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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:15 pm 
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You think :?: :twisted:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:07 am 
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two articles from the Washington Post:

A Misstep, a Stumble, a Collapse
-- Suzanne Erlon -- James Edwin Kee are, respectively, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet and founder and artistic director emeritus of the Rockville-based Metropolitan Ballet Theatre; and a professor of public policy at George Washington University who has served on the boards of directors of two ballet companies. jedkee@gwu.edu
Washington Post
Sunday, January 8, 2006; Page B08


Quote:
The tragic cancellation of the Washington Ballet's "The Nutcracker" and now most of the season is first and foremost a failure of leadership. All of the prime actors come out with egg on their faces, having left thousands of fans disappointed and hundreds of juvenile performers, their parents and friends without an annual tradition. The company lost a substantial part of its revenue, the dancers lost the small salaries that sustain them, the artistic director became the new Scrooge of Washington and everyone's reputations suffered.

An examination of the events of the past year -- the firing of dancers who represented their union, the cancellation of a trip to Italy over a per-diem for the dancers and now the cancellation of much of the season because of safety and security issues -- leads to the conclusion that the company's artistic director wanted to break the union and perhaps start anew with nonunion dancers. Even if that is not the case, how did the ballet's board allow things to deteriorate to this point?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/06/AR2006010601497.html



Ballet Rejects Offer By Michael Kaiser To Mediate, Returns To Bargaining Table
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 7, 2006; Page C01


Quote:
Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser has offered to mediate the bitter and drawn-out contract negotiations between the shut-down Washington Ballet and its dancers' union, but the ballet's leadership has rejected the idea, an official confirmed yesterday.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/06/AR2006010602036.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:35 am 
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I can only think of two possible reasons that management would decline Mr. Kaiser's offer to mediate:

1. They didn't understand the word and confused it with "binding arbitration", or

B. They're not really interested in resolving the situation.

Can anyone think of another possibility?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:50 am 
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salzberg wrote:
I can only think of two possible reasons that management would decline Mr. Kaiser's offer to mediate:

1. They didn't understand the word and confused it with "binding arbitration", or

B. They're not really interested in resolving the situation.

Can anyone think of another possibility?


Jeffrey,your option "B" might be correct, I nor any of us really know what is going on behind closed doors at WB but I wouldn't be surprised if they are just planning to clean house and start a new. I hope I am wrong but it wouldn't surprise me at all. Another possibility would be that the administration of WB has probably made up their minds as to what they are willing to offer in the way of comprimise and that is that. Sort of a take it or leave it situation and why would you want/need a mediator if this is the case.

As for Mr. Gordon's recent statements calling the administration of WB "Asinine" :roll: I guess the pot really can call the kettle black :? He of all people should not be throwing around public statements like that. Just a tiny bit of dignity and respect goes a long way when you are under the kind of scrutiny he is at the moment.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:08 am 
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I just hope this awful situation does not affect the School or THEARC. I haven't heard anything locally that indicates that these have been affected.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:38 pm 
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I haven't seen any public comments or original news stories for almost a week - since the volcanic eruption over Palmquist's refusal of Kaiser's assistance last Friday. If this is a self-imposed media blackout on both sides, that could be a good sign that some meaningful talks are underway. Fingers crossed.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:54 pm 
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This is a very unfortunate situation. Does anyone know how the dancers are handling this? Are they working elsewhere?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:12 am 
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Kojo Nnamdi is a great talk show host and he did a program on the Washington Ballet yesterday. To download the show go to:
http://www.wamu.org/programs/kn/06/01/24.php

WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio
Kojo Nnamdi show 1/24/06

The Washington Ballet


Quote:
A labor dispute that had been brewing for nearly a year at The Washington Ballet boiled over in December. With audiences disappointed at the cancellation of The Nutcracker, and the remaining performance season now on hold, we find out what's at stake for the dancers the Ballet Company, and the audience.

Guests:

Chip Coleman, dancer with The Washington Ballet

Sarah Kauffman, reporter, The Washington Post

Louis Torres, dancer with The Washington Ballet; and one of the dancer's delegates at union negotiations

Septime Webre, Artistic Director, The Washington Ballet


http://www.wamu.org/programs/kn/06/01/24.php


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:08 am 
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Thanks for that, Carol. WAMU sounds like a very interesting radio station. Weber gave a pretty good account of himself, but overall my sympathies remain primarily with the dancers....and the ballet fans, of course. It's a shame that there wasn't time at the end to hear why the Company declined the mediation of Michael Kaiser.

