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Suki Schorer lecture/demo at the Guggenheim --comparing Russian and Balanchinean styles


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#1 bart

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:38 PM

From Critic's Notebook (Joan Acocella), New Yorker, Feb. 23:

People always say that George Balanchine created his style of ballet—which is now, largely, the American style of ballet—by speeding up and reënergizing the old, plump Russian style that he learned as a child in St. Petersburg. On Feb. 22-23, as part of the Guggenheim’s “Works & Process” series, Suki Schorer will try to explain what that means. Schorer, a revered teacher at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, has written books on his technique, and her lecture-demonstrations on the subject are famous. At this one, S.A.B. students will do Russian and then Balanchinean classroom exercises. They will perform the “Nutcracker” pas de deux in a Russian version and then in Balanchine’s version. [ ... ]
http://www.newyorker...tebook_acocella



#2 Hans

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:56 PM

Could someone please tell me what on earth Suki Schorer knows about Russian-style ballet? What does she even mean by 'Russian'? As far as her training goes, I know she studied with Danilova and Doubrovska, but they were products (as was Balanchine) of the pre-Vaganova Imperial school, which no longer exists. From my time at SAB, it seems to me that the SAB/NYCB 'establishment' seems to have a problem with the Vaganova method even though Balanchine really did not have any contact with Vaganova and was not developing his style with knowledge of the innovations and updates of her method. Therefore, this seems to me a false comparison, especially considering that comparing a choreographic style with a teaching method is like comparing apples and oranges.

#3 bart

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:46 PM

You raise interesting questions about this. Acocella also seems to have some questions. She ends her short note as follows:

We can’t really know for certain what Balanchine was taught as a boy in the nineteen-tens. Schorer has consulted with Irina Kolpakova, once a leading Kirov ballerina (now a coach at American Ballet Theatre), but she was trained in the nineteen-forties. By then, things would have changed. Never mind. This is probably the closest we’re going to get. ♦

I don't know whether this series includes audience comments or Q&A, but it would be wonderful if they do.

#4 Hans

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:10 PM

Things at the Mariinsky and Vaganova Academy have changed a great deal since the 1940's, too.

#5 carbro

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 07:25 PM

No, these events do not include audience Q & A, although ostensibly the guests are available to chat person-to-person at the reception afterwards.

I've never seen any audience members actually engage the guests beyond a friendly comment or two -- but then again, I tend to mill and nosh more than keep tabs on others.

#6 Hans

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:21 AM

I had considered going to New York for this, but I see it is sold out. :wink: I hope anyone who attends will let us know what it was like.

#7 rg

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 12:48 PM

Works&Process are invariably 'sold-out' but i'm told by any number of people who attend these that the stand-by line often leads to success. i don't know when or how this system works. and i guess it's only viable if one is in NYC as a matter of course.
i've also been told that mon. is less 'jammed' than sun. but i don't know that this is officially so.

#8 Hans

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 12:53 PM

That is good information to know, rg. I have to teach on Monday, and I'd rather not go all the way to NY with no certainty of getting in, so I guess I'll have to miss it.

#9 carbro

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 01:31 PM

I've only gone standby once, and got in -- for the Maryinsky program last year, if that means anything (likely high-demand). I was lucky enough that evening to spot a certain rg waving me over to an empty seat next to him (thanks again!). Also, it was not during flu season, as this weekend's is, which may affect the no-shows.

I do plan to go standby to this -- trying first for Sunday, and if that fails, Monday.

I haven't been to any yet this year, the price having risen a bit beyond what I thought most of the programs were worth. This, though, may be worth it, especially since standby is a few dollars less.


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