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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations


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20 minutes ago, Drew said:

I feel, too, that people who worked closely with Balanchine and have a track record as stagers and coaches...well, it would be great to have some of them back at New York City Ballet and "Farrell most of all." There is no longer a question of fighting over succession--that's done. Martins won and has more than proved his value as a steward of the company's legacy--this seems to me so, whatever comes out about some aspects of his leadership and also allowing for ups and downs in the performance of any historic repertory whether Bournonville or Balanchine.

But if the company's doors could be opened a little wider to the older generation of Balanchine dancers...without disrespecting the people there now and their huge accomplishments...it's hard to believe that might not be a very good thing. I had given up thought of its happening under Martins and since, on the whole, the company has been on a high in recent years, it seemed silly to constantly come back to this point especially since I know there also may be difficulties with bringing in people who may have differing memories of ballets, old resentments or arguments etc. etc.  But seeing Farrell's company last year did renew my hope that she might work again one day at New York City Ballet.  And if there is talk about changes in leadership, then...

Such a good point that fighting for succession is done. Anyone who has seen a video of Suzanne coach or has heard an interview of dancer's she's coached sees value there. Please bring her back to get that information, before it's too late. Heather Watts is also known as a great coach. She is not welcomed at NYCB as a coach or teacher in the school. Let's get her in there. Open the doors. IMO there is no road back for Martins. Let's acknowledge his fantastic contribution and open the doors.

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I seem to recall reading that Farrell was invited back to stage Don Quixote and said no.

Farrell may be a splendid coach now but again, in fairness to Martins such was not always the case, apparently. Her company had its ups and downs, and not only because of the limited resources available to her. (Note that I am not disagreeing with the view that it would be great if she returned to NYCB.)

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11 hours ago, Drew said:

Martins won and has more than proved his value as a steward of the company's legacy

It seems to me that even if Balanchine's ballets had always been well danced since his death, no AD concerned about the company's legacy would have ever barred the door to Farrell and other of Balanchine's own principals and all they have to offer, and how much better the ballets might have looked with their help. For that alone, in my opinion, Martins has been a poor steward. 

dirac wrote:

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Farrell may be a splendid coach now but again, in fairness to Martins such was not always the case, apparently.  Her company had its ups and downs, and not only because of the limited resources available to her.

Having seen every program in the company's history, I'd say far more ups than downs, and downs only because of those limitations. But can you refresh my memory? On whose word had she not always been up to par when Martins let her go? I find that very hard to believe. 

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12 hours ago, vipa said:

I guess I think of Stafford as in the twilight of her career because she was out a lot with injuries and took a lot of time off after giving birth. This is not criticism of her, but my observation as an audience goer is that she was gone a lot. Since her return, she's been cast infrequently and specifically. She's in her mid 30's, and with all the up and coming talent, I don't expect her rep to expand.

 

You’re not alone in thinking that. I didn’t see her dancing much in the past two seasons. I was wondering if she might retire relatively early, like Krohn or Somogyi. 

I’m interested in seeing her dance more (in Balanchine ballets, specifically), but I don’t know if that will happen even with Jon Stafford at the helm. I loved her in the weird Russian Dance in the Martins Swan Lake that looked vaguely Arabian. 

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Farrell was also limited, for the most part, to soloists whose AD's agreed to let them perform with her around their companies' performance and rehearsal schedules, or who left their companies and augmented their schedules with freelancing.  

(Posted too fast, and adding)

On the other hand, I think she had younger talent whom she could have brought forth, but, instead, her casting often had me scratching my head, because I saw competence rather than growth.

 

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2 hours ago, yukionna4869 said:

You’re not alone in thinking that. I didn’t see her dancing much in the past two seasons. I was wondering if she might retire relatively early, like Krohn or Somogyi. 

I’m interested in seeing her dance more (in Balanchine ballets, specifically), but I don’t know if that will happen even with Jon Stafford at the helm. I loved her in the weird Russian Dance in the Martins Swan Lake that looked vaguely Arabian. 

Abi Stafford has of course had her share of injuries, plus the absence due to maternity leave. However, these factors are only part of the story as to why we have seen very little of her during the course of her career.  I think she showed a lot of promise early on in terms of very strong technique.  However, she never really matured into an interesting artist.  I think her absence from the stage has been largely because Martins gave up on her and doesn't cast her much even when she's healthy.  I can't really disagree, because I'm generally not excited or motivated to attend when I see her name listed on a casting sheet.   Will she be cast more during Martin's absence?  That remains to be seen.

