The Born-Again Balletomane's Blog

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Another view of JW August 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theworstat @ 1:14 am

This is from a reader, TheBrain1234:

Didn’t Joy complain about not getting Nikya this year, even though she was already dancing Gamzatti? Nikiya is a romantic, lyrical role. Was the issue really more about wanting to play the heroine?
On the subject of self-promotion and social media, I agree that famewhores (sorry for the lack of a more polite term) exist in every generation but the sharing of every bowel movement is something that’s more prevalent now thanks to social media and data shows that millennials are more likely to share things than the older generation. I mean, did you know that watching people eat on a live stream is actually a thing in Korea?
But there is a difference, I think, between Marcelo Gomes eating pork buns and Joy Womack posting a manifesto about professional behavior and jealousy. One is simply a “look at my awesome life” that’s no different than your friends who share pics of their vacation to Bali or your neighbor revving up the engine really loudly when he gets a new car, except the audience is in the thousands rather than a few people. The other example is blatant self-promotion that sometimes involves using others without their consent and painting them in a negative light in order to advance an image of superiority.
While one may or may not care what Gomes eats (I actually follow his food account because Food instagram accounts are a guilt pleasure of mine) in the end, it’s harmless. On the other hand, I don’t think one needs to explain why using YouTube as a sounding board for your work place troubles is a good idea

18 Responses to “Another view of JW”

  1. atlanticw Says:

    Live stream videos of people eating. What a time to be alive.

    Millennials didn’t invent self-promotion though the platforms for doing so have expanded. Criticizing your co-workers, even pre-internet, has never been a good idea. Negative comments, even about others, make you look bad and negative no matter how true they may be. I’ve had some unsavory co-workers in the past. Instead of talking crap, I just used my brain and maneuvered myself away from them. Sweet talk you way into a different dance parter or look for a new job.

    • So true – I would never dream of airing my grievances about my workplace or with the people there on any platform for potentially millions of people to see, bause I know I’d be in BIG trouble then, especially if I mentioned any names, as JW occasionally did. Usually, employment contracts have non-disclosure clauses (as mine has); I’m not sure whether this also applies to contracts with Russian ballet companies. publicising one’s work life like JW did is a bad idea in any case. I know that if I were the director of a ballet company and I am about to take new hires (including with her applying), I would probably also do some research online and if I came across stuff like this I wouldn’t hire the person in question.

      What also strikes regarding JW is that she often puts different spins on the same story or event – for instance regarding the story about her foot injury, there are several different versions as to who she got the money for her surgery from (either “someone” when she explained her situation at her English language church in Moscow, or “a parishioner” of that church or even the pastor of that church) and as to how soon after the surgery she was back in the studio (either four weeks, and then one article mentions that she stayed six months with the pastor who also allegedly gave her the money).

      Her “marriage”.to that Russian dancer is another instance where you get the feeling that something’s fishy – the way she depicts it in one article, she decided on her own to enter into a marriage of convenience (probably in order to get Russian citizenship faster) and her parents were really shocked when they visited her in Moscow and she introduced her husband to them. The spin here being that it was a wrong judgment call by a naive young girl who did not think about what she was doing. But I do remember there were wedding photos, photos of her “darling hubby” presenting her with a bunch of roses, and there were also plans in the works for a film about their “love story” – all of that material has disappeared from the web without a trace, but I know it was there. Does a naive, inexperienced girl as she presents herself to be in this matter really think about all these publicity stunts in order to publicize her marriage à la “Muriel’s Wedding”?! SOMEONE (I’m very careful not to mention names) must have given her advice in this respect, and SOMEONE realized that this trick wasn’t working and then decided to call it off

      And don’t get me started about the Bolshoi episode – I won’t say very much about that because we probably never know what “really” happened, but there is this strange episode of her alleging that another girl at the Bolshoi had aired Joy’s story behind her back – I read the article in question and it does not give off the impression that someone told the story on behalf of Joy. And to close it off – the “truth” is probably somewhere in between what Joy publicized and what others have to say about the matter. ;My take on the thing is that the Bolshoi probably took her on in hopes of being paid for it – while Russian students at the Bolshoi Academy attend for free she had to shell out a hefty sum of 18,000 $ (I don’t know right now whether per year or per semester) and perhaps they hoped that something like that was coming along if they took her into the company.

