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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations


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5 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

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!

Heather Watts would be an interesting choice to say the least! What has Jennifer Ringer been doing since her retirement?

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/arts/dance/peter-martins-city-ballet-balanchine.html

Nice piece that addresses many of the issues that are bubbling up in this discussion.

I would just hate for the selection to be fulfilling some "agenda" outside of moving the company forward in quality and artistry.  But that's probably silly. 

Edited by balletforme
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2 hours ago, balletforme said:

Ashley Bouder posted this:

Time's up on silence

Time's up on waiting.

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

Good for her! I’m glad someone in the company isn’t simply mourning the loss of their boss and father figure. I’m sure it must be unsettling for the dancers, but just because a dancer doesn’t see abuse and has a good relationship with her boss doesn’t mean the abuse isn’t there or only occurred in the distant past. I’m glad NYCB is continuing their investigation.

Maybe this is unfair, but I’m kind of annoyed by Mearns’ post. If she has something to say, she should just come out and say it. I’d reserve black for mourning a true loss of life (e.g., a life lost to drunk driving).

I’ll just add my voice to the chorus: please no Millepied! I know Peck is the golden boy of the moment, but he’s so young. It would seem to be a real gamble to appoint someone with little or no managerial or fundraising experience.

I wonder how long it will take the company to cycle out all the awful Martins choreography and those hideous full-lengths.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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The Macauley piece definitely focuses the central issue of the resignation on the future of the administrative structure of the company. I, personally, believe that a good AD doesn't need to wear all of the hats that Balanchine did. Specifically, they do not need to be a choreographer. But coaching and encouraging new talent, both from dancers and dance-makers, is not something that is negotiable. 

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These developments are a setback for the soloists who were on track for a potential promotion like Phelan, Ball and maybe others.  None of the interim directors are going to promote anyone.  Moreover, it's unlikely a new person coming in as the permanent director will act quickly regarding any promotions.

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Off-topic: Joan Crawford’s younger daughters did dispute much of Christina’s account but they also tacitly admitted that some of what Christina wrote about life with their mother was true. The twins seem not to have borne the brunt of Crawford’s irrationality, but it’s plain that Christina was not simply making stuff up. 

In fairness, the dancers who have defended Martins publicly have made very strong statements of support. Obviously they can only speak for themselves and not others. Robert Fairchild, for example, stated bluntly that whatever did or didn’t happen back when, his experience of the company was entirely different. He doubled down on that today.

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Maybe this is unfair, but I’m kind of annoyed by Mearns’ post. If she has something to say, she should just come out and say it. I’d reserve black for mourning a true loss of life (e.g., a life lost to drunk driving).

Or perhaps Mearns doesn’t have anything to share publicly just yet, apart from the feelings expressed by the color she chose. Hard to see that snark is called for in either case.

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15 minutes ago, dirac said:

Or perhaps Mearns doesn’t have anything to share publicly just yet, apart from the feelings expressed by the color she chose. Hard to see that snark is called for in either case.

It’s true. She’s entitled to whatever response she likes. I think my frustration comes from the fact that she routinely makes oblique statements on Instagram, rather than just directly stating what she’s feeling/thinking. But that’s her prerogative.

I admire LeCrone and Fairchild for speaking up in such a clear and eloquent manner.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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5 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

It’s true. She’s entitled to whatever response she likes. I think my frustration comes from the fact that she’s routinely makes oblique statements on Instagram, rather than just directly stating what she’s feeling/thinking. But that’s her prerogative.

I admire LeCrone and Fairchild for speaking up in such a clear and eloquent manner.

Also, Sterling Hyltin, Megan Fairchild, and Megan Johnson for going on the record with the NYTimes. They put out their views and might get pushback for it but they're speaking straightforwardly. 

One thought bubble: just from following their social medias it seems as if the current generation of NYCB dancers live a much less constrained life than in the past. Several of them have gotten college degrees while dancing, others have opened side businesses, and they are in much demand on Broadway and on the guest circuit. Abusers often like to isolate their victims. This particular cohort of NYCB dancers might have been less vulnerable to abuse because many of them are, as I said, so accomplished outside of ballet AND (judging by their social media) are extremely outspoken about social and political issues. It's a different world from the days when Suzanne Farrell asked Mr. B how she should vote in the presidential election.

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1 hour ago, balletforme said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/arts/dance/peter-martins-city-ballet-balanchine.html

Nice piece that addresses many of the issues that are bubbling up in this discussion.

 

 

In a long-ago essay criticizing Martins, Croce made a similar point to the point made in the article —that though Balanchine filled many roles (choreographer, coach, teacher, administrator etc.), it might make more sense for his successor (Martins) to take on fewer...

