Helene

"Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist"

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Dance Books has published "Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist." Here is the description from the announcement:

Dance Books is delighted to announce publication of the book 'Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist' an expanded record of the Conference held at the Royal Ballet School in 2011. Ninette de Valois was gifted with myriad talents. To summarise these as dancer, choreographer, artistic director and theatre administrator tells only a fraction of her story. What is lacking in such a summary are the nuances, the varying facets within each of those categories. It has required a wealth of writers, teachers, performers, colleagues, one-time students and collaborators to come together to engage with and celebrate the complexity of this remarkable woman. More details in her portrait may be gleaned from the titles of the sections into which the volume has been divided: Biography; Teaching; Wordsmith; Company; Turkey; Choreography; Collaborations; Herself. Yet these headings merely intimate the strengths of her private inner resources (her acumen, astounding foresight, dedication, daring) and the diversity of her public achievements, the realising and the steady but relentless expanding of her vision both for a company and of the potentials of dance as an art-form. Determining those strengths and that diversity is the objective of Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist. As well as more than 300 pages of text and photographs the book includes a free DVD, playing for more than four hours, of material recorded at the Conference (including a complete performance of Yeats' 'The King of the Great Clock Tower' choreographed by de Valois) and rare archive recordings. Full details and ordering facilities may be found at: http://www.dancebooks.co.uk/

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It'll be interesting to see if they include some of the surprisingly critical commentary that emerged during the conference....

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It'll be interesting to see if they include some of the surprisingly critical commentary that emerged during the conference....

Without getting gossipy, can you describe some of the commentary -- I wasn't able to attend, and haven't read anything about it since.

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One older gentleman who had worked with de Valois questioned her effectiveness as a teacher, and felt that the conference was making her out to be a saint.

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I don't know enough about her teaching to have an opinion, but I can understand the tendency we have to modulate the reputation of someone who had a major affect on a part of the world. There's a point, while there are still people around who knew them, where there can be a conflict between thinking about the accomplishments and thinking about the person.

When he was getting ready to film Ghandi, Richard Attenborough had spent a great deal of time talking with people who had known him, and was getting increasingly frustrated with people who had very specific ideas about how he should be portrayed. One woman felt that it was impossible to show Ghandi as an individual, that his spiritual importance trumped everything else. When she described him as a ray of light, Attenborough lost it, and said something to the effect that he wasn't making a film about "a bloody Tinkerbell."

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