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 Post subject: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD! He Resigns
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 119
Location: So. California
So did anyone else read the LATimes this morning? It announced that Ballet Pacifica has hired Ethan Stiefel, ABT principle dancer, for their new AD. Amanda McKerrow and John Garndner will be his 'second in command' while he is out of town.

So what do people think? It is quite a coup for BP and the O.C. and could be the start of a very top notch ballet company in So. Cal.....Quite Exciting I think!


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:43 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Here's the link, though it requires a paid subscription:

Quote:
ABT's Stiefel will lead Ballet Pacifica
Chris Pasles, LA Times

In a high-profile move to upgrade its status, Irvine-based Ballet Pacifica has named acclaimed American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Ethan Stiefel, 31, its "artistic director-designate."

"Of all the candidates we were talking to, he was the one who really stood out in coming to the table with a real vision of what the company could be and should be," executive director Thomas Gulick said Wednesday. "Plus he fit the business plan."
more (requires paid subscription)

Stiefel will stop guesting, though he will still dance with ABT. He says, "What attracted me was just the extraordinary opportunity to come into an organization on the ground floor, so to speak — to bring in staff, repertoire and dancers.

"That's something every artistic director looks for. I see great things for this company, and if I don't do it, someone else will. And I want to be the one to do it."

He comes on-board in September 2005 for 3 to 5 years, and the first public performance under his direction will be in February 2006. They're going to look for new dancers, expanding to about 18. They want to increase their annual budget from $1.7 million to $6.5 million in a few years. They'll have a full-length ballet, and 3 mixed reps per season.

No indication was given on the artistic direction. Does anyone know what the artistic tastes of Irvine are? Apparently, the board and past directors have had differences of artistic vision, and they're hoping to go to the community for much financial support.

--Andre


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 269
Hey folks, here's the link to the Orange County Register's story: lots of details, no subscription necessary:

<em><a href="http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2004/12/15/sections/news/news/article_344609.php">Register story</a></em>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Thanks Belinda. I forgot about the OC Register. This quote from that article has my hopes up:

Quote:
Stiefel envisions a repertory of classics by choreographers such as George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins plus ballets by European choreographers who are less well-known in this country.
--Andre


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
April Fools is 5 months away! Ethan Stiefel, though very talented and very good looking, is a baby at 31! He’s still in diapers! Do you think he’s ready to lead a company? Perhaps it’s his boyish good looks that have me thinking this way.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Euro element sounds interesting and it is good to be going beyond the predictable Balanchine and Robbins rep, even if he is in an excellent position to lead a company in these ballets.

However, it does sound like an expensive rep - does Ballet Pacifica have deep pockets? Their website shows that the choreographers for the current season include Robert Sund, Molly Lynch, David Allen.

<small>[ 18 December 2004, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 369
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I have mixed feelings about this...

First of all, I have felt for some time Ballet Pacifica was perhaps the only dance organization currently operating in the vicinity of Los Angeles that had a shot at becoming a major dance/ballet company. Then the financial difficulties and turmoil of leadership hit last year and those hopes all but disappeared. I believe this choice of Stiefel to lead the company has the chance to infuse it with the necessary stature to bring in well-trained dancers and financing capable of catapulting Ballet Pacifica to national status.

Major problems are still on the horizon. First of all is financing. The company at it's peak operated on less then $1.7 million a year with a relatively short contract for dancers. Stiefel's name will certainly overcome obstacles and bring in major funding, but it wil lnot happen quickly and, should he leave, the funding will likely go with him.

Another hurdle is it's proximity to the Orange County Performing Arts Center. OCPAC is enviously well funded. They underwrite many national tours bringing companies to Orange County over many other major metroplitan centers. Developing a company with national ambitions in the shadow of such a well endowed center is no less challenging than David Vs. Goliath. Orange County and Los Angeles dance patrons have shown time and again they will support tours to either locale but not both. Case in point, the recent visit of NYCB to Southern California. Had they toured OCPAC only, every show would have sold out. Instead, they played OCPAC and Dorothy Chandler where good seats remained unsold to every show and houses were far less than full on viritually every performance. To be successful, BP will have to establish itself as a "must see" company in a geographic region where patience for developing a company is limited.

Yet another hurdle will be training. I've always admired BP's willingness to take on anything, but many of the pieces they've attempted fell flat as the training of the company members was not quite up to the level of the pieces performed. Balanchine never looked good on this company, try as they might. To develop a company with the intention of tackling Balanchine and Robbins, Stiefel will need to take a long, hard look at the training currently offered the dancers and it's school. Reshaping the focus of the BP academy, already a fairly decent school, can make it a truly desireable program, one which would feed dancers tained in a specific style into the company. Again, this does not happen overnight and will take place in a part of the country where people are more apt to expect a return on the investment of training dollars in their daughter or son. He'll have to make it clear parents have no say in they casting and daily training decisions of their children. He'll have to contend with some strong feelings of entitlement from the parents and children for some time.

