There are a couple of tricks in the film business that are recommended for all of those new to the game. If you're the director then always print the very first shot you take so the rest of the crew have confidence in you and the second one is hire someone just so you can fire them. Doing that makes people think you're assertive and they are also under no illusions about who is in charge.
Whether or not the tricks mentioned above actually work is open to debate but we may have stumbled across a real world example of the second trick at work.
Rafael Bonachela was recently made the AD of Sydney Dance Company, a decision that is past understanding but that's another argument altogether, and his first task in his new job was to sack seven of the company's ensemble of 14 dancers.
A press piece in the Sydney Morning Herald cited the "economic downturn" for the dismissal of several administrative staff, shorter contracts for some dancers and so-called "casual contracts" for production staff. However, when the company returns to the fray next year there will be 14 dancers in the company as a whole.
So why get rid of seven of them only to bring seven other dancers back into the fold?
Naturally a different AD might want a different group of dancers to work with but getting into Sydney Dance Company in the first place is no easy task. The Australian dance world may be pretty small compared to Europe but, having witnessed this first hand, the skill set is just as good and more than capable of coping with Mr Bonachela's work, even on their worst day. Whether or not they would want to cope with it is another matter altogether mind you.
Ditching so many of the established company appears to indicate a certain lack of respect for the company as it was. If that was the case then why take the job in the first place? If the company as was could not cope with your artistic vision then why not simply transplant your own company to Australia? Or is that the point?
The character of any given company is reflected through the prism of its dancers. Change the dancers and the company changes with them so what exactly will Sydney Dance Company become now? Will it be Bonachela Dance Company Australia? Because if it does then so long and thanks for all the fish!
Mr Bonachela's arbitrary power play is, as far as we are concerned here in TheLab™, aimed at nothing more than asserting authority where authority did not need to be asserted.
Turning a contemporary dance company into a "show business" cliche with mean spirited little men (and Mr Bonachela is very small indeed) making other people cry so they can play out their Simon Cowell fantasies is a long walk down a very dark path.
Perhaps the new AD of Sydney Dance Company should return to the world of Kylie Minogue, stadium tours and temper tantrums. This world needs to be better than that, both intellectually and practically and we doubt that Mr Bonachela is up to the challenge!