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 Post subject: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:10 am 
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Although I’ve written on the subject on the main English National Ballet thread about the sacking of the company’s director Wayne Eagling I feel that now that repercussions are making themselves felt and a protest movement seems to be forming, it is time to give this topic a thread of its own.

To sum up the situation so far:
On 20th February we are told that Wayne Eagling has resigned from ENB, this news is greeted with scepticism by many, including myself, who were aware that Eagling survived an attempt to oust him the year before.

On 21st February the press responds with an interesting article written by Judith Mackrell for The Guardian in which she stresses the difficulties that ENB has experienced in the past due to interference from its philistine Board. Read the complete story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/fe ... sfeed=true

On 25th March Jeffrey Taylor confirms what we all suspected: that Eagling was dismissed and did not resign: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/310 ... nal-Ballet
In the time between the first news of Eagling’s departure and Mr Taylor’s confirmation that he was indeed sacked, the fans and supporters of English National Ballet got together to make their feelings over this outrage known. The first publicized shot in their campaign is this letter to The Dancing Times:

http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/features ... tewayneenb

I urge readers of CriticalDance to read this letter and act on its contents, letters of protest to The Arts Council as suggested will be a very good first step. ENB is funded by the British tax payer and supporters of the company – and I know there are a great many - have every right to protest despite a couple of curious online responses to the supporters’ letter that appear to suggest otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:51 am 
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I will give my full support to this campaign and to the letter to Dancing Times.
Due to a desperate lack of time I just reiterate my views aired on the main ENB topic:

I agree absolutely not only with Cassandra's assessment of Wayne Eagling as a popular director but especially with her concern about the future of ENB. The company is in great shape, every year we as ballet lovers enjoy interesting new programmes created by this Artistic Direcor.
Why this successful AD, who obviously loves and enjoys his job, should depart long before he reached the age of retirement? Why no explanation is given of his “resignation”?
If Wayne Eagling made this decision voluntarily, why a celebratory gala has not been announced by the board of directors as a way of thanking him for his achievments?
If his departure is not voluntary, why the board of directors doesn’t explain publicly to the paying ballet-goers and the taxpayers who support the company - the reason for the forced resignation of this valuable leader of the company?
In my view, the Directors owe us this explanation. I personally would like to hear it.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:28 am 
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It is very encouraging that a thread/posts relating to Wayne Eagling's situation at ENB are now on this site as well as those of the Dancing Times and Ballet.Co. I am fearful of what mght happen to this wonderful company if Wayne does, indeed, 'step down'. The current strength of ENB (as displayed at the Coliseum this week where new, young talent within the Company is wowing audiences alongside established stars and the verve and unity of the corps is a real treat) is testament to his achievements as Artistic Director. It therefore seems incomprehensible to me, as an outsider, why any Board would want to 'let him go'.

Along with other posters here and elsewhere, I would urge ballet lovers to deomsntrate their support for Wayne not only on website but also via letters to those in authority.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:59 am 
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Welcome to the board Cabrioles. A very unique way of showing your support for Wayne Eagling has emerged this morning and here it is:


The e-petition "Reinstate Wayne Eagling as Artistic Director of English National Ballet and instruct the Arts Council to conduct a review of the ENB Board" has now been published. You can view the e-petition at:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32127

This is an official UK government petition and I urge everyone that cares about the future of British ballet to sign. It thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:18 am 
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An update on the campaign to get Wayne Eagling reinstated at English National Ballet

I am informed that a promised meeting between aggrieved ballet lovers and ENB Chairman John Talbot that should have taken place this weekend was called off by Talbot at the eleventh hour. The reason being that he refused to engage with anyone that was not a member of the ‘Friends of ENB’, in other words if you cannot afford to become a financial contributor to the company then your views are of no consequence. Ironically the majority of the group were in fact ENB friends, though one had resigned shortly before because of this debacle. This is a poor show all round.

The excellent ballet magazine Dance Europe leads on its editorial page with the Eagling dismissal and concentrates on the very curious fact that only two weeks were allocated for applications for the post of ENB Artistic Director, and questions why a company of ENB’s stature has not engaged in a worldwide search. A persistent rumour from within the company claims that a successor to Eagling was selected back in December and that advertising the job was merely for the sake of form. I have been given the name of the rumoured new ENB director, though of course the rules of this board mean I cannot reveal who it is. However if this rumour proves correct then I am truly astonished and dismayed that someone with no experience whatsoever of running a ballet company should even be considered suitable to take on a company the size of ENB. I hope for all our sakes that the rumour proves false.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Please keep signing this petition and letting others know about it:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32127

If it is important to you to be anonymous the website does not publish your name - only adds to the number. So even though you have to give your name, it is not published.

