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New York City Ballet in Montreal, vols. 1-5Orpheus, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Agon, Apollo, Unicorn, Coppelia,


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#31 Dale

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:50 PM

Joel Lobenthal wrote the liner notes for the series. On his blog, he wrote: "And they exhume history: For Volume 3, they’ve found something that I don’t think anyone has seen in sixty years or even seems to have remembered."

 

It must have been from 1954. Interesting to wonder this could be.

 

Anyway, I received the first DVD and am hoping the second one waits for me at home tonight. The remastering makes these very watchable. The Serenade is filmed in the old style. Two very stationary cameras. It's fascinating to watch these and compare the choreography to later versions. I hope to push myself to write more as I continue to watch. 



#32 pherank

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 02:56 PM

For Volume 3, I know I would love to see an older production of Four Temperaments (too bad Tanny wasn't part of this cast), Ivesiana, and Liebeslieder Walzer.

Also the Tarantella, Movements and Who Cares? program would be wonderful as a separate Volume 4 (it's from the later era, anyway)



#33 canbelto

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 05:58 PM

I've seen both volumes. Invaluable viewing.

 

Volume 1:

 

Serenade was very exciting to see, particularly because the choreography has changed. I particularly like the old Serenade ending, without the loose hair. Nowadays the NYCB often casts as the lead girl someone who can't exactly dance very well, but does have great blond tresses happy.png

 

Orpheus was also very interesting for the more overtly sexual dancing of Violette Verdy. She's kind of curvy in a way modern ballet dancers aren't, and the pas de deux with Nicholas Magallanes sizzled. 

 

Volume 2:

 

Concerto Barocco: ladies are in black tunics instead of the white ones. If the DVD only had this, it'd be worth watching. Worth it for a chance to see Tanny LeClercq in a lead role, dancing with Jacque d'Amboise. 

 

Pas de Six: kind of disappointing, because it's very poorly filmed, with awkward camera angles (Maria Tallchief is often cut off at the waist). Amazing to see her bold striking features and strong, almost masculine dancing. (I mean this in a good way -- her leg muscles are so toned and she is so imperious.)

 

Agon: it's of course wonderful to see the original cast. However, the long pas de deux between Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell is much more clinical and not "sexy" the way it often is today. It's more about moving limbs in geometric shapes. I have seen footage of the pas de deux done only a few years later with Allegra Kent and Arthur Mitchell that WAS rather overtly sexy, so maybe this was just Diana Adams' personality? 

 

Nutcracker pas de deux: Wow, the Cavalier's variation is included! When was it cut? 



#34 DanielBenton

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:04 AM

It is interesting to see how Balanchine adapted the spacing for the small television stage.  Tight shots and only six corps women in Barocco. 



#35 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:03 AM



I've seen both volumes. Invaluable viewing.

 

Volume 1:

...

 

Orpheus was also very interesting for the more overtly sexual dancing of Violette Verdy. She's kind of curvy in a way modern ballet dancers aren't, and the pas de deux with Nicholas Magallanes sizzled. 

 

Volume 2:

...

 

Nutcracker pas de deux: Wow, the Cavalier's variation is included! When was it cut? 

 

You've seen both volumes?  Did you order from Amazon or VAI?  I followed Dale's logic, and ordered from VAI, and, for what it's worth, I've received only Volume 1 in Chicago so far.  

 

When looking at video from Balanchine's day, people will usually notice how up-tempo the performances are, but all the dancing looks like he told them, "Bigger!  More!", while Martins's dancers looked to me like he told them, "Smaller," when he took over, and that seems to continue today, in their "Balanchine" at least, although I should say I rarely watch the company anymore, partly for that reason.  

 

Yes, Verdy's Eurydice is wonderful to see, though I enjoy the "largeness," without blurring, of the other dancers' movement, too.  Very effective.  Large and clear, flowing and "present"; here and now, not polished to the point of routine and remote.

 

Regarding the Cavalier's variation in The Nutcracker, according to the account in Nancy Reynolds's invaluable book, Repertory in Review, the Cavalier disappeared completely in 1958, only to reappear in 1959 "as support for the pas de deux, although to this day [1976] he is variationless."  



#36 pherank

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:14 AM

I received Volume 2, two days ago, I think - after ordering from VAI. In hindesight, I should have ordered on Amazon thorugh the BA! search (!). I knew they weren't going to ship Vol. 2 until the 20th (at least). So hopefully everyone will start seeing their copies over the course of this week.

