Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About MintyLee

  • Rank

Registration Profile Information

  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Yes, Helene--thank you for correcting the imprecisions in my last post. I did not mean to imply that there is no contract between NYCB and its dancers. What I hoped to convey was that the relevant features we usually think of as being important in an employment contract, such as pay and amount of work, etc., are determined by the agreement between the union and the company, not between the company and the employee. Given the strictures within the AGMA agreement, the only customization possible for the company is 1) whether to offer an employment contract and 2) what level (corps, soloist, principal--apprentices are not covered by AGMA) is offered. I cite the 1999 AGMA agreement to show the degree to which those components we generally conceptualize as most pertinent to an employment contract are contained within the union agreement. Here, the New York Times article I cited reports the large role former general manager Ken Tabachnik played in the 2011 negotiations. I meant the adjective "large" only to qualify "role in the negotiations," as per the Times article. The size of the role a general manager plays in disciplinary actions is not determined by the agreement, you are correct--I only meant to point out that this person plays a role, large or small, actively or in name only as a result of his signature on the AGMA agreement. This was my intent in highlighting that the agreement is signed on behalf of the company by the GM. My intent was also to show that it may the be case that it is not just the AD or ballet masters or ED who can figure into these types of things. AD and ballet masters are considered artistic staff, and my intent was to point out there may be additional power structures in existence apart from the artistic staff and the ED that can figure in. But you are right, the size and scope of the general manager's role cannot be determined by the available sources--as I said, few know about the existence of the general manager, and fewer still understand the role he plays. I am of the few who knows of his existence, but not of the fewer still who understand the role he plays. No where did I mention or mean to imply that the entire company does not have to follow the rules of the agreement. To clarify, I wrote "A code of conduct, if one were to exist, would also have to be either presented in the dancer agreement or as an addendum to it..." My use of the subjunctive mood was meant to suggest a conditional sentence and a hypothetical. I did not mean to state definitively that there is or is not specific language in place regarding norms of conduct presently, only that if there were, they would be found within or as an addendum to the current agreement. I did not mention nor mean to imply there is or would be any objection by AGMA. I also did not mention or mean to imply NYCB did not act within the terms of the AGMA agreement. I pointed to the 1999 agreement's lack of any such language to illustrate what the situation might have been then--I did not mean to imply that situations remains true today. My apologies for the implications of my imprecise language. Thank you for correcting them.
  2. The dancers at NYCB are all members of a union known as AGMA, which, confusingly, stands for the American Guild of Musical Artists. Here is a description from AGMA's website that talks a little bit about what they do: We are AGMA, the labor organization that represents the Artists who create America's operatic, choral and dance heritage... The core function of any labor union is to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that protect the union’s members and improve their working lives. Prior to AGMA’s existence, “work rules” consisted primarily of whatever the company managers decided they should be. The predictable result of such practices was that performers were exhausted and often ill by opening night. Now, of course, AGMA signatories are required to abide by work rules intended to prevent situations like the example above (https://www.musicalartists.org/about-agma/history/). I mention this to point out that the document we often refer to as a "contract" is actually the dancer agreement negotiated between AGMA and NYCB. It dictates what the "work rules" are, as noted above. This includes things like how much a dancer is paid and how many hours they can be asked to work without requiring a break. Rewriting or updating this document is not something any artistic director or executive director can do. Any changes are the result of negotiations between the company and the union. For an example of this process, here is an article from the Times about the last time there was an attempt to update the dancer agreement in 2011: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/28/arts/dance/city-ballet-and-dancers-struggle-to-avert-contract-impasse.html. As the article recounts, the dancers wanted a 3 percent pay increase, the company wanted to cut over time pay. The result? A federal negotiator had to be brought in. I also found an example of an old dancer agreement between City Ballet and AGMA from 1999 that for some mysterious reason is available online via Berkely: http://irle.berkeley.edu/digital-collection/bargaining/pdf/0329.pdf. This document is obviously out of date, but you can see the kinds of things it governs, i.e. everything we usually think would be in a contract between the dancers and the company. See for example page 10 of the .pdf (including the first page, which is not part of the agreement) under section three. It lists what the pay was to be per week for each level of dancer. Other rules exist for how much a dancer is paid when rehearsing during a performance week, or if they are rehearsing a certain number of hours over what is usually expected during a rehearsal week (overtime). All these terms are defined specifically in the document as well. It even states the number of apprentices that can be in the company at any one time and how any pieces they can learn a season. Many of the things we think are up to an AD to decide are actually governed by this agreement. This is what I was trying to explain when I said dancers do not sign any agreement when they are hired--the agreement is signed between their union and the company. Notice too on page 52 of the .pdf where the two parties sign the agreement--it's not the AD (which was still Peter at the time) nor the ED who signs it but the general manager of the company, who was Anne Parsons at the time for City Ballet. This person also plays a large role in the negotiations and in the enforcement of the rules in the company. This person also plays a role in disciplining dancers when necessary because it must follow the rules in the agreement. Brooks Parsons, the current general manager (no relation to Anne I don't think), would have played a role in deciding Zach and Amar should be suspended. The general manager is a figure few know about, and fewer still understand his duties, but he is very important at City Ballet. A code of conduct, if one were to exist, would also have to be either presented in the dancer agreement or as an addendum to it because rules for when and whether a dancer can be fired or suspended are also governed by it. Notice that this example one does NOT have a code of conduct. It has a clause requiring a "harmonious workplace" to recognize "mutual dignity and respect," but this is between the dancers and the company, not anything that describes how employees should or should not act toward each other (also on page 52). I know this is a lot of minutiae, but I mention it all only to point out that what we think an AD or an interim team can do are actually all things negotiated by the union.
