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Paul Parish

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Everything posted by Paul Parish

  1. It's so sweet, re-reading this conversation. Rest in peace, glebb. Sandpaper comes back into SFB's rep next week. Alexandra, the Post must have messed with their links -- I tried to read your review, but the link isn't working, alas.
  2. And she was the best Kitri I've ever seen -- nobody else comes close. Awesome performance.
  3. Well, just before that instagram was taken, Arthur Mitchell was standing up -- he left his hand in hte same place and fell to the floor, and Allegra stayed on pointe, though her standing leg has turned in and her neck shortened and the left arm is a little out of whack -- he is about to skitter around on his back to his left, which pivots her to the left to croise [if I remember right] and put her foot down. She may be on the move already.... So this is a classic case of ballet being contemporary dance; Balanchine was very much about dance being MOVEMENT moving through positions, not just posing.
  4. I like the British usage; i went to grad school there and adopted some Briticisms [ though by no means all -- I still say "fetch" and "y'all"] -- but this one appeals to me because it's emotionally right, and I use it in reviewing when what I'm really talking about is company performance [if I've got the dancers on my mind]; if I'm referring to the institution, I'll usually use "its." I treat it as one of those entities that can be both a mass noun [e.g., "so much water"] or a count noun [e.g., "so many chairs"].
  5. Thank you Mme Hermine. Yes, Aurora does the move - -and Fonteyn did it with great amplitue and authority and musicality == and a really nice recovery, too. At the end of Symphony in C, Balanchine has all 4 ballerinas lined up across the front of the stage and they do this move on the final note of the symphony, and they [with the support of their cavaliers] hold the arched pose in a final tableau, without returning to vertical. Aurora does hte move as the "finish" of a supported releve pirouette, with the working leg in passe [aka retire] and a cavalier standing behind her to help hold her "on her leg." Swanilda does a much simpler move -- or it WOULD be simpler if she had a cavalier to hold her up -- she does a pique sideways bringing the working leg to passe [where the knee is bent so that htat foot touches hte knee of the standing leg]; and having established her verticality on the standing leg she arches sideways without losing her aplomb. The big difference is she doesn't have a man standing behind her holding her up.
  6. LOVE it! So that's Nancy Johnson Sally Bailey, Nancy Johnson, Conrad Ludlow [who's been coached to play it as a nervous wreck, probably by Lew Christensen....] in the galloping pd4 Johnson reminds me a little of Carolyn Brown. all I know is that Nancy Johnson is terpsichore I really like it, too -- it has a definite character, a mystery that's real, and their movements have moods behind them-- they hold out, and join in for their own reasons, it's like watching animals in a zoo, you see they have relationships.... Thank you for posting this.
  7. Thank you both, Pherank and Sfcleo, for those fascinating posts. Thanks for doing the research; I enjoyed both those clips, and -- well Alexandrova and Osipova are both thrilling even if they DON"T do the the 'quick reverse" [which they most certainly do not]. I still want to know more. Maybe Cecchetti invented it? [he did a restaging in 1894 (when Petipa was sick?)? In any case, Pherank nailed the move with her clips , so now we know what we're talking about [and what to call it for shorthand -- "The quick reverse"]. Did you notice how much bigger Vanessa's cambre was?? Masha did it very classically, correct, and Vanessa really went over the wall! !Pherank, it sounds like you've danced this role! -- wish I'd seen you do it. How hard is it? -- I think this move belongs to the Ballets Russes tradition and goes way back [but GOd knows how far: maybe Nijinska made it up?] In any case, I first noticed it in a small production starring Lauren Jonas [who's now artistic director of DIablo Ballet]; she was incredible, she was just amazing, in this little show with a small audience just like those the Ballets RUsses used to have when they toured the entire USA in the 30s, playing every town with an auditorium. Oakland Ballet used to do a Ballets-Russes-based Coppelia, probably staged by Frederick Franklin [who was Franz in Balanchine's famous version in 1947 of which Danilova was the star -- which was the basis for his NYCB version in 1974, which Danilova helped him put together for Patricia McBride]. Let's keep asking.
