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In the current climate if a male boss was engaged in a love affair with a much younger female colleague in a subordinate position, over whom he had a great deal of power, he'd be sacked or forced to resign.

 

Also given Rojo makes more than any other AD in the UK including Kevin O'Hare where's the outcry over 'gender wage gaps'?  

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Quote from Gramilano report: 

" ....the (ENB) organisation’s executive leadership said that “quick fixes” were needed".

 

Departures have been taking place since before the Summer... where are the "quick fixes" the executive leadership said were needed?  (To me it sounds like a "similar" scenario to the Board not acting upon the many complaints dancers had about Peter Martins' behaviour and turning a blind eye...).

 

 

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46 minutes ago, proballetdancer said:

In the current climate if a male boss was engaged in a love affair with a much younger female colleague in a subordinate position, over whom he had a great deal of power, he'd be sacked or forced to resign.

 

 

If the younger colleague were under 18 this would be an issue, but a consensual relationship between adults should not be a concern.  I work in an office environment and have seen many work relationships blossom (including a number involving a colleague subordinate to the other) and there is no problem, no one has been forced to resign or sacked and the people involved remain very happy together.

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18 minutes ago, Nina G. said:

 (To me it sounds like a "similar" scenario to the Board not acting upon the many complaints dancers had about Peter Martins' behaviour and turning a blind eye...).

 

 

 

I sincerely hope this is not a suggestion that the accusations in the Times report are on a par with the criminal allegations again Martins.

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From other threads here on the subject it has been made clear that all is not sweetness and light at ENB, the emphasis on the relationship didn't strike me as being that serious when compared to this allegation:

 

" former dancers claiming they felt pressured to work while injured,"

 

Careers can be damaged in such circumstances, there have been ugly rumours circulating about just this and I'm very pleased it is now in the open.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

If the younger colleague were under 18 this would be an issue, but a consensual relationship between adults should not be a concern.  I work in an office environment and have seen many work relationships blossom (including a number involving a colleague subordinate to the other) and there is no problem, no one has been forced to resign or sacked and the people involved remain very happy together.

 

I think you're being incredibly naive. An office relationship moreover is one thing and indeed there are many cases of companies which expressly prohibit relationships between colleagues, especially between boss and subordinate.

 

But this isn't a generic 'office' romance. It's a high profile arts institution with an international reputation, where one woman has absolute control and power over careers and the entire company, one of whom she's engaging in a relationship with. This is different, the arts world is currently being 'rocked' (and I do feel that it's become a with hunt, with a level of social engineering, the end game of which is highly dubious), but a man simply wouldn't dare to instigate a relationship with a subordinate were he in a similar position of Rojo.

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37 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I sincerely hope this is not a suggestion that the accusations in the Times report are on a par with the criminal allegations again Martins.

 

The 'allegations' against Martins were just that, unsubstantiated, vindictive and anonymous. In any other climate apart from this hysterical witch hunt, they'd be dismissed out of hand, indeed wouldn't even make the press. These allegations are clearly the work of opportunists with axes to grind exploiting the zeitgeist.

 

And one thing one can say about Martins, he knows how to keep a company, his dancers don't leave. Whatever internecine politics are going on within NYCB and ENB, clearly those affecting dancers and their relations with the AD in ENB are horrendous, you don't lost a third of your company if they're happy. Contrast that with the public outpouring of support and sadness from Martins' dancers and the subjective evidence is clear, where it matters within the company, Martins leadership is respected, Rojo's not. 

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46 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I sincerely hope this is not a suggestion that the accusations in the Times report are on a par with the criminal allegations again Martins.

 Indeed not.

 I only said "...complaints dancers had.."

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News is now on the french websites Dansomanie et Danse avec la plume as well :wacko:   

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In theory there isn't anything wrong with a boss having a relationship with a younger adult in the workplace but some situations are more sensitive than others.....in schools for example....and this is say a Headteacher with a young teacher( not pupil that's a definite no no)  The important thing I think is ....can they work in the same environment without showing any particular favour and let the relationship influence decisions ( such as promotion etc) Perhaps it could be similar in a comparatively smallish Company environment like the ENB.

