Jump to content

Jack Reed

Senior Member
  • Content count

    1,741
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Jack Reed

  • Rank
    Platinum Circle

Registration Profile Information

  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    aficianado
  • City**
    Chicago, Illinois, USA

Recent Profile Visitors

886 profile views
  1. NYCB in Paris

    On the other hand, the Rubies pas de deux, danced by Patricia McBride and Robert Weiss, which was included in Part 2 of the four Dance in America "Choroeography by Balanchine" programs, and broadcast in November 1978, has not been seen much since. Not commercially reissued nor on Youtube. (Some of the current Youtube posts of these performances have less-good image quality than we have seen over the years, but, my God! The dancing! In spite of the taxing conditions at Opryland in Nashville, the long hours, the hard floors.)
  2. NYCB in Paris

    I hope everybody realizes that the company Balanchine actually supervised to dance his ballets as he wanted to see them danced was also recorded in color - though not anything like such glorious color and definition as today: The cameras they used to tape the PBS broadcasts in 1977 and 1978 later released on VHS and on the two "Choreography by Balanchine" DVD's produced pretty garish color, and when I play any of the dances on those, I usually turn the color knob down slightly. Not only that, "Robert Schumann's Davidsbuendlertaenze" was also taped in color around the same time, though released only on VHS and Laserdisc, as far as I know, neither broadcast nor issued on DVD; but now I remember one of the greatest astonishments of all, the 1966 film of Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," filmed in color in a studio in downtown New York, with Suzanne Farrell as Titania, Edward Villella as Oberon, and Arthur Mitchell as Puck. (There's also a water fountain upstage in Act II - never in the theater. Balanchine remembered how that could be done in the Czar's theater where he danced as a boy, and he sometimes expressed regret that he couldn't do it in his own theaters.) "Davisbuendlertaenze" can be found sometimes; but the "Midsummer" film is rare, at least in America, apparently. But KarenAG's description of her enjoyment of seeing on screen at home, whenever you want, dancers you see in the theater, is what sent me down memory lane here: I well remember that evening when the first "Dance in America" Balanchine show was broadcast in Chicago in December 1977: Look, I thought, there they are! Those dancers I knew from my expeditions to New York. Not their faces so much as their individual movement flavors. And the next evening, having rewound my cassette, I could repeat the experience, right in my own living room, without the effort of traveling! And I could use those recordings to familiarize myself more thoroughly with the ballets, as I had used music recordings. Yes, I agree, I would also like MCB, or somebody, to release their PBS program - actually from longer ago, 2011 I think.
  3. Here in Chicago, I found the livestream went off more or less as announced - several minutes' late starting (not unheard of in ballet performance) - and with some lapses between about 7:25 and 7:51 Pacific Time. Some of this might have been owing to problems at my end, but a "card" went up on Facebook acknowledging they had a problem, as well. Some of Rausch's dancing, lovely when I could see it, was lost to me this way, but Imler and her partner, Bold, (and Tchaikovsky!) made the anxiety and uncertainty abut what was going on and what to try do about it worthwhile. And a lot of the camera work was very good! They made the hard choices - "ants" vs. "giants" - and usually got it right. (Poor Rausch got cut off at the shins sometimes, in what some of us call "mud shots," because it looks as though the dancer is shin-deep in it.) (I think I saw somewhere that the video would be available for a month, actually; that would be until July 11th.)
  4. 1978 . . . and Today

    And some of us would quibble that NYCB doesn't have so many Balanchine ballets. His steps, yes. The choreographer was reported to ask, "Steps? Steps are what?" The 2016 Paris videos show impressive displays of technique, of highly refined athletic ability, but to someone who saw hundreds of performances of Balanchine's NYCB - when he supervised it - Sara Mearns (and possibly Tyler Peck - praised in those videos by the reliable Alastair Macaulay, but I haven't caught up with her there) are the exceptions who infuse this movement with "meaning" or a sense of a reason for doing what they do, other than that display. But this is an old story, much older than Balanchine's death, 34 years - a generation - ago.
  5. Critics on Social Media