  8. As I was reading up on Coppelia for my review, what I kept wanting to find out, and haven't been able to, was the origins of Swanilda's sudden unsupported tilt in passe -- you know at the end of her big 1st act variation, she poses on pointe in retire/passe and suddenly takes her whole torso sideways. Frances Chung did this with amazing aplomb. [so did Masha, with less power.] Question is, is that move Cecchetti, Petipa, or St Leon? It's such an arresting image, and so powerful! Aurora does it, with the prince's support, in the wedding pdd in Sleeping Beauty. Obviously it affected Ashton, who was ALWAYS asking his dancers to tilt in hte upper body.... Balanchine used the move at the end of Symphony in C, when all FOUR ballerinas do it [supported] on hte last note. But Swanilda does it with NO help, only some angels there to hold her up. Of course she's going to defeat Dr Coppelius. Her mime shows her to be a strong-minded girl -- but this step in particular shows her power, her aplomb, her grounded force. DO you know where it comes from? Is it a ballerina's trick, like the fouettes, something a student of Cecchetti's came up with and said "look what I can do?" on hte other hand, it may be something Petipa saw St Leon's ballerina do? Did Giuseppina Bozzacchi do it? Inquiring minds need to know. RG, Doug, Alexandra, do you know? PS thank you Pherank for posting Ann Murphy's EXCELLENT review of Coppelia from the San Jose Mercury: it's a joy to read, very well-informed [she knows the ballet well and actually learned some of the friends' variations in Cecchetti class] -- a wise report from a good judge.
  9. Thank you all -- this is so sweet! I'm with you. I miss her. I saw our mutual friend Verna after SFB's Coppelia last night and wondered what she'd have thought of our dancers. It would have been so great to have the three of us hash it out. I have so many questions to ask her, about dancers I think she'd like. But also, I associate her with certain places in Berkeley -- i met her here, on BA, but in person, I met her in Berkeley, where she'd come to attend an inauguration of a scholarship program that a relative of hers had founded. I never pass the dorm at Bowditch and Channing without "seeing" her, with a red bandana tied around her head, where we first met. It was new at the time, and we went into its coffee shop and talked for a long time. Besides, I want to start a new topic ["Swanilda's side-bends"] but have forgotten how, and she'd have been the first person I turned to for help.
  10. Kronstam's production [with Hubbe, Englund, and Jeppesen] has the advantage of Kronstam's powerful mind organizing the whole production; it is magnificently integrated in its psychology, and in the tempi, tone -- and then there are those performances! Evdokimova and Thesmar are both superior to Jeppesen in lightness, mystique, and silken execution.... truly amazing performances; but Jeppesen's tenderness makes the whole drama seem plausible, she's lovable like neither of the other two are. I couldn't say no to her....
  11. Dirac, thank you for remembering Haggin -- a wonderful critic, fantastically observant. Yes, he was the first I ever encountered who wrote about the dancer's production as many music-critics write about a singer's, and indeed, his phrase "the ballerina operation" gave me a lot to think about. I think of Garis, whom I studied with at Berkeley when he'd come out here as a guest professor, as being in much the same mold as Haggin. And thanks, Helene, for the tribute to glebb [though I still can't find any of his posts about Violette, and they showed her in such a human light].
