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

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2 minutes ago, Rick said:

... “I was a dancer without a job, and I felt as homeless as any bag lady.”

Did Balanchine really destroy Farrell's career as Steichen seems to imply? Didn't she afterwards dance with Bejart for several years, then come back to City Ballet where she originated roles in Mozartiana and Davidsbundlertanze?

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3 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

Did Balanchine really destroy Farrell's career as Steichen seems to imply? Didn't she afterwards dance with Bejart for several years, then come back to City Ballet where she originated roles in Mozartiana and Davidsbundlertanze?

Destroyed overall, perhaps no.

But it doesn't negate the fact he tried to, simply because she married someone who wasn't him.

 

The fact she was able to find other, lesser, work, doesn't change the fact his behavior towards her was wrong.

 

 

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The question is really whether having to go to Bejart ruined her career, because accepting Farrell back to NYCB and resurrecting her career was entirely Balanchine's decision, which reinforces Steichen's assertion of control.  And, only National Ballet of Canada -- guest stint -- was willing to hire her of all the companies in North America; the Balanchine and/or neo-classical companies in the US treated her as radioactive.

While her years at Bejart were much mourned, it's arguable that having to dance for Bejart=career killer is a very NYCB- and US-centric argument.  On the other hand, one could argue that it was a crying shame that someone who was trained as a cardiac surgeon was doing the equivalent of appendectomies.  Not that the latter isn't important/critical, but that it doesn't require the same specialization.

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Regarding the Steichen...I wish I had known about Holly Howard when we had a thread/discussion going back and forth about just how courtly, romantic, and idealizing Balanchine’s relations to women really were....

Edited by Drew

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Farrell's return certainly disrupted the careers of other dancers,  who had been performing her former roles in her absence,  and now found themselves second cast.  Peter Martins became her partner instead of Kay Mazzo's.  Balanchine resumed favoring her over others.  Not everyone was happy about her return.

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3 hours ago, Helene said:

Her case against NYCB and SAB is about creating an environment in which bad behavior was tolerated and incubated, and the specific situation was one of a number of predictable results, some of the others being described in the complaint.   

What I am curious about is if Ms. Waterbury knew about these things happening prior to engaging in a relationship with Finlay. #7 in the complaint could go either way.

Not that it would make the alleged infractions any less severe and if corroborated, the accused men should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

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Balanchine later apologized to Farrell, as she relates in her book, although by that point there were no hard feelings and she felt he had nothing to apologize for.

 After her marriage, Farrell continued to be cast in her accustomed roles. She did have to teach some of her parts to understudies, which she had never had to do before. Wiser heads tried to talk Farrell out of tendering her resignation, but she went ahead. (Not for the last time, she overestimated her clout with the boss.) She may also have felt pressure to stand by her husband and I’m guessing some of it came from Mejia.

 By all accounts Farrell benefited from her time with Bejart, but she would also have matured as a dancer and performer with NYCB. Overall she lost, Balanchine lost, the art form lost during those years, but fortunately they were able to make up for lost time artistically when she returned.

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 Not everyone was happy about her return.

 True, On Pointe, but she returned at a time when the company really needed her even if some individuals weren’t so happy. (“Suzanne's coming back is the best thing that's happened to us since she left” – Delia Peters.) Of course Balanchine would want to see Farrell and not Mazzo in “Diamonds.” That’s not favoritism, that’s doing what’s best for the ballet, even at the cost of hurt feelings.

 Re: Steichen's post. Balanchine accepted Kent back to the company time and again in spite of interruptions and issues with weight fluctuations that he might not have tolerated in a less favored dancer. She remained on the payroll even when she hardly danced at all, and the money was cut off as soon as Balanchine was no longer compos mentis. And why would he want a artist as greatly gifted as Kent to spend her time changing diapers and waiting for Bert to get home from his latest infidelity? Until recently it was  a challenge for any ballerina to have children and continue dancing until late in their careers -- if then (it’s still not easy).

 By and large Balanchine seems to have been a more than decent boss by the standards of the day in ballet companies, particularly when you consider the unique power he wielded. That said, he was human and not beyond criticism.

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18 minutes ago, dirac said:

And why would he want a artist as greatly gifted as Kent to spend her time changing diapers and waiting for Bert to get home from his latest infidelity? Until recently it was  a challenge for any ballerina to have children and continue dancing until late in their careers -- if then (it’s still not easy).

I know nothing about Kent, but this strikes me as exactly the problem we are talking about.  It’s not what Balanchine wanted, but what Kent wanted that should have mattered when it came to her personal life.  And I think we have ample evidence now that dancers can have children and remain outstanding dancers and that Balanchine’s dislike of this was prejudice on his part - a prejudice that may have been tolerated in his day, but that should be acknowledged today for what it is.

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In her book, Kent states that she was financially ruined due to her husband's drug addiction, and that Balanchine knew it and graciously kept offering her roles to help her out financially. I remember her mentioning how everyone thought she was so creative and avant garde to be wearing safety pins as earrings (and necklaces, I think), but the truth was that she no longer had any jewelry so she was making do. 

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Kent also says she danced wildly some nights and was surprised Balanchine let her go on. So he did give her some freedom within the company. 

Joan Brady, who was at the school in 1959 with Gloria Govrin, Patricia McBride and Carol Sumner just ahead of her, says,

Quote

... finding someone to look after a baby during rehearsals and the inhospitable hours of performances is practically impossible. Both Allegra Kent and Melissa Hayden had babies while a student at the American School. Each took class until a couple of weeks before the birth; each was back in class a  couple of weeks afterwards, and each continued performing with only the most minimal of  leaves.

As far as the relation of the school and the company, Brady says that 

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There were members of the New York City Ballet in it [the professional class] every day. Melissa Hayden and Eddie Villella took it regularly, Allegra Kent sometimes, Diana Adams and Eric Bruhn very occasionally; Jacques d'Amboise took it often and Violette Verdy, whom I'd first seen in San Francisco [in Christensen's class] four years before took it as did many of the lesser soloists. It was exciting just breathe the air and to be part of it (at least at first, before the novelty wore off) ...

And I thought this was an honest description of what it was like to be in the School at the time.

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While Balanchine did not often teach, his presence pervaded the school. There was no aspect of our lives that we did not revise in light of what we took to be his views. … we questioned nothing because he told us not to analyse when he taught us; we knew hardly anything about each other’s lives because he was interested in us as dancers, not as people, and where his interest in us left off, ours in each other did too. We were, or felt ourselves to be precisely what one of his principals once said of herself and his other dancers – ‘chosen creatures’ – and we were proud of it. Such slavishness was as demeaning outside the classroom as it was, perhaps, inevitable. Inside the classroom it was both a necessity and a privilege.

The Unmaking of a Dancer

You could also say this focus was not that different from being a dancer downtown, living on cans of spaghetti and in a cold water flat, or an artist in SoHo in the seventies and submitting yourself somewhat masochistically to the criticisms of other artists and to the general rigors of being a minimalist or second gen abstract expressionist. The past was the past – we tend to want to autocorrect for it.

 

Edited by Quiggin

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4 hours ago, Helene said:

I'll let the lawyers weigh in on what can and cannot be demanded in discovery and what NYCB and SAB can refuse to supply.

I certainly feel inadequately expert in legal matters to make any sort of analysis.  My Law & Order TV watching from the mid-1990's is not helping me today. 

Honestly I feel rather dispirited today.  After reading the amended complaint, the detail about a PNB dancer (then an SAB student) victimized, the news coming out of the US Senate for the current candidate for the Supreme Court, and the manner in which alleged victims of Peter Martins were treated by the "investigator / interrogator", I have a rather low opinion of how boys are raised in my country, how we shape them into men, and how we treat women who allege abuse.  

Even if the women continue to "hold up the sky" at NYCB, will much change?  Will men still have the instruments and (more important) psychology to want to exploit them?  Are the dancers who defended Peter Martins and 2 of the 3 fired danseurs complicit in the patriarchy at NYCB?   Do they owe too much of their career progression to these men to see what they have done?  

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I read it as Finlay sending a photo of Waterbury to a former SAB student/current PNB dancer, not that the former student was in the photo. 

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Geez Louise. Seems like NYCB has always been Peyton Place. Just another reason for me to hate 'em. 

Edited by Tapfan

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5 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Didn't she afterwards dance with Bejart for several years

Yes, Farrell danced with Bejart's company for four seasons and continued to make appearances with the Bejart company even after she returned to the New York City Ballet. (At one point, when the Bejart Company and City Ballet were performing in New York at the same time, she did double duty with both companies.)

 

5 hours ago, Helene said:

While her years at Bejart were much mourned, it's arguable that having to dance for Bejart=career killer is a very NYCB- and US-centric argument.

It's a very US-centric argument. Love it or hate it, the Bejart company was huge in Europe during the 1970s. Farrell herself has talked about how the company performed in large venues to enormous, enthusiastic audiences. So, being a member of the Bejart troupe at the apex of its success wasn't exactly a "career killer". Now, there's a reasoned argument to be made (and has been made) that Farrell and Maurice Bejart's highly theatrical style were a mismatch and that what was essentially a men's company (with Jorge Donn as the star male dancer) wasn't ideal for Farrell either. But that's a different argument altogether than saying she died a kind of death during her time in Europe.

