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"Balanchine Said"Arlene Croce in The New Yorker


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#16 dirac

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:29 PM

leonid, no worries. If swords weren't crossed once in awhile, we'd have no discussion. :wub:

I take your points, but also suggest respectfully that 'distinguished choreographers' is not the same category as 'dancers.' Croce knows as much about Balanchine's family background as anyone else around, I expect, and I also believe she's talked over the years with quite a few dancers. My point was that, without having read the piece, I didn't think Croce meant to insult or cast aspersions and that the bar for genuine erudition is a pretty high one.

#17 bart

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:33 PM

In today's LINKS, dirac has included an interview with Edward Villella from New York Magazine (nymag.com). In it, Villella talks -- inevitably -- about his career with Balanchine:

He picked things up very fast, he had the quickest feet and the quickest mind you could imagine. When I was Pulcinella, he said, "You know, Pulcinella likes to look under the skirts of young girls." I immediately got the characaterization! He had revelations that gave you an internal point of departure, moving images of who you should be. I approach our dancers with that sense of awareness -- body to body, mind to mind.

An interesting insight. Although applied to just one ballet, one dancer, it fits the pattern of many of the utterances that Croce does talk about.

It's probably best not to take any of Mr. B's phrases or bits of wisdom out of context. In this case, he's talking to a specific dancer about the way to conceptualize a specific role. I have the impression that MOST of the stories that quote Mr. B' in his philosophizing or advice-giving mode take place when he is explaining a specific performance or performance in general. He was not above changing the quote to fit a slightly different circumstance or occasion.

#18 Jack Reed

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 01:44 PM

(from New York, NY) Wise words, bart. This is a little OT, but one of the things the worrier in me chews on when there's nothing more immediate is that things Mr. B said in rehearsal of a certain ballet will always get said when that ballet is rehearsed, when he only sought to correct something of the moment, with the result that some aspect or characteristic of it gets woefully exaggerated. But Croce's subject(s) are pretty general, and so those of his words are worth repeating, or at least, less dangerous than some others.

(Lately, apropos the discussion of technique in the thread on the MCB run just finished here, I wonder whether "Never mind perfect. Perfect is boring." might have been said to Martins in some rehearsal. Contrast, if you want to know what the heck I'm talking about, his dancing with Farrell's, in the Choreography by Balanchine videos, preferably the VHS editions. We'll never know for sure, I suppose, but for me this quote underlines the differences among the three ballet companies I distinguish, because of how they look on stage: Balanchine's NYCB (i.e. up until early 1986, say), Martins's NYCB (from then to the present), and MCB. Now I'm way OT, so I'll stop. Here, anyway.)

#19 SandyMcKean

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 04:00 PM

.....differences among the three ballet companies I distinguish, because of how they look on stage: Balanchine's NYCB (i.e. up until early 1986, say), Martins's NYCB (from then to the present), and MCB.

I'd sure like to hear more about this! Is there an existing thread on this, or would you be willing to start one?

#20 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 07:57 PM

To jump to a different point in the article, just as a palate cleanser so to speak, I really enjoy the paragraph near the end where she says: "Well, we know that when Balanchine did pick up a book it was almost always popular science, the kind written by distinguished physicists such as Fred Hoyle and George Gamow."

Another facet of the multi-faceted Mr. B. revealed!

#21 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:25 AM

I got a link to an article about the Nevada Ballet Theater performing an all Balanchine program, and there is a (mis)quote from their executive director, that shows how Mr. B's "credo" can be so easily altered:

Nevada Ballet’s goal is to have dancers perform to live music. Balanchine, who loved music and studied piano and composition, is a perfect choice for a collaboration between Nevada Ballet and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. The music will be performed by 24 musicians, mostly strings, conducted by Philharmonic associate conductor Richard McGee.

“Mr. B is, if not the most musical choreographer, then one of the most musical choreographers,” says Executive Director Beth Barbre, who worked for the Balanchine Trust. “One of his most famous quotes was ‘See the music and hear the dancer.’ ”


Now, Beth ought to know better (I'm just being facetious)

Here's a link to the article, it's great that they are bringing Balanchine to the desert: http://www.lasvegass...ic-hear-dancer/

#22 Helene

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 08:27 AM

:sweatingbullets:

#23 Alexandra

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:25 AM

So THAT'S why some companies have such noisy toe shoes!!!

#24 carbro

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 11:53 AM

Nevada Ballet's goal is to have dancers perform to live music. Balanchine, who loved music and studied piano and composition, is a perfect choice for a collaboration between Nevada Ballet and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. The music will be performed by 24 musicians, mostly strings, conducted by Philharmonic associate conductor Richard McGee.

"Mr. B is, if not the most musical choreographer, then one of the most musical choreographers," says Executive Director Beth Barbre, who worked for the Balanchine Trust. "One of his most famous quotes was 'See the music and hear the dancer.' "

Now, Beth ought to know better (I'm just being facetious)

It's a game of telephone. My guess is that Beth got it right and the reporter miquoted her.


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