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Everything posted by pherank

  1. From Instagram: "After 17 months, we’re headed back onstage! On August 13 & 14, SF Ballet will dance at @FrostAmphitheater, in partnership with @StanfordLive. Starry Nights: SF Ballet's Return to the Stage will feature George Balanchine’s Serenade, Helgi Tomasson’s The Fifth Season, Danielle Rowe’s For Pixie, Balanchine’s Tarantella, and a to-be-determined pas de deux. Join us for two brilliant summer evenings of ballet’s stars under the stars, including music played by @SFBalletOrch. 💫 Tickets go on sale to the general public starting July 10." STARRY NIGHTS: SF BALLET'S RETURN TO THE STAGE Join us for San Francisco Ballet’s long-awaited return to live performances, featuring a thrilling blend of poetry and athleticism. In partnership with Stanford Live at the Frost Amphitheater, the two-performance program on August 13–14 will feature George Balanchine’s transcendent, luminous Serenade, set to a soaring Tchaikovsky score, and Helgi Tomasson’s elegant and sleek The Fifth Season, set to music by Karl Jenkins. Danielle Rowe’s powerful For Pixie, set to the music of Nina Simone; Balanchine’s spirited Tarantella, set to Gottschalk; and to-be-determined pas de deux round out these brilliant summer evenings of ballet’s stars under the stars. SERENADE Choreographer: George Balanchine Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky THE FIFTH SEASON Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson Composer: Karl Jenkins FOR PIXIE Choreographer: Danielle Rowe Composer: Nina Simone Tarantella Choreographer: George Balanchine Composer: Louis Moreau Gottschalk Dates: August 13 & 14, 2021 Time: 7:30 PM Location: Frost Amphitheater Stanford University 351 Lasuen St. Stanford, CA 94305 https://www.sfballet.org/calendar/starry-nights-sf-ballets-return-to-the-stage/
  2. Thanks, that was something of a misstatement on my part regarding PNB - the West Coast companies are all very conscious of Asia/Pacific. Yes, it's more of an issue with Black dancers at PNB. Both ABT and NYCB have had all the same diversification issues, but they've managed to make inroads regarding the hiring of Black dancers, at least.
  3. 2021 SF Ballet Audience Engagement Post Season Survey "Thank you for joining San Francisco Ballet this season for one or many Audience Engagement events! We hope you had fun, learned something new, and deepened your enjoyment of ballet. After a most unusual year, we want your feedback so we can learn how to serve you best and make decisions for the 2022 Season. Please let us know your thoughts. Your answers can be anonymous." https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1p0OJvnbTSPUk-mUWHp1XjtvQ8jrhfdZ7po8ZOXvinWk/viewform?edit_requested=true
  4. The problem for me is that, with an anonymous group making an attempt to direct how a company gets run - who they hire (including executive staff and the board) and how and when they do it - there are no rules governing accountability and transparency for this outside group. Who are they and why should we trust them to make decisions regarding SF Ballet? Now it could be that "SFBallet_2021" is solely made up of existing staff members who have worked within the SFB environment for years and actually know something about the organization's issues. Or it could simply be a few socio-political activists who have no vested interest in ballet, let alone SFB, that are pushing their favored agenda. Is that ultimately the best way to get diversity changes to happen at SFB? If I don't know who is doing the talking/writing (and how much buy-in they are getting from the staff and audience), then I don't feel very trusting. My part in this is of course small, as an audience member who gives small donations. "It's not clear to me what happened in the past with Kelly and leadership, but the company does not seem to embrace or amplify black and indigenous voices. This isn't solely an SFB issue, though. It's reflective of ballet as a whole. Would be meaningful if SFB took the lead here and made some serious changes: focused on internal practices, hiring, retainment, and choreographers. Should things like this wait on the backburner for a new AD? Seems tone deaf to me." Agreed, though some of these things (changes to internal practices, hiring, retainment, and choreographers) have supposedly all been under scrutiny, but SFB isn't getting very far yet. The reasons for dancers leaving the company are not always nefarious. But if there's only 2 or 3 Black dancers say, and one or more leaves, it just looks bad. There simply needs to be a higher percentage of dancers of color at SFB. I believe NYCB, PNB and MCB all need more representation from the Asian cultures and the Asian-American community. Both PNB and MCB lack Black dancers, but perhaps the new hires will help address this situation - anyone know? There's always something to work on.
