fri 28/10/2016

Now English National Ballet loses its second head - Eagling to leave | reviews, news & interviews

Now English National Ballet loses its second head - Eagling to leave

Now English National Ballet loses its second head - Eagling to leave

Artistic director Wayne Eagling resigns only months after managing director's departure

Wayne Eagling: leaving English National Ballet at short notice

Sudden and disconcerting news from English National Ballet where it's just been announced that artistic director Wayne Eagling is to step down this summer. The company gives no reason for this exceedingly short notice, which leaves them having to advertise the third most significant job in British ballet within the next few days, and a precipitate appointment procedure only weeks after the departure of their managing director.

Eagling, 61, a former star of the Royal Ballet, has been ENB director since 2005, and while heading a company of fairly stagnant and repetitive touring repertoire, has been given credit for hauling short enticing London seasons out of the hat each spring. The company is currently preparing a Beyond Ballets Russes 10-day season at the London Coliseum in late March, with ballets from the golden period of Diaghilev, such as Balanchine's Apollo and Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un faune, alongside adventurous new commissions on themes from that era, including an ambitious new design and staging of MacMillan's The Rite of Spring.

Next week he is masterminding a gala of Russian ballet in honour of Anna Pavlova at the London Coliseum, involving stars from the great Russian companies as well as the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet.

Last month English National Ballet lost its dynamic managing director, Craig Hassall, who quit to join the entertainment impresario Raymond Gubbay. With neither a chief executive nor an artistic director in firm view Britain's busiest touring ballet company faces a dodgy future, especially in the light of its over-reliance on populist and repetitive programming such as the current nationwide offering Strictly Gershwin (which is not strictly ballet) and The Nutcracker. 

The next artistic director has the unenviable job of handling a cut of some 15 percent in the ENB subsidy over the next three years, with over £700,000 slashed this year and next as a result of the front-loading of the reduction. Former MD Craig Hassall revealed before he left that ENB lost £100,000 every week of touring the UK.

Tensions inside the company have been increasing fast in the past few years, with Eagling, Hassall and dancers all showing the strains of constantly selling a constricted repertoire. Eagling's indecisiveness in the last minutes before his Nutcracker was premiered at Christmas 2010 was captured in the BBC Four documentary Agony & Ecstasy - A Year With the English National Ballet.


Is it financial or is it to do with old fashioned repertoire, or over-exposure?

OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!! ENB is the only classical company based in England that endeavours to bring classical ballet to those who fund it - the taxpayers! I have seen a number of recent performances by this company and have only praise for Mr. Eagling and the work that he is doing. If he has stepped down, perhaps it would behove the board to beg him to stay on and continue with his vision for the company. Of course, one must accept that he can only work within the financial constraints placed upon him by the Arts Council but he cannot be blamed for working within these whilst producing repertoire that the public want to see. I am sure that Dame Alicia would be horrified if such a departure were allowed to go ahead unopposed by the board and those who really matter - the dancers and audience! Let's have a bit of support for a great man in British Ballet.

Apart from the the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Northern Ballet, of course... The words stagnant and repetitive suggest that a freshening up of the top tier of creative management might not be a bad thing...

Just shut the place down and call it a day......

And put the entire company -dancers, musicians, wardrobe, scenery, etc. etc. out of work? How nice of you to suggest this. You must be very pleased with yourself. Do you care anything about ballet? There are thousands who have welcomed being able to see ENB over several decades and enjoyed and admired their work. They deserve support.

Wayne Eagling's arrogance, carelessness, and guilt-tripping approach to excuse his own inadequacies have left the cast and crew to do his job on a scraping of his salary. I consider his stepping down a welcome loss. The coalition's first cut in a series of many to come is a saddening reality, but I challenge the ballet to provide top administrators such as Eaton with a working salary rather than a glamorous one. In the name of respecting the livelihoods of the marvelous artistry of cast and crew, this is the only way London City Ballet can persist.

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