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Job posting for artistic director


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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Thanks. Is it in the written comments on one of the posts?

It's in one of Clifford's written responses in the comments section to the post linked below. You have to scroll down a bit. I believe that SAB has already implemented many (if not all) of  the solutions Clifford proposes in his various comments. He is perhaps not as up-to-speed on what has been done and what remains to do as a candidate might ideally be.

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, nanushka said:

The combination of relentless self-promotion and absolute deification of Balanchine (the father-hero of virtually every post, including the one devoted to Mitchell above) is exhausting.

Whether or not anyone thinks he's qualified, the deification of Balanchine is something that has been a constant in his writing and interviews.  It is nothing manufactured because of the job opening.

A lot of people campaign to influence, even if they know they haven't a chance.

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37 minutes ago, Helene said:

[T]he deification of Balanchine is something that has been a constant in his writing and interviews.

Very true — hence my observation that it's exhausting.

37 minutes ago, Helene said:

It is nothing manufactured because of the job opening.

I did not at all mean to imply that it was. (When I wrote that Balanchine was "the father-hero of virtually every post," I meant — with only slight exaggeration — virtually every post on his IG feed, not just recent ones.)

37 minutes ago, Helene said:

A lot of people campaign to influence, even if they know they haven't a chance.

I don't see any particular evidence to suggest that's what Clifford is doing, or to suggest that he knows that, but both are certainly possible. Still, if he says he wants the job, I take him at his word and think it's fair to judge him as a serious (even if not very promising) candidate.

Edited by nanushka
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23 hours ago, nanushka said:

I don't see any particular evidence to suggest that's what Clifford is doing, or to suggest that he knows that, but both are certainly possible. Still, if he says he wants the job, I take him at his word and think it's fair to judge him as a serious (even if not very promising) candidate.

I agree. Taken together, Clifford's Instagram posts indicate that he's campaigning for the job and, furthermore, that he believes he is Balanchine's rightful successor. This from a dancer who was only with the company for 7 years!

What I find bizarre about all of this is the Gatsby-esque implication to these posts. It's as if Clifford thinks he can recreate that moment in time (which clearly meant so much to him) exactly as it was. But just as Nick Carraway told Jay Gatsby that, "You can't repeat the past," Clifford (who, if by some miracle found himself as artistic director) wouldn't be able to repeat the past either. And Balanchine recognized as much at the end of his life.

 

Edited by miliosr
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8 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

Yikes...so he clearly can't run a company.  Thanks for this info.

Whoa...

 "Clifford said that although he believes he still has his dancers' support, "if I had to declare bankruptcy or something I would, because 'Dracula' does not need to use Los Angeles Ballet. I'm the owner of 'Dracula.' If there is no Los Angeles Ballet, I will just hire dancers or hire another company that's existing--or start another company."

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17 hours ago, miliosr said:

What I find bizarre about all of this is the Gatsby-esque implication to these posts. It's as if Clifford thinks he can recreate that moment in time (which clearly meant so much to him) exactly as it was. But just as Nick Carraway told Jay Gatsby that, "You can't repeat the past," Clifford (if by some miracle found himself as artistic director) wouldn't be able to repeat the past either. And Balanchine recognized as much at the end of his life.

This is a really good point and a great analogy.

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I think Clifford is forgetting that if Balanchine wanted him to be his successor, he would have appointed him. Like Clifford wouldn't have given up his second tier company to come back to NYC and run City Ballet? Please. Quite frankly, this social media campaign is embarrassing. And tagging dancers (some of whom he's probably never met) in posts and commenting on their social media pages is not only unprofessional, it's creepy. Especially in light of the scandals going on at NYCB this past year.

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1 hour ago, Fleurfairy said:

And tagging dancers (some of whom he's probably never met) in posts and commenting on their social media pages is not only unprofessional, it's creepy. Especially in light of the scandals going on at NYCB this past year.

