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Ethan Stiefel as a new Dean of Dance


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Today's Links includes an article on the appointment of Ethan Stiefel to be the new "Dean of Dance" at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He'll continue to dance with ABT and as a guest artist as well.

Any thoughts about this opportunity (for both Stiefel and for the School)?

Here's the LINK. Thanks to dirac for finding the article.

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I'm sure Dean Shtee-fell (pronounced "Stiefel") will be fine. I doubt that he's being appointed actually to do the day-to-day administration. He's being appointed so that there's a high-profile name (with the attendant contacts and ability to attract faculty, students, and funding) at the top of the letterhead. It's like Columbia University's appointment of General Eisenhower to be its president. It's flashier and more news-making than just putting Ethan on the Board of Trustees. And perhaps he's already looking toward the next phase of his career. If Damian Woetzel can go to Harvard, Ethan can become a dean. It's either that, or he can start "Stiefeltango".

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I'm sure Dean Shtee-fell (pronounced "Stiefel") will be fine. I doubt that he's being appointed actually to do the day-to-day administration. He's being appointed so that there's a high-profile name (with the attendant contacts and ability to attract faculty, students, and funding) at the top of the letterhead. It's like Columbia University's appointment of General Eisenhower to be its president. It's flashier and more news-making than just putting Ethan on the Board of Trustees. And perhaps he's already looking toward the next phase of his career. If Damian Woetzel can go to Harvard, Ethan can become a dean. It's either that, or he can start "Stiefeltango".

It'll all depends on how much of a support staff he has there in the dance office at NCSA. I had the sense that Susuan McCullough was a hands-on administrator; Robert Lindgren before her also worked very hard at his job. But perhaps they are investing in a good assistant or two to do the dirty work. I'm sure development is crucial to them in these times (they've certainly beefed up their alumni activities, a sure sign); let's hope they use Stiefel effectively.

It's interesting that they emphasized that he'll be dancing with his GIRLFRIEND. Already wooing those conservative donors!

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I secretly want Ethan to be artistic director of Joffrey Ballet, since they are looking and all, and there is still no word of a new director. Perhaps just wishful thinking though.

That seems like a good fit! I wonder if it was even thought of by the powers that be?

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I secretly want Ethan to be artistic director of Joffrey Ballet, since they are looking and all, and there is still no word of a new director. Perhaps just wishful thinking though.

I secretly want Ethan and the girlfriend to eventually take over NYCB. Wishful thinking, as well.

Stiefel's appointment as "Dean of Dance" is a great opportunity for him to ease out of his performing career, but it doesn't say much good about an institution that would appoint an academic dean who up front indicates that he's not going to be 100% committed to the job. The ballet faculty already down there is far above what Stiefel can presently offer, and it has actually produced professional dancers, including the girlfriend, as opposed to just running a summer camp for some kids. I just don't see Stiefel as having anywhere near the maturity, teaching experience or administrative experience that he needs to do the job seriously. The whole thing rings hollow.

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I have many concerns regarding this appointment, and Haglund's post says most of them. However, maybe he will surprise us, and while he may only be 34, Susan McCullogh was also in her thirties when she became dean. However, I think I remember that she had already directed the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, and had worked as a ballet mistress for Netherlands Dance Theater by that time (I may be wrong in my memories, so don't quote me!!) I feel as if this appointment is the school's way of trying to attract top tier students, especially since the ballet faculty is a little thin with the recent departure of Kee Juan Han and Melissa Hayden's passing. There are many elements present in a school such as this, of which excellent dance training is but one. Student issues, for one is a huge part of this- being able to observe the students, knowing the signs of problems and how to psychologically deal with them. Then, you have to keep the faculty happy- or at least try. Administrative duties are a big part of the job, too, and I can't help but to wonder if Stiefel has had experience in any of this.

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The NCSA website hasn't posted the news yet.

However here's a Link to the list of deans and faculty. There is an interim dean this year, Alex Ewing, who has had a career as an arts administrator and is the son of ABT's long-time director Lucia Chase. There are 2 Assistant Deans, one of whom, Warren Conover, was a soloist with ABT, Harkness, Pennsylvania Ballet and the Andre Eglevsky company.

