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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

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5 hours ago, balletforme said:

Mr. Daniels, the ballet spokesman, said that since 2010 the company “has had a policy precluding a reporting relationship between a supervisor and subordinate where a romantic relationship exists.”

 

Doesn't this mean that  the policy does not prevent the reporting of relationships between supervisors and subordinates? As in its not required per policy.

 

I believe what they are saying is a subordinate can not directly report to a supervisor if they are romantically involved. Meaning, you can’t sleep with your boss/subordinate.

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17 minutes ago, laurel said:

At the moment, there's no word on the nature of the sexual harassment charges leveled against Martins, and as the physical nature of dance instruction and its "hands-on" approach are endemic to the art, I seriously doubt it would have merited such serious charges.  What struck me in the NY Times article was the following sentence:

"In recent interviews, two former City Ballet dancers and three former students at the school described a culture in which Mr. Martins was known for sleeping with dancers, some of whom received better roles because of their personal relationships with him."   

This seems to be a description of classic quid pro quo sexual harassment, which creates a hostile work environment and if proven can lead to the firing of the harasser and/or monetary damages to the victim, and more.  I imagine the charges against Martins - specifically described as sexual harassment - would stem more from this sort of incident or incidents than any touching or rubbing during class or coaching.

Hard to say from the information we have, which isn't much. It would be classic quid pro quo sexual harassment if Martins' alleged lovers were reluctant, he pressured them into sex, and there were professional consequences for them if they didn't play ball. There's no indication that he did that - yet.  (However, as others have pointed out, the boss sleeping with multiple employees, or in some circumstances even one, potentially creates a hostile work environment.)

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10 hours ago, harpergroup said:

Hoping that it does not come to the dismissal of Martins, I nevertheless toss another potential hat into the ring: Daniel Ulbricht, who is charismatic & young, has organized and toured his own group of dancers for years, and has raised money (ie, good with donors) for the American Cancer Society through his Dance Against Cancer benefits for over 7 years.

Ulbricht would be wonderful, but given the taste-free NYCB Board I fully expect MILLEPIED. There are endless possibilities among ex-NYCB ballerinas (Ringer, Nichols, ad infinitum.)

Couldn't disagree more about the dismissal of Martins!

Edited by jsmu

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6 hours ago, canbelto said:

Kyra Nichols is now the head faculty at University Indiana - Bloomington. I think she got the position when Violette passed away. Lourdes Lopez seems to have a really good thing going in Miami and not sure she'd want to jump ship to run such a behemoth institution. Same for Peter Boal.

Nichols was at PA Ballet and left after approximately one year. Given the fact that her spouse was also employed by the company, one wonders what Corella managed to do to alienate one of the most beloved and equable ex-ballerinas in the world?

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1 hour ago, Balletwannabe said:

The teachers at my dd's school are hands on when it comes to corrections; are you saying this isn't common in the US? (we are in the US to be clear) As you said, I'm not sure how else you could properly teach?

The article I read was in French, and I may have lost something in translation; but I recall him saying "In American, it's difficult to teach because you can't touch the students." 

It's interesting to see many parents here say that their children are informed of what constitutes "appropriate touching" in ballet class.  It's been a while since I was under 18 and taking dance class but I don't recall ever having that kind of discussion, and I took ballet in several different schools in 3 different countries. 

A lot of work is going into providing young people with information about how to protect themselves in various situations, incoming college students now take a class about what constitutes consent, how to protect themselves from sexual assault etc.  I think young dancers (especially apprentices) would benefit from a similar class that teaches them "If an AD invites you to a meeting alone, away from the office, at night, that's not normal; here's what you should do."  It feels like there are a lot of Union guidelines protecting the dancers from physical exhaustion etc, what kind of protection can a dancer expect if they are promised roles in exchange for sexual favors?  I don't know much about labor law/Unions maybe that's completely outside the realm of the Union's control. 

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1 hour ago, laurel said:

At the moment, there's no word on the nature of the sexual harassment charges leveled against Martins, and as the physical nature of dance instruction and its "hands-on" approach are endemic to the art, I seriously doubt it would have merited such serious charges.  What struck me in the NY Times article was the following sentence:

"In recent interviews, two former City Ballet dancers and three former students at the school described a culture in which Mr. Martins was known for sleeping with dancers, some of whom received better roles because of their personal relationships with him."   

I would think the charge of a dancer receiving a better role because of a personal relationship with Martins, would be very hard to prove. Who should get what roles is very subjective. 

