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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations


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I'm not sure when there became consensus that it's past vs. present dancers: the NYT article on five dancers who claimed physical abuse didn't name all five, but stated that one is currently with the company.

Of course dancers who have left the company are more likely to speak up and use their name: their careers are on the line, and until yesterday, Martins could have, as Vanessa Carlton described, waltzed back into his office.  

 

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Yes, the new DUI last week was the nail in the coffin.  However, ultimately I thought this would end in his resignation even without the new DuI.

If they are continuing the investigation and they end up concluding that he engaged in misconduct, does that impact his compensation/pension?  I tend to doubt it.

Is Darci continuing on at SAB?  The article is silent about whether she will continue in her present jobs.

Millepied as Martins successor?  Please no, no, no.

Whelan would be an incredible choice.  I would also support Peck.  But NO Millepied.

 

 

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I don't think Lopez' record warrants her taking over NYCB.  I don't see her tenure at MCB as a particular success.

The Board had better have a dossier done by outside counsel on anyone they choose at this point.  I wouldn't put Gottlieb, a usual suspect, on the search committee, since he was on the Board and heavily involved with the company during the time of many of the allegations with names to them have been made public.

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That could be said of NYCB for a few years after Balanchine died, when some of the dancers were still dancing on adrenaline and for Balanchine, and some were still auditioning for the new boss.  Departures from the company have been less well publicized than for Pennsylvania Ballet, but the dust hasn't settled on her transition yet.

Edited to add:  one thing about Whelan, which was in the doc about her, but which Boal said to PNB audiences before the doc came out, was that Whelan changed the way people treated each other in the company through her example of learning everyone in the theater's name, whether they were on or backstage, and treating them with respect.  He noted this a great cultural change in the company.  She couldn't "save" the company single-handedly, but she was leading by example for those who chose to follow.

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How about the directors of two small companies Los Angeles Ballet or Ballet Arizona...  Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen deserve credit for keeping a company alive for ten years and bring both Balanchine & Bournonville backgrounds.  Ib Anderson looks to be doing interesting work out in Arizona and also has both influences.  Yes, incomparable budgets, but perhaps one should look at what they have managed to do with those budgets and give them the chance to work with more.  

The problem is, the "worked directly with Balanchine"  generation have just about aged out... how long would any of them be available to run the company?  It will be difficult to replace the stability Martins provided, how much havoc would a series of directors over the next few years wreak?

I'd love to see someone paired with Wendy Whelan.  Partnerships can be difficult to get to survive in as stressful a situation as running a dance company.    

Even though NYCB is an unlikely vehicle, I'd love to see an American ballet company headed by Wendy Whelan with David Hallberg , their backgrounds would complement each other interestingly.  

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I'm not sure when there became consensus that it's past vs. present dancers: the NYT article on five dancers who claimed physical abuse didn't name all five, but stated that one is currently with the company.

Of course dancers who have left the company are more likely to speak up and use their name: their careers are on the line, and until yesterday, Martins could have, as Vanessa Carlton described, waltzed back into his office.  

 

"As the investigation was being conducted an apparent split emerged among former and current dancers over the fate of Mr. Martins."

NYTTimes: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/arts/dance/peter-martins-resigns-ballet.html

"In recent interviews 24 women and men all former dancers at the company or school--described a culture of intimidation under Mr. Martins which they say has hurt the careers of generations of performers."

Ashley Bouder posted this:

Time's up on silence

Time's up on waiting.

Time's up on tolerating discrimination, harassment, and abuse.


 

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It is probably to the good of all involved that Peter Martins has resigned.  He has served the NYCB for a long time,  he's getting older,  and his family could probably benefit from his undivided attention.  The accusations against him would hang over him like a cloud and impede his work with the company.

That said,  there are elements to this story that smack of score-settling and sour grapes,  exemplified by the NY Times article.   The writer says dancers "might" have starved themselves or had sex with PM to gain his favor,  but there is no proof of it.  It's easy for dancers who left under less than ideal circumstances to accuse him of wrongdoing,  but the icing on the cake is the quote from Vanessa Carlton,  who was only a student at SAB and never in NYCB or any other ballet company.  Was Demi Lovato not available?