  2. atlanticw Says:

    Speaking of self-created dilemmas- not sure if this is the appropriate place to put this but it surely could have an impact on NYCB’s leadership:

    Certainly Martins would not pay for the sins of his daughter but I would imagine he might want to take some time off which begs the questions: Who is in line to take over? He has been there longer than Balanchine was and he can’t do it forever.

    It is very sad to hear another young person has fallen into this trap of drugs. I remember in my old career I had many young clients addicted to drugs and I would beg them to stop. Even the threat of jail never seemed to stop them. Hopefully Ms. Martins will not continue on this path. Given she is white and from a ‘good’ family she will likely not face prison time (my clients never got that benefit of the doubt but that’s a topic for another blog) but she will have to probably go into some intense rehab/lengthy probation term.

  3. theworstat Says:

    Wow. What a tragedy for Martins to have to deal with. Funny, I was thinking about him today. He’s maintained NYCB’s status well in the decades after Balanchine, and he’s getting up in years…who is going to replace him?

  4. So after all that, Joy still hasn’t left the Kremlin Ballet, is now permanent resident in Russia, and is still whining about how people in her company treat her.

    I was going to suggest that she should have tried to audition with the Stanislavsky. Her friend Maria Beck dances there as does that guy she was dancing with at the Asian Grand Prix. But maybe word is spreading about what a drama queen she is, and Hillaire and others are steering clear. It definitely sounds like people are aware of what she’s saying on the vlogs.

    • Having seen the video too, I do not have the impression she has a gripe about “people” in her company badmouthing her behind her back, but that it’s coming from people whoshe thought to be her friends or whom she looked up to (her coach or that Martynyuk fellow is my guess). So she’s genuinely upset about this because it seems to be removing yet another source of support. I’m not sure what exactly was said about her “character” or her “attitude”, but chances are that some honest criticism was in that too and as usual she took it the wrong way.

      One thing that strikes me about Joy – she does have a strong work ethic and she IS aware that you have to work hard to get things, but on another level she also seems to be quite the “pampered princess”. From what I gathered about her family background, the family seems to be pretty close-knit, and it also seems to be a pretty sheltered background for children. I remember when she took a leave of absence from the Kremlin mid-season and at first they told her she could not, her first reaction was wanting to call her Dad. (She later did go because she managed to convince her boss that the fancy treatment she was about to take in the US would help her be a stronger dancer,) I also wonder how many of the amenities she enjoys which other dancers do not have (her luxury apartment, gym membership, expensive camera and computer equipment, physiotherapist etc.) are actually paid with family money. I can’t believe that her photoshoots. the supplements she sells and so forth are sufficient to pay for all that. The money she earns at the Kremlin certainly doesn’t .

      I’m not sure whether another company in Russia will take her now – not sure how fast news travels there. And I’m sceptical about a foreign company taking her – in the days of the Internet and social media, not only are employees (unfairly) using these platforms to air their workplace grievances, but it’s often also employers doing background searches on prosective employees in this way. And I know there are a few things online of Joy where she goes about gushing how “superior” the Russian system is and how it is “the only historically correct one. So any director of a foreign company having her audition and coming across something like this will probably ask themselves: “So why does she bother to audition here at all?” and assume that something’s fishy.

      Perhaps she has even already reached the end of the line as far as dancing ballet is concerned because her body can’t quite seem to take it – she seems to be injured every few months! And I’m not sure where she stands as far as her eating disorder is concerned, which probably does not help any. If you see it plainly, she has already compromised her dreams by dancing at the Kremlin at all – her original dream having been the Bolshoi. And now that too seems to be going to pieces….Interesting that she says that her life in Russia, the daily things she has to go through, suddenly have become mere routine to her and she is bored. Poor girl, she seems to be QUITE confused and there clearly seems to be more at issue than just her being at a crossroads in her life and career.