Its tricky and in general not that recommended. 

A boss of a huge Company....not a Dance Company....where there may be many workers having such a relationship is probably not quite so sensitive.

Edited by LinMM

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I have to declare an interest here as an avid supporter of ENB.

 

I don't think that The Times would have risked running the article unless it had checked and cross-referenced its information very carefully indeed.

 

At this moment, my main thoughts are with the wonderful ENB dancers, hoping that things turn out well for them in the end.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, LinMM said:

In theory there isn't anything wrong with a boss having a relationship with a younger adult in the workplace but some situations are more sensitive than others.....in schools for example....and this is say a Headteacher with a young teacher( not pupil that's a definite no no)  

 

Ever read Colette's Claudine at School, Lin?

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According to this New York Times reporting about the Peter Martins case,

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/arts/dance/peter-martins-new-york-city-ballet.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

 

Quote

Mr. Daniels, the ballet spokesman, said that since 2010 the company “has had a policy precluding a reporting relationship between a supervisor and subordinate where a romantic relationship exists.”

 

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29 minutes ago, proballetdancer said:

 

I think you're being incredibly naive. An office relationship moreover is one thing and indeed there are many cases of companies which expressly prohibit relationships between colleagues, especially between boss and subordinate.

 

But this isn't a generic 'office' romance. It's a high profile arts institution with an international reputation, where one woman has absolute control and power over careers and the entire company, one of whom she's engaging in a relationship with. This is different, the arts world is currently being 'rocked' (and I do feel that it's become a with hunt, with a level of social engineering, the end game of which is highly dubious), but a man simply wouldn't dare to instigate a relationship with a subordinate were he in a similar position of Rojo.

 

I'm not being naïve, I was responding to a point made (and which I quoted in my response).

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There is a very lengthy thread/discussion on the Martins' sexual harassment case over at Ballet Alert:  http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43192-peter-martins-sexual-harassment-allegations/

 

I am not sure if this situation is the same.  

 

However, I would ask this - has Hernandez received preferential treatment in terms of casting because of his relationship with Rojo?  It appears that he was not always first cast in many of the ballets for the past several years.  I will admit that I don't always look at the casting for every company, but I had taken a special interest because Alejandro Virelles (a dancer I had watched in Boston) became a principal at ENB.  He danced with Alina a number of times, I believe as first cast.  Interestingly many of the defectors from ENB went to Munich, but there was a huge defection from Munich when Zelensky took over:  https://www.ilona-landgraf.com/2017/07/more-than-a-quarter-of-the-company-leaves-the-bavarian-state-ballet/

This is not an unusual occurrence when new directors take over a company.  

 

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I have heard of companies prohibiting work place relationships but they are hard to enforce in practice. The fact of the matter is that many people meet their life partners at work and always have done. Relationships between a boss and a subordinate are far from ideal because of the imbalance in power and the consequent risk of abuse of that power and a prudent employer would try to ameliorate this risk by putting in measures such as arranging for the subordinate party to be line managed or appraised by someone else. However, this may not always be possible, efficient or desirable and does not necessarily address perceptions (justified or not) of favoritism towards the subordinate party. The problem with an arts organisation is that the AD is effectively the sole boss with almost complete control over casting and promotion decisions which influence and determine career progression and remuneration. However, as the article points out, relationships between ADs and artists are far from uncommon; a couple of current examples are given in the piece. I have no idea whether Hernandez has benefitted from his relationship with Rojo. He is a very fine dancer, superb technically. He made the fussy Nureyev choreography in R&J really sing and was the best dancer I have seen (and I have seen quite a few) in the (Nureyev) solo in the Deane Swan Lake apart from Vadim Muntagirov. He's not cast in the Giselle cinema transmission. As one of the (until very recently) only two Lead Principals you would expect him to be cast in most programmes. 

Edited by aileen

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Personally I am not too bothered about ENB Artistic Director Tamara Rojo having an affair/physical relationship with a much younger man who is half her age and who happens to be a subordinate dancer at the ENB.  I am far far more bothered reading about the silent cry for help by many ENB dancers, who spoke out about their working conditions and the counterproductive atmosphere at the ENB. This now all comes op top of the many dancers who have left ENB over the past years, Corrales the most recent one. 

