Italian Presenters Angered by Cancellation of Washington Ballet Tour

Classic Arts News   Italian Presenters Angered by Cancellation of Washington Ballet Tour
[From our archives in 2005.]

The organizers of festivals in Italy are bitter about the sudden cancellation of a Washington Ballet tour scheduled for July, the Washington Post reports.

The tour was cancelled last month after the company was unable to reach an agreement with the dancers' union on the daily allowance for meals and other expenses. The company was to be the headline performer at the Florence Dance Festival, Rome's Invito alla Danza, and Festival Civitanova Danza.

"We promoted the Washington Ballet as our centerpiece," said Keith Ferrone of the Florence Dance Festival. "The worst part is the feeling they were not being sincere and they were undervaluing us."

Marina Michetti, artistic director of Invito all Danza, said that she would not be inclined to work with the company again. "The Washington Ballet doesn't have the professionalism that I had imagined," she said. "Professionalism isn't just doing a good pirouette, it's management of the entire enterprise."

Jason Palmquist, executive director of Washington Ballet, said he wanted to change that impression in the future. "I hope that when we have a full collective bargaining agreement in place that we have not so damaged the company's reputation that we wouldn't be able to tour to Italy again," he said.

The cancellation of the tour could even affect relations between the United States and Italy, American diplomats said.

"There is a growing perception in Europe and the United States that our societies and cultures are going off in different directions," said William McIlhenny, consul general in Florence. "Artistic performances are subtle reminders that we speak the same idiom."

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