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Jacques D'Amboise: Memoirs"I Was a Dancer"


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#16 dirac

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for that link, Neryssa. I enjoyed reading that excerpt.

Unlike Edward Villella's memoir, where his development is placed in the context of the relationship of a rebellious son to a father, in Jacques D'Amboise's memoir there is no overarching theme. It is a series of anecdotes.


Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, if the anecdotes are good. (I haven't read the book, obviously.) Not all lives have an "overarching theme" and not all (auto)biographers find that approach congenial.

Who needed to know TMI about Lincoln Kirstein,


His distinguished biographer, Martin Duberman, for one, depending on what constitutes TMI for you. :) TMI tolerance tends to vary from writer to writer and reader to reader, I find.

#17 bart

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 06:24 PM

I want to join dirac in thanking you, Neryssa, for linking to the excerpt. It confirms me in wanting to read the book.

There are memoirs that are works of art in themselves. There are memoirs that give us insight into the complexities of the person doing the writing. And there are memoirs that tell us what it was like to live with and among people whom we, the writer and the reader, value very much.

I suspect that d'Amboises' book is in that third category. Given the magnitude of Balanchine's work and the quality of the people he gathered around him, that is more than enough for me.

#18 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:49 AM

I just read the excerpt on Mr. B's funeral at this website. Yes, it's anecdotal, but it's 100% Jacques. We're practically THERE!! It has a lot of insights into the people that surrounded Mr. B. Jacques is the one who has always been willing to "tell all" (or almost all) and take us behind the curtain, behind the door. I look forward to reading it. Jacques has done amazing things for dance, for NYCB and for Mr. B. during his entire career.

There have been a few articles recently (in the NY Times) about how physical activity improves memory -- and I guess Jacques is living proof!

#19 Eileen

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:55 AM

I had a chance to broaden my review of this book on Amazon and present some new thoughts. I hope the readers of Ballet Alert will find it helpful.

#20 dirac

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:55 AM

Yes, I think that's the site Neryssa linked to earlier. It's a great excerpt.

#21 rg

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:18 AM

reading d'Amboise on Balanchine's funeral reminded me i had kept the candle i was given for the service.
the following is a snapshot of the candle today.

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#22 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 11:36 AM

reading d'Amboise on Balanchine's funeral reminded me i had kept the candle i was given for the service.
the following is a snapshot of the candle today.



That's a sweet, sad reminder....
Thanks.

#23 Neryssa

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:31 PM

I want to join dirac in thanking you, Neryssa, for linking to the excerpt. It confirms me in wanting to read the book.

There are memoirs that are works of art in themselves. There are memoirs that give us insight into the complexities of the person doing the writing. And there are memoirs that tell us what it was like to live with and among people whom we, the writer and the reader, value very much.

I suspect that d'Amboises' book is in that third category. Given the magnitude of Balanchine's work and the quality of the people he gathered around him, that is more than enough for me.


Thank you, bart. You make some excellent points.

What a beautiful candle, rg.

#24 Neryssa

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:27 PM

Perhaps most of you know that a review in The New York Times is available at: http://www.nytimes.c...Macaulay-t.html

#25 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 05:42 PM

Perhaps most of you know that a review in The New York Times is available at: http://www.nytimes.c...Macaulay-t.html



...and in the Wall Street Journal!

#26 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:36 AM



#27 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:23 PM

Some related Events in Boston:

http://www.brookline.../mainevent.html - Friday March 25th, Brookline Booksmith, Jacques d'Amboise will discuss his memoir.

March 25th - Wheelock Theatre - 5:30pm - onstage interview of Jacques d'Amboise by Jared Bowen (WGBH) followed by Q&A & book signing. For more information call: 617-879-2147. The Wheelock Family Theatre is located at 200 The Riverway in the Fenway area of Boston.

#28 Brioche

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:37 PM

From Macaulay's review in the NY Times:

Balanchine is foremost among the artists remembered in this memoir, but d’Amboise also mentions Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, Lew Christensen, Merce Cunningham, John Cranko, Martha Graham. “They were my mentors, teachers and choreographers,” he writes (though it’s never clear how Graham worked with him).


Perhaps Mr. D'Amboise wasn't clear in stating how he worked with Graham, but does Macaulay not know how to use a search engine? I am certain that there is a chance that he didn't dance in the movement Graham created, however he may observed rehearsals even so. :innocent:


Episodes

Music:
Symphony, Op. 21; Five Pieces, Op. 10; Concerto, Op. 24; Ricercata in Six Voices from Bach's Musical Offering by Anton von Webern

Choreography
George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Premiere
May 19, 1959, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Violette Verdy, Diana Adams, Allegra Kent, Melissa Hayden, Jonathan Watts, Jacques d'Amboise, Paul Taylor, Nicholas Magallanes, Francisco Moncion
Average Length
27 min.
Episodes grew out of Balanchine's enthusiasm for Webern's music, to which he had been introduced by Stravinsky. Balanchine wrote that Webern's orchestral music... fills the air like molecules; it is written for atmosphere. The first time I heard it... the music seemed to me like Mozart and Stravinsky, music that can be danced to because it leaves the mind free to "see" the dancing. In listening to composers like Beethoven and Brahms, every listener has his own ideas, paints his own picture of what the music represents.... How can I, a choreographer, try to squeeze a dancing body into a picture that already exists in someone's mind? It simply won't work. But it will with Webern. Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein invited Martha Graham to choreograph a joint work with Balanchine using all of Webern's orchestral pieces. The result was no true collaboration but a work comprised of two separate sections. Graham's contribution, Episodes I, was danced by her company plus four dancers from New York City Ballet. Episodes II, created by Balanchine, was danced by New York City Ballet and Paul Taylor, who was then a dancer in Graham's company. After 1960, Graham's section and the solo variation were no longer performed at New York City Ballet. Anton von Webern (1883-1945), an Austrian, was part of the neoclassical movement in music. He was a musical scholar who adopted and extended Schoenberg's 12-tone method of composing music, which meant basing a composition on a "series" made up from the 12 notes of the chromatic scale arranged so that no note was repeated within the series. Webern became more and more rigorous in his attempt to compress or simplify his own style.



#29 kfw

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 04:34 AM

Perhaps Mr. D'Amboise wasn't clear in stating how he worked with Graham, but does Macaulay not know how to use a search engine? I am certain that there is a chance that he didn't dance in the movement Graham created, however he may observed rehearsals even so. :innocent:

According to Nancy Reynolds' Repertory in Review, D'Amboise danced with Diana Adams in the Five Easy Pieces section of Balanchine's part of the ballet.

#30 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:12 PM

WNYC had Jacques on this a.m. and on this page you can listen to the interview, plus link to other related events (including the Symphony Space event, tonight) and book signings.


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