« Tiler Peck's Concerto for Two Pianos From soup to nuts, she gets it right. | Main | NYCB 2/6 & 2/7 The Four Temperaments & Liebeslieder Walzer »

February 07, 2024

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

And after Gelb took away those 3 weeks he reduced the Met season as well! So now the Met now just sits empty multiple weeks when it didn’t used to.

Lina, it's kind of a head scratcher -- unless the Met is using this time to prepare future productions and also cleaning up the place & making repairs. There are definitely some seats that need to be de-whiffed and carpets that need to be replaced - especially on the stairs.

Is there any money for them to show?

I agree with you Haglund. ABT had plenty of notice to find additional weeks at a different venue. But they did nothing. And they hired an Executive Director, who only stayed for six months. I am sure her salary was exorbitant . I think of these hard working artists, who lost two years of time during Covid. I don’t know whether to scream or cry.

ITA, MoMo. No excuses for not coming up with a plan to cover the losses of the reduced Met season and executing it.

The stats cited by the union are truly awful and show an utter lack of respect for the artists that are the bread and butter of this organization.

If anyone has any recommendations for how to communicate our displeasure with the board other than an email that says we won't buy Met season tickets until this is resolved, please let me know.

If they strike, it's possible there might be a GoFundMe page set up.

A little off-topic, but I was just reading an interesting chapter about how 20 years or so ago Guido Goldstein, then chair of Alvin Ailey, persuaded Joan Weill to join the board: he offered her his own position as chair. She took it and went on to raise over $100 million for the company.

No question the artists deserve more money. And the board is resposnble for a lot. They hired an Executive Director for an exhorbitant amount of money who was woefully mismatched - and the opportunity to raise the kind of money the organization needs, especially given the amount of wealth in this city, was shamefully wasted. But let's be real about something: the Met cares only about itself (and that's not a criticism) and decided to shut down the dead February weeks and extend its season into June. Yes, everyone knew about this a few years in advance. But let's get real - the company has always been at the mercy of rentable venues, and there are only three decent houses that really work: the Met, the Koch and City Center. (Forget Broadway and forget Lehman College.) Get out your calendars and figure it out. Again, the biggest failing of the board is that it has failed to bring in the kind of long-term fiscal support that the company needs and that's available.

Solor, I agree with much of what you said.

ABT needs to stay at Lincoln Center. That's where the ballet audience is comfortable and in the habit of going. When the Met yanked part of the season away, why didn't ABT lock up several weeks at the Koch Theater beginning in whatever years that were available? There just are no excuses for not making it happen.

The 2023 Area Median Income for a single person household in NYC was $98,900. How can ABT claim pride and status as "America's National Ballet Company" when it cannot even provide its employees with full time work and a bare median income?

A little less hyperbole, please. If $98,900 is the median income (the middle of a range), it's undoubtedly substantially reflective of full-year employment, which ABT is unable to provide its dancers given the logistical restrictions it's had to deal with since its founding, most notably the lack of its own NYC performing venue. There are countless professionals in NYC who work year-round who don't make that amount - probably the bulk of staff in every non-profit. That doesn't make it right, but some perspective would help in the argument that dancers are being underpaid.

No hyperbole here. A company that brags about being America's National this-or-that should be able to provide its employees with a full time job and a median salary. ABT's (and NYCB's dancers) are the equivalent of Ivy Leaguers stationed in one of the most expensive cities. ABT ridiculously expects its corps dancers to line up other work for half the year (while staying in shape) to compensate for the company's inability to employ them full time. Or worse, they expect the Moms & Dads to support the dancers in the off-season.

Entry-level Met choristers and "extras" make $85.06 per rehearsal hour and $331.90 per performance. (No, I don't know the number of guaranteed weeks.) Then there are the benefits . . .
https://www.musicalartists.org/job-listings/metropolitan-opera-2023-2024-chorus-auditions/

https://www.metopera.org/About/Auditions/Chorus/

Is this a matter of what the market will actually bear, or rather the shortcomings of the company leadership?

Is NYC currently supporting dance enough to provide 98k/yr for dancers, but the finances are simply being misallocated?

Or is NYC not supporting dance to the point where 98k/yr is available for dancers no matter what the leadership does?

Hi North Hudson.

It's neither. It's decades of mediocre management and reliance on gimmicks like the designation as "America's National ballet company" and DEI to bring in money and audience. The board of directors is supposed to bring in the big bucks and is responsible for sound strategic planning. It hasn't done either, and as a result, ABT is where it is. There is plenty of money in this city to support ABT. It's up to the board to bring it in.

ABT wasted two years on a mismatched, DEI-driven executive director when that time could have been used to raise money. But the company (like many others) is experiencing a delayed post-Covid fiscal crisis (the federal infusion of dollars is gone) plus a continuing, and perhaps accelerating trend of reduction in subscriptions as well as the sucker punch from the Met regarding scheduling. Of course it would be wonderful to have a year-round company - how about some concrete suggestions about how that can happen? (Even under the experienced hand of Michael Kaiser, the company did not make substantial inroads toward a major expansion of its performance schedule.) So, how about number of weeks in each theater and how to raise $100M to support that.? The Met had certainly been more generous in its wage scale across the board, but look how it is suffering now - including the major cuts everyone had to take a few years ago. Audiences no longer have the unlimited appetite for opera that they did in the past; why do we think they will for ballet? Perhaps the Met can slow the decline by staging new operas; but from what I've seen on the ballet side, it's much more of a gamble. I suppose the NFL - which probably is "America's National Sport" - should play 52 weeks a year, right? Personally, I think ABT has much greater challenges than substantiating calling itself "America's National Ballet Company." That's the piece of the argument I consider hyperbole.

Solor,

All fair points, and lol, I would agree that calling ABT "America's National Ballet Company" is hyperbole from A to y.

ABT needs to negotiate an extensive permanent residence at the Koch Theater. Simple as that. Perhaps even snap up every week that is not in use by NYCB. The company should stay at Lincoln Center because that's where the ballet audience comes and is most comfortable. The board needs to make it happen.

Tentative agreement reached!!

This is great news. As always, the devil is in the details. Fingers crossed for them.

Was happy to see that post negotiations they were able to promote some very well deserving gentlemen to soloist.

Indeed. Congratulations to Curley, Gonzales, and Roxander. Can't wait to see them tackle the big principal roles. A little stingy on the promotions, however. Frenette, de la Nuez, Beyer, Ishchuk and Coker should be strongly featured and moved forward quickly. Truthfully, we should be saying our goodbyes to a half dozen principals and several soloists without further delay.

Coker has been languishing in the corps way too long, IMHO. She deserves a promotion. I was really surprised to see her name missing.

The comments to this entry are closed.