CriticalDance Forum

NBoC $4 million in the hole.
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Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Oct 29, 2000 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Below is an excerpt from an article by Deirdre Kelly of the Globe & Mail. It details the financial woes of the National Ballet of Canada. By the way, I number crunched the $4 million debt way back on May 29th.

The bean counters for the NBoC are rather slow.

“The National Ballet of Canada posted a loss of $163,000 for the 1999-2000 season, raising the accumulated deficit to about $4-million -- the highest level in the company’s 49-year history. The figures were announced in Toronto on Thursday night, during the company’s annual general meeting. Without mentioning the words Kimberly Glasco, members of the National’s administrative and artistic staff acknowledged that the year had been particularly challenging. Ms. Glasco, a former principal dancer, had sued the company for wrongful dismissal and in July she reached a financial settlement rumoured to be worth $1.6-million. Artistic director James Kudelka, who repeatedly refused to cast Ms. Glasco after an arbitrator granted her reinstatement, in an official statement referred to the company's annus horibilis as a year of ‘definite challenges and difficulties.’

The lengthy court battle, which made national headlines, was ugly, divisive and cost the company dearly in terms of morale, public image and donations. Fundraising, for instance, is down 21 per cent to 3.31-million from $4.19-million the previous year. The decline is significant, especially given that in 1998-99, the company had experienced an upswing of 51 per cent in fundraising over the 1997-98 season.”
This season could prove to be a disaster if the NBoC suffers more than the usual number of injuries. Their roster is very thin. They’ve been quite fortunate the past few seasons injury wise. They only have 7 principal dancers on the roster. As recently as 1995, the NBoC boasted 11 principal dancers. The NBoC actually lists 11 but 3 of those are character artists and another is a guest principal.

There is definitely more of an emphasis on creating new works than keeping or developing talent. Many of their principal dancers are getting close to retirement. It will be interesting to see how much the Glasco case will effect donations and ticket sales this season.

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:41: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Oct 29, 2000 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Thanks, Goldbarth. I guess they are slow in figuring it out or maybe they were just waiting for a better PR opportunity.

Author:  mom2 [ Sat Nov 04, 2000 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

I certainly expressed my concerns about the Glasco affair when I was called last spring for a donation. The person who called was nice and listened to me go on (and on). He then steered the conversation towards nan yu, who had just done an amazing performance in Manon. Almost as though he had been scripted to talk about her...hmmm.<P>We should have a better sense of things to come in the next few weeks as the new season starts in Toronto. We are off to see Firebird next Sunday and Don Q the week after.

Author:  Schneider [ Sat Nov 04, 2000 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

During the Glasco affair it surfaced that the NBofC can get creative in the presentation of its financial picture depending upon what they are trying to get. I would like to see a forensic audit of their books before any level of government gives them another dime. And how Kudelka, Kain and Wilder can continue on in their jobs after publically being exposed for their lack of integrity is beyond me. And doesn't it just rile you to hear Kain on the radio ads where she quotes the New York critics praise the company? What she neglects to mention is that Glasco was first cast in those performances and the praise belongs to her as much as anyone else. I can't stand that bunch of hypocrites any more. Anyone want to buy 4 front-row subscriptions for Sat nites? Cheap!

Author:  mom2 [ Sat Nov 04, 2000 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

I hadn't heard the radio ads! Oh no!<P>

Author:  grace [ Sat Nov 04, 2000 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

without being there, schneider, i can understand the feeling you express - i think it would leave ME with complete distatse for the company, if it were in my town. i can't actually imagine that i would go, anymore, no matter what they did - i would feel 'grubby' supporting the institution in any way. oh, btw, WELCOME! Image

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Nov 04, 2000 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