  5. On a more positive note: Pivoting with purpose: SF Ballet's Education Programs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_82plD8WKkI
  6. There was an "anonymous" group of people calling for her resignation. They just refer to themselves as SFBallet_2021 now. They had/have connections to SFB staff, but wanted to remain anonymous, which is certainly problematic. SFBallet_2021 were of the opinion that Tweeddale must go, but it does feel like she is being scapegoated (given that her time with the company has been short - 1 full season, a partial season, and then pandemic closure and the need to keep the company afloat without funds from performances). I don't have the details though, aside from this IG posting regarding Tweeddale's alleged behavior: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLDPZlUABQN/ There's a San Francisco Chronicle Datebook article referring to this situation here: https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/dance/s-f-ballet-seeks-to-diversify-make-amends-for-racial-inequities
  7. At the end of the 2021 Digital Season, Helgi Tomasson reflects on the past year, looks towards his final celebratory season at the helm of SF Ballet, and offers a heartfelt thank you to supporters’ unwavering commitment to the company. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEi2_-htiTM
  8. IG's idea of a keyword is a little different from mine. There seems to be no way to target a particular posting for its text content (either through standard search engines or IG search). I would imagine there are times when a writer would want to credit an IG statement by linking directly to it from an online article. But if one hasn't already bookmarked the posting, it can be a real struggle to find the comment again. I tried to do that once with one of Maria Kochetkova's postings, but I could never locate the comment. Just too much to wade through. I wonder how posters manage to find all their "Collab? Dm us!" requests. 😉
  9. My days of dealing with GitHub tools are, hopefully, long over. 😉 For the average reader, there's got to be an easier way to filter content on social media, and that really needs to be provided by the platforms themselves. I didn't know that Instagram was allowing for content downloads now - that's good for everyone to know. Funny that it would take government pressure to make that happen. Hah hah. "It's a big time sink, among other deficits" - if there's one thing I learned during my association with the software/computer industry, it was that the biggest selling factor - "this will save you time and money" - was truly The Big Lie. The entire point of these tools is to involve people in endless hours of production, fixing, fine-tuning, what-have-you. And that's how jobs get created. But none of it is actually "necessary". It's just how we spend our time these days (unless you are fortunate enough to be able to drop out of the electronic establishment entirely). Yes, it's no problem finding links to BA postings by searching on a line of text in Google. But try to do the same for Instagram - no results. As far as Macaulay goes, I think I like his commentary on wildlife more than his thoughts on ballet - though he often has interesting things to say. He delights a bit too much in provoking his audience. His wildlife postings are generally good humored: alastair.macaulay Tales of Clissold Park 926. With this video, Actaeon Stag III makes his debut in this series. As you see, his antlers are far less developed than those of his predecessors: they’re almost soft, almost furry. Presumably he knows he has a public, but as yet he seems too young to handle a commodity so dangerous as admiration. As yet he also seems to have made no serious contact with the does: he was grazing at the same time as they five days ago, but keeping apart. He therefore attends solely to what he can handle: his body, the grass, the park, the weather, the light. https://www.instagram.com/p/CQq3sDAgroE/ alastair.macaulay Tales of Clissold Park 926, 927. As you see from these two videos, taken fifteen minutes apart, this afternoon has been Action Stations for Telemachus and Taglioni Terrapin. Never a moment’s quiet to enjoy their post-coital bliss, always hustle and bustle, everything perpetuum mobile. https://www.instagram.com/p/CQrTmbSAuDx/
  10. In his case, the website makes sense. When it comes to text comments on Instagram, accessibility is a real issue. Using Macaulay's postings as an example, if we want to locate a particular statement he made regarding the ballet Serenade, we have no means to search on text phrases - aside from run-together hashtag phrases, but that would only yield a page of postings from people all over the world. A real mess. We don't have any way to filter the Macaulay posts and their text content based on some particular keyword or phrase (to 'disappear' everything that isn't tagged "Clissold Park" for instance). It's all about hashtag words and "Following" in Instagram-land. Facebook/Instagram just wants lots and lots of interconnections (of a dubious nature, imo). I don't have much faith that Facebook/Instagram is going to take good care of the content anyway. At least with a personal website, it's entirely possible to backup the content and save it to a hard drive or burn it to a DVD. Not so with Instagram or Twitter postings.