    I thought the question here was more like, Do they really think they will attract more of the audience advertisers want by filling in more junk?, but you may be right in condensing the intermediate step. Another angle may be that media in general improve their bottom line not only by bringing in income, i.e. from advertising, but also by reducing costs, and junk may be cheaper to come by. (The CBS radio outlet here in Chicago carries a lot of "police blotter" material, which holds our breathless attention and must be very cheap to get, not that it has no utility - none of us want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.) Back in the day, it looked like The Times was able to inform the nation according to the calculations of the major upscale department stores.
  6. Critics on Social Media

    He's not only a critic, he's The New York Times on this subject! "All the News That's Fit to Print," right? But the main thing for me is what I infer from your second point: What makes AM worth paying attention to is not only what he says about what he sees, but, usually, how he says it. Because he describes it so well, I can see what he sees, and I can follow his thinking through to his judgements, and this makes reading what he says experience useful even when I'm watching ballet he hasn't written about, and even when I disagree with some of his judgements. A kind of tutorial by an expert on how to watch. I think he's the best dance critic the Times has ever had, and being in the hands of a broader audience than more specialist publications, even compared to The New Yorker, where he wrote for a time, he's in a position to do a lot of good.
  7. Just briefly, as I am at breakfast, but Gabriella Domini is such a Sylph! Such a "natural"! Did Martins program Scotch on her account? You could think. It's not just the lightness, the willowy quality, it's the stage presence - for example, she lifts her partner's droopy arms, tilts and turns her head to check - yes, that's right - and moves on - these touches of the role are built-in, or course, but she doesn't show them, do them, she makes them. Three times I've seen her - the first time - well, okay, we're not supposed to write about rehearsals, but it was then I felt rewarded for the effort it cost this old man to get here from Chicago. I'm sorry for Natalia not to have seen this unimaginably wonderful creature, but there will be other opportunities (speaking of apprentices). But in the company she will not have the same association with such teacher/coaches as Suki Schorer anymore. On the other hand, she was satisfying in Scenes de Ballet too; it didn't take moment to pick her out, paired as the dancer are in that, she doesn't really have a double. Yes, there were others on stage, notably Andres Zuniga - notable for the nobility he brought to his role, not to mention his partnering - everything she needed, as far as I could see, and his own fine dancing. Not bad for a teenager? Pretty good for any dancer! And there were other ballets, and I look forward to canbelto and others to round out the picture.
  8. You got me going now, Natalia. With two sailors and a girl in a cafe, A la Francaix starts out like Fancy Free, so don't you want that one on the program, too? Earlier. As the opener? Then La Sylphide, and Scotch. And A la Francaix to end up, to leave the audience dissolving in helpless laughter, not to mention fatigue? No? No, I suppose not. Let's get serious, and even farther OT? The friend who accompanied me Saturday inadvertently tipped me off to another experience of the invisible becoming visible, like where the Sylph makes her boy (James or Albrecht) aware of her presence. In this case, it's Rembrandt's realization, in "Abraham Entertaining the Angels," of the episode in Genesis 18, I think, where Abraham gradually becomes aware of who his visitors are. We see the three of them gradually revealed, revealed in gradations, in the painting, one's wings concealed under his coat, another's partly open, the third's fully extended and illuminated (in Rembrandt's wonderful way with light), by which we understand this angel is the Lord. Abraham is stopped in pouring from a pitcher, his activity arrested with his thumb still holding the pitcher's lid open, and Sarah looks on from the doorway in the background. As the curator has it, "They have not yet grasped what is taking place but are at the cusp of revelation, suspended between seeing and understanding." Where have we seen this before? The image in the Frick museum is tiny, but having been "set up" for it, it had big effect. In Scotch and in La Sylphide and in Giselle, too, we see a young man at the cusp of revelation. We see his revelation, and we anticipate Abraham's.
  9. I'm coming around, Natalia. Hmm... Yeah, Scotch second. "Comedy" (i.e. with the happy ending) after tragedy, ancient-Greek style? But I'm unclear about the quadruple bill, with A la Francaix and Union Jack? A la Francaix, La Sylphide, Scotch, and even just Part 1 of Union Jack? Wow. Okay, I won't even think about it. (Unless you elucidate, that is.) (The original triple-bill plan for Stars and Stripes, Tricolore, and Union Jack, or "Entente Cordiale," was sensibly abandoned when Tricolore turned out a mess.)
  10. Oh, dear, where is that red-faced emoticon! Sorry your comment didn't catch my eye but glad Gaby's dancing caught yours! That's the important thing. What a joy! And I do appreciate your characterization of Mira - such accurate details help to bring back to me that all-to-brief experience of this art that disappears before it is even finished. But, can I disagree a little bit about putting Sylphide and Scotch on the same program? In that order? Yes, I want - and I want the audience to have - those agreeable little pangs of recognition when the references to the older ballet appear in the newer - but, partly because of having recently endured another proof of an old Balanchine analogy of program-making to menu-planning in the form of three new "Game Changer" ballets on one Joffrey program in Chicago, one needs to consider that "people don't want beef three times - some like oysters," how about we present Sylphide earlier in the season - the week before, or something, then Scotch? And let people have that experience that way. Not that we're going to get the assignment, but for the sake of discussion... We can only disagree with someone who cares about the same thing, right? Otherwise, it's a shrug. So it's not all bad. So I venture the point.
  11. I believe these are customarily announced from the stage just before the 7:00 Benefit performance, on Monday again this year, as it was until a few years ago when it was moved to Tuesday. I see no comment here so far of Gabriella Domini, the alternate, Sylph-like "adagio" girl in Scotch. Many of us who've seen her apply the affectionate diminutive: Just 18, she's "Gabbie" to us. Lovely, and with a lovely stage presence, too, though an acute friend, while granting Gabbie her virtues found Mira Nadon "truer to Mendelssohn". My friend and I agree that Gabbie's stage presence helped to make the enduring, timeless Scotch the hit of the program, not to mention the stagers' care to restore myriad bits of pantomime; agreed, the Wheeldon and the Martins are rather "busy," skillfully fitting movement to to music, but to little further effect. (Some say Hallelujah Junction is Martins' finest ballet, and, comparative statement that it is, it may be true.) I feel Suki Schorer and Susan Pilarre, the Scotch stagers (for principals and corps, respectively), deserve lots credit for their achievement. Scotch came to life again! Two casts. Relative youngsters on view, but an abundance of riches.
  12. Interview with Edward Villella

