The Politken appears to be making a splash with allegations of widespread cocaine abuse and imminent large scale departures at the RDB. Supposedly the company did an internal report, which suggests a significant problem.http://politiken.dk/kultur/nyheder/ECE1 ... ge-ballet/http://politiken.dk/kultur/scenekunst/E ... -paa-coke/http://politiken.dk/kultur/scenekunst/E ... inmisbrug/http://politiken.dk/kultur/scenekunst/E ... kokainsag/http://kpn.dk/article2483993.ecehttp://kpn.dk/article2483913.ece
This article is setting the paper up for trouble since article is about Nilas Martins' arrest, but uses a picture of, I think, Alexander Ritter. Not good to misidentify someone when you're talking about a drug arrest.
It's hard to tell whether this is a complete fabrication, a huge blow up of a minor problem or the truth. The company - or rather the school - has certainly been the subject of salacious rumour-mongering before. Several years ago there was a series of articles alleging abuse etc. at the ballet school. If I remember correctly, there was a brief investigation of sorts, which clearly turned up nothing, as the whole kit n' kaboodle never surfaced in newsprint again. Then there were some negative reactions to certain scenes in recent documentaries about the company - which I might add, didn't sugar coat much. And with the tour over, news of real interest tending to be slow in the summer, and quite potentially, the desire for the newspapers to escape from the important and unpleasant stories (i.e. right wingers, new border controls) - the ballet is ripe fodder for gossip. It's much more fun and attention grabbing to write about ballet gossip than to address the no-easy-solution problems like immigration and finances.
Now, I'd be shocked if there wasn't some drug use going on - this is a group mainly of teenagers, 20 and 30-somethings after all. And it was Nilas Martins at NYCB - when Hübbe was still a company member - who got arrested for cocaine possession. But I'd be hard-pressed to think that a significant chunk of the company could be having such a problem and the company still performing at such a high level. (Apparently they had some not entirely stellar nights on tour, but the reviews from the season at home were very positive, as were the majority of the tour reviews - and the criticisms tended to be leveled at the productions, not the dancing).
We'll know within a couple of months if the departures are true - the company returns to rehearsals late this month and starts performances in August. My feeling is that this is a case of a paper looking for stories, and an internal report of which the contents are not being revealed. As one of the articles mentions, there are very valid reasons for a company conducting internal reports on health and other issues. Eating disorders are hardly unheard of, the company has had issues with injuries, and after a couple of years with a new director, it's very valid to want to gauge the feelings of the company about the new directorship. Remember that both dancers and director are civil servants, and performance reviews are par for the course when you work for the government.
However, again for very valid reasons - privacy foremost, particularly when health issues are concerned - those reports are often not to be released beyond the company, consultant and here, the government. And this is what the press hates - and loves to make a story out of. (Heavy sarcasm)If a report or info is not publically released - it simply must contain something damning.(Heavy sarcasm). In my field - public health - this is a frequent problem, because info on outbreaks and/or other issues may not always be released or released promptly, for a number of honest reasons. And inevitably, the press jumps on this and assumes there's a huge cover-up.
There may well also be some less than thrilled dancers when it comes to Hübbe. The company had enjoyed a relatively "lax" work environment, but Hübbe has been outspoken about wanting to (and apparently being successful), at making the work situation more strict in terms of enforcing attendance at company class among other things. That said, the RDB's work hours and conditions reflect the norm in Northern Europe, as opposed to longer work hours & less vacation in North America (for dancers and non-dancers alike). So there might be some sour grapes. No huge shocker. In every work place, someone isn't fond of the boss.
However, I think the company is going to have to come clean in some way. Hübbe has certainly been outspoken, and came from a ballet scene in NYC where cocaine certainly was not unheard of, as per the very public arrest of Nilas Martins, and alcohol abuse was also not unheard of (as per the arrest of Martins Sr.). Unlike, in the US, director and dancers are civil servants, so they have to live up to the standards of the government, not of private funders. Which may be a shock, particular to dancers coming from outside Europe - who are used to answering only to the artistic director. And I think, regardless of the truth, the dancers better be much more aware of their behavior, because in this era of financial instability and the right wing shift that has ensued, arts are no longer safe anywhere, especially when the government is the primary source of funds. Not to mention that the average Dane is not likely to be very sympathetic with the perceived "easy life" of a dancer - i.e. pension at 40, couple of months off etc.