Eileen

New 2010-2011 Brochure

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I was struck by the beautiful photography in the generously designed brochure for the coming season. The pictures of the dancers are vibrant and full of personality. Does anyone know if the male and female dancers shown together in the photos are actually couples (in real life)? They do look as if they are.

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As former PNB and current Dutch National Ballet Principal Dancer Casey Herd once said in a post-performance Q&A, "That's why they call it acting."

Per Ballet Talk policy, the personal lives of dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, etc. are off-limits on the board unless they are discussed in an official source, the definition of which is described in our Rules and Policies.

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I was also struck by the new photography in the brochures this year. It looks great. I thought the photography in the brochures the last few years was disappointing. I especially disliked a poster from either last year or the year before that had a very harsh, unbecoming photo of R. Krohn on the cover. In contrast, these photos from the current brochure were vibrant and exciting.

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As former PNB and current Dutch National Ballet Principal Dancer Casey Herd once said in a post-performance Q&A, "That's why they call it acting."

Per Ballet Talk policy, the personal lives of dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, etc. are off-limits on the board unless they are discussed in an official source, the definition of which is described in our Rules and Policies.

Repeating what Helene just said above. I've made a post on this thread invisible. Please do NOT speculate or comment upon on who is, or is not, involved with whom. Thank you!

It IS a lovely brochure!!

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As former PNB and current Dutch National Ballet Principal Dancer Casey Herd once said in a post-performance Q&A, "That's why they call it acting."

Per Ballet Talk policy, the personal lives of dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, etc. are off-limits on the board unless they are discussed in an official source, the definition of which is described in our Rules and Policies.

At least one magazine article reported that Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici were a couple -- when she came back from a significant illness. Bassed on his Twitter feed, that's still true. Can't speak to any of the others.

The pictures are beautiful. its always interesting to me how different from each other the dancers look in close ups like this; on stage there's often a tendency to uniformity.

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From the Daily News, an article on Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette buying a house together in Dobbs Ferry.

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Back to the issue of the brochure, which I think is well designed for the most part, does anyone know if "The Magic Flute" that will be done is the one Martins choreographed in the 1980's? (The very young Jock Soto was in it.)*

Also, though the photography, organization and presentation are quite good, I really disapprove of the clothing and attitudes used in the photos. I don't think Balanchine would like them either. He was known to disapprove of ratty, torn looking practice clothes. I also am turned off by the "tough guy" look many of the men try to convey. Come on!!! That put on didn't work for the film of "Opus..." and it is off-putting in the brochure. It makes it seem as if they don't care how they look, and that they disdain the audience. It also seems as if they don't respect their art. There's a reason that dancers are usually made up to be elegant and glamorous -- so that audiences will be enchanted by them. If this was modern dance I might feel differently.

And here I thought I was a liberal.

*Amended to add-- yes it is, but there's only one note about that in the front. It's 1983, that fateful year. So why is it labeled "new," and not "revival?"

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When I talked to my grandmother over the weekend she asked if I'd seen the NYCB ad in the Times "where Maria forgot her pants." :wink:

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A recent Wall Street Journal article on NYCB's efforts to reach out to new younger audiences focuses precisely on those photos in the brochure. The photo of Janie Taylor in bustier in the arms of Sebastian Marcovici is being displayed in Soho and Tribeca for the purpose of attracting young people to the ballet. The article describes how in past years the marketing campaign depicted the dancers in ballet poses with buns, costumes, and stage makeup. After much discussion, the marketing campaign was changed to personalize the dancers, to depict them with hair down, no false eyelashes, and looking into the camera in natural poses. NYCB is walking a fine line here, making the photos sexier while being careful not to descend into the offensive, in your face type of photography that you see in pop culture. I suppose Balanchine would not approve of this ad campaign, but I think the photos do not cross the invisible line and remain artistic yet sensuous.

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The photos somehow make ballet seem more accessible to the average person. While I enjoy posters with people in tutus and full makeup, I think those types of photos make ballet seem stuffy to people who have never attended. The current photo campaign is, in my opinion, very similar to the types of photos Ailey has been using for a number of years. (The Ailey photos are more sexually suggestive than the NYCB photos.)

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A recent Wall Street Journal article on NYCB's efforts to reach out to new younger audiences focuses precisely on those photos in the brochure. The photo of Janie Taylor in bustier in the arms of Sebastian Marcovici is being displayed in Soho and Tribeca for the purpose of attracting young people to the ballet. The article describes how in past years the marketing campaign depicted the dancers in ballet poses with buns, costumes, and stage makeup. After much discussion, the marketing campaign was changed to personalize the dancers, to depict them with hair down, no false eyelashes, and looking into the camera in natural poses. NYCB is walking a fine line here, making the photos sexier while being careful not to descend into the offensive, in your face type of photography that you see in pop culture. I suppose Balanchine would not approve of this ad campaign, but I think the photos do not cross the invisible line and remain artistic yet sensuous.

