Jump to content


Ann Arbor performance and symposium


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 perky

perky

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 652 posts

Posted 27 October 2003 - 03:16 PM

Will any BalletTalker's be attending the Oct. 31 performance and the following days Balanchine Symposium?

The Creating With Balanchine, moderated by Francis Mason, with Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy and Edward Villella (what a trio!) sounds particularly facinating.

#2 piccolo

piccolo

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 80 posts

Posted 30 October 2003 - 04:19 PM

I'm going to go to Santa Fe the weekend before Thanksgiving to see the Company perform and for the Symposium. Of course, wanting to know more, I asked the box office about the symposium and it sounds like they show a rough documentary made up of various clips and then the documentary person (who is famous but her name is escaping me right now) talks about it. So it doesn't sound like your typical symposium format...

#3 perky

perky

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 652 posts

Posted 31 October 2003 - 05:20 AM

Piccolo, please post your observations and thoughts about the performance and syposium. I'd love to read it! Thanks :thumbsup:

#4 Guest_peppermint04_*

Guest_peppermint04_*
  • Unregistered / Not Logged In

Posted 02 November 2003 - 06:58 AM

Will any BalletTalker's be attending the Oct. 31 performance and the following days Balanchine Symposium?

      The Creating With Balanchine, moderated by Francis Mason, with Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy and Edward Villella (what a trio!) sounds particularly facinating.

Hi! I'm new here, but I thought I'd share my thoughts from this weekend. I'm not sure where this post is appropriate, but I will talk about the Farrell performance at the bottom.

I attended the entire Symposium and the Farrell performance -- Violette Verdy and Elizabeth Souritz were sitting very close to me. Verdy is such a gem --- so complimentary, fun, and passionate about what she does. (She sat in the second row during the entire Symposium, taking notes.)

The Symposium was fascinating. The description given below fits Nancy Reynolds' talk perfectly, but doesn't do the whole thing justice. Ms Reynolds, who is the research director for the Balanchine trust, is going around to all the 'big' principals and filming them teaching their roles. The documentary splices she showed were from another project, recreating B's Renard with the only dancer still alive from the original cast.

Other presenters included Beth Genne who talked about Josephine Baker, Frances Mason interviewing Maria Tallcheif, Tim Scholl's interesting discussion of a Georgian source for some of the movements in Serenade, a really interesting talk about La Baiser de la Fee and how Balanchine treated the music --- he actually cut sections out, something he doesn't do with Stravinski. Elizabeth Souritz talked about Russia, John Wiley talked about Petipa, Lynn Garafola talked about Raymonda, let me see, what else :thumbsup: Angela Kane talked about Episodes and Martha Graham.

Oh, Christian Matijas and Tina Curran presented their project of compiling and preserving rehearsal scores that accurately reflect the full orchestration and also compiling video, notes, and descriptions of three Balanchine ballets with notes on how each dancer performed (e.g. if a certain section was changed for a particular dancer, how and why) to perserve accuracy for the future.

George Shirley SANG three of Balanchine's songs he wrote in a popular style. Then, the fun began, with Farrell, Verdy, and Villella. They talked about creating roles with Mr. B and reminisced about some funny times. Verdy, of course, is a gem and full of personality. Farrell is insightful and well-spoken and Villella is hilarious.

Villella spoke of dancing Tchaikovski Pas des Deux with five dancers in five nights, and how there's a moment where the woman takes his hand and walks backwards upstage and that's when he knows "what kind of Tchai Pas it will be." He also recounted how Verdy used to thank him during the ballets for putting her back on her center. He defined Balanchine's abstraction as "as larger idea, stripped to it's essence" and that Agon was "a series of simplicities."

Farrell explained her casting decisions; she doesn't cast for height, she casts for which dancer has the spirit of the dance. (Chan Hon Goh, in Mozartiana, was quite short.) She also talked about wearing a tutu in Jewels, something she wasn't used to, and described each ballet as a different world. She also said she would love for the entire audience to dance in a Balanchine ballet.

