public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:58 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 103 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
The works of the world's greatest choreographer are not being performed NOT due to the work one individual as you suggest. A faction of the board closed the company and school without notice. The board members were not notified in advance of the meeting that this item was to be placed on the agenda. This was done as a way to remove Protas from the position of Artistic Director and Trustee - without the consent of Martha Graham. Protas pleaded with the Board to keep to the School open during the summer months last year - as he did not want the international students to be stranded. He offered a free license for them to operate. They rejected his offer out of hand. Protas began talks with the American Dance Festival to try and salvage the tour that the Board cancelled without notice, leaving the ADF presenters AND the dancers with nothing to do. Protas went to the NY State Attorney General (on his own accord) to offer a settlement offer and devised a way to keep the Graham dancers employed and dancing. The Board of the Center never responded to his offer. From what I understand and gather from colleagues who are closely involved in this saga, Protas has no issue with any of the dancers. This crisis is in response a faction of the Board's actions against him and against the express wishes of Martha Graham. It is clear that the facts of this situation are not evident and that many people have drawn their own conclusions about this. One point in fact: over 10 Board members of the Center resigned in protest against the actions of a few of Board members who in a 'kangaroo-court' fashion made decisions about what Protas established at the written request of Martha Graham. I understand that Protas would like nothing more than to have Martha Graham's works seen by peoeple everywhere. Isn't it a bit odd that the former dancers of the Graham Center are boycotting the works of Graham and yet they beg to dance them saying that Protas is stopping them? Protas is stopping no one. They soemhow self-righteously set themselves as the standard bearer of Graham's legacy! They are cutting their own legs off in this process. The genius of Martha Graham's legacy and her unbelievable artistic contributions which have so enriched the world for over 50 years will live on. Probably not in the guise of a rogue Board of Directors and a band of dancers who think they are entitled to change Martha Graham's will and mind and take matters into their own hands rather than to honor and respect what she clearly put into place.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 207
Location: Lighting Heaven
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>This was done as a way to remove Protas from the position of Artistic Director and Trustee - without the consent of Martha Graham.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>. . .And how could that consent have been obtained?

_________________
"A man's speech must exceed his vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:48 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
Martha Graham made her wishes explicity clear via her will and several formal letters she wrote explaining in no uncertain terms that is was her desire, wish, intent and directive to have Ron Protas make all the final decisions relating to the artistic operation of the Center, School and Dance Company. This was made clear the one day that I attended the recent trial. <P>Who has the right to go against her OWN instructions? <P>Seems to me that people are blaming the wrong guy for this crisis!<P>I believe Martha Graham's wishes and intentions must be respected and honored. We may not agree with them - but for better or worse this is what she insisted.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 10:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 207
Location: Lighting Heaven
. . .And you don't think there's even the <I>slightest</I> chance that -- had she lived longer -- she might have changed her mind?

_________________
"A man's speech must exceed his vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 6:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
Sounds like sour grapes to me. How much longer could she have lived? She died at age 97!!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 9:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Susannah, sour grapes or not, Tom asks an interesting question, almost the flip side to Joan Acocella's theory. If Graham did not know she was dying or if she could still dictate from beyond, what would she do then? This is of course a very academic question but does raise the issue of what did she really want?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2001 9:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 82
Location: New York
I really want to give my full opinion about recent writings to this post, but am unable due to my visit in India (I am still on the dancer's salary and I pay Internet visits here per minute!).<BR>It is unfortunately how "Susannah" created many stories into facts. It is clear by her writings that the stories she wrote were either told by someone near Ron, if not Ron himself. <BR>I must make something very clear. I do not hate or dislike Ron Protas. I worked with him on many projects during my teaching in Graham School when running their teen program and of course during my dancing with the Company. I was very liked by him and did never said anything derogatory about him. I always tried to picture him in most positive light I could, during and post dancing in the Company. <BR>Now when the lies are being tossed out, I can no longer stand and listen to people doing it, claiming that they know the background. One would need to listen to Ron's testimony this last week to understand what I am saying.<BR>Couple of Question-facts:<BR>How come that is the NY Attorney General's office (after trying to mediate in the dispute) fully supporting the-if you will -- "board " site?<BR>It is true that many dancers did not signed the dancer's petition, but how come that no one is working with Ron, staging ballets at this point?<P>Facts:<BR>Ron's plea to keep School open was not a plea, it was conditioned "plea". <BR>The dancers made the choice, one being one of them, of not dancing at ADF, not management. It was a very hard decision, we were forced to make, again not because of the actions of the management but Ron. <P>Dancer's understand that the "boycott" was not the best way, but was unnessesary!<BR>It is very easy to sit on the outside as an observer or even as insider working in let say "board of Trusties" and pass judgments on our actions with a full wallet in the purse or pocket. It was and still is very hard to suffer the consequences of not our but the action of one man.<BR>I shall finish now. My wallet is really not so full after all.

