PLAYING FAVORITES?

American Ballet Theatre executive director Louis G. Spisto has been accused, in a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, of illegally favoring young, gay employees. “A policy was developed to ‘disengage’ older workers in favour of younger ones, generally male, who would not be uncomfortable with the management’s preference and discourse of gay lifestyles.” At least 30 staff members have left since Spisto’s arrival in 1999. The Times (London)

NUTCRACKER REVISITED

St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater is staging a new version of The Nutcracker. Music director Valery Gergiyev has a new interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s music, but it’s the choreography that has everyone talking. Mikhail Shemyakin is “focusing on the darker spirit of Ernst Hoffmann’s 19th-century children’s tale in order to bring out more of the story’s inherent fantasy. At the end, [the little girl] rejects the adult world and chooses never to return to reality. At the ballet’s climax she turns into a sugar figure on a giant cake.” The Moscow Times (Reuters)

WHAT WENT WRONG IN BOSTON?

One of the great mysteries of the arts world is why one discipline can thrive while another dies a lonely death in the very same city. Yet it happens all the time, and Boston is the latest case in point. One of America’s great arts towns, full of top-quality music, fine museums, and a famous theatre scene, it has simply never embraced dance, and several companies are currently paying the price. Boston Globe 0

RETIREMENT IS OVERRATED

Nearly forty years after Merce Cunningham burst onto the scene and changed dance forever, the 81-year-old choreographer is still one of the most innovative figures in modern dance. “The work is not and has never been trendy or appealing to popular taste. When making a dance, Merce has never considered what might be commercially viable.” Yet somehow, Cunningham has been embraced by the public like few other choreographers before or since. The New York Times (one-time registration required for access)

FROM THE BARRE TO THE BOARDROOM

Performers aren’t always the most suited to be arts administrators, but David McAllister might be the exception. After giving his last performance at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, he will step into his new role as artistic director of Australian Ballet and plans for his inaugural season already include a new “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty”, and adding 10 new dancers to the company. “His dressing room tells the tale. On one side of the table is eye makeup, foundation and powder. On the other is an ever-increasing stack of business papers.” Sydney Morning Herald