  12. Beg, borrow, or steal the old video of Agon with Violette as the castanet girl -- she was vivid in everything, but the way she danced that role is singular, sparkling, radiant, sovereign, and nobody else danced it like that. It's truly startling, the way she made it seductive was nothing like the way most NYCB dancers do it, since it was so perfect, so restrained, but so sudden, so impulsive, she melted into a that attitude effacee like a rainbow, soft, but very very fast. The coquetterie was intense, but in no way obvious -- It was pure offering. Nor did she need you to takethe bait -- she was sovereign. That's what made her Girl in Green so remarkable -- she wasn't needy in any way: she put it out there, as we say, and the boys for some reason did not take it, but she was in no way humiliated nor rejected, they didn't dare and she wasn't going to rebuke them. THe people who would have the most to say, she has outlived: well, maybe Villella will say something. But Robert Garis, the critic who loved her most, he's gone; and the Ballet Alert fan known as Gleb.... Mark Goldweber, the virtuosic star of the Joffrey -- has been dead for 15 years now. But his posts were once the sort of thing you lived for -- and he talked on here about how when he was a teen-ager, and moved to NYC to go to SAB, he boarded with Nellie and her mother and spoke of her with such feeling. He was himself so sensitive, and such a colossal virtuosic talent, his every insight into her genius was precious. I can't get he search function to bring up his posts -- but maybe Helene can find them? I can't also help missing Carley Brodeur at a time like this -- she would have had much to say that would help console those of us old enough to have seen some wonders, and to help the younger folk understand what they have missed. And she would have posted Gleb's remarks already.
  13. I remember being surprised how much I liked Grigorovich's Raymonda when they came to Berkeley some years back. Actually, I more than liked it, I loved it. I feared it would be crudel not so. Allash was fabulous. Semenyaka is my favorite Raymonda ever - -even over Plisetskaya and Kolpakova [who was sensational! -- 16 entrechats-quatre to pointe, travelling backwards!! back in the 60/70s]. Novikova is also stupendous. WHat a wonderful role!!!
  14. Thanks for picking that up, Sandik. Yes, was curious about the Ratmansky comment. I haven't noticed THAT, but I'll be on the lookout; pivots, directional changes are the name of the game in classicism [one of the great things in the Bournonville rep is the 22 1/2 degree changes from effacee to en face, which happen all the time, esp in glissades -- Balanchine uses those, I think, but then Ratmansky might, too -- he was in the Danish company for a while . Anyway, I'm just speculating as to what you might mean. Though I've seen the whole Shostakovitch trilogy a couple of times [atSFB], I never noticed this. It's funny how, one day you're ready to notice something you'd never have seen before. When the Bolshoi were here, dancing Raymonda, I noticed how the company use their hands. They do not round their fingers, European style; they extend them slightly, ASIAN style -- not as far as the Balinese, but still, all the fingers are slightly extended, the backs of he fingers are lengthening, lifting away from the metacarpals. Since noticing it, I've noticed it called Tulip-style [esp in ref to Bessmertnova -- but in act they ALL do it, or maybe used to -- it was a feature of company style. Osipova does it less than Bessmertnova did I'm looking forward to checking this out. the Kirov/Maryinsky will be here tis week with Ratmansky' Cinderella. Among other things, I'll be looking for that. SOrry, I got WAY off topic there. But back to commedia-- AMY, you've got to find some way to see the Pulcinella-- basically, Pantalon whips up a huge batch of spaghetti and throws it to a lot of Scaramouches, who go into a feeding frenzy but in fact get their hands and feet all caught up in it, and theyre trapped -- then a harlequin comes out of the cauldron and starts manipulating them like marionettes, till one of them -- who seems a lot like Groucho Marx -- sneaks up on him from behind. The ancient video is on an italian web-site, very jerky playback, but hte mayhem is delicious
  15. Re Ratmansky? Are you talking about the character in "the Bolt"? That's a very special idiom -- Anyway, thanks for posting the Pulcinella excerpt, which kinda plays on my machine here, very jerky, long pauses, hard to get a sense of the overall rhythm among so much business and mayhem, but still, I think I can get the feel for it. I guess that's Scaramouche? Like a whole world of scaramouches? A friend who knows a lot of dance history tells me that Scaramouche was the only creature who could get infant Louis XIV to stop crying.... I don't know the source for that, maybe one of you does and can amplify, maybe say how he did it [with his silly walk?]-- or if it's NOT true, can contradict it... I thought I saw a bit of Groucho in here....