Please help to save this great Director, or at the very least to expose the incompetence and bad judgment of this Board.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:36 pm 
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For the latest news on this please read the postings under the letter on Dancing Times:

http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/features ... tewayneenb

And please keep signing the petition.


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 Post subject: The new ENB director
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:54 am 
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I have just received a forwarded press release with the name of the new ENB director. It is embargoed until 6am Friday 13th. I shall not break the embargo by disclosing the name; however I should like to remind readers of what I wrote on Monday 2nd April.

Quote:
A persistent rumour from within the company claims that a successor to Eagling was selected back in December and that advertising the job was merely for the sake of form. I have been given the name of the rumoured new ENB director, though of course the rules of this board mean I cannot reveal who it is. However if this rumour proves correct then I am truly astonished and dismayed that someone with no experience whatsoever of running a ballet company should even be considered suitable to take on a company the size of ENB. I hope for all our sakes that the rumour proves false.


Well that rumour has proved correct and ENB is to be run by a dancer with no experience of running a ballet company whatsoever. And bad luck on the guys who applied for the job not realizing a director had been chosen two months earlier , bit of a fools' errand, wasn't it guys? How very appropriate that the new director's identity will be revealed on Friday 13th, looks like bad luck for a great many people.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:24 am 
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Although I've posted a news item on the ENB 2011-2 forum, here is the full press release:

English National Ballet announces Tamara Rojo as its new Artistic Director.

English National Ballet is delighted to announce that Tamara Rojo will take over as Artistic Director in September 2012 for the start of the Company’s new season. Tamara brings with her a wealth of experience both as a dancer and board member of many of the UK’s most prestigious arts organisations.

Tamara will be an innovative and creative artistic leader for English National Ballet which continues to take ballet of the highest quality to audiences in all regions of the UK and around the world at affordable prices. Tamara’s appointment starts an exciting new chapter in the company’s long and distinguished history.

“I am honoured to have been asked by the board of English National Ballet to be their next Artistic Director. I have very fond memories of my time as a dancer with English National Ballet and nothing could make me prouder than to return to this internationally respected company, with its wonderful dancers and invaluable legacy in bringing dance to the nation. I am particularly excited about working with young British choreographers, building strong relationships with our audiences in the regions, and exploring opportunities across other art forms” Tamara Rojo

Tamara Rojo’s first Principal appointment in the UK was at English National Ballet, and it was at English National Ballet that her reputation in the dance world began to grow. The Times named her “Dance revelation of the year” after her performances as Clara in Derek Deane’s The Nutcracker. She has since gone on to perform around the world, and is currently Principal Dancer at the Royal Ballet, and one of the world’s most in demand ballerinas. Tamara is a strong voice in the dance world; she sits on the board of Arts Council East, Dance UK, the ICA, the Anglo-Spanish Society and is keen to nurture young talent as a guest teacher at the Royal Ballet School.

“English National Ballet is very happy to welcome Tamara as the new Artistic Director. We look forward to the continuing success of the Company which has thrived under Wayne Eagling’s Artistic Direction over the last seven years. Tamara will use her world wide reputation and creative vision to form inspiring collaborations throughout the UK and the world. She is looking forward to developing, mentoring and showcasing young talent within the Company, and building the profiles of those who are already performing at the highest level.“ John Talbot, Chairman of English National Ballet

As well as her role as Artistic Director, Tamara will also dance with the Company using her internationally renowned reputation and loyal fan base to reach new audiences for English National Ballet across the UK and the world.

English National Ballet will be announcing plans for the 2013 season under the new leadership of Tamara Rojo later this year.

For information about English National Ballet’s current repertoire please visit http://www.ballet.org.uk

- Ends –

A personal view is that it strikes me as a bit of a leap into the unknown. For all her board experience, Rojo has not run a company before, but then again she is not the first major dancer to have gone directly to directing a major company. Some have been successful, some less so, and some people still argue about. In many ways it's a brave move all round and one that leaves people open to much potential criticism.

I have some concerns about the fact she plans to continue dancing. Of course, Peter Schaufuss did it, with some success. But it is difficult to sit on both sides of the fence (as it were), let alone in a company that seems to have more than its fair share of internal issues. And that's without following a very popular director, which is always an incredidbly difficult scenario, let alone one who is leaving in the circumstances Eagling is.

