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Everything posted by Marcmomus

  1. From Amazon: In 1922 the dance historian Cyril Beaumont contributed to the Dancing Times an article on the history of Harlequin, which as a result of continuous research since that period grew into the present volume. It covers the history of Harlequin, and of the Commedia dell'Arte, from their beginnings in the 16th century through their heydays in the 17th and 18th century and their gradual decline thereafter. The book includes more than 40 illustrations and the complete text of a Harlequinade from 1806, together with a dance for a Harlequin in Feuillet notation.
  2. The University of Chicago Press recently published Irina Baronova and The Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo by her daughter, the actor Victoria Tennant. 235 pages with at least one picture on every page, many images are full page. Also an excellent text to put them in context using extracts from diaries, letters and interviews. Relatively large format -9.5 x 11". Such a high quality printing job I am thinking of buying a second copy to frame some. An excellent documentary of her life. Strongly recommended.
  3. I have the following Giselles on DVD or Blu-ray. There are a few more available but I think I'll have to call a halt soon. All have something to offer except -sadly- Bessmertnova's. The image quality on this DVD makes it simply unwatchable. I think it may have been issued along with a monthly magazine about ballet for girls. (You know the kind: one pays $8-10 each week for a year or two and more for binders. I bought one on dinosaurs for my kids years ago when the craze was active and you can guess what it cost overall). The best is Ferri, but Mezentseva is close. I suggest looking on amazon.fr and amazon.de. A few years ago I bought a remote from a company in the UK which hacked my Sony Blu-ray player in about two seconds. It has played DVDs without a problem from all around the world since then. 1. Carla Fracci, Eric Bruhn, Toni Lander, ABT Deutsche Grammophon/Unitel 1969 + 2005 DVD 2. Rudolf Nureyev, Lynn Seymour, Monica Mason, Kultur DVD 1979 3. Creole Giselle Virginia Johnston, Eddie Shellman, Lorraine Graves, Dance Theater of Harlem Kultur DVD 1988 4. Galina Mezentseva, Konstatin Zaklinsky, Tatyana Terekhova Kirov,1983 NVC Arts 5. Anna Tysgankova, Josef Vargas, Igone de Jongh Dutch National Ballet NVC Arts 2009 6. Alicia Alonso, Vladimir Vasiliev Ballet Nacional de Cuba 1980 VAI 2007 7. Svetlana Lunkina, Dmitry Gudanov, Maria Allash Bolshoi BelAir classiques 2012 8. Nadia Nerina Nikolai Fadeyechev, Margaret Hill, Lydia Sokolova, 1958 BBC ICQ Classics Legacy 2011 9. Laetitia Pujol, Nicholas Le Riche, Marie-Agnes Gillot. Ballet de l'Opera national de Paris TDK 2006 10. Alessandra Ferri, Massimo Murru Isabel Seabra La Scala ArtHaus Musik 1996 11. Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn. National ballet of Canada CBC Video VAI 1976 12. Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobberg, Marianela Nunez Royal Ballet 2006 Opus Arte 2008 13. Creole Giselle Virginia Johnston, Eddie Shellman Lorraine Graves Dance Theatre of Harlem Kultur 1988 14. Svetlana Zakharova, Roberto Bolle, Marta Romagna La Scala TDK 2005 15. Natalia Bessmertnova, Mikhail Lavroski, G. Kozlova Bolshoi 1975 ABC Entertainment www.zyx.de 2008
  4. I find Nancy Goldner's essays on 20 Balanchine ballets useful in placing his work, and how it differed. Goldner, Nancy. (2008) Balanchine Variations. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
  5. Peggy van Praag, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet, and choreographer. Author of the The Choreographic Art Writers Katherine Sorley Walker, Lynn Garafola and Mary Clarke. Tamara Karsavina, Mathilde Kschessinska, Olga Preobajenska for their inspiration and their teaching in Paris and London.
