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Kathleen O'Connell

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About Kathleen O'Connell

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Member of the Audience
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    New York

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  1. Nobel Prize 2017

    A bold choice. Be forewarned: it's long (like 900 pages long) and it's weird. The plot — to the extent there is one — advances by dream-logic. I swear that every anxiety dream I've ever had shows up in some form or other.
  2. Nobel Prize 2017

    Definitely start with The Remains of the Day. It's famous and well-loved for a reason. Move on to Never Let Me Go, which features Ishiguro's most sympathetic narrator, who confronts the fact that we all must die and that neither love nor art will save us. I'm partial to When We Were Orphans, but I think it works its spell best if you've been clued into Ishiguro's modus operandi — e.g., unreliable narrators, poking at genre conventions, showing the dark side of the stories we tell ourselves to get through life, etc. I am the only person I know who really liked The Unconsoled.
  3. "Where are the Women in Ballet?"

    Since danseurs don't dance on pointe I think we can safely say that ballet does not by definition require dancing on pointe.
  4. "Where are the Women in Ballet?"

    Well, he did start off with "Sorry, there is no such thing as equality in ballet" — which suggests that he thinks it's more than just his preference, but rather something akin to a law of nature. ETA: He's welcome to his preference of course; he's not welcome to declare that ballet is whatever he says it is, or isn't as the case may be. That's why we have Jennifer Homans.
  5. "Where are the Women in Ballet?"

    I've been mulling over Ratmansky's comment (and probably giving it more attention than it deserves) trying to figure out why it irks me. I think it boils down to this: he's reduced "equality" to mean nothing more than one gender appropriating the manners and technique that is currently the exclusive province of the other. In that bizarro-world version ballet, women lift men and men dance on pointe and get flowers. And yes, that version of ballet could easily turn out to be ludicrous, although I've got no issue with a stage manager galumphing out during the curtain call to hand the primo ballerino a big bouquet of roses, or even with said ballerino dancing on point. (I have seen David Hallberg on point, and I can tell you he looked glorious - and would have looked even more glorious if he hadn't been required to imitate a ballerina. But I digress ...) The problem with Ratmansky's statement is that it implies that there is no other avenue by which ballet might relax the strictures imposed by a heavily gendered vocabulary / technique that has evolved relatively recently and mostly as a result historical accident. (If I'm recalling ballet history correctly, some of the first porteurs were women dancing en travesti, no?) It's as if ballet technique evolved to patrol the borders of gender — and a very heteronormative understanding of gender at that — which sharply limited the themes it could explore and the stories it could tell. One of the reasons I like the (all-male) second movement of Justin Peck's Rodeo so much is that 1) it lets the men absolutely luxuriate in exquisite port de bras and arabesques and 2) allows them to partner each other in ways that don't reference ballerina-danseur partnering — and through these materials presents us with affecting images of vulnerability, support, and tenderness that have nothing to do with boy-meets-girl (or even boy-meets-boy).
  6. "Where are the Women in Ballet?"

    Yup. He's typing faster than he's thinking. That or his dance imagination is more limited than I would have guessed given Serenade from Plato's Symposium.
  7. "Where are the Women in Ballet?"

    Interesting definition of equality, or not-equality as the case may be. Well, at least he's not suggesting that there's some essential difference between men and women that renders one or the other inferior. I suppose one could argue that there are real biological differences that make it hard for women to lift men and for men to dance on point, but neither dancing on point nor supported pirouettes are essential to ballet. Flowers? Meh. It's nothing more than clinging to tradition. I will point out that men have been escorting women off of any number of stages, real and metaphorical, for lo these many centuries -- when they're not chasing them off, that is. Personally, I'm sorry my schedule precludes my seeing this:
  8. most popular composer for dance

    If you'd asked me five years ago, I would have said Arvo Pärt . I'm only half kidding.
  9. Nobel Prize 2017

    Agreed! Nobody's prose is as cooly pristine as Ishiguru's, even when he's being outlandish.
  10. Nobel Prize 2017

    Ishiguru! I was thinking about him this morning while listening to a report on the Ladbroke's list and some speculation that Margaret Atwood might be a winner this year. Although Ishiguru and Atwood are very different writers in terms of style, they both color outside the standard literary fiction lines when it comes to matters such as theme and world-building, so I tend to put them in, if not the same box, at least adjacent ones. They differ in this: Atwood's most well-known / popular work, The Handmaid's Tale, seems of a piece with the other books she's written. Reading Ishiguru's most well-known work, The Remains of the Day, doesn't really prepare you for anything that comes after it, except that it features what seems like Ishiguru's specialty: first-person narrators who seem intelligent, discerning, and perceptive, but are so opaque to themselves as to be wholly unreliable. I'm a huge Ishiguru fan, so I'm pleased he's won another honor. But ... I also appreciate it when someone who doesn't write in English wins so that publishers deem it worth their while to have their work translated.
  11. 2017 Fall Season

    It could be that KC makes certain stipulations regarding the ballets that are presented. For instance, they may want to ensure that there's at least one ballet on each program from the core Balanchine / Robbins rep, one with a full corps, one buzzy new ballet, etc. They might tell NYCB "other troupes bring us enough big story ballets, thank you." Or, NYCB might say, "well if you want us to schlep the sets and costumes for [fill in big story ballet or maybe even Vienna Waltzes here] it's gonna cost you."
  12. 2017 Fall Season

    Hmmm ... I wonder what the terms of NYCB's run at The Kennedy Center are — i.e., is NYCB being presented by KC, is NYCB more or less just renting the theater, or is it some kind of co-operative venture. If KC is the presenter, it may be that it a) bears all or most of the financial risk (i.e., it pays NYCB a fee to perform and is responsible for selling the house and /or pulling in donations to cover its expenses) and b) is in control of the marketing. If NYCB doesn't have to shoulder the risk of a half-empty house, it might not be in its financial interest to cover DC in ads.
  13. 2017 Fall Season

    Given that the company in all likelihood couldn't cover the cost of its KC run through ticket sales alone even, if it sold out the house, I'm not sure programming inferior, non-representative ballets just to put a few more butts in seats would be worth the trade-off. No disrespect, but given the kind of talent currently in the ranks, nobody needs to an NYCB Swan Lake the way they need to see NYCB in its core Balanchine and Robbins rep, perhaps with a dollop of their signature Ratmansky and Peck ballets to round out the program. If KC needs to see Ashley Bouder or Tiler Peck do fouéttes, then program Robbins' Four Seasons. Martins' Swan is an eyesore; NYCB at full strength in Symphony in C or Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 is an eyeful.
  14. 2017 Fall Season

    It's also streaming on Netflix, and is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.
  15. 2017 Fall Season

    A French boyfriend, a fabulous apartment with stunning river views, and a STEM degree. This is like hitting the trifecta of 21st century glamour In all seriousness, I'm (selfishly) most grateful for Fairchild's blossoming post-Broadway artistry, but I'm glad she's found joy in her personal life too.