I don't think the photos cross the line either, Eileen.

Do we know that Balanchine wouldn't have approved? (And does it matter, anyway?) I'm looking at the 1980 NYCB souvenir book, a giant full-color production that is qualitatively different from the black and white efforts I have from the prior years. (And different, too, from the ones that came after. It must have cost a fortune to produce.). It is very close in style to the 2010-11 marketing brochure. There are no pictures of repertory taken during performance. There are no standard headshots of the kind you find in the current NYCB facebooks or on the website. The photos are all in color, and they have all been shot in the company's rehearsal studios. Some of the dancers are in costume, some are in practice clothes. (Robert Maiorano is bare-chested and Kipling Houston, who is wearing a deeply scooped red unitard, might as well be. His picture more closely approximates beefcake than anything in the 2010-11 marketing brochure.) Most of the shots -- including the "dancey" poses -- have been set up to look casual, even candid, with the dancers looking right into the camera. The women have all been professionally made up in the style of the day (think Debbie Harry) -- 10 make-up artists are credited in the back of the book!

It's clear that the intention was to make everyone look like attractive, real people -- actual individuals -- who just happen to be dancers. (And, interestingly, no effort was made to hide anyone's age, either. The principals were shot in what looks like a flood of natural light: Jacques d'Amboise stares out at us in arresting, craggy spleandor.) And most of the dancers look sexy in exactly the way that nature intended: they're young, they're fit, they're full of life and all of the promise of the future -- and it doesn't hurt that they're wearing form-fitting clothes. Who wouldn't want to be in their company? That's what the current brochure looks like to me, too.

I like the new brochure -- and I've tucked a copy away with that 1980 souvenir book so I can haul it out in my dotage and remember when.

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Here's the link to the Wall Street Journal Eileen mentioned:

Ballet Gets Personal

I agree that the photos are no different in character or quality than those that have been published in Vogue and Harper's especially in the fifties and seventies - such as Irving Penn's and David Bailey's. The intent is a bit disturbing: "to humanize" and make a bit too cozy and mundane. To apologize for ballet being art and the dancers artists.

The effort to humanize the performers of NYCB is not limited to the visual style of the images; it is also reflected in the text accompanying some of the online and print advertising. Dancer Andrew Veyette appears in a print brochure alongside his fiancé, fellow principal Megan Fairchild. The text quotes Mr. Veyette as saying: "I love performing Square Dance, especially when I get to dance with Megan."

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I don't think the photos cross the line either, Eileen.

Do we know that Balanchine wouldn't have approved? (And does it matter, anyway?) I'm looking at the 1980 NYCB souvenir book, a giant full-color production that is qualitatively different from the black and white efforts I have from the prior years. (And different, too, from the ones that came after. It must have cost a fortune to produce.). It is very close in style to the 2010-11 marketing brochure. There are no pictures of repertory taken during performance. There are no standard headshots of the kind you find in the current NYCB facebooks or on the website. The photos are all in color, and they have all been shot in the company's rehearsal studios. Some of the dancers are in costume, some are in practice clothes. (Robert Maiorano is bare-chested and Kipling Houston, who is wearing a deeply scooped red unitard, might as well be. His picture more closely approximates beefcake than anything in the 2010-11 marketing brochure.) Most of the shots -- including the "dancey" poses -- have been set up to look casual, even candid, with the dancers looking right into the camera. The women have all been professionally made up in the style of the day (think Debbie Harry) -- 10 make-up artists are credited in the back of the book!

It's clear that the intention was to make everyone look like attractive, real people -- actual individuals -- who just happen to be dancers. (And, interestingly, no effort was made to hide anyone's age, either. The principals were shot in what looks like a flood of natural light: Jacques d'Amboise stares out at us in arresting, craggy spleandor.) And most of the dancers look sexy in exactly the way that nature intended: they're young, they're fit, they're full of life and all of the promise of the future -- and it doesn't hurt that they're wearing form-fitting clothes. Who wouldn't want to be in their company? That's what the current brochure looks like to me, too.

I like the new brochure -- and I've tucked a copy away with that 1980 souvenir book so I can haul it out in my dotage and remember when.

Talking about souvenir books --- how long has it been since one has been published? They were an important means of marking the passage of time, the changes in the Company, the maturing of the dancers, and yes, the changing styles. However, I don't know if we can really compare the new brochure with old Souvenir books. The brochure and ads are outdoors, in papers, bus stops, etc. They are everywhere, unavoidable. The Souvenir books were purchased AT a performance, usually because an audience member wanted to "remember" their night/s at the ballet.

