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Job posting for artistic director

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24 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Interesting that the only candidates they mention without any caveats is Boal and Whelan.

Other than that, this article just says more of the same that we've already discussed here and read elsewhere.

Totally agree. They brought up the idea of Lopez not wanting to leave Miami, but didn't mention the possibility of Boal not wanting to leave Seattle. Whelan's lack of experience in running a company wasn't touched upon. I was hoping the article would mention someone we hadn't thought of!!!

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They also intimate that having a "star" dancer as director is preferable. Possibly for fund-raising but not for much else I wouldn't think. Not necessarily. If you make a worldwide list you'd find that more directors weren't "stars". It would seem, anyway, that the NYCB has their fundraising pretty much intact. I should think Jon Stafford's track record in the past year speaks for itself.  Quality of performances, programming, rep, premieres, promotions, hiring, and weathering what has to be one of the worst public relations nightmares ever visited on a ballet company. I think he's the right person for the job. 

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2 hours ago, vipa said:

Totally agree. They brought up the idea of Lopez not wanting to leave Miami, but didn't mention the possibility of Boal not wanting to leave Seattle. Whelan's lack of experience in running a company wasn't touched upon. I was hoping the article would mention someone we hadn't thought of!!!

Wendy Whelan an impresario? That is a BIG stretch. The piece reads like a plug for her, though Boal comes off well. Both Whelan and Boal (through his wife) have something in common on the Martins front.

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2 hours ago, Rock said:

They also intimate that having a "star" dancer as director is preferable. Possibly for fund-raising but not for much else I wouldn't think. Not necessarily. If you make a worldwide list you'd find that more directors weren't "stars". It would seem, anyway, that the NYCB has their fundraising pretty much intact. I should think Jon Stafford's track record in the past year speaks for itself.  Quality of performances, programming, rep, premieres, promotions, hiring, and weathering what has to be one of the worst public relations nightmares ever visited on a ballet company. I think he's the right person for the job. 

I wonder if being a “star” might be more important in the United States because ballet companies here don’t get the kind of public funding that a lot of major European companies have. 

 

On on the basis of his leadership in the past year, I agree that Jon Stafford would be a great pick. My main concern would be over potential nepotism with his wife and sister still being in the company. 

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1 hour ago, Olga said:

Wendy Whelan an impresario? That is a BIG stretch. The piece reads like a plug for her, though Boal comes off well. Both Whelan and Boal (through his wife) have something in common on the Martins front.

She's no Diaghilev, but if you go by the definition of a person who manages a performance, Wendy has done that.

I  thought that this article was generally favorable to everyone discussed...

e.g,  Lourdes Lopez is described as  "an eloquent, visionary leader," and Jennifer Ringer is described as "one of the most sought-after master teachers in ballet" and "just the kind of principled, considerate leader the company desperately needs."

.... with the exception of Suzanne Farrell:

Her relationship with the company is a bit complicated, and though she has an unparalleled mastery of the Balanchine technique, she doesn't have much experience—or interest, it seems—in programming contemporary work. And when asked about NYCB's sexual harassment problem in 2017, she responded with "no comment": Not exactly the hard stance against harassment that the new director needs to have. 

For everyone else, the negatives were primarily ; 1) reasons that they might not leave their current positions (Woetzel, Wheeldon, Lopez, ; 2) that they have indicated lack of interest (Peck); or 3)  that they fit the company tradition, but the company might want to go in a different direction (e.g,, not hire another choreographer--Wheeldon, Millepied).

For shmoozing and fundraising power, I suspect that Woetzel or Millepied  are the best-connected.

I agree that Stafford has been doing a good job--I've been really happy to see a number of dancers getting new opportunities. 

On the whole, I wish they'd just pick someone already.

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13 minutes ago, FPF said:

She's no Diaghilev, but if you go by the definition of a person who manages a performance, Wendy has done that.

I  thought that this article was generally favorable to everyone discussed...

e.g,  Lourdes Lopez is described as  "an eloquent, visionary leader," and Jennifer Ringer is described as "one of the most sought-after master teachers in ballet" and "just the kind of principled, considerate leader the company desperately needs."

.... with the exception of Suzanne Farrell:

Her relationship with the company is a bit complicated, and though she has an unparalleled mastery of the Balanchine technique, she doesn't have much experience—or interest, it seems—in programming contemporary work. And when asked about NYCB's sexual harassment problem in 2017, she responded with "no comment": Not exactly the hard stance against harassment that the new director needs to have. 

