Amy Reusch

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Everything posted by Amy Reusch

  1. I was only able to get for a bit of Friday... The room was packed,more people than chairs... And afraid I did not take notes... Here are some random memories/thoughts... One thing I wondered was perhaps addressed during sessions I missed: under Stalin, it could be fatal to have Western connections... The exchanges started in the neighborhood of three years after Stalin's death... Was there a reluctance to be associated with a venture like this? Perhaps the new regime might also turn against those with Western connections? The bribes that were required in the USSR to get the exchanges to happen... Were some of these also to smooth over that reluctance? A theme seemed to be that the exchanges had much more impact on dance on the Western side of the Iron Curtain than on the Eastern side. But I am not sure I entirely agree... Sylvie Guillem, perhaps too late to be considered Cold War, but I believe she influenced the look of Russian dancers today... Their extreme flexibility... and the popularity of In the middle somewhat elevated.. There was some talk of the cultural exchange in Cuba and how the Cubans were resisant feeling they had their own distinct technique not requiring Russian patronizing... But there was no discussion of the details of this technique. I find it interesting because it often seems to me that the Cuban dancers more resemble the old soviet dancers than their Russian counterparts do. Ulanova was surprisingly old when she finally got to dance in the US? I didn't realize how long it took Hurok to bring The Bolshoi to the US. And the world nearly got DeNiro playing Hurok in a biopic. Russian Dancers were expected to bring back "thank you" gifts for those bureaucrats who got them in the tour... But they had very little money with which to purchase these gifts. It was not quite explained how they managed on their piitance of a per diem to purchase the gifts. I wondered why Merce Cunningham was not included... It seems he was not considered a gifted public speaker... But John Cage would have done this well for him, no? And on the Modern Art front the US State Dept was covertly funding abstract painting from the avant garde, why was dance exported more conservative? There was also talk of Ailey, Dunham & Primus in Africa. In some countries the local tribes distrusted Primus, thinking she was there to steal their dances, in others the colonial overlords feared she was fanning patriotic flames. I wanted to ask if dances were handed down as legacy in Africa as they are in some Native American tribes but time was limited and the room was packed with noted critics, authors & scholars, so.. not sure if questions from general public would have been welcomed.
  2. Didn't think my notes belonged added in on the thread about all of the Guggenheim 2015 Works and Process lectures... but thought I'd share what little I remembered from this lovely evening. I was there on Sunday, perhaps some others could add in and/or correct... ​please do correct, i've probably got half of it down wrong. From the announcement It was recorded on video, so at least it exists in the archive somewhere. Even if they couldn't allow the Balanchine performances available over the internet, it would be wonderful to get the lecture and the Petipa performances. Cameron Grant played for the demonstrations, which was a great pleasure for the audience. PNB corps de ballet dancers Angelica Generosa and Kyle Davis did a very nice job bringing the Petipa to life. (there was much commentary afterwards murmured about among the audience at the reception that PNB must have riches to have such dancers only in the corps) There is something about these bones of lost performances of an earlier era... the imagination comes into play... one almost sees a vision of what might have been and perhaps reality could never have congealed in such a way... but this is maybe the attraction of legends... how might Nijinsky have floated... how lightly would the original Harlequin have managed those steps? The lecture was kindly underwritten by Stuart Coleman and Meryl Rosofsky. On the screen was a photo of Alexander Shiryaev as Harlequin, although it was György Kyaksht in the original (whether there is a photo anywhere of Kyaksht... ?) One looks at the choreography and imagines how it might have suited Kyaksht... he must have been buoyant ;) with an easy ballon for these steps to look capering... I have been hunting youtube all evening for a version of assemblé to a deep demi plié or grand plié... I feel I have seen this step done so, and wonder if it were for Harlequin or something else... but youtube can be like the ocean and it's tides... sometimes like flotsam amazing clips come to view, but when you go back months later to find them, ... well... good luck. And so, for all I know, the assembly to deep deep plié was for some entirely different number/era. Doug Fullington gave an interesting brief history of Commedia della' Arte... how it started with stock characters of two old men and their two male servants... improvised outdoors... and that Harlequin inherited his trickster character from a devil character in medieval theater... Gradually more characters were added, included female characters, (played by women!)