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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

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19 minutes ago, aurora said:

The article is clear that certain dancers "own" opening nights of specific ballets. Hyltin gets R+J. And apparently Bouder *was* cast for opening night of SB as per usual until it was changed "last minute."

Seeing that as an affront says virtually nothing about Hyltin's abilities.

Since Bouder was still cast, and therefore it wasn't a reflection on her ability to do the role, the fact she takes it as an intentional slap in the face and retaliation seems totally reasonable to me. I would as well in her shoes.

I don't take it to be a slighting of Hyltin. What she said about her own response to Martins vs Hyltin's is accurate--and I'm sure Hyltin is happy to own that she supported Martins, just as Bouder is happy to own her views.

I can see that this is a topic on which some of us will have to agree to disagree. I'll add that I'm sure Bouder was disappointed. There is not a professional dancer, past or present, who hasn't been hurt or angered at losing a role, not getting a role or losing a performance. My main objection to Bouder is that she sees only one explanation to what happened. Maybe it was retaliation, I can't know that with certainty and neither can she. There is the possibility that Martins knew he wouldn't have a lot more chances to cast it (it isn't performed that frequently) and decided to forgo seniority and give opening night to the dancer he thought best in the role. Some people would find that implausible, but I view it as a possibility. 

I also don't see the great harm to Bouder. She wasn't removed from the role, the number of performances wasn't reduced, she wasn't giving only matinees and the change was made before casting went public.  

The departure of Martins created a rift in the company, articles like this can only deepen the rift by putting company member in the position of having to take sides. 

One thing I think we can all agree on, is that a new director can't be named too soon. Now would  be a good time.

 

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Stafford is at a crossroads here.  Unless the Board had indicated that he is out of the running for the AD spot, if he doesn't take control in this situation, he will be in a world of hurt in the long term.  If he is blocked by the Board, then if he doesn't walk from it, the boundaries of his influence will be defined, even if he is given the title. It also shows that The Powers That Be are still supporting Martins and are not behind a leadership change. 

Martins' move was right out of the Grigorovich playbook.  Launch a power play over your rep, see the response of the Board, potential AD's, the current leadership, and the already divided company, and pull as many strings and keep the divide as deep for as long as you can. 

If they have any sense they'll squelch it now.  Otherwise, they really deserve what they get. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Helene said:

Martins' move was right out of the Grigorovich playbook.  Launch a power play over your rep, see the response of the Board, potential AD's, the current leadership, and the already divided company, and pull as many strings and keep the divide as deep for as long as you can.

Exactly. If the article and Bouder are deepening the rifts in the company, Martins is too.

Bouder is likely not the only one who thinks that Martins' action was retaliatory. The article states that the move "jarr[ed]" and "upset" Stafford and that he's concerned that "the dancers' interests" need to be "protected":

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The abrupt change was jarring to Jonathan Stafford, the company’s interim leader, who said he had thought the casting was “locked in.” He said he was also upset when Mr. Martins defied his instructions to wait until the dancers had exited before going backstage after the first performance of “The Sleeping Beauty” last week.

...

Mr. Stafford said that he would have been “happy to keep Ashley as first cast going forward” and that the current management team would rethink how casting is handled by living choreographers outside the company in the future. “It may need some adjusting to make sure the dancers’ interests are protected,” he said.

 

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I'm don't know a lot about ballet.  I thought Friday night was a popular night.  I would never have known, along with most ballet goers (guessing) that she had been "demoted".  I don't understand what she's trying to accomplish with this article.  Seems like an internal matter that should have been handled privately.  

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30 minutes ago, vipa said:

I can see that this is a topic on which some of us will have to agree to disagree. I'll add that I'm sure Bouder was disappointed. There is not a professional dancer, past or present, who hasn't been hurt or angered at losing a role, not getting a role or losing a performance. My main objection to Bouder is that she sees only one explanation to what happened. Maybe it was retaliation, I can't know that with certainty and neither can she. There is the possibility that Martins knew he wouldn't have a lot more chances to cast it (it isn't performed that frequently) and decided to forgo seniority and give opening night to the dancer he thought best in the role. Some people would find that implausible, but I view it as a possibility. 

