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Jacques d'Amboise coaches "Who Cares?." DanceView Times


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#1 bart

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:22 PM

The Winter 2014 edition of DanceView magazine just arrived, with a great cover story with 5 large, well-chosen photos -- Jacques d'Amboise coaching Robert Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Sarah Mearns, and Ana Sophia Scheller in Balanchine's Who Cares?  The ballet was created on d'"Amboise, Karen von Aroldingen, Patty McBride, and Marnee Morris. 

 

The 5-hour session was part of the Balanchine Foundation "Video Archives" project.  Nancy Reynolds, director of the video archives, wrote the story. 

 

Highlights include:

 

-- 5 fantastic photos (including the cover) showing d'Amboise dancing (joyfully), observing (with intense focus),and partnering Robert Fairchild clapping.gif (with glee)..

 

-- An image of d'Amboise as a superbly engaged and stimulating teacher:  Reynolds writes:  " ... after watching his expressive coaching  ... , one came away convinced he is ready to take on Lear -- or at the very least an enigmatic character out of Beckett.  The range of emotions he portrayed, with body language, mime, and facial expression, was spellbinding."

 

--  One example of d'Amboise methodology:   "Although he tries to get the dancers to loosen up and act casual, he can be utterly precise when he wants to be:  'those aren't runs, they're little ronds de jamb with hip swivels,' he says at one point.  That brings out the jazz in them."

 

-- And, speaking to Fairchild and Mearns about the "Who Cares?" pdd:  "In gliding steps, don't step in between, keep it moving.  Step further than you need to and slide slowly.  It's like a beautiful caress when you support her.  Start the arm movement early so that you're doing a port de bras and you just hook up with her as part of it."

 

-- About "Embraceable You" (Fairchild with Ana Sophia Scheller):  This is "a beautiful dance with a sugar lump.  It's not about love, it's about a delicious girl to squeeze."

 

-- My favorite is his advice to Sarah Mearns in "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise":  "In the air turns a la seconde on the diagonal, he urges her to say "whee" at the top of the jump.  She does so, and the effect is exhilarating."

 

Wouldn't it be great to have a teacher in any field who -- at one of the most difficult moments in a set of tasks -- reminds us to have fun ... to say "WHEEEEEE!"    Another great thing is to learn that this method actually WORKS.

 

Thanks, DanceView, for bringing us writing and photography as fascinating and illuminating as this.



#2 Stage Right

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:05 PM

I just read this issue today too, and loved the d'Amboise article also. Dance View is, IMO, the very best dance publication around. Excellent photos, (and I love that they are black and white), and insightful writing. And no advertising!!! So refreshing to have a serious, in-depth magazine on ballet.



#3 bart

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:31 PM

Stage Right. I agree with you about DanceView. And for the same reasons. Off-topic: What is it about black-and-white photography and dance? Perhaps it's that, without the distraction of color, you can see the structure and the line so much more clearly.

#4 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:30 PM

My issue just arrived, too, and I'll be taking it to slumber with me.  A great way to close the evening and sail into sweet dreams of ballet... 



#5 Stage Right

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:29 AM

Stage Right. I agree with you about DanceView. And for the same reasons. Off-topic: What is it about black-and-white photography and dance? Perhaps it's that, without the distraction of color, you can see the structure and the line so much more clearly.

Yes, that's a good question….I think you're right about the structure and line being more visible. Black and white lends a clarity that makes visible the essential elements of dance. In a way, I suppose, analogous to what Balanchine did by putting ballets in leotards and tights--gets rid of the distractions. I remember when I was a child just starting ballet, I had a book of photos from the Royal Ballet (Keith Money, I think? was the author's name). They were all in black and white, and there was something so evocative about them….I would spend hours just staring at them.



#6 sandik

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 10:40 AM

Maurice Seymour -- his studio shots, in black and white, taught me so much about epaulment!

 

And until I looked online for an example, I didn't know there were two Maurice Seymours -- brothers, who both used it as a professional name!



#7 bart

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:33 PM

I never heard of either Maurice Seymour, but some of the ballet images are familiar.  I love this one of Rosella Hightower.  Not a beautiful pose, but it's an image that conveys so much about how many parts of the body are enlisted to create a simple ballet movement.

 

http://www.ballerina...ic/highto01.jpg

 

What is she doing in this photo?  First I thought:  "beginning a pirouette."  But that doesn't seem right.  Can it just be a studio pose?

 

Thanks, sandik, for adding making me aware of a new (to me) name in ballet.  "Maurice Seymour(s)".  I won't forget that.



#8 sandik

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:57 PM

What a beautiful picture of Hightower!  It's certainly posed, rather than an 'action' shot, but I think this might be part of a series of piques, rather than a preparation for turning -- I don't see the kind of torque that rotation needs.

 

Seymour's work (or should it be Seymours's!?) is all over dance publications from the mid-20th century -- lots of Dance Magazines from that period as well as smaller books.  He/they did wonderful work (and I love that curly signature!)




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