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"Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear"Inside the Land of Ballet


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#46 SandyMcKean

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:14 PM

The point of my post was that the stagers for R&J from Europe found our way of doing things strange given the role of the unions at PNB compared to what they were used to back home. I'm no expert of this stuff, but I find it interesting.......also........what is so, is so......nothing more complex than that.

#47 diane

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:33 AM

Most rules have been put in place because someone, at some time, went so far as to make the rules necessary.
(I must say that a rule of only 55 min. before a break seems a bit odd, but -whatever! )

In different countries and sometimes inside of the country there are different rules - and different unions, which of course makes things even more complicated.
Some theatres have special deals worked-out so that they can circumvent some rules and regulations, also regarding pay.
As in everything, it is good when the pathways of communication are open and people are willing to talk to each other without their egos getting in the way. Posted Image

(I would like to read this book, too, but am waiting for it to come out in paperback, over here. Posted Image So far it appears to be still too expensive for me.)

-d-

#48 carbro

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:45 AM

At NYCB tonight, an artist performed who was most definitely not on the company payroll. For Ratmansky's Russian Seasons, we had a lovely mezzo, Irina Rindzuner. It's safe to assume that she is also an AGMA member, but the terms of her contract are not likely the same as the dancers'.

Sandy, the studio where I used to take class was big, airy, well ventilated but not air-conditioned. I never took class when it was warmer than 85 degrees out (and I was young then!) because I learned that, with New York humidity, it was easy to get light-headed. For me, class was my recreation. I heard stories, though, of days when dancers passed out from exertion in the heat. And cold can be brutal on the muscles! During the time I was dancing, I sat in front of the office air conditioner. There was nothing I could do to escape the cold air but wear a cardigan tied around my neck and draped over my shoulders, which drew ridicule from colleagues. Still, all summer long, my neck and shoulder were stiff. So I was pleased to read the "minute detail" about studio temperature. Good for the union!

I suspect that the tidbit about when someone can discuss things with dancers is because of the unique nature of what dancers do. If a ballet master approaches a dancer with a correction, sooner or later, talk will turn to action. Enforced rest is there for a reason, and if the dancer tries out the suggestion (all but inevitable), s/he's not resting.

#49 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:23 AM

So far it appears to be still too expensive for me.


I don't know how book prices work internationally, but here in the USA, I am reading the book on my Kindle. I paid about $10 (what would that be 7 Euros??) for the electronic Kindle edition from Amazon......which comes complete with photos and other graphics.

http://www.amazon.co...m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

#50 Helene

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:32 PM

You don't need a Kindle or another electronic reader to read the book: I'm not sure about Nook and the others, but amazon.com offers free software downloadable to a PC or Mac that allows you to read it on your PC. There are also free Kindle apps for iPhones, iPads, and Android phones, so that you can read Kindle books on them. I read books on my phone all the time, since the buses in Vancouver have very dim lighting at night, making reading the Kindle, as well as non-electronic books/magazines/newspapers, a struggle.

#51 diane

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:54 PM

That is correct, the Kindle version is much cheaper! (€7.7 today for $10!)

Helene, that is interesting! I did not know that one does not have to buy the Kindle to read the books. I had not planned on acquiring yet another piece of electronic gadgetry, just yet, so being able to read things on my computer would be great!
Thank you for the information!
I will look into that.


-d-

#52 SandyMcKean

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:52 AM

I just "ran into" a couple of sentences in the book that sheds more light on this union thing as it relates to the Monte Carlo stager's surprise at how the "rules" work when they staged Maillot's R&J at PNB. At the end of the chapter 41, entitled "Juliet on the Fence", Manes says:

On the other hand, there are no unions at Ballets de Monte-Carlo. The dancers can be asked to work seven days a week or until two in the morning. Often they don’t know where they’ll be touring until a couple of months before it happens.



#53 puppytreats

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

I recently, finally read the portion of the book dealing with Carla Korbes. She very candidly spoke about her depression related to her weight and her job. This aspect has not really been addressed in many places. I wondered if she was a very open person, or if this openness related to cultural norms in her native country. She seems to be a very strong person.

I read with interest her discussion about being kept out of performances by Martins due to her weight, and being cast whenever she lowered her weight. Has she received any notoriety in response to this, such as Mary Garrett (Mariafrancesca Garritano of La Scala) or Sophie Flack? Actually, Sophie's narrator in Bunheads seems to have had an almost identical experience in a white leotard ballet, although a ballet mistress instructed her to lose the weight to avoid being taken out of the ballet.

She received Danilova's shoes and her bequest in the form of a scholarship. She must be very special to see in person.

#54 puppytreats

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

I just "ran into" a couple of sentences in the book that sheds more light on this union thing as it relates to the Monte Carlo stager's surprise at how the "rules" work when they staged Maillot's R&J at PNB. At the end of the chapter 41, entitled "Juliet on the Fence", Manes says:

On the other hand, there are no unions at Ballets de Monte-Carlo. The dancers can be asked to work seven days a week or until two in the morning. Often they don’t know where they’ll be touring until a couple of months before it happens.


Why did Noe join MC?

#55 puppytreats

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:05 PM

Also, dumb question, maybe, but why the silence over not eating? One assumes a very thin person, under pressure to maintain a certain physical appearance, does not consume much.... Was it a secret at the time that Mr. B limited his wife Tallchief's supper?

Another interesting fact noted by Korbes - that NYCB wanted certain body types, in which dancers had "boy bodies", with slim hips, etc.

