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Leigh Witchel

Editorial Advisor
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About Leigh Witchel

  • Rank
    Editorial Advisor
  • Birthday January 1

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    writer, former choreographer and dancer
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    New York

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  1. Just let her not get the usual curse, please! (Many dancers so honored have unfortunately met with bad luck shortly after.)
  2. I was there, in fact sitting two seats down from Sulcas. I'm doing a longer review for B-R but the short version: Meh. I liked Chroma better, and I don't hate Infra, but don't think there's much exciting or new about it. Julian Opie's work is - pun intended - pedestrian. McGregor's choreography is not ballet, unless you define partnering as a gynecology exam on pointe. More seriously, he asks the dancers for an eel-like, unsupported center and torso that is antithetical to classical ballet technique. If your center isn't doing ballet, the rest of you isn't either. McGregor's work does r
  3. Gosh, if Osipova is considered masculine, when is Ashley Bouder going to give up ballet and take up her intended career as a member of the East German weightlifting team? Neither dancer is delicate; they're both athletic - but Osipova has good proportions (Bouder's are fine too, but she's a bit more muscular in my impression.) I haven't yet seen Osipova in any other major role than Kitri, but she's the best Kitri I've seen so far. As others have said, not every dancer needs to be a waif - there's room in the repertory for more.
  4. Interesting that she's been named an Etoile. I understand better the Royal Ballet's title of "Principal Guest Artist." How much time does Zakharova spend at La Scala, dancerboy?
  5. John - If you don't mind, I'm going to ask you a few of the same questions I asked my Mom, just for comparison. Where did you live around that time, and how much did it cost monthly? What kind of salary did people earn at that time (monthly or yearly)? And also, if you know, who were the dancers studying with, and how much did it cost? (Do you feel those classes influenced the choreography?)
  6. Thanks to John Percival for graciously contributing this piece - John, if you have time, can you recall anything about "Noir et Blanc?" * Like thousands of others, I first saw ballet during World War Two. British ballet had built itself up during the 1930s but was overshadowed then by the Ballet Russe troupes; now these had settled in America and our local companies were performing far more often than prewar, year-round and traveling to many unexpected venues. My own debut was in an open-air theatre in a London park, July 1943. I went because a chum at school had been taken and said “It's no
  7. Hans, there is Rambert's marvelous "Quicksilver" but it's a memoir rather than a critical study. It's great reading, though.
  8. I'm pretty certain there's a book on Bruhn in the works.
  9. From an article of mine in sometime in 2004 for Dance View:
  10. Which fugue? Do you mean the Gigue? I think both the Gigue and the Menuet are needed structurally. Balanchine creates a whole series of parallels and balances in Mozartiana - the four women of the Menuet are a counterweight to the four little girls in the Preghiera. The man in the gigue *should* be the "negative" to the "positive" of the man in the pas de deux (the original intended cast was two dancers of similar build, Ib Andersen and Victor Castelli - who was replaced because of injury at the opening by Christopher d'Amboise), but it's no longer cast that way - now it's Mutt and Jeff.
  11. "Uninteresting" or "dull" are potent pronouncements and muscular writing, but dangerous critical terms. I had a discussion with another critic about an NYCB ballerina. He said she was uninteresting. I found her very interesting. There isn't much place for the conversation to go after that, is there?
  12. I have enjoyed Part every time I've seen her, but she would be better off if she were stronger. When I've seen her she's had the wobbles in promenades and her feet are prone to collapse off of pointe. She's unquestionably an artist, but still.
  13. I think for most female ballet dancers, short hair is a message to themselves and to others about their relationship to the norm. Another dancer who eschewed the bun is Tai Jimenez of Dance Theater of Harlem, who danced the "Dark Angel" part in Serenade with close cropped natural hair - although I think she's wearing her hair long enough for a bun again. Regarding Manon's short hair - would the haircut have something to do with avoiding head lice on the journey and in the penal colony?
  14. I have no moral objection to nudity at all, but it's like any other pungent ingredient in the mix - you had best know how to use it and how much to use. My suggestion would be extremely rarely. I saw one program at Nederlands Dans Theater where there was so much nudity that was so predictable and gratuitous that it was boring. Who wants to be bored with seeing a beautiful body? And in ballet, it's just harder to dance nude. You really don't want to be flopping about (pick your appendages, whether male or female) in an allegro.
  15. New blog - Kristin Sloan, dancer with NYCB, is doing a photo blog An interesting glimpse backstage.
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