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45 minutes ago, jsmu said:

Nichols was at PA Ballet and left after approximately one year. Given the fact that her spouse was also employed by the company, one wonders what Corella managed to do to alienate one of the most beloved and equable ex-ballerinas in the world?

Corella is moving the company away from being a Balanchine satellite company and more of a mini-ABT. Lots of emphasis on the classics -- new productions of Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire and Swan Lake. In corporate speak Nichols was "no longer a good fit for the company."

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13 minutes ago, soubrette_fan said:

As food for thought....how about Sarah Jessica Parker?  

How about no.

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7 minutes ago, aurora said:

How about no.

Agreed - Ib Anderson?

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3 hours ago, jsmu said:

Ulbricht would be wonderful, but given the taste-free NYCB Board I fully expect MILLEPIED.

This is my nightmare.

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4 hours ago, dirac said:

However, as others have pointed out, the boss sleeping with multiple employees, or in some circumstances even one, potentially creates a hostile work environment.

The stage (and cinema) worlds have such a long 'tradition' of this kind of behavior - I think any real change would involve the removal of most of an entire generation of managers, administrators, etc. and their enablers. And then there's the younger generation of up and comers, happily making all the same mistakes. The behavior is endemic in the stage world (not just ballet). Although the removal of all those people would make the many unrecognized and under-employed workers dance with delight, it would also be really messy for these industries which rely upon networks of personal connections to do just about everything. The sorting out has already started - I just wonder if it will run a much quicker course, and dwindle, a lot sooner than we expect.

55 minutes ago, aurora said:

"As food for thought....how about Sarah Jessica Parker? "

How about no.

LOL - my biggest laugh of the day.

Although I like the idea of Suzanne Farrell as A.D., given her knowledge of and respect for the Balanchine/Robbins repertoire, I just don't know how she would do regarding the creation of new repertoire: How would Farrell guide the development of ballet in the 21st century?

 

Edited by pherank

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I think Justin Peck has potential as AD (but he still seems soooo young).  I like the way he's been portrayed in profiles and interviews over the last few years and the current company members appear to trust and have confidence in him.

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26 minutes ago, lmspear said:

I think Justin Peck has potential as AD (but he still seems soooo young).  I like the way he's been portrayed in profiles and interviews over the last few years and the current company members appear to trust and have confidence in him.

I really want Justin Peck to continue developing as a choreographer -- the AD job is a very different set of tasks.

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14 hours ago, canbelto said:

Corella is moving the company away from being a Balanchine satellite company and more of a mini-ABT. Lots of emphasis on the classics -- new productions of Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire and Swan Lake. In corporate speak Nichols was "no longer a good fit for the company."

Yes, I was aware of what Corella is doing to the company, and how many full-length warhorses he's dragging out. Of course, the myopia of the presumption that a great ballerina and artist like Nichols has nothing to contribute to any ballet not by Balanchine is stunning, but so was Corella's own little purge (sorry, in corporatespeak that would be 'housecleaning' or 'downsizing,' perhaps) when he took over the company. :)

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18 minutes ago, sandik said:

I really want Justin Peck to continue developing as a choreographer -- the AD job is a very different set of tasks.

This. And I think he's a little young for the (arguably) biggest AD job in the country.

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I keep returning to Daniel Kempson's article about harassment as a gay man in opera, even if I think he's overly optimistic at best about corporate America:

Quote

So then why does this happen? You could point to the Barihunks effect, where young singers are objectified and told their abs are more important than their voice. You could say it’s an extension of artistic license given to creative professionals — if you want incredible art from incredible artists, that might come with baggage. You could say it’s because a singer’s job description is an aberration, including kissing coworkers publicly and sometimes barely clothed (in rehearsal).
 
That’s all bullshit. It happens for the same reason it happens in Hollywood, and why it used to happen in corporate America: because those in power are often perpetrators — and those who aren’t perpetrators allow it to happen.

In our current climate, being young might have the advantage of having a thinner dossier.

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Running NYCB is a job I'd only like to inflict on someone I don't like.  I have that list, and I'm sure many here have their own :devil:.

Institutionally, I think the best-qualified person for it is Helgi Tomasson, and I doubt he wants it.

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1 hour ago, sandik said:

I really want Justin Peck to continue developing as a choreographer -- the AD job is a very different set of tasks.

If Peck is as bright as he seems, he isn't likely to even consider looking for an A.D. job for at least another 5 years. He still has plenty of themes and approaches to explore as a choreographer. As others have mentioned, it takes a different set of talents to succeed as an A.D.
Peck's only organizational experience comes from directing dancers in his ballets - that's just not the same thing. At this point, Millepied knows a lot more about the world of ballet company personnel management, fund raising, and dealing with boards, but he's controversial in his views (he's professed to being bored with traditional ballet and the pointe shoe requirement), and it would be a bad thing, imo, for him to suddenly bail on the L.A. dance community when he's actually making some headway there.

