The Buzz, 7-9: Flack
JOYCE TO PART WITH JACOBS, GO WITH KORNBERG; JACOBS TO DTW
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004 The Dance Insider
In the latest of several
seismic shifts which have seen the biggest changes in the dance
infrastructure in more than a decade, the Joyce Theater, long considered
the leading dance venue in the United States, will part with its
publicist of nearly two decades, Ellen Jacobs, considered by many
the queen of the dance publicists, the Dance Insider has learned.
After August, the Joyce will no longer employ Ellen Jacobs Associates
and begin working with Richard Kornberg & Associates, a major player
on Broadway whose clients have included "RENT," and who brings the
top-line dance publicist Tom D'Ambrosio to the Joyce team.
The Jacobs-Joyce divorce
was confirmed by the publicist and by Joyce executive director Linda
Shelton, who told the DI, "The Joyce will be working with Richard
Kornberg & Associates for the season. Ellen Jacobs will still be
working with many of the companies that perform at the Joyce and
we hope to work with her again in the future. As you have pointed
out, Ellen is a terrific publicist. The reason we are not working
together right now is between us." Jacobs also declined to elaborate
on why the relationship has been severed.
In discussing the breach
with the Joyce, her client since 1985, Jacobs was considerably more
circumspect than when she was dismissed by the Paul Taylor Dance
Company after 23 years in February, telling the DI that she was
"fired... for a string of rational reasons including, but not limited
to: lack of loyalty, insufficient knowledge of the repertory, failure
to get coverage, particularly in The New York Times, as well as
general incompetence and illiteracy. I guess I pulled the wool over
the company's eyes for a quite a while, huh? -- even the genius
himself." (A Taylor official disputed the use of the word "fired,"
saying simply that the company had "decided not to continue working
with" the firm.)
With its credentials
in theater publicity, the Kornberg agency could help the Joyce broaden
its brand recognition beyond the rarified dance world. The agency
and its rep. D'Ambrosio have previously run campaigns for Momix,
the Parsons Dance Company, and Complexions, all companies who see
their audience appeal beyond just dance.
Jacobs, meanwhile, will
be handling publicity for the Joyce's Chelsea neighbor, Dance Theater
Workshop, which has decided not to retain an in-house publicist
for the 2004-2005 season.
It was the departure
of DTW's longtime chief artistic director David White last July
that seemed to set off a series of leadership changes in New York's
major dance theaters, with the subsquent departures of Craig Peterson,
artistic director with Cathy Edwards of DTW; Mark Russell, who "resigned"
as director of PS 122 effective last month; Liz Thompson, out at
the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Joan Finkelstein, who left
the Harkness Dance Project to head the dance program in the New
York Public Schools; and Elise Bernhardt, who resigned last month
as director of the Kitchen for the proverbial option of pursuing
independent projects and spending more time with her family. Before
White departed in 2003, he terminated long-time technical director
Philip W. Sandstrom, the respected and beloved DTW and dance world
institution, a pillar of the New York dance world.
Edwards, already a leader
at DTW when White was there, is now the theater's sole artistic
director, sharing leadership duties with executive director Marion
Koltun Dienstag. Debra Singer was named to replace Bernhardt last week, and the PS
122 board which by at least one account is responsible for Russell's departure
has appointed one of its own members, Anne Dennin, as acting executive
director. Tom Healy has taken over at the LMCC, while the 92nd Street
Y has not yet named a replacement for Finkelstein.