BalletGate: Why Balletmaster Peter Martins' reduced salary of $629,000 is still way too high
First, a few facts: New York City Ballet's Peter Martins is making about $629,000 a year
To compare Martins' salary to other executives' NOT in the arts, as a couple of people have done on Ballet Talk fora here and here, is absurd. One doesn't go into dance to get rich. When Baryshnikov was head of ABT, he had an agreement with the Board by which his annual salary was one dollar: he was compensated by guesting. While that may be extreme, it gives you some idea of what most people in this profession will do to keep their vision afloat.
The original Bloomberg article from which the Times quotes listed other exorbitant salaries--music director Faycal Karoui, around $300,000; general manager Ken Tabachnick, about the same; etc.--but this only proves that the writer knows nothing about the arts or is afraid to admit what he knows, because the company isn't the general manager's or the music director's baby the way it presumably is its balletmaster's, so of course they have to be paid competitively. The article also mentions the 2008 income of outgoing dancer Damian
Woetzel, a 23-year-veteran of the company: $278,000, of which $66,000
was exit pay. Also, irrelevant: A ballet dancer's career is over at about age 40, and if it's at all possible
to give her a cushion to prepare for a second act, it should be done.
Martins isn't in that situation.
As the Baryshnikov example makes clear, Martins is basically paying himself--with the NYCB board's approval. And what's the worry on the part of the board? That if he isn't paid like a king, he's going to work for the competition? See? Comparisons to directors outside the arts don't work. But if Martins is in fact thinking about it that way-- if the money's what's keeping him--let him go. These are bad values for a ballet company to be burdened with.
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Joe Horowitz on music
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary