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Ed McPherson

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Everything posted by Ed McPherson

  1. Great to see that others are posting on NCI. Also close to my heart as a participant in last years project. This year the works are being filmed as they are done and video has been uploaded to YouTube each day. I think there is something for everyone. The channel is http://youtube.com/user/NCIDance I have the utmost respect for Molly, shes created a real jewel in the project.
  2. I generally really like dance. I realized right away how I take the artform in differently when I am at a computer instead of sitting in a theater with nothing else to do but watch. I was surprised at how willing I was to say next and click on to the next one if nothing grabbed my attention in the first 30 seconds.
  3. Has anyone been checking out the video entries for the Choreographic Competition that BNC is hosting this year? What are your thoughts? Competitions YouTube Site
  4. Paul, Its nice to hear from you. I had a great time dancing in the ballet. As with all things the process depends heavily on who you have staging; we had a guest. I enjoyed performing the role. The partnering was creative without being prohibitively difficult, which was nice it allowed me to work and connect with my partner on a level you dont always get with corps work. There were aspects of the corps work that were difficult to do precisely and that we felt looked disappointing considering the effort they required. That though is neat when you give it perspective, its a ballet that can easily looks like a bloody mess if you don't have that constant attention to the details. Watching the principals was amazing, the corps dont steal the show at all, we created a great backdrop and some fine transitions for their movements in the piece. I've got some pictures I purchased... http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-...881293_8784.jpg http://photos-d.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-...662523_3442.jpg http://photos-a.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-...881292_8512.jpg
  5. Are there any Nevada folks that could speak directly as to what is going on with the company and its management right now?
  6. ABT recently voted to join AGMA so when they draw and ratify a contract it should be available online, probably next fall or winter. I think there are two things the union provide salary wise that are often overlooked at non-union companies in contract negotiation. There is an expectation that ever artist at every level will receive an increase in salary for inflation each year, very important over a 5+ year period if you are expecting long term employment. secondly, men and women of the same rank are compensated equally. In my experiance at the mid-size regional level salary is based hugely on the directors perspective. Some pay to bring in great rep that will draw an audience and dancers to their company this leaves little money for the dancers. Others think that they should first pay their dancers and then find the rep, those pay better.
  7. I'm still waiting for Harry Potter... one of these days its going to make a killing...
  8. It happens to me when my guard is down. The other day my friend John was doing the Prince, a total BS role in Nutcracker that no one wants. When he came out after the transformation and took Clara away to the land of the sweets I was blown away. He made something out of nothing. I probably hadn't watched watched that part in 40 or 50 shows. It got me because it came out of the place of nowhere my mind had put it in, and because he's good at what he does.
  9. great topic. I see shows in two ways now, corps/demis and soloist/principle I work in the corps so when I'm watching corps work I'm very critical. Every now and then I will catch some individuality, sometimes it disgusts me because I think its out of place and shows too much presumption on the dancers parts. Other times I think it is subtle enough to be genius. I'm lucky to work for a company that pays every dancer it puts on stage. It is a gift not to have to work with 17-19 year old trainees, that cannot be explained only experienced, sorry moms and dads out there. I'm not old enough to have experienced the previous incarnations of the ballet world. But when I go to watch regional companies where a huge number of the corps is unpaid and/or lacking in more than 2 years of professional experience it is for the most part IMO a pathetic attempt at assembling artwork in the form of a corps. I understand everyone on every side of the equation is working with what they have. Most companies cant afford to pay people to do just corps work. The decision making young/unexperienced dancers employ on stage is absolutely reflected in the end product. That said, I'm not at all a "talented" dancer at the professional level, I'll continue to do corps work. I stand in class on some days with another male corps friend and we'll just stand there saying, "What the F, how did he do that?" We have conversations about how we cant even imagine what it feels like to do what our co-workers are doing, thats when you know what ever gift you have is limited Its like to call what we do ballet, and then to call what they do ballet is totally misleading. So when I'm watching the principles and soloists its an entirely different story. I'm constantly amazed at the raw talent, athleticism, and fearlessness they show. I don't really hazard negative opinions on their work, it seems out of my place. Unless they are simply failing to do their job, then its obnoxious that they get every other show off.
