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Alastair Macaulay @ NY Times


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#76 zerbinetta

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 01:33 PM

I'm not disagreeing with the views on these artists nor Macauley's right to to air them but this is not my issue here. What I find disturbing is the personal scope and condescending tone of the critiques.

#77 bart

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 01:54 PM

One of my hopes is that Macaulay will personally become more involved seriously learning about, observing, and reviewing dance around the country.

#78 aurora

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 02:56 PM

There is a level of dislike approaching scorn with which Mr Macauley has been treating the Martins family. First the "slap" article, then the review of Nilas in "Orpheus", attacking not merely his performance but his entire career, and now the review of Darci in "Liebeslieder".

Yes this was a bad review of Darci, but I believe his review of her in La Sonambula was quite favorable, no?
And in a performance that had been criticized by some on this board, which gives (me) the impression he is not being hypercritical just for the sake of it.

#79 sandik

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 09:23 PM

One of my hopes is that Macaulay will personally become more involved seriously learning about, observing, and reviewing dance around the country.



Well, he's already been here to Seattle, so he's starting to clock in the frequent flyer miles.

#80 bart

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 09:12 AM

Another thing thing I've noticed: Macaulay often takes the time (and space) to ...

a) put the performance in some kind of historical context, often a rather specific and quite descriptive highlight of just one part of what was on stage; and ...

b) create word pictures to show us certain specific movements within a ballet, taking care to connect this with feelings being projected, relationship to the music, or some other larger issue. Here's one example, from today's review of "The Dream."

Here's an example of both from today's review of ABT's "The Dream":

Again and again we see the dancers' feet tracing rings, now on the ground, now in the air; it's all part of the magic, never more hauntingly than in the Nocturne pas de deux for Oberon and Titania. Here she slowly revolves while marking a ring on the floor with one extended point, just as Mendelssohn's strings suddenly sing a single high note.

Period though the ballet looks, it's also a clear expression of the new 1960s view of the sexes. It is the first important choreography anywhere where the male dancer (Oberon) raises his extended back leg until it becomes the highest point of his body (arabesque penchée) -- he does other steps usually reserved for ballerinas too --¯ and often, in unisex style, while supporting his ballerina (Titania) in the same extended line.


Short, but vivid. Makes me feel what it must be like to be seeing these movements (always illustrative of what is special about the larger work). Something to look for the next time I see see this ballet.

I wish this method were more widely shared in the reviewing world. We readers DON'T have eyes, and need a portel to the actdual physical act of dancing that will help us "see" what the performance must have been like.

#81 sandik

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 03:13 PM

Short, but vivid. Makes me feel what it must be like to be seeing these movements (always illustrative of what is special about the larger work). Something to look for the next time I see see this ballet.

I wish this method were more widely shared in the reviewing world. We readers DON'T have eyes, and need a portel to the actdual physical act of dancing that will help us "see" what the performance must have been like.



Well, Edwin Denby, who is a model for a significant number of dance writers, used to say "Don't tell me what you think, tell me what you saw."

#82 drb

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 11:26 AM

In Sunday's Times article on the retirement of four ballerinas (already posted on Links) Macaulay's gifts strike again.
Speaking of Kyra Nichols:

I recall a 1982 “Apollo” in which, while remaining balanced on point, she brought down her raised front leg in stages, as if neither gravity nor time existed. Days later people were still agog.

And further,

... Ballets that he [Balanchine] made for drastically dissimilar ballerinas — spanning from tragic to comic emotion, from soft lyricism to scintillating bravura — she has taken on as if breathing them: the most diverse interpreter his repertory has ever known.
Ms. Nichols, without ever appearing to take on another character, just by dancing truthfully, has become the most unknowable of all ballerinas. That trait, though bewildering, has been part of her humanity. What human is ever fully known to any other? Ms. Nichols, that most selfless and modest of ballerinas, making herself transparent in role after role, is at once the girl next door and an endless enigma. You thought she wasn’t tragic? Comic? Glamorous? Impassioned? Vengeful? Watch her prove you wrong.



#83 carbro

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 02:29 PM

Thanks, drb.

-->Direct link<--

And don't forget to check out the narrated slideshow.

#84 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 12:45 PM

Macaulay's gifts strike again.


That's certainly one way to put it. :blushing: He's blowing hot and cold for me right now.

#85 Helene

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 01:57 PM

In today's New York Times, there is a letter (scroll down) arguing with Macaulay's statement that Kyra Nichols is "long and widely acknowledge as the world's purist classicist." The writer states, "She is a ballerina of the world's premier neo-classical company, Balanchine's New York City Ballet.

Her argument is that Nichols did not dance, Giselle, "a classical work." While I agree with her about the distinction between classical and neo-classical, I find it odd that she's chosen a Romantic ballet as an example of classicism.

#86 carbro

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:16 PM

I find it odd that she's chosen a Romantic ballet as an example of classicism.

:) I think it's because she couldn't make the same point with Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty, which complete the triptych by which we measure our ballerinas.

But I do agree with her calling Nichols a neo- rather than a pure classicist. Her line, for one thing, is not and has never been textbook classical.

#87 Old Fashioned

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:06 PM

But I do agree with her calling Nichols a neo- rather than a pure classicist. Her line, for one thing, is not and has never been textbook classical.


No? Her line always seemed to be the most classical of the NYCB ballerinas I've seen. You have more Nichols viewing experience than I do, but the one picture of her arabesque (Diamonds) featured in the Playbill is close to perfect.

#88 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 05:05 AM

But I do agree with her calling Nichols a neo- rather than a pure classicist. Her line, for one thing, is not and has never been textbook classical.


No? Her line always seemed to be the most classical of the NYCB ballerinas I've seen. You have more Nichols viewing experience than I do, but the one picture of her arabesque (Diamonds) featured in the Playbill is close to perfect.


She did whatever the choreography called for. She had a wide range -- in NYCB. We can imagine that she would have similarly responded to whatever other choreography she chose to do.....

#89 aurora

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:51 AM

But I do agree with her calling Nichols a neo- rather than a pure classicist. Her line, for one thing, is not and has never been textbook classical.


No? Her line always seemed to be the most classical of the NYCB ballerinas I've seen. You have more Nichols viewing experience than I do, but the one picture of her arabesque (Diamonds) featured in the Playbill is close to perfect.


She did whatever the choreography called for. She had a wide range -- in NYCB. We can imagine that she would have similarly responded to whatever other choreography she chose to do.....


It's very likely she could have. I don't think anyone meant any of the comments above as critical of her. Rather that as she danced a neo-classical rep not a classical one, it was questionable of Macaulay to use the precise term he did in his praise of her. Not that she doesn't deserve immense amounts of praise.

If one has to imagine her response to different choreography to make his statement true, then a different commendation seems to be in order.

#90 carbro

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 08:06 AM

I don't think anyone meant any of the comments above as critical of her.

Thank you, aurora. Yes, I was questioning Macaulay's characterization of Nichols, had no intention of criticizing Nichols.


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