It is about time someone shed a little light on the occlusion of the local ballet world (Hoppe, “Good-bye to Ballet Internationale,” Nov. 16-23). Many thanks. But I’d like to add a few things.
Eldar Aliev was indeed hired by Indianapolis Ballet Theater, but he was originally hired as a dancer. However, after being in the company only a short while, he took the reins as artistic director.
And what happened to the artistic director that hired him? The same artistic director that had worked at IBT almost since the beginning of the company, and had lots of local friends? She was summarily fired along with the executive director. Not a good way to ingratiate oneself into the local, very close-knit dance community.
Many people that were dance aficionados had a hard time supporting or even trusting a person that had gotten the job in such a seemingly underhanded way. This might have tainted his position from the start, but was certainly not a death knell by itself.
The local dance company, before Eldar took it over, and while it was still named after the city, was a springboard for local talent. Many graduates from Butler University’s dance program, or the Jordan Academy of Dance, got their first professional positions close to home at IBT and then went on from there.
When Eldar took over, that process grinded to a halt. There was even a joke around town that if anyone could pronounce your name, you wouldn’t be hired at BI. So even more dance lovers had a hard time supporting Eldar and his company.
It is a shame something a bit less final and a bit more constructive didn’t happen sooner, before there were wolves at the door, back when something could have been done to actually save the company instead of merely dissolving it. And it is a shame to not be able to point to a professional ballet company along with the museums, the stadiums, the monuments, the parks and the theaters that make Indianapolis such a wonderful city.