Washington Ballet Rejects Mediation Offer

The current contract negotiations between Washington Ballet and its dancers could best be described as an extended meltdown, with both sides dug in and spouting vitriol at their opponent through the press. So it should have been a positive development last week when Michael Kaiser, president of Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, offered to mediate the talks. Kaiser is widely respected in the arts world by both managers and performers, and he has stepped into the middle of more than one labor dispute with good results. But Washington Ballet’s management team wants nothing to do with mediation, saying that “we’re just not there yet.” A representative of the dancers, who have been out of work since mid-December, called the ballet’s rejection of Kaiser “asinine.”