  11. NB of C has a Spotlight Series video online with Koto Ishihara dancing Tarantella: https://youtu.be/x7yzDaYrMB8?t=1615
  12. File this under Dance Writing, and Cartoons, in the Age of Instagram. Alastair Macaulay often posts well-composed statements on his Instagram page. But I do wonder and worry that this is a terrible way of recording one's thoughts for posterity. People such as Maria Kochetkova have referred to their Instagram pages as a kind of public, digital diary. Is this an effective way to convey and retain information? Or is it all as confused and tenuous as it often seems? https://www.instagram.com/p/CQIyFw5gFwt/ alastair.macaulay: This cartoon was sent to me this morning. My tragedy is that I am both these men. I’m also booking the policeman for deploying apostrophes instead of acute accents, and mis-spelling “off-balance”, “ballonné”, and “disastrous”. And yet his use of the Oxford comma is a highly mitigating factor. [I personally appreciate the fact that Macaulay is calling out the unprofessional text display. If this is a New Yorker cartoon, then the mistakes are not forgivable.] https://www.instagram.com/p/CQY1tQJg9kd/ alastair.macaulay: A George Booth cartoon from a bygone issue of “The New Yorker”. I love its depiction of manic-balletomanic obsessiveness. In my first ten or fifteen years of watching “Swan Lake”, it was standard to see thirty, thirty-one, or thirty-two fouetté turns. There were rare occasions when usually reliable ballerinas managed fewer; rare ballerinas who could only ever manage between sixteen and twenty; and very rare ballerinas who substituted alternative steps. (On one sorry occasion at Covent Garden in 1980, Marguerite Porter actually fell onto her backside after sixteen fouettés.) I never saw Margot Fonteyn’s Odile, but treasure the description by my friend Richard Jarman @jarperson of a performance in the late 1960s when his heart thumped in his breast because of the phenomenal musical precision with which she timed each fouetté. A New York friend recalls the same with the Odile of Martine van Hamel. In the twenty first century, the situation has become different but seldom better. A surprisingly high number of ballerinas add many double or triple turns, but fall behind the basic musical pulse, so that the number of actually fouettés (the whipped action of the leg following the initial demi-grand rond de jambe) is far fewer than thirty. (The audience applauds skill in turning that’s devoid of even basic musical rhythm.) When Misty Copeland, a ballerina who began dancing “Swan Lake” late in her career fails to manage thirty-two, some balletomanes carry on with the vindictive obsessiveness of this cartoon, and some of our sillier critics urge her to work harder and do better. (Basic lesson: where a ballerina has not had the technique for thirty-two fouettés before age thirty, do not expect or urge her to acquire it later in life.) Even so, I had been watching “Swan Lake” for more than forty years when I witnessed one new peak achievement. As many ballerinas testify, fouettés nos 17-32 in “Swan Lake” are far harder because the music’s dynamics change, working against the fouetté action rather than supporting it. Even those ballerinas who add multiple turns add far fewer of them after no 16. <MORE> ...At New York City Ballet, music director Andrew Litton likes to set, for Odile’s fouettés, a pulse that is far faster than most of the company’s ballerinas can manage in tempo. Yet the phenomenal Tiler Peck @tilerpeck not merely delivered the first sixteen in tempo, she then added double pirouettes for fouettés 17-32: both rhythmic and brilliant. Who in our lifetime will be the first to equal this peak of musical and technical bravura? >> Entirely off-topic, but Macaulay's constant video recording of wildlife activities at Clissold Park (in the London Borough of Hackney) has been fantastic: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO6HphNgILa/ https://www.instagram.com/p/CQV3fncgWb-/
  13. Free streaming today: San Francisco Symphony players perform Dmitri Shostakovich Selections from String Quartet No. 6 in G major, Opus 101 https://www.sfsymphonyplus.org/videos/dmitri-shostakovich-selections-from-string-quartet-no-6-in-g-major-opus-101
  14. The dream has been realized. She's being peppered by congrats from SFB people: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQcWMfwgzHg/