3 hours ago, dirac said:

 

 By all accounts Farrell benefited from her time with Bejart

Farrell herself has said that she benefited from Bejart:

"We worked together for four years, and many of the things I learned with him I could never have learned anywhere else."

"We often performed in huge arenas with the audience surrounding us on all sides. It was great training to learn how to 'play' to them from every angle - this 360-degree awareness both enhanced and broadened how I danced."

https://www.kennedy-center.org/sfb/pages/notesarch08#bejart

Edited by miliosr

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3 hours ago, minervaave said:

I know nothing about Kent, but this strikes me as exactly the problem we are talking about.  It’s not what Balanchine wanted, but what Kent wanted that should have mattered when it came to her personal life.  And I think we have ample evidence now that dancers can have children and remain outstanding dancers and that Balanchine’s dislike of this was prejudice on his part - a prejudice that may have been tolerated in his day, but that should be acknowledged today for what it is.

There is an interesting documentary about the man Kent was married to called - Bert Stern: Original Madman. It addresses the marriage, children & Allegra's career to some extent. I believe it was made in 2011. I watched it on the NYPL free live stream service Kanopy. Sorry if this is too off topic.

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From the other coast:

https://twitter.com/MadisonKeesler/status/1042650593511129089

Quote

With everything that has been going on regarding #NYCB, I'm very happy to say that @sfballet has not taken any of this lightly. This morning our artistic director, general manager and HR had a meeting with the dancers to make sure we knew where to turn if anything was wrong..

 

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5 hours ago, miliosr said:

Yes, Farrell danced with Bejart's company for four seasons and continued to make appearances with the Bejart company even after she returned to the New York City Ballet. (At one point, when the Bejart Company and City Ballet were performing in New York at the same time, she did double duty with both companies.)

 

It's a very US-centric argument. Love it or hate it, the Bejart company was huge in Europe during the 1970s. Farrell herself has talked about how the company performed in large venues to enormous, enthusiastic audiences. So, being a member of the Bejart troupe at the apex of its success wasn't exactly a "career killer". Now, there's a reasoned argument to be made (and has been made) that Farrell and Maurice Bejart's highly theatrical style were a mismatch and that what was essentially a men's company (with Jorge Donn as the star male dancer) wasn't ideal for Farrell either. But that's a different argument altogether than saying she died a kind of death during her time in Europe.

Farrell herself has said that she benefited from Bejart:

"We worked together for four years, and many of the things I learned with him I could never have learned anywhere else."

"We often performed in huge arenas with the audience surrounding us on all sides. It was great training to learn how to 'play' to them from every angle - this 360-degree awareness both enhanced and broadened how I danced."

https://www.kennedy-center.org/sfb/pages/notesarch08#bejart

 I also recall Farrell saying that she was able to recover from a serious knee injury without surgery because Bejart's repertory was less intense than Balanchine's. She also restaged pieces by Bejart with her own company. 

All that said -   she would likely feel differently, at least privately, if she had had to spend the rest, or most, of her career with Bejart. Fortunately that didn't happen, thanks to Farrell's own initiative.

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It seems that,  as far as the mainstream media is concerned,  the NYCB story doesn't have legs (pardon the pun).  Could be because the Kavanaugh  nomination is so critical to the nation,  and fraught with drama,  that it's driven other sexual misconduct stories off the radar.  Meanwhile I've had time to go over the amended complaint and I have to ask those who genuinely believe that firing Zachary Catazaro  was justified:  why?

Catazaro did not take photos of the complainant,  apparently did not see them or share them,  and he was the previously unnamed male principal who refused to participate in Chase Finlay's sexual harassment  schemes.  His greatest sin appears to be sharing a photo of a woman's breasts where that woman's face is not visible.  That,  and a couple of texts using language that,  while crude,  can be heard on every street corner in the US.  None of this was intended to be public.  After that descriptive passage,  Catazaro is barely mentioned.  For that he loses his career?  It doesn't  seem fair or proportionate punishment to me.

If Catazaro  had been a problematic employee in the past,  it would have been known to NYCB management long before the Waterbury case.  So unless he's got a body in a fridge somewhere,  why was he fired when,  as alleged in the complaint,  dancers who were involved in domestic violence and rape were not?  I could be wrong of course,  but I predict that AGMA will recommend  he be reinstated,  with back pay.  I'm interested in hearing other views.

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What I think it is that it's interesting that there's any suggestion that AGMA needs to do anything but argue that the Company doesn't have the right to fire Catazaro because the offenses didn't happen on Company time, and that the argument has followed the path many other national arguments: 1. He didn't do anything 2. He didn't do anything on work time 3. Even if he did do something, it wasn't so bad after all.

