News: Royal Ballet dancers dissent

Wednesday 28 August 2002

Equity meet with Royal Ballet Dancers
this week, to discuss “serious concerns” about the unorthodox management style of its new artistic director, Ross Stretton, according to a story in the Independent.
Independent, 8 Sept. 02

Royal Ballet Dancers in Revolt?
According to a report in the Independent, Royal Ballet dancers are unhappy with the casting decisions being made by new Director Ross Stretton.
Sources close to the company have said: “There are a number of serious matters, but we want the union to tackle the way productions are cast ….There is a complete lack of information. We never know whether we will be involved in a production or when that will be.”

“This isn’t just a matter for us. It should matter to the public too because they are buying tickets to see certain dancers but then the cast is changed. And when a production has been marketed using a person’s name, that isn’t fair on theatre-goers.”

A meeting of unions and management has been scheduled for next week
Steve Boggan/David Lister, Independent, 9 Aug. 02

“He has a reputation as a rational, approachable man but one who plays his cards close to his chest. Dancers are said to feel that he is easily approached, but sometimes less than transparent in his decisionmaking.

His taste for athletic, modern dancers and his favouring of a few performers throughout his first season may have angered some of the more individual members of the company.”
Paul Kelso, Guardian, 10 Aug. 02

“As any ballet director knows, you can’t keep everybody happy, especially in a company of more than 80 dancers. But the criticisms surrounding Stretton have a familiar ring. There were similar noises emanating from his directorship of the Australian Ballet, where turnover was high and morale was low. It’s Stretton’s job now to prove that the ROH board of directors was right to put their faith in him, and to do that he must get both the dancers and the loyal Covent Garden audience on his side.”

Debra Craine, Times, 13 Aug.02

“Tony Hall, the executive director of the Royal Ballet, will meet union chiefs next week to prevent a down tutus strike by Covent Garden dancers unhappy with the management style of the artistic director, Ross Stretton.

Mr Hall will meet Equity representatives on Tuesday to hear concerns that Mr Stretton’s casting decisions have left dancers disaffected and have short-changed the public.”

Paul Kelso, Saturday August 10, 2002, The Guardian

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