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altongrimes

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Everything posted by altongrimes

  1. Italy

    I am set to be a good student of dance and have made reasonable progress following the origins and evolution of the art form in France, Russia, England and America. But the history of ballet in Italy seems rather elusive or, at least, not as well defined as I would have imagined. Having now written this and "thinking out loud", I purpose to go back and have a closer look ! Could one correctly say of the Italian contribution: great bravura style dancers and outstanding teachers but with no permanent school or distinctive evolving style as in the Paris Opera ? Perhaps there is a good book on the subject?
  2. The Corps and The Principal

    The answer to the following may appear obvious, but upon further reflection, I am not so certain. Concerning the women in any given company, how would one describe the differences between a member of the corps and those who have attained the rank of soloist or principal? Is it simply a greater mastery of technique combined with a more developed theatricality?
  3. Polina Semionova

    I wonder if anyone would care to venture a guess as to why Polina Semionova's "star" seems to have virtually disappeared from the world stage? Of course, she has started a family but so have other prominent ballerinas without any apparent loss of visability. Apparently, Alastair Macaulay was less than gracious in his reviews of her performances in New York. (Could The Times please bring onboard a bona fide dance critic). A few years ago, I moved heaven and earth to see Polina perform in an ABT Swan Lake. So completely astounded was I by her power and grace in that performance that I felt in a kind of creative trance for days.
  4. Another Star ?

    I am simply wondering if it is possible for a dancer to fall out of favor with the dance world when he or she - for whatever reason - takes a break from the art form ? Throughout the last several years, I have harbored a great passion for the greatly gifted Polina Semionova, but since her absence from the stage, I naturally don't "feel" the excitement and power of her gift in the way that I once did. Perhaps as she now returns to the stage, she will quickly recapture and continue to build upon her previous artistic momentum. Or is there occasionally a kind of fickleness about the dance world that has little patience for the "human side" and quickly moves on in search of the next star?
  5. Macaulay on NYCB

    Considering how hard these dancers train and the almost monastic and insular lifestyle these artists lead, I am sometimes repulsed by M. Macaulay's often indecorous remarks. Even so, I can also appreciate that he sometimes "hits the mark" and can be quite illuminating, so that he is not, after all, a mere crackpot posing as a genius.
  6. CAMELOT FOR TEA

    In the midst of mining APOLLO'S ANGELS and Ballet 101 for more gold nuggets, I encountered this delightful train of thought from Jennifer Homans: "John F. Kennedy also made the arts a priority. His wife, Jackie, was a prominent figure at cultural events, and the glittering celebrity ethos of the White House gave new glamour and sheen to the performing arts everywhere; she sent a jet to escort Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn to the White House for tea." But alas, how times have changed. And for "tea" no less ! How fantastic .
  7. Cyril Atanasoff

    At the prompting of a rather precocious ballet "pen pal", I have been perusing footage of Sylvie Guillem (Mademoiselle Non is more fun to say) in 1988 versions of Swan Lake. The first viewing features Sylvie with Nicolas le Riche, the second with Manuel Legris. Naturally, I was greatly impressed and then - as if some kind of creative bomb went off inside me - I saw a mere few seconds of Cyril Atanasoff. How my heart and mind caught fire at the sight of his masterful presence ! It later occurred to me while delighting in the fire of this "revelation" that it may have also been Cyril Atanasoff who played the dancing master in Nureyev's Cinderella? As is my habit, I am simply gushing my enthusiasm here on Ballet Alert at this new ballet discovery. My God, Cyril Atanasoff ! Was he not the very picture of the grace and refinement so assiduously sought after by the French school?
  8. Cyril Atanasoff

    Thank you Drew ! An Illuminating an intriguing response from you concerning Cyril Atanasoff. How fascinating that you could discern the way in which he "paced his performance ... across the entire evening everything was crafted to get stronger and more vivid as the variation and evening progressed". Perhaps like some fine wine that gathers it's strength over time, the more seasoned M. Atanasoff imparted to his work a subtlety and nuance that only great experience can bring. You used the word "crafted" to describe his gift and how I would heartily underscore your observation. For a brief moment, while watching him in that 1988 Sylvie Guillem Swan Lake, some indescribable thing within me quickened, and I "saw" a craftsman. My creative mind "caught fire" as I watched him cut through air and stage with razor sharp precision. With what care and reverence he seemed to execute every step.
  9. La Valse

    In my ongoing journey of ballet discovery, I have recently discovered a description of George Balanchine's La Valse. So expertly did the writer illuminate the theme of this glorious ballet that I felt compelled to proclaim the gist to the members of Ballet Alert ! "Replacing the waltzers of our historical imaginations - perpetually in joyous motion, buoyant, graceful and secure - LaValse's characters are restless modern sophisticates and naifs, who stepping to Ravel's shattered forms and cacophonous harmonies, pursue pleasure that is both futile and diseased". How delicious is this magnificent prose ! How I now yearn to experience this ballet !
  10. Plastique

    As I have been navigating my way through the refreshingly direct prose of BALLET 101, I discovered the term "PLASTIQUE". A dictionary definition of the term reads: "statuesque poses or slow graceful movements in dancing". While this seems reasonably clear, I find myself more curious about the term than the simple definition would seem to imply. And I can only wonder if certain dancers through the years have been described as possessing an enviable plastique? What a fascinating term.
  11. Plastique