_________________
Tadej Brdnik<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 5:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Thank you Tadej for paying "per minute" to put your two cents into the discussion!! WE appreciate your input!!! As they say, there are at least two sides to every story. Presumeably, if this were a simple, "open and shut" case, we wouldn't be in court right now, correct?<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited April 04, 2001).]


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 7:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
You are absolutely right, Azlan. This is an academic question. Nobody can be sure of what Martha Graham would have done after the fact. It doesn't matter. What we can be sure of, however, is that Martha Graham herself made a very clear directive about what she wanted and she made this decision during her lifetime when she was in full control of her mind as her attorney, doctor and nurse testified at the trial. None of us has the right to un-do what this unbelievable genuis ordered and directed be done with her legacy.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 7:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
Well said, Trina. Every story has two sides - I agree with you. It does, seem, though, that this story, at least from what I have read in the papers and heard, is so biased against Ron Protas that I hope the truth will surface. By the way, Tadej, I saw you dance least year in Los Angeles while I was on vacation - you are a very beautiful dancer! How fantastic that you are on tour in India of all places!!<P>While I was in California last year during the time of the Graham performances, I heard that Ron Protas had loaned $40,000 of his own money to meet the payroll for the dancers who were on tour and in danger of being stranded without pay. I also understand that none of the other Board Members would pledge any money to help the dancers with their salary or per diem during the tour last year and that the Board still has not repaid Protas the money he lent them. How criminal to think that Board Members would allow dancers to be stuck on a long tour away from home with no salary or per diem!! Sounds like Protas was the only one who was willing to HELP the dancers.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 12:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 3
Off the top of my head I count 11 former Graham dancers, almost every single one a "household name" in the Graham world (and several reknowned in the larger dance world), who didn't sign the boycott. They are former principal dancers, company rehearsal directors, famous choreographers and master teachers of the Graham technique. I am sure there are more, since I haven't done any research and these are just the people that came to mind. As TadejNY writes, I doubt many (any?) of them have plans to work with Ron at the moment. This reflects what I wrote previously - that not signing the boycott does not mean one is on Ron's "side".<P>However, some people don't seem to be able to comprehend that. Things have gotten very fanatical and closed-minded at times. It is extremely disturbing to me (and sadly, confirms my own observations) that Susannah also has heard of dancers being "viciously and repeatedly harrassed" because they chose not to sign. The current dancers complain about Ron's treatment of them, but unfortunately lack of respect for others, and disparaging attitudes, have never been limited to Ron. Anyone who's spent much time in Martha's world knows this all too well. As terrible as it is for the current dancers not to be able to perform the work at the moment, and to have to find other ways to make money (which by the way almost every dancer/artist, at least in the USA, has to deal with constantly), for them to demand that people agree that Martha's work will never be done again unless the current company performs it seems pretty selfish to say the least. What if Ron wins the lawsuit(s)? Do the dancers then truly want none of Martha's work ever to be seen again?<P>Martha Graham's work belongs to the whole world. It seems terrible to me that anyone, Ron or the board or the dancers, would go that far. If anyone saw the caricature in the Village Voice of Martha being pulled by ropes in all directions, that pretty much sums it up in my opinion and it's just an egregious mess. Some kind of compromise is going to HAVE to be made for the work to survive in the best possible way. It seems Ron clearly owns the legal rights to the work (the fact that he can't "perform" the work has nothing to do with that). I have just read Martha's will on the dancers' own website, and from that and what Susannah said of the letters, it is clear that she left it all to Ron. People are disappointed in a lot of wills, but we can't just go rewriting people's wills. Martha had 20 years to make up her mind about this, and if she made a mistake she chose not to correct it.<P>But for Ron to maintain the work well, he does need the help of those who have danced it and directed it, and I think (I hope?) he knows that. It may turn out that if dancers want to do the work, Ron is the person they will be dealing with and vice versa. If Ron "wins", and the current dancers keep their words, it will be a great loss but I guess it might come to that. I so wish it had never been set up in such a limiting way.<P>He was moving towards stepping back, maybe eventually he would have been willing to do that. But now that he has been attacked so strongly and held up for humiliation before the world, I'd guess it's going to take a lot longer if it ever happens. <P>I also agree with TadejNY that Ron's offer was conditional, but the board's/dancers' offers so far are also pretty conditional, with their condition being that Ron relinquish artistic control - a pretty big condition. I don't know if he can ever agree to that, since he feels it's his duty to do what Martha asked.<P>TadejNY, ask someone to let you borrow their computer! Even some dancers have computers and can save you the $!