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Daria Pavlenko Interview about Working Conditions at the Mariinsky


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This is in regard to Ismene Brown's resurrection of Daria Pavlenko's interview from last December about working conditions at the Mariinsky (posted here today).

 


 

Acknowledging that things can often be more complicated than they seem and that there are probably at least two sides to any debate, I would still like to post this quote. I've been posting it all over the internet recently, and this seems like one more good place to do so.

 

Tamara Rojo had this to say after taking over the ENB.

 

"I always thought I would see that the art comes first and therefore these decisions have to be made. Then you meet the person and the art cannot come first, because a person is much more important."

 


 

If Daria Pavlenko's concerns are as meaningful as they would seem then hopefully a satisfactory agreement for everyone involved would be a much desired outcome.The art form contains immense beauty which gives many of us a great deal of happiness. It would add greatly to my enjoyment, for one, to feel that everyone who gives us this pleasure is as happy and healthy as possible in doing so.
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In the Dancematters section of May's Dancing Times Osipova comments on her move to the Royal Ballet that her decision was based on repertoire but also business 'In Britain all promises and conditions are put down on papaer - and not like what happens in Russia where everything is words'. So it may not be just the Mariinsky that is affected in this way. Joan

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One thing to remember is that the wage scale can be much lower in Russia along with the cost of many things compared to the West. I'm not an expert on this by any means, but this is my understanding. Still, the wages quoted here seem quite modest.

 

Added later:

 

Here is one list of European wage scales to give us an idea.

 

Edited by Buddy
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A few more thoughts. Rent seems to be a major expense in St. Petersburg and the one issue that I know of that Valery Gergiev has commented on is that the Mariinsky does provide a lot of housing (free?). I was also assuming that the new Mariinsky II theatre, which is considered very fine facility wise would also provide the dancers with a much better physical environment. There does now seem to be the possibility, from first glance, that these facilities are oriented to the opera and orchestra.

 

The arrangement of working hours and work loads does seem to be a serious issue, that may have existed since the beginning of the Mariinsky a few hundred years ago. A bit of an editorial for a moment. There are some who may believe that 'depriving' sometimes leads to greater artistic accomplishment. There might be some truth in this, but I don't think that it has to be that way. Many great artists didn't have to struggle, at least for decent living and working conditions. In the world of ballet I can cite one company anyway that I'm somewhat familiar with, the Miami City Ballet, considered by many, including myself, to be one of the finest in the world, that seems to have one the friendliest and more comfortable working environments that I've been able to casually observe.

 

Again, here's Tamara Rojo's quote:

 

"I always thought I would see that the art comes first and therefore these decisions have to be made. Then you meet the person and the art cannot come first, because a person is much more important."

 

 

(last edit was typo corrections)

Edited by Buddy
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