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Everything posted by DanielBenton

  1. And having just seen The Four Temperaments at NYCB it brings to mind the colorful and bizarrely cumbersome Kurt Seligmann costumes of the 1946 premiere.
  2. Fascinating photos; reminds one that what costumes look like can change radically over a few years. We are so used to the clean sleek look of Balanchines' ballets today.
  3. Well said abatt. I liked the Preljocal as a theatre piece not so much as dance. I noted the Robbins influence on Millepied and Peck and mused about what a Balanchine influence might look like. I decided that it would be somewhat equivalent to saying what a Beethoven influence might look like on a later composer.
  4. Two comments: 1) Macauley is not a credible reviewer so what he says about NYCB is irrelevant. If Peter Martins paid attention to Macauley he would have quit a long time ago. Reminiscent of John Martin hammering Balanchine in bygone days. 2) Anyone else note that the NYCB orchestra seems to play much better when Clotilde Otranto is conducting (e.g., this past Wednesday night)than when other conductors are leading?
  5. The most interesting aspect of Martins' Swan Lake production is the psychological undertone of melancholy and a sort of nonspecific dread evoked by the orchestra (which played very well indeed on Wednesday night). The simplicity and lack of gaudiness of the costumes enhance this aspect as it leads our attention right to the music which is the underpinning of the whole experience. I thought Ashley Bouder was musically spot-on last night. Her swan-ness seemed to grow as the piece progressed.
  6. On a tangential note, a posting on the DTH website today which mentions Ms.Harss' interview with Ms. Johnson also has a link to an article by Alyson Ross (Artist/Educator/Writer) called "The Price of Progress". Quite beautifully written.
  7. Looking forward to NYCB offering some other Balanchine: La Sonambula, Prodigal Son, Midsummer Night's Dream, Davidsbundlertanze, and what some say is Jerome Robbins' best piece - Dances at a Gathering. I am also looking forward to NYCB getting over its infatuation with clothing fashions which judging by current publicity is what they think people should be interested in.
  8. I just read Adam Kopnik's review of Salerno's book in The New Yorker. Kopnik is fairly convincing in his condemnation of it.
  9. I believe Helene's point about audiences learning about Balanchine from companies other than NYCB is the most telling. Doesn't NYCB want to maintain a semblance of leadership as the custodian of the Balanchine legacy? And shouldn't they have a mindset to do whatever it takes to accomplish this?
  10. I have a 10-DVD set of the Balanchine Essays: The Barre Parts 1 and 2 Port de Bras & Epaulement Transfer of Weight Arabesque Passe & Attitude Jumps Parts 1 and 2 Pirouettes & Other Turns Pointe Technique & Pas de Bouree Is there a logical order in which to watch these? Thanks!
  11. abatt, I noticed that if I logged in as a member first, it would not show me the seating chart. If I went directly to buy tickets without logging in first, it did show me the seating chart.
  12. In a discussion of the history of ballet and music (pp.4-5 of my pdf version), Ratmansky incisively sums up what ballet can do, referring to Balanchine's Serenade as his model: " 'It's just dance, and at the same time it has narrative, which can be interpreted in very different ways. This, I think, is the specialty of ballet, more than story ballets or completely "abstract" works.' "
  13. These are interesting surmises and educational for me to read.
  14. I am suggesting that Balanchine had (and has) valid compositional (i.e., structural) reasons for making the cuts.
  15. And I should add, comparable also to the late serial works of Stravinsky himself!
  16. I also prefer the shorter version: it is Balanchine showing how to accomplish all that is necessary with economy of means. Only Anton Webern or late Beethoven is comparable. The original "full" version seems long and complicated by comparison. The eliminated parts are "nice" and "interesting" but are a burden that detracts from the main point of the work.
  17. Some interesting points have come out of this thread, in spite of the unintended consequence of elevating Macaulay's opinions to a level they do not deserve.
  18. Thank you vipa and rg for reminding me to re-read Croce, and Quiggin for the poetic reference. A "poetic sensibility" is not the worst approach to discussing ballet!
  19. As I said (at least) once before, Macualey, who often misses the point of what he is seeing, AND is full of bad feelings, is simply not credible and he cannot be taken seriously as an observer of ballet. As Jayne says below, just shrug and ignore. Recently re-reading some of Edwin Denby's reviews of NYCB peformances reminded me of the true role of a critic.
  20. Unfortunately, Mr. Macauley because of his general attitude of ill-will and grumpy rehearsal-master approach, is not a credible reviewer (even when he is right!). This is really sad, because many of the facts that he presents can be, in isolation, interesting.
  21. I think vipa is close to my (evolving) view on this; which is that the music rules in Balanchine and that the (women) dancers are illustrating this. The combinations of steps he devised to go with the music naturally bring out the women's personalities as they dance, because the combinations are never inappropriate to the music. The result we get to witness is often intense, poignant and joyful.
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