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Jack Reed

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Everything posted by Jack Reed

  1. One thing to keep in mind is that the City Center stage is smaller than some, e.g. the one at the former New York State Theater. I don't have accurate dimensions handy, but performing ballets made to be performed there makes sense to me from that angle. I remember seeing the Joffrey perform the original version of Square Dance several times in the City Center in the '70s. I found that the caller's voice, amplified as it was, made it harder to follow the Corelli and Vivaldi numbers Balanchine had selected (the string playing was on a higher, more conventional concert-style level than "hill-billy" might imply), and so I tried an experiment: I put in some earplugs, and they cut down the amplified sound more than the live acoustical sound of the violins, and I was happy. My own preference is for the later version of Square Dance, not only because I can hear the music better and see the dancing better in the new costumes (with the musicians in the pit, too), but especially for the majestic new male solo, especially when it was danced by the dancer who inspired it, Bart Cook. That week in the '70s exemplified Robert Joffrey's interests in historic revivals as well as an already accomplished newcomer. If I remember correctly, Petrushka was also on the program, which was rounded out by, again IIRC, a remarkable piece of work called As Time Goes By, choreographed by someone with the taking name of Twyla Tharp.
  2. I think she doesn't merely want to teach, but has work lined up, not least at the Ballet Arizona school in Phoenix. And in her remarks - there was another "Chat" this afternoon, post-performance and scarcely announced, for example - she mentions Andersen together with Farrell as her Balanchinian mentors
  3. I attended both pre-performance "Chats," just to see what might turn up: On Thursday (May 3rd), Magnicaballi told us she has been dancing since age 9, in school in 1986. Since 1999, she's danced with Suzanne Farrell, and since 2002 with Ib Andersen as well. She wants to teach and coach. What inspires you about Balanchine? I love him. I feel at home. Also, he's so fulfilling. Good, makes sense. Is Balanchine unpopular? Balanchine was ahead of his time. Not now, no one is ahead. In Balanchine, your pose is deeper (demonstrates). You try to project to the last row. "Siren" is an opportunity to be a woman, to be seductive. Saturday will be different from tonight. Why "Sleepwalker"? Sonnambula was my first role here. Where are you going from here? I have some special projects with Suzanne. In Arizona, summer classes. On Friday (the 4th), Martin told us about her background in Cuba, dancing in the National Ballet of Cuba, founded by Alicia Alonso, among other things. What's your favorite role? I like the Coquette in Sonnambula - Martin started to giggle - because she's a seductive woman. Martin was so overcome with the giggles she couldn't say more about this question. (Frankly, I think my notes on these "Chats" are too skimpy, and if any other BA!-ers were there and can add some details, as always, feel free.)
  4. As it happened, the revised order of the program was the one we got: Friday, May 4 Evening. In brief: Either Symphony in Three Movements has changed in performance since opening night or I've adjusted, watching it - an effect I've noticed before, watching BA - but I found myself thinking tonight that about all it needs is a little more snap in the dancing and less shrillness in the sound. Tonight's audience went for it more loudly than last night's, too. Watching it tonight, I remembered Magnicaballi's remark in the pre-performance "Chat" last night that Balanchine was ahead of his time but today, nobody is: In the '70s, we used to kick around some ideas about the ballets we knew, and one of my friends asked me if "Symphony Three" was not about the Second World War, as Stravinsky said it was not, then what was it about, and I said, it's about the Twenty-First Century. Mimi Tompkins came into the Siren role in Prodigal Son, and if she was more lovely she was less sinister and domineering than Natalia Magnicaballi had been last night, which may derive partly from Magnicaballi's seniority in the role and in her career - she has about ten years or more on Tompkins, so enjoyable as Tompkins was, Magnicaballi had brought more appropriate power to the role; and Alejandro Mendez brought a little more strength and weight to the role of the Prodigal tonight than Nayon Iovino had. And Arianni Martin was delightfully animated in the Pas de Deux divertissement with Eric Hipolito Jr. Then in the Sonnambula pas de deux, the later sequence where the Sleepwalker's progress across downstage brought some chuckles around me because of the humor some see in the Poet's frustrated attempts to interfere with her progress, I wanted intensity; I wanted the dance to get us closer to the edge of a cliff, and it happened in the following sequence where the Sleepwalker bourrees upstage away from the Poet who has propelled her that way, and so on. Magnicaballi with Helio Lima this evening did make the movement intensify in speed and sharpness of direction, and the superficial audience around me fell silent, finally absorbed, showing the power of the art visible onstage to draw people into this mystery.
