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Everything posted by sandik

  1. Several decades for me too! My understanding from the local presenter is that the livestock does indeed tour. The theater they're booked into here is not huge (the Bolshoi's Romeo and Juliet almost flew off the stage a a couple times), and I'm not sure what kind of accomodations they're making for that.
  2. The film industry has understood this for years -- since I've had a child I've been very aware of the upcoming "holiday films," which open just before Thanksgiving to take full advantage of the possibilties.
  3. Well, you know Markova said the reason Giselle wasn't interested in Hilarion was that he had a red beard. Fun trivia fact for the day. With the romatic ballets, since so much of the work is about the tension between the real and the ideal, I think the "other" guy needs to be very prosaic. I don't think he has to be ugly or nasty, that turns the whole thing into a high school prom kind of choice. The romantic hero has one foot in the real world and one in the world of the spirits -- that's the flaw that will thwart him in the end. His "competition" should be thoroughly grounded in the real world, a part of the community in a way that the hero is not. I think they can be handsome (I don't like to think of them as consolation prizes) and they can be sought after by other women -- they just don't have the same imagination as the hero, which is why the heroine only thinks of them second (the "I love you like a brother" line?)
  4. Ok, I'm trying the quote thing. I agree about needing to be clearer. On one level, all movement is expressive. Period. But for me, there is a difference between work that is somehow intended to appear "natural" on stage, and work that is more shaped or abstracted, where emotion is refined to an iconic place. It's a bit like comparing the Fracci mad scene with Graham's "Lamentation" -- they are both, on some level, about grief, but express it in very different ways. When I teach dance history, I often talk about the affinity between Fokine's and Stanislavsky's work. I think of Fokine, and other artists who work in a similar way, as approaching a kind of cinema verite. On the other hand, Tudor, whose work is extremely expressive, has abstracted and refined behavior so that certain key gestures and postures tell us all about these characters and their world. These are both dramatic, they both refer to real life, but they are neither of them actually real.
  5. I just heard about this today and have been reading along in the Globe -- it does sound like there's community support for the ballet's production, but the description of the other available theaters was not too cheerful -- if I understand this correctly, the Wang seats at least 500 more than the other options listed, and with a ballet as expensive as Nut those 500 seats/performance can make the difference between a financially viable run or not. Does anyone know how long Radio City has been running a touring company of their holiday show? We're getting them here (Seattle) this year and I'm curious to see how they'll do -- the run opens in mid-November and goes for a couple weeks, but doesn't really overlap much of the local Nutcrackers. Has anyone read "Nutcracker Nation" yet (it's on the pile to read, but I haven't yet) -- I understand that Jennifer Fisher talks about the economics of holiday productions in it.
  6. My apologies -- I don't know where that smiley in shades came from in my posting. It's supposed to be "Ballet," which I'm sure everyone has already figured out...
  7. I like the distinction that Alexandra draws here "The Royal looked at those ballets as Petipa (Petipa/Ivanov) ballets, a text, and presented it, with amendments suited to their style and approach to classicism, but always a derivation of the text, and part of that text was a certain way of acting. The Kirov has treated the ballet as a score and an idea, to be realized differently by each generation and each choreographer. That can accommodate a different style of acting." (sorry -- I haven't taught myself how to use the quotation function at this site yet...) Just in terms of personal taste, I come down somewhere in the middle. I've seen productions of 19th c ballets that have incorporated big chunks of more "realistic" staging and have found it compelling dramatically. I've also seen productions that were much more formed, in terms of the dramatic component, that have been very evocative. In the video "Portrait of Giselle" is a clip of Markova in Giselle, in the mad scene (I think this is with an early manifestation of what is now the Royal B ). Markova's performance is an excellent example of a more formed or choreographed interpretation, but it is the corps work that I find fascinating -- it is clearly designed, not improvised, and is almost expressionist rather than personal. The women in the background represent a community and an attitude, but they certainly don't look like autonomous individuals. (it reminds me a bit of the movement choirs of Rudolph Laban) [tangentially, I find this even more interesting since I understand that Markova had a complicated inner monologue she followed while performing this role) In another part of the "Portrait" video is another mad scene clip, this on of Carla Fracci with (possibly, I'm not sure) ABT. Her Giselle is a real peasant girl, and as she loses her grip on the world, she becomes clumsy and awkward -- she trips and lurches, she spasms and cringes as she realizes she's been betrayed. The supporting cast is equally vivid, almost cinematic in their reactions to the situation as it unfolds, and it is very compelling. I think either approach is just fine, if the choreographer/stager is aware that there are choices to be made and if they make those decisions thoughtfully, understanding the ramifications and willing to follow through with the style.
