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Ballet Pacifica's new AD: Ethan Stiefel

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ddm3

Expectations were very high. I think this is a case of wanting too much, too soon. Raising money for the arts in O.C. is difficult and this should have been taken into account, even with Mr. Stiefel on board. Building a world class ballet company in Southern California has never been achieved. For this to happen, it will require the support (not just financial) of a vast population of people coming together to make this happen. It will take the right kind of leadership, one that has an attitude of inclusiveness and it will also take time. I hope the Board of Directors will act expeditiously to find a suitable director for the academy, as it would be in the best interest of its students.

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balletbooster

Folks, I understand the frustration and disappointment many feel with the Ballet Pacifica situation. :wub: But, I want to caution everyone to remember that we do NOT allow personal attacks here on BT. Stating facts is fine, making them personal and hurtful is not.

 

I've just deleted one post and will do the same for others that cross the line. Please continue to discuss this situation, but when posting about individuals, please turn around what you say and ask the question, "If someone posted this about me, would I consider it a personal attack?" If so, then you need to rewrite before posting! :thumbsup:

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TutuMaker

I have to heartily disagree with this statement!

 

The school is in limbo right now. I hope the Board of Directors will act expeditiously to find a suitable director for the academy before the school loses it's best students

 

Although the academy has been officially closed for this week due to spring break, the atmosphere there among the dancers who are there is not desparate. They are relaxed and doing what they are at the studio to do. There is no talk about leaving by anyone---these are the upper level dancers.

 

Additionally, the board has been looking for a new academy director since Lorin Johnson resigned in December 2005. Ms. McKerrow, since kindly and graciously stepping into the position, has always been called the interim academy director. The parents were told upfront that Ms. McKerrow's position as director was not permanent. Both Mr. Gardner and Ms. McKerrow are adored by my children as instructors, but they were hired by the board as artistic staff, not instructors. Please do not disparage the other instructors at Ballet Pacifica, all are awesome!

 

As far as official press and unofficial, Mr. Gardner and Ms. McKerrow have not made a statement in regards to their staying or leaving!

 

The company is in limbo, not the academy!

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Victoria Leigh

Very glad to hear that the Academy is doing fine! Hope things work out eventually for the company too. It is a huge undertaking, and I'm sure very disappointing for a lot of dancers that it did not come together for this year.

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ddm3

Tutumaker, I would never say anything disparaging about the academy faculty at BP, as they are near and dear to my dd's heart. I am not an outsider making flippant remarks here and it is not my intent to spread rumor, so I have deleted one of my statements that you and others may find offensive. But the fact does remain that there has been no statement made yet regarding the future of McKerrow and Gardner, who happen to be part of the faculty at present. The only statement that has been made is that it is hoped that McKerrow will remain on board until the end of July. That would see the academy through the summer intensive. I do hope that is the case.

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TutuMaker

ddm3,

 

"The school is healthy and thriving, and Amanda is here through July at least," Wolfgram said.

 

This is from the O.C. Register article.

 

Your statement

The only statement that has been made is that it is hoped that McKerrow will remain on board until the end of July.
.

 

Adding the word "hoped," changes the meaning of the official statement. I agree there is not much official information, but let us all keep to the facts that are available. Also, please consider writing to the board of directors stating your concerns. I am not aware that any of them read this board! :wub:

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TruthConquers

It seems that what ballet moms and dd's are worried about is that Amanda and John may not be at Ballet Pacifica after July. I believe that they will stay and do the SI that runs though July, but it is after that, that I feel that the concern is coming from. True, there is no real information as to what will happen, but the way the cards have been played out, well, there is such a thing as reading the tea leaves. What will really happen is hard to say. None of us knows. I just know that there are alot of disappointed young dancers, and worried moms. :rolleyes: I, for one, will be keeping my options open. :cool2: I hope that the Board will do the best it can to find a good directors and stablize the school.

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ddm3

TruthConquers, thank you for stating your opinion so tactfully. I apologize, if I have offended anyone here as it is not my intent. It is my hope that Ballet Pacifica will survive and re emerge better than ever. I have always supported the company as well as the conservatory/academy. The school was my dds home for many years and we are close to the dancers in level 8 and as well as many of the teachers. We understand the disappointment of those who thought they were going to be a part of the new company and yes there is great concern about their future! This is very late in the audition season and the job market is extremely tight! The other dancers in level 8 who are not yet ready to audition for companies (and perhaps other levels too) are naturally trying to figure out what the future will bring. We will have to wait and see. Of course, the academy is thriving now, as it always has for many years. What kind of a statement would you expect from someone who has just come on board?

