In the past year alone, we've had sessions on Emeralds (Mimi Paul), Valse Fantaisie (John Clifford) and Prodigal Son (Yvonne Mounsey). This is a fascinating and invaluable record, especially for those of us who grew up with these ballets when Verdy, Farrell, et al., were creating and dancing them. It's ballet history, but, more than that, a tribute to the way that choreography and performance art is passed on from one generation of dancers to another.
I hope the entire series becomes available in book form.
-- George Jackson writes about a session at which Suzanne Farrell works on Meditation with Elisabeth Holowchuk and Michael Cook.
-- Mary Cargill gives us an inside look at Violette Verdy and Conrad Ludlow coaching NYCB's Janie Taylor and Tyler Angle in the pas de deux from Act II of Midsummer Night's Dream. (Balanchine choroegraphed this pas de deux for Verdy and Ludlow.)
There are several repetitions of the duet on Day 2. .... Holowchuk had seemed hesitant on the first day but now moves with confidence and asks questions about counts. ... The big lift continues to need work and Farrell tells Holowchuk that she should turn herself into "a projectile" for it. This passage begins to soar.
Michael Popkin's interview with NYCB principal Maria Kowroski is not part of the Balanchine series. However, Popkin encourages the thoughtful and articulare Kowroski to share with us the processes by which she develops -- and continues to develop -- her most important roles.
"Let yourself be moved," Verdy told Taylor several times, and as Taylor relaxed, the work grew more private and hushed.