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Morris Neighbor

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About Morris Neighbor

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  1. Since Mark Morris moved his company to my neighborhood and I've borrowed his name, I feel obliged to offer a bit of a defense. First of all, there is no evidence that he is hostile to classical ballet. He has, in fact, been commissioned to do works for several ballet companies, including ABT and NYCB. While he joked on film about reading the score, it's worth noting that he can read music while Peter Martins can't, tying Morris more closely to the Balanchine heritage than NYCB's present director. (Unlike Mr. B, however, Morris does not write his own piano reductions of a score for rehearsals.
  2. A few thoughts on "Born to Be Wild." As Alexandra noted, the piece was clearly conceived for a broad popular audience. The perfomance highlights -- other than the commissioned Morris piece, of which more later -- come entirely from 19th-century "applause machines." All four men (as many of us have seen) have the style and technique to bring down the house at will, so there's no news here. The film also spends a lot of time trying to undermine the myth that all male dancers are gay. Ethan Stiefel tells us how great it is "to work every day with women in excellent shape"; we also see him rid
  3. Yes, this is the first airing, at least on American TV, and, as noted above, it runs a bit under an hour.
  4. Another useful reminder: most PBS stations will re-broadcast the show later in the week. In New York, it will be repeated at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, February 9th. Again, I'd suggest checking with your local PBS station or its web site. Of course, this being PBS, the show will surely re-appear several months down the line, but when is hard to predict.
  5. Having recently purchased a DVD player, I see a great future for this technology in the dance world. There's the obvious "Fast Forward" choice -- an easy way to skip Jordan's longueurs -- and the possibility of multi-lingual soundtracks. Even more interesting is the chance to record the same movement from several perspectives at once. The viewer can choose a point of view, go back and forth, switch point of view at will, and analyze every move. In practice, this would mean that a battery of digital cameras would record the same performance; software would integrate the different views on
  6. While I did not see the Tombeau being discussed here, as a long-time fan of City Ballet I can appreciate the difficulty of encouraging young dancers with amazing technical skills -- young women and men who have won contracts with a world-class company because of those skills -- to look beyond technique to interpretation. To a certain extent, the change is inevitable. I remember a forum in which Alexandra Danilova took questions from the public. I alluded to the many roles in which Madame D. won acclaim for her style and interpretation, rather than physical technique, and asked if she felt
  7. As the first poster to suggest that "Eight Easy Pieces" and "Eight More" are "entertaining minor works," I would like to thank Michael for his provocative comments. As I certainly know, having seen them on many occasions over the past two decades -- they date to 1980 and 1985, respectively -- they are among the most enduring and engaging of Martins' works. This fact alone suggests that they are much more than trivial bagatelles. There's also the fact that Martins has always been drawn to 20th-century music, finding far more choreographic inspiration in Stravinsky, Ives, and Michael Torke t
  8. The 31st annual Dance on Film Festival wound up today at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theatre, under the joint aegis of the Dance Film Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. I caught two of the six internationally flavored programs: the "American Moderns" program, which highlighted the works of Molissa Fenley, Sean Curran, and Elizabeth Streb, and the "Stravinsky/Balanchine," of which more in a moment. The Fenley and Curran films offered illuminating (if conventional) insights into the creation of dance. Streb, on the other hand, is very articulate and offers a wide-ranging rap
  9. I saw Sylve last night in Symphony in Three Movements, and the biggest compliment I can pay is that I didn't notice her. She is a one-time protegee of Patricia Neary, one of the first dancer/teachers to take the school of Balanchine to Europe, and the student has clearly absorbed all the lessons. Even in this totally ensemble piece (aside from the central "Chinese" pas de deux, the ballet is organized into three principal couples, five solo souples, and 16 women), she danced as if she'd spent her life at SAB, and several years with the parent company as well. She could join the company tomorro
  10. If all else fails, you can phone your local PBS station (Look for it in the phone book under its call letters, like "WNET" and "KQED.") or check out its own web site (just type the call letters in a Google or Yahoo search). In addition, a tape is likely to be available after the airing, but that will depend on the various copyright restrictions.
  11. Ah, Victoria, you are always one jetee ahead of the rest of us! I just got news of the program from the Morris company (whose splendid home is a few blocks down the street from my apartment) and rushed to post news here. I can add one useful detail: go to www.pbs.org to check the air time on your local station. In the largest markets, it will run Monday, February 3rd at 10:00 PM Eastern & Pacific and 9:00 PM Central time. But each station sets its own schedule. A pedant at heart, I have trouble with the assertion that the current ABT corps of great male dancers is "unprecedented in the h
  12. Thank you, Nanatchka, for the post, and thank you, Nancy Davla, for so exquisitely capturing the agony and the ecstasy of the balletomane. At the same time, my pedantic soul must point out that "the moonlight of Serenade" is a relatively modern addition to a ballet created in 1934 and originally performed in white "Greek" tunics. The moody lighting was first seen in 1948, the clouds of blue tulle in 1953 (I rely on Nancy Reynolds' Repertory in Review). In other words, Balanchine conceived this as an abstract piece -- Agon with a more accessible score -- but created, in both cases, a work of h
  13. My thanks to Mel for his welcome clarification (I think I got the stripped-down version from Clive Barnes, but it's so easy to blame everything on him) and to Cargill, Leigh, and Alexandra for comments on the mother-in-law question. I only wish I could come up with another topic that brought so many fascinating responses! First of all, let me stress (as I mentioned before) that a great artist can break all the rules and still create a memorable work. Just compare the ballets of Balanchine's acolytes to those of the master. But to keep the conversation going ... What is the role of the score
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