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January 02, 2018

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Martins is not without fault certainly. But the list of people they are considering? A disgrace.

I was hoping for Farrell to come back as an interim advisor or such in some capacity. She would get the Balanchine flavor back into many of the repertory.

I have a dreadful feeling that Mr. Porter is going to get the call.

I was never a fan of Wendy Whelan. Just not the look I prefer in a ballet dancer. Seems like her ego got out of control toward the end when she was taken out of Sugarplum (rightly) and bitched about it instead of accepting her age and limitations with grace. If she is named AD, I will withhold all support. As it is, J. Peck's tedious pieces have taken over the repertoire.

It’s not just Sterling. Megan Fairchild and Megan Johnson have also offered their voices, but it seems like the NYT wasn’t interested in publishing their statements until after Martins is gone. Robert Fairchild and Megan LeCrone have made public posts on social media expressing sadness over Martin’s retirement. Sara Mearns’s posted an all black image on instagram with no text. I took that to mean sadness/grief.

Pop singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton was a student at SAB also talked to the press. She skipped class regularly, but is now acting all victimized that her lack of discipline wasn’t welcome at SAB or NYCB.

More and more the allegations are being retconned to be about a “culture of intimidation” instead of actual assault or harassment that was initially reported. Incredibly disappointed in the NYT’s reporting here, especially since they’ve done so much brilliant political reporting in Trump’s first term. They’ve turned their arts pages into tabloid.

Regarding Martin’s replacement, please not Justin Peck or Millepied. Millepied will bleed the company dry. His stint at POB should be disqualifying. Justin Peck is just plainly not good enough, despite whatever media support for him. I’m fine with Whelan, but she seems estranged from the NYCB since her retirement if I remember her documentary right. Also, she doesn’t seem too interested in teaching, which I think is an important trait in an AD who needs to develop dancers throughout the ranks. I wonder why Jon Stafford is not mentioned in the NYT article. Perhaps because he doesn’t seek the the same media spotlight unlike the other three. He seems like the best candidate. He’s a former principal dancer and current ballet master, a teacher at SAB, and he seems well liked by the company dancers. It will provide the smoothest transition in this rocky time. I have my fingers crossed that NYCB will get through this.

All good points yukionna.

It seems that when the claims hit the news, the current dancers were told not to comment (understandably, even though a couple of dancers unhappy with their careers did so anonymously) but what happened is that it all became very lopsided with the NYT only printing the spurious complaints against a director who refused to kowtow to the press over the years. They intentionally made it sound like he had no support whatsoever.

Agree about Stafford. Very professional guy, more than competent, and more widely competent and respected than Whelan.

Peck and Millepied -- what a joke. How many dancers who were working for Millepied or were being choreographed on by him did he screw? Of course we know of two famous ones: Natalie Portman and Isabella Boylston. I'll bet the folks at POB know several more.

I am very saddened at the news of Martins leaving. I hope that for NYCB's sake that none of the "celebrity" names being tossed about are even considered for the AD position. I agree with Yukionna that Jon Stafford is the best choice. As for the gossip rag that the NYT has become, I hope karma comes for them soon.

sm,

The NYT published an article this morning authoritatively stating that Justin Peck, Benjamin Millepied, and Wendy Whelan were under consideration -- whether or not that is true, we don't know and of course we can no longer trust what the NYT writes about these matters. But the most likely place that the non-arts writer got that idea was Macaulay.

Then Macaulay followed up with an article which (1) said he wasn't going to anoint anyone, (2) had the gall to caution everyone else about stating preferences, and then (3) completely misrepresented by omission the authority of the 4-person team currently in place in order to mask the fact that Jon Stafford is actually in control at this time and being assisted by the other three. The devious agenda-driven yellow journalism of the NYT never ceases to amaze.

Of course NYT moderates their comment section so my comment lambasting them for taking (and publishing) the word of a Z-list has-been celebrity over the dancers that have been under his employ for the last decade or so.