  5. theworstat Says:

    I was shocked at the video I saw from Joy yesterday. After all the “honestly” she feels is her right to give online, she turns around and almost starts crying on camera because she went AWOL, came back and found out people had been saying bad things about her while she was gone.

    I thought, girl…grow up. And it only intensified as I read the comments, where one fangirl was sniping at someone else (not a direct quote), “Joy has always been polite to other dancers when videoing.” NO.She.Has.Not. (I should point out that I’ve had a LOT of her fangirls try to get similar nasty comments posted on this blog — if anyone reading this is one of those, girlie, don’t waste your time. And as I just said to Womack, grow up.)

    I’m definitely shocked that she has not already left the Kremlin but instead is hanging around “thinking about it.” And then add all the talk of not being challenged and not having fun… It would seem that after her actions of the past month or so, there is nothing more for her there. Especially considering the current situation between the U.S. and Russia — yes, this will affect Womack and others dancing in Russia — any bad vibes she has will just be amplified and she will NOT find another worthwhile job anywhere in Russia. She admitted that the Kremlin Ballet took a huge risk by hiring her in the first place, as her name had become toxic after the Bolshoi scandal. I don’t think there are too many more options left for her in Russia. Maybe the Stanislavsky. Maybe. And maybe the banana-king’s troupe in St. Petersburg if it still exists (haven’t heard much about it recently). Or maybe some regional company in Siberia or some other outpost. But there’s not much else in the way of options.

    It struck me that perhaps she entered that Bolshoi competition to show them up for all the nasty things they said about her, and perhaps with an inkling of a dream that she’d win the gold so gloriously that they’d ask her back into the company; she was clearly not happy when she got what amounted to a pewter medal and nothing else (she tried to call herself a “laureate,” didn’t she? but quickly backed off), yet her partner was honored. After that, she seemed to go silent for a long time, and that’s when the problems with the Kremlin Ballet seemed to start in earnest.

    And the thought occurs, does she really WANT to go back to either place? What does she think is going to happen? It’s unrealistic, to say the least.

    I think you’re right that she’s become a famous-enough troll — there is really not a nicer word for it — that the (very small) ballet community will make it rather hard for her to find a job anywhere now. I could be wrong. She could end up working for the Hong Kong Ballet or something — but how long is that going to last? And is any company here in the U.S. going to want her? Probably not unless she signs a no-videoing agreement, or at least one sharply limiting what she can video, and she’s not going to do that. The fangirl cracking the whip in her video’s comments section sniped that lots of companies are doing more and more videoing — you know, it’s SO millennial! — failing to notice that the COMPANIES are doing it, not the individual dancers. When you are talking about a group of people, it’s never about one person, it’s always about all of them.

    As for Joy herself, I think she may be rebelling against a lifetime of discipline, or she may just feel she’s entitled. Either way, sometimes there’s no way of fixing things. At that point, it’s time to move on.

    • Whenever I watch one of her confessionals, I feel like I’m in that scene from Airplane! where a woman becomes hysterical and a line of passengers are taking turns “calming her down”. You just want to shake some sense into her and tell her to stop whining and just go.

      And the fact her fan girls think this is acceptable behavior is horrifying. No, it is not. Russia may not be the most liberal country when it comes to free speech, but even here, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from any consequences . Just ask that jerk from Google. Joy has every right to be a drama queen but no ballet company is obligated to indulge her cravings for attention

      I am beginning to wonder if she’s back because, once again, she realized there are no takers. My opinion is, she once again overestimated her place in the ballet world and her latest sob session is just her having to eat humble pie.

      • theworstat Says:

        LOL Love the comment about Airplane! Wouldn’t we just love to do that to some of these kids some of the time…

        Yeah, I’ve had quite a few run-ins with Joy’s fans and, a few years back, fans of Keenan Kampa. The Kampa fans were really notable because one of them was claiming to be Keenan’s sister and wrote me 2 or 3 long diatribes not only defending Keenan, but threatening my future as a blogger because, this girl claimed, “I’m in the publishing business.” Uh huh, isn’t that nice, little girl, are you in the mail room or something? You must not be more than 20.