I also don't see the great harm to Bouder. She wasn't removed from the role, the number of performances wasn't reduced, she wasn't giving only matinees and the change was made before casting went public.  

The departure of Martins created a rift in the company, articles like this can only deepen the rift by putting company member in the position of having to take sides. 

One thing I think we can all agree on, is that a new director can't be named too soon. Now would  be a good time.

 

Adding to this that Bouder could have aired her grievances just as effectively without any mention of her colleague. 

From the article:

'Mr. Stafford said that he would have been “happy to keep Ashley as first cast going forward” and that the current management team would rethink how casting is handled by living choreographers outside the company in the future. “It may need some adjusting to make sure the dancers’ interests are protected,” he said.'

I imagine the choreographers will be interested to hear exactly how.

Also, that's quite the public commitment to Bouder.

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1 hour ago, vipa said:

I'll add that I'm sure Bouder was disappointed. There is not a professional dancer, past or present, who hasn't been hurt or angered at losing a role, not getting a role or losing a performance. My main objection to Bouder is that she sees only one explanation to what happened. Maybe it was retaliation, I can't know that with certainty and neither can she. There is the possibility that Martins knew he wouldn't have a lot more chances to cast it (it isn't performed that frequently) and decided to forgo seniority and give opening night to the dancer he thought best in the role. Some people would find that implausible, but I view it as a possibility. 

It would have behooved Martins to explain the reason for his changes to both Stafford and to the dancers who were affected by them — and it could well be the case that Bouder wasn't the only dancer who, at his direction, got bumped from a performance slot, got bumped from a role altogether, or got thrust into a role they either weren't ready for or that didn't suit their talents.

Martins had to have known that bumping Bouder from the opening night slot had at least the potential to send a message — to Bouder, to Stafford, and to the company as whole — and to create additional friction in a company grappling with enough disruption as it is. A thoughtful person with some regard for the company and its dancers might have tried to ameliorate the damage. 

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55 minutes ago, dirac said:

Also, that's quite the public commitment to Bouder.

It's a commitment he won't be able to keep in this ballet unless Martins agrees to a change in casting privileges for his ballets and/or Stafford becomes the new AD. Now more than ever I believe they need an AD who can come in fresh, with no baggage.

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I think it would have been much wiser and tactful if Bouder had refrained from "giving a reason" as to why Hyltin was put in the first cast instead of her, which is essentially what her comment did. She could put across her point that she was being retaliated against quite forcefully without putting Hyltin in a compromised position. 

I agree this article is quite confusing and alarming as to the internal tensions currently present. 

Martin's move seems petty and vengeful, given Bouder never directly criticized him in public and that he had always championed her career.  Bounder speaking to the NYT this way seems to suggest there's no internal channels to address her concerns, which doesn't speak well of the running of the company now (and her remark about Hyltin implies division among the dancers). Stafford's comment is unexpectedly direct and angry, which is weird in itself since he seems to have attained his current positions under the guidance and support of Martins. Also, can Martins change cast without going through Stafford? If he can, why does Stafford promise to keep Bouder as first cast going forwad? If he can't, which means Stafford must approve final decisions, why is Stafford acting so blindsided and upset? Is he putting on a show for someone?

Edited by bcash

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You know, casting decisions generally do go to the foundation/stager. For example when the Cranko estate staged Onegin they did not want Zakharova as Tatiana. It was a big scandal and Zakharova walked out in a fury and went to the press about it. But the Bolshoi ceded to the Cranko estate's wishes.

So Peter's well within his rights to cast his own ballet. Was what he did nice? Maybe not, but the only way around it is to not stage his ballets. Also, if he wanted to be spiteful I must say that Bouder getting three performances (two evening ones and one matinee) with a generally excellent cast is pretty far down on the list of ballet spitefulness. Balanchine for all his sainted reputation could be way more spiteful when it came to casting decisions (remember him pulling Paul Mejia from all his roles after Mejia married Suzanne Farrell?). If Bouder were relegated to a single matinee performance then I would say her claim of retaliation has more footing. 

But it seems as if the larger issue is that Stafford's decisions are not really being respected by the Board, and they are also disorganized and not really being as proactive as they should be about naming an AD. So that leads to chaos, confusion, and general unhappiness. 

