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Finlay Resigns, Catazaro and Ramasar Suspended -- Update: Catazaro and Ramasar Fired

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Found this article from 2011, which notes that the company was in the process of developing a social media policy.  The article gives some examples of things that the company wouldn't want dancers to do.

NCYB social media policy from WSJ 2011

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1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Pandora's box is is just in full blown shaking state. I can't imagine what's to come......

Precisely. It seems degrading to hold people accountable for personal interactions unless there's criminal liability. People need to be allowed to have personal lives, but clearly companies are only looking out for their own reputation in this climate.

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4 hours ago, abatt said:

Unfortunately, NYCB is becoming equally known for its dysfunctional internal upheavals and disputes as for its stellar dancers and rep.  It's starting to get embarrassing, and I can't imagine that this is good for business.

Yes, Martins did resign abruptly --  after a long and stable, if at times controversial, tenure. Many companies can’t say anything like as much. My understanding is that the interim leadership are managing affairs fairly smoothly, all things considered.  Even this incident may not lead to any publicity beyond the Times article. There was a complaint, the company investigated, this was the result. It could well end here.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

There was a complaint, the company investigated, this was the result. It could well end here.

Yes, so far, based on available info about this occurrence, I don’t see evidence of anything “dysfunctional” about the organization. It seems that there’s a protocol in place for situations such as this, and it was carried out fairly smoothly.

Obviously, there’s a lot we don’t know, and some of that may suggest otherwise, but — well, we don’t know that.

Edited by nanushka

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It's not only the current debacle and the Peter Martins debacle that give the public an overall negative vibe about the company. It's also the public split of Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild, with R. Fairchild departing the company soon thereafter.   Also, Megan Fairchild has given interviews recounting her split with Veyette and the fact that they don't speak. All of this publicly reported negativity becomes a cumulative fatigue of infighting and dysfunction swirling around NYCB.  

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Hmm I guess in my mind those various things just don’t connect in that way. The breakups (and leaving to pursue a different type of career? really?) don’t seem like NYCB things. They seem like Fairchild/Peck and Fairchild/Veyette things. They don’t reflect on the company at all really, for me personally.

Unamicable breakups are so very common. I don’t see institutional dysfunction there.

I doubt much of the general (ie non-BA type) public is connecting those dots either. Just my sense, though.

Edited by nanushka

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But things like that do impact audience enjoyment.  When Megan F. had to dance with Andy once or twice following the breakup, some audience members were just as focused on reading their expressions and interactions as they were on the choreography.  Also, following the split long ago of Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz, people focused on their interactions and Peck's "coolness"  toward DeLuz in their performances together following the split.  (All is now forgiven, and they now appear to be friends.)   These issues do impact performances, performers and audiences.  Maybe only the balletomanes focus on such matters, but I'm not sure.

Edited by abatt

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I respectfully disagree about the company appearing dysfunctional. On the contrary, what stands out to me is how well they are doing. They have come through the Martins difficulty with great spirit, and dancing beautifully. I feel there is a strong internal positive dynamic at that company. Sure, they must haver their rivalries but they are lifting each up. And oh, what a deep bench! Granted, there are some issues among the male soloists and principals but the corps is rip roaring. I expect Joseph Gordon to move into principal rank soon, and some promotions to the soloist ranks. Dysfunctional is when you can’t function through difficulties. They are doing much more than just functioning. I think a lot of theevents this year are related to the political climate and the increased exposure broight about by social media. A couple of divorces? Come on. It’s a ballet company.   Here’s a controversial statment: the Balanchine/Farrell relationship was dysfunctional. 

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Some impact, in the eyes of some (those relatively few who are aware, and are even thinking about dancers' offstage interpersonal dynamics as they watch performances)? Sure.

An "embarrassing" degree of "dysfunction" and "upheaval" (and enough to significantly affect business)? Not in my opinion.

Edited by nanushka

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6 minutes ago, Olga said:

I  Here’s a controversial statment: the Balanchine/Farrell relationship was dysfunctional. 

It was definitely dysfunctional.  (Before my time as a ballet goer).

Edited by abatt

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Yes. And the company has a long way to go to reach that level of dysfunction. Of course, there was a flip side to it, except during the time it all came crashing down.

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4 hours ago, mom2 said:

Found this article from 2011, which notes that the company was in the process of developing a social media policy.  The article gives some examples of things that the company wouldn't want dancers to do.