        So I guess you can say I’ve heard it all from the fan girls, and I don’t have time for it, and that’s why it’s initially so hard to post a comment on this blog (and it will be on Random Rants, too). The things they defend are indeed indefensible, particularly when they’re talking about Womack.

        It could be that Womack got a thumbs-down from Hong Kong Ballet (how many companies has she auditioned for now?), and that’s why she’s back hanging around hoping for a happy ending at the Kremlin Ballet. I think at some point she’s just going to have to stop hiding behind the “millennial” thing and just realize that in real life, it’s best to keep your mouth shut, much as Maria Alexandrova did when she abruptly retired from the Bolshoi. Never did give a reason why (of course, she’s now agreed to work under contract because apparently the company was desperate to keep her).

        You know, it’s something about burning bridges. Sometimes you just can’t rebuild them.

  6. Because it’s a Friday in August and nobody else is at work,I checked out Joy’s livestream on Instagram. Not surprising. She’s sent applications out to big companies (she mentioned La Scala and the Royal Danish Ballet) but she doesn’t want to be in the corps. And not surprisingly, there are no takers.

    Anyway, she is in for a long search if she is looking only at top companies and refusing corps positions.

    • theworstat Says:

      Let’s see…she’s left the Bolshoi under a cloud of controversy; is now (apparently) leaving the Kremlin Ballet under just a plain old cloud…has failed countless auditions before this…was a ballerina at a TINY company for only a brief time…does not want to be in the corps…has an internationally-known videoing habit…

      Doesn’t look good.

      • Well, then, just as I expected – if someone knows that hardly anyone else will ake her, and that the kremlin already took a huge risk in taking her and that it’s practically her only chance (and perhaps ever was) – it’s Joy herself.This likely also explains that she’s still there.

        But looking at the Kremlin, she’s more of “a big fish in a small pond” there; the repertory there is quite limited and she’ll never get to dance anything beyond the “standard stuff”. And two of the ballets they dance there (the two Mozart thingies choreographed by Petrov) do not seem to be on anywhere outside the Kremlin…So she will be limited in finding a soloist spot in any other company because she has not really built herself a repertory of roles to advretise her.

        But one thing I wonder about – she has always expressed her intention to dance – so I wonder why she throws it all away just over this trivial issue of being or not being allowed to make videos…But perhaps they were also aware that even if she did not directly film classes and other dancers any more, she was still “saying things about them” in her “private” videos. Still, I think her videos were probably not the only reason.

        @theworstat: Do you think it was Joy’s idea to enter that last competition? I certainly saw it as a huge turning point and I did assume they sent her and weren’t happy with her results…,After all, she had to use Kremlin resources to compete there – the copstumes, I guess, and certainmly one of their employees as her partner, as she competed in pas de deux category.

        Speaking of Martynyuk – have only the highest opinion of him as a dancer; he slightly reminds me of Baryshnikov, and he seems to be a spitfire on stage, with a great comic talent. I always found it striking that Joy seemed to be “happiest” when dancing with him and was certainly griping like hell when she had to dance swan lake with that other guy, the one she alleged was “drinking”. The discrepancy was really glaring between when she danced with Martynyuk, and when she danced with any other partner from the Kremlin. I’m quite reluctant to state what was probably behind it, but things such as these tend to create trouble in any workplace…

  7. theworstat Says:

    I do know that when Obraztsova was still with the Maryinsky, it was her idea to enter the Moscow competition (she won the gold, I believe), so that’s why I assume that this was Joy’s idea to enter as well. She’s used Marynyuk in other competitions, such as Varna, where I’m also sure it was her idea, even though she stated at the time that her coach wanted her to become the prima ballerina at the Kremlin, and this particular competition would be one way to establish her.

    In both competitions she won a sort of also-ran prize, even though she shared the silver at Varna. She did well, but there was no great sweeping victory such as she’s had in southeast Asia. And even though the judges in the Moscow competition are drawn from everywhere, I don’t think she would have been allowed to win gold or silver even if she were at Obraztsova’s level, which she is not (I think Obraztsova entered the competition at a similar point in her career, although she was not a principal dancer at the time). Just a feeling that I have. I do feel that the 4th prize…but here’s some very sweet candy for your partner…was a kind of deliberate slap in the face.

