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About vagansmom

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    balletgoer, dancer's parent
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  1. ABT in Detroit, Feb. 8-11, 2018

    I feel so awful for the dancers. Has it passed through anyone else's mind that it could be related to the recent contract negotiations?
  2. John Curry Biography

    Ah, Robin Cousins. He was one of the Big Three in my mind: the triumvirate of male artistic figure skating from a bygone era. First, to my mind, there was Toller Cranston, then John Curry, followed by Robin Cousins. I adored Curry's work, but as someone else stated, I liked Curry skating to his own choreography best. Looking forward to reading your book, Mr. Jones.
  3. Winter 2018

    Thank you for this, Vipa: I have attended several performances by Mearns where she has ignored the music, and I couldn't put my finger on it because in her first year of dancing solo roles, I thought she was lovely and very musical. In fact, I was a big fan. But I haven't felt like that about her in a long time. I think she's doing exactly what you state, Vipa: going for the big dramatic moment, while disregarding the music. To me, the "music is always the boss," as I tell the dancers I coach for musical expression. Suzanne Farrell was a disciple of the music, and she knew how to interpret it dramatically - how to make "things as big as she could" - in such a way that it exposed the music, translating it for the audience. That inability, or, now I'm wondering, disregard for the music is why I've not been a Mearns fan in a while. After reading about her histrionics on stage (apparently it wasn't just once, according to another post in this thread), I'm even less inclined to want to buy tickets that feature her in roles.
  4. Joy Womack

