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Transitioning from Villella to Lopez in 2012-2013.-- developments, challenges, opportunties


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#16 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:24 PM

Just a quick note about my compare and contrast exercise above: it wasn't intended as a value judgement, and I hope it didn't come across that way. "Theme and Variations" and "Arden Court" do happen to be more impressive works than either "Vespertine" and "Bacchae," but they're also more impressive works than the vast universe of lesser "House of Balanchine" and "House of Taylor" efforts. In other words, I'm not categorically dismissing Lidberg, Veggetti, or the other choreographers who work in that style -- I just wanted to show what I meant by "a different idiom."

Quiggin: I thought "Bacchae" was most definitely a riff on the Euripides drama -- an exploration of some of its themes, let's say, rather than a retelling of the story. Some of it was exciting to watch -- for instance, a long solo for Frances Chiaverini (the Dionysus figure) that was itself a kind of riff on the movement style of a wooden puppet that appeared earlier in the work. I found it very moving, too, not just a physical tour de force. Unfortunately the dramatic connection between Chiaverini's solo and the puppet's wasn't as clear as the movement connection, and it was on that level that the work didn't hold together for me.

Re the music: a clutch of younger choreographers seem to have turned their attention to postminimalism, broadly defined. In lesser hands, both the music and the choreography tends to a kind of anodyne, melancholy prettiness that I find inoffensive but uninteresting after the first few minutes -- but then I think that about mid-list Baroque, too.

ETA: OK! I found another "Bacchae" clip with an extract from Chiaverini's solo -- it starts at about 1:40. There are also extracts from a duet for Chiaverini and Danchig-Waring (depicting aspects of Dionysius and Pentheus, one assumes) and from a solo for Gabrielle Lamb as Agave.

Enough on "Bacchae" in an MCB thread, I think ...

#17 Jack Reed

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:03 PM

...
I just wanted to show what I meant by "a different idiom."
...


That was the way I took it, FWIW, as idiom contrasts, not necessarily quality comparisons. Which brings me back to my worry over a homogeneous style developing, if the MCB dancers are given an extremely heterogeneous repertory, an ersatz style inauthentic to most or all of their repertory, which they then cannot realize, but only cheapen. Like the Joffrey's recent Ashton. Am I right to be concerned?

#18 bart

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:52 AM

MCB is still addressing the unfunded portion of the matching grant for live music. They are seeking to raise $10,000 (out of $300,000 needed to meet this season's matching grant from the Knight Foundation). I think this is the first time they've used social media to reach what I guess they hope is a new donor base. Here's the link, taken from MCB's Facebook page:

http://power2give.or...jectId=815#play

This reminds us that there are many musicians whose security is at stake, not only Gary Sheldon, the excellent ballet conductor imported several years ago, but the 44-plus free-lancers of Opus One Orchestra for whom MCB's performances provide quite a lot of work. (Boards with a boom-or-bust mentality, and consisting of members who are usually cushioned financially from the effects of such swings, can be quite cavalier about the costs to their workers when the company suddenly "down-sizes" ... again.)

I was struck by the statement that the cost of an orchestra ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 PER PERFORMANCE. This particular $10k appeal is being presented as paying for just one performance -- the season-opener at the Arsht Center in Miami itself.

#19 Jayne

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:43 PM

well if you divide 10,000 by 44 musicians = $225 / performance. Assume 3 hours for the performance, plus another 3-6 hours of rehearsal. So appx $25 / hour. Also does not include the time spent by musicians honing their technique, sectional practices, etc.

#20 Brioche

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 02:22 PM

In my neck of the woods every rehearsal and performance is a "service." A performance fee does not include rehearsals.

Sorry having a bad day being clear.

Essentially every time they are rehearsing or performing they are being paid by the hour. Hence the myriad of stories of tempos played fast or curtains coming down to avoid over time pay. ;-)

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 07:22 AM

How complicated is all this numerology....Posted Image

#22 California

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 04:25 AM

I'm not sure where this belongs...I just got a Tweet about a fund-raiser for live music for the opening night performance. They need $10,000 and have a ways to go on this:

http://power2give.or...l?projectId=815

Seems like a sad situation to me if this is how the new season is starting off, and I wonder if this means they'll be using recorded music for the rest of the season.