Edited by Drew
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Balanchine's role clearly evolved from a small company that for years was on shaky ground, and he had Kirstein, who never lacked energy and drive, to clear the financial and political hurdles by calling on his close friends.  The Board was a legal necessity and more of an afterthought as it grew.   In Gottlieb's recent interview he described how he took over programming because Betty Cage was burnt out.   NYCB was changing, especially after the move to Lincoln Center.  Nelson Rockefeller was dead.  Balanchine had more and more bouts of ill health before his final illness.

I've never read anywhere that Balanchine took on the fundraising duties that Martins did, or that he did much of what he didn't want to do.  While that doesn't mean he wasn't practical or got everything he wanted, there were other people around to do the gargantuan tasks that held little interest for him.  

 

 

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It in no way excuses violence or harrassment, but I do feel for Martins, after having given 50 years of his life to this company, and caring enough to lose his temper, that he should end this way.  It is unfortunate that the retribution collected for so many years.  Of course he got a lot himself out of those 50 years, but to imagine there were no sacrifices or personal cost involved... 

Edited by Amy Reusch
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19 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

It in no way excuses violence or harrassment, but I do feel for Martins, after having given 50 years of his life to this company, and caring enough to lose his temper, that he should end this way.  It is unfortunate that the retribution collected for so many years.  Of course he got a lot himself out of those 50 years, but to imagine there were no sacrifices or personal cost involved... 

I agree -- very few people are good or bad all the way through.  I'm really hoping that the board completes a thorough investigation, and releases as much of their findings as they can, so that we have a clear picture of the situation (as much for the benefit of the larger art world as we continue to develop), but I do very much appreciate the work that Martins has done with the company, as a performer and an administrator.  I've only seen a fraction of his choreography, and so can't comment on it as a body of work, but more than any other ballet company, NYCB has been devoted to the creation of new work.  Some of it has been great, some of it has been shit, and some of it has been phenomenal.  You don't get to pick just one category -- to get the classics, you have to make the dreck as well -- dancers learn to dance new works by dancing new works.  Martins, for better or worse, understood that special aspect of the company and made sure it continued.  While I have reservations about the people who are suggested for the AD position right now, I think in the end, they need to choose a working artist -- that's fundamental to the identity of the company.

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26 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

...but I do feel for Martins, after having given 50 years of his life to this company, and caring enough to lose his temper....

So, if Martins had not "cared enough", he would have been civil and respectful? How dreadful.

Plenty of people CARE without screaming, yelling, or doing worse to others.

Until a year ago, I worked for a boss who would lose his temper literally every day at at least one of us, screaming, etc. And, he in no way "cared" about the work, the company or his subordinates. He was a narcissistic bully and we all cheered when he finally quit.

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10 minutes ago, sandik said:

 I'm really hoping that the board completes a thorough investigation, and releases as much of their findings as they can, so that we have a clear picture of the situation (as much for the benefit of the larger art world as we continue to develop), but I do very much appreciate the work that Martins has done with the company, as a performer and an administrator.  I've only seen a fraction of his choreography, and so can't comment on it as a body of work, but more than any other ballet company, NYCB has been devoted to the creation of new work.  Some of it has been great, some of it has been shit, and some of it has been phenomenal.  You don't get to pick just one category -- to get the classics, you have to make the dreck as well -- dancers learn to dance new works by dancing new works.  Martins, for better or worse, understood that special aspect of the company and made sure it continued.  While I have reservations about the people who are suggested for the AD position right now, I think in the end, they need to choose a working artist -- that's fundamental to the identity of the company.

I doubt that the investigative findings will ever be released officially.  Maybe they will be leaked to the press by a Board member or by Martins, if it is favorable to him.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

If they split up Martins' job into two different positions, the annual salary for each position might not be attractive enough to certain candidates. 

In the year ending 6/30/15, Martins made $900,000 in base salary and bonus as Ballet Master in Chief, plus $39, 352 in non-taxable benefits. I'm guessing the list of people who would be willing to work for half that is long and distinguished.

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3 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

So, if Martins had not "cared enough", he would have been civil and respectful? How dreadful.

Plenty of people CARE without screaming, yelling, or doing worse to others.

Until a year ago, I worked for a boss who would lose his temper literally every day at at least one of us, screaming, etc. And, he in no way "cared" about the work, the company or his subordinates. He was a narcissistic bully and we all cheered when he finally quit.

No, he could have not cared and behaved just as badly...   but I have seen plenty of people with a "whatever...." attitude not fight for quality and accept less, and I respect the struggle for quality.  Some people handle it better than others.   

I was paywall blocked from reading Kelly Boal's account until today, so my apologies, I had only read Martins lost his temper during rehearsal.  The Boal account describes truly appalling behavior played out hours after rehearsal.  Almost sounds as if Martins felt insecure due to Peter Boal's increasing popularity.

