New York City Ballet had forbidden social media to its company, it was the single least surprising thing I had ever heard in my life.I once worked in a large, well-known theater, having been hired to push their geriatric web program forward into social media. The instant there was the slightest bit of push-back (and there wasn't - there was a giant fit pitched by the great diaper-babies of the arts), the position was unfunded. So, when I found out the
A dancer in NYCB's corps de ballet, Devin Alberda, posted a tweet about the arrest of his boss, Peter Martin, on his private account. That was the last (and no doubt first) straw. How dare a company member tweet a reference to his boss breaking the law and putting people's lives in danger? Why, it's unseemly is what it is! (The tweeting, not the law-breaking).
Someone Might Get the Wrong Idea
Among the tweets that have smeared the good name of ballet?
"Thank goodness riding the subway while intoxicated isn't a misdemeanor offense. #dontfireme"
(This in reference to the dancer's apparent boozing, contrasted with his boss's - who drove drunk.)
"Yellowface character in NYCB's 2010 revival of The Magic Flute the worst thing to happen to the Asian American community since EO 9066."
(This in reference to an iffy portrayal in an upcoming production.)
If you can't tell already, Devin is a snarky, funny bitch. GASP! I know! A bitchy funny ballet dancer? A teamster, sure. But ballet dancer? It beggars the imagination.
Ballet is a closed world. (It's closed to me anyway.) And apparently the NYCB is worried that people like Alberda will open it up.
So, as part of NYCB's contract negotiation with the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing the dancers, the suits are insisting on the right to control (let's be clear: this means stop) the dancers' tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts -- all electronic free speech.
The Wall Street Journal got a hold of the policy in draft form. Among the restrictions:
- Disclaimer on any social media site
- Ban on disclosing dancer injury or illness
- Ban on posting photos of anything having to do with the ballet
- NYCB can monitor all dancers' posting and order them to take them down
The Babbits of Ballet
Most of us (maybe only many of us? some of us?) have this fantasy that the arts are run by mad minds -- "the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time."
They are not. They are run by truant officers and accountants, failures and control freaks all, vitiated tools whose only joy seems the power they cultivate over the people who are better at the actual art than they ever were or ever will be.
I swear to G-d, the worst thing to happen to art was The Arts.
If any representative of the New York City Ballet wishes to object to this post, or their characterization in it, they are welcome. To suck it. The only time I've ever been "censored" by the brutes that run this site was when Marshall asked me not to use "fuck" in a headline.
And that, dear reader, is how it fucking ought to be.