clean, and that the organization should be judged by how they address the issue, not that it should be tossed because there are imperfect humans operating in them. I don't think there's anything vile about this argument, even if I don't agree with whether a given situation is "bad apples" or systemic. For me, his argument comes dangerously close to "The ends justifies the means," particularly in the use of th ubiquitous passive voice. "Mistakes were made," in my opinion, is one of the biggest cop outs in the English language.
  27. The NYCB community doesn’t just consist of the dancers and employees at the company. Its community also includes audience members and donors, and their opinions count too. The PR fallout from this has been horrific - with articles everywhere, even in international papers. The impact on the community may be referring primarily to the response from the larger community and not the feelings of the various dancers.
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