What a coincidence! I got the very same spiel when the NBoC called me for a donation. The NBoC telemarketer glowed over the dancing of Xiao Nan Yu! As for their trip to New York and the raving reviews they received, the NBoC lost where it counts: Ticket Sales. They ended up $250,000 in the red. That’s a lot to pay for some quotes to advertise on Classical 96 and 103 FM. By the way, I delivered my résumé for a marketing position the NBoC advertised back in the summer and didn’t even receive a rejection letter. Along with my résumé, I enclosed some sample commercials. See below:<P>Client: The National Ballet of Canada<BR>Media: Radio<P>Creative Strategy: With one quick yank, peel off the stigma of elitism from ballet! Classical 96 and 103 FM Djs’ Arlene Meadows and Michael Lyons spin the fairy tale of Cinderella. The usually mute dancers for the National Ballet of Canada provide the finishing touches by introducing themselves. Script delivers energy, tears, laughter and masks a musical score far too heavy for a comedy-drama. Total air time for ten commercials: 17 minutes. Ten a half minutes of script qualifies as content for a reduced rate. Commercials to play during a hear the spot and call in to win promotion. Record two versions to accommodate the spread in performance dates. Michael Goldbarth’s casting differs from that of James Kudelka’s. <BR>The National Ballet of Canada<BR>Media: Radio 120 secs<P>SPOT 3<P>(MUSIC: START OFF WITH SECOND APPEARANCE OF THE FAIRY GODMOTHER FOR 1 SEC) <P>MEADOWS: Cinderella’s teardrops blossom the beggarwoman’s withered roses to life! (FADE IN: 2 RAPS AND DOOR OPENING) Guess who returns to reward Cinderella for her kindness? (FADE IN: POOF!) Wrinkles and decades disappear (POOF OUT) before our eyes. Look out stepsisters! It’s Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. She kisses Cinderella’s teardrops away and (MUSIC: FADE OUT SECOND APPEARANCE OF THE GODMOTHER AND FADE IN VARIATIONS OF THE SPRING FAIRY) summons the fairies of the seasons to dance a dream come true Cindertale! (FADE IN: POOF!) The ******* turns into a (POOF OUT) magical glade blossoming from spring to summer to fall to a dazzling rhapsody of pristine snowflakes. One wave of her magic wand and poof: (FADE IN: POOF!) pumpkin, mice, dragonflies, (POOF OUT) along with an over cheesed rat, materialize into a breathtaking golden carriage (FADE IN: HORSES SNORTING) powered by four dancing steeds complete (SNORTING OUT) with footmen and mustachioed coachman. Poof! (FADE IN: POOF!) Country bumpkin Cindertail (POOF OUT) becomes Cin-der-el-laaa dressed to wow in glass slippers and the most elegant, gold trimmed gossamer gown. As if all that wasn’t enough, the Fairy Godmother goes over the top with (MUSIC: FADE OUT THE SPRING FAIRY FOR SFX OF GLITTER) a glittering gold tiara! (GLITTER OUT) (MUSIC: FADE IN CINDERELLA’S DEPARTURE FOR THE BALL) Cinderella receives a gold-lettered invitation for the ball and a warning: The Fairy Godmother’s magical spell expires at midnight. Go grab your silver slippers; we’re (FADE IN: SILVER COACH TAKING OFF) off to the ball! (MUSIC: FADE OUT DEPARTURE FOR THE BALL. SEGUE POOF! AS COACH FADES OUT FOR 2 SECS) (POOF OUT)<P>LYONS: (MUSIC: FADE IN INSPIRATIONAL TYPE THEME À LA THE UNTOUCHABLES WITH HARPS GALORE) Treat your eyes to Jennifer <BR>Fournier dancing music to life on the stage of the Hummingbird Centre. Call 4-1-6 - 3-4-5 - ninety-five - ninety-five to see Cindertail (FADE IN: POOF!) transformed into Cinderella! (POOF OUT) May 5, 6, and from the 17th to the 21st, celestial bodies and musical notes will come together to create a timeless web of beauty, passion and inspiration! <P>FOURNIER: We are the National Ballet of Canada and we make love to music! I’m Jennifer Cin-der-el-laaa Fournier. You better call before my dance card is all booked up if you want to see me dance music to life! (REVERB: LIFE!) (MUSIC: FADE OUT)<P><BR>The National Ballet of Canada<BR>Media: Radio 135 secs<P>SPOT 4<P>(MUSIC: START OFF WITH MAZURKA) <P>MEADOWS: Defying both the laws of gravity and gender, a jack-out-of-the-box court jester leapfrogs across the dance floor. With unbridled glee he denounces the hypocrisy of Cinderella’s out-of-step-sisters. They walk and dance like newborn ducklings! (MUSIC: FADE DOWN) (1 SECOND PAUSE OF SILENCE) Silence deafens the ball. (FADE IN: FAIRY DUST!) It’s Cinderella in all her ethereal splendor. (DUST OUT) (FADE IN: VERY LOUD BOWLING PIN LIKE DOMINO EFFECT) All the men at the ball trip all over themselves trying to catch her eye. One after another they fall. (DOMINO OUT) Cinderella is much much too much eye candy for them: toes curl, <P>(TOES CURLING)<P>hearts race,<P>(HEARTS RACING) <P>ears throb,<P>(EARS THROBBING)<P>spines tingle,<P>(SPINES TINGLING)<P>(FADE IN: PUPILS DILATING OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS) pupils dilate right out of their sockets! (FADE OUT DILATING)<P>(MUSIC: FADE UP) The upper crust of hoity-toityville have gone totally gaga over Cinderella! In case I haven’t made myself 100% clear...they’ve got it really, really, really bad for Cinderella! So much so, the court jester has to mop up their droll and crank up every jaw from the dance floor. Only the prince displays a modicum of cool. Of course, Cinderella’s stepsisters have no idea who this beautiful creature is. (MUSIC: FADE OUT MAZURKA AND FADE IN DUET OF SISTERS WITH THE ORANGES) The court jester breaks the spell by doling out the sweetest, rarest of oranges. Way back during once upon a time oranges were a delicacy. Those out-of-step sisters devour the taste bud treats as if they haven’t filled their bellies in weeks. Ever so much the angel, Cinderella actually feels sorry (MUSIC: FADE OUT DUET OF SISTERS AND FADE IN SLOBBERING) for her slobbering, (SLOBBERING OUT) mirror shattering, (MIRROR SHATTERING!) (FADE IN: TOES BEING CRUSHED) toe crushing stepsisters! (CRUSHED TOES OUT) <P>LYONS: (MUSIC: FADE IN INSPIRATIONAL TYPE THEME À LA THE UNTOUCHABLES WITH HARPS GALORE) Treat your eyes to Greta Hodgkinson dancing music to life on the stage of the Hummingbird Centre. Call 4-1-6 - 3-4-5 - ninety-five - ninety-five to see Cinderella dance up and down the fashion plate runway. May 5, 6, and from the 17th to the 21st, celestial bodies and musical notes will come together to create a timeless web of beauty, passion and inspiration! <P>HODGKINSON: We are the National Ballet of Canada and we make love to music! This Cin-der-el-laaa has loads and loads of rhythm! I’m Greta Hodgkinson. Come see me dance music to life! (REVERB: LIFE!) (MUSIC: FADE OUT) <P><BR>*** As for Karen Kain’s tagline, “I’ll see you at the ballet,” that is very unlikely. She is the invisible woman at the Hummingbird Centre.<P><BR>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Goldbarth (edited November 04, 2000).]

