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BarreTalk

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About BarreTalk

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    adult ballet student
  • City**
    Boulder, Colorado
  1. Pardon me for my total lack of enthusiam. Giselle: was last performed by Colorado Ballet a few years ago, 2001 (?). As a classic it deserves periodic revival. Dracula: has become an every - year money maker. I've seen it twice and that's enough Nutcracker: same story Where the Wild Things Are: a kiddy story last done 2 years ago. Once was more than enough When they come calling asking me to renew my season tickets my response will be, "been there, done that, got the T-shirt." Following last year's firing of Martin Fredmann, this is still a company in crisis and I hope they weather the storm. I'd rather they survive to provide live ballet to Colorado's dance patrons, but I can't find it in my heart to support a program of all reruns - all the time. I am hopeful this season is just retrenching while they find a new artistic direction.
  2. With the uncertainty of Colorado Ballet's future, the company dancers have decided they need the protection of a union, voting 26 - 3 this week in a secret ballot to join the American Guild of Musical Artists. (source: Denver Post 12/2/2005)
  3. The Colorado Ballet Board of Trustees which ousted Martin Fredmann as Artistic Director on October 11 has been strangely silent about their reasons or plans for the future other than a letter to the editor published in both of yesterday's Sunday Denver newspapers, authored by co-chairs James Ruh and Christin Crampton Day. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opin...4195195,00.html has the full text. As a former donor who has been sitting on the sidelines, I would have expected at least a minimal contact, some information, and assurance by now that Colorado Ballet will survive and an attempt to get donors onboard with the new program. Since that doesn't seem to be happening, I researched the available history from the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News archives. Here's a summary: In late April, nine board members resigned in the wake of the departure of Executive Director Rick Tallman. Tallman had been brought on to help solve the ballet's chronic budgetary woes, but perhaps over-estimating the Ballet's power to raise funds, had also engaged in an initiative to buy the Temple Events Center as a permanent home for Colorado Ballet. He also allowed Martin Fredmann to contract with Christopher Wheeldon for an all new "Alice in Wonderland" to be staged as the premiere performance in Denver's new Ellie Caulkins Opera House, now finished after a two-year complete gut-and-remodel of the old Auditorium Theatre. -The Wheeldon "Alice in Wonderland" was cancelled, to be replaced with "Sleeping Beauty". Wheeldon was paid a $20,000 cancellation fee. -The Ballet admitted it couldn't move forward with the plan to buy the Temple Events Center, leading to the loss of $50,000 earnest money already paid. -The 2004 - 2005 season's debt of $341,000, added to old outstanding debt, brought the total to $700,000, a majority of which is owed to the City of Denver's Department of Theatres and Arenas. September 24, Colorado Ballet opened "Sleeping Beauty" in the lavish new Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Dance Magazine's critic emeritus Richard Phelp attended the gala performance along with a Who's who of Denver society. -Weak ticket sales for the 22 performances of "Sleeping Beauty" led to 3 for the price of 2 offers and papering the house with Denver schoolchildren, leading the ballet to claim a record attendence for a fall show of 23,095. -Twelve perfomances were less than half full, and Ballet officals claimed only 1500 seats of the new facility were really suitable for ballet. On October 11, the Board of Trustees fired Artistic Director Martin Fredmann after 19 years at the helm of Colorado Ballet. The board appointed Jocelyn Labsan Thompson, Fredmann's former assistant, as interim artistic director. All 31 dancers on contract with Colorado Ballet were assured they still had jobs for the season. -After receiving a $25,000 payment for money loaned to Colorado Ballet in the past, Fredmann rejected the board's offer to retain an "emeritus" position with the Ballet. -Colorado Ballet co-founder and board member Lillian Covillo resigned her board seat in the aftermath of Fredmann's firing -This year's Nutcracker, currently in rehearsal will be performed using the choreography Fredmann developed while director of Tampa Ballet. After some legal posturing including the board claiming the choreography was the property of Colorado Ballet, they agreed to pay Fredmann a $1000 per performance rights fee. -Cinderella, next spring's Colorado Ballet presentation will also utilize Fredmann's choreography and he'll consult on casting. No costs or fees associated with this move have been published. (this summary was reconstructed from stories published in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News during the period from April 2005 