... it died out in Italy but was preserved in France where more characters (including some of those we think of as standard characters where added... I think he was saying Pierrot) Eventually the words gave way and it became a pantomime or dance form... (one can see how this might have suited traveling players... one wouldn't have to make the jokes work in all languages?). Pierrot went from the stupid servant (how did those long sleeves work for a servant?), to a romantic character always mooning about, in the service of love... The Harlequin & Columbine in the Ivanov/Petipa Nutcracker were originally a he-devil & she-devil in the libretto but by the time of the premiere they had been replaced with the commedia characters... however the ominous tone in the music remained (it seems it was originally done to the music usually used for mechanical soldier doll)... [hey, is Satinella a she-devil?] Fullington mentioned that Commedia della'Arte was unscripted and improvised... had it been scripted it would have been Commedia Erudita... [if I quite heard that right] Petipa (or the libretto?) has a fairy give Harlequin a slapstick magic wand with which he will be able to get what he wants (Columbine... who evolved from a soubrette to an "idealized woman" character... while Pierette was created and filled the soubrette niche)... later on this fairy is disguised as a notary public and marries Harlequin & Columbine. (I promptly missed the next few sentences as I tried to imagine a fairy disguised as a notary public)... The older Harlequin variation had tours a la seconde in the old style where the supporting foot sort of stays flat on the floor in plié and "hops" (without any elevation... I think of these as "chugs" except they are turning not traveling).. instead of sailing around in relevé The Stepanov notation often just notated the feet, nothing [or little] above the waist... i'm guessing it was intended as a memory cue, not as something to give a stager, who had never seen it, the choreography. The music speeds up in the tours a la seconde... in the Balanchine version, so do the tours speed up... it is so clear in the music, that even if it were not notated, one felt it should happen in the Petipa... (even before having seen the Balanchine... ) (or was this because it was played by someone familiar with the Balanchine version? Is it written in the score? My memory of what it sounded like doesn't serve to let me say if it were the interpretation or the score ). However, the Columbine variation was notated by a student, Alexandra (and Fullington said the full name, mentioning that she signed the notation), who noted everything including the arms (? and epaulement? I'm not sure now exactly).... (I became distracted wondering if she did so because she wanted to remember exactly how it went herself... I was not clear if she were a student of the ballet or a student of notation... a ballet student might easily want to learn a variation just to try it themself!). Angelica gave us the Columbine variation... very beautiful... one sees the dance through it's ghost... sparkling flittering fingers, the torso epaulement is not the contemporary alignment and the dancers mentioned not having the muscle memory for the coordination for it to feel natural.. saying something like somehow it works, but it is not the familiar coordination... I think the charm is tricky... the more subtle the charm, the more difficult to an accent from an unfamiliar era... one looks at the early films and though recognizable steps are discernable, the way the old dancers carried themselves is very different, different inclinations of the head, shoulders... a principal of that era would have known just how to evince charm in slight a lilt of the torso. The final position of the variation, perhaps fourth with the chest a little forward and the arms up ? (memory not quite serving), but I remember thinking at the moment that I bet it displayed the original tutu beautifully... those tutus were almost like a prop, I think.. with some steps entirely designed to make it flounce or tip the skirt at an angle to show it off.... Balanchine's variation to the same music is exquisite... so fairy like... made me think of that pas de deux in Midsummers with it's light touch...the variation was light and bourrée-ing... with lots of epaulement... and indeed the Midsummer's pas de deux was mentioned in the lecture and I believe Fullington said they were not made so very far apart in time. Tiler Peck did a lovely job of it. She seems to be good at confections. Perhaps too she is the right type for these Italian Ballerina virtuoso roles in 19th Century Russian Classical Ballet parts.... I would like to see her in more of them to see if the theory holds out.... I loved the way Balanchine had the speed of the bourrées change... a little bourrée turn that begins to turn faster... Also that partnered turn where Harlequin gets her turning and then steps away... a little as if he has just spun a top... Also enjoyed where she begins her fouetté independently and then Harlequin joins her to partner them further until he can capture her waist and hold her posed. I'm guessing that in the pas de deux where they are both looking out & about, it is because it is a clandestine pairing? Her father does not want her to go to Harlequin who has no money. By the way, why is it called the Millions of Harlequin? Is it the colors of his costume, or the fortune he does not have? Watching the Balanchine, I kept seeing Villella in the steps... it takes a particular personality to bring the right glint of the eye into the movement... I wonder what contemporary principal has the right spark to bring the part out... it needs a devilish grin, a light step... equal parts ballon and élancé perhaps... And that... I am afraid... is all I remember. However, one can find the Baryshnikov/McBride performance of Balanchine's Harlequinade at the White House in the Era of President Carter. It has the chorus of little child Harlequins & Columbines with slapsticks that Fullington also mentioned. (There! See? I remember one more thing!). .