I think my biggest other worry would be that, reading comments posted here and especially elsewhere, it seems that a number of vociferous people would be only too happy if she failed (however that is judged), since that would vindicate their view of the board. I hope I'm wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:48 am 
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Speaking for myself David, I won't be happy for her to fail as that will mean ENB taking a tumble with her, however the lack of experience and the troubling background story of how she achieved the appointment don't bode well. ENB is currently in a very good place but I am very fearful that that will change.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:23 am 
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We were among those seeking to ensure that ENB continued in good health and we remain concerned to see the Company, which is currently at the top of its form, continue to thrive. In that context, it is disappointing that anyone should suggest here that those who recognise Wayne Eagling's strengths and achievements should want Tamara to fail so that the Board can be blamed. Nothing could be further from the truth.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:13 am 
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I couldn't agree more about ENB being in a better position artistically than it has been for longer than I dare to think. And yes, no-one wants that to change. Eagling has done a remarkable job, but why is there an implicit assumption that his leaving equals a lowering of standards or anything else? It might, of course, but equally it might not.

My comment was not intended to offend, and apologies if it has done so. But I have seen remarks that have been particularly intemperate and had to be taken down (not from this forum, I hasten to add). And I do read a subtext in some that any subsequent failure will vindicate their view of the ENB board. That is my reading. You have a different one. Fine.

I think it's great that so much passion has been shown by the company's supporters, although I think some of the OTT language has been unfortunate. It has certainly alienated some of my friends. But Eagling is not about to be reinstated. The Arts Council is not about to launch an inquiry into the board - for a start I believe it's outside their remit. And the board is not about to resign. The Arts Council could, of course, withdraw funding, but all sorts of criteria would have to be met first. They're not going to, and I'm sure no-one would want that to happen anyway.

One aspect of all this that hasn't really been discussed is whether (and if so, how) any organisation in receipt of significant public funding should be subject to monitoring by an outside/independent body. Mind you, whether any such body can really be totally independent/objective is questionable. It's always going to have political or other masters, and we all have our biases and prejudices. The artistic activities are monitored, of course. The Arts Council has a system in place that determines whether artistic onjectives are being met. But what I'll call the admistrative side is not - or at least largely not - so long as all the legal requirements are met. In theory, company boards (generally) are monitored by their shareholders, but dance companies are not 'public limited companies', and they are not public bodies. I believe that they are effectively 'private limited companies'. I don't know what the answer is. Of course, we could have another regulator ('OffArt' anyone?) or extend the Arts Council's responsibilities, but in the current cost-cutting climate I think that's unlikely to happen.

As I've got to the subject of funding, the company, along with everyone else, has been hit with a funding cut and faces some tough decisions that will affect the rep and dancers. You only need look at BRB's rep for next year to see the effect - It's a diet of seat-filling full lengths with just one triple bill. The Royal Ballet have already made noises about funding changes affecting their rep for 2013-4. Being honest, it's difficult to not to see ENB having to go down the same road. I really hope I'm wrong. But if that does happen, let's remember it's not all down to Rojo.

This is very much my view, but I think everyone should start looking forward. A few less negative noises would not come amiss. Eagling has worked wonders, but he does not have all the answers (nobody does). What has happened could be the start of a wonderful new era in the company's history. Rojo will have new ideas and there will be change in all sorts of areas. It is vitally important that the company takes its audience and sponsors with it (and attracts new ones along the way), so let's hope everything is gradual and planned - that sort always works best. But change is never easy and the problem is, as always, we don't know how things will pan out.

I suspect there will be changes in the company roster too. There always are when a new director comes in. And there are always dancers looking for bigger and better opportunities. ENB is a very good company, but it is not the biggest or most prestigious in the world, or the one that provides the most opportunities. Dancers do get approaches from other companies - and of course change at the top will alert others to the fact that people might be more easily tempted away. Some dancers stay with companies for life, but most are always looking for chances to advance their careers. I think I can guess who people would not want to see leave, but I think I can also guess who would be the favourites to.

Enough from me! One thing I can be sure of, there are interesting times ahead, with lots to discuss no doubt!