  6. Was it ever filmed? Even on a newsreel?
  7. The account of that evening, May 29, 1913, by Modris Eksteins in the first chapter of his Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age is brilliant. He has a historian's cold eye for exaggeration, and places the event in the history of modernism. Accounts were written by Gabriel Astruc, Romola Nijinska, Igor Stravinsky, Misia Sert, Marie Rambert, Bronislava Nijinska, Jean Cocteau, Carl Van Vechten and Valentine Gross. Eksteins points out that these all vary on significant details, and that not one of them mention the other ballets performed that evening. Karsavina made no comment about it in Theatre Street, perhaps not surprisingly as it up-staged her performances that evening. Jean Cocteau admitted "that he was more concerned with 'subjective' than 'objective' truth; in other words with what he felt, what he imagined, not with what actually occurred." "That opening night of Le Sacre represents a milestone in the development of 'modernism', modernism as above all a culture of the sensational event, through which art and life both become a matter of energy and are fused as one." (Eksteins).
  8. I agree with Helene, the blackface kids are no longer appropriate. Musing about why the Russians still use them was also a distraction. Their choreography is another dubious aspect. My son (24 y.o. and media-aware) was rather shocked. This version completely isolates the Kingdom of the Shades sequences from the narrative of the ballet: it is almost an unrelated epilogue. Why is it that very few people know how to film ballet? Do any of them actually know what is going to happen next and what they should be showing?
  9. Cyril Beaumont uses a similar photo of Martha Muravieva in his book on Giselle published in 1944. It is clearly from the same photographic session in 1863 as the above, as there are only slight differences in hand and head positions. It was published beside a photo of her costume from Act II. I took photos of these from the book (small jpgs) that came out surprisingly well but need advice about how to attach them to a message in Ballet Alert.
  10. The Kultur documentary on DVD called "Balanchine" has a few clips of Tanaquil dancing, some in colour. See: http://www.amazon.com/Balanchine-George/dp/B00019G8BA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359388150&sr=8-2&keywords=balanchine
  11. Certain as of this morning. Confirmation is a few clicks away. They must have printed far too many.
  12. Jane Pritchard, the Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London has published a book on Anna Pavlova with Caroline Hamilton, a dance and costume historian. (Pritchard organised the Ballet Russe exhibition last year and edited the accompanying excellent book of essays). This is a large format hardback (10 x 13 inches) with 170 profusely-illustrated pages, a few in full colour. It has a British slant as most of the sources are the V & A and the Museum of London. The text is also excellent, and places her properly in the history of 20th century ballet. While there is much published on Pavlova nothing rivals the wealth of illustrations in this book. It is on offer on Amazon.com at the amazing low price of $23.18 if bought now for release in early March. It is also available on Amazon.co.uk now from £14.99. Unmissable.
  13. I was fortunate enough to see Vikharev's revival of Raymonda in Milan recently. Olesia Novikova danced Raymonda, as in the recent DVD. I liked it, as it was quite an occasion, but the audience was the coldest I have ever seen for any opera or ballet. Applause was insufficient to accompany dancers off the stage after variations, and the audience flocked to the doors at the end before curtain calls were completed. I knew that this was a notoriously tough audience but this took me aback.There was nothing overtly wrong with the ballet, apart from too much ensemble dancing for my taste, and Novikova's excessively detached air. I have since replayed DVDs of Kolpakova and Bessmertnova dancing Raymonda, and their emotional intensity was simply at another level. Perhaps the audience had a point after all.
  14. Domininique Delouche produced a film some years ago called "Serge Lifar: Musagete" available on the French Amazon site. It has subtitles in English. It consists of interviews with the likes of Yvette Chauvire, Nina Vyroubova, Jean Babilee and teaching sessions with them using POB etoiles like Legris, Guerin and Loudieres.There are short films of Lifar teaching and films of two dances: 'L'Adage' and 'Le Spectre de la Danse'.I was marginally better disposed towards Lifar after it. I still don't warm to his portentious style.