I'm one who has been quite dismayed at the news of the alleged behavior related to those scandals, and I'm also one who is quite skeptical of Clifford's fitness for the position, but personally I don't see any connection or similarity between these two things. These are the public social media accounts of professional artists (and other related public figures), who use those accounts in part as opportunities to engage with the public and generally remain visible to the public eye. How is communicating with or linking to them in this manner "creepy"? (Rather odd or off-putting and quite possibly unwise, yes.)

Admittedly, I haven't read what Clifford has posted on others' pages, nor have I closely read everything on his own, so perhaps there are some specific statements I'm unaware of.

Edited by nanushka
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1 hour ago, Fleurfairy said:

I think Clifford is forgetting that if Balanchine wanted him to be his successor, he would have appointed him. Like Clifford wouldn't have given up his second tier company to come back to NYC and run City Ballet? Please. Quite frankly, this social media campaign is embarrassing. And tagging dancers (some of whom he's probably never met) in posts and commenting on their social media pages is not only unprofessional, it's creepy. Especially in light of the scandals going on at NYCB this past year.

He seems to tag Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Hay and others in the ballet world who have a lot of "buzz" or large followings of their own. Many times, tagging in this pattern is an attempt to gain more followers for one's own account. I don't personally find it creepy. It is a social media strategy and not uncommon. 

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I'd like to know what he considers "sadly distorted and mannered" about Balanchine classes nowadays. If he runs NYCB he will also be in charge of SAB and it won't start off well if he basically tells the whole faculty "you're doing it all wrong."

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

I'd like to know what he considers "sadly distorted and mannered" about Balanchine classes nowadays. If he runs NYCB he will also be in charge of SAB and it won't start off well if he basically tells the whole faculty "you're doing it all wrong."

I'm a big fan of today's NYCB and think Martins did many things right, but it was still disconcerting to read on Hyltin's instagram that she felt couldn't even make use of everything McBride was telling her in rehearsal this season because she had been doing it so differently for so long and didn't have time to integrate it properly. ...I don't think Clifford will be next director of NYCB or SAB (and if I were a betting person I'd bet that isn't what he's after) but I'm all in favor of bringing back dancers who worked with Balanchine to the State Theater. I know it's not without drawbacks -- especially since different dancers learned things differently...and at different moments in Balanchine's trajectory. And presumably tact may be called for in certain situations...But still, bringing in Villella and McBride especially is one of the things the interim team has done that has most caught my attention. And having recently seen fantastic results with Farrell's own company shortly before it folded, I'm hoping Farrell can be brought back as well. That is, Clifford may not be wrong when he says "so much has been lost over the years." What may be wrong is imagining that change is not inevitable no matter who is doing the coaching--because "times are racing." But why not preserve as much knowledge as possible not just on tapes by the Balanchine foundation but on the bodies of dancers at NYCB?

Edited by Drew
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1 minute ago, Drew said:

I'm a big fan of today's NYCB and think Martins did many things right, but it was still disconcerting to read on Hyltin's instagram that she felt couldn't even make use of everything McBride was telling her in rehearsal this season because she had been doing it so differently for so long and didn't have time to integrate it properly. ...I don't think Clifford will be next director of NYCB or SAB (and if I were a betting person I'd bet that isn't what he's after) but I'm all in favor of bringing back dancers who worked with Balanchine to the State Theater. I know it's not without drawbacks -- especially since different dancers learned things differently...and at different moments in Balanchine's trajectory. But still, It's one of the things the interim team has done that I has most caught my attention. And having recently seen fantastic results with Farrell's own company shortly before it folded, I'm hoping Farrell can be brought back as well. That is, Clifford may not be wrong when he saws "so much has been lost over the years." What may be wrong is imagining that change is not inevitable no matter who is doing the coaching--because "times are racing." But why not preserve as much knowledge as possible not just on tapes by the Balanchine foundation but on the bodies of dancers at NYCB?

Drew, thank you. You said much of what I was thinking. Yes, it's important to get dancers who Balanchine choreographed on coaching, and do it quickly for obvious reasons. We all have to acknowledge that memories aren't perfect, but a sense of energy, style, musicality should be mostly accurate even if some steps were changed for different dancers. I too think Peter Martins did much right, but have seen Farrell's company - please have her coach soon. 