Good to hear that discussions are now reinstated - fingers and everything else crossed.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:43 pm 
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OK, so I just listened to the whole broadcast and before I comment I have to say that I just LOVE digital media. I am in Scotland at the moment as was ablen to listen to this radio broadcast via my PC :P Could anyone have even imagined that 10 years ago :shock:
One thing I wish would have been elaborated on was Mr. Gordon's statements about a 3 year term or something to that effect. Don't quote me word for word here but I think he said something about a 3 year term with a yearly evaluation being the industry norm for dancers. The conversation switched gears after that and it is something that stuck out for me. 3 year durations on a contract for a ballet company are unheard of or atleast in my experience. Maybe he was reffering to the governing contract between AGMA and Washington Ballet? If that is what he meant it didn't come out that way, they way I interpretted it was that he was making reference to the dancers' contracts with the company. I don't know what that point of interest was all about but it certainly didn't make sense to me when listening to it.

Very interesting to hear commentary from a few of the dancers, it breaks my heart to hear them thanking people who donated "Gift Cards" for food. This is the WORST time of the year to be unemployed, not too much going on until March in the way of supplimental/guest work.

Ensemble Vs. Ranked, ooohhh the age old argument :roll: . I have worked in both types of companies and there are positive and negative aspects to both structures. I have a feeling they will argue this point until both sides are blue in the face.

The schedule issue is an interesting one, 3 hours on, 1 hour for lunch, and another 3 hours on is pretty standard. There are many dance companies right now that work this exact same schedule. When some of them go into the theatre for productions they will do 12:00 noon until pretty much 11:30 at night for 6 days straight as long as the theatre run is for. Again, the broadcast didn't elaborate too much on what is being proposed but that schedule seems up to par with as Mr. Gordon says "Industry Standard".

It was also interesting to finally hear some reference to the board of directors being brought into all this. It would have been great to hear some commentary from some of them.

After listening to this I feel very sad for the dancers, it seems to me, and keep in mind that this is just my opinion that they are being misled. Are these issues really enough to call for a complete work stoppage? Enough to have to accept donated Food Cards and not earning a wage? Enough to put yourself and organization's reputation on the line in the public eye? Enough to put your livelyhood in jeapordy? I really don't think so, granted I as well as most in this forum are discussing this as outsiders and we really don't know ALL the specifics. If they weren't being paid for work rendered or working much more than any other full-time employee in the USA then I would say OK it is time to walk and take a stand. These issues seem to be things that through time CAN be worked out and both sides to find middle ground on. These negotiations NEVER should have come to this point and everyone in WB management and AGMA should be ashamed. Dancers are relying on donated food cards in order to eat??? Are you kidding me!!!.

Like I said before, everyone loses in a work stoppage scenario, the question is, how much do you want to loose?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:51 pm 
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I think he must have been referring to the governing contract - the basic AGMA contracts are three years. Then the individual contracts are done on a year to year basic, based on the salary structure and hours set out in the main contract.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Osiris, how can people send aid to the dancers?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:35 am 
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Azlan, someone told me that if you goto AGMA's website they have a donation section laid out for the Washington Ballet dancer's. I am sure if you contacted AGMA or Washington Ballet directly they would tell you what is needed most and how to get it to the dancers. Or atleast I would hope.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:52 am 
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AGMA's donation info is online at:

http://www.musicalartists.org/HomePage.htm

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:00 am 
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Reading the above was certainly very depressing. I have neither the time nor the patience to listen to the broadcast (it’s very jumpy through my 56k modem). To me the dancers have only 2 decisions: (a) Move on and find another company to dance for. (b) Find a new career. Anybody who returns to Washington Ballet after the way they’ve been treated loves ballet more than themselves. Seriously, it’s time for a career change. Not everyone can do what they love on this planet. I myself have had to undergo several career changes.

Washington obviously cannot support a full-time ballet company. They should only present productions from visiting ballet companies.

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