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About Birdsall

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. I think I read that the Bolshoi really wanted Smirnova and had a plan for her career. I think the very little movement and slow movement in ranks (with rare exceptions) at the Mariinsky would give any budding ballerina pause to think......
  2. I don't think any of that (don't think things should be that way), and thought I made that clear. I think women are screwed in every profession, and unfortunately have to have a 20 page resume full of qualifications and still lose the position against a totally unqualified male with zero experience. That has been proven to the world. Unfortunately women have to be 100 times better than a man just to get a chance. That's the unfortunate reality.
  3. An 80+ woman I know who had rocks thrown through her windows when she fought for the ERA told me once, "Nobody gives you power. You have to take it!" This was a short 80 year old who walked up to politicians and gave them what for in Tampa and people ran from her. I was shocked when she told me her height because she struck me as 6 feet tall so powerful was she! She was also always dressed to the nines and had the Scarlett O'Hara Southern drawl. I am not saying women should have to just jump up and grab power (people should respect women and sit down and listen even if the woman is not aggressive), but I agree with her. Nobody in a position of power simply hands it over. You must be aggressive and take it. Most people in positions of power view someone else gaining power as taking some of their power away (whether that is a correct assessment or not...power can be shared). Men are always going to try to maintain their "majority" of power, in my opinion. Always. They are never going to simply hand it over, and I am rejoicing in how women seem to be the majority who are leading many marches and events around the country. That is how it is done. You just do it and take it and keep on and become relentless. That wise 80 something told me also that she was shocked at how when she taught at a community college without a PhD during a meeting she could tell all these men with PhDs to get to that side of the room and these others go to this side of the room, etc. She said you just walk into a room, use an authoritative voice and take charge and people tend to go along, but you have to be willing to be called names and be seen as aggressive and get rocks thrown through your window. Should it be this way? No. Is it this way? Yes.
  4. I think Ashton is putting Sarasota on the map, but they do other things as well. They have done Ballets Russes programming, Balanchine, Robbins, De Valois, Tudor, highlighted one of their own dancer's choreography, etc. But, yes, Ashton does seem to be what is getting them "buzz" around the nation (and possibly world), and I have enjoyed the Ashton ballets I have seen there. I think Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri care deeply about Ashton and strive to do justice to his ballets. I am not sure putting all your eggs in one basket usually works, and that is why companies try to have a variety. I think specializing in one area but also doing other ballets is the "safe" thing to do.
  5. I have seen it with a different cast and enjoyed parts of it. You might like to do a search online for "Hero of Our Time" to get an explanation. The synopsis on the Bolshoi website is also confusing.
  6. I personally do not boo, because a singer or dancer has so much to contend with. Even when I am disappointed in a performance I never forget that is a human being on stage attempting to do a good job. With that said opera in Italy can be a blood sport, and it could be argued that if you put yourself out there for the applause you should also be willing to get booed as well. So philosophically I think people have every right to boo. However, I do not boo, because I don't get up there on the stage and do what they do with all the problems that can occur. They bare their souls for us and 99.9% of the time do not ever deserve booing. If a performer came out falling down drunk or some other ridiculous behavior maybe then he/she might deserve it. It would depend on the situation. I do understand booing a production if it is purposely trying to shock for no good reason (many opera productions can be crazier than hell). However, I would more likely leave if disgusted by how a favorite work has been desecrated than to stay and boo. Despite my personal dislike of booing performers I don't think an incoming director should tell an audience not to boo. Would he tell them not to applaud?
  7. I would also think there are people throughout the company who care about him. If I were to talk trash about my parents, relatives and even some close friends due to my own problems, they are likely to forgive me and know I lashed out because I was going through a lot. Some may not forgive and forget. Some would. There are no black and white ways to react when dealing with relationships even business relationships.
  8. True about how they are trying to get people to turn off phones and they are emphasizing that and giving up on other faux pas! LOL I forgot that sometimes opera lovers mess up too...during operatic concerts or recitals the audience tends to applaud after every "song" even if the songs go together. Ideally, for something like Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder you do not applaud until all 4 songs are over. But what can you do? Like you say we can only hope no cell phones go off, although one always does at every performance nowadays!
  9. Since ballet music is often lightweight and not usually symphonic (in most classical ballets), it doesn't bother me when the audience applauds a manege or great combination of steps during music, but when it is Mozart and so lovely and such a quiet, slow piece it is upsetting. Opera fans tend to be better in this respect rarely interrupting the music although a new production or especially nice production gets applause (to my dismay) the second the curtain goes up. People applaud at the end of an aria but for the most part music (including the singing) is the most important part. In contrast, the most important part of ballet is the dancing and choreography so the music seems to take a back seat.
  10. No idea. Sarasota always has a big season booklet with lots of info about each ballet of the season (and a separate smaller program for the specific show you are attending with casting info). The season booklet had Apparitions in it because I am sure it is too costly to reprint the season booklet. It is like a thick magazine but the pages are much thicker than magazine pages. The website often has bare minimum info.
  11. This news report is over a week old, but it gives the reason for the postponement (which apparently is a postponement):
  12. Apparently, she has had some injuries that kept her from dancing much in recent times and it sounds like she might go into coaching. Jeanette Delgado will take a year leave also but stay on the roster.
  13. Actually, I just went to the Mariinsky website and casting is finally up for the new Paquita. Here is the info about the production which apparently is using the parts Petipa choreographed. It might be pretty good after all! Music by Édouard Deldevez, Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo Libretto by Yuri Smekalov Choreography: Yuri Smekalov Reconstruction and staging of Marius Petipa's choreography (Act III Grand Pas): Yuri Burlaka Production Designer: Andrei Sevbo Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Costume Designer: Elena Zaitseva Conductors: Valery Ovsyanikov, Gavriel Heine Music edited by Yuri Smekalov
  14. The Paquita is the most intriguing work on Baden-Baden's playbill, since it sounds like an interesting idea.....using the original music but newly choreographed by Smekalov, I believe. I have liked some of what he has created, but at the same time if it is not Petipa it might just be "nice".......but maybe not worth a trip to see.
  15. Apparently, December 2017 has the Mariinsky doing Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, and the new Paquita in Baden-Baden. I don't think I will go. I have interest in the new Paquita (not a reconstruction supposedly), but somehow the mix of ballets do not excite me. I would go if I could see Swan lake and Paquita and then visit my friends. I have decided if I go to Baden-Baden again, I will stay in a hotel for a few nights and see a few performances and then visit friends. It is to tiring to jump on trains the whole time.