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Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

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I think that all ADs tend to pick dancers who match their earlier selves and Wendy would be no exception.  IMO what limits her are three things a) lack of experience in the management of a large organization (donors, union, crew, etc); b) unproven artistic choices and c) lack of judgement (current postings but also her inability to transition out of a performing career--clearly still trying to do that as Insta proves). There is a need to be logical and unemotional in certain important decisions. 

I think she is a Ballet Mistress or a repetiteur.  I think she really just loves the art and that is where her skills really are. 

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Again I believe that Damien Woetzel is really a contender. He's got the organizational experience, the SAB pedigree, and the artistic leadership and reputation.  He is known and trusted by NYC insiders and board members. 

I also think that Lourdes Lopez is a serious contender as well. 

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On 1/30/2018 at 12:10 PM, abatt said:

I agree that NYCB may never publicly reveal the results of the investigation. However, since SAB is an institution which teaches and supervises youngsters at its school, and since NYCB employs minors as apprentices and in the corps, I think it is a grave mistake for them not to release the findings.  Let's also not forget that these institutions are supported by both taxpayer funds and by donations, which also heightens the idea that the information should be made public. I don't think either SAB or NYCB can move on if the results are hidden from public view.  Anything less than full transparency will leave a black stain on both institutions that will never be removed.   If necessary, the names of the witnesses can be redacted from any report, but the conclusions of the investigation should be made public.

Can they by law release an attorney investigation to the board?

Especially, as someone commented, when it was done for the board?

 

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4 hours ago, balletforme said:

Again I believe that Damien Woetzel is really a contender. He's got the organizational experience, the SAB pedigree, and the artistic leadership and reputation.  He is known and trusted by NYC insiders and board members. 

I also think that Lourdes Lopez is a serious contender as well. 

I know I will receive flak for saying this, but I find Woetzel's programming for Vail quite repetitive and uninspiring.  

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Two of Woetzel's stated purposes are to challenge dancers in ballet rep they wouldn't ordinarily be coached in an perform, like "Giselle" for NYCB dancers and other genres, so that they can work in experts in those genres.  I think his rep choices in a festival environment push both of these goals forward.

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It seems to me that the NYCB Board of Directors has to start with defining the job. Will it be split? That has to be the first task. After that there has to be a clear definition of the missions of the school and the company. From there an assessment of the qualifications that indicate an ability to carry out those missions. I expect the search to take quite some time. I also expect there are constant phone calls to Martins asking for input in several areas. This was a sudden departure.

Personally I hope a woman is named to lead the company.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, vipa said:

It seems to me that the NYCB Board of Directors has to start with defining the job. Will it be split? That has to be the first task.

That would seem sensible, but one can also imagine them defining the job based on who they decide to have take it, no?

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17 minutes ago, nanushka said:

That would seem sensible, but one can also imagine them defining the job based on who they decide to have take it, no?

It seems they would have to come up with a job description before they consider anyone. 

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9 hours ago, vipa said:

It seems they would have to come up with a job description before they consider anyone. 

That might be most advisable, but I don't know that it would necessarily have to work that way. If there's someone specific they're interested in, couldn't they tailor the description to that person's strengths and abilities, then work around whatever emerges to reapportion other responsibilities as needed? That process could even be a part of the negotiations.

(To clarify, I'm just raising a question about the envisioned process, and wondering if there's a variety of ways it might be approached and play out.)

Edited by nanushka

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17 hours ago, Helene said:

Two of Woetzel's stated purposes are to challenge dancers in ballet rep they wouldn't ordinarily be coached in an perform, like "Giselle" for NYCB dancers and other genres, so that they can work in experts in those genres.  I think his rep choices in a festival environment push both of these goals forward.

I agree with Helene. Damian has given colleagues from across the dance world the opportunity to stretch in ways they might never have attempted. True crossover programming. 

I think he would kick a** as AD at nycb. Everything could have lined up perfectly: administrative experience, artistic experience, age, temperament, keen intelligence, insututional knowledge. But what about this commitment to lead another major arts organization across the plaza?

i would also be thrilled with Lourdes Lopez as a choice because she also seems to have that combination of qualities in spades, with the additional benefit that women are sorely needed in the top positions. 

My third choice will unfortunately not be in contention. 

My gut feeling is that there's a dark horse somewhere. Whoever is chosen, I hope it happens very soon. 

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Although we're all anxious to hear the result, I'm personally glad that the Board is taking their time. As much as they need. It's such an important decision.

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3 hours ago, Stage Right said:

Although we're all anxious to hear the result, I'm personally glad that the Board is taking their time. As much as they need. It's such an important decision.