The decades-old accusation from Kelly Cass seemed to get the ball rolling.  There is no reason to doubt her version of events,  but the fact that she's married to one of the lead contenders to be Martins' successor looks a bit shady,  even if it isn't.  (As does that "Sisters in Solidarity" statement from Ashley Bouder,  apparently promulgated by "nportman",  the wife of another contender.)

Finding a successor is going to be very hard,  especially for the dancers who now have to re-calibrate their careers to adjust to a new artistic director.  These are interesting times indeed.

 

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As much as I respect Wendy Whelan as a person and and artist I believe appointing her would be premature. She hadn't directed anything but her own project, which was a vehicle for her dancing, she has only staged 1 work and I don't think she's had much experience teaching or coaching.

I think an interim team might be a good idea to give the board time to work it all out. How about making Kay Mazzo official head of the school and someone from the coaching staff the head of the company, with the understanding that it is a 2 year appointment while reorganization is worked out.

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A former dancer can be one who danced until last year or one who left the company in 1987.  "Former" refers to their employment status, not to the decade in which the behavior occurred.  There's no reason to assume it was all in the past when he was under massive pressure, transitioning from peer to boss and not understanding where the line is,  etc., not that this would excuse the behavior, even were he to have reformed at work, if not behind the wheel.

Also, the dancers who have come forward to defend Martin's have said that he acted professionally toward *them* but have not denied that he treated any other dancers or Nutcracker students in the ways they allegedly, which is a big difference from the younger Crawford's denying their older sibling's assertions.

I agree with @vipa that there should be interim leadership and a carefully vetted replacement.  I don't think this Board has proven itself a good steward so far, and it looks like they're looking for a name, not necessarily a leader.

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I don’t have a ton of knowledge of who’s running things behind the scenes but vipa’s suggestion sounds wise to me. Put things in the hands of those who have long and reliable experience with the company, as a shock absorber and to give time for a reasonable transition. The interim team all seem young and inexperienced with leadership and artistic direction 

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9 minutes ago, vipa said:

As much as I respect Wendy Whelan as a person and and artist I believe appointing her would be premature. She hadn't directed anything but her own project, which was a vehicle for her dancing, she has only staged 1 work and I don't think she's had much experience teaching or coaching.

I think an interim team might be a good idea to give the board time to work it all out. How about making Kay Mazzo official head of the school and someone from the coaching staff the head of the company, with the understanding that it is a 2 year appointment while reorganization is worked out.

I think Whelan has been teaching at Ballet Academy East, so she does have some experience in teaching and coaching.  I think it would be marvelous if the Board appointed a woman to Peter's NYCB position.

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19 minutes ago, vipa said:

As much as I respect Wendy Whelan as a person and and artist I believe appointing her would be premature. She hadn't directed anything but her own project, which was a vehicle for her dancing, she has only staged 1 work and I don't think she's had much experience teaching or coaching.

I think an interim team might be a good idea to give the board time to work it all out. How about making Kay Mazzo official head of the school and someone from the coaching staff the head of the company, with the understanding that it is a 2 year appointment while reorganization is worked out.

Agreed. I think a 1 yr appointment for the school and company, separately, would be wise. If they leave the 4 member interim team in place at the company for the time being, that may be a wise idea (though we still don't know how their responsibilities were divied up). I hope they take their time searching for a smart replacement.

Whelan and J. Peck do not have the experience needed (Whelan has been teaching, but that's not enough, and being one of the next big choreographers is not enough either). And, a big no to Millepied.

I'd also love to see a woman lead the company but I'd hate to see Lopez leave Miami so soon.

 

 

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What got the ball rolling was the possibility of abuse at SAB, which is running it's own investigation, started before the article with Cass's allegations.

If there was any kind of abuse at SAB, that would put it in a different league of potential hurt. Hence Carlton's experience could be particularly germane.

