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Bruce Marks' School for Artistic Directors

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Did anyone notice this on the Links page? [http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/bbal04042001.htm] if you didn't...

What do you all think? Would it be a good idea? Do you think if graduates were hired that we'd have some more stable companies in this country, or is Ballet inherently a non-stable endeavor? Seems like Pacific Northwest Ballet & Houston Ballet have it pretty together... But what is going on in Boston now... not just Boston Ballet, but Dance Umbrella and Marcus Schulkind... it's as if the dance world in Boston is imploding... makes one wonder if a major patron of dance just passed away there...

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Good topic, Amy. I'm moving it to News, Views (and I fixed the title; it's Bruce Marks' school).

I think it's a very good idea to have a school for artistic directors -- in theory. In practice, I fear that it will attract those who are better at the management and, especially, the PR game than at the artistic end. The artists will usually choose the studio over the classroom.

This kind of thing is already in practice -- San Francisco Ballet has set up a training program. It is a good idea for artistic directors to know about budgets, of course, but there have been those in the past who managed to learn about them, and other aspects of administration, before they decided they were ready to direct a company. I think Marks is right that a principal dancer suddenly finds himself artistic director, but that's not necessarily the best way to do it.

I'd also quibble that Diaghilev was either the greatest director ever -- don't know who would hold that title -- or, more importantly, that he should be the model. I think one of the problem has been that, since 1929, people have been modeling themselves on Diaghlev. He did not direct an institution. He directed a small, personal company. The two are not the same and what works for Diaghilev would not work for New York City Ballet, or ABT. I think much of DeValois's genius was that she saw that. If you want it to last, you don't look to Diaghilev. You look to the Maryinsky.

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Did anyone else notice that Anna-Marie Holmes isn't mentioned in the article - it's as though her 4 years as artistic director never happened. It is also my understanding that Marks left the company with a considerable deficit - so how come he's such an expert? I think he was featured because the current BB management had first ascertained his views on the current situation in Boston, and having gained his approval for the appointment of McPhee, Marks was "featured" in the article.

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