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altongrimes

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Posts posted by altongrimes


  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. 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. 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. 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. On 12/21/2017 at 10:36 AM, abatt said:

    This is horrible.  I have no idea what Marcelo did that led to this result.  However, if someone does something bad that has nothing to do with his employment or any former or present employee of the company, why does ABT feel that it needs to be the enforcer of Marcelo's punishment for this purported bad act.  If there was criminality, then the criminal justice system should be utilized.  If it was a civil wrong, then the person(s_ involved should bring a civil suit against him.   Who appointed ABT judge and jury of wrongs unrelated to his employment?

    What a sad day for Marcelo 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. 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. "


  7. 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.


  8. 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? 


  9. 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. 


  10. 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? 


  11. 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.


  12. 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 .


  13. 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.


  14. 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?


  15. Having relished all of the above replies, I am inclined to conclude that there have been a few occasions when I have experienced "plastique" to such effect that for days I felt in a kind of creative trance: one; Polina Semionova's performance in an ABT Swan Lake (2014) two; Zhong-Jing Fang's glorious "light" in a Romeo and Juliette during that same year, three; Marcello Gomes' impossibly transformative effect upon Stanton Welch's CLEAR, and finally, Misty Copeland's astounding athletic empowering of Radmansky's With A Chance Of Rain. As much as I appreciate YouTube bringing dance much closer, I dare say that I have only experienced this phenomena of "plastique" during live performance. Clearly, the mystical stuff of "plastique" is apparently far better apprehended when one's senses are fully employed as in being seated A2 at the David Koch.


  16. In my ongoing journey of ballet discovery, I have recently discovered a description of George Balanchine's La Valse. So expertly did the writer illuminate the theme of this glorious ballet that I felt compelled to proclaim the gist to the members of Ballet Alert ! 

    "Replacing the waltzers of our historical imaginations - perpetually in joyous motion,  buoyant, graceful and secure - LaValse's characters are restless modern sophisticates and naifs, who stepping to Ravel's shattered forms and cacophonous harmonies, pursue pleasure that is both futile and diseased". How delicious is this magnificent prose ! How I now yearn to experience this ballet !


  17. THE AGE OF ANXIETY

    Choreography: Liam Scarlett

    Sunday, June 28th, 2015

    The David Koch Theater 

    2pm

     

    From the beginning of this production, I was a captive audience. Bathed in crimson and blonde, Sarah Lamb's onstage presence shone forth like some kind of precious stone. Throughout the choreography, she danced her way through and around the four principal males with just the right measures of seductive and restraint. As the work unfolded, I became progressively excited for it seemed a kind of hybrid. Sometimes, I imagined myself on Broadway (Billy Elliot) or a painting by Edward Hopper (Nighthawks) or even some fractured play by Eugene O'Neil. It became quickly apparent that this Age Of Anxiety had muscle. The "girlfriend", Nathalie Harrison, moved across the stage with memorable finesse (and spectacular long legs). The angst and alienation gripping the characters to varying degrees sought to reflect a "brave new world" reaping the unexpected spiritual consequences of it's headlong plunge into post WWII Metropolis. The loneliness and despair. The desperation. But lest we all leave the theater with a bad case of the blues, members of the cast danced with such expert abandon and characterization that a fine balance was achieved throughout. One stroke of pure genius employed dramatic lighting in such a way that a kind of slowly moving "Rembrandt" emerged to startling effect. It seems possible that a little selective prunning in places for the sake of achieving a more compact result might bring even greater impact to this already brightly shinning production.

     

    Rosetta.       Sarah Lamb

    Emblem.      Alexander Campbell

    Quant.          Johannes Stepanek

    Malin.           Federico Bocelli

    Bartender.    David Donnelly

    Soldier.         Matthew Ball

    Girlfriend.     Nathalie Harrison 


  18. Through the years, I have collected numerous copies of Dance Europe magazine. One observation, in particular, by Melanie Nix has forever captured my creative imagination. I have it pinned to my wall. " They say that writing a good review is harder than writing a bad one -- possibly because you sit mesmerized and then forget quite how you got to such a hypnotic state. Or as Derek Jerman is quoted in the programme notes as saying: 'as you walk into a garden you pass into another time -- the moment of entering can never be remembered'." How I relish this fascinating observation !

    *I am not soliciting "replies" here, just sharing a little of my unbridled joy for the art form ! Comment j'adore le ballet !


  19. In my dance studies, I have occasionally discovered the word "reimagine". Does the definition imply that there are, as in Balanchine's Cotillion, too many "missing pieces" to speak of the effort as a legitimate reconstruction?


  20. As I sit here allowing the audible version of Apollo's Angels to wash over my creative soul, I encountered the following quote attributable to Jerome Robbins: "You should never dance anything for the audience. It ruins it if you do. You should dance only to each other as if the audience wasn't there. It's very hard". This pronouncement is then in direct opposition to my initial premise that "performers are, in fact, driven to perform, and that they without us, an alert and actively participating audience, are not made complete". So much for my generalization. Even so, I remain intrigued by this notion and wonder at what percentage of the dance community has at it's core the drive to bring their gift to an audience. After all, I can't imagine that Marlon Brando's formidable gift was a treasure to be shared among only a select few. 

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