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Everything posted by minervaave

  1. I know nothing about Kent, but this strikes me as exactly the problem we are talking about. It’s not what Balanchine wanted, but what Kent wanted that should have mattered when it came to her personal life. And I think we have ample evidence now that dancers can have children and remain outstanding dancers and that Balanchine’s dislike of this was prejudice on his part - a prejudice that may have been tolerated in his day, but that should be acknowledged today for what it is.
  2. Workplaces can absolutely impose anti-fraternization rules and quite stringent ones. In the US military, an officer cannot date an enlisted soldier. In fact, the military even regulates the degree of friendship permitted between officers and enlisted soldiers. So NYCB could absolutely put into place a policy forbidding NYCB dancers to date SAB students. And, if desired, they could put in a caveat that relationships started while both are at SAB could be allowed to continue or any other exemptions they feel necessary. In terms of Waterbury suing for money, I think there are two factors here, and neither of them necessarily precludes the moral high ground on Waterbury’s part. 1) Lawyers need to get paid. Finding a lawyer who wanted to take this on pro bono for a token $1 in damages a la Taylor Swift would have probably been an extremely tough sell. 2) The most effective way to get an organization to change is to make it more painful for them to continue on their current path than it is to change. And suing NYCB does exactly this by going after two things that are very important to them - their reputation and their finances. As an example of the power of this tactic, universities in America had a terrible track record when it came to dealing with sexual assault victims both because they were afraid that if they acknowleded it was happening, it would hurt their school’s reputation and because if they did anything to the accused, they could turn around and sue the school. Colleges finally began to change their policies and procedures (at least to some extent) only when two women began bringing lawsuits under Title IX providing equal opportunities for women and getting victims at other schools to also file lawsuits. Only when colleges started to get sued for not protecting sexual assault victims did they start to put any meaningful protections in place. So what Waterbury is doing may actually be extremely effective in getting NYCB to address what she clearly sees as a problem with the institution.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. In my reading of his comments and what I remember of the complaint, he threads the needle even more finely than this. he says he only possesses a photo of one consenting adult, but he doesn’t actually mention whether or not he shared this photo and whether he had consent to share it. He simply states that he did not share the photos that were sent to him. The photo he has admitted to having may have been taken by him and not been sent to him, so it is not necessarily covered by that statement. He leaves a lot of ambiguity there. So yes, I read it as a denial of things he wasn’t accused of, not a denial of the things he was accused of. Basically, this is either a very poorly written post or a very cleverly written post.
  6. Looking at pictures of naked girls in pornography, which features people who have agreed to have images of themselves naked and having sex, is not rampant sexual misconduct. Distributing photos of someone who has not explicitly agreed to have them shared absolutely is. Just because what Louis CK or Les Moonves did is horrific does not mean this is less horrific. This is a public violation, and a public violation regarding something that many people would consider the most private, personal and intimate thing about them, their body. All of these things are awful and all of them can have a devastating and traumatic impact on their victim.
  7. Just because someone sincerely apologizes doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be consequences for their actions. I think an apology can be owed and given, but depending on what happened, that is not by itself enough for the matter to be closed and for justice to have been done, especially when it involves criminal allegations. I merely felt that the steps below needed an additional one when it came to the act of apologizing. (I think of forgiveness as necessary, but not necessarily sufficient.)
  8. I would add that the true mark of a sincere apology where the person should be forgiven is if the person who is being apologized to forgives them.
  9. We know for a fact that Finlay, Ramasar and Catazaro did something serious related to inappropriate email communications. NYCB has acknowledged this. We now also know specifics of allegations involving Finlay and Ramasar that fall exactly into that category, which, if true, constitute criminal behavior. (Specifics on Catazoro have not been made public, so I leave him out of this). It’s theoretically possible that the allegation and the evidence that NYCB used to make their decision are not the same, but personally, I find that really hard to believe. After all, the thing about email and texts is that they are not just a question of “he said, she said”, there’s evidence. So in the case of Finlay and Ramasar, I for one, think we know what they did. And what they did was utterly degrading and dehumanizing to women. Their character is not going to magically change just because they were caught. I’m sick of this - I’m sick of seeing men do disgusting and hurtful things to women (and sometimes other men) and get away with it because people don’t care enough. NYCB has already shown for decades they didn’t care enough about a man physically assaulting his wife. I thought maybe things had now changed, but if NYCB lets Ramasar back, it shows to me they still don’t care. And if audiences show up to see Ramasar or Finlay dance, it shows to me they don’t care enough either. And I am tired of people caring more about a dance performance or more about giving men a second chance than they do about standing up for the victims and keeping present and future generations of women (and men too) safe.
