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Job posting for artistic director

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In my dreams! I would LOVE for Ethan Stiefel to get this job. He has already proven himself as an artistic director of proven leadership (New Zealand Ballet) and a careful, respectful coach and teacher. I hope he is considered. 

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4 hours ago, Marta said:

I think Steifel danced in City Ballet for a while, but point taken.

He made it to principal before he decamped.

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Did Ethan Stiefel prove himself in New Zealand?  He did not stay very long.  I would say Ib Anderson has done more to prove himself as an artistic director with Ballet Arizona, or Colleen Neary with Los Angeles Ballet.  3 years does not seem like a very long time..., one does not even come away with a Bachelors degree in three years... NYCB is the largest company in America.

Edited by Amy Reusch

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8 hours ago, Amy Reusch said:

Did Ethan Stiefel prove himself in New Zealand?  He did not stay very long.  I would say Ib Anderson has done more to prove himself as an artistic director with Ballet Arizona, or Colleen Neary with Los Angeles Ballet.  3 years does not seem like a very long time..., one does not even come away with a Bachelors degree in three years... NYCB is the largest company in America.

He was at New Zealand for three years: https://www.ethanstiefel.com/bio

I remember social media postings from Gillian Murphy that the trip to New Zealand to guest were brutal, and that might have had something to do with it, but I've never seen other explanations.

I had thought Lourdes Lopez might be a contender, although she's 60, which might be too old to take this on in the minds of some: https://www.miamicityballet.org/portfolio/lourdes-lopez-2

Damian Woetzel is 51, which might be about right for taking this on. In earlier discussions, we all dismissed him outright. But the very long delay in getting this search moving is interesting. He might do his dean thing for a year and then move on to NYCB. Pure speculation, of course, but the timing delay is intriguing.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damian_Woetzel

 

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After months of proclaiming (not very convincingly) otherwise John Clifford now seems to be admitting interest:

 

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1 hour ago, California said:

I had thought Lourdes Lopez might be a contender, although she's 60, which might be too old to take this on in the minds of some: https://www.miamicityballet.org/portfolio/lourdes-lopez-2

It depends on what the Board is looking for: someone to lead the company for the next 20 years or someone to keep a steady hand on the rudder while they mentor the younger person who will succeed them. 

I've seen the latter done well in a corporate setting, but it requires very careful planning, organizational buy-in, and the right temperaments on the part of both mentor and successor. There's plenty of opportunity for mischief. (I've seen interim leaders decide they'd rather stay in power after all; I've seen presumed successors decide they'd rather not wait; and I've seen competitors to both decide the situation is really a power vacuum just waiting to be filled.) 

The Board may very much want someone with a direct connection to Balanchine — e.g. Lopez or Andersen — because of both their valuable first-hand experience and the authority that experience might give them in the eyes of all the company's stakeholders, but it might also be wary of the perils a shorter tenure would entail.

Given that Martins was 70, I'm frankly shocked that the Board didn't have a succession plan in place. Maybe the plan was to keep Martins in place for another couple of years while he groomed Stafford or Peck and there was no fallback plan ready in case that didn't work out. 

Woetzel certainly seems like an obvious choice given his age, experience, and the apparent regard he commands in many quarters of the arts world. I don't know what the terms of his appointment to Juilliard are; it may be that he is free to leave the position at any time, or, it may be that he's required to serve out a specified term or provide ample notice if he intends to depart. Of course, Woetzel may prefer to stay at Juilliard!

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Sorry. At 71, John Clifford is too old for the position. I mean this as no disparagement to his knowledge, skills, or experience. I'd make the same observation about anyone in their 70s looking to take on this particular job at this particular junction at this particular company. I'd make it about Farrell, McBride, Villella, Bonnefous, whoever. Sure, bring them in as coaches and mentors, but please, it's time for a new generation to take the helm.