The Elgort souvenir books (they were in two colors, red and blue that year) were nearly all in costume in the first section, where the dancers were listed by rank alphabetically. Many, especially the groups, are photographed doing the choreography from the ballets their costumes show. Even Kay Mazzo, whose portrait looks as if it could have been taken in rehearsal clothes, is in a pose and pretty much the costume from "Stravinsky Violin Concerto." It is the group photos where the dancers are in rehearsal clothes. Most of the photos were posed in the then-new studios in the Juilliard building, and everyone was excited at the time about the wonderful light there. However, not one of those outfits is ripped, nor are they wearing half a leg warmer, etc. things which really really set Mr. B off.

I still feel that the new brochure's costumes are disrespectful of ballet. Call me old fashioned..... If that look is what draws someone to the Company, what will that person think of the often challenging, often classical, ballets, the abstract ballets, the "fru-fru" ballets, etc.that don't have the contemporary sexy, sultry look. There are very few ballets that look the way those photos look. Will the young people who are attracted only by the "look" in those photos continue to come season after season?

Plus, why should there be the focus on "getting to know" the performers? Part of the draw for many years was the mystery and elusiveness that was cultivated by the Company! And how does anyone know that the personalities portrayed are true? After all, they are "performers." Actors, in fact, in this context.

I am grateful that Kathleen O'Connell brought me back to my 1980 Elgort souvenir book. Each face sets off an avalanche of memories, some very sad, like Joseph Duell and Victor Castelli. Some happy, especially for those former dancers who I know have gone on to do wonderful things both within ballet and otherwise. It's really a shame that the Company is not publishing Souvenir books anymore... those of us who have stayed loyal and interested treasure having the sequence of books.

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The photo I'm seeing everywhere -- especially on the subway -- is Amar Ramasar leaping. It seems like a great choice to me. yes, he's wearing ripped practice clothes but its definitely a ballet position, and even if you don't know he's from the South Bronx, he isn't white -- which may appeal to a new and different audience.

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Talking about souvenir books --- how long has it been since one has been published? They were an important means of marking the passage of time, the changes in the Company, the maturing of the dancers, and yes, the changing styles. However, I don't know if we can really compare the new brochure with old Souvenir books. The brochure and ads are outdoors, in papers, bus stops, etc. They are everywhere, unavoidable. The Souvenir books were purchased AT a performance, usually because an audience member wanted to "remember" their night/s at the ballet.

The Elgort souvenir books (they were in two colors, red and blue that year) were nearly all in costume in the first section, where the dancers were listed by rank alphabetically. Many, especially the groups, are photographed doing the choreography from the ballets their costumes show. Even Kay Mazzo, whose portrait looks as if it could have been taken in rehearsal clothes, is in a pose and pretty much the costume from "Stravinsky Violin Concerto." It is the group photos where the dancers are in rehearsal clothes. Most of the photos were posed in the then-new studios in the Juilliard building, and everyone was excited at the time about the wonderful light there. However, not one of those outfits is ripped, nor are they wearing half a leg warmer, etc. things which really really set Mr. B off.

I still feel that the new brochure's costumes are disrespectful of ballet. Call me old fashioned..... If that look is what draws someone to the Company, what will that person think of the often challenging, often classical, ballets, the abstract ballets, the "fru-fru" ballets, etc.that don't have the contemporary sexy, sultry look. There are very few ballets that look the way those photos look. Will the young people who are attracted only by the "look" in those photos continue to come season after season?

Plus, why should there be the focus on "getting to know" the performers? Part of the draw for many years was the mystery and elusiveness that was cultivated by the Company! And how does anyone know that the personalities portrayed are true? After all, they are "performers." Actors, in fact, in this context.

I am grateful that Kathleen O'Connell brought me back to my 1980 Elgort souvenir book. Each face sets off an avalanche of memories, some very sad, like Joseph Duell and Victor Castelli. Some happy, especially for those former dancers who I know have gone on to do wonderful things both within ballet and otherwise. It's really a shame that the Company is not publishing Souvenir books anymore... those of us who have stayed loyal and interested treasure having the sequence of books.

ViolinConcerto, I miss those souvenir books too! But I think we'll have to agree to disagree on whether the way the dancers are dressed in the 2010-11 brochure is disrespectful to ballet. About the only item of clothing that doesn't look like it could pop up in a future Diamond Project production is Jonathan Stafford's layered polo shirt. (And who knows; maybe polo shirts will turn out to be the new subversive once we tire of bicycle shorts and bare legs.) To my eye the dancers look as if they've been styled to within an inch of their lives; those tastefully disshevelled looks take work. :wink: It may be a fashion editor's fantasy of what dancers look like in their workaday lives, but it's a fantasy nonetheless, and that's no small component of any performing art. I think ballet's big enough to accommodate any number of fantasies; some will be dressed in tulle and tiaras, some, in bare legs and sweat.

