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Stage Right

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Everything posted by Stage Right

  1. Great clip! Really enjoyed watching it--thanks. Unfortunately, I can't help with the music; hope you find it.
  2. I found this book at the library a few days ago, and just finished reading it. (It was so new at the library, that I believe I was the first reader of a very new-looking book!). I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I liked it very much. I thought that basically, it was well-done, well-researched and written. It certainly was pleasant to read, and I read it in one day since I wasn't feeling well, and had taken a day off to rest. Since I have read many books about NYCB dancers and Balanchine, a lot of it covered familiar ground. As many posters here have mentioned, why not a biography rather than a novel? After reading it, I have the same question, because obviously so much research went into it. I can think of only two possibilities: first, that the writer preferred writing it as a novel, as she is a novelist! (This also allowed her to write it in the first person, which I actually enjoyed, as it gives a sense that you are privy to the main character's thoughts and feelings). Or, that she would need permission from someone to do a biography and was for whatever reason, unable to do so. At times I found that the writing itself bothered me a bit, as the author has a way of phrasing her sentences which often caused me to have to reread them as the meaning was not immediately apparent, but I got used to that. The thing that bothered me most was not knowing where the author may have inserted fictional material. She does have an Author's Note at the end which clarifies some things but not others. Basically, most of the main action and characters are apparently based on reality. The two main questions I was left with were: did the "dipping the finger in the water in Venice" really happen ( her answer to this was yes). And, was the character of "Carl" real, and did that relationship actually happen? The author did not clarify that--does anyone here know? I hope it is true! The final thing that bothered me is that she ended the story with Balanchine's death. Novelistically, I can understand this, but Tannaquil lived many years after that, and I would like to know more about her life AFTER Balanchine! In some ways. this book seemed as much a story of Balanchine as it was of LeClercq......(and, may I say, I thought the author did a wonderful job of navigating the nuances of what have been a very complex relationship and marriage).
  3. When I saw the film in NYC the director was there for a Q & A. She said that she was planning a follow up film in 10 years. I wish she'd do it in 5! I was glad to see this comment. I just went to see this film yesterday. I loved it, and thought, wouldn't it be great if there was a follow-up movie in a few years, to see how things went for all of these talented young people. So maybe there will be!
  4. I think it is the element of traveling through space that gives the brises the edge, IMO. The entrechat-six stays in one place (except vertically, of course), and therefore has more potential for "repetitive stress" in the viewer, whereas the sense of flying (fleeing?) through space engages the viewer on another level besides technique.
  5. Thanks for posting this review! I had heard about a ballet /dance company at Yale that was all student run, and I really commend them on what they are doing. I was a university dance professor for many years, until recent budget cuts demolished the program. Now the students there who were in our dance program (and who didn't transfer to a school with dance--some did), are trying to run a dance company as a student organization. It's extremely difficult, and you need highly talented, self-disciplined and motivated student participants to make it work. it sounds like these students are doing so. I wonder how they handle their training? Because after all, rehearsals are not enough to keep dancers in shape and working with good technique.
  6. That was great, thanks for posting it. I remember seeing Joyce Cuoco on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was young (oh, oh, dating myself!), and being very impressed. I haven't seen her since then, and watching this makes me see why I was impressed! I wonder what happened to her....? In watching this clip, I was interested in how, while doing fouette turns, she seems to hold her leg a la seconde a split second longer than usual.
  7. It wasn't in a professional performance, but when I danced in Les Patineurs many (many!) years ago in a regional ballet performance that had been set by Enrique Martinez of ABT, I was dancing the duet (the Red Girls), and fell on my behind right in the middle of it. Amazing to me, I had the presence of mind to get up and theatrically "dust myself off" as if it was intentional (that happens elsewhere in the ballet) and keep on going! And no, I don't recall it being difficult to figure out where I was in the dance--the music tells you.
  8. I have read the book. Unfortunately it was some time ago, and I am currently traveling, and the book is sitting at home on the shelf . But I did enjoy the book. It is a much smaller book than Suki Schorer's, and hence does not go into the same sort of detail on each step, etc. As I remember it, it is more of a personal memoir by these two women writing about what they remember of Balanchine's teaching and technique. Definitely worth reading and/or purchasing, IMO.
  9. This is not a direct answer to your question, as I have not had the opportunity to see enough Ratmansky or Wheeldon to comment (wish I could!). But I think one reason that a "Balanchine ballerina" develpoed is because there was a school devoted to training dancers in his style. I wonder if full-fledged Ratmansky or Wheeldon ballerinas could emerge without the support of a school...?
  10. I am relatively new at Ballet Alert, and have so far only posted a handful of times, but I appreciate so much what is here! I didn't even know about BalletCo until reading this post--so sad to discover it as it is leaving!! But I will browse the archives. I agree that forums serve a different, and much needed role that FB and Twitter cannot really satisfy.
  11. Thank you Cinnamonswirl, for posting that clip--lovely, indeed! This is a dancer I was unfamiliar with, but would like to see more of.
  12. I also have mixed feelings about this situation. I took a course in dance criticism with Deborah Jowitt at NYU a long time ago (1980s). She had a definite philosophy about writing dance criticism. However, from my experience, I would not say that her philosophy was only to review things she liked. Rather, as she expressed it to us, it was to not 'judge' a performance as good or bad, but rather to 'describe what we saw', and let the reader take it from there. (My apologies to Ms. Jowitt if I am misstating this: it's a long time ago now, but since I had to write a lot of reviews in that class, and got a good grade , I believe this to be an accurate representation of her approach.) Although in principle I liked the philosophy, and I think it was helpful in learning how to write about dance, I do feel it had definite drawbacks, one of which is that it could be a bit dull, and doesn't fully help the reader to decide whether or not they might enjoy seeing a performance--especially of the small dance concerts in the downtown scene that Jowitt usually wrote about. When I moved away from NYC I stopped reading the Voice, and thus Jowitt's reviews. I do hope that this decision was a mutual one, as she is a wonderful presence in the dance world, and deserves much respect for her writing and other activities.