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Dance instruction in the US does include hands on corrections in most schools and I have to imagine that is true of SAB. You can't teach ballet without physically correcting. But I doubt seriously that Martins is groping dancers during class or in coaching. That's too obvious and honestly, I doubt that physical corrections in front of 90 professionals is common. Company classes are different.
 

The likely scenario (and really what is being alleged) is a pattern of a series of relationships that may have advantaged certain dancers or retaliated against others. I agree that it is hard to prove because there is so much casting at NYCB and, in the end, casting is subjective.  Also, you would need people to come forward with specific incidents, which is unlikely.

In terms of harassment, the offended person needs to clearly tell the offender to stop (or get HR to do it on their behalf). If the offender is told--please don't say x, please don't hug him, please remove the pin up poster from your tool kit, please do not have conversations that are sexual in nature when x person can overhear--and the offender does it again, a case for sexual harassment is made. I doubt that a) any dancer has come forward to confront Martins and b) if ask to stop some type of behavior Martins would not--he is too smart.

The likely outcome will be this--The investigation will play out, without incident.  The board will immediately begin to move towards a new AD.  Martins is older. The organization is responsive to societal trends.  I suspect a replacement being announced sometime in 2019.  The board will make it appear as if this situation and replacement are unrelated, because legally they would need to be.

Edited by balletforme

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This is distressing news, but why am I not surprised with sexual harassment allegations surfacing almost daily. My feeling is Martins will almost certainly step down.  And it worries me - what direction will a new AD take our beloved company? 

Who to replace Peter Martins?  I would love to see Suzanne Farrell, Kyra Nichols, Edward Villella or Damien Woetzel come on board, but perhaps except for Kyra, they're all longshots. Perhaps Heather Watts?  

 

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1 hour ago, KarenAG said:

This is distressing news, but why am I not surprised with sexual harassment allegations surfacing almost daily. My feeling is Martins will almost certainly step down.  And it worries me - what direction will a new AD take our beloved company? 

Who to replace Peter Martins?  I would love to see Suzanne Farrell, Kyra Nichols, Edward Villella or Damien Woetzel come on board, but perhaps except for Kyra, they're all longshots. Perhaps Heather Watts?  

 

What about Darci Kistler? If she wasn't married to Martins I believe her name would have already been mentioned!

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1 hour ago, KarenAG said:

Who to replace Peter Martins?  I would love to see Suzanne Farrell, Kyra Nichols, Edward Villella or Damien Woetzel come on board, but perhaps except for Kyra, they're all longshots. Perhaps Heather Watts?  

Do we think that Woetzel would step away from his commitment from taking the reigns at Julliard? That has been such a big slow roll out, I would think it would be difficult to extract himself from that situation. While Watts clearly has hit a goldmine in being able to foster new talent while remaining  dedicated to Balanchine, I am not convinced that the Woetzel-Watts partnership would be able to split their shared artistic vision into two distinct artistic houses.

Edited by DC Export

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2 hours ago, balletforme said:

The likely scenario (and really what is being alleged) is a pattern of a series of relationships that may have advantaged certain dancers or retaliated against others. I agree that it is hard to prove because there is so much casting at NYCB and, in the end, casting is subjective.  Also, you would need people to come forward with specific incidents, which is unlikely.

In terms of harassment, the offended person needs to clearly tell the offender to stop (or get HR to do it on their behalf). If the offender is told--please don't say x, please don't hug him, please remove the pin up poster from your tool kit, please do not have conversations that are sexual in nature when x person can overhear--and the offender does it again, a case for sexual harassment is made. I doubt that a) any dancer has come forward to confront Martins and b) if ask to stop some type of behavior Martins would not--he is too smart.

That simply isn't true. The very fact it is perceived that a boss is favoring his sexual partners can be considered sexual harassment by other workers. This does not involve telling the offenders x or y. And while we don't know the particulars (if indeed there are any) in this case, that is not an essential part of indicating what is sexual harassment. No one needs to say to their boss "don't take your penis out in front of me."  I should not have to say to a supervisor at work "please don't kiss me on the head," as it should go without saying.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/employees-can-sue-over-co-workers-sex-with-boss/

https://www.employmentlawfirms.com/resources/employment/discrimination/laws-preventing-favoritism-in-the-workplace

(see "favoritism as sexual harassment")

 

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