Author:  Schneider [ Sun Nov 05, 2000 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Michael: If you really want to see La Pain Kain at the Hummingbird, try Sat. nite. I see her more than I care to. I alternate between wanting to give her a slap and feeling sorry for her.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Nov 05, 2000 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

I really don’t want to see her all that much. I was just trying to make the pointe that it would be better for the NBoC if Karen Kain was a little more accessible to us regular folk. I actually sat behind her once in row B. She claps like a robot and has to use an orthopedic padding for her seat. A little girl left a note for her and she sat on it. I guess she’s lost the feeling in her tutu as well as her tootsies!<P><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Nov 05, 2000 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Guys, post-the Glasco hostilities, it's a time for putting the differences over the issue behind us.<P>As far as I can make out, Karen Kain was a very fine dancer who made a great contribution to the NBoC over a long period.<P>I always think that it is a good idea to ask the question, 'How would I justify/feel about my comments if I met this person in a lift.'<P>A talented dancer that I know no longer looks at websites, as she was so upset at the vitriolic approach towards her on one site. <P>

Author:  shag [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Re: losing $250k in New York, NOBODY makes money touring the big towns. That's not the point of touring. I guarantee that every company the participated in the Bal. thing in D.C. lost a considerable amount and SFB lost around a million when it went to London last year, despite selling out almost every night. Frankly 250 doesn't sound that bad.

