NYCB's casting crisis
Posted 16 July 2002 - 03:14 PM
Just my two cents. . . .
Posted 16 July 2002 - 03:46 PM
I understand we all have our tastes in things whether they be ice cream, men, women, pets, vacations, literature, etc. One of the worst thing for me it to absolutely love something - say a book like Helprin's A Winter's Tale and then to lend it to someone I'm really fond of, and find they hate it!
At this stage of the game, I should know better! Guess I'm the sensitive type, however, again, I did find the link to Joan Acocella's pieces to be quite quite helpful in my "recovery".
Posted 17 July 2002 - 04:10 AM
I'm very glad that your husband (and you too) enjoyed Tracey's performances; I really can understand why she had many, many fans, just not me. What upset me about her dancing -- and why I so agree with Robert Gottlieb's comment -- was that, although Tracey was a beautiful woman and was a good technician, her dancing -- to my ears -- had absolutely no relationship to the music. So when Gottlieb said "Teach what," I understood him to mean that Tracey has nothing to offer about the art of phrasing. After more than thirty years of going to NYCB, I have absorbed Balanchine's dictum (hear the dance, see the music). With Tracey, I felt deprived indeed.
And, yes, I too have very much enjoyed Yvonne Borree in Duo Concertant. However, as Ms. Borree herself said in a profile appearing in one of NYCB's recent progams, she admits to not being a technician. So Gottlieb's comment (why is she there), just hit home for me. One gets a little upset at "white knuckle" (will she get through it?) performances from a NYCB principal dancer.
But, BW, I'm going to get a copy from the library of the book you liked!!
Posted 17 July 2002 - 04:27 AM
However, I do want to say that your explanations about your views of Ms. Tracey and Ms. Borree mean a great deal more to me than those of Mr. Gottliebs - perhaps, this is because I am not an afficianado of ballet technique - though I am learning! I think I'm going to ask Leigh Witchel to arrange a 4th ring society seminar and those of us who don't have the technical background can then be given a crash course by fire!;) But, seriously, I do appreciate your taking the time to expound upon the "why's" of your feelings about the specific dancers mentioned in Gottlieb's piece.
I know that this has now really derailed this thread from it's initial "casting crisis" theme, and I apologize, but I do think that understanding "criticism" and being able to express oneself when one takes exception only furthers the understanding and appreciation of the dance.
Now, back to the "crisis"....which I hope is not as bad as most people seem to think it is.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 09:46 AM
I don't have much to say about this piece, which is more of the same (although Gottlieb does sound increasingly hot under the collar), except to say that I doubt that the Times was "undercutting" Kisselgoff by printing the piece by Homans in the Sunday edition. The Times goes out of its way to use writers other than the regular daily critics on Sunday, precisely in order to avoid the "amen chorus" effect.
Has Gottlieb read Homans' other pieces? Doesn't sound like it. I'm not so sure he'd be quite as eager to enlist her in the Cause if he had.
Posted 17 July 2002 - 05:31 PM
Posted 17 July 2002 - 06:13 PM
Posted 18 July 2002 - 12:08 AM
He's got some good points, particularly about the handing down of parts, but by the end it's hard to listen to anything he's saying in that monotonous whine.
Having worked as a critic myself, I know that complaints have a lot more impact when you mix them up with a few compliments here and there. This piece is just unpleasant.
Posted 20 July 2002 - 04:23 AM
Posted 20 July 2002 - 09:33 AM
One of the things I love about Square Dance is the confectious joy, for me Borree doesn't show that.
She's not a bad dancer, she does the steps, but that's about all, a perfect example of a dancer badly in need of coaching.
Posted 20 July 2002 - 11:42 AM
Anyway, after re-reading the pieces, all I can think is that it's a shame his tone has to be so extreme. I agree with many things he says, but am totally turned off b/c of his way of presenting his ideas. I agree with KayDenmark-- it would be harder for some to dismiss his piece if his ideas were presented in a more reasonable manner. But, in all, I still think this piece is no where near the travesty (sp?) that the Homans NY Times piece was. I wrote my one and only letter to editors after reading that piece.
And, I agree with Leigh about Martins' treatment of the older dancers and the benefits of keeping them around. It is the use of less adequate dancers in major roles that is keeping some younger dancers from their places in the spotlight....
Posted 20 July 2002 - 02:21 PM
Posted 20 July 2002 - 03:01 PM
Posted 20 July 2002 - 07:55 PM
I think the difference is simply I want to see Martins succeed and Gottlieb doesn't. And by that, I don't mean that Gottlieb wants to see the company fail. I don't know either of these men, but I would assume that anyone who had such a close association with the company would want to see it succeed as an institution. But I think anyone with such personal enmity toward Martins would want to see him have his comeuppance. (I'd certainly feel that way in his position.) And that colors all of his conclusions. Thus, you can "see" what he sees but still violently disagree with him.
Where I see Martin's long-term support of Whelan -- despite criticism that she was unsuited to certain roles -- as a triumph for both of them, he sees a fluke driven solely by Whelan's personal dedication. (Her dedication is unquestioned.) When I see a fabulous but young ballerina like Kowroski still growing and adjusting to the repertory, he sees an enigma that isn't being mentored properly.
If you don't see NYCB regularly but read these reviews and comments, you might think of NYCB as a company in trouble. That is so sad. Indeed, it is simply a company held to standard like no other. Those of us in the New York area, of course, are used to this from local critics. We see it all the time -- particularly toward our sports teams. (Half the time, even the Yankees are treated like bums.)
The only comments by Gottlieb that truly got my goat -- other than the over-the-top asides such as "teach what?" -- was his suggestion that Darci Kistler owes her position in the company to nepotism. I've often shuddered to think what the Martins' bashers would have done to Darci if she was not the supreme dancer that she is and has been for the past 20 years. Well, now we know.
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