  15. Thoughts on the virtual festival - There's footage of Zoom classes for the beginning school levels (girls and boys), and in-studio classes (wearing masks) for the older students, as well as group performances by the higher level students. Dana Genshaft has given the trainees a very professional contemporary piece to shine in: Future Paper. Nice patterns and a very smooth, energetic quality to the group dances. I kept thinking "oceanic". I liked the often asymmetrical group arrangements. This piece focused more on group interactions than individual variations. I'm sure it was a blast to take part in this ballet - a centerpiece for any young dancer's demo reel. The Kamran Adib musical score was pleasant listening. Very textural. Lighting effects were also very professional for this first work. So many digital performances of the present day employ a theme of reunion after separation (often referring to Covid-19 quarantine/lockdown). Both the Genshaft and Plotnikov works fit in this category. There's a point in Future Paper in which two of the women briefly touch and hold hands and this manages to be affecting rather than corny. Nothing too dramatic - just the right thing at the right time. Viktor Plotnikov's Graces is a gem from beginning to end. I found it very easy to rewatch this piece. Contains clever solo and partnering movements without ever being overwrought or pretentious. He makes great use of just 6 dancers. A very grounded and humane work, if that makes sense. Fits well with the Mahler symphonic music. There were many one-offs of interest, such as a brief movement by the men that I will call the "Fascinating Rhythm" step - never to be repeated. There's even a brief "Four Temperaments" moment when the women are held aloft and carried horizontally, that is quite nice. I liked Plotnikov's use of the "the wings", i.e.: the walls of the room. Any dancers not currently dancing stood alongside the wall in various positions, and it occurred to me that even in the Opera House that should be the way to do it. At one point Zoe Lucich and Jamie Adele Stephens are flexing their feet and legs and standing with backs to the stage area (and the ongoing PDD), and that should be part of the choreography. I like seeing the 'offstage' preparatory movements and stances as part of the whole work. Graces is a work I wouldn't mind seeing done by a professional company. All of the main event ballets were well shot, so I'm wondering if the same production team the company uses was also employed to film these student performances. There are edits, and camera movements, but nothing too obscuring takes place. Costumes used were borrowed from previous SFB ballets, and this added to the professional look. The evening ended with the technically demanding Pas de quatre from Ashton’s Swan Lake. Unfortunately I haven't seen the original danced by the Royal Ballet and such, so I can't really make any comparisons. Not to take away from the existing heartfelt performances, but throughout the entire program I kept wondering what these dances would have looked like had the trainees/students been able to train and rehearse normally this past year. Anyway, well done SFB School - a well conceived program. Thursday, June 24th is the final day of the digital program, so sign up now. SFB quote: The Trainee Program is a crucial part of maintaining the legacy and extending the reputation of SF Ballet. Sixty-five percent of current SF Ballet dancers joined the Company through the Trainee program. While not every Trainee will be asked to join the Company, we’re proud to report that 100% of our graduates have gone on to dance with professional ballet companies around the world including: National Ballet of Canada Boston Ballet Houston Ballet Royal Swedish Ballet Royal Danish Ballet English National Ballet The Joffrey Ballet Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet Cincinnati Ballet Vienna State Opera Ballet
  16. So far, 2022 looks to be a short season - presumably due to the lack of funds generated during the previous 2 years. "Atlanta Ballet company dancers return to live, in-person theatre performances after a two-year hiatus" https://www.atlantaballet.com/news/atlanta-ballet-2021-2022-season?ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_6_16_21_SEASON_ANNOUNCE_21_22) THE CARLOS FAMILY IN HONOR OF THALIA N. CARLOS PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER DECEMBER 4-30, 2021 ATLANTA BALLET 2 PRESENTS: SNOW WHITE FEBRUARY 4-6, 2022 FIREBIRD FEBURARY 11-13, 2022 GISELLE MARCH 18-20, 2022 MAY PROGRAM MAY 13-15, 2022 Following its triumphant premiere in Atlanta Ballet’s reimagined 2020|2021 season of Silver Linings, Claudia Schreier’s Pleiades Dances makes its way to the theatre stage for the May program. Adding a classical element to the evening are selections from Paquita – a famed nineteenth century classic revered for its demanding and intricate choreography. Finally, an all-new work by Atlanta Ballet Company dancer Sergio Masero, whose piece Teneo Integrum mesmerized audiences last season, will balance out the season finale production.