I say this as an aging boomer well-pleased by the sterling cohort of young leaders who are ready to take on the many challenges of the years that lie before us all. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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Has anyone mentioned Philip Neal as a possibility? (It maybe up thread) I heard him interviewed on Conversations on Dance and he was very interesting and passionate about passing on his expertise and growing the "next generation"  but he also did sound very happy where he was. Also I'm not sure of his age.

https://www.strazcenter.org/Next-Generation-Ballet

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7 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I say this as an aging boomer well-pleased by the sterling cohort of young leaders who are ready to take on the many challenges of the years that lie before us all. 

This quote relates a bit to the responsibilities of the future A.D., and to Kathleen's statement:

SALSTEIN Did you ever do “Fancy Free?”

[JUSTIN] PECK I always want to do “Fancy Free.” I ask to do it, and they won’t let me do it.

Who are they? You’re on the interim team — just cast yourself. Are you applying for Peter Martins’s job?

PECK No. I’m not. [Laughs] I wouldn’t get to focus on the creative things I want to focus on if I were to do that. But I hope to be involved with who that is or what the setup is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/arts/dance/a-ballet-crowd-bustin-out-all-over-carousel.html

Edited by pherank

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10 hours ago, California said:

Damian Woetzel is 51, which might be about right for taking this on. In earlier discussions, we all dismissed him outright. But the very long delay in getting this search moving is interesting. He might do his dean thing for a year and then move on to NYCB. Pure speculation, of course, but the timing delay is intriguing

I too have wondered if the delay could have to do with giving Woetzel time to deal with the Juilliard situation. Pure speculation, as you say. He may have hoped that by spending a few years leading Juilliard he’d be perfectly positioned to take over NYCB if Martins retired in, say, 5 years.

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On ‎8‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 12:20 PM, Amy Reusch said:

The Paris Opera ballet model should be examined for its strengths and weaknesses... it produces wonderful dancers... how many Balanchines has it produced in the last 100 years? 

There has always been a thirst for novelty at the main company, which is why so many works from the past have lapsed into obscurity. (Arguably, the school does a better job of reviving works from the distant past in its annual school performances than the company does during its seasons.) The gradual drift toward the contemporary over the last 45 years has compounded this problem by reducing opportunities for true classical choreographers to find work at the Opera.

In any event, the Opera separates 'Director of Dance' and 'Director of the School' into two distinct positions; neither of whom have authority over the other. (You can be sure no one was telling Claude Bessy what to do at the school during her tenure as the school's head; a tenure which, not coincidentally produced 'Generation Nureyev'.) This can be a good thing as the school can act as a firewall against a new director coming in and trying to make radical changes to the French style (not naming any names . . . )

As for a potential Ethan Steifel candidacy -- why would he want it when the top prize at ABT is within reach? A Steifel regime at ABT would see him at the top with Sascha Radetsky as his second-in-command and consigliere and Gillian Murphy replacing Kolpakova as ballet mistress to the top ballerinas. With Marcelo Gomes out of the picture, the only other plausible scenario I can see is for the Julie Kent-Victor Barbee duo to return to ABT. (I discount Ratmansky because I don't think he's interested in running a company again.)

Edited by miliosr

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I wasn't only referring to young people ready to step into leadership roles in dance: there are young leaders emerging everywhere and it's a wonderful thing.

The list of people who lead arts organizations in their younger decades is long and distinguished. For instance, Diaghilev was in his very early 30s when he founded the Ballets Russes. Ninette de Valois founded what eventually became the Royal Ballet in her early 30s as well. 

Granted, they were creating new companies practically from whole cloth, which is a different sort of challenge from taking over an established company, but still. 

For a current example of that, we have 35 year old Michael Novak, who has been designated Paul Taylor's successor by Taylor himself. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Barbara said:

Has anyone mentioned Philip Neal as a possibility? (It maybe up thread) I heard him interviewed on Conversations on Dance and he was very interesting and passionate about passing on his expertise and growing the "next generation"  but he also did sound very happy where he was. Also I'm not sure of his age.

https://www.strazcenter.org/Next-Generation-Ballet

I haven't seen him mentioned up thread, but with his experience and his enthusiasm for mentoring, he would make for an interesting candidate. I would be interested to hear what others think. BTW, I believe he is 50.