  3. The index link has sadly gone inert... Found this nice thread when a friend posted a link to a video of that charming solo Ashton choreographed for Fonteyn at 60. So, that dance they do together before Ashton leads her offstage, is that the Fred Step? would be a fun game some August (or Nutcracker seige) to see how many quotes we can find in the piece. I think I see Ondine, maybe Firebird and surely Juliet?, but do not know the Fonteyn repetoire well enough to see more.
  4. Does she think they pay for bad reviews too?
  5. There seem to be fewer students than I would have imagined... and I'm surprised by the mukluks...
  6. Oddly, all the subject heading are shown lined up vertically as if in a column only one character wide... Until I click in far enough to read all the comments, then they suddenly align in a normal horizontal layout. It is a little hard to read. Not sure if this is because I am reading on an old iPad or what.
  7. Thank you, Mussel!!! Mearns is a revelation every time I see her dance... always every movement seems to motivate from deep within... so subtle and yet such a difference!
  8. There is a freedom in portraying the magical, come to think of it...
  9. The definition of "key employee", linked to above, states "Officers, directors and trustees are not considered key employees." Is Artistic Director not a director as defined by the IRS? Tax law details are such an arcane field!
  10. I agree with Sandik, it sounds like the trailer to Wim Wenders' Pina Bausch film.
  11. It worked for Rite of Spring, at least publicity wise.
  12. This is one of those things where we need a "like" button! I wonder what the cost was. I wish there were programs like this all over the world.
  13. If the move is beautiful, perhaps the skirt should be made opaque... Balanchine liked extensions but not used indiscriminately. I can't remember any pictures of oversplits in his dancers when he was alive...
  14. It would help a lot if this could be the new model... artistic integrity upheld but artist allowed to give financial benefit to whomever seems right.
  15. I was surprised to discover a few years ago there was a distinct PA Ballet style, but indeed there is. I would have had to sit and analyse it quite a bit to describe it, as it was subtle, but the company that performed in the videos on it's anniversary this side of the millenium looked surprisingly like the company of twenty years ago... and was distinguishable by that style from Boston Ballet and PNB even though there were a lot of reasons for these companies to resemble each other... perhaps it was the influence of constistent ballet masters & repiteurs, but it was there. While it is lovely with the global village that so much talent moves around the world..., I for one, am sorry to see the homogenizing effect the global village has had on companies that used to have such distinct flavors. Sure, the major companies still look different, but I would venture that they are a lot less different than they were thirty years ago. The repertories are becoming increasingly similar as well. Something is being lost here.
