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PAMTGGDon't!


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#1 researcher33

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 06:43 PM

Dare we assume--or must we pray--that no company has the chutzpah to bring back Balanchine's PAMTGG?

Jack
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#2 Alexandra

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 06:49 PM

Compared to what has happened in the last 25 years, it may seem like a great lost masterpiece!

#3 Jack Reed

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 11:50 AM

The couple of performances I saw years ago when Balanchine's company was at Ravinia, the Chicago Symphony's "summer home" didn't impress me overall, although the way a dancer, stretched out horizontally, could be passed smoothly and efficiently in rising and falling swoops across the stage by the corps, contributed to my increasing perception that dancers can do just about anything. In this instance though, as I've implied, there was the question of why they were doing it...

Then there was the stage decor, great piles of Lucite luggage, said at the time to be really expensive.

Somewhere in the two-hour Balanchine documentary shown on PBS we hear him say of his ballets, "Some of them weren't so good. I knew they weren't." But he doesn't identify any, and I would hope the resources that it would take to revive this would be spent in more worthwhile ways.

#4 vipa

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 04:32 PM

Compared to what has happened in the last 25 years, it may seem like a great lost masterpiece!


Funny idea.

Didn't the Stravinsky festival come shortly after PAMTGG?

#5 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:04 PM

Yes, the first Stravinsky Festival was 1972. Stravinsky died in 1971. From the Company Repertory Index:

PAMTGG (Pan Am Makes the Going Great)
Music
by Roger Kellaway
Choreography
George Balanchine The George Balanchine Trust
Premiere
June 17, 1971, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Kay Mazzo, Victor Castelli, Karin von Aroldingen, Frank Ohman, Sara Leland, John Clifford

Notice that nothing else is said...... Most people I knew who had seen it just smirked.

#6 rg

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 03:48 PM

my look at this short-lived creation came early in my NYCB watching career, thus making my recall extra vague - i rem. a somewhat ungainly looking K.v.aroldingen in beads and fringes but also a fleet and impressive young v. castelli - whose choreography included a circuit of dazzling coupe/jetes - also some indication of runways and lighted wands for guiding 'traffic' in and around and off stage.
as has been expressed above, i also suspect that given all that has 'gone down,' so to speak, in the wake of this time, w/ this cast, etc. PAMTGG wouldn't look nearly as frightful as expectation now has it.
what Balanchine could 'shake out of his sleeve' could often dance rings around the hard won efforts of any number of other choreographers.
as clive barnes once noted Balanchine's saying at a press conf. where someone tried to bait him into admitting that Ashton had, in some instance or other, made an incompetent ballet, and i'm paraphrasing what CB recalled for me: 'Mr. Ashton and I make successful and unsuccessful ballets, but we do not make incompetent ones.'

in any case here's the house program cover made of graphics from a photo of von aroldingen.

Attached Files



#7 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:59 AM

i've probably said this before, so forgive me please if i did. i didn't see PAMTGG, but was told by a dancer who had been in it that mr. balanchine told them, for the last performance, to wear whatever they wanted of their own clothing for it!

#8 Jack Reed

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:02 PM

Re that program cover (thanks yet again, rg), I don't question its authenticity of course, but I do not remember anybody in anything like that! I wonder why? Hmm... (Whew, and Yikes!, both at the same time...)

#9 rg

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 06:24 PM

well, jack, while i DO rem. this 'look' at the NYSTheater maybe i rem. it from some other ballet? but if so, what other ballet was so dressed?
i don't know that i saw PAMTGG more than two or three times.
here is a scan of a two-page credit rundown detailing PAMTGG casting for Jan. 23, 1972, the season that featured the program cover scanned above. (the scrawled number indcates a change in the program order from that printed on the Playbill's pages.)

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#10 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 06:05 PM

rg, I'm going Yikes! again because it looks as though you think I doubt your veracity, or something, when I don't, not for a moment! Sorry if you've taken it that way.

What I sought to imply was that the whole sorry business was either something I've efficiently repressed as a sort of traumatic experience -- all those resources, and what result? -- or, more likely, it all just went past me, there being nothing in it I grasped -- nothing I could hold on to -- at the time, possibly because there was nothing there, as I still think, or just possibly because I lacked perception. (Several years before, Emeralds, no less, went past me the first time I looked at it because I hadn't got on to Faure' yet.)

Thanks again for the program scans, it shows the cast was much larger than I remembered, too. No, to reiterate, I accept that the costume picture is true and accurate, I don't challenge that for a moment; my comment was mainly about me, and my reaction to -- or from -- PAMTGG.

#11 rg

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 06:42 PM

not to worry, Jack, i know your goodwill over the years and regret if my reply seemed to show any dismay toward your post.
i've made plenty of errors in my days and will likely make many more as time marches on.
actually i'm not sure the program's 'graphics' actually identify PAMTAGG as the theme of Matus's design and your query gave me pause, b/c i know you have a keen memory, so it made me wonder if i'd been 'off' here - turns out there is a photo in Repertory in Review, p. 280, w/ von Aroldingen front and center in her fringes and w/ F. Ohman in the background looking equally hippie-ish - so it seems this confirms the fact that this odd costuming is certainly from PAMTAGG. (as we have seen, Kirstein's prog. note makes no mention of the hippie factor to Sharaff's designs.)
so, challenge away when you sense anything off the mark - how else will we keep on our toes.

#12 Ray

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:47 AM

in any case here's the house program cover made of graphics from a photo of von aroldingen.



Thank you SO MUCH for posting this groovy image; I had never seen it, and it really made my day!

#13 tutu

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 08:46 PM

Hadn't ever heard of PAMTGG before BalletTalk, but a little Google turned up this review from Time Magazine:


Priceless line: "If nothing else. PAMTGG leads one to wonder what kind of magic he might work if his fancy were caught by a roller derby or a pro football game."

#14 Quiggin

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 09:11 PM

Time:

Except if it was choreographed by George Balanchine, a genius who can design, with seemingly equal facility, enduring masterpieces or tremendous trifles.


The Time PAMTGG review shows the magazine at its Henry Luce era snippiest. It's a sort of "balanced" reporting (it implies a 50/50 split in Balanchine's production) that has somewhat migrated to the Economist, with its own "silkily arrogant tone" (the novelist Pankaj Mishra's characterization of the Economist).

#15 Dale

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 08:15 AM

That item brings back the days when ballets were reviewed in Time and Newsweek. <sigh> The search engine is a treasure trove. From that particular review, I liked this: "For all its frivolity, PAMTGG does display, once more, Balanchine's uncanny skill at catching the aesthetic potential in America's mass culture and at fusing pop dance with ballet. Slightly dated in its style, the dancing of PAMTGG seems to have been inspired by the sort of mock ballet once seen on the Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason shows. Somehow Balanchine can create grace out of tackiness and art out of kitsch." I think this is a quality that Balanchine shared with those other greats of the 20th century: Stravinsky, Picasso, Hitchcock...


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