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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: 60 Minutes showing NYCB


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Unless I'm interested n a particular football game, I admit to being irritated with the delay of my preferred programs.

 

However, as this Sunday delay in programming is fairly routine in the Fall, I think we are being a bit melodramatic in saying the delay was a commentary on the place of ballet in this country. At least there was a segment on ballet. And at least the program wasn't summarily pre-empted and not aired at all.

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He is up there in years, as many of the Balanchine teachers at SAB are as well. Who will replace these teachers and this AD who can carry on the legacy of Balanchine? That is the question that this show left me asking.

 

Napnap, after watching this 60 minutes piece, I came away with the same question. I thought that Martins seemed like an AD fresh out of ideas. The McCartney collaboration was a mixed bag, as was the most recent Valentino collaboration on costumes. He has a company, brimming with talented young dancers and a school that keeps churning them out, but where does he take them? I think the declining ballet audiences is not unique to NYCB and all ballet companies are all facing the challenges of staying current and relevant to the ever-changing world while maintaining the traditional art form AND making a profit.

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Thanks for the links. In Palm Beach County, we had only visuals, no sound. Some sort of problem with CBS, Palm Beach County!

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Unless I'm interested n a particular football game, I admit to being irritated with the delay of my preferred programs.

 

However, as this Sunday delay in programming is fairly routine in the Fall, I think we are being a bit melodramatic in saying the delay was a commentary on the place of ballet in this country. At least there was a segment on ballet. And at least the program wasn't summarily pre-empted and not aired at all.

 

I agree with dancemaven on this. And these sorts of delays are not limited to football either. Regular news programming is delayed after the Academy Awards when they run late every year, for example. I think it is standard practice to finish airing all (high-rating) programs that run overtime.

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His portrayal of ballerinas was in poor taste. However, having been involved in the ballet world as a parent, I would have to say I know quite a few who fit this description, and are very successful as a result. Fortunately, I know more who are not at all as portrayed as such, and are successful as well but in smaller ballet companies.

 

Poor taste? Can you imagine if a person in power characterized his female employees as "xxxxxes." How about the President of a large national corporation? Isn't NYCB the ballet equivalent of a large national corporation? It's more than poor taste. Surely, this company which benefits from an incredible endowment, a good deal of public and corporate support, could be managed by someone who respects all of his employees- both male and female. If the AD doesn't respect his dancers, why should the public? Name calling and characterization should be below someone in his position and in "the real world," a statement like this would cause the company board to question the CEO's suitability to run the company. Is ballet exempt from "real world" expectations from leadership?

 

There are many principals of large ballet companies world-wide who show generosity of spirit and kindness. It's part of who they are and makes them well-loved by fellow company members, ballet staff and importantly, their fans... the audience who buy tickets to see them dance and yes, there are a few stinkers out there too but the ones remembered and loved through time are the ones who are generous and kind. Margot Fonteyn comes to mind. Marianela Nunez is a current principal who fits this description.. There are many others.

 

(Edited to add)

There are also Artistic Directors around the world who show generosity of spirit and good leadership qualities while still ensuring excellence in their product. I think being an AD must be an incredibly difficult job but seriously.... name calling?

Edited by Momof3darlings
political statement that can't be answered because of board regulations
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I am a little late to the party but I have to ask what we define as old in a ballet teacher as well what defines a "Balanchine" teacher. As discussed on the board in the past, Balanchine is a style not a method, and as such there are many talented Balanchine dancers in the world. Teaching is one of the few vocations where age is relative and experience trumps youth. Doesn't ballet have a long tradition of passing on to each successive generation their wisdom? If so, then as a school SAB is in great shape. There has been a number of younger, experienced Balanchine style dancers that have joined school in the past couple of years.

 

I personally think Darci Kistler (from what my DD has told me) is still laughing about Leslie Stahl's baiting comments/questions. Our personal experience with Mr. Martins has been one of upmost professional behavior, both towards his professional dancers and students. Why as a profession journalists feel they need to sensationalize everything is irritating.

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buzzandmoo,

 

Good to hear that your experiences are as you state. Yes, Martins was baited but (and here's the thing....) he is experienced with interviews and with being in the public eye. I really don't think it's a good reflection of his leadership, on ballet in general or for the sponsors of NYCB that he not only acknowledged making the statement but reconfirmed its validity in his mind. I think that everyone in the ballet world treads lightly when it comes to holding AD's accountable for their behavior and statements because those who care the most (dancers/dancer's families) have a vested interest in not alienating them. I will curtail my own rant because of this. I just think ballet can do better than make villains of it's lifeblood... the dancers. NYCB is a treasure for America and it's AD is it's ambassador.

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Momof3darlings

Not to totally defend Martin (who you'll rarely hear me defend for other reasons) However, I'm going to give him benefit of the doubt on this one at least for now. Hopefully, someone can find when this comment was made because the question did not mention when he made this statement. Yesterday, 10 years ago, 15, 25? The way the question was phrased, he could have been in many, many different phases in his career. While it's not terminology I like to hear, it was a bit more common say 20+ years ago to hear that terminology openly in the workplace. As well, we as women have our own set of derogatory words we've used against each other, bosses and co-workers that are as inflammatory. Thankfully, it is no longer acceptable in the workplace to be called names of any kind and thankfully, we have educated our dancers that this is not what they should expect or accept.

 

I also agree that the overtime on the football game is not a commentary on ballet in America. It doesn't matter what would have come on after the game, when it went into overtime so close to the playoffs, it would have delayed the next show. And besides that, it wasn't ballet that was truly coming on, it was a news show in which ballet happened to be the topic this week.

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He said himself "I must have been very young when I said that." He didn't disown the statement but by answering like that, he pretty much expressed that he no longer looks at it the same way. I thought he was very diplomatic in his answers.

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Victoria Leigh

Did I hear it wrong? I really thought he basically agreed with what he had said before, just couched it a tiny bit. :shrug:

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Momof3darlings
I was probably young when I said that. (well by Stahl)....I would be a little more moderate now. But it's fundamentally true. "

 

That's the quote that is on newsfeeds at least.

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Victoria Leigh

Yep, 'fundamentally true' means to me that he still believes it.

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The following script is from "The New York City Ballet" which aired on Nov. 25, 2012. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent.

 

Lesley Stahl: You once said about ballerinas, "They're always xxxxes. They're all tough, merciless, self-centered."

 

Peter Martins: I was probably young when I said that.

 

Lesley Stahl: Well.

 

Peter Martins: I would be a little more moderate now. But it's fundamentally true.

 

In his own words.... http://www.cbsnews.c...t-forms-future/

Edited:

Also: I started the commentary about football pre-empting ballet... glad to know that didn't happen. That the show was just delayed. I stand by my suggestion to see if the NFL and AFL would support the arts in some way however :blush:

And momof3... I completely agree that our young dancers should know that name calling in the workplace is wrong and should not be expected or tolerated.

Edited by swanchat
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