The EvilImp™ 'Being Fired For Effect?'

image of a silly boy

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!

[ Sydney Morning Herlald ]

  • There's a lot being said there with very little proof to back it up.

    Article19 is not being hypocritical. If we were then we would be sacking people for no reason and hiring people to replace them who are just as qualified. That's what "firing for effect means". Since we haven't done that then there is no hypocrisy.

    The response to Mr Clinkard was in no way aggressive, I'm confused as to why you think it is, perhaps we are less sensitive.

    The comment in the Editors response about speaking as "adults" is because we are being asked to believe that Mr Bonachela is and always has been "loved" by those who work with him.

    It may be accurate, it may not be, but ultimately it is irrelevant.

    As the response points out, the piece is *our* assessment of what went on. You are free to disagree and we really don't care how tall Mr Bonachela is!

  • anonymous

    Having read your article about Rafael, and Theo's response, and then yours, I feel the need to respond also.

    So first of all, with regards to your initial article, I have to say I strongly disagree with the parallel you make between the 'tricks of the film business' and what has recently been going on in Sydney. I know Rafael since a few years, and I strongly believe he would not do this kind of thing for this effect of asserting his authority, as a power play. I truly think he is attempting to inject fresh energy, and introduce some other Australian dancers to the dance world, (new people receiving opportunity too, that's positive) also I'm sure he is striving for excellence and I would imagine he has an idea about the skills required to do that, for the artistic vision he holds for the company. This might explain the replacement of seven with seven more into the fold. Really find it hard to believe he would do this just for assertion of position or as a power play...

    Of course, the result of this is seven dancers without work now, and that may be really sad for them, but maybe not, maybe amazing new things will come for them too. What I try to say is, I dont think he directly wanted to assert his power, but felt his decision would benefit the company, but the result is possibly some great people out of work, but what about the opportunity for the new dancers? As for the respect for the company as it was, he kept half of the people, surely that is enough for the old voice and the new voice combined together, to make the company move forward whilst remembering the past.?

    Moreover, I don't think Rafael should be the scapegoat for criticism and blame, after all, surely there must be a board of Directors or some other authoritative figure, who could over-rule him if what he was doing was so wrong? Perhaps it would be interesting to find out from Rafael himself what happened and why.

    And that brings me to my next point, your style of writing, in both your initial article and in your response to Theo. I find how you write to be a bit childish, as you enter into a game of scoring, as in; you said this wrong. For example; "You speak of cowardice but you refuse to name the dance makers who, as far as you are concerned, are so blatantly mis-treating their dancers." You patronize Theo by suggesting you speak like adults, and whether it true or not that he was or wasn't speaking like an adult, is not the point, your job should be to write a little more maturely and objectively, and you should learn to look at purely what he says and not get tangled up in your own defense mechanisms and how he is saying things and then playing 'catch out'. By the way, why do you accuse him of not calling you as the number was there? Did you try contacting Rafael to discuss these matters before publishing such venomous words about him?

    You say you don't have time for settling scores, then why do you reply to Theo so defensively, aggressively and unintelligibly. Basically, everything you criticize him for doing, you are also doing it... You know he is not implying that the dancers have been there 30 years as well! And why oh why do you feel the need to comment on Rafael's height in relation to him being a mean spirited little man? You are only making yourself look childish and silly with this comment. And you are just being mean...

    Maybe what Rafael did was not right in your eyes, but I think it is funny how you talk about him not respecting, when you directly question his intellectual and practical ability to do his job, regardless of whether what he does is right or wrong, you are a hypocrite...

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