  3. I guess the "led by Jonathan Stafford" does make him first among equals. It makes sense--he's been a ballet master longer than any of the others have. JP wasn't going to get it, and heaven forbid they consider any of the remaining female ballet masters with more seniority than Jon.
  4. You are not wrong, but what I find interesting is that I only saw Jon's name under Kathy Brown's in that letter sent out to subscribers, etc. Unless the screenshots we saw cut off Justin, Becky and Craig's signatures underneath?
  5. Yes, I agree with you here as well. I just didn't want to insinuate anything sexual has been alleged of anyone at this point. What we might still discover could, unfortunately, prove you right.
  6. It's been a pretty busy year in DC. I think it would be fair of us to cut the Washington bureaus some slack for not picking up on this. Their plates are pretty full, and in the larger scheme of things, this was probably not that important at the time. [To substantiate my reference to DC using publicly available sources: City Ballet only tours two cities as a whole company in the states: Saratoga and DC. The tour information is regularly up on their website, and I think it's fairly general knowledge for longtime City Ballet watchers. In Saratoga, the dancers rent houses, which can be seen in many, many public IG accounts if you scroll back to the summer. That only leaves DC as the possibility where they would, and do, stay in a hotel. Other tours have been small, partial-company tours like Jackson Hole where those dancers also do not stay in a hotel (with the possible exception of last year's Moves tour, but Chase was not a part of that). Again, this can be seen in many public IG accounts if you scroll back through them. (I hesitate to name specific accounts because I don't see any reason to bring in a dancer who has nothing to do with this just for the sake of example.) The only other cities that NYCB has toured as a whole company have been internationally like Paris, Japan, or Copenhagen (although not this most recent tour to Copenhagen. The most recent tour was a partial company tour and also took place after the time frame of Alex's complaint), and the fine was not stated in Euros or Yen. I guess I am taking a leap here that the amount reported in the complaint was not converted, but I am doing my best to cite sources that remain public. So if you accept my reasoning, the incident in question happened in DC. If you want to get more specific information, there are only two hotels in DC large enough to house all the dancers in the company, plus the orchestra, and anyone who really wants to dig into this further can take it from there.] I just want to clarify that when I was talking about underage girls in the hypothetical situation I mentioned, it was in reference to drinking and partying, not in reference to being included in the illicit images distributed. I know others have mentioned underage girls too, but I want to make it clear on my part. Alex's complaint also does NOT allege any underage girls were victims of that group chat. I know underage girls drinking and partying is not right either, but child porn is far worse, and that is not what anyone has alleged. I don't know if that's even what you were questioning, balanchinefreak--it probably wasn't even, and I am being too cautious. I just want to be extra careful here because these guys are dealing with enough accusations without extra rumors flying around about them. What you say is very true, Rock, and I agree with you. At the same time, I think if you aren't comfortable enforcing the rules, don't step up to the leadership position. Although that's easier said than done, I know. Thank you so much for your kind words--I agree with your assessment as well. The Venn diagram between morally wrong and legally wrong and where these accusations about the "frat-boy" environment at City Ballet might fall is not something any of us here can probably determine right now with what we know. Part of the reason I wrote the hypothetical description you mentioned is I think it's important for all of us who love and follow City Ballet so closely--closely enough to post over 30 pages of messages about this--to consider how the institution has failed these male dancers just as much as it has failed the female dancers. (I won't expound my thoughts on that again, but they are in my first post is at the bottom of page 25 of this thread.) As fervently as I support Alex, I am not here to villainize Chase, Zach, Amar, or anyone else involved in this. None of these men were born with the desire in their heart to hurt Alex or their co-workers. They may have done bad things, but I do not think they are inherently bad people. If we can examine the systemic failures at SAB and NYCB, and in the greater ballet world, I think it's easier to see them as people who had bad influences at critical inflections points in their lives, who learned many wrong ways to deal with their problems, and made bad, bad mistakes. Perhaps that is why I have been trying so adamantly to consider City Ballet's role in creating this "frat-boy" culture--because it makes it easier for