At the same time we have to acknowledge that change happens. Truthfully, I've enjoyed performances of Square Dance more now than I did in the "good old days" because of developments in technique. Balanchine didn't have Ashley Bouder, Tiler Peck etc. to choreograph on. We don't know how he would have change things, or what he would have done. 

I was trained, as a dancer, by people who were in the NYCB during the Balanchine years. They have both passed away. Let's get as much knowledge as we can before it's too late.

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23 minutes ago, vipa said:

Drew, thank you. You said much of what I was thinking. Yes, it's important to get dancers who Balanchine choreographed on coaching, and do it quickly for obvious reasons. We all have to acknowledge that memories aren't perfect, but a sense of energy, style, musicality should be mostly accurate even if some steps were changed for different dancers. I too think Peter Martins did much right, but have seen Farrell's company - please have her coach soon. 

At the same time we have to acknowledge that change happens. Truthfully, I've enjoyed performances of Square Dance more now than I did in the "good old days" because of developments in technique. Balanchine didn't have Ashley Bouder, Tiler Peck etc. to choreograph on. We don't know how he would have change things, or what he would have done. 

I was trained, as a dancer, by people who were in the NYCB during the Balanchine years. They have both passed away. Let's get as much knowledge as we can before it's too late.

Drew and Vipa, thank you both.  I was also struck by the interim team's invitation to the great dancers who have returned to coach.  I recall the video clips of Verdy just a few years ago coaching Tschai PdD. What a fabulous treasure for a dancer!

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Oh I agree that it's wonderful that alumni are coming back to coach. And I agree their knowledge is invaluable. I just think that Clifford's comments will cause a rift with SAB as Suki Shorer, Kay Mazzo, etc have been teaching there for decades and it's never a good idea to come into an organization and say "everything is wrong, only I can fix it." 

As for Suzanne Farrell, AFAIK she does very little coaching of outside companies nowadays. She did help stage MCB's Jewels and some things at the Mariinsky in the 90s but ever since she focused on her own troupe/summer intensives/master classes she hasn't done much coaching or staging. I assume this is by choice.

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I think Clifford is right to discuss how the company style has been codified in a kind of brilliant, god-is-in-the-little-details way that looks quite different from that of the fifties and sixties. 

"I could write a whole book on the differences" Clifford says. "And it was very interesting to read about the adjustments needed at NYCB when McBride and Villella coached Rubies recently." I think that's why Miami Ballet's interpretations seemed so interesting when Villella was there. You were getting a different take on the work coming down refreshed along a different heritage route. And it's not necessarily a dead past that Clifford is being particularly nostaligic about, but one that could be built on just as easily as the Martins/Schorer ideas of how Balanchine should be done.

And as to why Farrell and Villella and others were not invited to coach at City Ballet for the last thirty or so years, this seemed like a curious – or maybe very diplomatical – statement of justification in the recent Times article on Villella and McBride:

Quote

When Mr. Martins was in charge, Balanchine alumni outside of the artistic staff were mostly kept out of the studio. “Part of it was he wanted to protect his ballet masters who were there when Balanchine was there, as opposed to bringing in someone else who might have different opinions,” Mr. Stafford said.

 

Edited by Quiggin
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10 hours ago, Drew said:

I don't think Clifford will be next director of NYCB or SAB (and if I were a betting person I'd bet that isn't what he's after)

I would agree with the first part of your statement but not the second. Regardless, his numerous posts on Instagram this week have undercut whatever end he's pursuing because they reveal him as being completely tactless and tone deaf.

10 hours ago, Leah said:

New series of 10 videos where Clifford explains the Los Angeles Ballet fiasco.

Haha -- which Los Angeles Ballet fiasco?

10 hours ago, Leah said:

In addition to being responsible for the careers of Damien Woetzel and Darci Kistler he also created Lorena Feijoo and Benjamin Pierce of SF Ballet.

And Victor Barbee and Kipling Houston too!

