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Pique Arabesque

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Fan/Former Dancer
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    New York
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  1. Pique Arabesque

    Gomes and ABT

    I agree with your first point, but men have a (maybe not so) surprising capacity to persevere and rebuild despite the various dings that their reputation has taken. Mel Gibson comes to mind. The allegations against Casey Affleck did not prevent him from winning an Oscar, and James Franco recently won a Golden Globe despite the whispers surrounding him.
  2. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    What is socially acceptable changes with time. Just because it was socially acceptable to date a subordinate in the 1940s and 1950s doesn't mean that those relationships weren't coercive or abusive. And I would argue that "bastard" (especially if it refers to a child born to unmarried parents) is still stigmatizing - even if the stigma is not as bad as it was back then. And I don't think that anybody believes that Heather Watts is a delicate flower. But her big personality does not excuse any abuse that she experienced. Also, it is not uncommon for victims to rationalize the violence that they experience ("I hit him first so I deserved to get hit back," etc), in order to regain a sense of power in the relationship. And since the Watts/Martins relationship was likely statutory rape from a legal perspective, there was a huge power imbalance at work.
  3. Pique Arabesque

    Gomes and ABT

    Who is being blacklisted? Marcelo is still dancing, and his projects outside of ABT are still going forward as planned (as the many Instagram clips in this thread reveal). It might be more useful to interrogate why one feels the need to cause discomfort in the workplace. Also, there are men in the entertainment industry who have come forward with allegations (they are not danseurs, but the actors Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp come to mind).
  4. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I had a long response with multiple quotes that disappeared (ack!), but I wanted to clarify: Any abusive behavior is wrong, regardless of the decade in which it occurred. And to address some other points that have been raised: I see no issue with Flack's statement. Martins told the NYT that he pushed Darci into an etagere. It is a documented fact. Flack clearly cares about NYCB, and is not out to "get" Martins. Instead, she is encouraging current dancers like T Peck and Mearns to speak out in ways that reflect their experiences while not alienating the people who are making allegations against Martins. (Also, if Flack is "bitter," one might argue that Peck and Mearns are looking at Martins with rose-colored glasses). One of the best things about the #MeToo movement is that it is questioning certain courtship rituals. It is okay for women to say yes when they are first asked out, and shows that men shouldn't repeatedly pursue women who have demonstrated that they aren't interested in a relationship. The #MeToo organizers are likely not interested in policing women's wardrobes, or ending all workplace relationships. Also, married women are harassed in the workplace as well - just an FYI. And if an individual has a long, documented track record of abuse, then they are an abuser. It becomes fact, and not opinion.
  5. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Balanchine and Robbins are dead, and there is definitely more accountability for abusers than there was back then, but wrong is wrong, regardless of the decade (you know this, of course - I just wanted to put it in print). More on Balanchine later... And it is unlikely that any current dancer will ever publicly disclose anything. It takes great courage to come forward and disclose your assault. Disclosure can also have negative personal and professional ramifications, which will likely discourage a career-minded young dancer from coming forward. However, the NYT did publish allegations that Martins had sex with dancers. Kathryn Morgan said that she heard allegations that he was sleeping with three dancers, including one principal. It might be easy to dismiss this as rumor or conjecture, but when there's smoke, there is usually fire. I would not be surprised if Martins' relationships with dancers were an open secret among company members. This doesn't seem ridiculous to me, either. I hope that as a result of this investigation, NYCB develops a "Code of Conduct" establishing standards for workplace sexual ethics/relationships. I am not opposed to relationships among dancers (even though they can end messily), but management/dancer relationships are ripe for coercion and present an ethical minefield (for reasons I have already outlined). Back to Balanchine: Clive James argued that Balanchine slept with his dancers. And marriage is not a balm that heals abusive/coercive relationships, particularly with the dancers that he married/wanted to marry. Maria Tallchief didn't want to marry him him initially, and her family disapproved of Balanchine. He got a quickie divorce from Tanaquil LeClerq to marry Suzanne Farrell (nearly 40 years younger than him), and her refusal to marry him lead to her departure from City Ballet. Also, I would encourage everyone to watch Oprah's remarks from the Golden Globes last night. She addresses many of the political issues that have been raised in this thread, focusing on the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was raped by six white men in Alabama in1944 (since there seems to be an assumption that black people only factor into sexual assault cases as "falsely accused" defendants).
  6. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    This is key. While the dancers that Martins is alleged to have slept with as AD of City Ballet were probably of age, they could not have consented to a relationship with him. Consent is not just about saying "yes" - it's also about feeling free to say "no" without fear of negative consequences. Consent can't be given under duress. He was their supervisor, and employee/supervisor relationships are defined by an imbalance of power. Martins was responsible for promotions, casting, etc - all things that could shape the trajectory of an entire career. It is very likely that dancers were fearful of experiencing negative career consequences should they decline his advances. In these situations, I also wonder about the dancers who aren't sleeping with the AD (speaking generally). Are there talented dancers who were passed over just because they didn't catch the AD's eye? (Just thinking out loud here). And not to sound like a broken record, but while Martins' relationships with Watts and Kistler as a dancer are most likely not part of the formal investigation, they establish a precedent for his tendency to target young women. The lengths that people will go to defend terrible men (Cosby, Martins, etc)...
  7. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I don't think it's complicated at all. There is a lot of understandable admiration for the way that Martins steadied the ship after Balanchine's passing and built NYCB into the organization it is today. As a result, behavior that would be indefensible for any other man is being defended. And depending on the laws, "public dating" between a minor and a middle aged man should be more accurately described as "grooming" (and statutory rape if the relationship was sexual at that point). Even if there was no sex in the beginning stages of their relationship, Martins was obviously courting Kistler (yuck!), which is still inappropriate. It does not matter that he is Scandinavian, or it was a different time, or they were colleagues, etc. And just because Darci was good enough to be in NYCB does not mean that she was emotionally ready (or legally allowed) to engage in a romantic relationship with a man who is old enough to be her father (as AB'sMom just said). Also, one wonders: were there no women in their late 20s or early 30s in the company that Martins could have dated? Speaking generally, I've found that predatory older men often pursue and groom younger women/teenage girls because they are looking for someone to control. And though the Kistler/Martins relationship is not part of the investigation, the fact that it followed a relationship with an underage Heather Watts is eyebrow raising, to say the least. And according to the NYT, Martins allegedly had sexual relationships with current dancers, who are 40-50 years younger than him. There is an obvious power differential there, and paints an unflattering portrait of Martins as a figure who wants to control much younger women. Of course, there are women (Mearns, M. Fairchild, Hyltin, etc) who have defended him publicly, and I don't want to erase their experiences. However, abusers also know how to pick and choose their victims.
  8. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Sexual harassment and physical abuse at a ballet company is peak SVU. I'm sure that Dick Wolf and Co. will be all over it. Weight/body shaming isn't sexual or physical harassment, but one could argue that it does contribute to a toxic work/school environment. I think it's particularly important to be delicate with minors like Ms. Stewart. Honestly, I think that any sensitive conversations about a minor's progress at SAB should happen via the parents/guardians, not the student. And it seems like Stewart was berated by Martins for experiencing a natural developmental process. "He told me I was fat" sounds trivial, but I can understand how that might contribute to an eating disorder in an impressionable young girl. And adult dancers need to be given a consult with a nutritionist and a meal plan if they are asked to lose weight. Dancers tend to be Type A perfectionists, and some will go to extreme measures and starve themselves. There is also a difference between a situation like Kathryn Morgan's - where an illness leads to weight gain - and a size 2/4 dancer who is asked to become a size 0 dancer for "aesthetic reasons" (I think that Balanchine often had unreasonable expectations for dancer weight loss).
  9. Pique Arabesque