Author:  Schneider [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Stuart: <BR>Are you aware that these people have destroyed arguably the best dancer the NBofC had? Kimberly Glasco NEVER had a single bad review! It was she the New York Critics were praising in 1998. Now her career is over because she was kept from dancing -despite an arbitrator's order- for 2 years. She had no choice but to accept money because now, at age 40 with no ballet company willing to hire her, her career is finished. How do those of us who love dance and dancers put behind us the fact that our home ballet company that we have loved and supported for years has publicly admitted it made untrue statements about a beloved dancer, all in an effort to discredit her? There was a huge campaign to have every artistic director in Canada sign a letter which supported the rights of artisic directors to hire and fire performers at will, removing their protection from Canadian labour laws! Actors Equity compared it to the return of the "casting couch" And now we are supposed to sit there with our mouths closed while this completely unrepentant crew continues to make ballets as if nothing has happened? If this isn't an "issue" nothing is.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Stuart Sweeney’s comments defeat the very purpose of criticaldance. If we are to take Stuart Sweeney’s comments to heart then perhaps the “critical” should be erased from criticaldance. I would never say some of the things I’ve written here to Kain’s or Kudelka’s face simply because I have no interest in creating a confrontation. Given their status and thick hides I don’t think they would even care. I seriously doubt they even surf the web. If so, why wouldn’t they voice their opinion on criticaldance? <P>Like, Mr. Schneider, I too feel sorry for Karen Kain. She’s one of the top ballerinas in the history of ballet in Canada and I have no doubt she has much to contribute in her role as Artistic Associate. Unfortunately, she blew her reputation—in my opinion—by not speaking out concerning allegations that Kimberly Glasco never raised financial concerns about Swan Lake to the NBoC board. Kain’s criticism of Glasco’s dancing during arbitration proceedings was—in my opinion—mean spirited and totally off the mark. I’m sure much of what Karen Kain said or failed to say was done so out of loyalty and pity for James Kudelka who has devoted much time creating choreography to best exploit her dancing talents. Below is a previous posting on criticaldance explaining why I feel so strongly about not supporting the NBoC under their present management. <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> The National Ballet of Canada moves more truthfully than it speaks. I wish I could take credit for those words of wisdom but they belong to the late Antony Tudor—in the context of man of course. Below is a spoonful of truth for the NBoC. Open wide! Of course, that’s much easier written than done. You’d have better luck feeding a pill to a member of the feline race! Below is a passage from arbitrator Christopher Albertyn’s interim award to Kimberly Glasco lifted verbatim courtesy of <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>“When Ms. Glasco received notice of the non-renewal of her contract and her dispute was made public, Ballet spokespersons took the position that Ms. Glasco never raised financial concerns or the Swan Lake production with the board. For example, Ms. Wilder, the Ballet’s Executive Director, interviewed on January 5, 1999 on a radio program, ‘This Morning,’ broadcast by public radio throughout Canada by the CBC, said the following: ‘Ms. Glasco never did speak up at a board meeting, ever... The minutes will show it. Her claims are absolutely incorrect. In fact, they are baffling, quite honestly. She not only had never spoken up about our new production of Swan Lake, she never spoke up about fiscal responsibility or any such topic.’<P>The same position was advanced by the Ballet in an article in which Ms. Wilder was quoted in the Toronto Star, on January 7, 1999, and, on January 11, 1999, on the television program, ‘The National’, which is broadcast throughout Canada by the CBC. (This can be viewed in its entirety at <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> Click on ‘Dance,’ ‘James Kudelka renews contract’ and then scroll down to ‘Brawl at the Ballet’ and click on it. During the interview Wilder said: ‘She (Glasco) never did speak out at a board meeting.’)<P>The position adopted by the Ballet was erroneous, and it appears that the Ballet has not publicly acknowledged the error. From a reading of the minutes it is clear that Ms. Glasco did raise these matters at two board meetings, as described.”<P>In a conversation with me (the author of the below ‘Dance Ballerina Dance,’) Allen Marple, former Chairman of the ballet’s Board of Directors, had the following to say about Glasco’s claims: “...she said she was fired because she spoke out at board meetings: well she did not! I can tell you precisely what she said in October which was: ‘Weren’t our reviews in New York marvelous!’ ...And then in December she said: ‘Didn’t we do La Bayadère beautifully!’ Which is, of course, patting herself on the back! She did do a good job. There’s no question about that.” <P>The above report from arbitrator Christopher Albertyn clearly confirms that Kim Glasco did indeed speak out at board meetings contrary to the above BS from the NBoC. This does not look good on the ballet. Their dishonesty strongly suggests Kudelka fired Glasco NOT for artistic reasons but because she spoke out at board meetings and didn’t support him when he ran for artistic director in 1995. For them to appeal a ruling that Glasco be temporarily reinstated while the arbitrator decides on the case is very cruel. This has dragged on far too long. Apparently the NBoC has bottomless pockets when it comes to destroying a living work of art. They certainly don’t pay to keep their talented dancers in Canada. If they did, Jaimie Tapper and Johan Persson would still be at the NBoC rather than the Royal Ballet. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR> <BR>How can any sane person support the NBoC after reading the above? James Kudelka creates ballet solely for himself: Not for ballet fans. He didn’t even bother to shave for having his photo taken by the Globe & Mail. For proof that he is the black knight just have a gander at the color of his clothes for the photo: Pure black! <P>Throughout the hearings Kimberly Glasco conducted herself with dignity and class while 45 year old man-child James Kudelka acted like a little boy who had to have everything his way. Under Kudelka’s rule the NBoC has turned into his personal playpen: NOT a professional ballet company. Below is another excerpt by me from a previous posting on criticaldance.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> It was with much amusement I read of James Kudelka declaring Kimberly Glasco to be an egotistical publicity hound (The Globe and Mail - Friday, May 19, 2000). If anybody can recognize an egomaniac it is James Kudelka. When asked about Glasco’s brilliant final performances in Manon and La Bayadère, Kudelka couldn’t help but blow his own horn until his lips bled: “I’d like to remind people that is a credit to me as artistic director that she has looked as good on stage.” So immense is Kudelka’s ego he threatened to resign if forced to recast Glasco! Resigning is nothing new for him. Kudelka already resigned once from the NBoC back in June of 1981 over creative differences with then artistic director Alexander Grant. Kudelka also threatened to resign last year if the National Ballet of Canada did not produce his $1.6 million Swan Lake. Kudelka even had the temerity to erase the “after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov” from the souvenir program for his version. For Erik Bruhn’s Swan Lake, the National gave proper credit to its original creators. Kudelka’s ego is so immense he actually said he would rather kill himself than cast Kimberly Glasco. Okay, just how large is Kudelka’s ego? He made a Nutcracker so monstrous in size it can only play at the Hummingbird Centre! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>For me, ballet is about creating beauty and nobody did that better than Kimberly Glasco! <BR><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

Author:  BabsLights [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

So, is Ms Glasco's legacy at the company to be her wonderful dancing career, and the many roles she danced, or her exit. It seems to me that belittle the career, by only speaking of the fireworks perpetually.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NBoC $4 million in the hole.

Here’s one final reason I’ve lost respect for the National Ballet of Canada. Throughout all their advertising this season, they quote John Coulbourn, ballet critic for the Toronto Sun: “We have seen the future of the National Ballet of Canada—and it is James Kudelka.” For those of you unfamiliar with the Sun, it is definitely ranked number 4 of the four major newspaper chains in Canada. It caters mostly to the white trash wrestling folk. Think of it as Jerry Springer for the mind. As main advertisers, the Sun boasts strip joints, 976 sex lines and women who will provide you with very personal adult entertainment. I highly doubt many ballet fans or potential ballet fans would stain their hands with a rag like the Sun. If James Kudelka is indeed the future of the National Ballet of Canada, they may one day be history. I don’t blame Kudelka for the entire $4 million debt. However, he must shoulder his share by creating ballets (The Nutcracker) that cost too much to tour and placing a higher importance on making expensive remakes (Swan Lake) than keeping talented dancers (Glasco, Persson, Tapper, etc). <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Goldbarth (edited November 06, 2000).]

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