Verdy talked about how dancing for Mr. B "was a complete discovery of yourself. Looking at yourself a different way through his eyes." She said that when she first came to NYCB, any good step Balanchine would give her, she would "hold on to for dear life," even if he wanted to change it. Of course, he always won and the step would get changed to something even better. She said this was an old habit from dancing in French, where one good step from a choreographer was something to hold tightly to, because you never know when a good one would come next. She also described B's choreography as "The perfect solution at any given moment."

Anyway, I could talk more about the Symposium if people are interested in what was said during a specific section.

We went to thte Suzanne Farrell ballet on Friday evening, and it was lovely. They did Mozartiana, Tchaikovsky Pas des Deux, Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker, and Serenade.

I'm new at describing how I feel about ballets, but here's a shot:

I thought Peter Boal was great in Mozartiana; he seemed a little tired and off during some of it, but he still seemed to float across the stage. His movements seem bigger and smoother, and after hearing Villella talk about how dance is 'moving from one place to the next, seamlessly,' I think Boal really demonstrates that well. Of course, Chan Hon Goh was lovely as well.

Jennifer Fournier and Peter Boal were great in Tchai Pas. She's an incredibly quick and articulate dancer. Unfortunately, she missed the fouette sequence at the end (not sure what she was attempting to do) but everything up until then was flawless. Verdy, of course, applauded quite loudly for her. It worked well on her because she's so tiny and precise.

Serenade was so powerful. I, being a little new to really getting into ballet, had never seen it performed live. It was such an experience.

Hopefully someone else who was there can add more!

Farrell said that they're doing to do Don Quiote in Summer '05.

#5 Roma

Roma

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 190 posts

Posted 02 November 2003 - 08:06 AM

peppermint, thank you so much for this. When Souritz gave her talk, was it mostly pre-1924 stuff?

#6 Farrell Fan

Farrell Fan

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,930 posts

Posted 02 November 2003 - 08:35 AM

What a great first post! Thanks, Peppermint. I know George Shirley was originally from Detroit (just looked it up). What were the Balanchine songs like? I'm curious about the Georgian elements in "Serenade," too, and Francis Mason's interview of Maria Tallchief...as a matter of fact, I'd love to read more about anything you'd care to expand on. :thumbsup:

#7 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 02 November 2003 - 09:24 AM

Welcome, Peppermint! I'd like to echo the thanks -- this was an important symposium and it's wonderful to have such a complete report on it. We're very happy you've found us, and hope you'll join our discussions.

#8 perky

perky

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 652 posts

Posted 02 November 2003 - 11:05 AM

Thank you so much Peppermint for your post. I only live 2 hours from Ann Arbor and wanted to attend but was unable to get out of a previously scheduled event. Reading your wonderful post eases my heartbreak a little. :nopity:

By the way, I want to be first in line for that audience that gets to dance in a Balanchine ballet. :thumbsup:

Thanks again!

#9 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 02 November 2003 - 07:17 PM

Me, too Peppermint -- would love ot hear more, so glad, SO glad you went, and so glad it was so GOOD -- it sounds really GREAT, got to tell you.

I'd specially like to know about Serenade//// actually any of it, so interesting. What did Farrell say about wearing a tutu? What did Mason ASK Tallchief? What did she answer? What was their conversation like?

I went to symposium once that Villella was at -- I got stuck in an elevator with him and a couple of other people, and he just started telling stories.... amazing experience. you're absolutely right, he is hilarious.

#10 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 03 November 2003 - 07:05 AM

I was there as well (on assignment, so unfortunately I can't go on at length). This represents my own bias, but I was more interested on the sections on reconstruction than the other parts of the symposium. We got to see a film of Balanchine's Renard as reconstructed by Todd Bolender and Kansas City Ballet. I felt this was important.

Souritz talked directly about the Petrograd milieu ca. '21-24. She tried to give a sense of what was available for Balanchine to see at that time; who was working and what was being performed on stage (not just dance but theater). It was very valuable.