    That’s not to diminish Martynyuk — he’s wonderful, and I can’t help thinking that perhaps the Bolshoi has an eye on him. I think this special mention may have fed into Womack’s fleeing the Kremlin Ballet for a while. Certainly if Marynyuk was one of the people badmouthing her while she was gone, it is understandable.

    • theworstat Says:

      I did notice she came up with another partner in recent months, by the way, and I was baffled by that.

      The other thing I forgot to mention was the story of the ABT soloist who came to the company having been a principal at a smaller company, I think in South America…then spent over a decade in the corps before being promoted to soloist. This may be at the back of Joy’s mind as she casts around for a new company to join, and insists she will not be in the corps.

      ABT’s corps and soloist levels are also chock full of dancers who have won big prizes at all sorts of competitions, so that will not help her. I feel that if she really wants to get into a big-league company, she’ll have to eat humble pie (as a previous commenter said), and join the corps and slug it out there. It may do her a lot of good playing with the other kids for a while — before she’s too old to be hired for the corps. And time is beginning to run out for that.

  8. Just watched her latest video – at the beginning she says something about asking the “person responsible” at the Kremlin to “let her go” so she can go to the states and spend time with her family – well I guess that it’ll be another round of hyperbarics and that other treatment I cannot help thinking amounts to blood doping, but it also sounds/looks like a spoilt girl running home to Mommy and above all Daddy if things do not go the way she wants them to. This might be another point about her that caused her not to go down well with her company. Does not make her look very mature, anyway.

    On the whole, that video seemed pretty confusing, probably because she’s confused herself right now…The work load at the Kremlin seems too high to her (or at least what they demand of her) and she professes to want to go home to “take better care of g´herself” – and yet she takes classes elsewhere, or is planning to?! But I guess that partly has to do with her mental health issues – I am not sure which eating disorder she did/does have, but one symptom of eating disorders can be an addiction to exerting your body, which would fit in with her putting in hours at the gym even on training-intensive days (and especially of something frsutrating on a human level has happened).

    And while she does not know what the future will bring and where her money will come from within w few weeks, she still feels free to stroll around Moscow,. “lay low” and eat at all those fancy places (which do not look exactly cheap)?

    As for her being with another partner – it does not baffle me at all! I think she is aware that her working rleationship with Martynyuk is fraught with personal issues which she (perhaps also because of her religious upbringing) is unwilling or unable to deal with. I remember when she did those videos about Varna and it became evident that M*s wife and child were also along (which they never seemed to have been before when she was with him at other évents), which I thought was really weird because Mrs. M was chaperoning. I also remember one of her videos where she did Q&A and somebody seemed to have asked her about him and she said something that he had “saved her” in some way and on the whole she got quite embarrassed and proceeded to become very unspecific about the whole matter.

    • I#ve rewatched the beginning of her video, where she also mentions something about having attended class and then rehearsed on her own – where was her coach? Has she left the Kremlin perhaps, or has there been some falling out between JW andf her coach? She also mentions something about Martynyuk’s teacher giving her the “evil eye” and telling her something like “don’t rehearse while Misha’s rehearsing”.

  9. theworstat Says:

    Something is very wrong with this picture; I have a feeling that she is in the process of a passive dismissal from the Kremlin Ballet. One class a day and no supervised rehearsals…her coach is nowhere in the picture (I’m imagining this coach is the person who was badmouthing Joy, as she has in the past to Joy’s face).

    What really confused me is the wall you mentioned that they seem to be trying to put between her and Martynyuk, particularly since she says something in the video that he is encouraging her to become a guest artist (and take classes with) another company???? That video was very, very confusing. It sounds like Martynyuk knows she’s being pushed out and she doesn’t.