Lots of other challenges await. Even small, local companies have the money to draw major name dancers to their schools for annual Nutcrackers. Stifel himself has been one of them. This adds to the pressure put on the company to differentiate themselves so they can meet their bottom line.

But it could happen. Three to five years is not really enough time to establish a solid school and raise a company but its a start. The addition of Stiefel and the staff he's already mentioned is an excellent beginning.

Regarding his age, yes, he's young and inexperienced. We haven't even really seen the results of his "Stiefel and Students" forray to see if he's got it in him to make it work. But I suspect his eye is on a bigger prize here. Say, for example, he takes over an established company and turns it around. Ballet Pacifica can easilly be made to look very good again after the last year and a half. Give it three years and he becomes a candidate for a major national company if their artistic director chooses to retire. I suspect this is not just about the opoprtunity to transform a company in dire straights as much as it is to position himself for future opportunities.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:01 pm
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Location: So. California
Well. if OCPAC has its own orchestra and opera company......why not a ballet company ?
He could also be looking at future possiblities to join forces with this great performing arts organization.....and he may have the clout to do it!


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA (Midwest)
A good friend's son danced for Ethan last summer at his "Stiefel and Stars" workshop in Cape Cod. By all accounts, Ethan ran a very well-organized and well-funded operation, with the dancers, both professional and student, thoughtfully selected. He continues to keep tabs on these dancers, and doesn't hesitate to pick up a phone and get someone into a company class or performing opportunity where needed. I think this was the second year he ran the workshop, so I get the feeling that an AD spot is something he has been consciously positioning himself for at least the last couple years. Yes, he's young but it seems like he's got the connections, respect and work ethic to be successful. More power to him, I say.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:07 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Ballet Pacifica has cancelled its May 13-14, 2005 performances at the Irvine Barclay Theatre as a cost saving measure. The Orange County Register notes:

Click here


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 18, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: USA
Hi, I actually dance with BP. We're all very dissapointed about the cancellation as we were looking forward to doing something a bit more challenging rep-wise. We haven't been included much in the director finding process, so we're all a bit confused about how the board can hire someone of Ethan's caliber, but cancel an already booked program due to "financial difficulty". Not to mention being nervous about our jobs, as we've been told that Ethan won't be obseving class or rehearsals, so we all have to attend the open cattle call audition along with everyone else in Orange County.
I was just wondering, is this how things normally go when a new director comes along? I feel like we're already being written off as dancers, before we even get a chance to prove ourselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
No, this isn't the best way of proceeding or of doing ballet business. I'd suggest you dancers request a meeting with your ballet board to have a tete-a-tete to discuss issues that are of concern. Be organized and make a list of your talking points. Be clear in advance of what your goals are and what you want the outcome to look like. I know it can look discouraging but hopefully with better and more communication, everyone can have a satisfactory result and a better understanding of what's going on.

Keep us posted!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 9:57 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
The first fundraising dinner for Stiefel's Ballet Pacifica is a success with nearly $300K raised:

Quote:
Ballet Pacifica raises the barre
Donna Bunch, Orange County Register

Ethan Stiefel's appearance as the new artistic director of Ballet Pacifica at the company's third annual Signature Event's "Celebration of Dance" luncheon May 2 was a win-win for dance in Orange County. Not only is this principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre taking the helm of Ballet Pacifica, he has engaged two of ABT's top dancers - Amanda McKerrow as ballet mistress and John Gardneras artistic associate - to help him take this much-deserving company to world-class status.

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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Pacifica picks Ethan Stiefel as new AD!
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Viviana wrote:
Not to mention being nervous about our jobs, as we've been told that Ethan won't be obseving class or rehearsals, so we all have to attend the open cattle call audition along with everyone else in Orange County.
I was just wondering, is this how things normally go when a new director comes along? I feel like we're already being written off as dancers, before we even get a chance to prove ourselves.


Egads... Viviana, did things turn out the way you thought?

You ask if this is the way things are normally done? What is normal in the world of the arts? Unfortunately, in spite of most ballet companies being a community-based public charitable non-profit organization, a few people end up making most of the decisions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
An update on Ballet Pacifica:

Quote:
Setting a whole new stage
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

Last December, Ballet Pacifica's board of directors announced with fanfare the appointment of American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stiefel as company artistic director, saying a new age was dawning for the Irvine-based ballet troupe.

Stiefel and executive director Tom Gulick have been hard at work ever since, readying the company for a September 2006 start. What they've done so far suggests that the scope of their plans could exceed even the initial rosy pronouncements.

more


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