#23 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 07:48 AM

I've always made my annual contribution unrestricted, thinking Edward or whoever was much the better judge of where it should go than I, but this year they wanted specific permission to use it toward a match for an orchestra, and I had no philosophical problem with furnishing that.

Personally, though, this skeptic finds $10,000 a suspiciously round number - it looks like a familiar gimmick, so FWIW, while I have no doubt about the actual need, and no hesitation about trying to help, I'm sadly reminded of the staleness of some of their publicity gambits. Does anybody else remember some copy publicizing Nutcracker one year including the phrase "more snow"? (Or maybe a Chicagoan like me wouldn't understand the exotic appeal of "more snow" for a Florida audience. "What's that? What's 'snow', Dad?")

But we go to see ballet for fantasy and mystery and illusion and so forth. Can't they sell that? For me, it's not just the money - I enjoy this stuff - or some of it, see above - and I naturally want to share the fun, with anyone who might be susceptible to it, too. I can't help thinking their PR people are trying to sell something they lack familiarity with, and they fall back on gimmicks. Not that they're completely incompetent - the theaters are not empty - but MCB's layered fantasy called The Nutcracker - the best performances of the best version, in my experience - isn't being offered in West Palm Beach anymore. But I keep thinking that better orientation of the susceptible public toward what goes on here would help.

#24 checkwriter

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:11 AM

According to the Miami Herald. Ms. Lopez has been appointed interim director of the school, with Linda Villella resigning effective August 31.

#25 bart

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 05:38 PM

Thanks for the link, checkwriter. This has clearly been in the works for a while. It means Lopez and (unless something ELSE changes drastically) Villella will be working in the same building on a regular basis. (School and Company share the same building and, often, the same studios. Large clear glass windows are everywhere.)

It boggles the mind that anyone on the Board could have thought that giving Edward Villella an extra year on the job, while making it inevitable that he would beworking in daily contact with his replacement, was a good idea. It's a LOUSY idea, especially since this was a hostile take-over..

I'm hoping Villella decides to bail out, move to Manhattan, and enjoy all the perks that come with being a dance legend who left at the top of his game. Villella deserves that kind of respect. Lopez deserves a clear field in Miami.

#26 Jack Reed

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 05:44 PM

In the previous thread abut this transition, leibling and others stress what I think of as the communal aspect of MCB

The interesting thing to remember is that Villella hired all of them... and in that sense did help to create the supportive camaraderie that exists in the company.


and I would like to mention to Lopez's credit that she reveals in a DancePulp video clip her own appreciation for the "family" aspect of Balanchine's company (around 02:30), remarking that that's gone now. To me, that bodes very well for the survival and vitality of MCB; whether Lopez's aesthetic is interesting or rewarding remains to be seen, as far as I'm concerned. (She says, around 05:50, companies need to "morph" after the founder goes; and her remarks in a promotional video for Metamorphoses worry me a lot in that regard.)

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:29 PM

This may have been mentioned....not sure, but the Kravis Center booklet has a "Steven Caras introduces Miami City Ballet's Next Superstar Lourdes Lopez" event listed for Monday, January 14 at 11:30am. It will be an "intimate conversation" with her. I thought people would be interested in this info.

#28 bart

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:07 AM

Thanks for mentioning that. This event -- technically a a lunch and learn -- has a lot of potential for generating interest and good will for MCB. Caras is a natural as a presenter and producer. He can create a feeling of intimacy even with a large audience. Caras was a Balanchine dancer (and Balanchine's protege as a dance photographer). He knows and values MCB and its rep. He knows Lopez and Villella. He knows and has worked with big donors.

I'm looking forward to this almost as much as to the season itself.

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:12 AM

OK! I found another "Bacchae" clip

Posted Image

Enough on "Bacchae" ...

Posted Image

#30 Jack Reed

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 05:54 AM

...
I'm looking forward to this almost as much as to the season itself.


When the time comes, post a report, bart!


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