 

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1 hour ago, proballetdancer said:

 

And one thing one can say about Martins, he knows how to keep a company, his dancers don't leave. Whatever internecine politics are going on within NYCB and ENB, clearly those affecting dancers and their relations with the AD in ENB are horrendous, you don't lost a third of your company if they're happy. Contrast that with the public outpouring of support and sadness from Martins' dancers and the subjective evidence is clear, where it matters within the company, Martins leadership is respected, Rojo's not. 

 

This is an important point, but in mitigation it's worth noting firstly the rather stronger "pull" factor for a dancer in ENB (not by reputation generous with remuneration and, to be blunt, lower down the international ballet pecking order than NYCB) who was thinking of leaving; and secondly that the expressions of support for Martins from retired NYCB dancers, who are better placed to burn bridges, have been rather less forthcoming.

 

That said, it's evident there's a problem at ENB.

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Reading between the lines, it sounds as though the Rojo/Hernandez relationship isn’t the only problem in ENB, although the article focusses on that (I suppose it’s an aspect that creates more interest in the general readership).

 

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Rojo and Hernandez having a relationship, but I suppose issues arise if either or both of them are perceived to be not maintaining a proper separation between the personal and professional relationship - which seems to be what the dancers are hinting at.

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2 hours ago, fromthebalcony said:

This is not an unusual occurrence when new directors take over a company.  

 

It is true that dancers tend to leave when a new Director is appointed, fromthebalcony,  but Rojo is now in her 6th year as the AD of the ENB. I believe that there was extensive discussion on BCF last summer about the number of ENB dancers leaving. Ah - found it. It's here: http://www.balletcoforum.com/topic/15918-press-release-english-national-ballet-announces-promotions-and-new-joiners-for-the-20172018-season/

 

 

1 hour ago, Nina G. said:

Personally I am not too bothered about ENB Artistic Director Tamara Rojo having an affair/physical relationship with a much younger man......  I am far far more bothered reading about the silent cry for help by many ENB dancers, who spoke out about their working conditions and the counterproductive atmosphere at the ENB. This now all comes on top of the many dancers who have left ENB over the past years, Corrales the most recent one. 

 

I agree, Nina G.  Others have tried to say something which will improve things for the dancers, most recently on BCF when the news about Cesar Corrales joining the Royal Ballet came out, but it is very difficult to be a whistleblower when there is fear of recrimination (and when BCF understandably takes down anything which might be regarded as libellous or unduly speculative).

 

Knowledge of the close relationship Hernandez has developed with Rojo perhaps puts a rather different light on the various interviews he has given praising both her and the company and  the features that there have been about him, including that on the Today programme after Christmas. Maybe they should both have declared an interest?

 

ENB did not do itself any favours last year with its poorly thought-through press release about joiners and leavers which omitted the names of a number of leavers. The official statement about Corrales's departure contained a quote which failed to mention him. Now, at the end of the piece in The Times, there is another ill-judged response from the company which seems to be at a tangent to the points that are being made and draws mostly on improvements which were implemented some time ago.

 

By the way, I do find it unfortunate that the allegations against Peter Martins have become entangled on here with the issues at ENB.

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Well I would say that from Rojo's perspective it's rather fortunate for her that Hernandez is such a good dancer.....because as Aileen said he is bound to be cast fairly frequently because of this anyway.

Perhaps if he were more mediocre problems could be seen on the horizon! 

 

I suspect though that it's not about favouritism as such in this case.......a lot may lie in the fact that complaints were not seemingly listened to. I can only read between the lines as to why this was the case but wouldn't dare say here. 

 

Of those dancers who left last summer who was the first to resign does anybody know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is all a terrible shame and I hope it gets sorted out very soon because this is not what British ballet needs.....

 

I can't help thinking that, whatever all the rights and wrongs, it is partly a reflection of hard times, and the pressure on companies to work relentlessly and pile up media success, to get funding, pressure which is being passed on, perhaps, to dancers.

