Alexandra

Quotable Quotes

214 posts in this topic

From "Alicia Markova Remembers"

"I danced again in Cuba, at the time when Fidel Castro was preparing his revolution, and was little alarmed by the evening broadcasts from his rebel radio station in the hills which announced, 'Tonight we shall take Havana!'.He did not accomplish this.. while i was there...".

Oh, Miss Markova...if only your "while i was there" could be left out of the sentence... :)

Share this post


Link to post

"We do not have to hug our memories of yesteryear. Balanchine is as much ballet's future as its past." -- Alistair Macaulay, NY Times, Nov 16, 2008

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, Farrell Fan, that is a good quote. But do you think that the Powers That Be at NYCB really believe that (as discussed the Times article from which the quote was taken)?

Share this post


Link to post

No Bobbi, I don't think they do. They were so adamant at not becoming "a museum company" that their standards for performing Balanchine have seriously eroded. As Macaulay points out in the article, "Though no company dances nearly so many Balanchine ballets as City Ballet, the main Balanchine story is now happening elsewhere. It's scarcely a matter of contention that American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet (attached to the Kennedy Center in Washington) and the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg have all danced several Balanchine ballets better than the mother company; or that even the Royal Ballet of London is occasionally better in individual Balanchine ballets."

Share this post


Link to post

“Classical ballet is, in this sense, closer to music than anything else. In music, sound is arranged harmoniously, and what it asserts can be only partially rendered in words. In the classical ballet, it is the body, subject to the harmony of the steps it is executing, which speaks. And it speaks to the heart in as direct a language as does music.”

from
A Dance Autobiography
by Natalia Makarova page 36

Share this post


Link to post

"I think you are both behind and ahead of your times ... -- a classicist with modern hands."

This is addressed to the young Feliu Delargo, a brilliant cellist and the protagonist of Andromeda Romano-Lax's novel, The Spanish Bow, published in 2007. Delargo is based, broadly, on Pablo Casals.

Reading it, I thought how well it applies to George Balanchine.

Share this post


Link to post

Profile of a conservative balletomane and theater director in Germany, c. 1913. Containing a rather neat little sentence on Stravinskian classicism:

[ .... ] Riedesel cherished and promoted the ballet-- simply because it was 'graceful." The word "graceful" was for him a conservative, polemical shibboleth against the subversively modern. He had not the vaugest about the artistic world of tradition found in Russian and French ballet, as represented, let us say, by Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Stravinsky, and was not even remotely aware of ideas such as those that the latter-named Russian musician later expressed about classical ballet: As a triumph of measured plan over effusive emotion, of order over chance, as a pattern of consciously apollonian action, it was the paradigm of art itself. Rather, what Riedesel dimly had in mind was simply gossamer skirts, dancers tripping past on pointe, arms arched "gracefully" above their heads -- before the eyes of court society in their loges, maintainng the "ideal" and tabooing anything ugly and problematical, while a bridled bourgeoisie sat in orchestra seats below.

-- Thomas Mann, Dr. Faustus, 1947. Italics mine.

Share this post


Link to post

A question answered by Jorge Donn in a documentary about Maurice Bejart.

"What does dancing mean to a dancer?"

"Dancing? It's a way of going further."

From Le Temps d'un Ballet by Francois Reichenbach

Share this post


Link to post

"When she dances, her body sings"

Edward Villella on MCB bailarina Jeanette Delgado.

Share this post


Link to post

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”

-- Merce Cunningham

Share this post


Link to post
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”

-- Merce Cunningham

Oh, this is my second favorite quote from Cunningham, only surpassed by 'dance is movement in time and space,' because it is such a universal truth.

Share this post


Link to post

"He gave the power of speech to every limb." David Garrick after seeing a famous dancer acrobat.

Mime Matters[/i].]

Share this post


Link to post
There is no doubt that all dancers are more versatile now. But ballet dancers have lost engagement with the older work, and there is a homogeneity of style. When you have William Forsythe, Mark Morris and “La Sylphide” in one repertory, dancers need to be rehearsed with stylistic specificity. And there isn’t time or money for that. I adore ballet. I just wish there were more to adore.

-- MARK MORRIS

From: Roslyn Sulcas, "Genre Benders of Modern Ballet," NY Times, July 1, 2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/arts/dan....html?ref=dance

Sounds like he's been reading Ballet Talk!

Share this post


Link to post

Here are two by Martha Graham that others will recognize from the McDonagh book, which I find keen, both of them. She's clearly not afraid of godliness nor nakedness.

