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Labor Pains at TWB


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The statement that "nobody is talking" is simply not true.  Both sides are talking, and refraining from making public statements to the press which have so far, been self-injurious to the arguments of each, in my opinion.

I don't think it would self-injurious for either party to make it clear that they continue to meet, without commenting on the talks themselves.

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I don't think it would self-injurious for either party to make it clear that they continue to meet, without commenting on the talks themselves.

Funny you should say that. Just yesterday a letter to subscribers from WB arrived in the mail. I will type the whole thing in if people are interested. The gist, however, was that discussions are ongoing, that they expect to have a resolution and, consequently, news about the remainder of the season "in the next few weeks".

While I too have benefited a bit from the out-of-work dancers doing some teaching to keep a roof over their heads (and it was delightful), I really hope to see them back on stage soon.

Absent any new developments, there aren't that many forums for news unless, of course, the Arts/Style section of the newspaper or the radio equivalent chooses to do a feature. Depending on how delicate the negotions are, though, this might be viewed as a minefield for all.

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Here's a super article from the Washington Times, with the latest developments (including the agreement to bring in a Federal mediator). There's also a sensitive presentation of both management's and the dancers' point of view, as well as a lot of interesting material about the new direction given to the company by Septime Webre over the past few years.

It's from Mme. Hermine's great compilation of LINKS:


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Also from Mme. Hermine's Links, news that several TWB dancers are staging union benefit performances:

Playbill article

A similar article also appeared in the February 24 Washington Post:

Washington Post article

"The dancers say they have invited Artistic Director Septime Webre, Executive Director Jason Palmquist and the Washington Ballet board members. Yesterday, Webre said he would attend at least one performance to support the dancers."

Let's hope the latest developments as reported by these various sources result in progress for all concerned--dancers, management, and the Washington Ballet audience.

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Another LINK from dirac -- this one announcing a settlement, though details will follow. Apparently bring in a federal mediator worked! Good news indeed. :clapping:


Incidentally, Dance Magazine (March issue, p. 24) has a charming photo of the Washington dancers wearing "Locked Out" signs on their chests during a recent demonstsration. And a good loooking group of labor activists they are, too! :)

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Press release from the company:

The Washington Ballet and Its Dancers Reach Agreement on Collective Bargaining Contract

The Company Returns to the Stage Beginning in May as Spring Productions are Reinstated

(Washington, D.C.) – The Washington Ballet together with its dancers and their representing union, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AFL-CIO), announced today they have reached agreement on a collective bargaining contract. In addition, the company announced it will reschedule for later this spring two of the remaining three productions in the current season.

“It is wonderful to have an agreement in place that protects the dancers and creates an environment for them to thrive as artists, and simultaneously respects the artistic prerogatives of our institution,” said Jason Palmquist, Executive Director of The Washington Ballet. “We look forward to coming together once again as a unified tour de force in our community.”

In addition, The Washington Ballet has determined it will be able to mount The Bach/Beatles Project and 7x7: Women in May and June respectively. An evening of works by Lar Lubovitch, also slated to be performed this spring, is the only production not to be presented. The Bach/Beatles Project will take place at the Kennedy Center May 10 – 14,

-Page 1 of 2-

and 7x7: Women will be performed at The Washington Ballet Studios June 6 – 25.

“I am elated to be going back to work and engaging with the dancers in the making of great art,” said Septime Webre, Artistic Director. “It will be meaningful to heal while dancing together and sharing our work with audiences. Today is a great day.”

“There is nothing the board wanted more than to have our dancers back in the studio, so we are thrilled to have a contract in place that respects everyone’s concerns,” said Kay Kendall, President of the Board of Directors. “It is wonderful to be whole again, and to have our Company functioning along with our school and education and outreach components.”

Subscribers holding tickets to any or all of the following productions - The Bach/Beatles Project, 7x7: Women or Othello –will be receiving immediately via mail a packet of instructions on the handling of tickets for rescheduled performances. In addition, subscribers can visit washingtonballet.org or call 202.362.3606 x 605 for instructions on handling of tickets for rescheduled performances.

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I went to the benefit on Fri. night. 11 dancers, 8 pdd, 2 solos. The program: (1) Flower Festival at Genzano pdd (Erin Mahoney-Du, Runqiao Du), (2) march miniature (Morgann Rose), (3) pdd from In the Musicals (Elizabeth Gaither, Chip Coleman), (4) Amadeus (Laura Urgelles, Jonathan Jordan), (5) Nocturne Monologue (Jason Hartley), (6) Narayama (Sona Kharatian, Luis Torres), (7) pdd from Swan Lake Act II (Elizabeth Gaither, Luis Torres), (8) Dialogue (Sona Kharatian, Boyko Dossev), (9) Excerpt from Sanctified Shells (Erin Mahoney-Du, Jason Hartley), (10) Grand pdd from Don Quixote (Laura Urgelles, Jonathan Jordan).

The benefit was quite a success. Guests on Friday included Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). All four performances sold out, and it was announced that $18,000 was raised for the dancers' fund. The dancers were looking good, and the audience was very enthusiastic (standing ovation at the end). All in all a very positive, high-energy evening.

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