  10. I agree with you - I think it’s partly that Finlay’s words make him an easy villain, but also that people are going easier on Ramasar because he’s a more painful loss to NYCB and the dance community. But yes, if Ramasar shared nude photos of a woman without her consent, then he is every bit as culpable as Finlay and deserves the exact same condemnation. I’m assuming the reason Ramasar is not also a defendant is because he allegedly sent photos of another woman, not Waterbury, so she doesn’t have any standing to sue him. And let’s not forget, although the lawsuit is just allegations, not proof, NYCB has confirmed that there is proof of something.
  11. According to the complaint, the donor actually hosted parties and gave speeches at them, including one where the microphone had to be cut because he was so drunk. That doesn’t sound like a couple of friends getting together and having a party - microphones and speeches and someone else cutting the mike strongly imply that this was a formal event. And I can guarantee you that no major non-profit in NYC lets a low level donor host one of their events. That is a privilege exclusively limited to VIPs. Also, anyone who thinks this sort of behavior is limited to the young and foolish should probably read a little bit more about the behavior of NY’s monied elite. It doesn’t surprise me at all.
  12. So does this mean the punishment that NYCB deemed appropriate for Ramasar’s actions was “suspension without pay” for a period of time in which Ramasar was actually employed by another organization and presumably not getting paid by or dancing for NYCB? Does anyone know how long he was supposed to perform with Carousel and whether he was actually scheduled to dance anything with NYCB before the end of the year? For me, this is pretty important in determining whether NYCB acted with any integrity or whether they really did hope they could get away with a token slap on the wrist. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that NYCB is not just a single entity - I’m sure there are many people on the board and at the organization who really do want to do the right thing. The question is whether the truly powerful people (typically the ones who donate a lot of money and/or have access to people with a lot of money) care. And the truly frightening thought is that some of these people may actually be the perpetrators themselves - after all, the anonymous donor listed in the complaint was probably not a low-level donor if he is texting back and forth with a principal dancer at the company. Only the highest level of donors typically get access at an “intimate” level to the dancers, especially to the principals.
  13. Exactly. What they did was wrong in a way that shows a profound, fundamental lack of character and respect towards women. You can’t rehabiliate that. This is not a drinking problem where people can get treatment to help them - this is about their fundamental character, and I am also truly saddened that continuing to enjoy their artistry seems to some to be more important than seeing that people who treat women like this don’t flourish in our society. The reason why people do this and get away with it is that they continue to get the message that they can.
  14. Institutions and people who participate in or allow this sort of horrifying behavior only change when the negative consequences of not changing are so severe that they have to. If we, the audience, continue to go see these men perform because we love their artistry, they will continue to be employed and will suffer no meaningful consequences for their behavior. Is going to see a night at the ballet, no matter how transcendent, worth the suffering Waterbury has gone through? For me, I don’t want to punish the dancers at NYCB who had nothing to do with this, but I will never go see any of these men dance again. And I will not donate a penny to NYCB until they are no longer part of the company. If they are merely suspended for a period of time and then continue merrily along with their career, continuing to attract audiences, then every victim seeing them will understand that their suffering doesn’t really matter and everyone who would potentially do something like this will see it as not a big deal, just “locker room talk”. And nothing will change. If Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro lose their careers, and we the audience lose their presence on the stage, but a future generation of ballerinas is spared something like this and able to practice their art unhindered, I consider the exchange well worth it.
  15. I saw her as one of the shades in La Bayadere, and she took my breath away. I'm so glad to hear this, and I hope they bring her to NY the next time they tour. I would love to see her again.
