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Virginia Johnson


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#1 Helene

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 08:57 AM

Marina Harss just published this excellent long interview with Virginia Johnson, which covers her early training through her artistic directorship of DTH.

http://dancetabs.com...atre-of-harlem/

#2 sandik

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

oooh (scampers off to read)



#3 DanielBenton

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:37 PM

On a tangential note, a posting on the DTH website today which mentions Ms.Harss' interview with Ms. Johnson also has a link to an article by Alyson Ross (Artist/Educator/Writer) called "The Price of Progress". Quite beautifully written.

#4 abatt

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 06:24 AM

I thought Johnson's assertion that Micaela de Prince quit DTH for Dutch Natl Ballet because she wanted to dance with a "white company" insulting and dismissive.



#5 Helene

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 07:12 AM

What Johnson said,

 

She really did want to be in a white company. That was important to her.

 

 

Assuming this is accurate and that DePrince had this conversation with her, why are DePrince's own wishes "insulting" or "dismissive"? 



#6 abatt

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 07:26 AM

We will never know exactly what was said by DePrince.  We only know Johnson's interpretation of the situation. However, DTH is now just beginning to get back on its feet after years of financial difficulties.  Dutch National Ballet is a well regarded and well established ballet company that has a more extensive performance schedule and a diverse rep, includng the classics.   To make the decision to dance with Dutch Natl Ballet  seem like it was based solely on racial issues is highly questionable, unless Johnson is using "white company" as some kind of shorthand for a financially stable company that performs traditional classics.  The fact that she characterizes Micaelas' departure as "We lost one", instead of as a positive for Micaela, suggests that she was not happy with Micaela's defection.



#7 kfw

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:45 AM

We will never know exactly what was said by DePrince.  We only know Johnson's interpretation of the situation. However, DTH is now just beginning to get back on its feet after years of financial difficulties.  Dutch National Ballet is a well regarded and well established ballet company that has a more extensive performance schedule and a diverse rep, includng the classics.   To make the decision to dance with Dutch Natl Ballet  seem like it was based solely on racial issues is highly questionable, unless Johnson is using "white company" as some kind of shorthand for a financially stable company that performs traditional classics.  The fact that she characterizes Micaelas' departure as "We lost one", instead of as a positive for Micaela, suggests that she was not happy with Micaela's defection.

 

Admirable though it is for Johnson to commit to the important goal of "changing people’s perception," it would be understandable if individual dancers wanted to prove themselves in established ballet companies. For the time being, that would necessarily mean in largely white companies. Of course it's also understandable that this would disappoint Johnson.



#8 Helene

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:17 PM

Dance Theatre of Harlem never had the prestige of the most established companies, even when they gave better performances.  Now, it is the equivalent of a start-up.  Start-ups generally take personal commitment to the mission beyond normal employment.  DePrince was not brought up at the school, nor was she someone for whom DTH was a lifelong dream.



#9 Neryssa

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

This part of the interview made me sad:

 

MH: Is there anyone like that [Danilova) now?

VJ: Who has time, now, to do that? People used to be molded and nurtured. Now you have to have it, and you hold onto it for a couple of seconds, and then it’s on to the next thing.

----

I just finished an interview with the editor/writer Maria Popova and she answered this question:

 

Did you have an “aha” moment when you knew that editing and curating, for lack of a better term, was something you wanted to do?

Not at all. I also don’t believe in the terrible, toxic myth of the “aha” moment. Progress is incremental for us, both as individual creative beings and together as a society and civilization. The flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst. It’s just that culturally, we are not interested in the tedium of the blossomingAnd yet that’s where all the real magic is in the making of one’s character and destiny.

 

How can our culture create artists in a culture where art and human beings in general are expendable is my question.

N.



#10 sandik

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 11:13 AM

I also don’t believe in the terrible, toxic myth of the “aha” moment. Progress is incremental for us, both as individual creative beings and together as a society and civilization. The flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst. It’s just that culturally, we are not interested in the tedium of the blossomingAnd yet that’s where all the real magic is in the making of one’s character and destiny.

 

Oh, I do like this, for all that it comes at a dispiriting part of the interview.  Ballet is one of the human activities that really does need time to develop -- I've always said that it needs someone with a high tolerance for repetition!



#11 Neryssa

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 12:17 PM

 

I also don’t believe in the terrible, toxic myth of the “aha” moment. Progress is incremental for us, both as individual creative beings and together as a society and civilization. The flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst. It’s just that culturally, we are not interested in the tedium of the blossomingAnd yet that’s where all the real magic is in the making of one’s character and destiny.

 

Oh, I do like this, for all that it comes at a dispiriting part of the interview.  Ballet is one of the human activities that really does need time to develop -- I've always said that it needs someone with a high tolerance for repetition!

 

You can read the entire interview at:  http://thegreatdisco...om/maria-popova or just google her. She's very inspiring! bow.GIF




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