  5. Nice going, especaily for the link to the cast list, fiddleback; I missed that by just hours. Did you notice it showed a different order than what is implied on the "All-Balanchine" page? The older page had the program open with Prodigal Son and then Symphony in Three Movements, which would have lent some interesting variety and contrast, not to mention giving Magnicaballi a chance to rest! Speaking of that, if she can do all this, why is she retiring? I'll confess there's some projection of my own wishes in this question - I'd rather she wouldn't quit! I want to see more of her performances! What I like to see in dancing is a dancer exploring the role - never changing the steps and the moves but continually exploring how the moves fit the sounds - but Magnicaballi is one of those who goes farther with a role sometimes, exploring different approaches, especially if there is some characterization there. For example, her two "Terpsichore"s a year ago: The whole ballet, Apollo, shows us some gods from Greek mythology, and her first approach reflected, I thought, their pure, remote life on high; but there's a little plot in it too - the three muses are, like, auditioning for Apollo, who watches their solo dances from the side of the stage - and Terpsichore is the one he judges the best, the one he soon rewards and dances with. Magnicaballi's second performance had some of the earthly exuberance, I thought, of someone who could feel, Hey, I got the gig! So this time she will show us her take - or takes - on two roles, the dominating, seductive "Siren" in Prodigal Son and the remote, unreachable - almost unreachable - "Sleepwalker" in La Sonnambula. But as to the program - I've picked up from talking with newbies in the theater over the years that some of them are afraid of watching a story ballet and missing something early and not getting the rest of it as a result. Prodigal Son tells most of its story so clearly, you don't even have had to run across it in the centuries it's been around, and so it would not have been a problem to start with it. And some ballet audience I've encountered think a ballet company does mainly one style, so following Prodigal with Symphony Three would have the advantage of demonstrating quickly the range a program devoted to one choreographer can have if it's George Balanchine. (Not that I think proving a point like that is what a program should do. It should provide a satisfying experience. I'm not the only one who compares attending a performance to having a good meal: I can't quote chapter and verse exactly, but I remember reading Mr. B himself remarking, in this context, that people like beef but "they don't want to eat beef three times; some people like oysters". People like different things that go together.) So we'll see what the order actually is. But with two ballets offering Magnicaballi good opportunites to involve her considerable talents, as well as something completely different - but comparably powerful - this program looks like fun for everybody. And as for seeing more of Magnicaballi's kind of dancing, the remark dirac picked up on is a hopeful hint. (More about that I wish I could say, as a once and maybe future supporter of TSFB, but I can't.) As for tracking her own future performances, she does have that web site...
  6. I've lately posted a HeadsUp! regarding Ballet Chicago Studio Company's annual Spring show in the Harris Theater: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43723-ballet-chicago-may-5-2018-duell-seymour-balanchine-with-simone-messmer-mcb/?tab=comments#comment-399253 It's not been announced, but I expect her Siegfried to be Ted Seymour, who danced with TSFB and who teaches at Ballet Chicago - where, incidentally, I gather Messmer herself will be teaching (and, we hope, maybe dancing?) over the summer. Let's see how many of her fans are rabid enough to make the trip from Florida! (Only two performances, though, but if late Nineteenth-Century and Mid-Century modern architecture are of any interest, there's still some of that in the Chicago area.)
  7. The performances, by the Ballet Chicago Studio Company, consisting of the best dancers from the Balanchine-oriented school which Ballet Chicago is, are at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturday May 5: https://www.harristheaterchicago.org/tickets/2017-2018-season/ht-17-18-ballet-chic (The Ballet Chicago Studio Company is the only non-professional - I'd say, pre-professional - company to appear at the Harris Theater.) This linked page doesn't say much at all about the repertory, and I'm not sure I can say for sure the gorgeous Swan Lake costume at the top of the page is actually one of theirs, but I'd bet on it: They've had a very capable and devoted army of volunteer seamstresses producing costumes for them over the years, and those of you who have seen their Nutcracker know how good they can be. But I'd say that repertory is more important, not to mention quality of dancing, and I was impressed by what I saw at the previews last weekend. Hansel and Gretel sets the familiar story to Wagnerian music by Engelbert Humperdinck (the original, a contemporary of Wagner, not the contemporary pop singer, Hansel and Gretel's choreographer, and artistic director of B.C., Dan Duell, told us with a grin at the previews). His ballet features two pairs of principals, the title pair of youngsters who are supposed to work at broom-making to help support the family, but who, as kids do, really like to play - shown in playful dancing - and their parents, who scold them when they discover them - told in emphatic gestures worked into their dancing, as well as a witch, whose movement also sometimes supports her (evil) character, as when she exults over the trouble she whips up, and a corps. The Creatures of Prometheus