  10. sounds like a steal of a deal to me. I wonder if its adjusted for inflation... In 20 years let alone 40 $37,000 is going to be change. Seems like change now considering what they are recieving.
  11. I went to tuesday's opening evening. The review in the OC register was so nice and kind. I'd never seen ABT before live, only on video. My expectations were too high, evidently. IMO, The show was awful, not the dancers, but the show. I've never seen such an un-classical sleeping beauty. Gelsey Kirkland, was a show stopper. The costumes are heinous, the fairy cavilers look like dragoonflys from Cinderella, how embarrassing to be a fairy caviler in that costume, they wear tunics I thought. The four courtiers of aurora, also just ridiculously overdone in design and color and texture. The fairy's looked as though they'd been picked out of a bag of skittles. The garland waltz costumes screamed expensive fabric, but the tones were over the top. I understood where they tried to go with the minions, but the costumes looked out place given the choreography, it was too much costume for such little movement. The sets were amazing, the drop that opened, and the drop in the hunt to start act III were both simply amazing. Quality of the sets aside they were huge, way too big, it killed the dancing, there was no room. The dancing was fine, the choreography reminded me of nutcracker, in that it wasnt demanding. I'm not familar with how ABT works It seemed to me as though the artistic staff choreographed the ballet trying to save their dancers for a 40 show tour. It was the simple things that really got me. One of the signature steps in the blue fairy's variaton (pardon for not knowing name) are the hops en pointe with the leg en lair traveling devant to derriere. She hopped to passe and placed the foot in tendu derriere. She did it 3 times, it made no sense to me, I thought it went to arabesque. I dont know if that was her choice or the artistic staffs. I didnt realize that Sasha was also doing Rodeo last week so maybe, but not really, thats an excuse for his bluebird variation. He did the traditional sixes into double tour to arabesque on the right side then ran to center stage did some more sixes to a double tour and finished... left side? no... it was a 32 count variation max. Again who knows if that was his choice or artistic staff. His partnering wasn't flawless. The corps dances in the first act were incredibly dry, some of the choreography was left unchanged from ABT's previous version (I just did a version this season that Jonas Kage lifted from his experiance at ABT and was surprised to see the exact same steps). I make a living doing corps work and when thats the case you tend to really look forward to things like garland waltz. Its some of the only continuous and legitimate dancing you do in a show like sleeping beauty. The corps wasn't given anything to work with, what a boring job. The Hunt Scene in the third act was cut mercilessly, it was made totally perfunctory. They brought the blind fold out for 16 counts and didnt develop the plot around it, so unless you'd seen a previous version it would have carried no substantial meaning aside from filling the music. The women brought their whips on stage, and the choreography didn't allow them to be used well at all. A big hunted but plastic looking pig was brought on stage, it was totally perfunctory not woven into the story at all, just marched on and then held at center stage. In previous versions the corps will do a little character dancing in this scene, that was cut. The divertissements were a joke, because there was only one! They brought out little red and the wolf, and created parts for cinderella and her prince, and then the bluebirds did their dancing. Its a sick joke, I was at the show with co-works and all we could say afterwards was how messed up would it have been to be those dancers when casting went up. You think you've finally landed a nice role until you get to rehearsal and realize you are just going to stand on the scenery during the entire act, they climbed up and stood on the scenery. I cant even put into words how dissapointing it is to see a sleeping beauty where the only divertissement is the bluebirds. Whats the point of setting up the whole freaking act when thats all the dancing that actually gets done? Then they went into the apotheosis that contained choreography from one of ABT's previous versions of the ballet. I could go on, but I'm getting tired. The point I'm trying to make is that they are all darn good dancers, no ones going to argue that. The principals and soloists looked good, even if their variations were simplified considering their amazing wealth of talent. The corps was incredibly underused, I couldnt imagine doing the job they had to do. I've never seen a full length ballet so boring for the corps, even the character dances were compromised. They tried to trim the ballet, and they took out all the dancing. It was entertainment, it looked expensive, it was an incredibly easy ballet for the company. Aside from the sets, it wasn't a classic rendition of a classic. There are reasons and conscious decisions made at every step of the way for everything that goes into make a new ballet. Its obvious to me that I'm just too far removed from the environment that ABT finds itself in to understand what frame of mind or where this ballet came from. If I'd paid for my ticket, I honestly would have asked for a refund. I'm not kidding.