  16. When Shevchenko came on stage and did her first balance, her supporting leg was trembling, and I thought, "oh no, please don't let this be la Bayadere all over again." Her first few arabesque balances on pointe were hurried, as if she didn't trust herself. Which makes her performance all the more amazing because once she started the pas de deux, the nerves went away and she owned that stage. Her white swan pas de deux was really beautiful. Previously, I have thought of her as a somewhat aloof dancer, but she was beautifully sensitive and eloquent with her whole body. She really has the back, the arms and the lines for Swan Lake, but it's also how she used them. I also thought she didn't overdo the swan arms, which can sometimes happen. They were a natural and organic part of her movment, and they were especially beautiful when she boureed off the stage. (Her bourrees were also gorgeous.) In Act III, all I could think was that she was born to dance this role. She was the most gleefully evil black swan I've seen. She teased Sigfried and tormented him, coming close and then putting a hand up to stop him, and every gesture was perfect. She was evil seduction incarnate. And the dancing - well, it fit perfectly with the character, full of dazzle. How could Siegried be anything but mesmerized? The audience certainly was. Yes, the fouettes were amazing, but the variation before them was just as incredible. On her fouettes - I just have to say in addition to all the triples, arms raised, leg extended thrown in, they were incredibly fast. And her supported pirouettes throughout were also extremely fast and just great. I feel sorry for Whiteside because when he came out for his variation, I had clean forgotten about him. Usually, it's the male variations that draw the big applause, but not this time, even before the fouettees. I definitely think Swan Lake will (and should) be one of Shevchenko's signature roles. I found her performance truly exciting, especially in Act III, and this has been tough to find at ABT this season. If I had one criticism of Shevchenko, it would be to echo alexL. Even when her body is beautifully expressive, her face doesn't always reflect this. I didn't notice her open mouth, but in the white swan pas de deux, she sometimes looked blank. Whiteside was sort of irrelevant, which was fine. He certainly made her shine in the partnering, which was the important part. But I don't think I looked at him once while they were dancing together. When I did look at him during the court scenes, he always seemed to have a smirk on his face, and he had the same expression much of the time during Romeo and Juliet. I think he's much more suited for comic roles. He's a "gets the job done" dancer, not someone you get excited about. Aran Bell did well as Purple Rothbart, although I will always hold Gomes at the gold standard. His dancing was lovely, and he had hints of the seductive mannerisms required. He's just so young that it was hard for him to look convincing as the master seducer. His arabesque balance was a little shaky - he looked like he was trying to find his balance with a very low extension and then finally got it up to arabesque very briefly. But other than that, I really enjoyed his dancing. I thought the four cygnettes were much better today than what I have seen in past years. Their pas de chats were in unison, which is usually the place where I feel like they fall apart. It was Calvin Royal, Fang and Giangeruso in the peasant pas de trois. Seeing both Royal and Aran Bell on stage made me wonder what they would be like as Siegfried. I think they both have that princely demeanor.
  17. Masseria dei Vini on 9th and 58th is a nice Italian restaurant and very well priced for the neighborhood. Not thought of as a pre theater place, but actually very close. Rosa Mexicano is also a classic if you like higher end Mexican that is just across the street from LC. I agree that Blue Ribbon Sushi is excellent for sushi. Stay away from PJ Clarke’s - I’ve never had a good meal there. I actually think Fiorella’s does have good food - their lasagna is insanely decadent and delicious. And finally for a very quick bite, witchcraft, which is just across the street in the atrium has tasty sandwiches for a very quick very reasonable meal.
  18. I hope it does. I would happily see this again, but Golden Cockerel - not if you paid me. Very different. Sleeping Beauty - depends on what you hated about it because in some ways, they are similar. I personally liked this more because it seemed less obviously a "period" ballet and more in line with today's aesthetics (and the costumes and sets were gorgeous.) I will say that I got my ticket on a flash sale, and there were quite a number of empty seats in my row, which isn't a great sign. But that may have more to do with the lack of star power tonight, not the ballet itself.
