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Job posting for artistic director


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11 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I wish someone would make a good documentary about Happel and his costume shop. A binge-able, multi-part series documenting a "year in the life" might even be in order. I appreciate NYCB's little costume gala featurettes about the costume design and construction process, but Happel and his artisans deserve a brighter spotlight.

I was at the SAB open house this year and they had a presentation on costumes. It wasn't Happel, but a man spoke about how costumes for Concerto Barocco and Serenade had changed over time and about how each costume has a book showing design, decoration placement and fabric swatches, (including fabric costs, where to purchase etc.) for all of its elements. The costume shop is on top of it!

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21 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

I was at the SAB open house this year and they had a presentation on costumes. It wasn't Happel, but a man spoke about how costumes for Concerto Barocco and Serenade had changed over time and about how each costume has a book showing design, decoration placement and fabric swatches, (including fabric costs, where to purchase etc.) for all of its elements. The costume shop is on top of it!

Happel talks a bit about each costume's "bible" in this short video feature about remaking the costumes for  Theme & Variations. Yes, the costume shop is on it!

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On 10/27/2018 at 10:24 PM, Fleurfairy said:

Exactly. Whelan has no experience running a company at all, let alone one of the biggest companies in the world. I hope the Board uses common sense in this regard not  political correctness. I think the interim team is doing a good job so far and wouldn’t be upset if they remained the Artistic Team permanently. 

From Whelan appearance at Balanchine at City Center (she spoke on opening night) I believe she worked on that festival. She was an artistic associate at City Center 2014-16 and both Restless Creature and her other projects have had considerable touring.

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I think that an AD is so much more than artistic. .  .and you really need to have solid management and administrative experience. You just do. It's a business . NYCB's budget is over 65 million. You are putting someone in charge of a multimillion dollar business (510C3 but still). 

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According to an article in the NYT by Michael Cooper on 8/14/18, the NYCB has an annual budget of 89M with an endowment of 222M. The School of American Ballet has an annual budget of 16M with an endowment of 71M. 

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1 hour ago, balletforme said:

I think that an AD is so much more than artistic. .  .and you really need to have solid management and administrative experience. You just do. It's a business . NYCB's budget is over 65 million. You are putting someone in charge of a multimillion dollar business (510C3 but still). 

As NYCB is currently organized, the artistic staff and the administrative staff are housed in separate, parallel organizations. 

Executive Director Katherine E. Brown is responsible for the following departments: Communications, Development, Marketing & Media , Education, Operations & Company Management, Production & Design, Music, Costume & Wardrobe, Health & Wellness, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, The George Balanchine Trust, and NYCB Moves. I assume that she reports directly to the Board of Directors.

The artistic staff, under the leadership of Jonathan Stafford and the rest of the interim team, is comprised of the ballet masters, the Resident Choreographer (currently Justin Peck), the guest teachers, and the children's ballet master.

It is quite possible that the new AD will be primarily responsible for the dancing and repertoire and that Brown will continue to have responsibility for all the other functions. That is, the new AD may have some collegial input into matters such as the budget, production, HR, etc., but might not be responsible for them. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if both the AD and ED reported directly to the Board rather than the ED taking direction from the AD.

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36 minutes ago, Rock said:

Don't forget about Lincoln Kirstein. I believe he dealt with fund raising personally. 

Yes, Kirstein raised a lot of money for the company. Peter Martins seems to have been very good at fundraising and mingling with donors.

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38 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

Does it seem odd to anyone besides me that costumes and production design and music are not under Artistic?  Is it because of the unions?

Probably mostly about budgets and the allocation of funds. 

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As noted previously, Whelan was credited for changing the culture of NYCB, and the job ad specifically mentioned that they wanted a humane leader.

Perhaps that’s extrapolating just a bit. It’s nice that she was nice, but “changing the culture” seems to be painting with a rather broad brush.

Also, given the apparent emphasis on hiring a woman, in the recent past Whelan hasn’t exactly been outspoken on behalf of, say, female choreographers:

Quote

 

Time Out New York: Why are there no female choreographers?