#56 SandyMcKean

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

Carla Korbes.......She seems to be a very strong person.


I've met Carla many times in non-ballet settings, and my impression is indeed that she is a very strong person. She is also elegant (her clothes can be spectacular), and she seems willing to go well out of her way to encourage and assist young dancers.....even the very youngest.

Why did Noe join MC?


This is covered more or less in the book. I would say it was not a simple decision......it had many components to it. Part of it definitely had to do with her having been inspired to work with the genius that is Mailloit; part the allure of living in Europe; part her either the real or imagined perceptions of her position in the hierarchy of principal dancers and possible favoritism practiced by management.

#57 Jayne

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:55 PM

From Dance Magazine January 2009:
http://dancemagazine...uropean-Dreamin

For former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Noelani Pantastico, now a recent émigré to Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the opportunity to follow artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot and repeat her stunning success as Juliet (which she debuted with PNB last year) in Europe was the chance of a lifetime. “A lot of people think Maillot stole me or that I was unhappy with PNB,” says Pantastico, 28. “But my main motivation for leaving was to feel growth as a dancer and as a human being.” The choreographer chose Pantastico to perform the heroine role on opening night of the Monte Carlo’s Les Nuits de la Danse. Pantastico, who joined the company as a soloist, refers to her first month in Monaco as “magical,” and that opening night in July as a dream come true.



And the February 2012 edition:
http://dancemagazine...-A-Winning-Hand

Its 48 dancers are an international group, with one former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal among them: Noelani Pantastico, who fell in love with Maillot’s choreography when PNB performed hisRoméo et Juliette. She joined in 2008 and relishes the pace. “The atmosphere is very relaxed,” she says. “Jean-Christophe is constantly refreshing the pieces we dance. It’s never the same.”



#58 puppytreats

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:18 AM

Yes, I could be setting a record with how long I am taking to get through this book, and my questions may be answered later in the book, but I am a bit dumbfounded at times, and curious at others, so I am posing this question now, impatiently, instead of finishing the book first (which I may decide not to do...).

Mere chapters after discussing the drama, excitement. and opportunity afforded to Noe in Maillot's "R&J", and her triumph, the author discussed Casey Herd, Lucien P., and Noe P. considering leaving PNB. One issue considered in leaving is having nothing left to stay for or no reason to stay. This is an incredible jump. The men received the promotions they desired. Noe seemed poised for stardom or golden status. Even with other, maybe favored principal dancers in the company, opportunities existed, did they not? I am not saying no reason to leave existed, and on balance, for many reasons, one may have chosen to leave, but but did they have no reason to stay? I think I am missing something.

#59 Helene

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 05:47 PM

They don't have to have no reason to stay: they just have to have more reasons to go than to stay.

Aside from any personal reasons, why wouldn't a young dancer want an opportunity to dance in Europe, especially when a choreographer and his stagers showed personal interest in that dancer? Boal, who was one of the most appreciated young dancers by the audience, left NYCB early in his career to dance in France. Boal isn't Balanchine, who, when dancers left to "do their 'Giselle's", moved on and wouldn't take them back. People make careers in all sorts of ways, and some, like Pantastico and Jodie Thomas, who left for RDB a few years after the season described in the book, were lucky to have spouses who could work in/from Europe. It sounds like a great adventure to me, even with all of the opportunities at PNB.

More specifically, Manes describes how Pantastico felt she'd always be second to Korbes, the way [every other dancer] was second to Patricia Barker in the last 15 years or so of Russell/Stowell era, and during part of that, there were more performances. If you remember, the stagers insisted on giving Korbes five performances of the eight originally scheduled, and Pantastico three. Manes reports that Boal was unhappy about this, and the reason a ninth performances was added, was to try to even it up a bit. (That was without the pregnant Vinson in the mix.) It's up to each dancer to decide how to interpret this.

I remember a Q&A in Boal's first year with Pantastico in which Pantastico, like many dancers before her and many dancers after her, spoke about Russell and Stowell as "Mom and Dad", and the atmosphere in the company was very different under Boal. She also said, bluntly, that (paraphrase) if Boal didn't give her what she wanted to dance, she wouldn't stay, with him sitting three feet away. She studied at CPYB and wasn't one of the 1/3 or so of the company who had trained with him at SAB or danced with him, and her loyalty for nurturing her and growing her career within the company was to Russell and Stowell.

Postlewaite was in a relationship with Olivier Wevers, now his husband, and Wevers is European. I don't know either of them, but I would guess that being in Europe near Wevers' family and many of their European friends would be very appealing. Who wouldn't consider it? As it turned out, weren't enough reasons for him to leave.

From Q&A's Herd always struck me as a restless sort. Amsterdam is a fine city, Dutch National Ballet has a great rep -- they premiered "A Million Kisses to My Skin" and the Ratmansky "Don Quixote" -- they have the kind of $$$ to spend $3million on "Don Quixote", and they offered him a Principal contract. It's hard to argue with that.

#60 SandyMcKean

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

From Q&A's Herd always struck me as a restless sort.


I got that same impression from him at Q&As (well before that season).

Also, as I remember, Lucien's explosion of talent and artistry was just starting at that time. Perhaps he was even less aware of where he was headed than we were. He was always a good dancer, but starting right about that time, he took off like a shot out of cannon to become IMO the best male dancer in the company......certainly the most artistic male dancer. None of that was probably obvious at the time.


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