  17. Relating to my remarks above... Beginning in September, Marta Gardolińska will become the first female (and first Polish) musical director of the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, one of the five national operas outside of Paris. As it happens, Gardolińska will be working with the LA Philharmonic on a Hollywood Bowl performance this September (Dudamel is a supporter of her work). Meanwhile, "as Marin Alsop leaves the Baltimore Symphony after 14 years, the field is taking a step backward: 25 major American orchestras, no female music directors." I think I read somewhere that the number of female directors and conductors remains around 5% in Europe, but I'm searching about for some confirmation of that...
  18. pherank

    Maria Kochetkova

    Impressive collection of photos, Buddy. I like the one of the shoe a lot. ; )
  19. Jahna Frantziskonis has posted a thank you message on Instagram (she doesn't really let on to what her next steps may be, but she will continue to dance in some manner): https://www.instagram.com/p/CPtZYdYgEpOfSk0OekT6OwUqmrnNNAZJ4JoNe00/
  20. Save the date: Friday, June 18—Thursday, June 24, 2021 SF Ballet School 2021 Virtual Festival on SF BALLET @ HOME Access is free; a $29 donation is suggested. Access to the Virtual Festival is valid for a consecutive 72-hour period during the run of this program and begins from first play. All access will expire on June 24 at 9 pm. Hosted by SF Ballet School Trainees Zoe Lucich and Teague Applegate, the evening's highly-anticipated program, curated by SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand, will showcase the dedication and talent of the School's students. The festival program will feature class observations as well as three newly captured performances by the San Francisco Ballet School Trainees: two world premieres by SF Ballet School Faculty members—Dana Genshaft's Future Paper and Viktor Plotnikov's Graces—and the SF Ballet School premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton's Pas de Quatre from Swan Lake. Carrie Kaufman chairs the event. REGISTER
  21. An inquest has been opened into the the circumstances of Scarlett's death: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/may/28/liam-scarlett-inquest-opens-into-ballet-choreographers-death
  22. From SFB: Saluting This Season's Departing Dancers As our 2021 Digital Season draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to recognize the dancers who are departing SF Ballet this year. Please join us in celebrating Kimberly Marie Olivier, Jahna Frantziskonis, and Gregory Myles as they take a virtual final bow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNM_10bI6io Gregory Myles was an apprentice to the company.
  23. It's nice to see they are taking the plunge and offering a digital package for out-of-towners.
  24. Madison Keesler, Ben Freemantle (choreography), Kimberly Marie Olivier, Tyla Steinbach, WanTing Zhao, Thamires Chuvas, Gabriela Gonzalez, Nathaniel Remez (the waiter), Lizzy Powell, Lonnie Weeks, and Jahna Frantziskonis all took part in a film project titled, "Tan". Madison posted some behind-the-scenes video of the production which is pretty great: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPjO6afADW-/ There's some footage of Jahna as the lead dancer (resolution is very low though). Some stills courtesy of WanTing Zhao: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPjgwrxMrgt/
  25. FYI: There's a new entity titled the Tahoe Dance Camp, created by SFB's Sarah Van Patten (she lives in the Lake Tahoe area for a portion of the year, and that was where she lived during both her pregnancy leaves). There will be a performance at Lake Tahoe (possibly the Incline Village area), on July 24th - read more about it here: https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/46301-tahoe-dance-camp/ UPDATE: The July 24th performance is expected to include the following dancers/creators: Sarah Van Patten, Creator of Tahoe Dance Camp Frances Chung Alton Allen, Sound and Music Designer Ulrik Birkkjaer Charmaine Butcher Frances Chung Adji Cissoko Shuaib Elhassan Jahna Frantziskonis Jim French, Lighting Designer Anatalia Hordov Luke Ingham Babtunji Johnson Harriet Jung and Reid Bartelme, Costume Designers Alonzo King, Choreographer Elizabeth Mateer Benjamin Millepied, Choreographer Nathaniel Remez Alexander Reneff-Olson Valentina Reneff-Olson Justin Peck, Choreographer Dwight Roden, Choreographer Danielle Rowe Garen Scribner, Producer Andrea Schermoly, Choreographer John-Paul Simoens Jennifer Stahl Helgi Tomasson, Choreographer Joseph Walsh Wei Wang Christoper Wheeldon, Choreographer Clifford Williams WanTing Zhao
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