until October 30, 2005. Both sources may be searched online for a fuller chronology. If you set the search term to "Fredmann", all articles I used can be found.) The new Ellie Caulkins Opera House is a beautiful new facility, which in spite of the back-handed comment from a Colorado Ballet official trying to justify Sleeping Beauty's poor attendance, is certainly more appropriate for both dance and music performance than the 100 year old Auditorium Theatre it replaces. However, its construction left Colorado Ballet homeless for two years. During that time, the Ballet performed in a former vaudeville theatre, which while a historic landmark, lacks in audience size, easy parking, as well as wings and other features to make it suitable for dance. This two-year period cost Colorado Ballet much momentum, setting it up for its current fiscal problems.
  4. Fredmann didn't slam the door until Colorado Ballet repaid a $25,000 loan he had made to the company. Immediately upon receiving the money owed, he completely severed his relationship. As a longtime donor to Colorado Ballet, I am still awaiting any contact from Colorado Ballet to advise what the changes mean to the company. Keeping donors in the dark is not a good way to get them back onboard and insure the financial future!
  5. Statistics are great tools for telling lies, because you can figure out a way to have them support any position, however ridiculous. If Boston is such a great arts town, why did they kick Boston Ballet's Nutcracker out of the Wang Center in favor of the Rockettes?
  6. I saw THE COMPANY last weekend and was impressed. It had enough non-stop dancing to get an idea of each piece's choreography, and just enough of a story to keep moving forward. It is almost documentary in its approach, with no real beginning, middle, or end. For the most part it avoids trite cliche's, although the "boyfriend" crossing the stage carrying flowers in the middle of a curtain call strains credulity. If there is any good news to come from its limited distribution, it would be that it won't be long before its available on DVD.
  7. Last night I had the opportunity to attend the final dress rehearsal of Colorado Ballet's new evening of dance, which opens officially today at the historic Paramount Theatre. Almost every ballet company is doing something to celebrate the Balanchine centennial, and Colorado Ballet is no exception. This is a troupe that doesn't have a strong Balanchine connection, but they pulled off "Rubies", the middle section of Balanchine's full evening show "Jewels", with style and grace. This piece is purely music (Stravinsky) and movement, and a little quirky. Igor Vassin and Maria Mosina danced the lead roles. Comparing your own choreography to Balanchine's is a bold statment, but Colorado Ballet artistic director Martin Fredmann accepted the challenge by staging his own "A Little Love" as the 2nd act of the evening. Unlike Balanchine's pure movement scenario, this piece addresses loss as an inevitable part of a loving relationship. Colorado Ballet newcomer Chauncy Parsons is a delight as he throws huge battements with a very soft touch. I enjoyed this work tremendously, and it is a great counterpart to Balanchine's "Rubies". Opposite Parsons, Sharon Wehner danced the female lead with her usual style. Koichi Kubo, Colorado Ballet's whirling dervish is still recovering from his torn ligament suffered last summer, but reports from within Colorado Ballet indicate he is starting to regain his lost form in class. I ducked out before the final act of the evening, "Rodeo". As the only ballet with a known reputation, it's bound to be the reason local audiences buy tickets to the show, but I've seen Colorado Ballet do this piece before, and have no desire to repeat. DeMille's choreography is overwrought, and whenever I hear Copeland's music, all I can think is "Beef, it's what's for dinner."
  8. For those of use anxiously awaiting the local premiere of Robert Altman's film "The Company", it is an interesting weekend in Denver. Finally, the film has opened locally. The Denver Post's critic reviewed it Friday, giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars. However, instead of a broad based release to everyone's local multiplex, the film is only showing at 2 theatres in the area! One is an art house in Denver (Chez Artiste), the other a mainline theatre in Boulder. This limited availability indicates that - reviews aside - the film's distributor has declared "The Company" to be a lost cause, with limited audience appeal. Instead of backing the film, they are turning this into a self-fulfilling prophecy by keeping it in limited distribution. Please check your local listings and report whether this is a national situation, or a local decision that Denver just isn't "arty" enough for a movie about ballet.
  9. "The content of a communication is determined by the receiver" - Berlow In other words, it doesn't matter what the author wrote, what he thought he wrote, or what it meant to him. You can read any subcurrent or backstory into a plot that you want - it's out of the writer's control.
  10. BarreTalk

    ???

