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About altongrimes

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid balletgoer
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    santa barbara
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  1. While perusing my cache of favorite dance videos (clips), I encountered Nikolay Tsiskaridze dancing as the Blue Bird in the Bolshoi's Sleeping Beauty of 2000. How my eyes opened in some greater way to the extraordinary talent of this artist ! I was stunned. I don't believe that I have ever experienced such an extreme degree of suppleness - I hope that's the correct term - in a male dancer. In my excitement over this discovery, I put the video on pause and hurried over to my computer to share this new found artistic joy with the members of Ballet Alert ! And from this discovery, a question arose within me. Would it generally be true than the women participating within the art form could be expected to exhibit that beautiful suppleness of movement more than their male counterparts?
  2. Those Diamond Earrings

    Thank you to MadameP for your gracious and generous response ! It must have been magic for you to have been in that audience at Mariinsky 2 and to have witnessed the synergy between Ulliana, Shklyarov, the dancers and the great Plisetskaya ! Surely, the price of admission and the sometimes Herculenian effort required just to get from the airport to the theater ontime is often more than justified by moments such as these that fuel and sustain our drive for the art form.
  3. Those Diamond Earrings

    Perusing the internet for ballet images as I so often do, I encountered a fascinating image whose inscription reads: "Maya Plisetskaya giving Alina (Somova, of course) her diamond earrings after a performance of The Little Humpbacked Horse". How I remain riveted to this photo ! What a thrill it must have been for this young artist to have received such a gift from the hands of a master ! It's one of those off-stage moments that is, for me, a thing of pure inspiration. I wonder if anyone out there on Ballet Alert can recall a similar ballet moment that they also treasure as I do this timeless encounter between these two wonderful ladies?
  4. Gomes and ABT

    Well, I stand corrected in this matter. Thank you for your illuminating response. I suppose at the root of my flawed response is a sense of profound disappointment at the loss of an artist so heavily gifted. I will never forget the power of his onstage presence. A magnificent performer capable of attracting "the lightning". And so he did. Many times.
  5. Gomes and ABT

    I add my wholehearted agreement to your train of thought. Why are mere allegations sufficient to elicit such a response from ABT? I find this news deeply troubling. Why and by whom has society now been given license to ruin reputations and lives by mere words? I am repulsed by this rush to judgement.
  6. Degas

    Thank you to "dirac" for bringing to light this intriguing initial reation to Degas' Little Dancer. Fascinating.
  7. Degas

    I couldn't help but share this bit of delightful, albeit sobering, prose and ballet education from When Ballet Became French by Ilyana Karthas. " Ballet dancers were seen primarily as workers and minimally as artists. Degas depicted the ballet he observed in the 1880's; it was primarily a working class profession and art form in decline. In his work, the ballet dancer was not a metaphoric symbol of nobility, grace or poetry, but first and foremost, a sexual being, a worker and a titillating subject. To the French public of 1881, the ballet had come to represent a modern space of cross-class sexual exchange, a world of display and male possession, and an eroded French art form. "
  8. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I applaud that the heretofore sacrosanct inscrutable realms of entertainment, finance, etc. are now showing cracks in the wall and that those who inhabit those realms are, in some measure, beginning to be subject to the full import of the law. My only concern is that if the media in its often slick manipulations can destroy a man's reputation long before due process of law has had opportunity to take effect, then my final applause for this worthy cause is at best tepid.
  9. The Corps and The Principal

    The answer to the following may appear obvious, but upon further reflection, I am not so certain. Concerning the women in any given company, how would one describe the differences between a member of the corps and those who have attained the rank of soloist or principal? Is it simply a greater mastery of technique combined with a more developed theatricality?
  10. Polina Semionova

    I wonder if anyone would care to venture a guess as to why Polina Semionova's "star" seems to have virtually disappeared from the world stage? Of course, she has started a family but so have other prominent ballerinas without any apparent loss of visability. Apparently, Alastair Macaulay was less than gracious in his reviews of her performances in New York. (Could The Times please bring onboard a bona fide dance critic). A few years ago, I moved heaven and earth to see Polina perform in an ABT Swan Lake. So completely astounded was I by her power and grace in that performance that I felt in a kind of creative trance for days.
  11. Another Star ?

    I am simply wondering if it is possible for a dancer to fall out of favor with the dance world when he or she - for whatever reason - takes a break from the art form ? Throughout the last several years, I have harbored a great passion for the greatly gifted Polina Semionova, but since her absence from the stage, I naturally don't "feel" the excitement and power of her gift in the way that I once did. Perhaps as she now returns to the stage, she will quickly recapture and continue to build upon her previous artistic momentum. Or is there occasionally a kind of fickleness about the dance world that has little patience for the "human side" and quickly moves on in search of the next star?
  12. Macaulay on NYCB

    Considering how hard these dancers train and the almost monastic and insular lifestyle these artists lead, I am sometimes repulsed by M. Macaulay's often indecorous remarks. Even so, I can also appreciate that he sometimes "hits the mark" and can be quite illuminating, so that he is not, after all, a mere crackpot posing as a genius.

    In the midst of mining APOLLO'S ANGELS and Ballet 101 for more gold nuggets, I encountered this delightful train of thought from Jennifer Homans: "John F. Kennedy also made the arts a priority. His wife, Jackie, was a prominent figure at cultural events, and the glittering celebrity ethos of the White House gave new glamour and sheen to the performing arts everywhere; she sent a jet to escort Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn to the White House for tea." But alas, how times have changed. And for "tea" no less ! How fantastic .
  14. Cyril Atanasoff

    Thank you Drew ! An Illuminating an intriguing response from you concerning Cyril Atanasoff. How fascinating that you could discern the way in which he "paced his performance ... across the entire evening everything was crafted to get stronger and more vivid as the variation and evening progressed". Perhaps like some fine wine that gathers it's strength over time, the more seasoned M. Atanasoff imparted to his work a subtlety and nuance that only great experience can bring. You used the word "crafted" to describe his gift and how I would heartily underscore your observation. For a brief moment, while watching him in that 1988 Sylvie Guillem Swan Lake, some indescribable thing within me quickened, and I "saw" a craftsman. My creative mind "caught fire" as I watched him cut through air and stage with razor sharp precision. With what care and reverence he seemed to execute every step.
  15. Cyril Atanasoff

    At the prompting of a rather precocious ballet "pen pal", I have been perusing footage of Sylvie Guillem (Mademoiselle Non is more fun to say) in 1988 versions of Swan Lake. The first viewing features Sylvie with Nicolas le Riche, the second with Manuel Legris. Naturally, I was greatly impressed and then - as if some kind of creative bomb went off inside me - I saw a mere few seconds of Cyril Atanasoff. How my heart and mind caught fire at the sight of his masterful presence ! It later occurred to me while delighting in the fire of this "revelation" that it may have also been Cyril Atanasoff who played the dancing master in Nureyev's Cinderella? As is my habit, I am simply gushing my enthusiasm here on Ballet Alert at this new ballet discovery. My God, Cyril Atanasoff ! Was he not the very picture of the grace and refinement so assiduously sought after by the French school?