Walking past History - Ballet landmarks in NYC?
Posted 27 October 2002 - 03:17 AM
I'm wondering how much ballet history is hidden in that way as well. Can anybody with a little more background share what they recall or know about certain theaters and sites relevant to ballet in NYC?
Where was the "Old Met?" Does anyone know where the school attached to it was? I think SAB was once where Richard Thomas' School was on 83rd Street, but according to Taper's biography it opened in 1933 on the fourth floor of an old building on 59th & Madison. Is the building still there?
The Four Temperaments premiered at The Central High School of Needle Trades. Where was that? Other Ballet Society premieres were at the Hunter College Playhouse. Is that the present Kaye Theater?
Balanchine's main residence when he was married to Leclercq was on 79th & Broadway (The Apthorp, I guessed from comments at her memorial) but then he moved into apartments on 67th street. I think he lived on the east side before that. Does anyone recall where?
Where were ABT's studios before they moved to 890 Broadway? Where was the school?
I wonder how much dance history in NYC I've walked by without knowing it!
Posted 27 October 2002 - 04:31 AM
The old Met was at 39th and Broadway, and was beloved as the Yellow Brick Brewery by us old denizens. That's what it looked like! The studios at the Met were used by various and sundry renters, and there were also offices where the likes of Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker used to have their mailing addresses. Benchley said of his office with Parker, that "one less cubic inch of space would have constituted adultery"! Legend has it that they spent the first couple of weeks in the office being witty at one another, then realized they were driving one another crazy, so Benchley repainted their door - to read "MEN". They soon had many visitors! The building management objected to this practice and they were ordered to repaint the door - so Benchley renamed the office "Utica Drop Forge and Die Corp."
Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:17 AM
I remember reading that it was also Isadora Duncan's studio at one time.
(One critic/dance historian, who shall remain nameless, even wrote (and published!) that he thought that Serenade, having been created more or less in that space, was obviously very much influenced by Duncan's dancing by way of the lurking spirit (or was it the actual ghost?) of Duncan herself. Apparently, for some minds, too much history is not a healthy thing)
Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:25 AM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:31 AM
Finis Jung had a wonderful studio on the 2nd floor at 77th and the east side of Broadway.
Posted 27 October 2002 - 06:40 AM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 08:19 AM
a map. Spots designated. A walking tour.
Just the sort of thing a researcher with extra time ought to be able to put together for a BA Walkabout....
Now, who has extra time?
I am really enjoyig reading this.....
Posted 27 October 2002 - 08:23 AM
It's sad that so many of these landmarks are gone -- the old NYCB/SAB/New York School of Ballet studio, the Empire coffee shop, the Ballet Shop. And that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.
It's sad that Ballet Alley is pretty much gone. In a few years nobody in the theater will even be able to afford to live in the Theater District. Well, that's progress.
Posted 27 October 2002 - 08:43 AM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 09:17 AM
By the mid-80's, when I was studying in NYC, the ABT studios on 61st and Broadway mentioned were most likely the site of David Howard's studio; Robert Denvers taught there as well. Shortly thereafter the building was torn down; I believe there's a condominum there at present. David Howard moved to 211 W. 61st Street and closed his studio in about 1994 causing a diaspora for ballet dancers. There really isn't any central nexus the way that studio was when it existed; the closest thing at present would be Steps on 74th & Broadway.
Also in the building at 211 W. 61st was the Alvin Ailey studios and school. They used to be in the Minskoff Building on 45th & Broadway (MTV is now there) and are just breaking ground on a new building of their own on what was the site of television studios at 55th & 9th (right around the corner from my apartment).
Yes, Finis Jhung's studio was above the Shopwell on 77th Street. It is now a Circuit City, I think. He currently teaches at Broadway Dance Center, which occupies several floors of a building off of 57th and Broadway (right next to the Hard Rock Cafe). The Harkness Theater (I believe once called "The Cosmopolitan") was torn down to make Harkness Plaza. The theater itself is documented in a not-very-flattering biography of Rebekah Harkness called Blue Blood.
Pieces of NY dance history that are still intact? The first that comes to mind (after City Center) is the 92nd Y Theater, which is still as it was when it presented both Martha Graham and Paul Taylor (I am assuming the performed in Buttonweiser Hall - am I right??). I have only seen that stage used for music concerts now, the Y produces dance concerts at the Duke Theater - a new space on 42nd Street in a building next to the New Victory. Before that the produced at what is called Playhouse 91, and was also called The Theater of the Open Eye. Madame Darvash produced some of her school concerts there (others were produced at Martin Luther King High School directly behind Lincoln Center)
In the Taper biography of Balanchine, there is a publicity shot of the Ballet Russes in Balanchine's Danses Concertantes. I'm almost positive the photo was taken in either the fourth or fifth floor studios at City Center. When I interviewed Barbara Milberg-Fisher on Agon, she mentioned a building right next to City Center called "The Business Building" which also housed television studios. I think she mentioned it in the context of a birthday party Balanchine had when married to Tallchief, who had sprained her ankle in performance and still limped in on his arm to applause. She said the building was torn down and my guess is that's now the building to the west of it that has Burke & Burke in the lobby.
Ballet Arts still exists; it rents space not in Carnegie Hall, but at City Center (they are about a block apart).
Manhattnik, the Hotel des Artistes is on 67th Street, so that's possible.
Victoria, do you know what's currently on the old ABT site? (for anyone responding, if you know what's currently in the site mentioned, it makes recognition simpler!)
I'm still looking for any information on the High School of Needle Trades and Hunter College Playhouse (I could ask my Mom, come to think of it, she went to Hunter in the mid-50's for graduate work) Can we go back further? Does anyone know the location and name of the theater where The Black Crook was performed? The American Ballet's earliest performances in America in '34 were at the Adelphi Theater. Is that still standing, but renamed?
Posted 27 October 2002 - 09:35 AM
And of course, the Joffrey School is still at 434 6th Ave. at the corner of 10th St. The uppermost stories, which were the company's country, are no longer used by the school.
Posted 27 October 2002 - 09:50 AM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 11:02 AM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 12:46 PM
Posted 27 October 2002 - 12:49 PM
If so, I'll put it up on the main site
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