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Interview with Edward Villella (by Marina Harss)EV talks about leaving Miami City Ballet


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#16 dirac

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:23 PM

I wrote "ADs" not "Villella," and I was commenting on the quotation from Beverly Sills. I have no idea who Villella's angry at, myself, or if he's really angry at anyone, but as you noted earlier in this thread, he does sound a trifle edgy, which is understandable since all of this is quite recent history. Nobody likes to get sacked.



#17 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:29 AM

 Nowheresville, I mean Miami...

 

I'm not sure if I want to laugh or cry over it....probably both.

 

And BTW...he's wrong about the skating rink...

 

http://www.kendallicearena.com/



#18 Amy Reusch

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:46 AM

I think Villella probably feels his was the hand that was bit.

#19 ABT Fan

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:50 AM

I think Villella probably feels his was the hand that was bit.


Brilliantly said!

#20 Buddy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:05 PM

I'm afraid to read this interview. Bart, is it ok?
 
I really like him. I think he referred to himself at MCB (someone quoted) as "The Big Chief". 
 
I'm sure there're many sides to his leaving, but underneath it all he really seemed to *Love* his art and 'his' dancers. 


#21 Helene

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:45 PM

Read it, Buddy. And click on all of the video clips.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:53 PM

"I feel like I’ve been culturally deprived for twenty-five years"

 

 [Miami]- "It’s a resort town, a clubbing town, it’s very shallow culturally"

 

Oh, we all know that.  It is just a little hard to realize that there's never a step forward about changing such vision-(one that I happen to share, BTW).  At the end of every story you end up knowing that, once again,  real, deep rooting never happens over here...even after 25 years...(sight in frustration)



#23 Buddy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:54 PM

Thanks, Helene.
 
As an hotel doorman once told my stepfather when asked if he might need an umbrella to walk down the block.
 
"Live dangerously, sir, live dangerously!"


#24 pherank

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 04:13 PM

Read it, Buddy. And click on all of the video clips.

 

Yes, the video clips alone are worth the price of admission.

 

"I feel like I’ve been culturally deprived for twenty-five years"

 

 [Miami]- "It’s a resort town, a clubbing town, it’s very shallow culturally"

 

Oh, we all know that.  It is just a little hard to realize that there's never a step forward about changing such vision-(one that I happen to share, BTW).  At the end of every story you end up knowing that, once again,  real, deep rooting never happens over here...even after 25 years...(sight in frustration)

 

I now live in an area that is culturally similar to Miami - San Diego, so I concur. I'm amazed at how little SD has really changed in the last 30 years. I keep my mind and spirit in the San Francisco Bay area, just to stay sane. And of course, it is possible to carry your 'culture' with you, if you're mindful.



#25 Jayne

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:01 PM

 

Thanks, Helene.
 
As an hotel doorman once told my stepfather when asked if he might need an umbrella to walk down the block.
 
"Live dangerously, sir, live dangerously!"

 

Now *there* is a quotable quote!



#26 vrsfanatic

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:53 AM

Odd, having been in and out of the Miami/South Florida area continuously for the past 30 years, Miami has changed culturally incredibly and Mr. Villella along with other non-native and native Miamians have been an important part of the cultural changes. They have built the buildings. The have invested much more than money.The transition continues. While I enjoyed reading the interview, it is a bit discouraging to be a thriving artist in the South Florida area and see that Mr. Villella seems to harbor an arrogance that anything outside of NYC is the boonies and culturally vacant. There is very good art being made in South Florida. Very good dance indeed as is evident in the large numbers of dancers who have joined dance companies throughout the world. Even when I was a student many moons ago, it was known there was good teaching going on in South Florida. While the culture of South Florida may not be the same as NYC, for that matter Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow etc., there is culture in South Florida. As much as I enjoyed seeing Mr. Villella perform and having his presence in our community, it is evident that his arrogance was a detriment to fundraising and the further growth of MCB in South Florida. I thank him for all that he accomplished for us, but the alienation of a community is not the way to win friends and influence or the continued growth of ballet here in South Florida. May he find joy in his new life in NYC.



#27 Kristen

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:01 AM

Bravo VRSFANATIC!

#28 bart

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:42 AM

Buddy, it's good to hear from you.  We do agree on Villella's artistic contributions, and I'm glad that Helene persuaded you to read the interview.

