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Quotable Quotes


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#16 katharine kanter

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 02:01 AM

"(...) While many of the great stars of mid-century Soviet ballet were sturdily built and of average height, today’s Vaganova girls and young women reflect the now-popular fashion-mannequin ideal: height that comes from eerily long legs, slenderness bordering on emaciation. The training for the female contingent stresses two elements, one being suppleness in the spine. This was part of the old Russian school, but it was used in the past to create pliant, musical dancing, not for the easy thrill of uncanny acrobatic contortion.

The second element dominating the present school is the cultivation of a preternatural flexibility in the hip joint, which permits an extension of the leg so high, the toes seem to be rapping at the door of the heavens. This mistaken preoccupation affects all of the adagio work -- and, oddly, some of the allegro work too -- to the detriment of dancing. It ruins harmony of line (a pillar of classicism and formerly a Russian specialty), weakens the dancer by depriving her of a secure center, and fractures the desired flow of movement into a meaningless chain of discrete steps.

From the New York Magazine, March 16th 1998

(On the joint SAB-Vaganova school demonstration)

#17 katharine kanter

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 02:06 AM

(Autumn 2001 - on the Covent Garden Nureyev production)

Don Quixote - interviews on BBC 2 Newsnight Extra

'Philip Hensher:This is such a depressing statement of intent. This awful piece is so dreary. It's full of the most idiotic miming. It's just such an old-fashioned awful thing, with the most awful score. I can't believe that they couldn't find anything more exciting to start with. The orchestra just plainly couldn't be bothered, and I don't blame them. The designs could have been executed 50 years ago. This was one of the most depressing, boring evenings I could have imagined spending. It gives ballet a bad name. It is very difficult to see the cultural merit of this.

"Kirsty Wark:Was there any emotion in it for you?

John Carey:None whatsoever, nor any intellectual content. That's the trouble. Here's this glittering audience, paying a great deal for their seats, and the intellectual content is less than a first-class football match. Much the same skills are used, and this is thought to be high culture. "

#18 katharine kanter

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 01:47 AM

Celia Franca, founder of the National Ballet of Canada, on a Proposal to choreograph to Verdis's Requiem to commemorate the events of September 11th 2001 in New York

(from the Ottawa Citizen, 11th July 2002)

"The Requiem stands alone. It doesn't need any embellishment. I'm speaking as a ballet dancer and I love ballet, but I feel I also have respect for music. I think it's a matter of respect for the way Verdi wrote it, and Verdi didn't write it with ballet in mind," said Ms. Franca, who regularly attends dance, theatre and orchestra performances in Ottawa. "It's not that I don't like Brian, but I just think this is in bad taste. To embellish a work that stands alone is the height of conceit."

Mr. Macdonald said that other requiems, including those by Mozart and Fauré, had been choreographed over the years, but Ms. Franca said "two wrongs don't make a right. The only good thing I can say is that at least the artists involved will be paid."

#19 katharine kanter

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 06:44 AM

From Ismene Brown's March 30th 2002 interview in the Telegraph, with the High Priestess Herself.


"There was also her shocking photo-shoot in French Vogue. It is not unusual to see ballerinas in fashion magazines. They make elfin, maidenly clothes-horses, their modesty in front of the camera radiating a more delicate, timeless sort of femininity. When Guillem did Vogue, she wanted to do something "free and 'appy. Natural, simple, joyful. It was the real me, non?" So she photographed herself in the nude, with not a scrap of make-up on. She was accessorised only by her undressed hair and a bashed camera.

"Outrage ricocheted around the world. 'I think it was the picture with the two legs apart and the camera in the middle mostly,' she says, deadpan."

#20 dirac

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Posted 27 September 2002 - 09:46 AM

Such unyielding good taste. :rolleyes:


[Note by A.T.: This turned into a very interesting discussion, so I'm going to move several posts that followed this one off of this quotes thread over to Dancers and call it Starpower :) ]

You'll find it here:

http://www.balletale...56360#post56360

#21 katharine kanter

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 05:38 AM

Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald blithely writes (must have been on or around 26th October 2002),

"It's no coincidence that John Cranko's magnificent ballet, ``Onegin,'' is convincing and persuasive in a manner similar to the HBO television series, ``The Sopranos.'' Both are centered on a kind of Shakespearean character development, with episodes of romance, violence, self-evaluation and redemption.


I discovered recently that "The Sopranos" - in case any of you out innocents out there were wondering - is an American soap opera, glorifying, or rather banalising, the Mafia to such a degree, that there have even been DEMONSTRATIONS in the USA by American-Italian organisations, to have the thing stopped.

Just so you know.

And as for "Shakespearean" - Theodore, hello ?

#22 katharine kanter

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 05:47 AM

From the Telegraph

Dancers on MacMillan
(Filed: 29/10/2002)


Dancers who worked with Sir Kenneth Macmillan describe what it was like to work with Britain's greatest choreographer

David Wall, balletmaster at English National Ballet. Original Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling, 1974

"I realised from the scenario that Crown Prince Rudolf would be probably the biggest role ever made for a man, but it was only when it all came together that we realised the scale of this deep, complex, rather depraved creation.

"When Lynn Seymour, Kenneth and I were in a studio, we'd take enormous risks artistically and technically, depicting the sexual activities. It wasn't pornography, but there were moments when one almost felt that it was. But it never worried us because whenever one worked with Kenneth, one did trust him very much."

#23 katharine kanter

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 07:27 AM

Arthur Mitchell, on tour here in rainy Europe for the past fortnight , in an interview with Debra Craine of the Times (4th November 2002)

Debra Craine writes: "It was the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King which sent shock waves through the black community in America, which inspired Mitchell to do something to help Harlem, where he had shined shoes as a boy... yet Mitchell believes that today, with so many more opportuniteis available to black kids in the deprived inner cities, the situation is, ironically, evn worse."

