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 Post subject: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 11:50 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
a worrying article in The Independent.

Quote:
The artistic director of the Royal Ballet is facing a mutiny from his dancers after a number of casting decisions that sources say have left members of the company in the dark over the roles they will play and the productions they will appear in.

Ross Stretton was appointed from the prestigious Australian Ballet with a mandate to excite and innovate the company almost exactly a year ago, but critics have been disappointed with his repertoire and his dancers are close to revolt.

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<small>[ 08-12-2002, 04:48: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2002 2:06 am 
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Thanks for posting this Joanne. I hope, as I'm sure we all do, that these problems are resolved as quickly as possible.

Several of us here know dancers in the Royal Ballet or people who know dancers and it would be easy to start repeating rumours about what A said to B etc, which would be unhelpful for the situation and potentially embarressing for those involved. Thus I suggest that we do not discuss this until we know the substance of the matters to be discussed.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2002 12:03 am 
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Two more articles about the forthcoming meeting at the Royal Opera House:

Ballet row over management style
By Paul Kelso for The Guardian

Tony Hall, the executive director of the Royal Ballet, will meet union chiefs next week to prevent a down tutus strike by Covent Garden dancers unhappy with the management style of the artistic director, Ross Stretton.

Mr Hall will meet Equity representatives on Tuesday to hear concerns that Mr Stretton's casting decisions have left dancers disaffected and have short-changed the public.

Before departing on their summer break, dancers met to discuss their concerns and are reported to have considered passing a vote of no confidence in Mr Stretton, an Australian appointed a year ago with a brief to innovate.

The performers' principal gripe concerns Stretton's casting decisions, which are said to have left dancers uncertain whether they would be performing in productions until the last minute, and the public attending performances not featuring the advertised cast.

click for more

****************************************

Dancers ready for revolt
Uncredited story from The Evening Standard

Dancers at the Royal Ballet are close to revolt over casting decisions taken by their artistic director. They claim Ross Stretton, appointed from the prestigious Australian Ballet with a brief to bring innovation to the company, has kept them in the dark over the roles they will play and the productions they will appear in.

Almost a year after Mr Stretton was brought in, critics are disappointed with his repertoire and the dancers are said to be ready to mutiny.

It is understood that members of the Royal Ballet in the performers' union Equity considered passing a vote of no confidence in Mr Stretton. But they have instead asked union executives to raise "a number of serious concerns" over Mr Stretton's management style with Tony Hall, executive director of the Royal Ballet's home, the Royal Opera House.

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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2002 8:46 pm 
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'Crisis talks' for Royal Ballet
from the BBC website

Dancers at the Royal Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet company in the world, are demanding talks with management over the way the company is run.

Performers are reported to have become increasingly infuriated with artistic director Ross Stretton's management style, which often sees them kept in the dark about who will be taking the stage in which productions.
Performer's union Equity will raise the concerns during the talks with the company's management on Tuesday.

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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 2:53 am 
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I've taken the opportunity to move posts by sugar plum fairy and s4one in order to open a new topic on the theme of programming and commissions at the RB.

To keep the debate in one place I have deleted the posts here.

Thanks to both of you for the new discussion topic.

<small>[ 08-12-2002, 04:55: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2002 4:04 am 
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Does anyone have an update on how these meetings have progressed or what the immediate outcome has been?


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2002 10:37 pm 
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As far as I'm aware no statement was made after the meeting. Bear in mind that some of the key players at the ROH have been on holiday, so nothing could be said until they have been introduced into the discussions.

<small>[ 08-29-2002, 00:38: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 10:15 am 
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Dancers out of step with Royal Ballet chief
By James Morrison for The Independent

The performers' union Equity is to meet dancers at the Royal Ballet this week to discuss "serious concerns" about the unorthodox management style of its new artistic director, Ross Stretton.
The union is investigating a series of complaints about the maverick Australian, who has been accused of infuriating his company by making last-minute casting changes that leave them unsure if and when they are to perform.
News of the latest talks came a month after dancers considered passing a motion of no confidence in Stretton, who was hired amid a fanfare last year with a brief to pep up the repertoire of the historic Covent Garden company.
Sources close to the discussions confirmed that this week's meeting would involve Equity briefing the dancers on its earlier talks with the Royal Ballet management, at which it conveyed a number of "serious concerns". It is understood that these revolve, at least in part, around some of Mr Stretton's casting choices.

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Stuart adds: I might take more notice of the article if it wasn’t based on the Summer season problems when the Company was suffering from injury. One wonders at the motives of whoever is leaking the information prior to meeting management.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2002 11:20 am 
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Interesting that this article is written by James Morrison rather than one of the regualr dance critics. I expect the dance critics wouldn't want to touch this one.

Yes, Stuart, the article is curious. The fact that dancers ahd resigned in sizeable numbers in Australia is, if true (and I assume it is), capable of explanation and justification for the arguments levelled in the article. Yet we do not have any insights into the reasons of the given dancers ie were any of them asked why they left?

Having started as an aritcle about the "poor" dancers not knowing whether they were coing or going, the article cites two examples that have nothing to do with the dancers (Bussell and Rojo) who were, I think, both injured which was why they couldn't dance and instead sympathises with the poor audience that had spent so much on a ticket only to get an unknown.

Yes, sensational journalism.

On another point, I know New Yorkers are surprised that so much of our booking performances hinges on choice of dancers when they are used to having less precise casting details when they book. I would be interested to hear US descriptions as to how casting is dealt with and how sure are you that you will get the dancers advertised? Would a dancer be changed without explanation of injury?


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2002 12:11 pm 
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Didn't equity state that after the first meeting in August there would be further meetings taking place. I'm sure they were due to happen whe the company came back from their summer break. As no more details were to be realised about the situation any more news stories would just be a rehash of the first story.

On the point of the dancers mentioned in the article. Darcey Bussell was not injured in the summer and was withdrawn from her performances due to lack of rehearsal time.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2002 1:00 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Emma, the San Francisco Ballet's casting is usually available to the general public only a week in advance. My mother is a subscriber, and sometimes she can exchange her ticket for another night, if tickets are available.

Most of the time I get standing room tickets, so I can't reserve them anyway. Still, I like to plan which performances I see. I've discovered that casting changes due to injury are not necessarily reported to the box office, or posted online. Once I phoned the box office to be sure that a certain dancer scheduled for that evening's performance would, in fact, be performing. At the performance, her absence due to injury was announced. I later found out from someone who knows such things that she was injured the day before. It was frustrating, because I was trying to see several different dancers in that role, and I ended up seeing someone I'd already seen twice.

I bought tickets a couple of weeks ago for one performance of the Bolshoi in November. The box office didn't have casting information, which was not surprising, as it was well in advance. The person I talked to said it should be available about 3-4 weeks beforehand. Of course, there probably won't be any tickets left by then. My mother just informed me that she didn't realize the Bolshoi performance was for the same night she has a ticket for the SF Symphony, for a performance she doesn't want to miss, so I'll be looking for Bolshoi tickets for an additional performance. Maybe the ticket clerk was wrong, and casting information is available now.

When I was very young, casting information, at least for visiting companies, was available and published in the newspapers well in advance. Ah, the good old days!


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2002 4:22 pm 
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Shirley many thanks for clarifying the point about Darcey Bussell. Those who don't know Shirley can take my word that her comments regarding Darcey are invariably authoritative.


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 Post subject: Re: Royal ballet - Management and Union to discuss issues
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2002 12:49 pm 
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Stuart. Darcey actually wrote about the problems re rehearsals on her web site.


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