may be the novelty of the season: As far as its choreographer, Ted Seymour, knows (as he told us at the preview), Beethoven's music doesn't seem to have been choreographed since 1801, when he wrote it. (Seymour said he reduced the music from the original 66 minutes, rarely heard nowadays, to 27, placing the Overture, which has become part of the concert repertory, as the conclusion.) The plot here is that Prometheus empowers creatures to become more human by giving them fire, not only for basic warmth and cooking, but, in the symbolic sense, for passion, and light: They develop culture; he enlightens them. But Zeus, the ruler of the gods, takes issue with Prometheus's initiative, and some trouble ensues between them. (Although we didn't see this choreography, placing the Overture at the end makes good musical sense to me, as it previews the themes in the score, and it can just as well summarize them, too.) Swan Lake is the half-hour Balanchine distillation of the hour-and-a-half traditional version, with the plot clearly shown in the first and last numbers; the rest is, mostly, beautiful dancing to beautiful music, although you can see romance when Odette (the Swan Queen) and Prince Siegfried dance together. Odette will be danced by the superb Simone Messmer, currently a principal dancer with Miami City Ballet. What I saw, like I usually see from the Studio Company, was dancing expressive of what the choreographers hear: Some of it carries the plot they're working with, more or less strongly implied by their music, and much of it implies dance movement largely for its own sake. Or rather, for the sake of each other, the music and the dance. To me, this is how the people who run the school, Dan Duell and his wife, Patricia Blair, honor the Balanchine tradition they find congenial. It's the one this spectator finds most congenial, too. (B.C. being a school making the most of limited resources, I should probably say that the music will be recorded; but having heard some of it already, as a classical-music lover, I can say that the performances seem to be well chosen, as they usually are.)
  8. I sympathize - and empathize, too - but here's another post of mine: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43726-simone-messmer-in-chicago-may-5-2018-and-over-the-summer/ So, we'll see how many of her fans come from Florida and California to see her! Why here? I'm not really privy, but I gather she is very interested in Balanchine's choreography, stopping off here in 2012 on her way from New York to San Francisco to dance Balanchine's "Sugar Plum" with Ted Seymour in BC's The Nutcracker four times, and Ballet Chicago's curriculum is constructed largely from it - a few years ago, I managed to see one of their end-of-summer-session shows, where we got his Tchaikovsky pas de Deux five times with five casts, interspersed with fragments and excerpts from other ballets, mostly his, and - true to his way, I think - all five were pretty accurate and true but each was a little different in level of accomplishment and "flavor," and so, fresh and entertaining - and she wants to dance a considerable amount of it - his way - herself. How much of this will be on view I don't know, although there was a program late last summer, not just advanced students, but members of the Studio Company, some of whom teach, as well.
  9. There will also be a pre-performance lecture with Daniel Duell in the Donor's Room of the Harris Theater at 1:00 pm on May 5th. I think mainly ticket holders to the matinee will be admitted. These things are usually informative and pretty small and informal, so if you want, bring some questions to ask.
  10. I had a pretty good time watching "Layla and Majnun" here in Chicago (16 & 17th March, in the Harris theater) by using my habitual method, looking to see how the movements fit the sounds. I usually turn out for one of Morris's shows because he seems to me to hear very well, if not so well as George Balanchine, whose best choreographies are the high-water mark for me in this regard. (Can this be what some people mean by "musicality"? There are certainly choreographers who don't seem to hear well or who hear very differently from them, and that can give me problems.) Not only that, Morris's movement vocabulary of the moment usually seems less rich to me than Balanchine's, which he developed further from his rich heritage - although, that said, in "Layla" there seemed to be a lot of unique movement expressive of music unique in my experience. But one of the rewards of this approach is that I may see how a choreographer hears music I've never heard before, as here. The choreography has the effect of pointing out the events in the musical progression, as the music informs the visible activity, and the whole experience becomes, well, more whole, stronger, a visit to a larger world. The whole of "Layla" being so new to me, when I watched it a second time (from a slightly different seat), I saw things I hadn't the first time and enjoyed it again, and felt I might yet again when I had the chance. I liked the music, too, but that has not always been necessary; sometimes in the past I've learned from a choreographer a second way of listening to music I didn't like hearing it on its own. (Stravinsky's Violin Concerto, for example.) The supertitles were a big help in following the gist of the narrative - the story - for me too, and I may still have a long way to go to get all of that - not to mention the effect of the four couples in the title roles - if I ever do. If ever this world becomes familiar, or something.
  11. Jack Reed