We'll find out whether NYCB has the right to fire Catazaro and Ramasar when the arbitrator decides.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

What I think it is that it's interesting that there's any suggestion that AGMA needs to do anything but argue that the Company doesn't have the right to fire Catazaro because the offenses didn't happen on Company time, and that the argument has followed the path many other national arguments: 1. He didn't do anything 2. He didn't do anything on work time 3. Even if he did do something, it wasn't so bad after all.

We'll find out whether NYCB has the right to fire Catazaro and Ramasar when the arbitrator decides.

I left Ramasar out of the discussion because his alleged actions directly involved the photos of Ms. Waterbury .   (That doesn't  mean I necessarily  believe he should be fired because of them.)  The complaint continues to include his name after the Catazaro  material,  indicating  Merson thinks his actions are more egregious.  Finlay took himself out of it.  Considering his actions alone,  why did Catazaro deserve to be fired?

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4 hours ago, On Pointe said:

eanwhile I've had time to go over the amended complaint and I have to ask those who genuinely believe that firing Zachary Catazaro  was justified:  why?

Catazaro did not take photos of the complainant,  apparently did not see them or share them,  and he was the previously unnamed male principal who refused to participate in Chase Finlay's sexual harassment  schemes.  His greatest sin appears to be sharing a photo of a woman's breasts where that woman's face is not visible.  That,  and a couple of texts using language that,  while crude,  can be heard on every street corner in the US.  None of this was intended to be public.  After that descriptive passage,  Catazaro is barely mentioned.  For that he loses his career?  It doesn't  seem fair or proportionate punishment to me.

If Catazaro  had been a problematic employee in the past,  it would have been known to NYCB management long before the Waterbury case.  So unless he's got a body in a fridge somewhere,  why was he fired when,  as alleged in the complaint,  dancers who were involved in domestic violence and rape were not?  I could be wrong of course,  but I predict that AGMA will recommend  he be reinstated,  with back pay.  I'm interested in hearing other views.

Thanks for this concise summary On Pointe. I also question whether this is justification to fire Catazaro. If you have the time and energy to provide an equally clear summary of the charges against Ramasar, I would be interested to hear it. 

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I am of the view that a company is entitled to terminate employees if their behavior damages the company's reputation, even if that behavior took place off site and off hours.

I have no idea whether that sort of condition is written into NYCB contracts, but it's certainly been included in some of mine.

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5 hours ago, On Pointe said:

It seems that,  as far as the mainstream media is concerned,  the NYCB story doesn't have legs (pardon the pun).  Could be because the Kavanaugh  nomination is so critical to the nation,  and fraught with drama,  that it's driven other sexual misconduct stories off the rada

I think that it's dropped off the radar largely because nothing new has happened since the amended complaint was filed. The NYT stories on the opening Jewels and the new work Kyle Abraham is choreographing have both alluded to the current situation. 

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22 hours ago, cobweb said:

Thanks for this concise summary On Pointe. I also question whether this is justification to fire Catazaro. If you have the time and energy to provide an equally clear summary of the charges against Ramasar, I would be interested to hear it. 

The sections of the complaint dealing with Ramasar are written in such a sloppy,  ungrammatical fashion that it's difficult to figure out who did what to whom,  allegedly.  At one point,  the complaint seems to allege that Catazaro and Ramasar were actually filming Ms. Waterbury  performing sexual acts,  which they are not accused of doing.  Ramasar definitely does ask Finlay for photos and videos.  But the only person who mentions Ms. Waterbury by name (as "Alex") is Craig Hall.  Considering all that this Craig Hall is alleged to have texted and done,  more than Ramasar,  far more than Catazaro,  it's curious that he is not named as a defendant.  Ramasar seems to have sent photos of only one woman,  who is possibly a willing participant.

22 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I am of the view that a company is entitled to terminate employees if their behavior damages the company's reputation, even if that behavior took place off site and off hours.

I have no idea whether that sort of condition is written into NYCB contracts, but it's certainly been included in some of mine.

Most of the claims against the defendants are ridiculous and will certainly be thrown out - like but for the existence of NYCB and SAB,  Ms. Waterbury  would not have met Chase Finlay,  therefore the company and school owe her damages.  But it's as if the lawsuit itself is an act of revenge,  no matter what the outcome.

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21 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

The sections of the complaint dealing with Ramasar are written in such a sloppy,  ungrammatical fashion that it's difficult to figure out who did what to whom,  allegedly.  At one point,  the complaint seems to allege that Catazaro and Ramasar were actually filming Ms. Waterbury  performing sexual acts,  which they are not accused of doing. 

The amended complaint was actually corrected again after it was filed, you can see this in the database. The first complaint was also corrected after it was filed.

Catazaro was removed from this part you are referencing above. I agree, very sloppily written and a mockery of the legal system quite frankly.

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