    Are there ballets that should no longer be staged?

    The samurai warrior/coy geisha pairing traffics in gendered/raced stereotypes of Japanese culture. It is also generally performed by dancers who are not Japanese, thus constituting a form of yellowface.
  10. Pique Arabesque

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    This transition might feel abrupt, but I think that NYCB can thrive without Martins. And if the various allegations are true, he needs to go. As others have mentioned, he would have likely departed within the next 10 years regardless. The company is dancing better than ever, and the Balanchine/Robbins rep is still its beating heart. As long as the new AD understands both of those things, I believe that the City Ballet will remain in good health. Once everything stabilizes, this might be a good opportunity to purge the rep of Martins' bad ballets and refresh some of the stagings (thinking of "Swan Lake" here). And I don't think that Millepied is necessarily a frontrunner (the NYT article seemed to be mostly speculation). My money is on Lourdes Lopez or Peter Boal.
  11. Pique Arabesque

    Are there ballets that should no longer be staged?

    Most of this conversation has focused on classical ballet, but I've always found "Bugaku" to be irredeemably Orientalist.
  12. Pique Arabesque

    Steven McRae

    Alastair Macaulay (the lead dance critic for the New York Times) loves McRae. I think Macaulay may have even said that McRae was the RB's best principal man at one point. In my opinion, Edward Watson is the male RB principal who seems to get a lot of unnecessarily negative attention.
  13. Pique Arabesque

    Best and Worst of 2017

    I'll keep my observations short and sweet: BEST The continued personal and professional successes of Misty Copeland - and the ways that she has exposed racial resentment and classism in ballet The deep bench of rockstar principal women at NYCB SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE Justin Peck's THE TIMES ARE RACING - there was so much joy and abandon in this ballet, but the electronic score was often loud, dull, and repetitive WORST The Peter Martins and Marcelo Gomes situations (though I think that balletomanes have been too quick to defend Gomes, especially since we don't really know what happened).
  14. Pique Arabesque

    Misty Copeland, Part Deux

    Misty's KennCen performance with Robbie Fairchild (a part of the Carmen de Lavallade tribute) was broadcast on CBS tonight. Link below: https://youtu.be/nlUGjpyqo4 Lovely work from both dancers!
  15. I also thought the de Lavallade tribute was amazing. The movement quality seemed to be a particularly good fit for Misty, who looked lush and lyrical with Robbie (I want to see them dance "The Man I Love" PDD now!). Stella was charming and witty, and the Ailey dancers were superb, as usual (particularly AGM).