    VIpa, that's what I've always thought: that she's talented and is certainly an extremely hard worker, but that she lacks social communication skills, and that deficit, of understanding that compromise and at least some degree of humility will get you much farther in life than an arrogant persona, is her downfall.
  5. Pherank, I first heard the dulcimer on Mimi & Richard Farina's album and was intrigued. Joni Mitchell also plays it on her "Blue" album and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones played it on "Lady Jane." Tim Hart of Steeleye Span also plays the dulcimer, as does Cyndi Lauper. Farina, though, was the fellow who inspired the first wave of modern folk musicians to pick up the instrument. Then David Schnaufer, influenced by Farina, came along and continues to be the most authentic voice in the mountain dulcimer tradition. He went on to mainstream it in the Nashville recording studios. He could play every kind of music on that instrument and was a quiet, humble guru to myself and dozens of others in the Appalachian folk music world of the 1980's and 90's. In 1975, I became engaged to my future husband while in a dulcimer-making workshop up in a holler in Tennesee and received one from the instrument maker as a wedding present. David Schnaufer then taught me to play and encouraged me as I started to transcribe Baroque recorder music for the dulcimer. I followed him everywhere for a few years just to get the chance to try to absorb his style, which was, and still is, unique. My introduction to ballet was similar to yours, pherank. I grew up on classical music and trained as a classical guitarist (later switching to other instruments and joining the Celtic and folk music world), but classical music is my first love. A boyfriend loved the Joffrey Ballet (back when they were still in NY) and convinced me to attend a performance: I was smitten.
  6. Pherank, Mimi and Richard Farina are a staple of my playlists, as is Laura Nyro. How I would have loved to hear Farina's later work! I can never forget the day I heard he died in a crash. On my current (last two months playlists): The Farina's two albums Tracy Chapman (mix) John Renbourn's "Sir John Alot" and "The Lady and the Unicorn" David Schnaufer (mix): a mountain dulcimer genius, mentor and friend who died much too soon. Randy Wilkinson's "Elizabethan Music for the Dulcimer" Mount Alvernia Seminary Choir of New York. My parents were 3rd. Order Franciscans and played this every year at Christmas-I still do the same. I find their singing among the most soothing music I've ever listened to, despite its very terrible original recording. Billie Holiday (mix) Janis Joplin (mix) Janis Ian (mix) Joan Baez's "Diamonds & Rust" Laura Nyro's "Eli & The Thirteenth Confession" Louis Armstrong (mix) Ray Charles (mix) The Count Basie Orchestra (mix) Paul Simon (mix) Sting (mix) Mozart Symphonies Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" Maria Callas (mix) Sonya Yoncheva's "Paris Mon Amour"
  7. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    This is where I think you are absolutely wrong. I agree that in the present moment, there's a chance that these people will not "suffer catastrophic fallout." But down the road? I think there's a very STRONG chance. All I have to do is think about how the current president came into power to know that nothing should be taken for granted. Surprises - SHOCKS - could be right around the corner.
  8. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Thank you,nanushka. My feelings exactly.
  9. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    YEs, Canbelto, that's how it's been done in two of the institutions I've worked in. One is similar: A charismatic head in his mid-40's, of a private school was having an affair (often carried out during school hours) with a 16 year old girl along with some other young, married women. His wife worked at the school, and much like Kistler's situation, this woman's livelihood and the fate of their children depended on her trying to turn a blind eye. He had a minor drug problem as well. He also had made statements (to me) about a 6 year old girl in the school and what a "looker" she'd be when she was a little older. The board was worried about the future of the school if this charismatic head were fired. His behavior went on for a few years. I was one of a couple people who reported some of his actions and statements to the board. It took a year after the last report before he resigned and only after a couple other people reported things he'd said to a class full of children. He resigned rather than be fired. Staff was mixed. Most were worried about their jobs, fearing that if he went under, so, too, would the school (he was that charismatic and had saved the school through his fundraising ability) so they kept quiet. Some took his side, stating that he'd never treated them that way. Lots of parallels here. I learned that MONEY rules the world. Even people whom I'd previously regarded as having integrity kept mum. I've watched this lesson repeat throughout my entire life. Money +power=absolute influence, and when it's a matter of a man and woman, there's also the issue of physical strength domination.
  10. Last week, I saw on Facebook that Eleanor D'Antuono would be in Hartford, CT over the weekend signing copies of her biography written by Fred G. Jarvis (who died in 2015) and recently published. So yesterday, drove there to buy a copy (and get it autographed) for my daughter, whom Eleanor coached during her final 4 years at a pre-professional ballet school many moons ago. My guess is that it was incomplete at the time of Mr. Jarvis's death; there is at least one caption error, mislabeling one dancer as her mother, also a dancer. This biography has nearly 200 photographs spanning Ms. D'Antuono's entire life, and I am thrilled to have it in my possession, if only for a few more days: many are photos of her early dancing years, likely taken from her scrapbook during her Ballet Russe years as she has penned in the names of her fellow dancers.
  11. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Thank you, BalanchineFan. I'd like to add an aside: I don't see it as Watts "saving face" at all. I see it as within the realm of two possibilities: what BalanchineFan posted above and the need to save her career. One doesn't need to imagine what being blacklisted by a man the likes of Martins in power will do to one's livelihood. She had no choice back then. She decided to keep her enemy close. I think she had to.
  12. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Let's be clear: Sexual abuse IS physical abuse. As long as we consider those two terms as separate, sexual abuse will never be taken seriously.
  13. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    When I was in 8th. grade, a handsome 26 year old acquaintance whom many women (but not me-I was a kid and he was old) wanted to sleep with, hid in the woods near my house and sprang out from behind a tree as I was walking by, pinning me against it as he violently sexually assaulted me. The final part of the act itself wasn't completed because two people's voices were heard nearby, so he ran away. I pulled my pants back up, straightened myself best I could, and ran home before the people came in view. I showered and bathed repeatedly that day. I never told anyone about this until a couple years ago; I'm in my 60's. Why not? All I can come up with is that as a female teen, I unconsciously knew I was powerless and it was better to not turn my life into an uproar. I've spoken to many women in the last two years about it and they've shared similar stories. I won't go into how that incident shaped the rest of my life except to say that it's had a powerful effect. So when people disparage the women and men who kept abuse silent, I remember my own silence for decades and know that doesn't mean the assault or harrassment never took place. We have arrived at a crisis point in time: I hope that NOW is the first time in the USA's history that justice stands the chance of being served in these matters. Whether it actually will or not remains to be seen. When I read the automatic assumptions that assault/harrassment didn't take place and that if it were true, the person would have said something right away, I know that my hope is on shaky ground.
  14. Nutcracker 2017

    Does anyone know for sure how long Watts has been coaching Peck? Maybe it's been ongoing for much longer than we know; therefore, maybe Watts's coaching has informed Peck's dancing in some of the very roles being praised here as not needing Watts's coaching.
  15. Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    The comment in the quote above is opinion based on very little fact. I find it presumptuous to even have an opinion since we don't know if the dancer, by making that statement to the Times, had, during her years, seen/heard Martins using similar language in encounters with other dancers that ended up with the dancer having sex with Martins and receiving better roles, while others who didn't do so were left by the wayside. We simply don't know. A few sentences don't give us history or background details. What I have myself personally experienced in two different employment contexts is that a consistent undercurrent of talk throughout many years about harassment behavior by a boss has its basis in fact. Are some experiences exaggerated? Maybe. I don't know. But when it was that consistent, in my experience, there was a reason. Individuals in positions of power need not worry about people misinterpreting their behavior if they know they are always respectful. Although it wasn't stated, I also want to add that having an "artist's temperament" is an excuse for disrespect and should never be used as defense.