NCYB social media policy from WSJ 2011

This is an interesting article (also from 2011) on development of social medial policy in the arts (including Alberda/NYCB). https://www.danceusa.org/ejournal/2011/03/22/social-media-and-the-arts-the-unbearable-nuance-of-140-characters  

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If we decided that companies are dysfunctional because non-bosses' relationships break up, that's just about every company everywhere.  

I think it's generally healthy when organizations don't police relationships between consenting adults, unless there is a reporting relationship or inappropriate workplace behavior, and most relationships end with a break up.

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1 hour ago, Olga said:

I respectfully disagree about the company appearing dysfunctional. On the contrary, what stands out to me is how well they are doing. They have come through the Martins difficulty with great spirit, and dancing beautifully. I feel there is a strong internal positive dynamic at that company. Sure, they must haver their rivalries but they are lifting each up. And oh, what a deep bench! Granted, there are some issues among the male soloists and principals but the corps is rip roaring. I expect Joseph Gordon to move into principal rank soon, and some promotions to the soloist ranks. Dysfunctional is when you can’t function through difficulties. They are doing much more than just functioning. I think a lot of theevents this year are related to the political climate and the increased exposure broight about by social media. A couple of divorces? Come on. It’s a ballet company.   Here’s a controversial statment: the Balanchine/Farrell relationship was dysfunctional. 

The question is: who is defining 'functional' and 'dysfunctional'?
Was the Balanchine/Farrell relationship similar to many others of its time? Probably. Couldn't it still be dysfunctional? Absolutely, or, it could be defined as a fairly typical, 'normal' relationship of the era - it all depends on viewpoint and the social 'norms' being applied. And social norms change constantly.

IS NYCB more dysfunctional than other ballet companies? Or is it simply a larger version of an environment that is typical throughout companies of the stage arts world?
There's also the issue of what is acceptable in a particular culture - the things dancers must put up with at the Bolshoi are not necessarily the same as what dancers experience at the Royal Ballet in London. And the rules of good and bad behavior can be different.

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5 hours ago, Olga said:

I respectfully disagree about the company appearing dysfunctional. On the contrary, what stands out to me is how well they are doing. They have come through the Martins difficulty with great spirit, and dancing beautifully. I feel there is a strong internal positive dynamic at that company. Sure, they must haver their rivalries but they are lifting each up. And oh, what a deep bench! Granted, there are some issues among the male soloists and principals but the corps is rip roaring. I expect Joseph Gordon to move into principal rank soon, and some promotions to the soloist ranks. Dysfunctional is when you can’t function through difficulties. They are doing much more than just functioning. I think a lot of theevents this year are related to the political climate and the increased exposure broight about by social media. A couple of divorces? Come on. It’s a ballet company.   Here’s a controversial statment: the Balanchine/Farrell relationship was dysfunctional. 

I respecfully agree with Olga. I don't see any dysfunction. It's possible that if we knew all the details we'd see the current suspensions as evidence of good functioning management. If the details never come out that may also be evidence of good management. I'm sure the suspended dancers have the support/advice of their union.

What I know is that I love this company. I love the rep, I love the dancers, I want to see them perform all the time (money notwithstanding) because the artistic work is so strong. Any time you have a that many young, healthy people working together you're going to have marriages and divorces. They haven't taken a vow of celibacy. Roughly 50% of American marriages end in divorce, why would NYCB be different?

As for the past, Baryshnikov and Kirkland's affair certainly blew up and that didn't seem to hurt ticket sales. And I agree, the Balanchine/Farrell situation (I won't call it a relationship because of the power imbalance) was dysfunctional (aside from the ballets), and I'm sure that it is not the only time that sort of thing has occurred in or out of ballet. Many people write about morale at NYCB being low in the 60's as Balanchine focused on Farrell (a contingent of older ballerinas including Pat Wilde, Violette Verdy and Maria Tallchief left the company at that time. Allegra Kent and Merrill Ashley also mention it in their memoirs). In an video interview after the fact Maria Tallchief says, "George lost his mind" over Farrell. To balance it out, Tallchief writes in her autobiography that she could also understand why (in a way) given Farrell's talent and willing temperament. "George wanted to teach someone younger, more malleable." My main point is that this pales in comparison, morale is good.