I agree and I'm sure there is a formal procedure they are following in terms of recruiting candidates. 

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Lourdes Lopez as AD, Suzanne Farrell and Wendy Whelan as Assoc. ADs so they can focus extensively on staging.

That’s my hiring plan, and I’m sticking to it!  

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The Met has fired James Levine,

Zachary Wolfe has published a piece in the NYT about re-defining his former role.   On the whole, Music Directors have more than one plum orchestra, while ballet company Artistic Directors rarely do, but some of the questions he raises do cross over:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/arts/music/james-levine-metropolitan-opera-yannick-nezet-seguin.html

 

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You could pretty much replace "conductor" or "musical director" with "AD" or even "choreographer" and the article would be spot on. Except that AD's don't make millions.

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53 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

You could pretty much replace "conductor" or "musical director" with "AD" or even "choreographer" and the article would be spot on. Except that AD's don't make millions.

Yes, that paternal dynamic seems very much a part of the role, in many cases. I got that sense quite strongly from the social media posts in support of Martins by NYCB dancers.

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4 hours ago, nanushka said:

Yes, that paternal dynamic seems very much a part of the role, in many cases. I got that sense quite strongly from the social media posts in support of Martins by NYCB dancers.

…And completely natural for young people to "look up to" the much more experienced staff and veteran dancers. Mentorship is a good thing when handled appropriately. I wish mentorship was an organized and required program for "freshman" dancers in all the big ballet companies.

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8 minutes ago, pherank said:

I wish mentorship was an organized and required program for "freshman" dancers in all the big ballet companies.

...as it is in many professional workplaces.

Unfortunately, I have some doubts about how generally effective such programs are, at least when compared with mentorships that arise more organically among colleagues. (And I say that as one who had a very positive experience in one such program.)

But, in general, better than nothing, at least.

Edited by nanushka

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An article in the NY Times today says that the search for a successor is only now beginning. And, that it's "the first phase of a process that is not expected to include interviewing candidates until fall at earliest".

The article also states that whomever is chosen will continue to lead both the company and SAB.

I think it's good that they're taking their time and interviewing dancers, board members, staff, etc. to get their take on the kind of leader that they want.

Given the timeline here, it would be reasonable to think that a new leader won't take the helm till January, at the earliest.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballet-searches-for-leader.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront

 

Edited by ABT Fan

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This is not good news for dancers who deserve promotions, unless the interim team plans to take on that task.

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Probably I should read the article before I comment, but WTF?? What have they been doing all this time??

As for promotions, they will have to take on the promotion of apprentices to corps, as well as selecting new apprentices. Maybe they will do a few other promotions as well. If not, what terrible morale for the dancers. 

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10 minutes ago, cobweb said:

As for promotions, they will have to take on the promotion of apprentices to corps, as well as selecting new apprentices. Maybe they will do a few other promotions as well. If not, what terrible morale for the dancers. 

Just from what I’ve seen on social media and onstage, I don’t get a sense that company morale is flagging, at least for now. On the contrary, they’ve seemed in very good form and very good spirits since the December drama passed.

And I would not be surprised to see the interim team move forward with promotions. The fact that it’s a team, not an individual, I suspect makes that more likely and more viable.

Edited by nanushka

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5 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Just from what I’ve seen on social media and onstage, I don’t get a sense that company morale is flagging, at least for now. On the contrary, they’ve seemed in very good form and very good spirits since the December drama passed.

And I would not be surprised to see the interim team move forward with promotions. The fact that it’s a team, not an individual, I suspect makes that more likely and more viable.

Well, it's easy to be in good spirits when you're already a principal dancer ;). How can you not be nervous as an apprentice or corp member?

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Just now, Balletwannabe said:

Well, it's easy to be in good spirits when you're already a principal dancer ;). How can you not be nervous as an apprentice or corp member?

I wasn't talking only about principals. I follow many dancers, from corps up to principal, on social media.

And I don't think being nervous and having low morale are really the same thing. Being in the lower ranks must surely have its pressures, no matter the situation. I just haven't picked up on any sense that the company morale is particularly low these days due to the absence of an AD. Of course, that doesn't mean that it isn't, out of my view (which is quite limited).

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Just now, nanushka said:

I wasn't talking only about principals. I follow many dancers, from corps up to principal, on social media.

And I don't think being nervous and having low morale are really the same thing. Being in the lower ranks must surely have its pressures, no matter the situation. I just haven't picked up on any sense that the company morale is particularly low these days due to the absence of an AD. Of course, that doesn't mean that it isn't, out of my view (which is quite limited).

Understood.

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