  13. Thanks so much to everyone for bringing this book to my attention--it sounds like one I'd like to read. Lately I've been reading a lot of different books that explore, either directly or tangentially, the Ballet Russes in its various manifestations, so this will fit right in. I think I'll try to get it via inter-library loan.
  14. I teach ballet at the university level. Every semester I teach at least one beginner level ballet course, where most of the students are either starting ballet for the first time, or coming back to it after many years away. In my 23 years of teaching, only one student who started ballet for the first time in a beginning class eventually made dance her professional career, and there is one other who could do so, should he desire to and have the necessary drive (which he may not). But the feedback I got from the vast majority of those students was enormously positive. For many, they took the class because they had wanted ballet lessons as a child, but for whatever reason, could not have them, so this was a chance to experience a long-deferred dream. Others loved it as a more artistic form of physical exercise. And more than a few expressed to me that it was their favorite class in their university career, and, as several said, "it feeds my soul". I taught their class as I taught my advanced classes, with the same rigor and expectations, and I hope I never condescended to them.
  15. I agree too. I have similar responses to second-hand smoke, and can also actually smell it coming from other cars near me on the road. It's a truly filthy substance. And it is a destructive, addictive drug, no question. So why do we all tolerate cigarette smoke, and maintain it is a person's right to smoke it, when most people would have a totally opposite reaction to a person smoking pot (they'd get put in jail!)? It's all in what you're used to, I guess. I don't blame dancers who smoke, because there are all the pressures enumerated in the posts above. But I do feel sad for them, unwitting victims of both unreal standards of body weight, and the advertising/cigarette industry.
  16. At the university where i teach (make that taught: the administration eliminated the dance program in June. I was given the (ahem!) "opportunity" to teach in the Sport Management program instead !!!*#&!!--I who can't tell a football from a basketball!), and I retired instead. But anyway, in recent years I have seen a definite 'slippage' in the quality of the dance companies presented by the university.(And by the way, even though I was one of only two dance professors there, I had no say about which companies got invited to campus). Generally, they have presented two dance companies per year. When I was first teaching there, we got some really good companies, even including Martha Graham, Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, and then some second-tier companies such as the Pittsburgh Ballet, Garth Fagan, etc. The companies always presented a master class for the dance students as well as a performance. In the last 3-5 years, however, the quality of the dance companies has dropped precipitously. They are now bringing in very small dance companies, mostly ones I haven't heard of. They are what I would describe as "eclectic" dance companies, that often combine other things (theatre, gymnastics, juggling, etc.), or they have an ethnic flavor. I believe that the intention is to present companies that might bring in new audiences to dance, people that might not go to see what they perceive as "serious" dance. Certainly they do need new audience members: most of the heads are gray-haired at the dance concerts. But if they are trying to bring new audiences to dance, I think it was a grave mistake to eliminate the dance program!!! And I am not convinced that the way to attract new audiences is to present dance of lesser quality. For the last two years, there were also no master classes offered. So I would say that at this university, it's a downhill slide (or maybe avalanche is a better word) where dance is concerned.
  17. I am very sorry to hear this news! Does anyone know how old Mr. Grant was? A real loss to the ballet world.
  18. Hello everyone! I am a ballet teacher (university), and love all aspects of this art. I am always very happy to read intelligent discussion about dance and dancers, and therefore had to join when I found this forum. I've been posting on Ballet Talk for Dancers/Teachers for a while, but didn't know this one existed until yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading more and participating too. At the moment, I live in an area of the country where I don't get the opportunity to see much good ballet, but in the past I have had the opportunity to see a wealth of performances, so I'll love hearing from people who can see the things I can't right now.
  19. I came upon this thread many years after....but wanted to share something meaningful to me about Karin von Aroldingen: it must have been 1981, and I had been to a performance of Davidsbundlertanze at Lincoln Center. I don't believe Karin danced in it, but perhaps she did--it's too long ago now to be certain. The friend I attended the performance with and I went over to the Empire Coffee Shop (still in existence then), across from Lincoln Center. We ended up going into the pub section. There were only two tables with people at them: Peter Martins sat alone at a table near the entrance. I thought he was so handsome, and I didn't want to sit and stare at him so obviously, so I chose a table further down by the windows, next to a table with two people at it. I didn't look at them as we sat down, but immediately said to my friend, "Wasn't that a WONDERFUL performance!", and proceeded to discuss Davidsbundlertanze with him. A bit later my friend excused himself to use the men's room, and I casually looked at the people at the next table. Suddenly, I realized that the small, old man there was George Balanchine!! Sitting with him was a glamorous, European-looking woman who I recognized as Karin von Aroldingen. She met my eyes, and smiled, as she could see the recognition dawn in my eyes. To say I was thrilled is putting it mildly. Then Balanchine himself began to comment on the ballet. He said, "It is not for teenagers. It is about men and women and love". Not long after, having finished their meal, they got up, put on their coats, and left, and I watched out the window as Karin held an umbrella over Balanchine, and they walked slowly up Broadway. It was a magical encounter for me. Recently I read about how caring von Aroldingen was to Balanchine in Jacques D'Amboise's autobiography, and I have great respect for her.
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