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pugbee

performances on video

15 posts in this topic

Anyone have thoughts on why some companies choose to film and distribute some of their performances, and other companies do not? Is it purely a financial decision? I've never run across a video of Pennsylvania Ballet for sale.

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I think your guess is a good one, pugbee -- and welcome to Ballet Alert! There arewn't to many new videos/DVDs being released today of anyone, and those taht are are almost all from the big international companies. I would imagine it's a matter of name recognition -- the big distribution companies want something that would sell.

I wonder if the company itself (and other companies) might consider producing a video for its fans? Something to sell along with the T-shirts, or as a present to those who make larger than the average donation? It might sell nearly as many copies of that video locally as it would nationally.

Pugbee, you seem to be a Pennsylvnia Ballet fan -- we're very glad to have you! I hope you'll report on the performances you see this coming season.

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I wish I could be a source for reviews -- but don't think I'll be seeing many of their performances from Texas!! So I'm relying on everyone else to keep me informed!

I can understand companies being afraid to distribute videos of their performances within their own city. Especially something like Nutcracker -- it could tempt people to stay home and watch the television rather than venturing out to the theater. But you're right -- it sure would make a good gift to the donors!

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I was archival videographer for PA Ballet during Christopher d'Amboise's tenure. I can tell you that getting the rights (from the dancers' union AGMA, the orchestra's union AFofM, the stage hand's union IATSE, not to mention the choreographers, designers, composers, etc.) would make the cost of such a production very high... even just broadcast rights, let alone the distribution on VHS.... my guess is that it would probably not be profitable enough to entice some producer into the project. I'd love to see it happen though. I wonder if easier video distribution wouldn't have a little of the same effect the touring program of the NEA had for dance in the 1970s.... having a trickle-down benefit to all those entities who are so worried about the rights that the tapes can't be made. I'm not a producer and I've almost done anything for general distribution, so I can't tell you the costs involved... but I do know that when NYCB did it's Nutcracker film a while back, it was all done with a European orchestra in order to avoid the punishing costs of paying off the AF of M. Meanwhile, it can be difficult just to get the waivers for archival videos from the unions. I've heard stage hands complain that I'm taking money out of their pockets (for videos that live in a closet somewhere, not even the dancers performing being allowed their own copy).

Say, are you a friend of that PA Ballerina principal, Dede Barfield? She's a native of Texas.

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Pennsylvania Ballet in the 1970s was involved in the Dance in America series on PBS. Perhaps there may be a few of the pirated copies around but really videos were not common usage then. I beleive it was a bit of Van Manen, Harkarvy and Balanchine. Serenade and Barocco. Maybe John Butler's Carmina Burana. I do not remember too well. Sorry. Maybe Tamara Hadley is in the corps, not sure if Bill Degregory was there yet. Jeff Gribler was still an apprentice I believe. Otherwise, you probably would not know any of the dancers.

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I asked in Dayton about videos of the Dayton Ballet, which I attend regularly, and was told union trouble would be the main reason for no videos distributed to the public. They actually make videos, as I understand it, and I believe that they can be used for instructional purposes by the dancers and staff, but that's all.

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A small amount of footage is usually also available for PSAs or VNRs, press footage... but it's a fine line, and the company that errs might be very heavily penalized for using "archival" footage for "commercial" purposes. I have a ghost of a memory that there's a specific number of seconds that can be used, but off the top of my head I can't think of it (been a mom & mostly retired too long now, I guess)

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a few footnotes to prev. posts. here are the credits for the PA Ballet's 'dance in america' program:

Pennsylvania Ballet / WNET/13 ; directed by Merrill Brockway ; produced by Emile Ardolino.

New York, N.Y. : WNET, 1976.

(60 min.) : sd., col.

Telecast on the Dance in America series on June 2, 1976 by WNET/13, New York.

Written by Tobi Tobias.

Narrator: Paul Hecht.

Members of the Pennsylvania Ballet perform works from the company repertoire. Includes a historical survey of dance in Philadelphia, an interview with company director Barbara Weisberger, class and rehearsal scenes with artistic director Benjamin Harkarvy, and segments on the company school showing Margarita de Saa and Lupe Serrano teaching class.