    Is Amazon stopping DVD sales?

    Good question, Alexandra. In agreement with CharlieH, my guess - it's only that - is that this is "progress." More and more, such sales are becoming "downloads" - the files are available in "the cloud" - actually some hard drives in California - and sometimes you can pay for the privilege of saving that data - the video and the audio - to your computer. But not always; sometimes you can only buy a subscription to view or listen to the recorded performance, and then only as long as it remains "up" - available - on those remote systems. I was just on Amazon myself looking to buy a recorded music performance, and was offered "streaming only." Once you hear it, the data leaves your computer, and apparently you have to go back to Amazon to hear it again, depending whether your subscription is still running and whether they've not taken it down in the meantime. They want us to pay and to keep on paying. Is this partly how Amazon got to $3 billion or whatever they're worth? Myself, I like to have a collection - I have about a thousand CDs and DVDs here - where I can access some favorites when I feel the need - if I don't get a good dose of good dance or music once in a while, something is missing from my life! And with me there's a good chance that what I need isn't all that popular enough to make its continued availability worthwhile. And you may want to have material on hand for planning lectures for your courses, as well. (I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount for that overture I'm hankering for right now, having heard it on the radio recently - which I thought was the principle behind the iTunes store originally: sell each song cheap and the kids will stop ripping off the pop-music industry, which looked like going under as a result - but all I'm finding is it's in multi-disc sets, and $35 for a 10-minute overture doesn't seem to me what Steve Jobs had in mind in those days.) My other guess is that VAImusic and ArkivMusic (which does sell a few ballet DVDs) will continue on, as small, niche sellers seem to, for some time. Small is beautiful, but I don't think Amazon got to be worth $3 billion by thinking small. They're not going to do us any favors. (Thanks for the tip about amazon.co.uk, CharlieH, I'll have to try that. Maybe I can just buy a download of that overture. If I can convince that site I'm in the UK...) (End of rant. For now.)
  12. My story was similar. I had admired Magnicaballi in TSFB, accepted her absences when, so the story went, Ib Andersen wouldn't let her go to Washington (there was some compensation elsewhere in Farrell's company of the moment, not to mention the sometimes sensational vitality of their preparation), and then maybe in 2014, Farrell had three more excellent women, all four from Phoenix, and it finally dawned on me I could enjoy more of their dancing there. It turned out there were even more excellent dancers in Phoenix - including some boys - and I've gone back ever since. I'll be there this May, too.
  13. None of these images are captioned on the page, but if you open the thumbnails in a new tab or window, the URLs up in the address bar give some clues: The first image is from their Moscow tour! (Opening the thumbnail of this image in a new tab gives an even larger image.) What Magnicaballi says around 1:20 and returns to around 2:00 put me in mind of what I'd picked up about Mr. B's approach, which Magnicaballi's great mentor absorbed (or maybe, brought with her into that fabled relationship to Mr. B; who knows?). She speaks of Farrell's trust in her dancers, and the freedom she gives them; this is how Mr. B. nurtured his dancers. I can't cite the source right now, but in a slightly different context, apparently in answer to a question, he compared his work to that of another up-and-coming choreographer of the day, one garnering a lot of attention: "Twyla makes the dancers look like her; I make them look like them." (Accurate or not about Twyla, it was accurate about the direction he consciously took; some of his dancers have also testified that he taught them, not just how to dance, but how to live.) Magnicaballi doesn't use the word, but this nurturing that Balanchine and Farrell made their practice, their way, speaks to their humanity - this is how we social animals, we humans, raise each other; what strikes me as great about this little clip is that Magnicaballi is so vivid. That speaks not only to her intelligence but to her humanity; and as someone who doesn't like goodbyes, when you look back, and sense loss sometimes, I can imagine a future where she also teaches this way. She is a knowing member of the tribe, you might say. But the web address, the URL, of this image carries the last names of Paola Hartley and Astrit Zejnati; "The Sleepwalker" in it is unmistakably Magnicaballi, of course, not Hartley. Who is her partner? I think it's Brian Leonard. He was her "Poet," according to my cast sheet for the Balanchine weekend in May 2015, when a cropped version of this image was used for the cover of the program book, which, however, only credited Magnicaballi herself. (But maybe it's an older image. Anybody know?) I believe in giving credit where it's due. Tsk! But thanks for the links, fiddleback.
  14. Balanchine - a man of few words - was known for a number of compact expressions, and "Never mind perfect. Perfect is boring." may be among the more notorious ones with some people, but it points to the freshness I find in the best, to me the most authentic, Balanchine performance. (Such as those by TSFB we were seeing in Purchase and in Washington.) Between the show at Purchase on the 3rd and these now in Washington this weekend (I wrote this December 8th), I saw a show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York of the draftsman, painter and sculptor Michelangelo, who (I learned there) was admired in his time for a certain quality, a certain characteristic, in his art. For example, Michelangelo's way in sculpture was to find his statue in the stone - he even wrote a sonnet about that, on display there - and when the statue had emerged sufficiently, he'd found it, and he stopped. Similarly with his drawing and painting. Other artists - there were contemporaries on view in the show - produced beautiful marvels, finished, complete and, in painting, perfect from edge to edge, and you marveled at the beauty, but you moved on. Something else, something more was going on with Michelangelo's works - you saw how they were still becoming what they were, you saw some of his process, because they were not yet - and never would be - finished and perfect, and this was the aspect for which many admired him in his day, this quality of his work which was called non finito, "not finished." So with Balanchine, whose art has the added complication that he did not make art in stone or even chalk on paper, nor is it even written down like other performing art, to be interpreted later by other dancers than he worked with, as we know (and as Suzanne Farrell reminds us). Mr. B. then is a latter-day Michelangelo, with an important difference that the sculptor worked in stone (as well as chalk on paper); but for Mr. B's works, even less finito, dancers are required, making ballet an art - the art - that, as soon as it comes into existence, disappears before it is, well, done, finished, perfect, finito. Is Balanchine's art, then, unique in this way? No other choreographers made work like this? I wouldn't say so - but I would say that, much like Michelangelo, he carried it higher than others of my experience, and, also like Michelangelo, consciously savored this quality himself. Are there other admirers of this quality here? (In either artist! Or in others.) What do you think?
  15. Jack Reed