    And you’re right, this business of trying to run home to Mommy and Daddy just makes her look juvenile. There have been off and on rumors that Joy’s whole status, first with the Bolshoi where she got a “soloist” contract but was listed in the corps and then never used at all…and then her high status with the Kremlin Ballet, was all bought and paid for by her father, a former oilman. While I’ll believe almost anything these days, and am wondering if at least part of that is true, the fact is that there were similar rumors about our beloved Obraztsova because her mother had been a dancer before her — and they were totally bogus. So I’ll leave that aside for now, but I feel it must be mentioned.

    Then there was her statement in the video, “at this point I am interested in quality.” I thought, kiddo, that can be interpreted as another slap at the Kremlin Ballet, don’t you realize?

    So what’s her future at the Kremlin Ballet? Are they going to give her one class a day and not rehearse her, and then throw her on stage with no preparation? What’s in it for them, or her?

    And why the hell is she staying in Russia?

    She didn’t answer the question about whether she was granted leave, but considering that she previously took leave without getting permission, and the way she’s currently being treated at the Kremlin, I no longer see the problem. Just LEAVE. It’s already going to be hard for her to rebuild her career elsewhere — she’s done a lot of that to herself — but it’s time to go. Don’t wait for the stage hook.

    • re paragraph 3: I’m glad you’re mentioning it; I thought I was the only one with that impression. I’ve also noted that there is a company in existence called “Annabelle Artists” which is allegedly an agency designed to represent artists of the ballet world, but so far it’s only client is JW. I guess this agency is also responsible for a lot of the publicity of JW and how certain events are represented – be as unspecific as possible so no one can really blame you for “making allegations” (such as pretending “someone” she shared a wardrobe at the Bolshoi with went to the press rather than her). And I’ve already mentioned elsewhere that possible “Muriel’s Wedding” scenario surrounding her “marriage” which I think rather doubtful she came up with herself. I remember in one of her videos she had the temerity to gripe that her “husband” (who is a corps boy at the Kremlin) had a girl friend (implying she had “stolen” him), which I did not especially think to be good taste.

      Concerming getting something “on a connection”, this can of course be a nice springboard, but very likely there are people knowing how you “got in” and they never let you forget it. When I started studying may years ago, I was severely reprimanded form having “let slip” the chance of having someone help me in this way precisely for that reason and because I figured that even if those around me did not notice I had been “wormed in” – I would always know it and I would always feel it to diminish any achievement I might win in that field. Anyway, I do think some of the people at the Kremlin might know and of course it creates unrest every time she takes liberties that others feel she should not be taking. (And her leading a relatively pampered life outside the studio won’t help either.)

      Your assessment that it’s her coach who’s been badmouthing her is probably just – as far as I remember it, there are several coaches at the Kremlin and they are largely also judged by the performance and achievements of their charges. Not to mention that this woman is I think Ukrainian or Krimean and not in an easy position herself due to the political situation. So she might think it safer to “dance to the same tune” as the others rather than protecting her charge (even if she wanted to).

      Concerning Martynyuk – I do not think the problem is him wanting somehow to help her (as he seems to have done before) by suggesting guesting at that place where he is also dancing and the Kremlin not wanting him to…Very likely he did notice in the part that there was a serious case of workplace bullying going on and was trying to help her (and is trying to help her now). But some of the statements she let slip in her videos or live streams (one of them being a “telescope” stream via twitter which she recorded when taking a leave of absence to the States for “treatment”) might lead to what is very likely a very fruitful artistic relationship (and possibly personal friendship) being misconstrued as something else (which very likely it is not), and someone at the Kremlin might have gotten the wrong idea and decided it was in danger of “disturbing the peace at the workplace”, for which reason any association between the two should be discouraged. You mentioned elsewhere that the Kremlin probably “decided” that her videoing would be the problem and they might have “decided” about other things too.(I’ll not be more specific here because I don’t know in how far “publicity services” for JW also includes scouring the Internet for things disadvantageous to her and trying to muzzle whoever wrote it.)

      But it’s a well-known fact that if someone is not wanted in a certain workplace any more, minor things that seem harmless in isolation (or also in someone else) are thrown together to “create a case” against that person tio make them “a disturbing factor”. And it is also true that this person will hardly ever be told outright, in the hopes that they “get the message” and try to leave on their own, and will be accused of “fabricating a story” if they speak out openly about what is going on.

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