    Well... when it comes to what the choreographer can ask for or hope for, doesn't it often depend on who the choreographer chooses to collaborate with? I think some of the stories I've picked up about Ashton or Balanchine going into the studio with someone, listening to some music, and saying, "Show me something," are probably not limited to those two gentlemen - or maybe that's also less common nowadays. The dancers in those stories were usually ones the choreographer had worked with, whom he was familiar with. (Would Balanchine have made Emeralds if he hadn't had Verdy? Or, would Balanchine have made Jewels if he hadn't had Verdy? Some say, to the second question, no.) Getting back more to Villella, I recall one evening in Ft. Lauderdale, responding to a question in one of his pre-performance talks, when he was directing MCB, he said, "I can't teach talent. I can teach technique to talent, but I can't teach talent." I think that's what we're talking about, maybe with a little different emphasis, but yes, it's magic, real magic. We see beyond the moves - at least I do - into the world of that ballet.
  13. Interview with Edward Villella

    Hard to miss, with Edward Villella, I'd say. As Rebecca says near the end, tune in on June 12 for part two. But she also refers to Prodigal as among the roles Balanchine made on Villella; I don't think so. I think Mr. B. revived it for him, which is not quite the same, although it showed that in Villella Balanchine saw someone right for the role. Anyway, the big "take away" for me in this installment was Villella's recollection of how stimulating it was to be a different person in each of several roles in an evening's program. Now, he says, when he coaches a role, the dancers only approach it technically; "they don't know who they are on stage." As a spectator, this is what I usually find missing onstage today, the dancers' knowing who they are. (When I go at all, that is.)
  14. Thanks for the encouragement, both of you! But who was it who said, "I write so slowly that if I had to do it for a living, I couldn't make enough money to buy a tin cup"? Meanwhile, I've posted a little item abut this run in another forum: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/42571-2017-mothers-day/#comment-380983
  15. 2017 Mother's Day

    No neat publicity material to post here, but when Kenna Draxton gave her farewell performances with Ballet Arizona here in Phoenix this Mother's Day afternoon, she not only did herself proud first with a calm, beautifully expansive Second pas de Trois in Agon and then after intermission by a Rondo in Western Symphony where she fully enjoyed the fun within it, she then (what makes these remarks appropriate here) received a bouquet from her daughter of about eight. Her son of about four was also present and, after a bit of coaching from his dad, joined in the clapping onstage.
×