    Final Kennedy Center Performance

    Seeing these fine realizations of Balanchine's ballets and an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum set some thoughts flowing, but they're more generally about Balanchine's art, so I've posted them here, for what they're worth: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43497-balanchine-non-finito/
  16. Jack Reed

    Suzanne Farrell

    Still thinking about the question of what's next for Farrell, I remember that a friend and fellow follower of TSFB over the years pointed out lately that when one thing is finished, it frees you up to work on the next thing. Maybe my friend has stumbled on some of the meaning behind Farrell's remark about how, having retired three times, she's looking forward to the fourth one.
  17. Jack Reed

    Robert Gottlieb on Jewels

    We might each pick different favorite writers, but I think we three may still agree that the most valuable dance writing anchors the reader's mind in description of what the writer saw and carries the reader along with the writer's thinking to the writer's conclusions and judgements - showing how these conclusions were arrived at. The reader is always free at the end of it to disagree with those conclusions, but seeing the whole process - "riding along" with the writer for a moment - can help readers learn to make their own better judgements of performances the writer isn't even writing about, or that they haven't even read about. It's good exercise, good practice. This effect might sometimes be accidental, or intuitive, but at least sometimes it's intentional: Meeting one of my "favorites," I told him what I liked abut his writing, along the lines of what I just said - helping people to appreciate other ballets than the one written about, ballets they haven't even seen - and he replied that that was just what he was trying to do. But Gottlieb's commentary is usually more condensed, more compressed - he doesn't "connect the dots" often, and once in a while he even remarks that he's not much of a critic, if one at all; just an amateur - but those of us who have read him for a time have gotten to know him, gotten to know his mind, and we've learned a little about "where he's coming from" so we can interpret (or interpolate?) some of what he leaves out. Here he's an insider, mostly reminiscing, and watching Balanchine's company was such a formative and nourishing experience for me, I'm enjoying it (and I'm glad for his information on the contemporary scene, too) even when I demur from some of his opinions.
  18. Jack Reed

    Nutcracker 2017

    Not so much "The Land of Sweets" anymore, but "The Land of Palm Trees and Surf"? Aw, shucks. Not as much fun in that. What's art about, anyway? The experience of it takes us away, to another "place," different from our everyday situation, doesn't it? And then we return, changed, like from a little vacation (and no jet lag). (Sometimes, we're changed permanently.) I'm sorry, but these "localized" Nutcrackers I hear about (and sometimes see) seem to me to deny the audience a fuller, more valuable experience by being brought down to our everyday world instead of inviting us to go up into their special worlds.
  19. Jack Reed

    Nutcracker 2017

    Another report of a depressing trend - the new Wheeldon Nutcracker for Joffrey Ballet I watched here in Chicago a year ago was also dumbed down with digital projections, projections onto downstage scrims and upstage screens - like the MCB treatment seems to have been - we were shown something to think about while the Overture plays! Here I may disagree with my friend Cristian - I think we should have the music alone to listen to, and to help and encourage our imagination come to life. Tchaikovsky is setting the scene there, before the dramatic action begins. But why? Why did Lopez or anyone do that? Multiple reasons, I'd guess. A practical reason? We were told about the new Joffrey production that these screens are more easily portable, so that the production can tour more cheaply. (Like MCB touring to San Francisco?) But artistically, Lopez may want to feel up-to-date, with a kind of mixed-media, post-modern production - part traditional staging, part high-tech. I think the Joffrey people - the company bills itself as the "premiere" company - thought along those lines when it mounted a new production. "New" sells. Because there's always marketing. Traditional theater, especially ballet, creates worlds for us to visit - those of us with the imagination to do so - that's what Balanchine was doing for us. (Not only him, of course.) Marketers sense that this "product" appeals to cultivated taste, a narrow market, and want to bring it down to the uncultivated masses, a larger market. "Newbies." But nobody was born cultivated, we were all newbies once, and denied the opportunity of developing taste as we did by being denied the experience of better art like we had, they won't develop it. This is a tragedy worth anger in addition to what Cristian expresses over the "digital mess" onstage. I think he and I love good art enough to want to share it with others, and we are angry when it's messed up and that possibility is taken away, besides what it takes away from our own experience. But I may only be projecting my own feelings about the contemporary situation now.
  20. Jack Reed