The first one requires that I type up the whole text, so the context is understood. It was on her Asian tour in 1955 and 1956: "In general, the left-wing press was politely hostile, and at each press conference--in addition to the usually innocuous, "What is 'modern dancd'?" would manage to ask what might have been at least one embarrassing question. At one press conference, with her Company bright and shiny for the occasion, she was asked, "Why are there no dances in your Company in which the subject is universal brotherhood?" Graham paused for only a moment before making her grave reply: "There are no dances in my Company in which that is not the subject. I could not do a single step if I did not believe in brotherhood. But I am not a propagandist. I don't need to make dances that say [emphasis mine] they are about brotherhood. All of my dances are."

There was something either Racine himself wrote or a Racine scholar wrote, and the above made me recall it, although I cannot quote it. It had to do with 'being about God' and/or 'what God needs', and that was not to necessarily be talking about God, but to be doing the work that would not exist without human intervention. That sounds like 'God couldn't do it', but it's more like 'God doesn't do those labours Himself', or that was part of the gist of it.

The second one is quite startling as well: "Desire is a lovely thing, and that is where the dance comes from, from desire. And the thing that makes you turn, for a dancer, is the desire to turn, first, so that everything comes out in desire; and where does desire reside but between the legs, for most people".

Wow. She left room for exceptions, I guess, and even the Desert Fathers seemed to be immersed in fighting those and all other desires off, but that means they weren't very far away, even in those extreme cases.

Share this post


Link to post

"Ballet is an addictive art." -- Alastair Macaulay, NY Times, July 15, 2009.

Share this post


Link to post

'

dance is movement in time and space,'
I'm now struggling to imagine movement outside time and space... seriously, and with all due respect (because I'm pretty sure Cunningham can imagine movement outside time and space)... I must be overlooking something obvious?

Share this post


Link to post
'
dance is movement in time and space,'
I'm now struggling to imagine movement outside time and space... seriously, and with all due respect (because I'm pretty sure Cunningham can imagine movement outside time and space)... I must be overlooking something obvious?

As with much of Cunningham's work, I think this aphorism is trickier than it first appears. I usually refer to it when I talk about his aesthetic and its bare bones quality, or when I talk about some of the overwrought definitions of dance that were popular in the 1950s. For Cunningham, I think it means that dance is a series of actions in a specific place that we perceive in the order they appear -- it's movement ordered by time and bounded by space.

Share this post


Link to post

From Judith Smith, artistic director of Axis Dance Company

"Dance is not for the meek."

Share this post


Link to post

Re the Cunningham quote above -- I've always taken it that this is the "necessary and sufficieint" definition of dance for Cunningham. Meaning, it doesn't need to express anything, or be grounded in a particular technique, or be dependent on music. I agree, too, that it's, as sandik wrote so succinctly above, "it's movement ordred by time and bounded by space."

Glad to see Cliff's post above, too :pinch:

Share this post


Link to post

"Dancing is a feeling -- physical, emotional, and spiritual -- and that feeling changes of its own inevitable accord at every moment of your life."

Suzanne Farrell in Holding on to the Air page 223

Share this post


Link to post

"What we found remarkable is the importance the arts play in Cuban life. No one seems to have any money, but the arts are an essential part of their lives. That was a revelation."

Francia Russell, co-artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, who traveled to Cuba in February with Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Share this post


Link to post

"A dancer is both a race horse and its jockey."

-- Brigitte Lefevre, Director of Danse, Paris Opera, in Fred Wiseman's documentary, La Danse.

Share this post


Link to post

Because of Anna Pavlova's sometimes broken English, the following quotes of her statements can be found with slight variations.

"Although one may fail to find happiness in theatrical life, one never wishes to give it up after having once tasted its fruits."

"No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius."

"To follow one aim without pause, ; there is the secret of success. And success? What is it? I do not find it in the applause of the theater. It lies rather in the satisfaction of accomplishment. "

Share this post


Link to post

The following is from Thom Gunn's poem, "To Yvor Winters, 1955." Winters was a poet, critic, and teacher of literature.

Gunn's tribute to Winters' poetry seems to apply to the classical impulse in all the arts, including ballet.

You keep both Rule and Energy in view,

Much power in each, most in the balanced two:

Ferocity existing in the fence

Built by an exercised intelligence.

Sounds a bit like Petipa and Balanchine.

(Quoted in a review of several of Gunn's books, NY Review of Books, Jan. 14, 2010.)

Share this post


Link to post