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Ballet Pacifica's new AD: Ethan Stiefel

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Guest coastkid2
I have to heartily disagree with this statement!

 

The company is in limbo, not the academy!

 

I have to disagree--the Ballet Pacifica Academy is also in complete limbo with no company affiliation, no program in between the school and the 'non-existant' company (like Joffrey Ensemble , BBII, or the ABT Studio Co), no permanent academy director, and no permanent 'big names' on its staff from which to draw and keep students. I think the Board of Directors needs to seruously consider what are their objectives for this school. My daughter has been there for one year and it was a fabulous year with the ABT staff, but without them she will leave.

Edited by coastkid2

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Memo

I think many people were lured by the name of Ethan Steifel. I think many of them will be turning around and asking their former teachers to take them back. Hopefully they did not burn their bridges when they left and both students, parents and teachers will be graceful about the whole thing.

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ddm3

Mini Cooper and Lampwick, your comments got a little lost after all of the posts about the summer intensive, but I wanted to let you know that I have decided to put my two cents in. We'll see if they throw my pennies back at me! I agree with you Lampwick about your ideas of lowering the expectations for the company rather than letting the whole thing go to pot.

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lampwick
agree with you Lampwick about your ideas of lowering the expectations for the company rather than letting the whole thing go to pot.

 

OK. But it's the value of "expectations" that I think about. The company I'm with has been established for a long time. Maybe considered "second tier". We're the "alternative" for the major classical company in town. But the choreographic integrity IMO is indesputable. As an apprentice, I have the fortune to observe countless performances and rehearsals. The work gets MORE interesting every time I see it. My parents have seen ballets at every level throughout the years. They are NOT arts people by any means. Even they can be affected by what this group does on stage. This is strong, honest work. Maybe not the most polished and perfect...but it's really honest, good art.

 

I think choreographic and artistic integrity have nothing to do with lowering standards or expectations. It's just a different way of looking at things.

 

Again, I have no idea what that company looks like. I just don't think becoming a national "force" is necessarily a valid goal (from an artist's perspective). But it's hard. I'm sure the depth of talent is there. There's plenty of groups with depth. It's just a hard thing to do.... I wish we could all just succeed.

 

But yeah, just having a job is good for a dancer. Keep it sustainable. There was some recent mention of Ballet Florida on other threads. Looking at the resumes, rep, and pictures, they look awesome. It's a good job, and being an a national force isn't so important. Just keeping ballet relevant (and it IS relevant) is a great achievement.

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gogators
I just don't think becoming a national "force" is necessarily a valid goal (from an artist's perspective). But it's hard. I'm sure the depth of talent is there. There's plenty of groups with depth. It's just a hard thing to do.... I wish we could all just succeed.

 

Thank you lampwick for bringing up some thoughtful ideas, which got me thinking about BP's recent past. I started to watch BP's performances only about five-six years ago. But they were definitely a "second tier" small chamber-size company. However, though second-tier they experimented and showcased alot of new choreography, mostly from young, American choreographers -- some of which I liked, and some I didn't like (but I'm no dance expert either).

 

To be honest, I don't know what happened between the former BP AD Molly Lynch and the BP board before she left (artistic differences?). But after she left, BP has yet to recover and regain their footing. For sure, I think BP was struggling financially (but what ballet company isn't?), and they didn't always sell alot of tickets for their performances. But...at least they existed, and at least they contributed to the goal of stretching artistically in the dance world.

 

Of course as with any organization, there was always room for improvement at BP. But, it's much easier to improve a company while it still exists, rather than one that doesn't exist now.

 

Let's just hope BP gets another chance to reemerge and exist again, and even thrive!

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LMCtech

This whole situation really feels like "too much, too fast". Stiefel was unrealistic and overly ambitious. He is more suited to an East Coast company. The "LA situation" requires an artistic director with more common sense and experience.

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chauffeur

Yes, an "East Coast situation" definitely requires less common sense and experience! (sorry, i couldn't resist having fun with the logic there :( It's Friday, you know)

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Victoria Leigh

Getting the money in place BEFORE you try to create the company is very important. Also, getting the community behind the project, and spending the time and energy to build a rapport with people there, is critical. My understanding is that Eddie Villella took a LONG time getting everything in place before launching MCB, and when he did, it took off! Sure, they have had struggles, as every ballet company does, but getting it going in the first place, as a professional company, takes a lot of work, time, and patience.

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Mellisa

here's my 2 cents.

 

It's hard for even wealthier, ballet-loving families to throw money at a ballet company that has PARENTS of dancers from their school on the board. Too many favors to pay back.

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thedriver

IMO, the board (not Mr Stiefel) is primarily responsible for the current situation at BP. The board members are people from the community. They should know what the community wants in terms of a professional ballet company in OC, and hire an AD with the SAME vision. Fifteen months ago they went looking for a new AD and approached Mr. Stiefel (not vice versa). It was the board’s responsibility to raise the additional funds, when they decided BP was to become a nationally recognized ballet company. Mr Stiefel determined what it would cost to turn BP into their vision and they didn’t like the price tag and/or couldn’t raise the funds. How very sad for all involved. :)

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LMCtech

thedriver, I totally agree with you. This entire situation has been created by a board that didn't know what it was doing. They thought they wanted something, hired someone they thought would give them what they wanted, and then balked at the price tag. Buyer's remorse.

 

But, Mr. Stiefel should have gone is with a clearer idea of what was expected of him and how much they were able to raise. A small company connot quadruple there operating budget in a year, especially in the difficult SoCal market.

 

Both sides went into this agreement with their eyes firmly shut.

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Balletismykidslife!
:D I have not been able to access the Ballet Pacifica website (Balletpacifica.org). It has some error that denies me access. Anyone else with this problem? Maybe the Web masters are working on it to address this whole situation ... or maybe something else? If you have info please provide, I'd be interested if there is any info about Ethan leaving and what is happening on thier end ... from THIER point of view, and not just hearsay. Thanks!

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Amy'sMom

It doesn't work for me, either. I'm guessing they're updating the site.

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Mellisa

(deleted section)

 

I read in the NYTimes that Ethan had successful knee surgery. This did not make news in either the OC Register or LA Times. Interesting.

 

There is a sense of uncertainty at Ballet Pacifica right now.

 

Questions arise about future direction of the school and company; whether their will be a new company, a Nutcracker season - their biggest money maker of all, and students. Many have already begun looking at other schools and teachers in the area.

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