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PAMTGGDon't!


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#16 Farrell Fan

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 09:14 AM

I'm surprised at how respectful the Time review is -- certainly not a rave, but not an outright pan either. My impression was that PAMTGG was generally regarded as rock bottom for Balanchine following Farrell's marriage and European exile. I saw it but remember little about it. A revival would seem unlikely however, since this most kindly of reviewers already found it "slightly dated" at its premiere.

#17 kfw

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:22 AM

I'm surprised at how respectful the Time review is -- certainly not a rave, but not an outright pan either. My impression was that PAMTGG was generally regarded as rock bottom for Balanchine following Farrell's marriage and European exile.

:wub: That makes me wonder, did generalist magazines like Time and Newsweek ever seriously pan a ballet, or did they just alert their readers to what the ballet world considered most noteworthy? I guess that's another way of asking if they ever published serious criticism.

#18 bart

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:44 AM

I was trying to find a link to the Martha Swope photo of Karin von Aroldingen (short fringed costume, band around her forehead) and Frank Ohman (long hair, head band, fringed vest, fringe at the bottom of his jeans). It's reproduced in Repertory in Review.

I couldn't find the photo online, so the following will have to do.
http://www.nycballet...tes/pamtagg.jpg

Was American styhle ever wierder or less attractive sense than in the late 60s-early 70s?

As for the wit and the social commentary of the piece: nothing is so cringe-making as looking at the "hip" as imagined and put on stage by the profoundly un-hip.

I actually remember the feeling of embarassment (for the dancers primarily) I felt when I got up from my seat at the end. It's the only work by Balanchine that I've ever felt that about. It's also the only Balanchine piece I have chosen sit out (remaining in the lobby) when it showed up on future programs.

Edited to add: Just had another flashback. It looked and felt like it was influenced by Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, then at the top of its popularity. Not to mention a little nod to the middle-class urbanites of Sondheim's Company, which I believe was playing on Broadway at the same time..

#19 Quiggin

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:05 AM

what Balanchine could 'shake out of his sleeve'



Here's some of the B.H. Haggin review of PAMTGG (and some of his Chopiniana thoughts) from the Summer 1972 Hudson Review. I generally find Haggin uneven, but here he does give a closer look to the work than the Time or the Barnes NYT accounts do:

I can offer no explanation of Balanchine’s basing a ballet on a Pan Am radio jingle and his using bad music by Roger Kellaway and ugly costumes of Irene Sharaff...[however] it doesn’t deserve the bad treatment it got from Clive Barnes...Harris Green mentioned the costume which made Karin van Aroldingen “look particularly ghastly” but “liked her pas de deux with Ohman”...I discovered that the ensemble of badly costumed airline pilots, stewardesses and ground crews provided a context for three pas de deux of the soloists--the classical pas de deux of Gelsey Kirkland and Earle Sieverling; the powerful night-club-style number, to a blues, of von Aroldingen and Jean-Pierre Bonnefous; and the fast and tricky Latin-American-stye number of Sara Leland and John Clifford; and while the ensembles were a mere competent filling out of time, the pas de deux show the unique Balanchine powers of invention for a girl and boy dancing together to be undiminshed. All three were excellent in their different ways; and the second was outstanding.

Nor--to come to this year’s new productions--do I understand Balanchine’s staging of Fokine’s Chopiniana in the way he did. Ther occurs to me the sttement attributed to Hindemith--that music had a face; and if one didn’t like it one shouldn’t play it; but if one played it one shouldn’t change it...Chopiniana raised such questions: why Masso was assigned to a role which required her to do what she had clearly demonstrated in Diamonds and Don Quixote which she could not do; and why the role not given to the dancer who had repeatedly demonstrated in breathtaking fashion her ability to do the very thing Masso couldn’t do--Violet Verdy...



#20 dirac

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 02:05 PM

Thank you for that quote, Quiggin.

#21 Jack Reed

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:17 PM

I don't remember where my copy of Haggin's Hudson Review article is, but if I remember correctly, I saw Chopiniana at Saratoga, where the novel costuming, with something like white tunics for the women, instead of the traditional sylph costume, with the little wings at the back; novel lighting, the bright, warm sunlight of high noon instead of pale, cool moonlight; and even novel makeup, or lack of it, some of the girls looking sun-tanned (it was summer) seemed oddly juxtaposed with the qualities of movement and sound, even though I don't think I'd yet seen Les Sylphides, as it was usually called, on stage by then.

When I read what Haggin had to say, I thought this redesign, more than the casting, was what he was referring to, although I don't question his judgement about the casting either. But this is OT. He sure got more out of PAMTGG than I did, but he had a few decades on me, along with the abilities of a musician, and the analytical and descriptive way he wrote, as in this example, remind me how I learned from his writing. So, my thanks too, Quiggin!

#22 MCBallet

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:43 PM

:wink:

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 05:25 AM

Given the Transport Security procedures of today, the clear plexiglas "luggage" from this production could be revived and marketed by the Friends boutique. It would save time at airports, perhaps demonstrating that you have nothing to hide. Just make sure that you have very attractive underwear packed in there. :wink:

I saw this thing in its first season while I was on leave from USAF service, and had just gotten back from a stint in Vietnam. A good thing, as I needed a good laugh.

#24 sandik

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:44 AM

Given the Transport Security procedures of today, the clear plexiglas "luggage" from this production could be revived and marketed by the Friends boutique. It would save time at airports, perhaps demonstrating that you have nothing to hide. Just make sure that you have very attractive underwear packed in there. :wink:


And eventually we will all travel stark naked, all the better to make sure we aren't carrying 3.5 ounces of liquid soap.

#25 Helene

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 10:57 AM

And eventually we will all travel stark naked, all the better to make sure we aren't carrying 3.5 ounces of liquid soap.

It would be a lot easier.

Olympic security was great: laptops stayed in bags and went through xray, liquids were ignored except for personal water bottles, from which people were asked to take a drink, shoes stayed on, and coats need only be opened if they weren't put through xray. People did have to remove belts, though, which led to some interesting episodes when the belt-less had to hold out their arms to be wanded.

Food and beverages brought in were confiscated, but that was due to the "No outside food" rule, although in some venues, unopened water bottles and sealed food was allowed.

#26 sandik

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 04:03 PM

Olympic security was great...


If only the airlines would take a lesson. The most frustrating thing is the inconsistency -- the rules change arbitrarily, they're different in different airports, and it's worth your life to find someone who can actually tell you what's allowed and what's forbidden.

#27 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:24 AM

I vote for a Rotten Tomatoes ballet festival................

#28 sandik

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:07 PM

I vote for a Rotten Tomatoes ballet festival................


And I vote that we hold it here on Ballet Talk!

#29 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:02 AM

I vote for a Rotten Tomatoes ballet festival................


And I vote that we hold it here on Ballet Talk!


It would have to be a verbal ballet festival. We could probably now get some vivid descriptions of PAMTGG (since no one claims to remember any choreography) from some of the many members of the cast, who are still around and open to it. Perhaps a stalwart journalist or two could do a series of short, targeted interviews!

#30 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:04 AM

But first we have to decide on how many performances and the repertory.... :clapping:


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