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4 hours ago, miliosr said:

As for a potential Ethan Steifel candidacy -- why would he want it when the top prize at ABT is within reach? A Steifel regime at ABT would see him at the top with Sascha Radetsky as his second-in-command and consigliere and Gillian Murphy replacing Kolpakova as ballet mistress to the top ballerinas. With Marcelo Gomes out of the picture, the only other plausible scenario I can see is for the Julie Kent-Victor Barbee duo to return to ABT. (I discount Ratmansky because I don't think he's interested in running a company again.)

I suspect Angel Corella is also eyeing that ABT position... not sure if he would be a rival or not.

Edited by Amy Reusch
To be clearer which position I had meant

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I hope the Board is smart enough to see what Corella, whose ties to NYCB are extremely limited, has done with the Balanchine rep since he took over Pennsylvania Ballet, and they take a pass if he is interested.

The AD-ship of ABT is more up his alley.

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I have no evidence to support this - but I think the board would love to hire a woman.  Of course a lot depends upon who actually applies. Lordes Lopez might be perfectly happy in Miami. Fact is that men try for positions of leadership more frequently that women but how about: Jennifer Ringer, Coleen Neary, Kyra Nichols, Judy Fugate - I'm sure there are others. Are there people who are being encouraged to apply? I'm not sure Woetzel would be the best choice - might be too experimental. 

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Helene, I think Amy Reusch meant that Corella would be competing with Stiefel for the ABT job, not NYCB. I cannot imagine that NYCB would consider Corella at all. (Not sure ABT should either, given his tenure so far at Pa Ballet, but that’s another thread.)

As for NYCB hiring a woman, do any of the ladies vipa mentioned have notable leadership experience? I wonder if Rebecca Krohn is applying. The longer the delay, the more leadership experience she gets. 

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It seems to me that the position, in some respects, is almost written for Woetzel. I believe that he  has a rich background of innovation through Vail and even now Julliard.  He appears to have the trust of artists and the skill in developing creators of the art, which appears to be so much a part of NYCB's identity.  I see them buying out his Julliard contract and him stepping in. 

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I am not nearly as familiar as some others here are, with the possible candidates to succeed Martins. But does anyone else have the qualifications that Woetzel does, with experience in dancing, curating/commissioning, and  leadership at a high level (eg, head of a large, multifaceted arts organization)? As to him being too experimental, I say this not knowing much about what he was doing in Vail (or elsewhere??) but maybe he felt experimentation was what was needed there, rather than focusing on ballet and or Balanchine, and thereby duplicating what was presumably going on at NYCB. In other words, I wouldn’t necessarily take his experimentation in Vail as his only true interest. But again, I may not be fully informed. 

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In this interview with Rebecca Ferraro and Michael Breeden, Woetzel talks about how he came to Vail as a dancer before he became director, and about how he didn't want it to be a place where everyone showed up with the same pas de deux or variation that they did at every gala, but (my interpretation) rather as a place for off-season growth, a creative way to recharge the batteries through collaborations with people they wouldn't get to work with normally.  He's never said anything I've ever heard to suggest that this was a model for a year-round company, major or minor.

https://conversationsondancepod.com/2018/08/09/damian-woetzel-claudia-schreier/

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17 hours ago, pherank said:

This quote relates a bit to the responsibilities of the future A.D., and to Kathleen's statement:

SALSTEIN Did you ever do “Fancy Free?”

[JUSTIN] PECK I always want to do “Fancy Free.” I ask to do it, and they won’t let me do it.

Who are they? You’re on the interim team — just cast yourself. Are you applying for Peter Martins’s job?

