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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

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I actually think Bouder unwittingly fed into some stereotypes about females and ballet when she made the complaint to the NYTimes. If she had simply spoken about Martins' undue influence it would have been one thing. But by specifically mentioning Sterling Hyltin and citing the reason she thinks Hyltin was first cast, she's fed into this stereotype that females can't get along, that it's easy to divide and conquer quarreling females, and also fed into some Black Swan-type stereotypes about ballerinas. 

I'm not saying that she should be silenced. But the average reader is going to read that article and picture a catfight royale backstage and that's sort of a shame. I agree that a strong AD needs to be hired ASAP because right now this sounds like a Dynasty-era soap opera.

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No. I wasn't "last minute" by any means. But Bouder had been first cast of Aurora for a number of years and had been told she would be again this year. That's why it was such a shock.

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4 hours ago, canbelto said:

I actually think Bouder unwittingly fed into some stereotypes about females and ballet when she made the complaint to the NYTimes. If she had simply spoken about Martins' undue influence it would have been one thing. But by specifically mentioning Sterling Hyltin and citing the reason she thinks Hyltin was first cast, she's fed into this stereotype that females can't get along, that it's easy to divide and conquer quarreling females, and also fed into some Black Swan-type stereotypes about ballerinas. 

I'm not saying that she should be silenced. But the average reader is going to read that article and picture a catfight royale backstage and that's sort of a shame. I agree that a strong AD needs to be hired ASAP because right now this sounds like a Dynasty-era soap opera.

I don't agree-- the anger was clearly directed at Martins. I do think Bouder would have been smarter and more gracious not to mention Hyltin and I wish she hadn't but I don't think there was anything catty about it. Might people read it that way? Honestly, I think even if she hadn't mentioned Hyltin people might read her speaking out as disrespectful to Hyltin (who, as mentioned above, is one of my favorite ballerinas). In fact, I'm fairly confident they would. After all, she didn't have to mention Hyltin for it to be obvious enough who replaced her.

As far as I can tell, this is really about Martins' role at the company--what is it going to be in the future?--and the board. And given the way the board has conducted itself there is some reason to believe that people are speaking out to the press because they don't feel important issues will be addressed otherwise. Are they right? Are they justified? I haven't the faintest, but from what I do know I am not inclined to believe Bouder is the problem here. Or Stafford.

Edited by Drew

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6 hours ago, Drew said:

I am not inclined to believe Bouder is the problem here. Or Stafford.

1

Yep. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 5:07 PM, Rock said:

And I think you're wrong. I think Stafford can win. And should. 

By "can't win" I meant he is in an impossible situation. . . it's an expression.  I did not mean that he can't win the ADship.  

He has not been clearly endorsed/hired as THE AD and that simple fact compromises his strength.  HE as a leader or person is not weak, the situation compromises his authority inherently.

Actually, his grace and strength under such perverse circumstances reveal fortitude. 

Of course, he "can win" as AD but someone needs to clearly hand him the baton/prize  

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7 hours ago, Drew said:

 

As far as I can tell, this is really about Martins' role at the company--what is it going to be in the future?--and the board. And given the way the board has conducted itself there is some reason to believe that people are speaking out to the press because they don't feel important issues will be addressed otherwise. Are they right? Are they justified? I haven't the faintest, but from what I do know I am not inclined to believe Bouder is the problem here. Or Stafford.

exactly.  Martins isn't acting in good faith here, even accepting his absolute right to cast his own ballet. If he knows anything its how NYCB functions and he could have made his casting choices in a less disruptive fashion, and he could have done what Stafford asked of him.  TO blame the people who get upset by his bad behavior is to give him a free pass.  I have to assume the real audience for Stafford's comments is the board or some subset of it.   

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I'm afraid I agree with EJohnson. I also think Stafford might have been deliberately and publicly distancing himself from Martins.

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1 hour ago, Rock said:

I'm afraid I agree with EJohnson. I also think Stafford might have been deliberately and publicly distancing himself from Martins.

Slightly off topic--as a Catholic I think the Church can begin to solve its problems with a married clergy and ordained women---by the same token NYCB should elect a new Board and get rid of Martins works -- perhaps then the stench will be gone.

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There was a curious sentence in the NYT article:  ...certain important roles unofficially belong to particular dancers, who have owned them year after year in the first casts”.

It made me wonder as to why Ashley Bouder, a self proclaimed feminist with equality driven ideals, is in favor of maintaining hierarchy and upholding the cast ranking?  I thought that the concept of hierarchy contributes to a narrow world view and is formed by oppressive societies. And shouldn’t feminism be about supporting other talented and deserving women? 

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Hmm just to put this into perspective -- a NYTimes archive article about a Royal Ballet tour in 1970 says that Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell were first cast in both Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet. And this was when Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev were still worldwide sensations and by far the biggest names of the company. So just because you're first cast doesn't mean you'll always be first cast. 

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19 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

There was a curious sentence in the NYT article:  ...certain important roles unofficially belong to particular dancers, who have owned them year after year in the first casts”.

It made me wonder as to why Ashley Bouder, a self proclaimed feminist with equality driven ideals, is in favor of maintaining hierarchy and upholding the cast ranking?  I thought that the concept of hierarchy contributes to a narrow world view and is formed by oppressive societies. And shouldn’t feminism be about supporting other talented and deserving women? 

I'm going to assume this is a joke.

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31 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

There was a curious sentence in the NYT article:  ...certain important roles unofficially belong to particular dancers, who have owned them year after year in the first casts”.