Not everyone comes to ballet through the same door. When I was in my 20's I came for the leotard ballets, and only the leotard ballets. It took me at least a decade to wrap my head around "Emeralds" and I was probably 40 before "Scotch Symphony" made any real sense at all. I went to one ABT evening-length ballet, shrugged, and didn't find my way back for lord knows how long. People I liked and admired would make a fuss about "Diamonds" or "Theme and Variations," so I'd buy a ticket and try again. But I would never have walked up to the State Theater box office in the first place if I hadn't happened to catch a performance of "Four Temperaments" on TV. Merrill Ashley in a leotard caught my imagination in a way that Suzanne Farrell in her "Diamonds" tutu just didn't. I can't ask someone in their 20's to get turned on by something that left me cold when I was their age, and I'm not too worried that someone who comes for "Outlier" or "Slice to Sharp" or the latest moody Bigonzetti won't come back if they happen to encounter T&V along the way. I kept coming back, and they will too.

And I loved anything with even a whiff of backstage to it: I devoured books like Joseph Mazo's Dance Is a Contact Sport, Pierre Petitjean's Backstage with the Ballet, or the Sorine's Dancershoes. Stuff like that didn't drain the mystery out of ballet for me, but rather, only deepened its allure. I liked knowing little things about the dancers as people and about their lives as artists, and I imagine it's the same for at least some twenty-somethings today. (Kristin Sloan's Winger blog in its early days when she was still dancing would have had me over the moon.) NYCB's current effort is a bit clumsy—the quotes in the 2010-11 brochure are disappointingly anodyne, for instance—but I think I know from recollecting my own long-ago twenty-something self what they're trying to tap into.

I thought I was pretty sophisticated, but I promise you, if there had been a dance version of Tiger Beat I would have read it cover-to-cover—slipped surreptitiously behind the latest issue of the New York Review of Books or Critical Inquiry, of course. :wink:

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Are the photos from the brochure the same ones featured in the full-page advertisement that appeared on p. 9 of the Sunday New York Times Arts section?

If so, then the casual clothing didn't bother me. As a whole, the dancers' glamor largely overrides the casual atmosphere. (Robert Fairchild looks like he could have stepped out of a Hurrell portrait from the 20s or 30s.)

To the extent I had a gripe, it was with the varying quality of the poses. We see Tyler Angle photographed in a sultry pose with a come hither expression on his face. But then we see his poor brother just standing there in a statically composed and photographed picture. So, a mixed bag in terms of the poses.

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from Kathleen O'Connell:

We'll have to agree to disagree on whether the way the dancers are dressed in the 2010-11 brochure is disrespectful to ballet

Very good, agreed, and for the record, I was totally anti-tutu for years. Only loved the leotard ballets, but in my case it was a TV (and live) version of, what else, the Stravinsky Violin Concerto.

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To the extent I had a gripe, it was with the varying quality of the poses. We see Tyler Angle photographed in a sultry pose with a come hither expression on his face. But then we see his poor brother just standing there in a statically composed and photographed picture. So, a mixed bag in terms of the poses.

I agree with this comment. Many of the poses are too static. This also became readily apparent to me last night when I saw new photo exhibit of the principal dancers at the Koch Theater. (There are now principal dancer photos, taken by the same photographer who did the photos for the print ad campaign, displayed on the Promenade Level.) Many of the photos either had the dancer with arms crossed, or with hands on hips. They needed to come up with more interesting, less repetitive, static poses. That's the primary weakness of the photos, in my opinion.

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very similar to the types of photos Ailey has been using for a number of years. (The Ailey photos are more sexually suggestive than the NYCB photos.)

The choreography the Ailey performs is more sexually suggestive than that of NYCB.

I don't dislike the current brochure, but it doesn't give a sense of what the co. is all about. If it motivates someone to see a performance for the first time what will they think when the curtain goes up on say Concerto Barocco, or Serenade, rather than sexy chicks and hot hunks in bike shorts? Well who knows, maybe for some it will be a revelation, and they will become fans, but I think most will be disappointed.

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I have that 1980 souvenir book, also! I loved it. I like the current photos, too.

But I have to admit that I got on the Shuttle a few days ago, and the train car was plastered with the faces of all the principal dancers, and I thought, they are trying to make them all celebrities. It was too much. I want the dancers to remain dancers, not actors. I think some of them might say the same. Too much focus on image, and not substance.

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