Grosse Fuge: Men's dance / choreography and costumes, Hans van Manen ; music, Ludwig van Beethoven ; sets, Jean Paul Vroom ; danced by Dane LaFontsee, Edward Myers, Jerry Schwender, and Janek Schergen.

Concerto barocco: 2nd movement / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, J. S. Bach ; danced by Joanne Danto, Gregory Drotar, and members of the company.

Madrigalesco: Prelude and Pas de quatre / choreography, Benjamin Harkarvy ; music, Antonio Vivaldi ; costumes, Nicolas Wijnberg ; danced by Alba Calzada, Marcia Darhower, Edward Myers, and Jerry Schwender.

Adagio, Hammerklavier: Third duet / choreography, Hans van Manen ; music, Ludwig van Beethoven ; costumes, Jean Paul Vroom ; danced by Michelle Lucci and Lawrence Rhodes.

Concerto grosso / choreography, Charles Czarny ; music, G. F. Händel ; costumes, Joop Stokvis ; danced by Karen Brown, Tamara Hadley, Mark Hochman, David Jordan, Dane LaFontsee, Barry Leon, Gretchen Warren, and Missy Yancey.

the only version of butler's 'carmina burana' that seems to have been televised hereabouts is the following one. (the ny public lib. for the pref. arts has some 20 listings for films of butler's work, but most of these are closed and/or rehearsal films of some or all of the ballet.)

Carmina burana 1964. 60 min. : sd. b&w.

Produced by National Educational Television. Telecast on September 10, 1964 by WNET/13, New York. Producer: Jac Venza. Director: Karl Genus. Narration written by Linda Gottlieb. Videotaped on location in Holland at the mediaeval castle of Doornenburg.

Choreography: John Butler. Music: Carl Orff. Music performed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Chorale, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Performed by Glen Tetley, Willy de la Bye, Charles Czarny, Marian Sarstadt, Anne Hyde, Gerard Lemaitre, Martinette Janmaat, and members of Nederlands Dans Theater.

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Wow! Most helpful, rg. Thanks! Now if videos of that telecast were available, wouldn't we all have a much more interesting library at home?!! I would love to see that performance. Sadly enough, I was not even born yet when it aired on PBS.

And yes, Amy, I did know Dede Barfield while I was in Philadelphia. But, there being quite a gap between our ages, I can't exactly call her a friend. Mentor would be a better description.

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rg, thanks so much! Some of those names take me way back- I grew up watching Tamara Hadley & know a little bit about some of the other dancers- I believe Michelle Lucci is related to Susan Lucci (from soap operas) and I'm pretty sure I saw Dane LaFontsee as a child also (is this possible? I'm 26- was he there in the 80's? anyone know?) Also, I know that Janek Schergen today stages the Sleeping Beauty for the company- I think he is best known now for his work with Choo San Goh.

I would love to see PA Ballet on film (especially the Dance in America performance!) but the union issues mentioned above are no doubt prohibitive.

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Tessa, Dane La Fontsee was an adult in the 1970s, so you're probably thinking of someone else. :) But I believe he has a daughter -- is that whom you're remembering?

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I'm coming in a bit late to this discussion but was wondering if any of you knew of any videos that had Alexi Yudenich and Barbara Sandonato dancing together? :)

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Dane LaFontsee and Fiona Fuerstner do have a daughter, born in about 1970 (sorry I know the birthday, not the year). She is not a dancer, although I did have her in class as a student until they all left on the Milwaukee adventure. Dane was a Mouseketeer (early Mickey Mouse Club) before studying at NC School for the arts, I believe his name was Danny!

Thank you rg for printing that synopsis of PBC in Dance in America. I just remember being filmed in class with Lupe, but I could not remember what year! Thanks so much. :)

BW, as you already know, I only know of the Varna and Moscow competition we have already discussed, but I still cannot lay my hands on it. I did just finally meet Hideo Fukagawa in Japan (a real joy for me). He also has nothing on video of those competitions and would love to get his hands on anything. He is fortunate though that the World's Young Ballet video does exist! I will keep you posted if I learn anything new! :blink:

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Thanks vrsfanatic - appreciate your continuing search!

And how exciting to have gone to Japan and met Hideo Fukagawa! :)

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Ari, sorry if my post was unclear. I meant that when I was a child in the 80's I thought I remembered seeing Dane LaFontsee dance. I know he was a grown-up in the 70's :wink:

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