 

I still remain, that the Board of Directors must act quickly to find a permanent director for the academy. I am happy to send a strong message to the board, though it isn't my battle anymore. I hope that the person that they ultimately hire will have a vast amount of experience under their belt, both administrative and teaching experience. Preparing young dancers for a future in the profession is no easy task these days. Speaking from experience, it is extremely difficult to find work right now. In the midst of all this turmoil about the company, I do not want to see the academy go by the way side. I am saying this because I care about the dancers who are there right now.

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Victoria Leigh

ddm3, I think that the offending remarks were by someone else, about Stiefel, not McKerrow and Gardner. That post has been removed.

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TruthConquers

ddm3, no need to apologize because no offense was taken. I agree with you! My dd has been there at Ballet Pacifica since she was 7. She was at a Dinkle school when she told me that she wanted to dance ballet professional. I did not find Ballet Talk at that time, but I did find the Parents Book of Ballet and read it cover to cover in one day.

 

I am worried that the Board has a tall order in front of them. I hope they find a director for the school that matches your full description.

 

Time will tell. :cool2:

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ddm3

Thank you Ms. Leigh and TruthConquers for clarifying!

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mini cooper

ddm3, and others,

 

I am following this from a distance. ddm3, you comment that you will send a strong message to the board, but that it is not your battle anymore. Because it is not your battle anymore, it is all the more important for you to stay involved. Clearly, you have a view toward what is best for the arts community, the ballet company, and not just for what is best your dd. This lends credibility to what you say.

 

I offer these words of encouragement. Good always comes from adversity. I know it's hard to imagine how this will resolve itself, and who will be left to carry on at the Academy. But everyone will grow from this experience. All will be forced to look in a new way at their commitment and their passion. There may be some casualties in the process, but this adversity can stimulate creativity toward new solutions.

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gogators

I think anyone who has an interest to see BP survive for the longterm should write a letter or email to BP's board of directors expressing their concerns and suggestions.

 

BP's address is: 1824 Kaiser Avenue, Irvine, CA. 92614

 

BP's new managing director is Melody Wofgram; her mailing address is above and her email address is melody.wofgram@balletpacifica.org.

 

(I don't have an email address for any of the BP board of directors, but maybe someone else knows and can post it here.)

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lampwick

I'm following this from the other side of the planet (East Coast :))

 

It seems like the goal of bringing Ethan on board was to transform a regional scale company into a world class institution, and his name would lend a lot to accomplishing this. In many ways, he did do quite a bit. Certainly generated excitement, and it sounds like a lot of money was raised. It was just WAY too much of a leap in budget to pull together in one year.

 

I'm just wondering why the idea of a company suddenly becoming a giant force in American ballet is so important. It's difficult, but not impossible, to sustain a (moderate) 20 member company with a 28 week season with a budget less than proposed. But one really has to generate interest from the community. And present something unique. I never heard any discussion about what kind of repertory they would present... What would make people come see these shows, as opposed to buying ticktes for the Bolshoi which comes to town?

 

Expensive sets and costumes aren't necessary for showcasing amazing dancing and choreography. What's so bad about having a more moderately scaled company? Do it sustainably...at least some dancers would have jobs:) Didn't the company have problems even when they were more modest? What made anyone think that a struggling company could *within one year*, become a "major" player. Sounds like the idea was flawed to begin with. Why not just try and keep the organization running, and concentrate on the programming...trying to make it seductive to the audience...and draw people in. Build slowly. Artistic sincerity *can* draw an audience...lofty ambitions for thier own sake don't make sense to me...at least an artist.

 

Though I admit, I know nothing about business :blushing: Or the vibe in So.Cal. Just my 2 cents.

 

Wish everyone at the school all the best. The school will keep going strong, I'm sure. There's a been a lot of companies that folded this year, but the schools always manage to continue on...

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Mellisa

One of the things that upsets the parents the most is that some left their former school to come to Ballet Pacifica in hopes for a professional career with Ethan's new company. And now, those students will find it very difficult to go back to their original trainer. So they left for a dream and the dream never transpired. Fundraisers were attended and donations made. Work was done to raise money and help build the dream.

 

Too bad they couldn't just settle with a Regional Ballet company for a while instead of trying to work toward a National level company. Maybe the name won't be there with Ethan, but isn't there anyone else out there willing to come in and take over where Ethan left off? Perhaps the past director of the now-defunct Ballet Internationalle who tried to transfer that company to Los Angeles last year? I'm sure others would love to take a stab at a Regional level company. If BP requested applications, I'm sure they'd receive them.

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