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