For everyone else, the negatives were primarily ; 1) reasons that they might not leave their current positions (Woetzel, Wheeldon, Lopez, ; 2) that they have indicated lack of interest (Peck); or 3)  that they fit the company tradition, but the company might want to go in a different direction (e.g,, not hire another choreographer--Wheeldon, Millepied).

For shmoozing and fundraising power, I suspect that Woetzel or Millepied  are the best-connected.

I agree that Stafford has been doing a good job--I've been really happy to see a number of dancers getting new opportunities. 

On the whole, I wish they'd just pick someone already.

I agree they need to pick someone already. And that Stafford has done a good job, in fact a pretty great one particularly under the circumstances.  I think in this context there is a lot of light between managing a performance and being an impressario; and I did check the definition before my last post. Of course she did manage a few performances where she was the star performer and the choreographers were all men. I believe they were all men because, according to a published interview she gave, she is more comfortable with a male choreographer. She also has an assistant position at City Center - I don’t know the extent of her role there or vis a vis those performances but they do have a pretty good lineup.  

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4 minutes ago, Olga said:

 I think in this context there is a lot of light between managing a performance and being an impressario; and I did check the definition before my last post. 

I'm with you on this--I was trying to consider what the author might have been thinking in choosing to use the word, perhaps not fully understanding the connotations.  

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19 minutes ago, FPF said:

I'm with you on this--I was trying to consider what the author might have been thinking in choosing to use the word, perhaps not fully understanding the connotations.  

Yes, hard to know but does seem to support that the article over inflates Whelan’s qualifications. Historically, I think an impresario provided financial backing.

Then there is the  entire structure of the article, with pluses and minuses for most everyone else, or ruling them out because they can’t or won’t take the position,  and concluding with only positives for Whelan who of course is pretty available. Whelan has many positives but she also has many negatives and there is no mention of them. 

I guess I am just tired of hidden agendas and this article seemed to have one.

I do wish Wendy the best of luck if she gets the position because I love the company and want it to continue to be successful.

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9 minutes ago, Olga said:

Historically, I think an impresario provided financial backing.

Whelan has produced her own shows.  I haven't read anywhere that the designers, choreographers, and venues have worked or been used for free or that she is independently wealthy and could write checks out of a trust fund to pay for them.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

Whelan has produced her own shows.  I haven't read anywhere that the designers, choreographers, and venues have worked or been used for free or that she is independently wealthy and could write checks out of a trust fund to pay for them.

Her first show, in 2013 at the Joyce theater, was a co-production with the Joyce. Thst is how the Joyce described it on its website. They may have funded it, as I think they do for some of their shows. i don’t know if this was true of the second show, or of her show at BAM. But I mentioned the funding as a side note about the definition and etymology of the term. None of this changes my view that the description of Whelan in that piece is quite puffed up on the positive side, mute about the negatives and structured as an argument that she is, all in all, the best choice. 

I am not sure Whelan produced Hagoromo, the show she was in at BAM. BAM’s website says it was “Conceived and directed by David Michalek” who is her husband. Therr is no producer credit. She and Jock Soto danced it. 

Edited by Olga
More facts

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I'm kind of tired of the speculation.  Announce who it is and then we can all move on.  I wonder if Dance Magazine has any insider info, re when they said it could be any day now, that NYCB makes the announcement.

Anyway, I hope it's soon. I'm getting exhausted!  :)

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I thought that the article was silly and written by someone who is actually a lot less knowledgeable than the folks on this board.  It made no sense to me.  Millpied? Wheeldon? Misty Copeland? Suzanne Farrell? I thought Farrell actually had to cancel her summer program? Misty Copeland directing NYCB?  It's just bizarre. 

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I found the article silly and click-baity.  I don't think there was anything more or less overstated about Whelan than about anyone else.  

Based entirely on outside observation, she wouldn't be my optimal choice.  But based entirely on outside observation, I don't have any evidence that my optimal choices even applied for the job.

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31 minutes ago, balletforme said:

I thought that the article was silly and written by someone who is actually a lot less knowledgeable than the folks on this board.  It made no sense to me.  Millpied? Wheeldon? Misty Copeland? Suzanne Farrell? I thought Farrell actually had to cancel her summer program? Misty Copeland directing NYCB?  It's just bizarre. 

They just used a picture of Misty with Damien Woetzel. She wasn’t listed as a candidate.