  19. Speaking of audience behavior, I just got back from Harlequinade, and the two women in front of me were talking to each other during the entire thing. And I mean every couple of minutes at best, often multiple comments in a minute. I tried sshhing them, but they completely ignored me and kept on talking. Is it just me? Is talking during the ballet not that big a deal? Anyone ever handled this successfully? (It wasn't as distracting in the first act, so I didn't think to say anything at intermission.) And a few seats down, there was a woman who kept waving at her child onstage and videotaped the grand finale. At this point, I'm starting to think all children should be banned from performing in all ballets except Nutcracker because the audience seems to think that if kids are in a ballet, the rules go out the window. (Only sort of joking.) On to the ballet. Overall, I thought it was charming. Yes, the first act is very light on dance, and I'm glad I was warned to expect this. But for me, the second act more than made up for it. And I did actually like the children quite a lot here. There weren't any very young ones, so they were actually dancing quite a bit, not just running around the stage. And there were several with very lovely port de bras. Trenary made one mistake at a key point - when she and Pierrette are supposed to balance using each other for support. She never really got the balance at all, which was disappointing because I think the effect would have been lovely - two women supporting each other, instead of the woman being supported by a man. And I couldn't tell what was going on with the hops on pointe in the second act - she was on demi pointe by the end of them, but maybe that is the choreography? But her stage presence makes her a delight to watch. Her dancing has such a joy to it. It's also her smile and the way she exudes happiness that carries over to the audience. It worked perfectly for the part. I also thought Shayer was perfectly cast - he has a swagger to him that worked very well in the part. I thought Shevchenko was very strong technically, but seeing her dancing next to Trenary made it clear to me what I sometimes find lacking in her. Her mannerisms, expressions and smiles feel artificial to me, as opposed to natural. It's clear she is acting a part. Blaine Hoven didn't really register much as a presence, but maybe that was just his part. I did think Keith Roberts was very funny as the suitor, and I love when ballet shows how much humor there is when someone with perfect control of their body uses it to comedic effect. That sort of physical humor is almost never seen anymore on tv and in the movies, and it's nice to be reminded of what an art it is. I also loved the larks and agree - they must have spent all their time rehearsing this instead of Giselle and La Bayadere because they were so much better!
  20. At this point, I think I'd be happier if they dropped the emphasis on homegrown talent. It doesn't seem to be working for them anymore. I enjoyed seeing Shevchenko, Teuscher, Lane and Brandt last year, but I didn't fall in love with them, and I think a great dancer makes you love them. That is what is needed to fill the Met and what is missing right now from pretty much all the female principals on the roster. I keep hoping for greatness, but then I see them, and they can't quite deliver. They either have the artistic part down, but make too many mistakes or they have the technical part down, but not the emotional part. I hope some of them prove me wrong, but apart from Brandt, most of them are pretty well developed as dancers by now, even if they haven't had the chance to perform specific roles. (I do have hopes for Trenary because when I saw her as Olga in Onegin, she was riveting, and I did love her, even if Boylston was stronger technically.) I agree that the problem is less the Met than it is the dancers, but I don't know how ABT goes about fixing that. Bringing in guest stars provokes outcries, but it attracts an audience. Relying on their current crop of performers isn't doing that, and I think it's a totally fair judgment on the part of the audience as to what they are seeing. It's still ballet, it's still beautiful with many wonderful moments, but it doesn't make me long to see that particular performer again in anything and everything they do.