  12. I just had the chance to work with Paul in Minneapolis on a staging of Rodeo, it was nice to have this background. He is a gentle person, so easy and fun to work with. Brunie came out for the shows and was equally charming, wonderful stories from Harkness.
  13. Yes, Molly Smolen did the second act and Vanessa Zahorian did the third act.
  14. A friend of mine was at this show, he mentioned that Tina went down. I dont want to incite gossip, has there been any word on her condition?
  15. sandik, I've never heard of the Dance Collection. Is it an online resource?
  16. sandik, thanks for the link. That is totaly cool, if only i were going to NYC
  17. Ohh thanks for all the quick responses. I had no idea PABallet did It. I havent heard their use of it mentioned. However we do have a video of the Oakland production that is being juxtaposed with Richmonds last run of it. Paul, I'll have to look for Summer in it. I made a point of taking one of her classes this summer after hearing so many good things about her. There are a handful of dancers in the company from San Fran that will love knowing that it is her. Yeah, we're all dying to get into the costumes, they were described to us as purple speedo's with a matching spanish type top.
  18. Hello guys, We (ballet west) started work last week on John Butler's Carmina Burana, I've been cast as one of the corps couples. Malcom Burn (Richmond) is staging it. I like that he is giving us a lot of information and direction in terms of emotion and stories to be told. However, I was wondering if anyone in the community here has any stories or experiance with the ballet either seeing, dancing, or administering it that they could share. Many thanks!
  19. I'm interested in learning about Canfield's Equinox. I'm sure some of you guys have seen it performed by OBT in the past. I've heard its contemporary movement, but thats all I've been told. I was hoping you guys could shed some more light on the piece.
  20. A little off topic but, this presents an interesting dilemma for young dancers trying to get jobs. The great thing about taking company class is that you and the AD can see immediately whether you fit into the company. In company class you aren’t competing against a room full of auditioning students. If you fit in then you fit in, and at the moment there is no one better than you for the AD to choose from. When I went around taking company class I made a conscious effort to fit in with the company. That meant looking like a professional looking for a job, not a student looking for a job; I took those classes less academically. However when I went to open calls I found that the best way to make an impression was to approach class very academically, it shows that you are smart and work intelligently and that will generally set you apart from the other options in the room. At an open call unlike Co. Class it’s not about fitting in at all, it’s about looking like the best option in the room. I am a well rounded dancer, there is always one person that can turn more than I can, one person with better extension, one person with better beats, one person with more control in adagio. So since you can’t win each battle the only way to win the war is set yourself apart, for me that was to look clean the whole time. I think that consistency is valued more at the open calls. I dont like the idea that professionals have to conserve energy. In the short time that I have worked I've found that the happiest dancers here tend to be the ones that enjoy class every day and dont come to simply maintaining their technique.
  21. Toni Bentley says the same thing of him in her short non-fiction book, Winter Season.
  22. I think its interesting to see how ABT is positioning itself. Who ever is in marketing and that side of management is focusing the company's energy past its local market, at least for the moment. I published a post in my blog yesterday on ABT's new partnership with Payless Shoes, they are going to start stocking a new line of ABT ballet shoes in their stores nationwide. Obviously I dont have even a smidgen of all the info there is to know but from the outside it looks like ABT trying to play ball with the big boys (the other day I was surprised to see a nice full page add in Real Simple, a womens magazine). Maybe they've refocused to a national level and that explains the recent loss of local market feel? Blog Entry - ABT and Payless Shoes team up
  23. Re: Free outdoor performances I think it depends on the market and the company. Ohio Ballet did a free show each summer. As the company was shutting down the idea was floated that instead of hooking people the community expected the free summer show came and saw it, got their fix and then didnt feel the need to see the ballet until the next summers free program. On the other hand San Francisco Ballet performs at Sterns Grove each summer they draw a huge crowd, and havent seemed to have problems with it. who knows. I really do like what OBT has done with their get to know your dancers and OBT Exposed ideas. It seems like an exciting energized place to be. Quite the vibe to create huh? Someones doing their job, really well.
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