It made me wonder as to why Ashley Bouder, a self proclaimed feminist with equality driven ideals, is in favor of maintaining hierarchy and upholding the cast ranking?  I thought that the concept of hierarchy contributes to a narrow world view and is formed by oppressive societies. And shouldn’t feminism be about supporting other talented and deserving women? 

Given that the hierarchy exists, Bouder perhaps has a right to expect that it would not be dispensed with merely for the sake of retribution. That's apparently what happened. 

She may or may not be "in favor of maintaining hierarchy." One would have to ask her. Are there specific public statements she's made that suggest her currently voiced concerns are hypocritical? Keep in mind that the sentence you've quoted is written by the author of the article, not spoken by Bouder herself. (All we know is that Bouder was originally cast for opening night, and then later — late enough that it was jarring to Stafford, Bouder and others — the casting was changed.)

As for what feminism "should be about"...there are lots of different answers to that question. I wouldn't presume to know what Bouder herself thinks.

Bouder could think that it's not great to have such a hierarchy but, if it's going to exist, it shouldn't be dispensed with at the whim of a powerful man who's angry about having been criticized by a woman.

 

Edited by nanushka

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40 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Bouder could think that it's not great to have such a hierarchy but, if it's going to exist, it shouldn't be dispensed with at the whim of a powerful man who's angry about having been criticized by a woman.

Absolutely agree. But are there specific public statements by Peter Martin that show he felt angry about having been criticized by a woman?

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5 minutes ago, Rock said:

No. None that I know of.

Nor I. But that’s quite separate from the question of what Bouder does or does not think about the morality of hierarchies.

My point was that clearly she does think that’s why Martins made the change.

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And maybe it's true. But it's also possible Martins thought after all these years it should be somebody else's turn to go first. Or even that somebody else was better suited. 

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3 minutes ago, Rock said:

And maybe it's true. But it's also possible Martins thought after all these years it should be somebody else's turn to go first. Or even that somebody else was better suited. 

Certainly possible. If so, he obviously didn't communicate that very clearly to Stafford, who found the change to be "jarring" and "upsetting."

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4 minutes ago, Rock said:

And maybe it's true. But it's also possible Martins thought after all these years it should be somebody else's turn to go first. Or even that somebody else was better suited. 

Sure. so why not express that much earlier in the process?

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This was clearly not well handled, which leads more credence to Bouder's version. I just feel Jon Stafford was caught in the middle and is blameless here. But whatever was done it was done before the casting was posted - which was 2 weeks in advance. We wouldn't know anything about it were it not for Bouder speaking out. I think she made a misstep. 

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14 minutes ago, Rock said:

This was clearly not well handled, which leads more credence to Bouder's version. I just feel Jon Stafford was caught in the middle and is blameless here. But whatever was done it was done before the casting was posted - which was 2 weeks in advance. We wouldn't know anything about it were it not for Bouder speaking out. I think she made a misstep. 

I think the Board has allowed a situation to develop that seems increasingly untenable, and THAT is where the heat should be directed. (Who can step gracefully amidst such an unpleasant tangle? All of the dancers are potentially in impossible situations.)

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12 minutes ago, Drew said:

I think the Board has allowed a situation to develop that seems increasingly untenable, and THAT is where the heat should be directed. (Who can step gracefully amidst such an unpleasant tangle? All of the dancers are potentially in impossible situations.)

Agreed. That Jon Stafford told the Times that Martins expressly disregarded his request to not immediately go backstage shows, to me, that the Board has not fully empowered Stafford as the interim leader of the company. And if Stafford does not have real authority, then no one does. Which allows the leaderless state to continue....

Edited by Emma

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Emma I don't understand why you think Martins not following Stafford's request to delay coming backstage until the dancers who wanted to could go upstairs - why you think Martins disregarding that request could be construed as the Board not fully empowering Stafford. It was unexpected, no one knew what Martins was going to do. I would say, instead, that the promotion of dancers and the hiring of new apprentices indicates Stafford has plenty of authority.

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Nor I. But that’s quite separate from the question of what Bouder does or does not think about the morality of hierarchies.

I am sorry if I didn’t make it clear. My comments about the morality of hieararchy were simple rhetorical questions and not opinions attributed to Bouder. I raised them because Bouder’s handling of the situation made me (personally) doubt her dedication to the ideas of equality and feminism. I made assumptions of Bouder’s beliefs which might have been just as (in)accurate as Bouder’s beliefs on the reasons behind the cast changes. 

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1 hour ago, Rock said:

And maybe it's true. But it's also possible Martins thought after all these years it should be somebody else's turn to go first. Or even that somebody else was better suited. 

I agree. 

Casting changes are made all the time, and this change was made before the announcement to the public.   Martins has a history of casting those who more closely resemble the characters they're portraying.  Is it such a surprise that he chose a younger looking set of dancers as he so often did with Romeo and Juliet?  Ashley hasn't had the role pulled from her, nor was she asked to do a character role.  She's still dancing Aurora.   If you dance long enough, your roles change, and others move into your sought-after position.  That’s ballet. 

Edited by NinaFan

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I would say that unless the Board makes it clear that Stafford's requests to remain physically away from backstage are like them saying it, they've proven that they haven't empowered him, just like in any other workplace where the CEO sets a limit, and it is crossed without consequence it backing from the Board.

Schuyler Chapin learned this quickly, as have many interim directors and CEO's.

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