    Suzanne Farrell

    The short answer, to all questions like that about continuing and future projects and "initiatives" of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, is, it's over. As dirac says, "kaput". No performance or presentation schedule, nothing. I believe the name, "Suzanne Farrell Ballet," may be the Kennedy Center's "brand" to use or not as it wishes, but in the meantime, as far as I know, her only continuing work at the K. C. is her teaching. For example, her annual summer intensive, "Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell," was announced for July 23-Auguast 11, 2018, in handbills in the programs at the K.C. Audition applications are due today, December 24, by the way; according to the handbill, information is available and applications may be submitted at education.kennedy-center.org/education/farrell or by calling (202) 416-8851. (Curious where the auditions will be held? I was. Here's the list: New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Nashville, Santa Fe, and Houston.) More than the encouraging signs I've mentioned, I'm sure there is interest and activity directed toward enabling Farrell's work, but nothing specific has emerged in public.
  21. Jack Reed

    Suzanne Farrell

    While there's truth in the idea that you sometimes don't value something as much when you have it as when you know you've lost it, their last five performances - thinking mainly of Gounod Symphony and especially of Serenade - and including the Purchase show on December 2nd - were some of their best, IMO. Nor just my opinion - some of my considerable betters went farther, for example, George Jackson in Danceviewtimes for December 8th: Trying to write about it after seeing the Purchase performance, I was pretty lost for words - a "universe," compared to a mere "world", like Gounod - but I agree with Jackson about the scale of the experience.
  22. Jack Reed

    Suzanne Farrell

    More interesting background, Helene, thank you, and it may help to explain how TSFB's last show - I'm not saying Farrell's last show - happened in December instead of October or November - it's a matter of when enough resources can be patched together for the show to go on. (Likewise, I gather that the Kennedy Center Opera House orchestra plays for TSFB during hiatus in the opera season.) I don't say "Farrell's last show" because of a hunch that she would rather do more, not less, and because of a couple of other things: On a panel after TSFB's open class - open to the public to view, free of charge - at Purchase College (in Purchase, New York) on December 2nd, she remarked to us that "I've retired three times and I'm looking forward to the fourth." So, she's "come back" three times already. And in an interview with Marina Harss in Dance Magazine early this month, she remarked
  23. Jack Reed

    Suzanne Farrell

    I think you're right, vipa. For instance, Robert Greskovic spoke this theme at the end, in his review, "Suzanne Farrell's Curtain Call," in the December 11th Wall Street Journal, for example: Exceptional dancers know they can command exceptional salaries, although some worked for Balanchine for less than they could get - did get - elsewhere, and this is another limiting factor, as money often is. But Farrell has resourcefully "picked up" dancers she had worked with before, often filling the ranks from her classes at FSU in Talahassee, as well as putting such satisfying dancers as Natalia Magnicaballi, a member of Ballet Arizona, and Heather Ogden, of the National Ballet of Canada, to mention two on view in these last performances, in the more prominent roles. (Ogden, and Violeta Angelova, both of whom I was very glad to see dancing with TSFB again, have not always appeared in Farrell's recent seasons, though.)
  24. Jack Reed

    Final Kennedy Center Performance

    George Jackson's enthusiastic response to Thursday's and Friday's shows is on Danceviewtimes: http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2017/12/for-the-future.html#more I'm confident there will be more, probably an interview, even.
  25. Jack Reed

    Final Kennedy Center Performance

    Agree with YouOverThere that TSFB deserved more money and Farrell deserves better recognition. As time goes by, the Kennedy Center seems more and more like a provincial operation where some great performers pass through. Tonight's performances seemed to me and some friends pretty strong for the run so far: Most considered Allyn Noelle, who led the opening Gounod Symphony to be becoming "a real ballerina"; I don't disagree, though I think Natalia Magnicaballi, who danced this last night, already is one. Her Tzigane tonight was not a copy of last night's, but also involved and involving, and the ballet also benefitted from the right degree of flamboyance Kirk Henning brought to her partner's role. Even better was Meditation, with Heather Ogden's poignancy, Michael Cook again in the man's role. And then Serenade, which an experienced and acute professional ballet-watcher thought the best performance of it he'd ever seen. (This was the cast I was so taken with - stunned, really - in Purchase, which he had not seen.) Many long-time ballet-watchers, whom I sometimes call the published and unpublished critics I pay attention to, were well pleased with this program.
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