9 hours ago, canbelto said:

Suki Shorer, Kay Mazzo, etc have been teaching there for decades and it's never a good idea to come into an organization and say "everything is wrong, only I can fix it."

When Suzanne Farrell had her hip replacement surgery, Arlene Croce wrote about how the teachers at the school were adapting the training so that dancers would be "trained up" to the demands of late-period Balanchine.  The thought being that, by preparing the pupils for these demands, the risk of physical injury (of the kind that happened to Farrell) would be lessened. (Croce's point wasn't that the Balanchine method was destructive. Instead, she posited that Farrell's original training base was insufficient for the journey Balanchine and Farrell took together.) 

4 hours ago, Quiggin said:

And it's not necessarily a dead past that Clifford is being particularly nostaligic about, but one that could be built on just as easily as the Martins/Schorer ideas of how Balanchine should be done.

I take no issue with Clifford's Instagram posts about missing details as these posts are very informative. Where I part ways with him is his insistence that Balanchine's every utterance, no matter how lightly uttered, can be transformed into a basis for all future action for the dancers of today. I think of a lot of what Balanchine said was in the moment and him just being funny or trying to pull the leg of a gullible journalist. But people like Clifford act as if Balanchine's sayings should have the same force and application as the Hadith of Muhammed!
 

(And while I'm carping, I don't think the Russians care what Clifford -- or Balanchine -- think/thought about Vaganova.)

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13 hours ago, canbelto said:

Oh I agree that it's wonderful that alumni are coming back to coach. And I agree their knowledge is invaluable. I just think that Clifford's comments will cause a rift with SAB as Suki Shorer, Kay Mazzo, etc have been teaching there for decades and it's never a good idea to come into an organization and say "everything is wrong, only I can fix it." 

 As for Suzanne Farrell, AFAIK she does very little coaching of outside companies nowadays. She did help stage MCB's Jewels and some things at the Mariinsky in the 90s but ever since she focused on her own troupe/summer intensives/master classes she hasn't done much coaching or staging. I assume this is by choice.

And judging by the reviews of "Other Dances" such coaching isn't necessarily going to work magic. The Farrell drama was plainly not all Martins' fault, and I understand she was invited back to stage Don Quixote and refused, doubtless for perfectly good reasons. That said, it's a good move to invite the original dancers back for several reasons. As Stafford observed, some of the newer staffers, unlike Martins' people, never worked with Balanchine. Second, the views of the people who actually originated the roles are always going to have special value and dancers should have the benefit of that as long as the originators are around to give them. Third, as a PR matter it's a good prophylactic against a certain line of criticism. Dancer X may not be giving a glowing account of Role X, but critics won't be able to complain it was because so-and-so wasn't asked in to coach it.

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Did a new, expanded role for Farrell at the Kennedy Center ever materialize? The news reports from when her company was disbanded indicated she had been in talks with Rutter about it:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/suzanne-farrell-ballet-to-disband-in-2017/2016/09/21/c9877a2e-8025-11e6-b002-307601806392_story.html 

She may just have a rather full plate, between being a professor at FSU and whatever her role at the Kennedy Center is. But I'd love to see her invited back to NYCB, if she's interested.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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35 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Did a new, expanded role for Farrell at the Kennedy Center ever materialize? The news reports from when her company was disbanded indicated she had been in talks with Rutter about it:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/suzanne-farrell-ballet-to-disband-in-2017/2016/09/21/c9877a2e-8025-11e6-b002-307601806392_story.html 

She may just have a rather full plate, between being a professor at FSU and whatever her role at the Kennedy Center is. But I'd love to see her invited back to NYCB, if she's interested.

 

I follow this very closely, as I'm local. I haven't heard even a slight rumbling of a new Kennedy Center-Farrell partnership apart from her annual "Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell" intensive.

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I hope Clifford writes that book... better yet, I hope he illustrates it with video...  i'd like to hear what and where the differences are... it would be a resource for the future, when the dominant version has become cliché

Edited by Amy Reusch
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