Down with the New York Times' propoganda machine.

Correction to my post: Whelan is in the faculty of Ballet Academy East. So she does teach.

True, Emily. The NYT doesn't just "moderate" the comment section, it manages it to support whatever the NYT article said while allowing inert or weak disagreements through its yellow sieve.

hi Haglund,

I'm saddened by the news too. My biggest worry is that the Balanchine legacy won't be preserved as it should be. Almost all of the presumed candidates have something "wrong" about them, and everything is wrong about Millepied. I would love to see Farrell back in some capacity but I don't think that's remotely likely to happen. I bet the dancers wish they had a vote in the selection of the next boss.

I just read Macaulay’s follow-up article. What an inconsequential piece of fluff. It’s like he’s trying to write an op-ed, except he didn’t argue for or against any ideas or opinions. Perhaps its best his opinion isn’t heard at all. He’s just fence-sitting until the future of NYCB becomes more clear and he can write as if he was able to see it all along.

Marta,

As respected as Farrell's company was, its very small operation could not be compared to NYCB's. Farrell, at age 72 and not all that mobile, would better serve the Balanchine rep as a guest coach for selected ballets. I see no reason to think that Jon Stafford would object to it.

No sooner did the news hit when Ashley Bouder put two posts on her Instagram account taken from Natalie Portman's self-serving new website about sexual harassment. Not one, but two.

Didn't take her long to stick the shiv in, did it?

Didn't Peter Martins give her a scholarship, a corps contract, promote her to principal? Gee.

I think Stafford would be a good choice, and I like Krohn for assistant somewhere.

PS - I would love to see the old Balanchine dancers back as coaches. I was never one to moan about how Martins seemed to reject them. I understood what he was after - a new look, his look. But I also missed them, and I think that now their contributions are necessary. I would love to see Farrell, Kent, Villella, and D'amboise if he is able, back as coaches. But not John Clifford!

How can they even mention Millepied with a straight face after the disaster that was POB? Or the fact that before that before that failure, he was shoving his you-know-what in any woman that would have it. When one dancer dared to step up and say "NO Hollywood! You're wrong! Natalie Portman didn't dance a 1/100 of this film", he had her virtually blacklisted in her company and it took 10 long years for her to reach the next rank. She still isn't ever cast in any of his "choreography" (for which I'm sure she is relieved, crap that it is.) Ugh the whole thing is INFURIATING!

Rose,

Even though the NYT said, "Mr. Peck is considered a candidate to succeed Mr. Martins, as is Ms. Whelan and the French choreographer Benjamin Millepied," it failed intentionally to identify WHO considered these three as candidates. How would it sound if they had written, "Our critics consider Peck, Whelan and Millepied as candidates..."? Who would listen, right? The fact is that people treat anonymous attribute as more highly credible than the NYT writers themselves.

Millepied's name is being touted by NYT because Roslyn Sulcas has never been able to get "as tight" with Ben as she prayed she could. She pulled out every excuse under the sun to defend him and his "credentials" when he went to POB and then again when he was run out of town on a rail. There is no question that Millepied would be a horrible, poor, horrible choice.

Diana,

Ashley Bouder has gone off the rail here. I could hardly stop laughing at the collage of pictures with herself and Baryshnikov right in the center.

Doesn't she know that Baryshnikov was just as brutal in the workplace as people claim Martins was and that he was just as much a womanizer? WTF is the matter with these people? We're kind of in the same territory as we were when Baryshnikov walked out on ABT nearly 30 years ago. It knocked everyone off balance for quite a while. Fortunately, Baryshnikov had made some extraordinary hires that held the company up for a long, long time. Peter Martins has left his company in incredible shape as far as talent is concerned. For that, everyone should thank him.

Somebody please explain the magic of Millepied. Despite his known shenanigans with women and his bombing at POB, he somehow managed to nab the recent gigs choreographing/staging for ABT and the JKO school, for which he produced the crapola of the fall season. How can this be?