 

vrsfanatic, thanks for your balanced post.  Those of us who live down hear know how rich the arts experience can be -- across the whole gamut:  classical music, opera, ballet, theater, visual arts.  Not to mention fine arts education, of which  your own Harid Conservatory and MCB's school are probably the most significant in terms of national ballet prestige and influence.  Villella was always part of this fine arts tradition, and could sometimes be dismissive -- even when addressing his audiences -- about artistic endeavors that were merely "entertaining."  He always attracted a core of financial supporters who were generous and supportive of what he wanted to do, though one could argue that he had difficulty adjusting to a newer kind of philanthropy, some of which had a different artistic vision and sense of proper business practice.

 

cubanmiamiboy has often posted here about the amazing offerings (musical especially) available to Miami audiences and serious music students.  The Knight Foundation, which includes Miami as one of the communities it favors,s has been a hugh part of this.  A similar, though more limited, story holds true for Palm Beach County, where I live.  The audience and donor base here tends to be North East in origin and committed to the kind of culture they (we) grew up with.  It helps, of course that some of these Palm Beach people are super rich.  But there are super rich people all over, nowadays, and relatively few of them support ballet and the other higher arts.

 

(On the negative side, the Palm Beach community allowed Ballet Florida to slide into bankruptcy.) 

 

As for ballet, the story has been more mixed.  The financial ups and downs of MCB are a part of this mixed bag.   It might have been undiplomatic of Villella to make some of the statements he made about Miami, but there is more than a little truth in what he says.  For me, one of the most striking examples of this is that the audience for MCB in Miami (a big city) is actually numerically smaller than in West Palm Beach (a small city by any standards).  By this I am referring to subscribers and other ticket buyers.  Also, considering the size of the Cuban American community in Miami (and the wealth of many Cuban American business families) , I'm always astonished by the hard financial time that valuable companies like Cuban Classical Ballet have had.

 

About the Villella videos -- I agree that they are remarkable.   There are two qualities which give an idea of just how sensational his performance in "Rubies" was, and why it thrilled people to much.  First, the way he runs on stage, like a street kid bursting with energy and love of movement for its own sake.  Second, the way he links everything together, so the big jumps and fancy foot-work flow directly -- inevitably, one might say -- into what comes next.   There are more recent dancers who do the steps better, and who are more elegant especially in upper body, but there are not so many who can maintain the seamless flow of energy throughout, as Villella could in his prime.  .(Even when he had to collapse in pain as soon as he was off-stage, as one of the videos so powerfully illustrates.)



#29 Birdsall

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:33 AM

I believe the vast majority of people who settle in Florida are mainly there for the sun and beach and outdoor activities, not to go inside  and watch ballet or opera. I am saying this as someone who likes to go inside and watch ballet and opera and who has lived in Florida most of my life. So I am not knocking Florida and certainly not knocking the arts, which I love, but I am explaining what I think the problem is. The arts in Florida have to compete with the enormous draw of sun and surf. How can anything win over Mother Nature???? And even a ballet lover can't help but love it. My parents live blocks from the beach in Jupiter, and it is hard not to love it. I even do yoga on the beach when I visit them. Of course, at night people should be willing to go to the ballet! But maybe they are tired from all the sun. LOL Anyway, it is a different culture completely, as people have said above, and it is actually sort of normal. Yes, there should be room for both arts and fun in the sun, but the emphasis has always been on fun in Florida, I believe (with both pros and cons to that issue). The South Florida culture is a sporting (fishing, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, diving, and drinking) culture. 



#30 dirac

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

It might have been undiplomatic of Villella to make some of the statements he made about Miami, but there is more than a little truth in what he says.

 

 

It is undiplomatic to suggest that you’ve spent the last 25 years slaving away largely unappreciated in a cultural wasteland. I take your point, but Villella’s remarks weren’t nuanced, to put it mildly. I tend to agree with Kristen in the original post (and vrsfanatic's diplomatic comments  – no, Miami isn’t one of the world’s great cities like New York, it’s possible to appreciate both, invidious cultural comparisons are a bit beside the point. Villella was able to find support enough to found a very good company there and secure many years of gainful employment for himself and the missus. No one questions Villella’s skills, hard work, and dedication, nor his accomplishment in building an organization that looks solid enough to survive the departure of its founder, but it doesn't seem to me he had such a horrible deal in Florida.




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