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About sappho

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Ummm am I allowed to be super stoked by this even if I've never seen Leta dance live?! 🙌 Even on tape, it's clear what an absolute force of nature she is. I particularly love the short clips on PNB's YouTube (or possibly Facebook?) of Biasucci dancing Rubies and David Dawson works.
  2. It's been mentioned several times above, but it's worth reiterating that 'revenge porn' laws target the unlawful dissemination of sexual/intimate images (i.e. disseminating images of a subject without obtaining explicit consent to disseminate those images). This can happen even if the sex was consensual.
  3. 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.
  4. Catazaro writes, "I respect and admire every ballerina with whom I dance at the company, and strive every day to be the best partner I possibly can be." And Ramasar, "I am an honest and honorable person, and have always treated everyone, including my colleagues, staff, friends and others at NYCB, with the upmost respect." So facile. Beyond the mindbogglingly obvious point that no one gets to judge the quality of his or her own other-regarding behavior, these men are both old enough to know that 'nice' people can do terrible things and don't get a pass on facing the consequences.
  5. Whoops, my bad! He's quoted here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/15/arts/dance/city-ballet-fires-two-male-dancers-accused-of-sharing-photos.html
  6. Agree with Helene, nanushka, and others that this was the right call. Also, between John Hockenberry's essay in Harper's, Jian Ghomeshi's essay in NYRB, Ian Buruma's interview justifying his decision to publish Ghomeshi, Ramasar's statement, and Catazaro's statement, it's been a busy weekend for men complaining that they were fired or forced to resign in order to "appease" (Ramasar's words) the nameless public mob...
  7. Ahhhh so delighted to hear this!! Now I kind of want to re-read it myself. Let me know if you end up finding something particularly illuminating on the non-fiction front?
  8. sappho

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    To echo a couple of comments in the other thread, Georgina Pazcoguin is a treasure and so, so underused in the Balanchine rep. Also hope to see Olivia Boisson, Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara, and Sasonah Huttenbach in more featured roles. Happy to see Concerto DSCH and Prodigal Son on the schedule. Less happy to see West Side Story AND Something to Dance About AND Carousel.
  9. Oh boy. 😬 Where to begin. If I may be blunt, he's treating this story like it's a writing prompt for his application to the AD job. Quotes from the post: Here he just takes for granted that the ability to calmly rise above crises and "put out the fires in the classiest possible way" is evidence of good leadership. Same with this. The first sentence, as a standalone comment, would normally be understood as criticism rather than praise. Drug issues aren't the same thing as bad publicity when dancers are seen smoking pot. Public pot smoking is not a drug issues, and treating it as such is pretty insulting to dancers who have dealt with addiction. This is a bizarrely perfunctory and flippant comment, given that he mentions earlier in the post that he's responding specifically to the Finlay case. No introspection about what a modern AD might do in light of what we now know about eating disorder prevention. It's pretty horrifying that senior members of the dance community could be so beset by nostalgia that this sort of behavior doesn't strike them as problematic. And while most people dodge the issue by saying something like, "He was a product of his times," Clifford seems to think Balanchine's actions are worthy of emulation. NO. No they absolutely do not need father figures. Ballet companies are not families. Dancers are not children; dancers are employees. Dancers need collective bargaining power, dispute resolution mechanisms, limits on working hours and performances, health benefits, and protections against workplace discrimination. They need to be able to hold their leaders accountable without penalty. They need leaders who recognize that sexual harassment and abuse are not just institutional but structural problems.
  10. This exactly. I wasn't going to comment further, but this one hits close to home for me. One can be 'on the roster and dancing,' so to speak, without ever letting on that one suffers privately due to past trauma, grief, sexual assault, eating disorders, and mental illness. I've been one of those students. Ambitious, intense academic environment -- much like Alexandra. One becomes astonishingly good at hiding pain from other people. Agree 200 % Circulating surreptitiously recorded videos and images is not a kink. It is a crime. Deriving pleasure from knowing that one is being recorded is a kink. It's very common. That doesn't make circulating those recordings without consent any less of a crime.
  11. This is victim-blaming. They don't have the standing. The company has the final word on casting. And even if dancers could refuse, it wouldn't be a free choice insofar as promotions depend on casting. That scenario is a paradigmatic example of a hostile work environment. A final thought: I've just looked at John Clifford's Instagram and, perhaps unsurprisingly, he's managed to make this crisis all about himself. ("Some people have recently asked me what I thought about the problems now facing the board and company and if this could have happened in Balanchine's day. Absolutely not! is my answer.") Like others, he describes what has happened as a "sad situation" all around. It's an empty, depoliticizing phrase, used far too often in commentary about sexual assault to avoid discussing specifics--deliberately or not.
  12. I'm a millennial. I'm not in the dance world, but I am in academia, whose power structures can resemble those in the arts: a mandatory 'apprenticeship' (grad school) requiring unbelievable amounts of time/money before you're even allowed to interview for salaried jobs, heavy competition for a dwindling number of jobs (many just fellowships), a huge amount of overlap between professional and social activities, insular communities, superstars who are seen as indispensable to the profession, gender imbalances at the upper levels of the profession, huge amount of leeway given to 'boy geniuses'... and so forth. Anyway, I hope it's not breaking forum rules to express my sadness at how many times Finlay, Ramasar, and Catazaro's artistry has been mentioned in this conversation. My sadness at how worries about their lives being ruined and what their absence might mean for the audience's experience seem to be much more passionately stated here than concern for Alexandra and the women of NYCB. I am so indescribably angry and sad about what has happened to them. I'm also mortified that more people aren't angry. And -- and this is where the comment about academia comes in -- I'm scared, because whenever I see the reaction to something like this happening in the dance world, it feels like a preview of what might happen in my world if I or women I knew had to report sexual harassment or worse. The insistence on defending people on the basis of their contributions to the field, the denial of institutional responsibility, the worries about (statistically rare) false accusations, everything.
  13. Don't have definitive recommendations on the non-fiction front (so much historiographical controversy!), but definitely recommend Julian Barnes' novel on Shostakovitch, The Noise of Time. A compact, melancholy reflection on the relationship between art and politics, and on the moral, political, and personal compromises required of artists working under totalitarian regimes.
  14. Just wanted to comment on Kurt Froman's Instagram account, which features clips from the NYCB archive. His posts from the last couple of weeks are especially juicy; loads of rehearsal and interview footage, clips from infrequently-performed ballets, and videos of Suzanne. Two comments. First, so much of the archival footage was shot over the course of Peter Martins' career. I'm amused at how much this annoys me. (More Nikolaj Hübbe videos, please!!) Seeing him in so many of these videos really highlights his predictable/unchanging stage presence; he always seems to play the role of Peter Martins, rather than adapting his stage presence to the ballet he's performing. Second (and slightly gossipy) thing of interest: there's a recent (3 days ago) video of Suzanne talking about her fallout with Balanchine, and Darci Kistler left a couple of bizarre/salty comments on the post ("I wish Mr B. could respond !!!").