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Alastair Macaulay @ NY Times


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#46 kfw

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:04 AM

Do the powers-that-be at the Times think that natives have just seen too much NY dance to have a clear point of view any more? First Rockwell... now a Londoner? Is there anything to that notion?

Rockwell has been with the NY Times since 1972.

#47 aurora

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:29 AM


Do the powers-that-be at the Times think that natives have just seen too much NY dance to have a clear point of view any more? First Rockwell... now a Londoner? Is there anything to that notion?

Rockwell has been with the NY Times since 1972.


Yes, but he was a music critic, not a dance critic, hence the implied "outsider" status--not from New York, but from dance.

#48 sandik

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:56 AM

Do the powers-that-be at the Times think that natives have just seen too much NY dance to have a clear point of view any more? First Rockwell... now a Londoner? Is there anything to that notion?


It's possible that, considering the depth of insider knowledge that the rest of the Times' dance writers have, bringing in a relative outsider to the NYC dance community could be a form of balancing the points of view.

#49 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:04 PM

Somehow I don't see this as a consideration with Macauley. He may live in London but I think he's quite well connected to his colleagues in NYC.

#50 dirac

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:43 PM

The discussion over at ArtsJournal has not run its course, it should be noted. John Rockwell, among others, has contributed his two cents. Worth checking out.

#51 sandik

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:33 PM

The discussion over at ArtsJournal has not run its course, it should be noted. John Rockwell, among others, has contributed his two cents. Worth checking out.


Thanks for the link -- I'd lost track of that particular conversation.

#52 Dale

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 11:49 AM

I'm sure this will turn up in Sunday's links, but Alastair Macaulay's starts his tenure at the New York Times with a bang - an essay on Romeo and Juliet.

http://www.nytimes.c...rts&oref=slogin

#53 bart

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for that Link. Here's a single paragraph that shows his skill at describing physical movements, coupled with a willingness to reveal his own emotional responses to those movements.

When Nureyev danced Romeo to Margot Fonteyn’s Juliet, he took his time to kneel and kiss the hem of her dress with as much piety as if this were the Holy Grail. And even though Fonteyn was 56 the one time I saw her dance Juliet, her reaction to his gesture was one of innocent wonder pitched on a tidal scale. After looking down at him in amazement, she threw her arms up and looked up through them to the heavens in glory, held them motionless, then brought them down, down over her face, down over her body, down in a wave that made the whole house gasp in emotion. I was 20. If there was a single moment in my life that turned me into a ballet obsessive, that was it.

Impressive and unforgettable stuff.

#54 Alexandra

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 04:12 PM

Bart, I agree! Didn't anyone else read this? We've had so much discussion about good writing (or not) in the NY Times, I thought this would cause comment. No. I thought it might cause a few cheers!

#55 drb

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 04:44 PM

Bravo for his writing skill and ability to merge description and personal emotion!

While I've always disliked R&J (the episodic score forces too many boring crowd/sword scenes), it is a great star vehicle. Certainly Macaulay takes a star-oriented perspective in his article. I wonder how he'll respond to Peter Martins's non-star production (although SAB students really are often stars...), and to other ballets of more choreographic substance (perhaps his Four Temps remarks are a promising clue)?

... And so, from the back of the fourth ring, I saw City Ballet dance Balanchine’s masterwork “The Four Temperaments” ...
Nothing in “The Four Temperaments” was narrative, but all of it was dramatic, and nothing I had ever seen in any theater had been of such power. This wasn’t sexy; it was too volcanic for that. Some 28 years later I am still haunted by the memory of the bellowslike alternation of through-the-body convex and concave shapes made by Bart Cook’s Melancholic and Merrill Ashley’s Sanguinic.


At the least, I will be anxiously awaiting his reviews in the Times, and I cannot remember that ever being true before...

#56 Helene

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 05:49 PM

What a voice, to fuse dance history and personal experience in such a personal, visceral way! If this is "dry" writing, I'll take it any day.

#57 nikiya79

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 06:18 PM

Best essay I've read in the times in a very long time - I actually felt like I was in the audience with some of his writing. I hope he continues on this path! What great stories for all of us - especially the younger generation who missed all of these great artists!

#58 drb

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 10:54 PM

Looking at the thrust of this now long thread, is the thread becoming a streaming BT Comentary on Macaulay's artistry, where each forthcoming review is held up to admire, perhaps to deconstruct, and to find its unique insights and defects and type these points as to whether they are colored by different sensibilities from ours, we the ones who've been with local ballet work through its naisance, its wet nurses, and feel we know it too: or at least have been in its house? Perhaps as ideas synthesize from dialogue with his writing, and even with Mr. Macaulay himself, a community of some effective power can evolve to make the hesitant ballet masters move on to do their true duties, to bring performances to the level that the people may see as Macaulay can see The Four Temperaments.
A practical first shot: to cause an effort by Bart Cook and Merrill Ashley to put on a Four Temperments like the one they danced 28 years ago.
Bringing Back Balanchine.

#59 bart

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:43 AM

I can certainly see the possibilities there, drb. Especially since Macaulay seems definitely to have a thoughtful and structured set of values and standards.

I'd also put a vote in for more NYT coverage of serious ballet throughout North America -- especially by its new senior critic.

The US and Canada are blessed in having a large, intricate ballet culture and institutions. These spread all the way down to local schools in the Carolinas or the NorthWest, and includes companies in Winnepeg or Miami or Arizona that do superb work under very difficult conditions and with little in the way of national attention.

Ballet in North America is structured like a pyramid. NYCB, ABT and NBofC may be at the apex. But every pyramid needs a strong base. The NYT, which aspires to be a truly "national" newspaper, needs give serious attention to that base. It can do this by reviewing more work and artists in parts of other country, and by putting more effort into documenting the rich cross-fertilization of dancers, choreographers, works, and influences from bottom-to-top as well as top-to-bottom.

#60 Amy Reusch

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:08 AM

My initial gut reaction was "This is going to be good for Dance!"


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