I think it's worth printing NYCB stage manager Perry Silva's comment in the NYT:

Perry Silvey New York City 4 hours ago

A sad day for New York City Ballet. Peter Martins took a company that was in turmoiI after Balanchine’s death and turned it into a financially and organizationally stable entity, with the finest dancers and repertory in the world. He supported the ballets of Balanchine and Robbins, while encouraging new choreography. He pushed to maintain standards of excellence, while dealing with the hard realities of running a great ballet company.
I have worked very closely with him for over forty years, and I can say with assurance that Peter is not an abuser, either sexually or physically. He is instead a leader who has grown in ability and competence.
There are of course unhappy dancers or ex-dancers. Some thought they deserved a certain role they were not cast for, or believed they should be promoted but were not, or simply did not like his manner, and each of these people thinks that Mr. Martins was not fair to them. I understand their disappointments, but cannot see them as evidence of unfairness or abuse on Peter’s part.
I believe that the ongoing investigation will conclude that the vague and anonymous charges brought against him will be seen as personal grudges, and not evidence of mismanagement or abuse.
Peter Martins has been a force for good here, and the company will miss his leadership. We can only hope that his successor will be able to continue the level of excellence that Peter has always led us toward.
Thank you, Peter, for all you have done.

The gall of NYT to call out all of ballet for "body shaming" -- isn't that EXACTLY what its own Alastair Macaulay did to Jennifer Ringer?! Such f_ing hypocrisy. And he has always defended his rightness in body-shaming Ringer and Angle. Always.

Haglund,
I find it quite distressing that we are living in a time where "Hiplet" is glorified, and having standards is criminal. Is Peter wrong for having the same classical esthetic as Balanchine for his ballet's, afer all he was his mentor. Is he wrong for having women serve as muses for his work as did Balanchine? What's next, a male choreographer must always have a female staff member in the room to monitor the working relationship? How much further are we willing to take things before we destroy what little is left. We already have Ratmansky going back to 45 degree legs and romantic style tutus for Classical Ballet's. Next we will have plus sized dancers in leotard ballet's, barely touching the male, who may also be a woman, because in 2018, it's inappropriate to put anyone inside of a box. It's truly a sad day when we forget the legacy of a great leader because as always, sex sells. Shame on us all.

What a gross irony if Millepied is given the helm... a known womanizer who selects his partners from the pool of work subordinates, who has caused chaos in the personal and professional lives of woman NYC dancers already. Why on earth would he be suggested as a front runner, other than to bow to the entitlement of celebrity mediocrity? I pray the suggestion came from Alastair's fanfiction instead of actual murmurs from the board.

Pearl,

NYCB Board Vice Chair Sarah Jessica Parker and Ben's Natalie are as thick as the Hollywood letters on Mount Lee, and NYT writer Rosalyn Sulcas has never been able to write about Ben without pawing at him and serving him to the fullest extent possible. That is why his name is mentioned.

NYCB can wave goodbye to my money.

Keep in mind that the PRIMARY responsibility of any Board of Directors, and any HR dept for that matter, is to PROTECT their organization or company, and NOT the employees of their organization or company. So the second there was even a whiff that NYCB would loose a grant or endowment money, or mothers started to call and threaten to pull their little darlings out of the NYCB school and send them down BWay to ABT, Martins was out! It doesn’t matter that the charges are ‘unspecific’ or not. He is out.

Well, yes and no. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to guide the organization's future, but it isn't compelled to make decisions based on "whiffs". The longer this whole situation is examined, the more transparent and invalid the claims seem to be.

Now, according to the latest piece of embarrassing journalism at the Washington Post, after Mrs. Boal was traumatized by Martins and even had to go through therapy to deal with it, she skipped on up to Peter & Darci's house for a pool party. I mean, really... Now the WP is trying to discredit NYCB's investigation before it is even finished because the lawyer asked Mrs. Boal some really tough questions to test her story. Why didn't the WP and NYT ask those questions before they set out on their defamation crusade?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/turmoil-continues-even-after-new-york-city-ballet-chief-hands-in-resignation/2018/01/02/2d8eb7ba-efe9-11e7-97bf-bba379b809ab_story.html?utm_term=.2fd629786449

More ‘shocking’ quotes in the Times about the abusive atmosphere at the NYCB!!!!