I'm wondering how long this "investigation" will take, and how long this leave of absence will continue.  Is Martin's on paid leave or unpaid leave?  

Justin Peck is going to be tied up with Carousel on Broadway in the very near  future.   I can't imagine that he's going to be available to spend a lot of time on being an interim ballet master during the winter season.

 

Edited by abatt
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5 hours ago, kfw said:

It seems to me that even if Balanchine's ballets had always been well danced since his death, no AD concerned about the company's legacy would have ever barred the door to Farrell and other of Balanchine's own principals and all they have to offer, and how much better the ballets might have looked with their help. For that alone, in my opinion, Martins has been a poor steward. 

I am in strong agreement with your original point that it would be great to have some of these dancers back coaching, but Martins a poor steward of company’s legacy? I just can’t think of it that way.... I think instead of how much WORSE things could have been — imagine Balanchine treated at NYCB the way Ashton often is at the Royal and take into account that Martins kept Balanchine in rep alongside constant new work which, whatever the many problems with quality control, led to Ratmansky being invited to create in the United States for the first time — and create some of his best American work. (Ratmansky is THE major 21st-century ballet choreographer as far as I am concerned though not on a level with Balanchine) . That commitment also led to the emergence and early development of Wheeldon. (Peck and Lovette as well are developping though its still early days for both—the latter especially, so who knows what their futures will be.)  The focus on new work is also part of the company's legacy. World class ballerinas of very different types have emerged on Martins’ watch as well. Some of whom have given widely lauded performances in Balanchine, lauded even by people who despise Martins. All of these things are also crucial to the company.  And I infer he must be a fine fundraiser. 

Could Martins have made some better choices —absolutely!  that is what we began by agreeing on. And an investigation may turn up other serious problems with his leadership (or it may not) — but comparing his actual success with the company to a ‘might have been’ fantasy which combines the best of Martins’ legacy with the best of what we think would have happened under someone else (minus the problems under someone else which we don’t imagine) seems to me to be interesting but problematic.  His success is his success. Just as his flaws are his flaws. Could someone else have done a better job? Possibly...Though people will forgive me if I point out that Martins seems to have been Balanchine’s choice and Kirstein’s. Whatever the former’s distrust of the future, I don’t think he was trying to blow things up. 

The more important point seems to me that this is to fight yesterday’s wars. Say I’m completely wrong (as many will) ...still, Martins won. I am more interested in polemicizing on what I (as an outsider, not a professional certainly) with my limited knowledge, am inclined to hope will happen than what I think should have happened decades ago. It is the same battle in some respects, but the terrain has changed...entirely. With a generation formed by Martins currently holding the ‘’acting” helm.

If there is going to be a change in company leadership, then I hope it includes a revisiting of the issue of coaches from Balanchine’s era. Absolutely. That to me is what we can hope for. 

 

Edited by Drew
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On 12/10/2017 at 1:29 PM, tarantella2000 said:

I am trying to find the quote where a member (who seems to have disappeared) who stated 'that there is sexual favoritism also found on college/university levels'.

Is there another thread for that or can somebody explain or share insight into these allegations which to me were equally disturbing as well as the aforementioned ongoing discussions.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/UVa-Professor-Accused-of/241942

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Martins might not have been a great steward of Balanchine's legacy had there not been a great deal of pressure from the board and from the press to maintain the Balanchine legacy above all else. Also many people working diplomatically behind the scene such as Kay Mazzo, Suki Schorer etc (I'm speculating on individuals) and, in the early days, Bob Gottlieb doing programming before he was let go because of Arlene Croce's criticism of Martins in the New Yorker (Gottlieb was editor and Martins held him to be responsible for what Croce said). So perhaps the credit should be spread around to many other stewards working quietly in the background.

And maybe the look of the Balanchine ballets at City Ballet would have been different – though less uniform – had the company been opened to the influence of Farrell, Villella and other distinguished alumni. To my eye – from video clips, I haven't seen the company in ten years – it looks as though the emphasis is on a clean finish of details, especially in the arms and fingers, a certain crisp style that doesn't have to be the only style.