Mitchell speaks:

"When I saw the anger and frustration of these young people in the 1960s, I knew we had to do something positive for them. Yet today things are worse than thirty years ago when I started the company. Young kids are killing and stabbing each other in high school. Kids have been desensitised by technology; they spend hours each day playing with computers. How can you ask that child to be compassionate ? At Dance Theatre of Harlem we try to ignite the passion, and when you ignite the passion you tap into the compassion."

#24 katharine kanter

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 07:34 AM

With apologies to Private Eye, from Pseud's Corner:

This is Ashley Page speaking, taken from the Scottish Ballet Website:

"My plan for the immediate future is to work from classical roots towards a repertoire which will range from the neo-classicism of Balanchine through the spare brutalist edge of the likes of Forsythe and early Petronio; a fresh look at the 19th Century classics with the crucial addition of Ashton and MacMillan - my natural territory. A vital extension of this mixture is the inclusion of work with a softer, more humanist nature (...) not forgetting the essential ingredients of new commissioned work by both home-grown talent and the most vibrant and searching creators from further afield."



Could someone PLEASE explain what is EARLY Petronio ?

#25 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2002 - 07:38 AM

Refers to Stephen Petronio, edgy, physical (very good, IMO) American modern dance choreographer.

There are a lot of reviews of him available on line, although I couldn't find an active web page. As the kids say, Google him. :)

#26 Hans

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 07:48 PM

Edith Wharton is my favorite author, so I was really interested to find these paragraphs on pgs. 320-322 of her autobiography A Backward Glance:

"One of the loveliest flowers on the bough so soon to be broken was the dancing of Isadora Duncan. Hardly any one in Paris had heard of her when she first appeared there, but in me her name woke an old memory. Years before, a philanthropic Boston lady who spent her summers at Newport had invited her friends to a garden party at which Isadora Duncan was to dance. “Isadora Duncan?” People repeated the unknown name, wondering why it had been used to bait Miss Mason’s invitation. Only two kinds of dancing were familiar to that generation: waltzing in the ball-room and pirouetting on the stage. I hated pirouetting, and so did not go to Miss Mason’s. Those who did smiled, and said they supposed their hostess had asked the young woman to dance out of charity—as I daresay she did. Nobody had ever seen anything like it; you couldn’t call it dancing, they said. No other Newport hostess engaged Miss Duncan, and her name vanished from everybody’s mind. And then, nearly twenty years later, I went one night to the Opera in Paris, to see a strange new dancer about whom the artists were beginning to talk…

I suppose that liking or not liking the conventional form of ballet-dancing is as little to be accounted for as one’s feeling about olives or caviar. To me the word “dancing” had always suggested a joyful abandon, a plastic improvisation, the visual equivalent of

Like to a moving vintage down they came,
Crowned with green leaves, and faces all on flame…

in Keats’s glorious bacchanal. The traditional ballet-dancing, the swollen feet in ugly shoes performing impossible tours de force of poising and bounding reminded me, on the contrary, of “but, oh, what labour—Prince, what pain!”, and except in Carpeaux’s intoxicating group, and Titian’s “Triumph of Bacchus”, I had never seen dancing as I inwardly imagined it. And then, when the curtain was drawn back from the great stage of the Opera, and before a background of grayish-green hangings a single figure appeared—a tall, rather awkwardly made woman, dragging a scarf after her—then suddenly I beheld the dance I had always dreamed of, a flowing of movement into movement, an endless interweaving of motion and music, satisfying every sense as a flower does, or a phrase of Mozart’s. That first sight of Isadora’s dancing was a white mile-stone to me. It shed a light on every kind of beauty, and showed me for the first time how each flows into the other as the music merged with her dancing. Although the immense rapt audience one felt the rush of her inspiration, as one feels the blowing open of the door in the “Walkyrie,” when Sieglinde cries out: “Wer ging?” and Sigmund answers: Einer kam. Es war der Lenz!”

Yes; it was the spring, the bursting into bloom of acres and acres of silver fruit-blossom where a week before there had been only dead boughs. And I believe it was that fertilizing magic which evoked our next and last vision of beauty before the war: the Russian Ballet. Every one who saw the Imperial ballet in St. Petersburg, in its official setting, has assured me that when Diaghilew brought his dancers to Paris he infused new life into them, broke down old barriers of convention, and taught their exquisitely disciplined steps to flow into wild free measures. It is hard to believe that Isadora’s inspiration had no part in the change."

I can only imagine what she would think of the ear-slapping extensions and convoluted, gymnastic jumps of today!

And that quote brought to mind one from Choura by Danilova, that she thought ballet was more athletic in her day, "with Pierina Legnani commanding the stage like a fire engine with her forty-eight fouettes."

#27 grace

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 02:58 AM

i like manhattnik's signature quote of doris humphrey.

#28 Farrell Fan

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 09:15 AM

I enjoyed reading the excerpt from Wharton. Thanks for taking the trouble to type it out. :)

#29 Estelle

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 11:01 AM

Thanks, Hans. Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors too (and I'm happy that many of her books have been re-published in French recently).

#30 Farrell Fan

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 02:35 PM

The New York Mets first baseman, Mo Vaughn, is a huge, lumbering man who seemed overweight and out-of-shape during all of last season. The Mets had threatened to void his contract. But according to Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Vaughn has been working hard and looks strong. "He's a big guy," Wilpon said. "He's not going to look like a ballet dancer, nor should he."


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