Wendy Whelan: A very good question. Initially those four were the first that popped out. I didn’t intentionally seek a woman, and then I realized I hadn’t, and I thought maybe I made a mistake by not going there. At the same time, it felt right to me to just use men. I needed a certain comfort level, and I found that working with men for right now. It’s not my goal to constantly work with men, and I’m eager for the woman-to-woman connection that will happen, but I’m physically and emotionally not ready for that. I didn’t know who it would be necessarily. It’s easy to find male choreographers. They’re more obvious. I haven’t had a woman mentor really ever; they’ve always been men, and I just find comfort in that. And I wanted these duets to have some kind of thing that I could really respond to in that man-woman way. 

Time Out New York: Why do you think your mentors have always been men?

Wendy Whelan: I don’t know. No idea. In my whole life, I’ve come across weird connections with female teachers; I mean I have a million ballet girlfriends, but there are weird energies that clash, and I just didn’t want that. I didn’t need that extra amount of the unknown. And I just knew I was safe with at least those three that lined up.

 

I’d hate to think of women not getting a crack at opportunities because Whelan senses weird energies coming from them, or something. If she's going to run the company, I just hope she's now ready for that woman-to-woman connection .......

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I wouldn't assume that choosing choreographers for the Company is the same as choosing choreographers for a foray into a stand-alone, personalized show.  The AD doesn't have to be that connected to the choreographers: the choreographers have to be connected to the dancers in the studio, and she wouldn't be one of them.

I would guess that, regardless of the massive criteria they've listed for the job that the selection committee finds a plan to hire female choreographers at the top of their priority list.

 

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Dirac said:

Also, given the apparent emphasis on hiring a woman, in the recent past Whelan hasn’t exactly been outspoken on behalf of, say, female choreographers:

  Quote

 

Time Out New York: Why are there no female choreographers?

Wendy Whelan: A very good question. Initially those four were the first that popped out. I didn’t intentionally seek a woman, and then I realized I hadn’t, and I thought maybe I made a mistake by not going there. At the same time, it felt right to me to just use men. I needed a certain comfort level, and I found that working with men for right now. It’s not my goal to constantly work with men, and I’m eager for the woman-to-woman connection that will happen, but I’m physically and emotionally not ready for that. I didn’t know who it would be necessarily. It’s easy to find male choreographers. They’re more obvious. I haven’t had a woman mentor really ever; they’ve always been men, and I just find comfort in that. And I wanted these duets to have some kind of thing that I could really respond to in that man-woman way. 

Time Out New York: Why do you think your mentors have always been men?

Wendy Whelan: I don’t know. No idea. In my whole life, I’ve come across weird connections with female teachers; I mean I have a million ballet girlfriends, but there are weird energies that clash, and I just didn’t want that. I didn’t need that extra amount of the unknown. And I just knew I was safe with at least those three that lined up.

 

I’d hate to think of women not getting a crack at opportunities because Whelan senses weird energies coming from them, or something. If she's going to run the company, I just hope she's now ready for that woman-to-woman connection .......

Weird energies that clash and weird connections ...  "physically and emotionally not ready for ... the woman to woman connection"?   It was her right to choose whom she wanted, but her answers, or rather her responses [she didn't really answer the questions] are disappointing and seem to hail from another decade.  However it isn't fair to prejudge what she would do if she becomes the AD.
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That was my impression as well, Marta. What struck me about the passages when I first read them, and why they remained with me, was the way Whelan talked about working with female dancemakers as if they were some strange Other whose ways she would have to get used to, and this process of acclimation required psychic preparation (and I must say she didn’t sound wildly enthusiastic about the prospect). Certainly it's a different dynamic, but after all, it’s working with a woman, not a space alien. 

There is no mention of the challenges facing women who choreograph or aspire to do so, even though the interviewer’s (Gia Kourlas’) questions clearly invite a discussion beyond the Restless Creature hiring process. 

I quite agree she shouldn’t be prejudged, but I suspect that a male candidate who had in the recent past expressed anything like similar views would at the very least have some ‘splainin’ to do.

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Is past prologue?  The NYCB Artistic Director will wear many, many hats, and selecting choreographers will be different, just because it's NYCB.  Some choreographers will really want to work with them, others won't.  But it is a brand name.  Based on what I saw of Whelan's staging of Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition in Seattle, I think there was a lot of care and thought put into that assignment. and I think she would put the same qualities into any potential management of NYCB.  