    Having relished all of the above replies, I am inclined to conclude that there have been a few occasions when I have experienced "plastique" to such effect that for days I felt in a kind of creative trance: one; Polina Semionova's performance in an ABT Swan Lake (2014) two; Zhong-Jing Fang's glorious "light" in a Romeo and Juliette during that same year, three; Marcello Gomes' impossibly transformative effect upon Stanton Welch's CLEAR, and finally, Misty Copeland's astounding athletic empowering of Radmansky's With A Chance Of Rain. As much as I appreciate YouTube bringing dance much closer, I dare say that I have only experienced this phenomena of "plastique" during live performance. Clearly, the mystical stuff of "plastique" is apparently far better apprehended when one's senses are fully employed as in being seated A2 at the David Koch.
  12. La Valse

    Thanks everyone for thease "golden" replies. I am continually grateful for the great substance and experience reflected to me by your dilligence.
  13. La Valse

    Thank you pherank for your sumptuous response !
  14. La Valse

    I should have included: Notes by Jeanie Thomas
  15. 2015 US Tour

    THE AGE OF ANXIETY Choreography: Liam Scarlett Sunday, June 28th, 2015 The David Koch Theater 2pm From the beginning of this production, I was a captive audience. Bathed in crimson and blonde, Sarah Lamb's onstage presence shone forth like some kind of precious stone. Throughout the choreography, she danced her way through and around the four principal males with just the right measures of seductive and restraint. As the work unfolded, I became progressively excited for it seemed a kind of hybrid. Sometimes, I imagined myself on Broadway (Billy Elliot) or a painting by Edward Hopper (Nighthawks) or even some fractured play by Eugene O'Neil. It became quickly apparent that this Age Of Anxiety had muscle. The "girlfriend", Nathalie Harrison, moved across the stage with memorable finesse (and spectacular long legs). The angst and alienation gripping the characters to varying degrees sought to reflect a "brave new world" reaping the unexpected spiritual consequences of it's headlong plunge into post WWII Metropolis. The loneliness and despair. The desperation. But lest we all leave the theater with a bad case of the blues, members of the cast danced with such expert abandon and characterization that a fine balance was achieved throughout. One stroke of pure genius employed dramatic lighting in such a way that a kind of slowly moving "Rembrandt" emerged to startling effect. It seems possible that a little selective prunning in places for the sake of achieving a more compact result might bring even greater impact to this already brightly shinning production. Rosetta. Sarah Lamb Emblem. Alexander Campbell Quant. Johannes Stepanek Malin. Federico Bocelli Bartender. David Donnelly Soldier. Matthew Ball Girlfriend. Nathalie Harrison
  16. Writing A Good Review

    Through the years, I have collected numerous copies of Dance Europe magazine. One observation, in particular, by Melanie Nix has forever captured my creative imagination. I have it pinned to my wall. " They say that writing a good review is harder than writing a bad one -- possibly because you sit mesmerized and then forget quite how you got to such a hypnotic state. Or as Derek Jerman is quoted in the programme notes as saying: 'as you walk into a garden you pass into another time -- the moment of entering can never be remembered'." How I relish this fascinating observation ! *I am not soliciting "replies" here, just sharing a little of my unbridled joy for the art form ! Comment j'adore le ballet !
  17. Reimagine

    In my dance studies, I have occasionally discovered the word "reimagine". Does the definition imply that there are, as in Balanchine's Cotillion, too many "missing pieces" to speak of the effort as a legitimate reconstruction?
  18. Reimagine

    Wonderful highly informative replies. Thank you !
  19. DRIVEN

    I find it remarkable that as highly trained as dancers are, that they are also highly driven to perform. That in a very real sense, they without us, an actively participating and hopefully passionate audience, are not made complete. It is both humbling and exciting to realize that their superlative gift is, in fact, precisely that, a gift to us all and that they are therefore driven to bring that gift to us. In an interview, Diana Vishneva was candid to admit that she has sometimes felt like quiting her craft due to the rigors of the way but quickly recaptures her commitment to the art form upon experiencing the effusive and poignant reactions of her audience.
  20. DRIVEN

    As I sit here allowing the audible version of Apollo's Angels to wash over my creative soul, I encountered the following quote attributable to Jerome Robbins: "You should never dance anything for the audience. It ruins it if you do. You should dance only to each other as if the audience wasn't there. It's very hard". This pronouncement is then in direct opposition to my initial premise that "performers are, in fact, driven to perform, and that they without us, an alert and actively participating audience, are not made complete". So much for my generalization. Even so, I remain intrigued by this notion and wonder at what percentage of the dance community has at it's core the drive to bring their gift to an audience. After all, I can't imagine that Marlon Brando's formidable gift was a treasure to be shared among only a select few.
  21. Costumes

    It would seem that the costumes used in both Giselle and Les Sylphides often appear so similar so as to appear indistinguishable one from the other. But perhaps the costumes could vary more noticeably depending upon whom is staging the productions ?
  22. Costumes

    Upon further consideration, my "costumes" question is simply best answered, I think, by the simple execise of more diligence on my part to "do my homework". I would not overwhelm Ballet Alert with the frivolous.
  23. Plastique

    I am astounded by the avalanche of response to my original question concerning "plastique". I keep pondering your replies very carefully and repeatedly as I go through my days. How I relish every word. How every one is like music to my ears. "A little Mozart, please!
  24. Plastique

    How I relish Sandik's marvellous response. Truly exciting to receive such an illuminating reply. A feast of discovery in your words. A joy !
  25. Ballet History

    I wonder if someone could suggest a book or two that they would consider a definitive treatise on ballet history. I have navigated my way through Jennifer Homans Apollo's Angels and have felt somewhat lost along the way. (I say this not as a criticism of her work).
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