  8. Speaking with my aged geezer voice, when Diaghilev revived Beauty as The Sleeping Princess, the cast list for the fairies was full of ballerinas. In my personal view of the afterlife, I get to see all the dances (or performances of dances) that I've missed, due to the capricious nature of time and geography, and this production is close to the top of the list.
  9. Whose Carmen are they doing?
  10. "a male dancer with a receding hairline who made me wonder if going bald is a disaster for the aspiring male dancer (I've never seen a dancer on stage who didn't appear to have a nice, full head of hair....) " Toupees. I knew someone once who complained that the snow in Nutcracker stuck to the false hair more often than to his real hair, but that he couldn't just shake his head to get it off.
  11. Three Virgins and a Devil? How I wish Seattle were closer to NYC. I hope anyone writing here who gets a chance to see it will post back for those of us geographically challenged...
  12. "Of course, Disney has no qualms about raiding the public domain for the ideas for most of its latest work (if only Perrault's heirs could sue Disney!), but, greedy capitalists that they are, they won't ever actually contribute to the public domain. " Forget Perrault -- how about Hans Andersen? It just crossed my mind as I was reading through this thread after listening to the news -- do you suppose any of this has to do with the fact that it's the Cuban company that was going to perform LS? In light of Pres. Bush's latest attempt to crack down on tourism/travel to that country, is this just a part of a general chilling of relations? I hope not, but I'm not optomistic.
  13. I live in Seattle, but haven't yet had a chance to get to Vancouver and see John Alleyn's work for Ballet BC. Is there anyone here who could speak about the company?
  14. Oh lordy, this is a kettle of fish! One one hand, the fact that ABT considers the ballet important enough to pay for (and to make themselves look small in the public eye for) means that they value it enough to actually keep it in their repertory. And considering the state of much historic repertory, that's not an insignificant thing. But the Fokine repertory is among the most widely distributed (and most poorly monitored) of any body of work save for "after Petipa," a gentleman who must be turning in his grave, and Ivanov (the blank slate that is Nutcracker). All those little ensembles across the US founded by Ballet Russe alumni have danced some version of LS at some time. The horse is indeed out of the barn, and has sired several generations by now. I think there are situations in which organizations or individuals can indeed "own" choreography. If the original artists were specific about their wishes, if the piece itself has a clear enough identity, if there is enough continuity in the passing down of the work... the Balanchine repertory is an example, although even in that, there are people who "own" works that are generally thought to be irretrievable. (can you own something that has ceased to exist?) In the case of the Graham/Protas fracas, the actual identity of the works seemed not to be in question. There is at least a sense of consensus on what Appalachian Spring is -- what makes an acceptable performance of it is a different (and even juicier) question. Does this mean that if the Bolshoi or Kirov/St P come to New York, they can't perform it either? Or, since they actually do Chopiniana (spelling?) they are exempt? I can understand ABT's desire to keep their version of the ballet exclusively theirs -- it is, after all, the last one Fokine mounted and perhaps it is the one he would wish to be remembered by. But this bullying maneuver just makes them look petty. For me, it boils down to respect. Dance gets little enough of it from the bigger world -- we need to extend it to each other. Sorry to be so grumpy.
  15. Well, I saw all five principal casts, so I am very full of swans right now. One difference that struck me about halfway through was the attitude that Odette has during the 2nd act. Some of the women dancing that role here seemed to believe it was all over from the start -- that they were doomed no matter what, while others let themselves hope, only to be betrayed. I began to wonder if perhaps, after all that has happened to her, if Odette is more experienced that Siegfried. Nakamura's Odette almost seemed older than Wever's Siegfried -- he was very enthusiastic and boyish, while she appeared resigned to fate. It reminded me of the Marschalin from Rosenkavalier, only there's no Sophie in sight.
  16. This is also one of those periods when social dance and theatrical dance divided. Educated people would be expected to know and perform the social dances of the day, just as they might have during the Renaissance. Check your library for Dance of Court and Theater: the French Noble Style 1690-1725, Wendy Hilton and May I Have the Pleasure, Belinda Quirey The Hilton is a tome, very thorough, with details on the notation used at the time. You can, with patience, teach yourself some of the dances using her book. The Quirey is more of an introduction, covering social dance in several different eras, but is a fast read and very helpful for beginners.