me to try to understand what someone asked earlier--"What happened to Chase?" At any rate, their mistakes have already been made, and they will have to face the consequences of their decisions if the allegations prove true. What redemption might look like for them afterward is probably too soon to discuss now. But my hope is that Alex's case can expose the failures at SAB and NYCB to help make sure the promise of the next generation of young male dancers doesn't turn into the disappointments of this generation. This is a very interesting thought, Imspear. I wonder if the same is true for just using a company's Wi-Fi router instead of using the server. I know from personal experience that the reception is horrible backstage at the Koch. If text messages were sent during work hours from those premises, the likelihood could be that the cell phones would have needed to connect to the company Wi-Fi to get a signal. But I don't know if that in and of itself is enough. The situation is also different at the Rose because it is shared with some many other organizations--it may be harder to say whose Wi-Fi may or may not have been used and whose it was. I cannot cite any sources that show City Ballet dancers do not have company emails like the administration or the staff does, except to say if someone were to try emailing cfinlay@nycballet.com or zcatazaro@nycballet.com, it would say the address does not exist. I also find this odd and perhaps a bit of a PR blunder. Okay, perhaps blunder is too strong. At least a missed opportunity. If the company's female executive director had issued the first two statements expressing the company's concern for the safety and well-being of its female dancers instead of a male board chair who only talked in terms of liability, perhaps the public backlash might have been a degree less virulent. It is interesting that she is there for the day-to-day while Mr. Scharf is not.
  7. They used to be available as .pdfs on AGMA's website for every company whose dancers they represented. Unfortunately, if you go to AGMA's website now, there are instructions for how to access them by clicking a "plus sign icon" next to the company name, but none are listed, and no "plus sign icons" appear. It could be that the site is being updated or that there is some formatting error? If someone else can navigate this better than I can, perhaps he or she could find them: https://www.musicalartists.org/contracts-and-agreements/contracts/dance/ And my apologies again--you are correct that Mr. Scharf writes that they "violated the Company's norms of conduct."
  8. Yes, but I believe what "exclusively" means in the context of the complaint is that the images and videos were only traded between these 9 men while the three men who worked at City Ballet were on the premises of their work place.
  9. Could one argue that NYCB creates a hazardous situation when it hosts open-bar parties with underage students and employees it suspects of substance abuse problems? And do you think my idea of duty to rescue comes from watching the finale of Seinfeld where they have the Good Samaritan law? And I hope Mr. Merson follows Ballet Alert if he needs help amending the complaint...
  10. Administrative code 10-177 against Chase, Zach, and Amar (page 30). Assault (page 21), battery (page 23), and invasion of privacy (page 36). Although if you mean separate criminal charges in a criminal suit, I would suggest waiting to hear what Cy Vance has to say next week.
  11. My apologies, Helene--I didn't understand that aspect of the site policy. I would happily upload City Ballet's dancer agreement and associated addenda so that perhaps some few braves souls might actually read them, but it's probably better I save us all the bandwidth it's a little far in the weeds from the main point anyway. Thank you for clearing it out. As regards the discussion of the code of conduct mentioned in Charles Scharf's statements though, my argument was that there isn't one he could point to to substantiate what he was saying. Do you think it would be possible for you to turn the admin megaphone back on and correct his statements too ?
  12. I believe if you were to ask his ex-fiancee, she might have an opinion on that matter for one.
  13. I see. Do you think it is possible to conceive of a duty one might have to all other people to report a crime if one were to believe the culprit might commit the same crime again, or even escalate? Or perhaps not escalate, but continue in doing other crimes? And if so, could that duty by the one NYCB owes to Alex? If a complaint is dismissed, can it be rewritten and brought back to the court? Where do I send my tuition check?
  14. Fair. Can I amend that sentence to read the following? If Alex's friends and family had a responsibility to her to protect her from Chase, shouldn't his employer, who had just as much, if not more information, share a similar responsibility? And could that responsibility have been acted upon by appropriately disciplining him when other instances of abuse and mistreatment arose? And if they did not do that, aren't they as blameworthy as Alex's friends and family?
  • Create New...