ETA: in the fall Martins did cast Bouder in his version of La Sylphide for two performances. 

Edited by canbelto

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6 minutes ago, bcash said:

Also, can Martins change cast without going through Stafford? If he can, why does Stafford promise to keep Bouder as first cast going forwad?

He doesn't, actually:

Quote

Mr. Stafford said that he would have been “happy to keep Ashley as first cast going forward”...

 

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That is correct nanushka. Also, does anyone actually think Jon Stafford would make those statements to the NYT without support? I think he knew it was okay to say those things about the casting, and then he was very blunt about having been blindsided about Martins' trip backstage. 

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Sterling Hyltin still follows Ashley Bouder on Instagram so whatever tension the article might have caused apparently it didn't cause them to unfollow each other ...

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It's interesting to note (from what I've seen last I checked), that not even ONE NYCB dancer has even "liked" Bouder's IG post.  If I'm wrong please correct me.

 

Edited by Balletwannabe

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3 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

It's interesting to note (from what I've seen last I checked), that not even ONE NYCB dancer has even "liked" Bouder's IG post.  If I'm wrong please correct me.

I just clicked to view the likes, and Roman Mejia and Erica Pereira are among the 7 that first showed up on my screen, without even scrolling down.

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Just now, nanushka said:

I just clicked to view the likes, and Roman Mejia and Erica Pereira are among the 7 that first showed up on my screen, without even scrolling down.

Ok, it must show up differently on mine.  Didn't see anybody I recognized scrolling down for a while.

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

I just clicked to view the likes, and Roman Mejia and Erica Pereira are among the 7 that first showed up on my screen, without even scrolling down.

Laine Habony and Wendy Whelan (not a company member, but interesting nonetheless) are in the first that showed up for me, too. 

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Just now, Balletwannabe said:

Ok, it must show up differently on mine.  Didn't see anybody I recognized scrolling down for a while.

Those you follow seem to show up first. Also listed there (though ABT, not NYCB) are Skylar Brandt, Scout Forsythe and Zhong-Jing Fang.

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Kyle Froman (former NYCB dancer and now professional dance photographer) writes in the comments:

Quote

Amazing article. Good for you for exposing not just your ordeal but the dysfunction still present in the Trust and NYCB board. Keep the spotlight bright. Xoxoxo

 

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32 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Those you follow seem to show up first. Also listed there (though ABT, not NYCB) are Skylar Brandt, Scout Forsythe and Zhong-Jing Fang.

Also from ABT: Stephanie Williams and Lauren Post

 

Other names of note include Brooklyn Mack and Siobhan Burke.

 

It is easy to miss people though, after all as of now (1:43 eastern time, saturday) it has some 3,836 likes!

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14 hours ago, Rock said:

 Also, does anyone actually think Jon Stafford would make those statements to the NYT without support? I think he knew it was okay to say those things about the casting, and then he was very blunt about having been blindsided about Martins' trip backstage. 

Doesn't really matter. If he had "support" to complain to the Times, it's bad. If he complained to the Times without "support," it's bad. If he was acting on  his own I would say that's marginally better, because it would suggest it was more a matter of one man's poor judgment than an institutional problem.

 

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I don't get how this is poor judgment or an institutional problem. They're not supposed to say anything?

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I believe that Martins had every right to not keep Bouder as first cast,  but pulling her last minute was mean. Likewise, I think Bouder's partially correct: it IS the last minute part of it that's so problematic. Bouder was a breath of fresh air when she came on the scene,  but since then there are many other highly talented dancers who equal her, but in each her own unique way. So many styles to choose from!  Martins has several dancers to chose among,  and Hyltin is certainly worthy of first cast. Bouder was ungracious and egocentric in mentioning Hyltin's name with abandonment,  but that's no surprise because that is the way she's always been, right from her first summer at SAB. I applaud her for speaking out, but her ungenerous temperament always gives me pause. Definitely not artistic director material.

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Sterling was first cast when the casting went up a little bit less 2 weeks before opening night. It wasn't like Bouder was scheduled to dance opening night, and replaced the night before.

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