  16. I suspect Roy Kaiser might have very much been a "dancers' director"... he shepherded the company out of financial crisis, kept the repertory and style intact, and built the institution up from within, filling the positions of ballet masters/mistresses with retiring principal dancers who had been with the company since their apprentice years and who knew the repertory and company style as only one who has been with the company all one's professional life could... It is a model that very much reminds me of the structure of the great ballet institutions of the world: Paris Opera, Maryinski, Royal Danish, Bolshoi, Royal Ballet, Australian Ballet... This may have lead to some weaknesses that the board sought to counter with Angel Corella's hiring, but I think they may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. Of course he is going to bring in his own team.... but the newcomers vs. existing camaraderie must have been harsh... particularly when so many the newcomers communicated in a language not shared by the majority of the existing company. Sure, City Ballet & SAB was run by a strong Russian coterie, but everyone new this coming in and it was part of the Ballets Russes heritage of the company. I am not in Philadelphia... it has been decades since I lived there... but it seems a strange fit. Miami, on the other hand, would have been a natural location for this new company. So many of the new coterie seem to have Orlando Ballet connections.
  17. Out of curiosity, of the 43 dancers, how many were there before Corella took over? Didn't he add a few fairly quickly? If he added, say, 5 dancers, would that mean a higher percentage of the previous company has left?
  18. Ruth Page perhaps should be added to the list of choreographer/directors. If we include non-ballet but still western theatrical dance, then Doris Humphrey serving as artistic director/choregrapher for the Jose Limon company might be worth considering as arguably the biggest talent performing would have been Jose. It may not quite fit your search as Humphrey was also a stellar dancer (though perhaps she was not dancing by then?) and Limon was a masterful choreographer.... but... Do Tharp's works do more to showcase male talent? I am not sure I could go that far... Almost, but maybe not.
  19. This is wonderful!! So very happy they found a way around risking the copyright of the choreography to do this!
  20. Beautiful! I often find myself watching footage from this show... What is it?
  21. We've discussed many an artistic director and many an Institution over the years here on Ballet Alert, but have we directly abstractly discussed the dynamics of the artist vs, the institution? It seems successful artists gradually grow an institutions like a carapace, and that this shell can survive longer than the artist and take on new residents as if the shell selected the hermit crab,,, Without an institution to handle producing, artists cannot seem to survive for long... Self producing artists eventually burn out if they don't build up an institution, but sometimes even these self built institutions throw out the artist. I think I've heard the Paris Opera referred to in the last six months as an ocean liner, and that an artistic director cannot hope to suddenly change course... Would love to see an examination of the artist vis a vis the institution. Did the Maryinsky make Petipa possible? Would he have produced The Sleeping Beauty for a smaller institution? does the institution shape the artist? How does a big institution affect the kind of work a choreographer produces? It has resources to foster a choreographer, but it also has to support those resources and the pressure to produce success is different from the drive to create artistic expression perhaps? Words do not serve me well here.. but I think some here would know what I am getting at... Jerome Robbins produced a lot of work for Broadway... Is Broadway an instutution itself, even if it is a market? Does a ballet company require a school to survive, or merely a Nutcracker? (Can the Nutcracker be considered an institution?) Do large institutions untintentionally stifle innovation? For a while there it seemed ballet companies were all commissioning modern dance choreographers to create them new works. Have we moved on from that era to a new era of international star choreographers continent hopping like Ratmansky, Wheeldon & ? Is ballet an institution in its very bones? What makes for a sea change? Battling with a bureacracy from time to time, one wonders about these things, what the invisible beast is that is part of the equation.
  22. Come to think of it, perhaps it was the Bolshoi that was referred to as a ship? Maybe the metaphor has been applied to both behemoths in the last year.
  23. I find the strapontin seats fascinating...they seem like they would surely violate the firecodes here in the US. Are they less expensive than the regular seats? Where do the ushers keep the strapontin patrons until the last minute seating?
  24. Kbarber, it's been a long time, but I have this vague memory of being told once that an easy way to deal with PAL was to playback the DVD on a computer rather than to a TV. I don't think I've ever had a PAL DVD to test out this solution. Do you knowif it is a myth? [edited later to add: My spologies, I joined this discussion late and did not see the earlier post about the DVD not playing back on computer]