The panel discussions with former dancers were delightful, and if you wanted reminiscing, they were great. If you were looking to expand the body of knowledge about Balanchine's choreography - well, that's different. Verdy is particularly articulate; she has a great deal to contribute (and has already)

Paul - Tallchief dodged every question she was asked, even the innocuous ones. It was rather odd. Farrell mentioned the tutu in the context of Diamonds, that she had not worn them often often before that point.

Farrell Fan - the songs were about 4 minutes long and wistful; quite romantic. Just me, but I wished they had not been sung by such an operatic voice. I think their intention was distorted; they're show tunes.

The paper on Serenade posited Georgian folk dance as a source for the movement. The source material offered to back this up was a performance tape from only a few years ago that represented a highly altered and theatricalized version of the dance itself.

Farrell's company did their Balanchine/Tchaikovsky program. Bonnie Pickard's Waltz Girl in Serenade was indeed notable.

It was a fascinating and wonderful congruence. It was also wonderful to see Balanchine's reputation strengthened and established in academia. I have reservations on some of what was presented. It's important to realize there are differing opinions and conclusions out there on much of the work presented.

#11 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,422 posts

Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:47 AM

Ah, Leigh--what a tease your comments are :thumbsup: Is your 'assignment' an article in Ballet Review? Then I shall have to wait MONTHS to read it . What questions could have made Tallchief evasive in her interview with Mr. Mason?

#12 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:58 AM

ATM - yes, for BR (and apologies, I didn't mean to be teasing!)

I'm going to take back at least a portion of what I said on Tallchief as my own mistake. I asked her about Paris in '47 and the setting of Palais de Cristal. She talked about Baiser, Apollo (dancing with Michel Renault) and how much she enjoyed it; everything but Palais. But looking at Catalogue of Works, she didn't dance Palais, but Symphony in C in NYC the following year, even though she did go to Paris with Balanchine. So that could simply be a misunderstanding.

Two telling comments during that conversation: Francis Mason reminiscing about Massine and calling it "pretentious nonsense" in passing - he used Massine as an example of going to see ballet and disliking it before Balanchine. I promised him I would corner him at some point and make him defend that statement. I've now heard that from more than one person of that time; Kurvenal said something very similar here in a great thread from a while back, but I want details. Something in me has a question about the bad rap Massine is getting.

In a similar vein, Tallchief said that Balanchine was a "bad pianist. A wonderful musician but a bad pianist." Now, Tallchief was trained as a concert pianist, so I have to take her seriously, but Balanchine also had three years of conservatory education and before this gets perpetuated into the canon of legend about Balanchine, I'd like corroboration.

#13 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,422 posts

Posted 03 November 2003 - 04:47 PM

Thanks Leigh, now I can sleep tonight :blushing: "Pretentious nonsense" --wow. I am one of the last people on earth who would put Balanchine down--but, there was Ballet in NY before Balanchine---Ballet Theatre in the mid 40's is the best example. They had very little Balanchine and did quite well with Tudor, deMille and Robbins---and yes, Massine, especially 'Aleko', a ballet I always enjoyed. It is true, his popularity as a choreographer was on the wane, but it's too bad Mr. Mason did not see him as a performer.

#14 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,500 posts

Posted 06 November 2003 - 04:23 PM

Yes, Peppermint, do, please, post more about the symposium! I would have been there, but (contrary to the sentiment in my signature line), I went to Florida to watch MCB premiere "Ballo" and "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" instead. (About which, more soon, I hope, but anyone else, go ahead and post about that!) Do you know about transcripts or, in this day and age, DVD's of the proceedings for those of us who weren't there?

It's ironic, in this Age of Silver for programs of great interest to some of us Balanchinians, to have a conflict like that! (I mean, the Age of Gold was when he was running his own company and you could just pick some programs by their repertory and go and be delighted and amazed...)

#15 citrus

citrus

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:44 AM

The symposium is recorded and will be shown on UMTV. Last I checked it's not listed yet. Here's the link.
http://ipumich.tempp...umtv/pindex.php

I was told there'll be videotapes available after the broadcast.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):