If, in fact, she is the final choice.   

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This attitude is problematic on so many levels. He says he'll "only" work for Mr. B. Mr. B is no longer with us. If he becomes AD of NYCB he will be working "for" the board. Also him bragging constantly about his own company when they folded very quickly is not a great thing to have on his resume.

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Here's another disqualifying quote about Clifford from a 1987 LA Times interview with Johnna Kirkland:

"The demise of the company, she says, can be blamed on 'John's egotism and the fact that he was easily threatened. The minute his administrators became effective, for instance, he would fire them. It was a case of the blind leading the blind.'"

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-02-08/entertainment/ca-973_1_kirkland-ballet-gelsey

It doesn't seem as though anything has changed since 1987.  Clifford has had success choreographer and répétiteur.  I would let him into the studio and lock him out of the office.

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About ego: Clifford learned from the best.  It was well into the Lincoln Center days before NYCB wasn't vulnerable financially.  If the institution was important enough to Balanchine by then -- and a consistent meme of his was that he'd take his football and go home to start a little company in Switzerland -- in the past, when he had blown the production budget on the silk curtain and the Christmas tree, he left Kirstein to get more money.  To pull that off, though, you need a true believer like Kirstein who has your back.  Or as Suzanne Farrell's mother said in the documentary about the dancer (paraphrase): he wasn't any old man; he was a genius!

Having worked for entrepreneurs, Clifford's attitude is too close for comfort.  Once after I first joined an established tech firm that still had an entrepreneurial culture, the cautionary tale I was told was a high-level executive who sent a company-wide email suggesting that something less expensive than shrimp be served at routine team get-togethers.  Known derisively as the "Beans and Wieners Memo," the moral of the story was that it led to the exec's demise.  I had come from the non-for-profit world of 6am cheap flights with Saturday night stay-overs and white-out thinner that stretched the white-out that much farther, so it was quite an adjustment!

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26 minutes ago, Helene said:

About ego: Clifford learned from the best.  It was well into the Lincoln Center days before NYCB wasn't vulnerable financially.  If the institution was important enough to Balanchine by then -- and a consistent meme of his was that he'd take his football and go home to start a little company in Switzerland -- in the past, when he had blown the production budget on the silk curtain and the Christmas tree, he left Kirstein to get more money.  To pull that off, though, you need a true believer like Kirstein who has your back.  Or as Suzanne Farrell's mother said in the documentary about the dancer (paraphrase): he wasn't any old man; he was a genius!

Having worked for entrepreneurs, Clifford's attitude is too close for comfort.  Once after I first joined an established tech firm that still had an entrepreneurial culture, the cautionary tale I was told was a high-level executive who sent a company-wide email suggesting that something less expensive than shrimp be served at routine team get-togethers.  Known derisively as the "Beans and Wieners Memo," the moral of the story was that it led to the exec's demise.  I had come from the non-for-profit world of 6am cheap flights with Saturday night stay-overs and white-out thinner that stretched the white-out that much farther, so it was quite an adjustment!

But to be fair to Balanchine in the early years he choreographed a number of works that were meant to pay for his more experimental stuff. His one act Swan Lake, his Firebird, and of course his Nutcracker were meant to be cash cows that would fund, say, Agon. As Suzanne's mom said, "He was a genius!" And so his big cash cows became critically lauded. Jewels was another work that was meant to be a cash cow and it was and still is. 

I don't see anywhere near the same level of talent in the choreography Clifford has posted. He keeps mentioning his ballet version of Casablanca but i don't see companies knocking down his door to stage Casablanca.

Besides company founders who build companies from the ground up I think are often given more leverage. For instance Serge Diaghilev, Ninette di Valois and Sir Frederick Ashton all had enormous egos but hey, they made it, they built it, it was their company. That's not the situation now with NYCB. 

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38 minutes ago, canbelto said:

That's not the situation now with NYCB. 

Absolutely.  For one thing, there are more people on the Administration page on the NYCB website now than there were on the NYCB roster for many years.

While I think there needs to be leadership by example with about an 180 degree turn from Martins, the new leader will be running the equivalent of a small, structured corporation, not an entrepreneurial enterprise, however artistic it may be.

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