“You’re injured, you’re out; you’re fat, next person,”
Does that mean that they actually REPLACED injured dancers with healthy ones for performances???
“Getting on the bad side of upper management, or your artistic director, is a suicide mission.”
So, pissing off the boss for whatever reason is NOT good for your career????
Haglund, these people are kidding, right? Its like they’ve confused NYCBallet with NYCNursery School.

LOL, gstavella, and on pointe!

Imagine if these people were in jobs where they had to make sales quotas and the boss determined that the customers responded better and bought more from young, thin, good looking sales people. You're out of a job. That's the real world. If you're slaving away on a production line and you suddenly get hurt, you're off the line and onto workman's comp -- just like dancers. I guess dancers think that the public should pay $150 to watch them limp around on stage when there are people in the back who could dance better.

The claim about getting tossed out for being injured doesn't jibe with the often heard complaint that NYCB required dancers to work while they were injured. I imagine that we'll hear about that soon, too.

Leave it to the Washington Post to dig up and shine light on Martins’ DUI (alcoholism) problems. Lovely work there, Sarah Kaufman! I just hope and pray that Martins and his family stand strong, whatever went on. Nobody’s perfect.

I first learned of the news here on your blog last night, I can't bear to read NYT or other biased articles/sites anymore. I also can't stand to see people commenting on dancers' Instagram posts like they know what is going on. ONLY THE CURRENT DANCERS KNOW the situation and the working environment. Until they all come forward Weinstein-style or the investigation is complete and some actual FACTS come out, I'm still devastated and fearful of the toll this will take on the company's artistic direction. I wish I had seen Sterling's or Megan's posts before they were taken down, and it's upsetting that they're not allowed to speak out and give their opinions on the situation.
Is Alina Dronova the only one who has been with the company RECENTLY who has spoken out against him or is there someone else? IDK why articles keep mentioning a dancer "still with the company"...

After months of neglecting ballet, NYT all of a sudden found the room for three articles in two days. And only to expose themselves as not doing due diligence on their reporting.

When a person was trying to make false rape accusations against Roy Moore, WaPo was quickly able to ferret out that deception by poking holes at her allegations. But now, that very same paper decries the line of questioning that Kelly Boal went through.

It's a concerted effort of defamation, and both the WP & NYT sincerely believe that they are clever enough to get away with it. They have repeatedly published what they know is untrue or unsubstantiated. If they can get anyone (student, uninformed dancer, anonymous source, people with clear agendas to hurt NYCB and/or Peter Martins) to say anything close to what they previously decided that they want to write, then they believe that they have the green light to publish it.

Hopefully, NYCB's and Peter Martins' lawyers are seriously considering a defamation suit against the newspapers and the writers individually. It could amount to easy money for them.

Successfully winning a defamation or libel lawsuit is nearly impossible for public figures. Because of NYT v. Sullivan, the plaintiff would need to meet an extremely high burden of proof to show malice on the part of the press. Unfortunately, Martins has no legal recourse here.

Thanks, yukionna. That's a shame, because the malice is clear to those of us knowledgeable about the environment and situation. The WP and NYT are certainly acting recklessly and unprofessionally.

Sarah Kaufman is reinforcing unfortunate stereotypes in her writing that now sounds like it's coming from an angry scornful woman.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

That’s what this is and it’s disgraceful.

It sure is. Thanks, yukionna.

Haglund, I'm not sure if you're aware. Ashley Bouder did post that pic with Baryshnikov in the center, but she had no control over which photos are in the collage; it's created with an app, top nine, I believe it's called. The app chooses the top nine instagram photos of the year according to the number of "likes." But I hear you on the rest. I was around in the 80s and witnessed much. Happy New Year!