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2001 12:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Susannah, it's good that you are so concerned for the Graham legacy and its continuation. You seem to be ignoring the fact however, that that legacy is tied up with the dancers and teachers of the work and the technique. Ron can contribute nothing to this. <P>It was clear to me when the Company came to London and spoke about their roles, that Capucilli and Dakin, while titled Associate Directors, were jointly performing what would be the role of an Artistic Director in any other Company.<P>My impression from a range of people who know the situation well is that life in the Graham Company with a difficult, non-dancer, non-choreographer, non-teacher at the helm was a painful affair for many of those trying to maintain the legacy. I do wish he had stuck to his word, repeated in London, that he would retire from the Company. <P>If it comes to a choice of the Graham legacy or Ron's own interests, I'm going to go for the former.<P><BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2001 6:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
Faline, you bring up some very wise points in your last posting. It is beyoned selfish, as you suggest, what the Graham dancers are doing by insisting that if they can't own Martha's works and control them as they see fit, that NO DANCERS anywhere in the world should dance these masterpieces. Martha Graham had 20 years to make up her mind, you are correct, about what should happen with her artistic legacy - and she did NOT leave anything to the Graham Center or the board of directors or to anyone EXCEPT Ron Protas - who is the legal heir and legitimate owner of the entire Graham estate, ballets, sets, costumes, name, image, and so on. It would seem to me, that the former Graham dancers would want to have Martha's masterworks seen by audiences all over the world - this is the way in which the Graham legacy will live on. The stunning and unbelievably successful production of "Appalachian Spring" by the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago this year is one example of how the Graham legacy is continuing on. There are not enough dance performances as it is, and to try and stop people from seeing these ballets or other magnificent dancers from dancing them is really not a very bright idea. With all due respect to Tadej and the others, what fool gave them advice about what to do? One of the board members? <P>I feel very badly for the Graham dancers who are being harassed and victimized for not signing that boycott letter. People have the right to evaluate a situation and make up their own minds. How cruel and brutal that this group of ringleaders are calling, harassing, and threatening people who have not signed this boycott. Some of these dancers who are being harassed are elderly and should be respected as the elder statespeople of the Graham legacy. What they are doing is unhuman and brutal and very painful. These dancers are about to destroy vital human links to the Graham past.<P>The unfortunate thing here is that they are cutting off their own legs and feet in the process. <P>What this group of dancers and board members should be doing is making a constructive approach to Protas to re-license the ballets. Protas has come to the table but they have not.<P>Like it or not, if anyone wants to stage a production of "Oklahoma" they have to have a license with the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization (even if your aunt Sally was the original understudy for Laurie). Similarly, if anyone wants to stage a ballet by Martha Graham, they have to have a license from Protas.<P>Wake up.<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2001 6:57 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Well Susannah, I would be interested to see the Joffrey performance of 'Appalachian Spring'. However, as someone interested in the Graham legacy I would rather see this fine piece of choreography danced by Graham technique trained dancers rather than ballet trained ones. <P>You make serious accusations about the harressment of past dancers. Certainly here in the UK very close associates of Graham such as Robert Cohan and Jane Dudley have both willingly signed. Cohan said, 'I have to say that Ron is not doing a good service to the body of work...'<P>I note that those opposed to Ron's agenda, including myself, have given their names. You are of course at liberty to remain anonymous, but it does diminish the value attached to your words.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Graham Company: Changing Steps
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2001 12:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
Dear Mr. Sweeney,<P>I think you should be able to get a copy of the Joffrey's production of "Appalachian Spring" directly from the Joffrey Company. I am not sure if a copy has been placed in the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts or not, another good source for viewing dance films as you might know. The Joffrey production, by the way was staged by Yuriko who is arguably the most important living Graham connection in the world. Anna Kisselgoff in the New York Times hailed it as a triumph.<P>With all due respect, there is so much emotion related to the core issues here that many people are unable to see the facts and more importantly, the truth. <P>Many people despise Ron Protas, and from what I infer from your posting, he is no friend of yours, either. It matters not what Dudley and Cohan think of him, or for that matter, anyone else. What matters is what Martha Graham thought of him and felt for him and it is HER wishes and not Bob Cohan's that we must honor and respect.<P>Further, his not being a dancer has absolutely nothing to do witht the fact that Martha Graham entrusted her artistic legacy to him and that on many occassions, she herself publicly stated that she had trained him in carrying out her artistic accomplishments. If Martha Graham was satisfied with her choice for who she wanted to carry out her artistic legacy and own her intellectual property, then who are we to challenge her? <P>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 103 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group