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New York City Ballet Exhibit


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#1 cargill

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Posted 19 April 1999 - 06:43 PM

I went to the exhibit at the New York Historical Society today, and wanted to add to the items already discussed in the new Ballet Alert. I think I enjoyed the first room the most (except of course for the videos). It had the actual telegram Balanchine sent Kirstein telling him he was coming to America, which just gave me chills. There are lots of photographs from private collections. These are the photographs themselves, not enlarged, so they take a lot of careful looking. The videos were wonderful. There are two sets, each about a half hour long, and each exerpt runs about 2-3 minutes (some longer), so you do get a fair chunk. The earlier video loop is the most interesting, because there are things that haven't been seen for years. (Most of the 2nd loop is from Dances in America and Live from Lincoln Center). There were a couple of grainy films from Jacob's Pillow of Maria Tallchief in Firebird and Sylvia Pas de Deux, and even with the black and white, poor quality, she looks just dominating. I think my absolute favorite is Verdy in the solo from Agon. It was just so incredibly musical and subtle and elegant. But the pas de deux from Agon with Adams and Mitchell was also very interesting. She was elegant! There is also a clip of Tanaquil Le Clerc in Western Symphony filmed in Germany (I think) about 2 days before the company went to Copenhagen, which someone said may be the last thing she actually danced. One think I noticed with I thought was interesting was even in the mid fifties, the company flyers were illustrated with a picture of Tallchief in the Seligmann costume from the 4 Temperaments, even though everyone hated them, and they were no longer used. But it made a great picture! And there is a schedule from the 1960's advertising an all Stravinsky night and an all Tchaikovksy night--just like now--but generally they did 4 ballets a night. I hope people get a chance to see it, and would love to know what I missed. Mary

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 19 April 1999 - 09:26 PM

Thanks very much for the update, Mary. I want to see the videos! Actually, I want to own the videos.

One small thing. The German film may be the last LeClerq performance filmed, but she danced during the whole Copenhagen season -- whether it was 1 week or 2, I can't say without looking it up. If I remember it correctly, she became ill on the last night. She thought she was coming down with the flu, danced, and then just collapsed in her dressing room. I'm pretty sure it was the last night, because the Danish dancers remembered that they had just gotten back from their first American tour, and many of them attended this performance, because they wanted to see the company. No one could tell anything was wrong. Then they heard the next day that she was very ill, and polio was suspected.

So as not to digress from the exhibition, I think it would be fun if everyone who sees it posts here what things they particularly liked, or were new to them.

Alexandra

#3 Guest_Juliet Shore_*

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Posted 20 April 1999 - 11:27 AM

Let's have a field trip!

Actually, I think all the "NYC Trip" people are planning to visit...I am greatly looking forward to it.

We'll report--I am sure we will all notice different things.

#4 Nanatchka

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Posted 17 May 1999 - 08:05 PM

Mary, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your interview with Lynn Garafola in Ballet Alert, and your additional commentary here. So nice to go to the exhibit prepared! And interesting to see what Lynn considered most interesting herself.

#5 Lillian

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Posted 17 May 1999 - 10:20 PM

Will this exhibit be making an appearance in Saratoga this summer?

#6 cargill

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Posted 18 May 1999 - 08:13 AM

About Saratoga, no, it is going to be at the New York Historical Society until sometime in August, and then everything goes back as I understand it. I am glad people enjoyed the interview with Lynn. I know talking to her really increased my understanding of the exhibit, not to mention my admiration for all of her work!

#7 Guest_Azlan_*

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Posted 23 May 1999 - 03:09 AM

Mary,

Question: Do you know if they have copies of the videos for sale? Or if they are available in libraries or what not?

I am definitely going to the exhibition myself Memorial Day weekend but I have a habit of watching videos I like over and over again (okay, so, this is a normal behavior of a wannabe balletomane -- nothing strange here).

...Azlan

#8 Dale

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Posted 25 May 1999 - 06:54 AM

No, the videos aren't for sale. At least the ones that are on view during the exhitit are (at least about 98 percent) from non-available archives. However, if you go give yourself plenty of time for the exhibit. The two video stops take about 20 minutes or more to watch. The first one is early stuff to about the 50s to late 60s. The second is mostly Live from Lincoln Center stuff, and a few things Balanchine had tapped in Germany during the early 70s.

What struck me was the beautiful programs that Balanchine and Kirstein had made up -- most by important artists of the time. It's a shame that economics make these almost a thing of the past. I also found the costumes and personal photos from dancers' colections to be of most interest. There were also framed clippings that really showed how much more pr ballet got during the ballet boom of the 60s and 70s. Peter Martins was on the cover of Esquire and (I think) either Time or Newsweek. A ballet dancers or director would have to take a plane hostage in order to have a slim chance to get on the cover of a national news weekly.

Dale

#9 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 25 May 1999 - 09:36 AM

Actually, more of those videos are available for viewing at the Library of the Performing arts (usually at Lincoln Center but temporarily on 43rd St between 10th and 11th Avenues due to renovation) For example, the 1960 Agon tape Mary Cargill mentions with Verdy, Adams, Mitchell, etc. is open for viewing. Anyone can look at it, no permission necessary. I think the only tape I required permission to look at was the 1971 Agon tape (one calls the Balanchine Trust and they grant it.) The treasures in that place would astound the dance goer, which is why I contribute money to it regularly!

#10 Lillian

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Posted 25 May 1999 - 10:55 AM

I spent a good day in that wonderful library but was sorry to see so many great films off limits without permission. Are you saying that a simple call to the Balanchine Trust will open all those doors? Even the rehearsal videos? I thought is was a union thing. I would love to know before returning.
I was so frustrated by the no access bit.

#11 Dale

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Posted 26 May 1999 - 03:49 AM

Yes, Leigh you're right and I've enjoyed watching videos there myself. What I meant to say is that the tapes are not for sale.

#12 Guest_Azlan_*

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Posted 30 May 1999 - 02:00 AM

Leigh, Dale,

Thanks for the tip on the Library. Since I'll be in NYC all of next week, I should have time to visit the library.

...Azlan


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