Laurel, well, before the app created that collage, she should have removed the pic of her with her hands draped around Baryshnikov's neck, which was posted on her 'gram account on Oct. 2. Not being a 'grammer, I don't know how to do this, but I'm sure you can.

Bouder thinks she can have her cake and eat it too and that somehow Balanchine is going to come out of this with his reputation intact. "Ballet is woman," she was quoting, a year ago, in the wake of the Trump debacle, completely misreading the context. Balanchine meant that in a very, well, patriarchal way.

I can see a day when the sensitivity crowd goes through the entire Balanchine repertory and throws out anything that gives them a micro-aggression. That's the crowd Ashley Bouder is now hanging out with.


Diana, I think that it's Ashley's business what she posts on her instagram account. And I wouldn't begin to presume what lives inside her head and heart. Of course, one doesn't have to like or agree with it.

I was curious about the ballet is woman statement that Ashley made in the wake of the Trump debacle. Not sure what you're insinuating, however, I did find an article where she did say that. But, she was talking about the plethora of male choreographers in relation to the paucity of female choreographers and the irony of that statement.

https://newyorkrag.com/2017/03/21/the-ashley-bouder-project-women-in-dance-taking-the-lead/

I don't see how that defames Mr. Balanchine in any way unless there's some other situation that you're referring to.

Laurel,

I am not telling Ashley Bouder what to put on her Instagram account. It's her right and privilege as an American to express her opinions. If I don't like them, I don't have to read her Instagram account. I stopped looking at her account because the increasing extremeness of her political opinions, juxtaposed with near constant pictures of her daughter, didn't interest me. But I was curious about whether she would express anything about Martins' resignation, so I checked it out.

Once you put something out there, it is fair game for others to call out inconsistencies. Haglund pointed out something that had not occurred to me - that she put up a gushing photo of her and Baryshnikov, with her hands draped around his neck, which appeared in the year-end collage. You're right that the central placing of this photo in the collage is an artifact of the app, but if she didn't want it to appear in the collage, could she not have removed the photo from the account? If you can't remove the photo, then why put up the collage?

In any case none of this contravenes the basic fact - she gushes publicly over her meeting with a man who was famous for brutal temper tantrums, "fat-shaming," and putting the make on every ballerina he possibly could, and gloats over the resignation of the man who made her career possible? What on earth?

I am not insinuating that Ashley Bouder doesn't understand what Balanchine meant when he said "Ballet is Woman." I am stating it boldly.

After Trump was elected (that's what I mean by the Trump debacle, I thought that was obvious) Bouder was the go to girl about ballet sexism. Around that time, on her Instagram account she quoted the famous Balanchine saying. She was using it as a feminist war cry.

I had to laugh. Balanchine never meant that as liberating or empowering women in any way. He meant it in the most old-fashioned, 19th century, woman on the pedestal way. Look up the quote yourself, it's in any standard bio of Balanchine. Paraphrasing from my rapidly aging memory, and he said it many times, not just one, "Look at the world, everywhere men rule. In politics it's Eisenhower, in baseball, it's Mickey Mantle. But in ballet the woman is the focus, with man her cavalier." (Obviously that's from the 1950s.)

I should think it is obvious that such a sentiment is not compatible with the tenets of modern feminism.

There are many other things I could say about Ms. Bouder and her Instagram account, but I will leave it at that. She has the right to say anything. I have the right to call bullshit.

What about William Forsyte for Ballet Master? I do wish NYCB would revive his "Behind the China Dogs" ...

Hi Kenneth.

William Forsythe would be a curious appointment. I think most people believe that the ideal candidate would be someone with a broad, deep experience in both Balanchine and Robbins along with extraordinary knowledge in the SAB teaching method. Forsythe is as far from the NYCB tradition as Earth is from Saturn.

DARCI.

Uh-huh, like Darci. Wouldn't that be interesting, not to mention a dramatic irony. She's only 53 and has the complete skill set.

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