CriticalDance Forum

"Ballet into the 21st Century" Rural Retreat -
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jan 13, 2003 5:11 am ]
Post subject:  "Ballet into the 21st Century" Rural Retreat -

The first press release has been issued, with a press conference to be held this evening, which we will be reporting on.



Rights and royalties, creativity and risk-taking and corporate governance are
main concerns

(Full Press Briefing takes place today, Monday January 13 at 5pm at Canada
House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2)

The largest ever gathering of heads of international ballet companies
concluded a three-day think tank in Suffolk this weekend (January 10-12),
hosted by Dance East, with a commitment to form an international network of
Artistic Directors to address issues of rights and royalties, creativity and
risk-taking and corporate governance.

Twenty-five Directors attended the retreat, representing fifteen countries
and all scales of ballet company and individual experience. Five Directors
have been in post for only a few months while others have been directing for
up to 16 years.

The directors identified the importance of on-going communication, open
exchange and mutual support to help them fulfil their role as custodians of
the art form. Every company director present confirmed a commitment to:

. producing conditions conducing to the creativity which is at the heart of
the art form;

. including new work as part of an individual and distinctive balance of
repertoire. They recognised that new work was vital for dancers and

The following statement reflects the nature of the debate:

"We recognise the impact of artistic, social, economic, technological and
political change and the implications of these changes for the future of the
art form.

"It is clear to us that nothing happens in our art form except through the
collaborative effort of many people and that ballet companies represent an
international community of individuals working towards the same goal."

The Directors agreed that certain issues were of concern to all companies
represented at the conference, and that these could most effectively be
addressed through working together. To that end, an informal, international
network of Artistic Directors was established.

Major issues discussed during the weekend included:

. The need to find better ways of ensuring access to the existing
repertoire, including addressing issues of rights and royalties;

. The imperative to take risks as a vital ingredient in a healthy and
creative environment;

. The need to find new ways of supporting successive generations of
choreographers and artistic directors;

. The social changes that require a wider range of ways of encouraging
dancers to develop a clear understanding of their artistic and professional

. The ways in which the support of the whole team underpins the
organisation, and is critical to the effective operating and continued growth
and development of the individual ballet company – and thus of the art form
as a whole;

. Making explicit the responsibilities and the concomitant rights of
artistic directors within the context of corporate governance.

These issues will be progressed through the contacts and working
relationships established over the weekend.

The next comprehensive meeting of Artistic Directors will take place in 2005.

Artistic Directors who attended the Rural Retreat: Ballet into the 21st
century are:

Boris Akimov (Bolshoi Ballet)
John Alleyne (Ballet British Columbia)
Frank Andersen (Royal Danish Ballet)
Reid Anderson (Stuttgart Ballet)
Mark Baldwin (Rambert Dance Company)
David Bintley (Birmingham Royal Ballet)
Dinna Bjorn (Finnish National Ballet)
Christopher Bruce (former Artistic Director, Rambert Dance Company)
Ricardo Bustamente (Ballet de Santiago, Chile)
Iracity Cardoso (Gulbenkian Ballet, Portugal)
Didier Deschamps (Ballet de Lorraine, France)
Wayne Eagling (Dutch National Ballet)
Espen Giljane (Norwegian National Ballet)
Kevin Irving (Goteburg Ballet)
Marc Jonkers (former Artistic Director, National Ballet of Portugal)
James Kudelka (National Ballet of Canada)
Ivan Liska (Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich)
Monica Mason (The Royal Ballet, London)
David McAllister (Australian Ballet)
Kevin McKenzie (American Ballet Theatre)
Mikko Nissinen (Boston Ballet)
David Nixon (Northern Ballet Theatre)
Madeline Onne (Royal Swedish Ballet)
Ashley Page (Scottish Ballet)
Matz Skoog (English National Ballet)

The Rural Retreat was supported by the Arts Council of England, East England
Arts, the Jerwood Foundation, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Rudolf
Nureyev Foundation, Freed of London, Visiting Arts, the Embassy of Sweden,
Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des Arts du Canada, Canadian High
Commission, the Swedish Embassy, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Royal
Norwegian Embassy, Royal Opera House and Aldeburgh Productions.

<small>[ 13 January 2003, 06:47 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jan 13, 2003 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Ballet into the 21st Century" Rural Retreat -

Having just returned from the Canada House post- event briefing, the brief words of Gerry Robinson, Chairman of the Arts Council of England who spoke at the reception, rang a true note when he said that the energy in the room was exceptional.

The press conference went really well and the strong message that came across was of a very positive weekend and a unique opportunity to discuss common problems and discover that despite the different styles and sizes of the companies, there really was a lot of commonality.

The challenge of finding new ballet choreography clearly was a key feature of the weekend and I'll write up more on this and other themes discussed over the next couple of days.

The Artistic Directors clearly had a memorable two days and will now build on the relationships that were developed over the weekend. On the way out one UK AD told me, " What you heard in there wasn't bull****, it was a successful and inspirational weekend."

Your first impressions on the press release above will be welcome.

<small>[ 13 January 2003, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  wiballet [ Mon Jan 13, 2003 11:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Ballet into the 21st Century" Rural Retreat -

My impression is that it was a very successful event and the organizers should be very happy with the result. We need more communication among companies and I feel that this was the first step to pull together in the same direction on the same rope! What an accomplishment! Congratulations!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jan 18, 2003 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Ballet into the 21st Century" Rural Retreat -

Here's a report of the Rural Retreat press conference from You need to read it carefully to separate the views of the ADs from that of the author:

“It’s lonely at the top”
was the verdict on their job by the 25 Artistic Directors who attended the largest-ever international think-tank on the future of ballet last weekend (10 - 12 Jan 03).
“Other trades have unions or associations with annual meetings. As ballet directors, we’ve never met altogether until now” said Finnish National Ballet’s Dinna Bjorn. Catherine Hale reports for

The Rural Retreat pioneered by Dance East in the contemplative setting of Snape Maltings afforded them the rare opportunity to let down their guard, swap valuable tips and, above all, “confirm to each other that what we are doing is worthwhile”.

They are right to feel vulnerable in their responsibility. Ballet is unique among the performing arts in that the singular performance event depends upon people and personal relationships – in short the institution of the ballet company – to survive for posterity. Ballet does not exist in an external form like the text of a play or the score of a symphony, but lives in the bodies of its dancers. It is transmitted from teacher to pupil as technique and from coach to performer as choreography. The company’s Artistic Director is like the custodian of a torch that passes down the generations. His or her vision, energy and financial backing are vital in keeping that torch alight.

click for more

<small>[ 19 January 2003, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group