At the Bolshoi, wasn't a director injured (permanently disfigured or blinded) when someone threw acid in his face due to a casting dispute? THAT is dysfunction. Criminal dysfunction. Members of the church abusing children and covering it up for decades (if not centuries)? Dysfunction! 

This is just life.

Edited by BalanchineFan
typos

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One thing that may exacerbate the overall feeling of a dysfunctional company is the use of social media by many dancers, with the intention of building a fan base and showing that "dancers are people too." I'm not saying this is wrong to do, just that it carries risks. The most extreme example is the T. Peck/R. Fairchild engagement and marriage. This was not a simple announcement or something known only by diehard fans, it was all over the place. So when the marriage ended it was a big deal. Lauren Lovette's engagement to Finley was on social media. Bouder's pregnancy and now motherhood are a constant feed. Lexie Maxwell is very public on social media about her relationship with Ramasar. I'm talking public facing accounts. It's all "feel good" when things are going well, but if things take a turn for the worse with divorces, break-ups, etc. there can be problems. 

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I only have a spotty relation to dancers' social media (didn't know about Maxwell and Ramasar until reading Vipa's post or about Lovette's engagement to Finlay). I'm thinking I should cut back on what little I follow...

 

Edited by Drew
Got confused and thought I was editing when I was posting.

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1 hour ago, BalanchineFan said:

As for the past, Baryshnikov and Kirkland's affair certainly blew up and that didn't seem to hurt ticket sales.

 

In my experience, it did hurt the quality of their partnership at some performances though not all. Did the earlier great performances together depend on the love affair? I'm not sure  what I believe about that--there were some great post-affair performances too--but in any case...I'm with Bruhn who said (paraphrasing) a great partnership should be a love affair on stage not a bad argument. (I thought the point was "on stage not off stage" and that  he might have been implying that offstage love affairs risk devolving into bad arguments on stage. But that could just be my interpretation.)

I loved and love Kirkland more than any other ballerina I have seen and she brought intense joy and more than joy to my ballet-going life. But I saw a couple performances with Baryshnikov that were, indeed, like bad arguments. (And it wasn't simply because one knew the rumors...I should think anyone watching the otherwise very beautiful Theme and Variations that was recorded can see her turn to meet his eyes at one point while he coolly and seemingly deliberately looks the other way. It doesn't exactly come across like two dancers who are on the same page.)  

NYCB? The last time I saw them--which was just this past spring--they were dancing spectacularly!  It testified to the company's artistic commitment and grit during a time of transition. I have faith that they can keep that up in the coming season too.  And yes, of course, it's inevitable some of the dancers are going to become involved with each other...even if I could surely wish the Kirkland/Baryshnikov partnership had gone differently.

I agree with Vipa too re the very mixed blessing of social media when it comes to sharing one's personal life.

Edited by Drew

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I agree about the use of social media being a mixed blessing. At one point I avidly followed a bunch of the NYCB dancers on Instagram, but ultimately I found it very unsatisfying. For one thing, you don’t know what’s really going on. What appears to be a beautiful relationship is actually far more complicated and/or troubled than depicted, as becomes evident in divorces and broken engagements, and even “team changing.” Also, scenes of dancers frolicking on vacation and backstage antics was really starting to dull the spell onstage. I unfollowed the whole lot of them some time ago. While it’s interesting to hear that Maxwell and Ramasar are still together, who knows what really may be going on there. 

Edited by cobweb

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4 minutes ago, cobweb said:

I agree about the use of social media being a mixed blessing. At one point I avidly followed a bunch of the NYCB dancers on Instagram, but ultimately I found it very unsatisfying.

Funny you should say that cobweb. The thing I look for in following dancers is postings of rehearsal videos. I find those fun to watch. I am getting way off topic here. Sorry.

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Rehearsal videos, yes. Vacation frolicking, no. There was a trip that several of them took a few years ago that really pushed me to unfollow. Back to the topic.... who will replace Catazaro to partner Isabella laFreniere in Diamonds?

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Who says Isabella LaFreniere is doing Diamonds? I thought it was clear those rehearsal pictures from Saratoga were preparations for a gig in Chataqua (sp).

 

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Whoops. I guess I didn’t read social media too closely!! Just hopeful?

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Sorry - it's Chautauqua. They performed it for a Patricia McBride/JP Bonnefoux performance there after Saratoga.

As well you might be cobweb. Who wouldn't want to see that?

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