  17. This isn't specifically about ballet, but someone mentioned Disney Hall, which reminded me -- the smaller venue there (not the music space) is going to be programmed by Mark Murphy, who for several years was the artistic director of On the Boards here in Seattle. They have had a very strong contemporary dance program, in part due to his choices, and I imagine that could easily repeat itself in LA. In the end, it all goes towards a more dance literate audience.
  18. What a lovely photo, and a reminder of a ballet I wish I could see more often. Thanks!
  19. I like the Forsythe I've seen, but I've really only seen the "export" works (China Dogs around and about, and Artifact II and In the Middle at Pacific Northwest Ballet). I've found (watching the audiences watching these) that the structure itself it a challenge for some people more accustomed to standard neo-classical works. I've seen quite alot of contemporary dance theater, and don't think US audiences really have that much trouble with it, but so many ballet choreographers have been teaching us to look to the movement for the meaning of the work, it's a switch to keep a narrative/theoretical thread in mind as we watch. One of my pet theories about the development of dance is that it seems to swing over time between works that have signifiant narrative or overtly expressive content and works that are primarily abstract, where the meaning is in the structure. I sometimes think that the audiences who were weaned on Fokine and Massine, and used to sigh "But what does it mean?" when confronted with neo-classical experimentation, would feel much more at home in the world of Forsythe.
  20. It's a tricky situation -- when is it appropriate for a company/artist to respond to a review? In some situations, it might be very appropriate -- in venues like this website where one of the goals is discussion, that kind of tennis game exchange could be extremely interesting. The structure of most paper publications, though, is to funnel comments through a "letters to editor" section, and disagreements about fact through an actual editor. In both cases, the writer is not a direct participant, which might seem awkward, especially in communities where you know people in the company. As writers we often cultivate those relationships -- there are very few critics who don't know the press rep or other administrative people in the companies they cover regularly. A certain level of insulation can be very helpful, though, especially if it's the kind of situation that might escalate in some way. I've actually encouraged people to write to my editor if they have a comment about what I've written (or, in many cases, what didn't get covered) if for no other reason than to keep the editor aware that there is a dance constituency in my city. My first responsibility is to dance (with a big D) -- I've been working in that field all my adult life, doing all kinds of jobs. But right now I fulfill that responsibility as a writer, which means I've got to grapple with the specific requirements of dance writing -- to look as widely as I can, to see as clearly as I can, and to tell as evocatively as I can. Pragmatically, I need to please my editor to get my work through that gateway and on to the page.
  21. I've seen the full work several times. It was set by Ann Vachon on the professional company in residence at the University of Washington when it was first being revived -- it's also been notated, though I don't think the score is available for public review. It is a lovely work, very typical of Limon stylistically, and full of opportunities for performers. I remember thinking at the time that the structure was not as strong as the material, possibly due to the repetative nature of the score (all mazurkas), but it's certainly worth looking at on its own, and definately as a part of Limon's rep. I'm glad to hear that at least a part of it is getting wider recognition.
  22. When I've taught dance history I've frequently used Susan Au's "Ballet and Modern Dance" (not the most dynamic title, I know!) It's thorough, readable, and incorporates more information about contemporary European companies than most other texts I know. I noticed it was out in a second edition when I browsed my local bookstore last week, but I'm afraid I can't remember the publisher.
  23. Mel's citation of Fokine is an interesting one in part because of his connection to Diaghilev's Ballet Russe, a company that was most definately in the vanguard of its times culturally. There have been other times in the past when dancing has been the leader of the pack, as it were, reaching into new territories and setting standards, not just for itself, but for other arts as well. I think the English ballet pre and post WWII was in a similar position, as was American ballet in the 1950's. If you want to expand the field to include modern dance, the list becomes even longer. (Just think of Merce Cunningham) Right now, I don't think dance holds that place. I like the image of the canary and the coal mine -- the arts in general do that for our overall culture, and dance might serve as the first indicator. Like most parts of the country, people are cutting back and worrying about money here, but overall I'm hopeful about what's going on. I see much work that I like in a conservator role (including a lovely production of Sleeping Beauty at Pacific Northwest Ballet last week) but I also see some exciting new material that's worth supporting for itself, not just for its worth as a place holder for hoped-for future dances.
  24. as the Graham company is coming back from their long legal battles, and they could use every veteran they can get to revive that repertory.
  25. From a writer's perspective, there's a big difference between working on something that will be used as a consumer guide (should we go) or something which is a record of what you saw and what you thought, but isn't designed to come out while a season is still open. Few papers do overnights anymore, but there's still a kind of time pressure with a weekly or daily paper that you don't always have with a monthly or a quarterly.
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