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Rumors Swirl About Replacement of San Jose Ballet Founder Nahat

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San Jose Ballet Artistic Director Dennis Nahat may be forced out of the company he founded, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently, the artistic direction has moved solely into the hands of the board of directors.

“It’s a peculiar and precarious situation,” Nahat told the Chronicle. “I am still an employee of the ballet, I am still management, but if there are changes being made, I am not privy to them.”

Hints of difficulties surfaced earlier this year with stalled union contract negotiations with the dancers for the 2011-12 season.

Nahat insisted that he was not upset by rumors that he may be replaced as artistic director or by reports of turmoil within the company that he founded in 1985 as the dual-residency San Jose Cleveland Ballet.

Stephanie Ziesel, executive director of Ballet San Jose since 2009, would not confirm or deny to the Chronicle any plans to remove Nahat. Ballet San Jose also has not announced any performances after its current Nutcracker, which runs through December 23.

Company spokesperson Lee Kopp verified that details for the 2012 season would be forthcoming in early January, although Nahat said no ballets had been rehearsed and he had no idea of what works might be performed or what lies in store for the company’s immediate future. Nahat said the board decides which ballets will be performed, who will be cast in those ballets, and which dancers stay or go.

Hints of difficulties surfaced earlier in the year with stalled union contract negotiations for the dancers for the 2011-12 season. To read the full story, visit http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/12/DDQS1MBG4M.DTL.

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