In a Conversations on Dance podcast, Gonzalo Garcia talks about being coached by Jacques d'Amboise in the Apollo he did while he was still a member of San Francisco Ballet. He cites d'Amboise saying there are many ways of doing Apollo, that current manner where all the lines have become "so precious and necessary" was not the big thing then at City Ballet – that the focus rather should be on the musicality and angles would follow.

Edited by Quiggin
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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

Martins might not have been a great steward of Balanchine's legacy had there not been a great deal of pressure from the board and from the press to maintain the Balanchine legacy about all else. Also many people working diplomatically behind the scene such as Kay Mazzo, Suki Schoer etc (I'm speculating on individuals) and, in the early days, Bob Gottlieb doing programming before he was let go because of Arlene Croce's criticism of Martins in the New Yorker (Gottlieb was editor and Martins held him to be responsible for what Croce said). So perhaps the credit should be spread around to many other stewards working quietly in the background.

Well...presumably those other stewards are around because Martins wanted them there (?)

If I remember correctly, as Gottlieb reported their conversation, Martins said something like, “It isn’t that you publish Arlene, it’s that you agree with her.”  I suggest respectfully that’s somewhat different from holding him responsible for what Croce said, with the implication that as Croce’s editor Gottlieb should have been able to do something about what Croce said.

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49 minutes ago, dirac said:

If I remember correctly, as Gottlieb reported their conversation, Martins said something like, “It isn’t that you publish Arlene, it’s that you agree with her.”  I suggest respectfully that’s somewhat different from holding him responsible for what Croce said, with the implication that as Croce’s editor Gottlieb should have been able to do something about what Croce said.

But – I guess we're both citing Duberman: Martins "was indignant that Gottlieb hadn't killed the piece" – it seems Martins felt that Gottlieb as editor was responsible somehow for the article, maybe even in genesis (though perhaps I'm reading more into it here), also evidenced by reports that "Gottlieb was 'trashing' him" in comments to others.

Edited by Quiggin
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47 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

But – I guess we're both citing Duberman: Martins "was indignant that Gottlieb hadn't killed the piece" – it seems Martins felt that Gottlieb as editor was responsible somehow for the article, maybe even in genesis (though perhaps I'm reading more into it here), also evidenced by reports that "Gottlieb was 'trashing' him" in comments to others.

Interesting. I was actually going by Gottlieb's memoir and previous writings (he's written about the break with NYCB more than once). I don't remember reading anything about Martins being angry at him for not killing the article, so that's news to me. I have dipped into the Duberman book, but no more than that, I'm sorry to say. If so, then that would be unreasonable, to say the very least. Obviously Gottlieb could not b expected to censor his writer.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

Well...presumably those other stewards are around because Martins wanted them there (?)

But that's the least he could do, and a no-brainer.

Likewise, Drew, you make good points of course, but to me what he's done for the Balanchine legacy is only what would have been unthinkable not to do. Also, while Ashton’s neglect at the Royal is a terrible shame, he at least wasn’t the founder of the company and the creator of nearly all of its iconic works (with no disrespect to Robbins; the Royal has Petipa's work). I also agree with Quiggin that Mazzo and others at SAB probably deserve as much or more credit as Martins.

 

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On ‎12‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 2:05 AM, pherank said:

I'm not sure if this was mentioned previously, but the NYT article about Team to Lead City Ballet During Martins Sexual Harassment Probe has this correction tacked on to it:

...

Thank you for the link, pherank. So there we have the interim team:  Justin Peck, Rebecca Krohn, Jonathan Stafford and Craig Hall. All young, energetic, capable and reliable ballet masters (with a choreographer or two in the mix)! I'm rather surprised that, other than a few complaints about Stafford's possible influence on casting his sister Abi or wife Brittany, there has been very little talk among Ballet Alert members during the 36+ hours since this announcement about the make-up of this team. I think that it is great to have such a wonderful mix of interim directors, including a woman and an African-American.  Perhaps the eventual next "permanent" AD of the NYCB will come from this group...whenever that may be, even if Martins is cleared?

Edited by CharlieH
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This is my takeaway from all the NYCB issues over the last month… Ballet dancers need media training.  First Robbie Fairchild doesn’t know how Instagram works and now Kathryn Morgan is throwing around dangerous, incriminating language.

