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DanveView Winter 2010: Farrell, Verdy & Ludlow coachingand an interview with Maria Kowroski


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#1 bart

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 03:49 PM

DanceView (Winter 2010) includes two fascinating articles (with photos) describing coaching sessions for the George Balanchine Foundation. This is part of an ongoing series of pieces which allow us to follow great dancers, those who originated Balanchine roles or learned them from Balanchine himsel, as theyf coach young dancers in the nuances of roles.

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.

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.

-- 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.)

"Let yourself be moved," Verdy told Taylor several times, and as Taylor relaxed, the work grew more private and hushed.

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.

#2 Farrell Fan

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 08:15 PM

Thanks, Bart. I eagerly await my issue. :clapping:

#3 Farrell Fan

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:47 PM

The issue came and it's wonderful, starting with the Costas photo of Maria Kowroski in "Bugaku" on the cover. The first thing I read was the piece on documenting "Meditation," of course, by George Jackson, and he really made you feel you were there for the two sessions with Suzanne, Elisabeth Holowchuk, and Michael Cook. The latter two are members of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. It's not mentioned in the article, but I know that despite her youth, Elisabeth has been devoted to "Ms. Farrell" (and to Charlie, Ms. Farrell's poodle) for years -- as a student at Cedar Islands, followed by the Kennedy Center, and in recent times as a member of the Farrell Ballet. So Mr. Jackson's article was especially exciting for me. I can only imagine how exciting it must be for Elisabeth to literslly follow in Suzanne's footsteps.

Incidentally, a quote from Mr. Jackson has relevance to another BT thread: "Farrell herself still dances full out with her eyes."

#4 atm711

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 01:21 PM

John Percival in his review of Parry's bio of Kenneth MacMillan had a curious observation:

"MacMillan is widely credited with having single-handedly dragged classical dance out of its obsession with fairies and princesses"

Really? :thumbsup: am I missing something here?---or perhaps he is talking about British ballet?

#5 kfw

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 07:36 PM

I read the Kowroski interview tonight and I love the fact that she makes up -- and even varies -- stories for 2nd movement Symphony in C and the green girl in Dances at a Gathering to help her invest each step with meaning.

I'm sorry she thought D.C. audiences this past December weren't much moved by her Concerto Barocco. I caught one of those performances and remember wishing the applause was louder. I've only seen this ballet a few times live, and previous to December I'd never seen a performance I thought did it justice. I've seen one now. She was very beautiful.

About Farrell: the page 15, Costas photo, where her head is titled back just so like a certain mentor, is sweet.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 08:18 PM

John Percival in his review of Parry's bio of Kenneth MacMillan had a curious observation:

"MacMillan is widely credited with having single-handedly dragged classical dance out of its obsession with fairies and princesses"

Really? :thumbsup: am I missing something here?---or perhaps he is talking about British ballet?


I think he's referring to the contemporary British perspective.


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