    Leigh, it's great you went straight to the source for rumor control. I'm sure someone's attitude towards tights causing a loss of sponsorship could raise confusion within the company. As someone else wrote, it's not like ballet tights are something new and shocking. Whether an expression of institutional disapproval, or just the view of a few individuals in power, it still indicates another expression of the neo-puritanism that seems to be infecting the country. :green:
  11. BarreTalk

    ???

    My dance teacher just returned from Christmas break in Utah with a report that Ballet West just lost all underwriting by the LDS (Mormon) church. She says that previously, the church was the biggest single contributor. The cause for the withdrawal of support is supposedly that dancers (read "men") in tights goes against the church's "family values". If anyone can confirm or deny this rumor, it would be appreciated.
  12. Just a reminder: Most professional ballet companies only get about 55% of their operating budget from ticket sales. They depend on the generosity of their corporate underwriters and "viewers like you" for the rest. It's not too late to make a tax deductible gift to your favorite group and take the deduction on your 2003 income taxes. Just be sure to write the check AND get it postmarked before you pop the bubbly tommorow night (New Years Eve). I emphasize the postmark because the IRS takes a dim view of checks "written" in one year that somehow don't clear the bank until well into the next year. If you enjoy the ballet - support the ballet! (legal notice: I'm not a lawyer, accountant, or professional tax expert. Consult your tax advisor before depending on any information in this message. )
  13. Given that this is a gift suggestion, I think this message makes more sense as originally posted in "Anything Goes"
  14. 'tis the season, so how about a book for your favorite dancer? Here are some from my bookcase that I'd recommend. CLASSICAL BALLET TECHNIQUE - Gretchen Warren An encyclopedia of dance terms, positions, techniques, and movements. Copiously illustrated with photographs THE CLASSIC BALLET - Lincoln Kirstein Ballet movements are broken down into a step-by-step recipe. Illustrated with line drawings. STEP-BY-STEP BALLET CLASS - Royal Academy of Dancing The Royal Academy's sylabus broken down into a guide. More basic movement than the previous 2 books, better for a younger dancer. BALANCHINE TECHNIQUE - Suki Schorer Who better than a former Balanchine dancer and educator to keep his torch pure and alive? BALLET 101 - Robert Greskovic He calls it a "complete guide" and at 600+ pages, that's no joke. History, plot synopsis, and people. It's a must-own when someone asks you the plot of La Bayadere. DANSEUR - THE MALE IN BALLET - Richard Philp Traces the re-emergence of men from portiers to stars. Lavishly illustrated with photographs. THE BALLET BOOK - Nancy Ellison Go backstage with ABT dancers to get a glimpse of their life. A beautiful broad overview of the world of dance for dancers and fans alike. LET'S GO ON - Wayne Johnson The story of Pacific Northwest Ballet's rise from a sputtering local company to one with an international reputation for excellence. ROMEO & JULIET - Nancy Ellison ABT dancers recreate their roles in the streets of the real Verona, Italy in this beautiful picture book. AT THE BALLET ONSTAGE, BACKSTAGE - Sandra Lee The result of a 6 year collaboration between the photographers and San Fancisco Ballet is an extraordinary book showing the sweat as well as the beauty of dance. AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE - A 25 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE - Elizabeth Kaye A pictorial celebration
  15. I've always been a big fan of "first row - center" and when the gods have seen fit to allow me to sit there, I've always had a fine time. However, after the last season of sitting in those seats at Colorado Ballet, I asked to be moved back to the 3rd row. Why? The ancient Denver Auditorium Theatre stage is perched too high to be able to see the dancers' feet from the first row unless you consciously sit up very straight. The conductor's box totally blocks the view from 2 of the seats. The Auditorium is currently being gutted for a total remodel - forcing Colorado Ballet to perform elsewhere for 2 year. When it reopens, my fingers are crossed that the 1st row/stage relationship is improved so I can resume sitting close enough to see the sweat.
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