  16. Thanks, everybody!!! THis is the most wonderful thread! Re baryshnikov -- yes that chandelier is frightening!!! I'm glad to see this -- though I'll have to watch it again. They're so cramped, especially him. I'm not sure I like it. He looks like hte kind of kid who could become a drug dealer just by hanging with the wrong crowd, rebellious without a cause.... Seems to me that McBride is putting on a good fake of how much she likes to dance with him ... not. With villella, it feels like the relationship is mutual. These two, I don't believe it. And Baryshnikov keeps looking at the floor. It IS goofy. But I'm very glad to have seen it. Thank you so much for posting that.
  17. Ratmansky's performance in Balanchine's "Tarantella" looks Harlequin-ish to me -- It's the only interpretation of the role that can stand next to Villella's immortal one. Of course they both do the commedia gestures, the palms up "who knew" gestures.... but Ratmansky makes it much more of a "class act" -- there's a premier danseur elegance in his bearing, whereas Villella's appeal was very earthy. Of course, Villella had McBride to dance with, and they managed to keep up a real flirtation throughout that superseded the steps completely. Ratmansky's partner isn't interested in him; she's just flirting with us. Ratmansky is on another plane, flirting with the entire tradition. Heavenly wit. Edited to add -- THANK YOU ASHTON FAN! What a lot of fascinating information. And it sounds like you were there, this is a real report. I do wish I'd seen the scene in the kitchen.
  18. I can't add any names, but I sure hope someone else can. I want to know the answer to this question.
  19. Those of us in SanFrancisco will remeber the thrilling Joseph Phillips, who danced here before going to ABT. Where exactly is Primorsky?
  20. Mary Clarke wasn't just a good critic, she was a strong-minded woman of formidable energies and large sympathieslike Lilian Bayliss or Ninette de Valois, who provided a balance of good criticism to the pioneering work those ladies did in producing ballet, without which the art would not have gained the prestige and the place in the culture that it did very rapidly. She was not there in the first generation, but the critics whom she joined when she arrived on the scene welcomed her and by all accounts really befriended her and welcomed her into the enterprise. And she was good to the next generation, And she gave them a place to work. She could not only write good criticism, she could get other people to do it too, SHe WAS the Dancing Times, and she flourished at it for over 50 years. I sure wish I had known her. But I know that I owe her a great debt, we all do; her work improved ballet, and it also helped make room in the world for ballet. We need people like her now, seriously, to make the case to the bean counters who're increasingly questioning the value of the work of the imagination and are in a position to bring the high arts crashing down.
  21. I think about her all the time. I remember seeing a DonQ in New York the same day she was there in which Zakharova managed to kick herself in the back of the head without arching her back, and we both agreed there was NOTHING Spanish about it.... It was just a stunt, and we hated it, and we were friends for life.
  22. Fantastic news. This wonderful magazine was incredibly hard to find if you did not subscribe. The new site is neat and has some truly choice articles from its archives offered -- my favorite is the interview with Francis Mason, who tells how he collaborated with Balanchine on the "Stories of the Great Ballets for Doubleday and how when he was a US cultural attache he brought ballet, modern dance, the New York school of painting, Martha Graham, and Isaac Stern during the Cold War behind the "Iron Curtain" to Belgrade, the only place it was possible under Stalin to see any alternative to Socialist Realism. there are many wonderful articles in there, but this one shows the mind of the editor at play -- What a great story it is!
  23. It played for me.... with some catches, till I closed all other windows, and then it was fine. I don't think this video does much for Kronstam -- his choreography is 'ungrateful -- or as a dance-friend used to say, "hard and ugly." I admire most his graciousness throughout. but Simone really does look wonderful -- her timing, focus, and generosity serve the dance and the audience in a wonderful way. WOnderful phrasing, and wonderful stillness. The finale's fouettes are very exciting. Thank you for posting this.
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