I am SHOCKED Kathryn said the word rape.  Granted she said “I do not believe PM raped anyone.”  But honestly, no one has said that word yet, until her video all statements have been about “sexual abuse”.  These dancers need some actual PR training to know that you keep silent or you give a form statement, ex: “I have only ever had professional and supportive interactions with PM.  I applaud the women who have the strength to publicly discuss their experiences, I hope this comes to a quick and justifiable conclusion, congratulations and good luck to interim team.”  

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21 minutes ago, FITTB85 said:

These dancers need some actual PR training to know that you keep silent or you give a form statement, ex: “I have only ever had professional and supportive interactions with PM.  I applaud the women who have the strength to publicly discuss their experiences, I hope this comes to a quick and justifiable conclusion, congratulations and good luck to interim team.”  

To be fair to Kathryn, she essentially said that in her video. That's what I got out of it anyway (well and some messiness re: what it means to have a consensual relationship with one's superior)

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I don't know much about Stafford, Krohn, and Hall as Ballet Masters or people, and I know Peck only as a choreographer.  I'm hoping they work well together, and if the board meant to convey energy and diversity in its choice to deflect from Martins, I hope they make the most of it.

Group management is difficult to implement, and I hope they have clear areas of responsibility and firm agreement about when they need to come to consensus.

They all worked for Martins, and, were he to return, I think it would be a risk for them to reverse any of his decisions, which is why I'm not expecting a return of the Farrells and other stagers and former dancers who were shut out, at least in the immediate future.  Peck is the only one who has a thriving career outside NYCB, and I'm hoping that he makes a big enough pile of money from "Carousel" that he can take a different path if it becomes necessary.

The one advantage to this team solution is continuity, without the pressure to make a mark or to waste energy explaining how they don't plan to change the company significantly: they can just work, including on figuring it out.

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29 minutes ago, FITTB85 said:

This is my takeaway from all the NYCB issues over the last month… Ballet dancers need media training.  First Robbie Fairchild doesn’t know how Instagram works and now Kathryn Morgan is throwing around dangerous, incriminating language.

I am SHOCKED Kathryn said the word rape.  Granted she said “I do not believe PM raped anyone.”  But honestly, no one has said that word yet, until her video all statements have been about “sexual abuse”.  These dancers need some actual PR training to know that you keep silent or you give a form statement, ex: “I have only ever had professional and supportive interactions with PM.  I applaud the women who have the strength to publicly discuss their experiences, I hope this comes to a quick and justifiable conclusion, congratulations and good luck to interim team.”  

She has the right to express herself like any other individual in this country. She doesn't work for NYCB and I thought she was quite careful not to be incriminating.

She said she had been getting many questions--I assumed her bringing up the word rape was in response to questions she had received.

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The point of Morgan's vlog was likely to dispel any rumors or questions that she may have experienced these sorts of problems with Martins. She expressed herself well, IMO. Fresh and honest-sounding. No need for Lawyer Speak.

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Moderator note:  We have an existing thread for NYCB's 2017 Nutcracker season here for any comments regarding Nutcracker casting or other matters related to the production. Please carry on any such discussions in that thread. Thanks.

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Actually I too was shocked by Kathryn Morgan's use of word rape and had to replay that section of the recording to make sure I heard it correctly – it seemed almost surreal. I hadn't pictured that being the charge against Martins and now that charge is floating out in the electronic netherland. All against KM's good intentions of calming things down, adding balance, and speaking out somewhat in support of Martins.

Helene is probably right about the new team being one of conservators – that no changes will be made during their time of interim leadership, though I initially thought so.

I wonder who is leading the decision making in the background, in the roles Lincoln Kirstein, Eddie Biglow and even Anne Bass, 40 or so years ago, were playing.

 

Edited by Quiggin
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That Jeffrey Edwards lodged a formal complaint in 1993 to management after Darci Kistler reported abusive behavior to the police, and neither management, the NYCB Board (if it was informed), nor the union did/was able to do anything, speaks volumes.

That almost all of a Nutcracker cast witness violent behavior against a 12-year-old, and, yet Martins continued, speaks more volumes.

That, in spite of all of this, the Vice Chairman said,

Quote

At the meeting, Mr. Lipp expressed hope that Mr. Martins could soon “be back and continuing in his regular role.”

“I know it’s not business as usual,” he added. “We’re going to do the right thing, whatever that turns out to be.”

well, I'm not often speechless, but...

 

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