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1 hour ago, balletforme said:

I thought that the article was silly and written by someone who is actually a lot less knowledgeable than the folks on this board.  It made no sense to me.  Millpied? Wheeldon? Misty Copeland? Suzanne Farrell? I thought Farrell actually had to cancel her summer program? Misty Copeland directing NYCB?  It's just bizarre. 

Last year, the NY Times named Millepied as one of three frontrunners for the position (along with Whelan and Peck). 

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Thanks folks for the corrections.  I guess that I would expect an article over a year after the NYT article to give us something "newsworthy" instead of simply replaying info from so long ago.  

Edited by balletforme

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I don't expect much in terms of depth from Dance Magazine.  And I clicked on it anyway.  I suspect lots of us did.

 

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Ditto for Dance Magazine grammar/editing: “...an impresario and a unfailingly kind person.” 

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Maybe not being an impresario, but Whelan is "curating" "Evening of Stars" for the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA), with:

  • Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets from San Francisco Ballet ("White Swan PDD")
  • Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro ("Black Swan PDD," short excerpts by Cuban choreographers)
  • Four dancers (unnamed in the article) from Pacific Northwest Ballet ("several duets")
  • Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina (ballroom)

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On 1/18/2019 at 2:17 PM, Olga said:

Wendy Whelan an impresario? That is a BIG stretch. The piece reads like a plug for her, though Boal comes off well. Both Whelan and Boal (through his wife) have something in common on the Martins front.

I think I know what you are referring to--you can correct me if I'm wrong--but "in common" seems to me a misleading way to express it. Martins was Whelan's artistic champion: whatever went on behind the scenes, he created ballets for her and promoted her career steadily, casting her across the repertory. She was, I should think, THE star ballerina of Peter Martins' NYCB insofar as NYCB has stars. At the end, when she was well over 40, he took her out of Sugar Plum Fairy (with all that implies) and she allowed herself to be filmed in a pretty raw emotional state seemingly blaming him for that and even, at one moment, seeming to blame him for the physical problems she had afterwards -- insisting she had never had a serious injury until after that conversation with him as if there might be some kind of mystical (or psychological) cause-and-effect. She may not have meant to make that connection and who knows if she feels now as she did during the transitional time in her career which was filmed.  All of that, however dramatic, seems a far cry from being choked, physically shaken, and berated by Martins as Kelley Boal reports or indeed being married to someone who was choked, shaken, and berated. (Not that Kelley Boal's experience kept Peter Boal from staying at NYCB and having himself a very successful career at NYCB under Martins.)  Unless Whelan were to report being physically attacked by Martins in that fashion I don't see much in common with Kelley Boal's experience, because...well...if one believes Whelan's account of what happened with the Sugar Plum Fairy role, then one might still reasonably come to the conclusion Martins was being a good director making tough decisions; if one believes Kelley Boal's account of what he did to her, then...not so much. 

I also prefer the decision on a new director be made sooner rather than later. But mostly, as I 've indicated above, I hope that whoever comes in has an active respect for and understanding of Balanchine's legacy. Or at least cares enough to put Balanchine's works in the hands of regisseurs who do--and to program them regularly (something one would be naive to take for granted). Other things matter...but not as much.

Edited by Drew

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Drew, yes, that is what I was referring to. There are indeed significant differences, but why I felt a shorthand reference would do is that they both line up on the same side of the epic Martins drama, albeit their cases are quite different. Likely or at least possibly, that is a drama  that bears on the selection process by the Board, as well as on the opinions of others, not on the Board, as to their preferred candidates. One can make excuses, and you have, for what Whelan said in that film, but in my view what she said about the connection between  Martins taking her out of Sugarplum and her injury and how she said it, was enough to make the Board think twice or more — and not just because it was hostile to Martins, but because it may indicate a temperment and judgment unsuited to running the company. 

I can’t believe how many posts I have made about this - I thought the paragraph about Wendy was juvenile and ridiculous. As I said, Wendy could be problematic as director but if she does get the post I wish her well. 

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Whereas I don't think an entire Board would act because a prominent, well-loved dancer was taken out of a role in her 40's: if there's any Artistic Director or Ballet Master who has had the job for five years or more hasn't done, I'd be very surprised, and if Whelan gets the job, it will be her job to do the same.  If there's any drama that Whelan's situation is akin to, it's "The Turning Point."  What Kelly Boal described was reason for dismissal in any profession.

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Whelan was at NYCB last night.  For years after her retirement she did not come to NYCB because, as she put it, she was not ready to see others dance her old roles.  I guess she's gotten over that, because over the past year she is at the Koch regularly.

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