  21. I have to admit I was disappointed. Kim was wonderful - not just that his jumps are almost unreal, he stays in the air so long, but he's so elegant and beautiful as Solor. But I think that, to some extent, he showed up the rest of the cast. I found Gillian Murphy's dancing labored last night in some sections and missing some of her usual razzle dazzle. During the Italian fouettes, it looked like she was giving it all she had to get up there; it didn't have that effortless flowing appearance where it looks easy. Her regular fouettes, on the other hand, were fantastic and had that magic. And in Act III, at the beginning, she had some very awkward moments. I couldn't tell what went wrong exactly, but it looked like she didn't have the balance and control to make a couple of transitions and rushed them. To me, it did not feel like she was at her best. Hee Seo was lovely in the pas de deux and the scarf variation. They had some wonderful lifts that were one of the highlights for me. But I find her very frustrating as a dancer because she plays it so safe. Her jumps lack explosiveness, and there were too many moments when she could have done more, but didn't. For example, she was in a beautiful arabesque pose with Kim on pointe, but she started rolling off pointe as he let go of her hand, and she did it every time in the sequence. It looked like she wasn't even trying to hold the balances by herself, not even for a brief moment. Her bourres weren't that fast and kind of unexciting. And the backward hops in arabesque, her leg was way too low to the ground. It turned what is supposed to be a beautiful moment into something unimpressive. It was almost awkward because Kim would come out and do something incredible, and she would do something... nice. I thought Gorak was very good. He was super sharp and crisp with all his moves, and he had the almost statue like moves down perfectly. One little bobble, but other than that, danced with a lot of beauty and clarity. Finally, the Shades. I saw so many trembling legs during the entrance initially that it was scary. Not just little quivers either, but serious shaking. The first shade took a number of steps before she got her leg under control, and of course, I noticed her because she was first. I don't know if that was nerves or lack of rehearsal time. As it progressed, it got better, and I was able to relax and enjoy the beauty and not worry about potential mishaps. People have commented about ABT lacking world class talent right now, and for me, last night's performance reinforced that. I saw Tereshkina and Kim in DC, and they blew me away, whereas this time, Kim blew me away, but not the performance overall. I really hope that some of the other casts are able to deliver incredible performances.
  22. I just got back from tonight's performance of Coppelia, and imho, Tiler Peck is a goddess. Her dancing is just beautiful - confident and secure, even with the most difficult steps, and utterly joyous. I was so happy I got to see her in this role. I thought it was a really special night. I also thoroughly enjoyed De Luz as Franz. I sometimes find NYCB men a little dull especially in comparison with the women, but he was very exciting. My only quibbles were with the male dancer in the War / Discord, who I thought was a little sloppy, and, yes I know this is totally silly, but Swanhilde's skirt in Act I! It looked like a 70's curtain in bright pink with one hideous ruffle at the bottom. It is a crime to put a beautiful dancer like Tiler Peck in that wildly unflattering skirt, and it made it harder for me to imagine her as Swanhilde because the skirt was so obviously a costume, and a cheap looking one at that. But overall, a wonderful evening.
  23. I was at the Lane/Simkin matinee today, and I thought Lane was really lovely, and I particularly appreciated how in sync with the music both she and Simkin were. For example, I feel like most of the time I've seen the tour jetes (I think that was the step), one person is jumping and landing slightly before the other, and it just looks sloppy to me. This time, they were both jumping and landing in arabesque at the same time, and I found it so much more beautiful to see them in harmony with each other and the music. I felt like throughout she was really paying attention to what the music was saying and expressing it in her movements. Unfortunately, I thought this was in contrast to Shevchenko today. Maybe it is that the music is just too fast, but it still bothered me. And some of it didn't seem to be the music. It was a little thing, but when Giselle first makes her entrance, Lane was walking forward in time with the music, and it seemed like Shevchenko was just walking backwards, not necessarily paying attention to the music. I felt the same about Gabe Stone Shayer too - he was going through the steps, but they weren't connected to the music. Whereas with Simkin and Lane, what I was seeing and what I was hearing made sense together and enhanced each other. I was so happy they got their second curtain call - they totally deserved it! And I hope they realize that there was a sizeable group who really appreciated their performance, even if the overall audience felt dead. If I were guessing, I'd say it felt like at least 20% of the audience, and maybe more, kept clapping and calling "bravo" and stayed in place for several minutes until they came out again. The audience insisted on it, even if it clearly wasn't planned.
  24. I have to say I’m so excited - my parents live in Durham, and both have loved dance for a long time. Durham is a really nice place to live, but one of the issues has always been its distance from the major cities that usually attract this kind of world-class talent. With this and ADF, Durham is becoming an amazing place in which to see dance.
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