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:43 am 
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With respect, you miss the point entirely David regards what those of us defending Wayne were trying to achieve. Of course we knew we were unlikely to save him - but we made the point in public that he was valued, that this Board are incompetent for even thinking to make such a crass decision, and the debate has exposed John Talbot for inappropriate decision making in having listened to a small bunch of sulking young dancers that are not feeling they are getting the roles they deserve. I know for a fact that Wayne himself has been very touched by the vocal protest from audience members - so whilst your friends were sat on their hands doing nothing and shaking their heads at supposed OTT language, some others were actually doing something to expose this shambles. I find armchair critics that disapprove of the way Eagling was treated yet did nothing themselves to help protest against the situation, but who then pop up afterwards criticising those that had the energy and passion to protest, extremely tiresome.

What I find ironic is that the very malcontented dancers that stuck the knife in (which was only a small number) are now mortified that their new boss is Rojo. Perhaps you should be telling them to be more positive David!

None of us want to see her fail for the sake of the company. But the way she got the job is deeply unpleasant and tells people who don't know her something about her character. Tamara approached the ENB Board last year to say she was interested in the job, and the move against Wayne was partly a result of that. She and the Board have been working towards this ever since - she was interviewed at least twice before Christmas 2011. The advert for the post that went out in February was a fake, just going through the motions, and I feel sorry for all those candidates whose time was wasted in applying for a vacancy which had already been filled. Why do you think the window to apply for the post was just 10 days!

The other phrase that springs to mind is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - Rojo may or may not turn out to deliver something worthwhile, I agree with you David its a gamble and none of us really know yet - but what IS certain is that keeping Wayne for the remaining few years of his contract would not have been a gamble at all, continued success would have been guaranteed. Wayne had many exciting plans such as a desire to stage Bejart’s wonderful Ring around the Ring, and enter a collaboration with the Mikhailovsky company etc. So there was no need to take the risk the Board had now imposed on the company. We don’t need Rojo to bring “exciting” ideas when Eagling already had them.

And it is a risk. It is likely the artistic management team will walk. And we all know who the company's superlative performances in Suite en Blanc are attributable to. You say David "I suspect there will be changes in the company roster too. There always are when a new director comes in" - OK then, so if we loose Vadim because of this lets not worry, he's only the greatest young classical male dancer in the world today. When you are lucky enough to have a dancer of that quality in a company like ENB you should do nothing to risk that. We are all praying right now that he and Rojo get along fine, hopefully they will. Its bad enough to loose Wayne, let alone anyone else.

I admire David your wish to look forward and we all wish to do that - none of us want her to fail, but the way Wayne Eagling has been treated has left a very nasty taste, and the fact that it is emerging now that his successor was herself partly complicit in that does not help to heal things.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:29 am 
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I find all this really intriguing. There must be lots we don't know. Just a shame that any attempt at reasonable debate is met by another volley.

Tahor, you are obviously speaking from inside the company. You know so much about what dancers think. Wayne's plans sounded wonderful. Do you know if he had the money? I would love to hear more.

You know, I also wonder if that those TV programmes were not a part of the board's decision. They always focus on the bad things, but it hardly made ENB or Wayne look great did it. Can't imagine the board were happy. Can you tell us.


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 Post subject: Re: The 'Why Waste Wayne" Campaign - GET BEHIND WAYNE EAGLING!!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:21 pm 
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I know little about ENB these days, but a few general comments

Quote:
Why do you think the window to apply for the post was just 10 days!


I don't know about the UK now, but here in Canada, 10-14 days is completely standard for a job posting. If there aren't enough applicants (or none is acceptable), then the job may be re-advertised, but it's rare not to get well more than enough applications within 10 days.

Also, it's certainly not unheard of for a company/business/government agency to have a pretty good idea or a very clear idea of who they want to hire before posting a job ad. Especially when we're talking about higher level jobs that require very specific skill sets and where the field of potential applicants is not large. Job ads are sometimes written with a specific person in mind - especially if said person has worked/interned for the company as part of a degree program or on a temp contract, and the company wants to hire them on permanently, but has to at least go through the motions of a job search. In "When Snowflakes Dance and Swear" it was made pretty clear that the PNB search committee had their eye on very specific persons for the AD job there, and would have pushed Peter Boal to apply had he not done so on his own. And cut the intended search & interview process short to hire Boal.

Also, I'm not sure a collaboration with the Mikhailovsky would be at all wise these days given the company's potentially dire financial situation (though not sure what the current status is there), and the hash that the company has made with regards to contracts lately (the ABT issue that forced the tour to be cancelled etc.).


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