 

I agree with Aileen that it is really not possible to completely avoid any problems arising when there is a relationship like this..whether someone does or does not get better treatment is beside the point: people will THINK it happens , or be unsure. They will feel unable to make comments in some situations, they will suspect they are being 'spied on', there will be lack of openness; the senior in the pair will start to struggle to make fair judgements, the junior to feel resentment that perhaps they are being treated more harshly to balance things out..etc etc  etc.  this will happen without anyone doing anything wrong..

 

I have experienced this at work and I am sure many of us have:  in a ballet co., where there is a kind of competition under the surface, for the director to be perceived to be with one of the dancers- well, it must always cause trouble of some kind or other.

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4 hours ago, Nina G. said:

Personally I am not too bothered about ENB Artistic Director Tamara Rojo having an affair/physical relationship with a much younger man who is half her age and who happens to be a subordinate dancer at the ENB.  I am far far more bothered reading about the silent cry for help by many ENB dancers, who spoke out about their working conditions and the counterproductive atmosphere at the ENB. This now all comes op top of the many dancers who have left ENB over the past years, Corrales the most recent one. 

 

 

I agree completely, Nina.  If no policy forbids inter-rank relationships, then in principle a relationship between two people is personal and should remain so, as far as I'm concerned - as long as it doesn't cause problems, not just for either party, but also their colleagues.  

 

Sadly, it seems to have become the absolute last straw for many of the company's wonderful and incredibly hard-working dancers, and perhaps a way of finally being able to make their issues heard.  I just hope the board finally starts taking the dancers seriously and really listening - nobody doubts the incredible impact Rojo has had, the wider audiences she's reached, the wonderful new rep, but without the wonderful dancers ENB has (and the many it had and has now lost), where will the company be if drastic changes are not made? 

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6 hours ago, fromthebalcony said:

There is a very lengthy thread/discussion on the Martins' sexual harassment case over at Ballet Alert:  http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43192-peter-martins-sexual-harassment-allegations/

 

I am not sure if this situation is the same.  

 

 

 

 

This is exactly why the current societal witch hunt and elevation of allegation over proof is so dangerous.

 

There is NO case against Martins, indeed the 'allegations' were about his violent temper. There has never been any allegation of sexual impropriety. He had a longterm relationship with Heather Watts when he was 33 and she 17, and another with Darci Kistler when she was 20 and he 40, he went on to marry her and they've been together ever since. And both of these while he was a dancer not AD. Kistler and Watts were already leading principals by the time he took over with Robbins.

 

Yes, it does seem a lot of dancers who felt slighted by Martins have made vague accusations, allegations in the wake of these completely unsubstantiated allegations. But absolutely nothing is rooted in any proof, indeed most don't even have a name to match the allegation. They've waited a long time to put the knife in. 

 

 

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I wonder am I alone in finding much of the discussion in this thread somewhat distasteful?     

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall

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Graham Watts has put a post on FB which he has very kindly given permission for me to post here. Thanks Graham.

 

"Tamara Rojo

I read today's news story about discontent at ENB in The Times with considerable dismay and increasing annoyance. 

So, apparently there are some disgruntled ex-ENB dancers (perhaps even some current ones) who are unhappy with Tamara Rojo's leadership. Let's leave aside the fact that people can take pot-shots on the front pages of a national newspaper without the courage to say who they are but I'm guessing that you could ask ten former or current dancers of any ballet company in the world and you'll find a fair bit of disgruntlement in the mix. 

 

Let's also just consider the state of ENB now and how it was five years' ago prior to Rojo's appointment. If anyone tells me it was better then....well, let's say I would be surprised. 

 

Rojo's artistic choices have built a deserved reputation, each programme enhancing the repertoire - from the outstanding bill that marked the centenary of WW1 to 'She Said'; from Kylian, Petit, van Manen, Forsythe and MacMillan through to Lopez Ochoa; from Corsaire to Sylphide - I would say it is a rollercoaster ride but that isn't true since the only way has been UP! 