  15. A recent article in Time about the premier Russian weapons Expo in Moscow mentioned a "noteworthy attraction: a ballet of twirling smoke-belching tanks staged by a choreographer from the Bolshoi". The incongruity caught my eye, as it was meant to. Apparently it is a regular feature of this inhuman arms bazaar. A number of clips are on YouTube. I am aware of Stravinsky's Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant, which Balachine choreographed for 50 elephants in pink tutus, and 50 ballerinas including his wife Vera Zorina. What other non-human choreographic works have been produced? I am not interested in solo variations (pet dogs on their hindlegs) and require at least a coordinated pas de deux, and preferably a work involving a full corps.
  16. I'm with Natalia about You Tube. There's no question it allows us to see a huge range of material that is otherwise unavailable, but the YouTube experience is often more educational than pleasurable. I will admit there is nothing like the surge of delight when one stumbles across an unknown clip by a favorite dancer. However I have the kind of mind that seems to insist on reading the comments and often regret this because of the twits, the trolls, and the wholly unnecessary rudeness about essentially trivial matters of opinion. This can spoil any pleasure. A big HD screen, a Blu-ray disc or decent DVD, a favorite chair and a glass of wine is sheer bliss after a tough day. I often think how lucky I am that this is attainable.
  17. Nigel Wattis's documentary on Sylvie Guillem is available on Amazon. Called "Sylvie Guillen -At Work & Portrait". It's an Arthaus DVD released in late February. It looks like another essential item, joining what is, in my case, an already over-long queue of DVDs to acquire. Amazon.co.uk provides more information than Amazon.com: "Sylvie Guillem joined the corps de ballet of the Paris Opera when she was just fifteen and earned the distinction of Prima Ballerina within a mere four years. At the age of nineteen, she became an étoile in Nureyev's Swan Lake. It shows her dedication to perfection, but also reveals that her meteoric rise to the pinnacle of her profession has left her refreshingly unspoilt. This film shows the prima ballerina in her daily round of classes, rehearsals and performances, revealing her dedication to perfection. Guillems preparation for Nureyevs Raymonda, her first performances in Rudi van Dantzigs Four Last Songs and William Forsythes In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and her appearance at a gala, dancing Béjarts La Luna, are all recorded for posterity in this film. PORTRAIT Sylvie Guillem is a dance superstar whose breathtaking technique ranks her beside the likes of Nureyev and Baryshnikov. She rarely agrees to interviews but co-operated fully with director Nigel Wattis for this profile. The programme centres on film of Guillem rehearsing and performing a range of pieces, both contemporary and classical, which display her astonishing virtuosity. Guillem talks about her work with some of the world's most interesting and acclaimed choreographers. Her sharp intelligence and intimate knowledge of their work, as well as her insights into the world of dance, are fascinating and informative. Maurice Béjart, Mats Ek, Anthony Dowell and critics John Percival and Clement Crisp are among the contributors who discuss Ms Guillem's remarkable talent, career and personality."
  18. Amazon.co.uk tells me that Arthaus is releasing La Scala's Raymonda (2011) with Olesia Novikova and Friedemann Vogel on April 9th, on DVD and BluRay. The blurb says it's the most faithful version to Petipa. Any opinions on this? Any one see it in Milan?
  19. MoveTube is Luke Jenning's discussion of ballet clips available on YouTube that is published in the Guardian (UK) newspaper since last October. He describes why particular dancers are so good with enough detail to isolate individual moves. Highly recommended.
  20. Are there English subtitles? My French might not be up to a documentary without some help, though I have enough to know when the subtitled translations are incomplete.