 

I've only had time to watch Barocco of this volume - I thoroughly enjoyed this intimate, made for TV stage version, with Le Clercq dancing uninterrupted. I always like her expressions, and legs that stretch to the moon. As Jack Reed wrote previously about Verdy, "large and clear, flowing and present" - I think that applies here as well.



#37 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 01:05 PM

Actually, everybody in Orpheus dances that way.  Lots of energy, lots of sizzle and snap.  And in Serenade - everything very full.  There's more more here.


Edited by Jack Reed, 24 April 2014 - 04:16 PM.


#38 Helene

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

It is interesting to see how Balanchine adapted the spacing for the small television stage.  Tight shots and only six corps women in Barocco. 

A lot like the BBC TV productions that are being released by ICAClassics.

 

I received Volume 2, two days ago, I think - after ordering from VAI. In hindesight, I should have ordered on Amazon thorugh the BA! search (!). I knew they weren't going to ship Vol. 2 until the 20th (at least).

I just got an email from amazon with exciting news! that Volume 1 is shipping on 29 April :(   No news yet about V.2.  It was smarter to order from VAI. 



#39 pherank

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:48 PM

I just got an email from amazon with exciting news! that Volume 1 is shipping on 29 April sad.png   No news yet about V.2.  It was smarter to order from VAI.

 

I think it's best for us to support the forum through the special Amazon search (and it would be cheaper), but when I heard about the VAI relesase, I went instantly to their website and ordered without any other thought in my mind.  ;)

I was compelled, as if by a magic spell...

 

I just posted a link to ABT's just announced casting for the beginning of the spring season, and saw this program:

THEME AND VARIATIONS – Semionova, Whiteside
DUO CONCERTANT – Copeland, Tamm+
GAÎTÉ PARISIENNE – Seo+, Gomes+

 

Sounds like a lot of fun, but I seriously doubt the actual dancing will be half as satisfying as Serenade or Barocco on the VAI DVDs. Comfort food for the soul, those are.

 

Oh, I want to  add that the short interviews with Balanchine in French, are enjoyable as well. I think that's the first time I've seen/heard footage of him speaking French.



#40 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:18 PM

For what it's worth, Volume 2 came in today's mail - from Armonk (in New York) to Chicago, or anywhere else, may not be the fastest path in the USPS.  But for those of us susceptible to its powers, yes, this is timeless art, worth waiting all these decades for.



#41 pherank

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:49 PM

One extaordinary thing that occurs during Agon - Todd Bolender's left slipper/shoe comes flying off about 1 minute into his solo variation. Fortunately it lands out of range of the camera, so it's over in the blink of an eye, and the broadcast resolution is low enough that it's hard to really notice that he's wearing only a sock on one foot.  ;)

 

But Mr. Bolendar (at least I think that's him) doesn't flinch and doesn't lose a beat.



#42 sandik

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:54 PM

That is indeed Bolender, and he liked to tell that story on himself.



#43 pherank

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:58 PM

That is indeed Bolender, and he liked to tell that story on himself.

 I figured that this was part of 'the lore' - it's certainly weird to have to wait 60 years to actually be allowed to view the footage. I suppose it has been available at the Robbins dance archive.



#44 Jack Reed

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 02:42 PM

In my day, which began in earnest a dozen years later than what we've seen of this series so far, men's slippers were the most common stray object to get loose on the floor, and were dealt with with dispatch:  If downstage, at the first opportunity this bit of housekeeping could be accomplished without an added move, they'd be kicked upstage, then into whichever wing were closer.  

 

For an instant, the ballet took on the overtone of a soccer game, but only an overtone, and only for an instant.  No one onstage missed a step, nor did the audience; there was a flurry of chuckles and a rustle of applause, as the the particular spell of that moment in the ballet was fully re-established.  Human dancing, from a different angle.

 

(Sometimes it was an ornament from a ballerina's costume that had to be dealt with; these we might hear hit the floor.) 



#45 sandik

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 03:26 PM

The last time PNB did Sleeping Beauty, I noticed that there were some stray flowers from the garland dance that shed during the big ensemble, but they were tidied away pretty quickly.  However, during this last run of Midsummer, an enthusiastic Bottom managed to lose the flower wreath that Titania puts on his ear -- that took some slight-of-hand from one of the fairies to scoop up.




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