CriticalDance Forum

Royal Ballet AD Search
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Jan 18, 2000 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Royal Ballet AD Search

Stuart, thanks for putting in a word for equal opportunity on the thread instigated by the RB AD piece by Ismene Brown. The chauvinism that quickly leaped to the forefront of the discussion was most interesting; apparently, Mr. Baryshnikov's American citizenship is not a relevant factor, whereas Mr. McKenzie's American citizenship (and prior good working relationship with Executive Director Michael Kaiser) is exclaimed as an automatic disqualifier. Given the current short list (Baryshnikov, McKenzie, Lynn Seymour/Baldwin, Derek Deane, Sylvie Guillem, Ross MacGibbon), that they might certainly do a great deal worse than Kevin McKenzie.<P>Odd, however, that apparently no one has considered Ben Stevenson, perhaps the leading exponent of British-style full-length story ballets in the U.S. today. Certainly the "U.S." part should not be a disqualifier; he <BR>just made the New Year's Honours List.<P>Another one with long-standing British credentials is John Hart, who recently departed from Ballet West in Salt Lake City.<P>Noting the ages of those on the short list, however (Baryshnikov is the senior member of the group at age 51), it may be that they have limited their horizons to candidates in Mr. Dowell's age range or younger.<P>Also notably absent from this list (or any other recent discussion) is Maina Gielgud, recently ex-AD at Australian Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet; a British subject and, one might presume, on the lookout for a job....

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Jan 18, 2000 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

Francis,<P>I think it is odd indeed that Ben Stevenson is not in the running. Politics however plays a large role in the position. Sometimes a board of directors prefers someone they can control. It is not unheard of for a board to pick an artistic director that they can bend to their whims, controlling all aspects of their public life (yes, this happens). And then there are boards with brave directors who appoint artistic directors who can lead.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited 01-18-2000).]

Author:  pmeja [ Wed Jan 19, 2000 3:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

well as one of those who was i must say chauvinistic on this issue, i didn't mention baryshnikov's citizenship because it isn't the foremost thing with him, he may be an american citizen but he is basically russian and i at least see him that way. and i really still feel that it ought to be someone who has had a relationship with them and who is preferably british. i couldn't imagine why ben stevenson wasn't on that list as i had seen the announcement of the honours and thought for sure it was some sort of indicator. but then i also didn't see why someone like monica mason wasn't on it, she's the associate director, she's been there since she was 16 - maybe she didn't want it! anyway it's all interesting folks! (not as though we get to choose, right?) :-)

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jan 22, 2000 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

Francis, re. Stevenson - it may well be that he is a candidate. Remember that the thread is based on Ismene Brown's article which is fundamentally a gossip piece and may or may not be eased on good insider information. Re. Gielgud - I have a memory that her two previous jobs were not covered in glory.<P>Patricia, I agree with you about Monica Mason. She has an outstanding record at the Company, is an excellent communicator and a tough cookie. It could well be that she prefers to carry on spending by far the bulk of her time staging the MacMillan works which are her special responsibility and helping the dancers. I decided that I didn't want to be the Head of Dept. where I used to work, as I didn't want to spend a large amount of time dealing with office and inter-office poitics. She may have come to a simlar conclusion.<P>I would like to take this opportunity to disassociate myself from gossip and frivolous tittle-tattle on this or indeed any other dance subject. But, I will say that a friend of a friend tells me that a certain Kevin McKenzie has been seen in the environs of the ROH looking at the dancers in action rather more than would be expected on a speculative visit. Of course, it could be because Stiefel and Jaffe are peforming Tharp's 'Known by Heart', but.......<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited 01-23-2000).]

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Feb 03, 2000 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

Another bit of fairly idle speculation about the candidates for the Big Job at the RB. But, hey! We're all gossip junkies, right?<P>Debra Craine also seems to be putting her money on your Kev, but points out that that would mean that the top three jobs at the ROH would all be occupied by AMERICANS. Heaven forfend.<P>Seriously, a friend in Arts management pointed out that a US triumvirate it would be an indictment of UK Arts admin. So be it - give the job to the man/woman most likely to make a success, PLEASE.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Feb 04, 2000 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

I agree with Debra Craine's conclusions. I *do* wish, however, that she would omit the gratuitous U.S.-bashing. Why a U.S. triuvirate should be construed as any sort of indictment of U.K. arts administration is beyond me. After all, Mr. Bintley took himself out early in the process and Mr. Deane torpedoed himself with his incredible invective decrying the physique of British women dancers and his own preference for nearly anyone but British dancers. And his delight in spotlighting ENB dancers in cheesecake commercial ads. And, no doubt, a few other things....<P>Speaking of indictments, however, I give you this week's example from Scottish Opera/Ballet. Some may recall that the former executive director (now under intense scrutiny for leaving the organization in a state of fiscal ruin) resigned because she opposed the appointment of Robert North as AD of Scottish Ballet. It would now appear that her sponsorship of (U.S.-based) Mark Morris for that position was based on a presumption that Mr. Morris would be enough of a box office draw in his own right that this would cover the fiscal malfeasance that was already readily apparent internally.<P>Running after (U.S.-based) Baryshnikov (as Ismene Brown would appear to conclude) also seems to be based on some sort of search for star power. Never mind that he left ABT in a state of artistic and fiscal depletion that has only begun to recover ten years after his departure. <P>Left out of the discussion thus far entirely has been any discussion of the cultural ties and similar natures of ABT and RB. Similarities of repertoire; direct exchanges of dancers, choreographers, even conductors. To discredit the current AD of ABT on the basis of lack of familiarity with the artistic milieu of RB is specious in the extreme. <P>But, if it's cultural/national pedigree that is of paramount consideration, then certainly Ms. Gielgud should be among the top candidates. Her absence from any substantive discussion on this subject speaks volumes about the likely priorities of the two members of the peerage plus Mr. Kaiser and Dame Beryl Grey, who comprise the search committee.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Feb 05, 2000 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Ballet AD Search

Stuart, I must agree with Francis that I don't think a US trio should necessarily be construed as an indictment of UK arts admin. Or at least it should not be taken that way, for the sake of the survival of the RB.<P>What intrigues me though is why ADs from the continent are not in the running? Surely there must be someone in Europe who would make for a good RB AD.

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