  21. Information from Opus Arte website: Frederick Ashton: Triple Bill (Les Patineurs • Divertissements • Scenes de Ballet) (Royal Ballet) Expected release date: 01/11/2011 Opus Arte/Royal Opera House Founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Frederick Ashton created more than 100 ballets over a 60 year career. Showcasing three of his shorter works, this disc reflects the breadth of his sophisticated, elegant and widely popular style. Les Patineurs evokes the Edwardian skating rink, with all its youthful charm and humour, in contrast to Scènes de Ballet where sharp geometric shapes and the music of Igor Stravinsky are combined to create perhaps Ashton’s most modernist work. Divertissements, a collection of eight short dances, features some of Ashton’s most lyrical choreography, including pas de deux set to Romantic masterpieces by Tchaikovsky and Massenet. Les Patineurs Laura Morera, Samantha Raine, Steven McRae, Sarah Lamb, Rupert Pennefather, Christina Arestis, Francesca Filpi, Ryoichi Hirano, Kenta Kura, Liam Scarlett, Andrej Uspenski Music Giacomo Meyerbeer Conductor Paul Murphy Divertissement Tchaikovsky: Awakening Pas de deux (1968) Darcey Bussell & Jonathan Cope Massenet: Thaïs Pas de deux (1971) Mara Galeazzi & Thiago Soares Paganini: Devil’s Holiday Variation (1939) Viacheslav Samodurov Brahms: Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan (1975) Tamara Rojo Strauss: Voices of Spring Pas de deux (1977) Leanne Benjamin & Carlos Acosta Tommasini after Paganini: Devil’s Holiday Pas de deux (1939) Laura Morera & Ricardo Cervera Conductor Barry Wordsworth Scènes de ballet Miyako Yoshida, Ivan Putrov, Edward Watson, Lauren Cuthbertson Music Igor Stravinsky Conductor Barry Wordsworth Pre-order is available only on amazon.co.uk at the moment.
  22. I attended on Wednesday night when Dorothée Gilbert danced Psyché and Mathieu Ganio Eros. I liked Ratmansky's choreography, probably because of his classical style and the striking contrast with Lifar's Phèdre. Enough has probably already been said about the costumes. I will merely add that beards appropriate for Mormon patriarchs are simply ludicrous on agile young dancers. The POB make much of the fact that the average age of the company is 25, and perhaps the designer could recognize this also. Dorothée Gilbert is a wonderfully expressive dancer, although I was sorry to miss Aurélie Dupont in the role. Mathieu Ganio was thoroughly engaged. The company danced under the eye of Laurent Hilaire who sat close to me, plagued by people wanting to be recognized by him. His facial expressions in response were one of the minor pleasures of the evening. I'd like to see the ballet a few times before final judgement, but I suspect it may last, it's certainly no worse than much of the repetoire. I have never warmed to 'le style lifarais' and actively dislike his character from books and interviews I have read. However I am always prepared to see a historical piece for what it tells us about the time it was first presented. A Greek tragedy choreographed by Lifar and staged by Cocteau to the portentious music of Auric was always a specialist taste, and I have to say that to me it's a pretentious work - just posing by poseurs. As regards the interpretation Roslyn Sulcas got it right when she said in the Herald Tribune that "neither Agnès Letestu nor her fellow dancers (including Stéphane Bullion) looked as if they remotely believed in what they were doing." The ramshackle stage on the stage for intermittent 'tableaux vivants' might be acceptable in a high school but not in the Palais Garnier. During one of the many langeurs in this stilted piece I wondered idlely if Balanchine's comment that ballet cannot convey the concept of a mother-in-law was inspired by the first production of Phèdre in 1950. Any one know if he saw it in Paris then? It's always easy to carp, and overall the evening was a most enjoyable experience. I know well enough what my average Wednesday night comprises to appreciate this one.
  23. Most modern TVs can act as a computer monitor, and a connected laptop can be controlled from across the room by a wireless keyboard and mouse. Some new TVs even allow direct internet access. The problem I have found is the resolution of the source image: many YouTube clips don't look so good on larger screens, especially against the quality of HD TV and BluRay. An I-Pad is the route I have taken for this kind of use.
  24. One of Ninette de Valois's earliest teachers was a Mrs. Wordsworth. In her memoirs 'Come Dance with Me' de Valois said that "Mrs Wordworth's class answered to a system that was known as Fancy Dancing; a quaint compromise of rudimentary steps such as the chassé and glissade combined with other steps fancy beyond belief." She apparently "had a puritanical loathing of dancing as a profession" and de Valois claimed she "wasted years as a Wordsworth show pupil displaying a pair of painfully untheatrical feet".
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