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Promotions 2020


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I'm having a hard time fully understanding part of his statement:

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Two years ago I was told “we are not going to promote you because you have an attitude problem and you lack the leadership skills it takes to be a soloist” the next day my friend and colleague was promoted to soloist, they had the same talk after the fact. 

What does he mean by, "they had the same talk after the fact"? That his friend and colleague was told the same thing by management after being promoted to soloist?

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone is going to be promoted in the near future. Among other factors, management hasn't seen them dancing regularly for months now, and some dancers will weather the current circumstances better and stay in better performance-ready shape than others, for a variety of reasons. It wouldn't make much sense to give promotions based on predictions of who that will be.

Also, calling out his employer on social media for race-based discrimination in promotions — however true the charge — is probably not going to be a successful strategy.

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I was confused by that statement as well. I thought maybe he was talking about Calvin, with the implication being that the statement was directed at black male dancers in particular.  The other dancer he speaks of was obviously still promoted, though, so regardless of whether it was an appropriate statement to make, it clearly didn’t keep the other dancer from being promoted. 

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2 minutes ago, AB'sMom said:

I was confused by that statement as well. I thought maybe he was talking about Calvin, with the implication being that the statement was directed at black male dancers in particular.  The other dancer he speaks of was obviously still promoted, though, so regardless of whether it was an appropriate statement to make, it clearly didn’t keep the other dancer from being promoted. 

Yeah, I would understand if Shayer said his friend and colleague "had that same talk before the fact" yet was eventually promoted anyway.

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Did you read the poem?

I feel pretty safe in assuming he means a non-Black dancer was promoted with an “attitude problem and lack of leadership skills.” In their case these issues were addressed after the promotion. Not as an excuse to limit them.

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1 minute ago, Becki Lee said:

Did you read the poem?

I feel pretty safe in assuming he means a non-Black dancer was promoted with an “attitude problem and lack of leadership skills.” In their case these issues were addressed after the promotion. Not as an excuse to limit them.

I did read the poem and didn't interpret it as holding the key — but your reading of the preceding statement does seem like a good way to make sense of it. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

It’s hard to pin down who he is talking about because no men were promoted two years ago. If you go back three, Royal was the only male dancer promoted. This seems most likely since it was two promotions back. 

Edited by AB'sMom
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4 minutes ago, AB'sMom said:

It’s hard to pin down who he is talking about because no men were promoted two years ago. If you go back three, Royal was the only male dancer promoted. This seems most likely since it was two promotions back. 

Also, though, he doesn't seem to specify that the friend/colleague was male.

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Well the only dancers who were promoted two years ago were Hurlin, Fang and K Williams, all to soloist. So unless he really meant three years ago, he’s not talking about Royal.

I don’t think this is the way to go with him calling out ABT on his IG. And, he also exposed his friend’s conversation with management. I bet the dancers in the company can easily figure out which of the three he’s referring to. 

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I wish McKenzie would elaborate on what he means by "leadership skills."  I've never heard that as a required element for promotion to soloist.   
 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/24/2020 at 3:41 PM, Josette said:

I wish McKenzie would elaborate on what he means by "leadership skills."  I've never heard that as a required element for promotion to soloist.   
 

Maybe McKenzie means the dancer has to "set the tone" or  "be an example" for rehearsals, performance, and preparation.

Since Gabe Stone Thayer is Black (and as a Black person myself) I feel certain he's not talking about Calvin Royale III. Any non-white dancer with an attitude problem getting promoted when "attitude" is used as the reason a dancer of color is not promoted is part of the general conversation these days. Particularly among people of Stone's generation. You'd think management would at least change the language, or have a less litigation provoking kind of response.

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BalanchineFan, my heart goes out to the very talented and accomplished Gabe Stone Thayer and I can understand his frustration as to his not being promoted, added to his being injured at at time when he was moving forward with more solo opportunities.  I saw him in the audience at a performance that he was attending a few years ago in NY, and told him I hoped that he would be promoted to soloist.  You certainly could have some insight to McKenzie's curious choice of words and Thayer's expressed unhappiness. 

I think dancers in a dance company look to the principals' conduct as an example, and maybe that is "leadership skills," i.e., being dedicated, seriously single-minded and  focused, and I can think of a lot of soloists who were/are not single-minded  and focused.  I do know that if a dancer is yawning, rolling his/her eyes, checking the the clock or looking out the window during rehearsals, management will notice it and not like it, but I have no idea if anyone at ABT does that, not being personally on the scene.  

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