When companies are looking mostly for star-power, don't they usually just make someone a Visiting Professor? This looks like a more serious involvement.

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The NCSA website hasn't posted the news yet.

However here's a Link to the list of deans and faculty. There is an interim dean this year, Alex Ewing, who has had a career as an arts administrator and is the son of ABT's long-time director Lucia Chase. There are 2 Assistant Deans, one of whom, Warren Conover, was a soloist with ABT, Harkness, Pennsylvania Ballet and the Andre Eglevsky company.

When companies are looking mostly for star-power, don't they usually just make someone a Visiting Professor? This looks like a more serious involvement.

Warren Conover--now THERE'S a great teacher--Hubbard Street and Ruth Page in Chicago, before he moved to NCSA.

And leibling's right about McCollough running the PBT Ballet School, back in the late 80s (her husband Rick, another NDT alum, was ballet master there at the time as well).

Below is an invite I received today by email about the McCullough tribute performance (it's addressed to NCSA dance alums, but I'm sure they'd take anybody's money); no news here about Stiefel:

Dear Dance Alumni,

After 19 years of service to NCSA Dean Susan McCullough stepped down from her post on June 30th, with plans to return to teaching at NCSA in Fall 2008.

NCSA alumni, faculty, and students, including the NCSA Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Chancellor John Mauceri, will pay tribute to Dean McCullough for her 19 years of service as Dean of the School of Dance by performing in a star-studded concert featuring classical ballet and contemporary works. Guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet, as well as contemporary artists from New York City , will participate. As valued members of the NCSA family, we want to be sure that you are aware of this wonderful opportunity to honor Dean McCullough. Please mark your calendars so you don't miss it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

7:30 p.m.

The Stevens Center of the North Carolina School of the Arts

Tickets for this exciting program are $60 for orchestra level seats and $50 for balcony seats, and are now available:

Stevens Center Box Office

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday-Friday)

Phone Number: (336) 721-1945

Fax: (336) 631-1212

Online: http://www.ncarts.edu/performances/boxoffice.htm

We hope you will join us!

Best Regards,

Alex C. Ewing

Interim Dean

School of Dance

North Carolina School of the Arts

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Warren Conover--now THERE'S a great teacher--Hubbard Street and Ruth Page in Chicago, before he moved to NCSA.

No kidding. They don't come any better than Conover for professional training day in and day out. If someone could figure out how to build a big garden a top 890 Broadway, they could have him in NYC at JKO.

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Here's more from the Charlotte Observer. Thanks, dirac, for providing the Link:

http://www.charlotte.com/breaking_news/story/275336.html

In a statement released by NCSA, Stiefel said he will become "more selective" about taking on performances after he moves into his job.

"That fact that I will continue to dance will not only benefit the School of Dance students here on campus," Stiefel said, "but hopefully will raise the school's profile here and abroad."

A notice in the NY Times uses the term "Dean Designate."

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I have mixed feelings. I was at SUNY Purchase when Jacques d'Amboise was Dean. At the same time, he was still dancing with NYCB and running his National Dance Institute. While his presence drew a lot of talent to the school, and he was on campus a great deal (I can't recall if he was there every day, but he must have been there several days a week), there were some communication and administrative problems that I feel wouldn't have been there if he had been able to give the school his full attention. The students ended up on strike trying to focus attention on resolving the problems but to no avail. He resigned the following year, to the disapointment of many.

A one year appointment seems like it would be difficult to do much with. It's almost more like he's artist-in-residence for the students.

Ideally I'd think they'd want someone who had just retired last season to take the permanent position... the box-office glow would draw talent to the school and perhaps compensate for a lack of administrative experience.

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Possibly this is a way for Ethan to ease away from dancing...it is still not clear that his recovery is a full recovery...North Carolina has a strong faculty and Alex Ewing has been a potent power there for years...he may have been the instigator of the appointment to draw attention to the school.

And a comment about Warren Conover...what a truly generous human being...I met him when he was at ABT and watched him in Chicago..never less than a committed dancer and often very special.

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