Gorey's "Lavender Leotard" and the NYCB mentality:some questions about the NYCB allusions
Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:38 AM
I especially liked the simple drawing: of two child-balletomanes, perusing the performance list for the new season: "There are twenty-seven Swan Lakes this season, but only twenty-one Firebirds." You had to be there to understand how true this was. Ditto: "Don't you feel the whole idea of sets and costumes is vulgar?" And: "I sometimes think if I see that lavender leotard with the little skirt that doesn't quite match in one more ballet .... " And well do I remember wonderful programs like: "I thought we'd break him [an especially tiny child] in on Swan-Lake-Firebird-Afternoon-of-a-Faun-and-Western-Symphony."
Probably the key to NYCB mentality at that time is the drawing of two children informing two much taller adults: "Other companies merely put on ballets; we dance."
A couple of drawings alluded to ballets or events or something that I couldn't place. For instance, the boy tosses a tutu-clad lady into the air: "I'm Ike, you're Mamie." I know this refers to the Eisenhowers: but what's the connection to NYCB?
Then there are the two references to the White Swan pdd, one with Benno, one without. What's the story behind that?
Also: "You're right, that was Glinka they were doing, but Minkus he was wearing." What ballets?
And, is there a specific ballet refernces in: "Let-s see - he didn't do his first variation, and she didn't do her second one; Barbara did the fifth instead of the fourth, and Carol substituted for Linda, and Susan wasn't there at all, but then who was ... ?
In other words: does anyone have any thoughts about, or responses to, this marvellous -- but rather cryptic (typically Gorey) -- little work of art?
Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:50 AM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:57 AM
the glinka/minkus refers to two pas de trois balanchine choreoraphed in the same period: GLINKA pas de trois and MINKUS pas de trois. (both likely had costumes by karinska - my ref. book is not near at hand.)
i'm not sure about the benno problem - he was never part of any balanchine i saw but perhaps he was at some point - again my ref. book(s) not close enough at hand to dig aroun.
and yes, the skipped variation(s) one refers to RAYMONDA VARIATIONS - (in)famous in its day for having this or that portion cut due to day-to-day company dilemmas - at one perf. i saw in the 70s the entire 3rd mov. of SYMPHONY IN C was dropped due to insurrmountable casting problems on that day.
Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:29 AM
Noting the many changes in Balanchine's Swan Lake over the years Nancy Reynolds in Repertory in Review writes only that "long ago the Prince's friend Benno disappeared." For the original cast she lists Frank Hobi as Benno.
Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:30 AM
Many thanks for identifying these references.
Posted 20 October 2007 - 09:21 AM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:37 AM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:08 PM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:56 PM
One cartoon definitely reminds me of those notorious orchestra seats at City Center. The ballerina -- depicted in arabesque -- is seen from a vantage point well below the stage. From this angle, she completely obscures her partner, who stands behind her. You cannot see their standing feet. The captain: "I warned you not to get them tickets before row R."
Thanks for the responses so far. Here ae a few more idenitification challenges for our NYCB experts:
1) Ballerina to partner. (She's wearing one pointe shoe and one bare foot): "I suppose wearing only one somehow makes me more so." More what? And what's the ballet?
2) Ballerina in long soft tutu is drawing on a long black glove. She says to the man standing in front of her: "You've given me the wrong one." What ballet?
3) Ballerina in Romantic tutu, jumping, speaks to her partner. He wears black, with white lace jabot and tartan trimming: "I think it would be more amusing if they threw you at me." What balle?
4) Ballerina in classical tutu, trying to escape her much smaller partner: "You know what? I forgot the feather." What ballet?
Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:59 PM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 03:21 PM
4 is "Firebird".
Posted 20 October 2007 - 05:08 PM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 06:44 PM
Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:04 PM
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