PECK No. I’m not. [Laughs] I wouldn’t get to focus on the creative things I want to focus on if I were to do that. But I hope to be involved with who that is or what the setup is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/arts/dance/a-ballet-crowd-bustin-out-all-over-carousel.html

This exchange struck me too.

I wonder who "they" are in the "they won’t let me do it" remark by Peck. The others on the interim team? Since he is the only one still performing on the interim team, I wonder how his casting gets decided, not to mention anyone else. (A rhetorical question....)

Also interesting is the fact that Peck "hopes" to be involved with choosing the next leader and deciding on what that job description will be, as opposed to already being involved or knowing that his opinion will be sought. I wonder if the rest of the interim team is also in the dark. Shouldn't the interim team be part of that decision-making process?

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I think Woetzel is a terrific candidate, but this is an issue of bad timing. I'd be stunned if he accepted the leadership at NYCB and left Julliard after only one year. Regardless of what type of contract he has with Julliard, say it's only for one year, would they really be cool if he left after that? (Unless his term is disastrous, which I highly doubt would be, and they chose not to renew his contract.) Or, worse, if he broke his contract?

From all of the names I can come up, which isn't as many nor as well-informed as what others have thought of, he seems to be the most qualified to lead NYCB. But, he strikes me as a very intelligent person and I can't imagine he'd want to burn bridges with Julliard. I can't think of a way for this to happen without doing so. Granted, I'm not privy to a lot of information behind the scenes (nor are most of us), but still. If the need for a successor had happened a year or two earlier, it would be a no-brainer I think.

Steifel is better suited to lead ABT someday, but I think that day is far in the future (I don't think McKenzie is going anywhere anytime soon).

Edited by ABT Fan
Darn typos

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12 hours ago, cobweb said:

I am not nearly as familiar as some others here are, with the possible candidates to succeed Martins. But does anyone else have the qualifications that Woetzel does, with experience in dancing, curating/commissioning, and  leadership at a high level (eg, head of a large, multifaceted arts organization)? 

Lourdes Lopez and Peter Boal certainly have as much experience as Woetzel (if not more) as far as dancing and curating / commissioning go. Both also have experience running a ballet company day-in-and-day-out (Miami City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, respectively), which Woetzel does not have. Notably, both also lead ballet companies with affiliated schools. 

Being the President of an academic institution — even one focussed on the arts — isn't quite the same thing as being the AD of a performing arts organization, though it certainly suggests that one has some administrative / organizational chops and hopefully some fund-raising mojo. 

It may be hasty to assume that Woetzel is even interested in leaving Juilliard to take on NYCB's AD position. Juilliard is a very prestigious institution with a whopping billion dollar endowment. It has tremendous influence in the arts world (and "world" is literal: it is known everywhere). And it pays well: its previous President, Joseph Polisi, was paid about $2 million in the fiscal year ending 6/30/16. I'm not saying Woetzel is in it for the money (and he's probably not being paid $2 million this early in his tenure), but financial security is not nothing. (Martins' annual take from NYCB and SAB was about $1 million; I assume the new AD will be paid somewhat less.)

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15 hours ago, vipa said:

I have no evidence to support this - but I think the board would love to hire a woman.  Of course a lot depends upon who actually applies. Lordes Lopez might be perfectly happy in Miami. Fact is that men try for positions of leadership more frequently that women but how about: Jennifer Ringer, Coleen Neary, Kyra Nichols, Judy Fugate - I'm sure there are others. Are there people who are being encouraged to apply? I'm not sure Woetzel would be the best choice - might be too experimental. 

I had the impression that Lopez would be interested, and her age might actually be a Good Thing - she could be expected to run the company for about 10-15 years, a respectable length of time to guide the company through a rough period. Nichols would seem to be a good choice.

Woetzel - there would be a nice irony in there somewhere  – the former maîtresse-en-titre of the old boss man and symbol of the “bad old days” returning to the company as wife of the new boss man.

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