I'm pretty sure I would have lost my temper with a kid horsing around  during a full dress rehearsal involving costs of union stage, union orchestra and union dancers, plus everyone else's time.   Clearly the pushback was over the top, but these outbursts came from nowhere?  Surely we have all seen situations where one kid provokes another but the teacher's attention was only caught by  the second kid's strike back... these are adults, not kids, but they are still humans... I'd like to know what the provocation was.  The behavior absolutely was not excused by the provocation, but we're still making value judgements based on one side's account of what happened.  Yes, the multiple accounts are damning, but we are also talking 50 years worth of interactions in a large institution and a lot of changeover, I'm really honestly surprised that, given the behavior described, we haven't heard of even more... 

We do not hear what happened during rehearsal that set him off, but hours later is hardly a knee jerk reaction.   

Obviously he has rage problems.  Alcohol does not help with this and there are DUI incidents mentioned.

Martins hasn't been accused of the consistency of your former boss.... that doesn't make his behavior excusable but it doesn't make it the same situation either.  Have people been accusing Martins of being a Narcissistic bully?  Did I miss that? (honest question, I miss a lot, I'm not an insider)   Was Martins' rage outbreak a weekly occurrence?  Or was he known for losing it at least once a season?  If it was a regular everyday occurence, I'm astounded he could have lasted 50 years.  I'm not defending him, just not equating him with your example.  I suspect a more balanced director would have overcome personal feelings and brought Suzanne Farrell in to coach.

Balanchine was rather famous for not losing his temper and just making changes, after all, with no loss of quality... but then again, he had his genius to fall back on, not everyone has that facility. Perhaps the sniffing was an indication of consternation?  

Robbins was famous for losing his temper, but he did get good work out.   I can,t remember ever hearing accounts that it was more than verbal abuse though.  Can be just as cutting, but...  

Tudor was famous for cutting remarks.

Rambert would tear people apart to rebuild them. 

Nureyev was known to lose his temper.

Plenty of people manage to create their art without resorting to verbal or physical abuse.  But not everyone is that well balanced.  Do we take only the results of mentally balanced people?  

 

But I take your point.  I have had the misfortune of encountering too many people in the past two decades not interested in pushing hard for quality, but I have spent those two decades living in the hinterlands.  It was culture shock leaving urban centers where you give quality or you get out.  It probably has colored my understanding from a distance of the forces at play at NYCB. 

 

Edited by Amy Reusch
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24 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

In the year ending 6/30/15, Martins made $900,000 in base salary and bonus as Ballet Master in Chief, plus $39, 352 in non-taxable benefits. I'm guessing the list of people who would be willing to work for half that is long and distinguished.

Come to think of it, didn't Balanchine not draw a salary for the same position?

 

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Bernard Taper · 1996 · Biography & Autobiography
Money interested him even less than titles. For the first sixteen years of the New York City Ballet's existence, Balanchine took no salary. He was satisfied with the twelve to fifteen thousand dollars a year he averaged from  ...

 

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31 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

In the year ending 6/30/15, Martins made $900,000 in base salary and bonus as Ballet Master in Chief, plus $39, 352 in non-taxable benefits. I'm guessing the list of people who would be willing to work for half that is long and distinguished.

Does that include his compensation as head of SAB, or was he making an additional salary above the $900,000 for his SAB work?  Also, some of that compensation may relate to royalties on his choreography, not his salary as AD of NYCB.

Edited by abatt
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Just now, abatt said:

Does that include his compensation as head of SAB, or was he making an additional salary above the $900,000 for his SAB work?

No, that's just his NYCB base salary and bonus. Per SAB's 990, Martins' compensation for his duties there for the year ending 6/30/15 totaled $‭125,256. 

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1 hour ago, ABT Fan said:

So, if Martins had not "cared enough", he would have been civil and respectful? How dreadful.

Plenty of people CARE without screaming, yelling, or doing worse to others.

Until a year ago, I worked for a boss who would lose his temper literally every day at at least one of us, screaming, etc. And, he in no way "cared" about the work, the company or his subordinates. He was a narcissistic bully and we all cheered when he finally quit.

THANK YOU!  And Martins behavior was not "yelling" he was physically assaulting people and seemed to have a thing about the neck.  Pulling people by the neck, choking, 

Please let's not confuse the issues. 

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Who is Vincent Paradiso?  He's listed on the 2012 990 as a key/highest paid NYCB employee earning ~197K.  I see that he was a NYCB corps member for this profile by Gia Kourlas from 2015 about creating a start-up, but I don't see that he was a choreographer or teacher :dunno:, but there are posts here as early as 2003 of him in NYCB cast lists.

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Just for reference, here are some details re other ballet company AD compensation for years ending in 2015:

NYCB - Total expenses = $79.2 million / AD base compensation + bonus = $900,000

SFB - Total expenses = $48.1 million / AD base compensation + bonus = $729,956

PNB - Total expenses = $23.5 million / AD base compensation + bonus = $384,292

ABT - Total expenses = $43.5 million / AD base compensation + bonus = $301,423

MCB - Total expenses = $15.5 million / AD base compensation + bonus = $325,000

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