 

The recent programmes at the Coliseum got not one but two five 2b50.png⭐️2b50.png⭐️2b50.png⭐️2b50.png⭐️2b50.png⭐️ reviews from Clement Crisp, not the easiest of people to please. 

 

Some dancers have left. One exceptional male dancer at the beginning; another just recently. They have been and will be missed but such is life in the face of career choices. On the other hand, many dancers who were already experienced long before Rojo came are still in the company and still performing (Takahashi, Oliveira, Cao, McWhinney, Streeter, Reimar etc - and all had leading roles in the recent season). So, one assumes that there are plenty of dancers who are actually not that disgruntled! 

 

I mean no disrespect to the dancers who have left ENB in recent times but the quality of those who have replaced them has been high - Rojo deserves praise for attracting Aaron Robinson to his home country's national ballet and her other recruits - Dronina, Tamayo, Khaniukova, Corrales, Cirio, Adams, Kundi, Hedman, Arrieta, Kanehara (and not forgetting Isaac Hernandez) and many, many more have been superb additions to the company. And let's not forget the coup that kept Alina Cojocaru dancing in the UK. For that alone, she deserves a medal. If it was a premiership football team I would argue that this manager is doing pretty well on the transfer market. 

One particular point that needs to be noted is that Rojo has made ENB a more diverse and inclusive company. There's a long way to go but she is moving steadily in the right direction both in terms of diversity in the dance ensemble and as the only UK director I know to have programmed a full main stage evening of work by women.

 

And as to encouraging dancers to dance while injured, all I can say is that I've known many dancers at ENB who have been injured and they have been off. Rojo drives herself harder than most - combining two tough, tough jobs - and she would not be who she is without being forceful but it is what has driven the company's successes. 

 

So, let's come to the central allegation, which suggests a conflict of interest due to the relationship between Rojo and Hernandez. Granted that it is an unusual situation, in business, for a director to be romantically linked with an employee; but as the article makes plain, it is not at all uncommon in the arts. 

 

To Rojo's credit - and to my certain knowledge - she has never hidden the relationship in any way. If Hernandez was a new, young untested dancer gaining surprise lead roles then perhaps I could understand these "sources' " concerns but, let's not forget that the guy was on his way to Paris Opera Ballet when Rojo brought him to ENB! 

 

He has been chosen by the British Dance Critics as one of the five most outstanding dancers in the UK in 2017 and so far as I can see he deserves every role he has been given. Does he dance with Rojo all the time - No! Does he get every opening night - No! 

So far as I can see he gets the roles and prominence that he deserves and nothing more. I doubt any other director would treat him differently. 

 

As ballets so often show us, you really cannot help with whom you fall in love! If either Rojo or Hernandez were to leave ENB for this perceived "conflict of interests" who would be better off? Certainly not the audiences at ENB. 

 

And, finally let's not forget Glastonbury, publicity that an ENB of former years could only dream of and a slew of awards that I can't count. 

Many people will not agree with me. I ask the "sources", who are you? If you had an ounce of the courage that Ms Rojo has to stand up and be counted then I might respect your views. 

 

Postscript -I want to clarify that I support unconditionally the rights of dancers (or, indeed, any employees) to be able to make complaints about abuses of power (fraud, violence, harassment) through an internal grievance process; but I certainly do not agree that anonymous leaks to the press are an acceptable alternative particularly when none of the aforementioned abuses of power are at all relevant. It strikes me as being mischievous and vindictive.

 

Edited by Jan McNulty
To include updates to the original post

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There is no doubt about it Tamara Rojo has done wonders for ENB and although I've always kept faith with them since the days of Festival Ballet have been going to see them a lot more often in last couple of years. She has brought a lot to the table.

There are many aspects to a managers job and as manger/director of a ballet company like ENB there is quite a broad umbrella of skills needed and Rojo obviously has a lot of them. Added to which she is still dancing. 

But when she took the job on couldn't possibly have known EVERYTHING there was to know about it ....so to some degree in some areas she is probably learning as she goes along ......and she is still young!! 

Maybe she has made a few mistakes ...and sometimes it is wise to admit to them on occasions......but hopefully she will just get better....and look at current criticism as something to grow from. 

 

 

 

 

 

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