The NYT article mentions Peck, Millipied, and Whelan as potential successors, and given a pro-Martins Board, Cass may have killed any chance that her husband be considered as a successor by coming forward and saying that Martin's had belittled him.  I think Portman has bigger fish to fry than the ballet world.

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Ability to raise funds is actually just as important as being able to teach.  Possibly more important.

Sara Mearns has posted a black blank page on her instagram account.

Wheeldon was not mentioned as a candidate, which I find interesting.  Maybe he prefers to just choreograph. 

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There is no reason to name a replacement at SAB, as Kay Mazzo is already “Co-Chairman of Faculty” (Peter was the other Co-Chairman), so all SAB has to do for now is to remove the “Co-“.  Whenever NYCB names a new AD, the issue can be raised as to whether that individual should also take on SAB responsibilities.

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I don't know that there is really any indication that Peter Boal has any interest in the job.  I read the very thorough Where Snowflakes . . book and he seems to be much beloved in Seattle and honestly, don' t you think that Kelly would have discussed her position with her husband  before making a statement? He's no dummy.  He knows that her doing so would hurt any chances.  They appear to have a good marriage.  

Kay runs SAB but there is a tradition of the NYCB AD being "co-chairman" because Balanchine started the school--But First a School (another great book).  They will stick with that. It's tradition. Killian is likely next in line to run the school. 

Jonathon Stafford has the executive skills but no choreography.  Peck has artistic and choreography but not a real executive person.  Whelan could be but well, I concur not a lot of experience.  Wasn't she at odds with Martins a bit? At least that's what I thought from her movie. 

Margaret Tracey I don't really think is  viable at all.  Honestly, there really is not a strong connection between the school she runs and Mikko.  It seems like the disconnect between JKO and Kevin McKenzie.

I do think that Woetzel is a candidate, despite his Julliard position.  He's more a full package--artist and executive.  Running Vail and now running Julliard.  Yes, Heather Watts spoke out against Martins but, for some reason, I just think he might have a shot???

Rosemary Dunleavy is probably heavily leaned on since she has been a ballet mistress for some time.  Many dancers talk about her. 

If the board goes with an "interim team" I think they will keep the current team--Stafford, Krohn, Hall, Peck. Why not? Why have another interim group or figure and then a final decision--too much disruption. 

I think that that the Martins family is terribly dysfunctional and has been for years. 

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34 minutes ago, balletforme said:

I think that that the Martins family is terribly dysfunctional and has been for years. 

The dysfunction is most noteworthy in the trouble their daughter is in. Talicia's hearing in Maine is this week (assuming it has not been adjourned again.) 

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34 minutes ago, balletforme said:

 

I do think that Woetzel is a candidate, despite his Julliard position.  He's more a full package--artist and executive.  Running Vail and now running Julliard.  Yes, Heather Watts spoke out against Martins but, for some reason, I just think he might have a shot???

I think that that the Martins family is terribly dysfunctional and has been for years. 

I don't believe that Heather Watts has ever said anything negative about Peter Martins,  even though,  as the de facto ex-wife,   she has been given opportunities to do so.  As to the state of the Kistler-Martins marriage,  there's no reason that should be a part of the discussion.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I think Whelan has been teaching at Ballet Academy East, so she does have some experience in teaching and coaching.  I think it would be marvelous if the Board appointed a woman to Peter's NYCB position.

I too would love to see a woman in charge.

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I like Vipa's idea...  I believe the board would support up the financial end while an inspiring leader is carefully chosen.... two years would be time to vet all ideas, wouldn't it?  And the company would be in good hands in the meantime if it were one of the senior coaching staff.  Roy Kaiser carried Pennsylvania Ballet for a long time.  Two years should turn up a leader...?

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Speaking of a woman in charge,  maybe Heather Watts should be in contention.  She has vastly more experience as a teacher and coach than the other possible candidates,  and she was a Balanchine favorite.  He thought so highly of her pointe technique that he used her (and I believe Colleen Neary) to teach Martins its  intricacies.  Of course that suggestion would make steam come out of  the  ears of many diehard fans!

Edited by On Pointe
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