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Gorey's "Lavender Leotard" and the NYCB mentality:some questions about the NYCB allusions


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#16 Helene

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 09:46 PM

The throw happens twice in the second movement of "Scotch Symphony" when two kilted men appear and march with the "Sylphide" across the stage, then toss her to the "Poet" character.

That's where the throw does happen, but is there another Balanchine ballet where they'd be dressed like that in which the character suggests adding the toss, or is the ballet they're dancing supposed to be La Sylphide?

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 03:55 AM

Gorey kept pretty much to references to NYCB. There was no toss in the Gigue in "Figure in the Carpet", and "Scotch Symphony" was intended to reference La Sylphide.

#18 rg

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 06:39 AM

the toss in question is definitely a ref. to SCOTCH SYMPHONY - gorey noted it oftenin conversation that it became a pass-off when the actual throw started to have mishaps.
as farrell fan notes in this thread, many who knew SCOTCH when the throw was still there, missed it sorely when it was tamed in later years.

#19 Helene

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:01 AM

I only saw it in the days of the pass-off, but it always looked pretty scary to me :beg:

In the Six Ballerinas documentary, Maria Tallchief described how Danilova (I think) told her after a performance that she needed to look up during the toss, and Tallchief told her she was trying to look serene, but there were several men tossing her and only one to catch her.

#20 carbro

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 12:43 PM

Other throws that have gone MIA:
  • The ones on the big diagonal in 3rd Movement Symphony in C. They now merely sissonne lifts. :rofl:
  • The ones in Second Movement Brahms, which used to be so thrilling. The man would toss the woman and then catch her in a back-bending swoon. Gorgeous moments which are still lovely, even only a shadow of its intended effect.
  • The ones in Monumentum pro Gesualdo.
  • The ones in Agon's second pas de trois still has some oomph, but are veering dangerously in the direction of pass-off.
So much for the Balanchine rep (although I may have missed some). I wonder what happens to Dances at a Gathering -- the big waltz -- if the ballet masters begin to make allowances there? :beg:

4) Ballerina in classical tutu, trying to escape her much smaller partner: "You know what? I forgot the feather." What ballet?

Picking up on the height disparity, I wondered if this might refer to Bouree Fantasque, whose first movement is a series of visual jokes about a tall ballerina with a too-short partner.

#21 bart

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 02:18 PM

4) Ballerina in classical tutu, trying to escape her much smaller partner: "You know what? I forgot the feather." What ballet?

Picking up on the height disparity, I wondered if this might refer to Bouree Fantasque, whose first movement is a series of visual jokes about a tall ballerina with a too-short partner.

Gorey frequently shows the male as smaller and less consequential than the female. (Possibly a reflection of Balanchine's opinion of their relative importance in ballet generally?) I go with "Firebird" on this one, partly due to costume (the 50s-60s classical tutu) and simple feather headdress, a la Tallchief.

About the tosses -- I have a dim memory of Tallchief being tossed quite a distance towards the camera on an old tv video replayed occasionally on Classical Arts (Firestone? Bell?). Wasn't that Scotch Symphony?

About Gorey -- you couldn't miss him in the lobby. Did he write at all about ballet (in conventional terms, I mean)? Are there any memoirs which include discussion of Gorey's thoughts about the ballets he saw?

#22 aurora

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 02:51 PM

About the tosses -- I have a dim memory of Tallchief being tossed quite a distance towards the camera on an old tv video replayed occasionally on Classical Arts (Firestone? Bell?). Wasn't that Scotch Symphony?



Yes it was--it was on that Balanchine film that was aired on PBS this week.

#23 Paul Parish

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 04:58 PM

By the way, Gorey makes a cameo apearance in the Lavender Leotard -- tha't's him wearing the mink coat, seen from the back -- unless it's Robert Greskovic, wearing the mink coat that Gorey gave him from his collection.

#24 kfw

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 06:39 PM

About Gorey -- you couldn't miss him in the lobby. Did he write at all about ballet (in conventional terms, I mean)? Are there any memoirs which include discussion of Gorey's thoughts about the ballets he saw?

Bart, you can find Gorey interviewed by Anna Kisselgoff and Tobi Tobias in "Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey," edited by Karen Wilkin.

#25 rg

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:12 PM

don't get carried away, Paul: however much i admired EG's minks he never gave 'em away. he did pass along others - mostly racoons - but no mink.

#26 bart

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 04:27 AM

Thanks, kfw, for that reference. Just ordered it from Amazon (quick link above -- and Ballet Talk gets a share). BT won't get much of a share, because the gooks is available in multiple quantiies for 99 cents. Wilkin also has another book on Gorey, with many illustrations.

rg, I also remember the racoons, which always made me think of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lost Generation, etc. ... with just hint of someone having raided Grandpa's closet. Gorey in the lobby was almost as memorable a performance as what was going on onstage. I always hoped to see a straw boater on his head, but never did :cool:

#27 rg

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 05:32 AM

the only hats i ever saw EG wear were caps: one a tweed newsboy-style cap and another one a knitted version of what might be greek sailor's cap.
these only for bitter cold days.
otherwise i sense he didn't much like hats.
tho' i don't know how he treated the sun problem(s) of the summer - he lived out of nyc, in the cape during those mos. so saw little of him then.

#28 popularlibrary

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:07 PM

I was in the theater for the NYCB performance that got the tosses removed from Scotch Symphony. Unfortunately, I don't remember the year (early 60s), but the cast was Tallchief and Anthony Blum. The boys threw her and Blum missed, sending the two of them tumbling down in a heap of tulle and tartan on the stage. The tosses were forthwith removed from the ballet, not to return while I was still going (up to the mid-70s). No one was hurt, as I remember, but for sheer embarassing awkwardness, it was a special moment.

#29 carbro

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 06:55 PM

Thanks so much for that story, pop. It certainly puts things into perspective! I can hear the collective audience gasp.

#30 perky

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 04:54 AM

I was in the theater for the NYCB performance that got the tosses removed from Scotch Symphony. Unfortunately, I don't remember the year (early 60s), but the cast was Tallchief and Anthony Blum. The boys threw her and Blum missed, sending the two of them tumbling down in a heap of tulle and tartan on the stage. The tosses were forthwith removed from the ballet, not to return while I was still going (up to the mid-70s). No one was hurt, as I remember, but for sheer embarassing awkwardness, it was a special moment.



Wow! I had no idea. Can you imagine NOT catching Maria Tallchief! :flowers:
This reminds me of a moment in the third pas de deux in the Andante of the Mozart Divertimento. There was a tricky spin that was removed after Allegra Kent fell while executing it. Did anyone ever see it?


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