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Everything posted by DanielBenton

  1. Kudos to canbelto for actually discussing details of the performances s/he witnessed; I contrast that with Gottlieb's "I wanted to swat her". What is that, except some personal petulance unleashed.
  2. So if one is to wholeheartedly endorse Gottlieb's opinions on Jewels, what does that say about Acocella's New Yorker review, which has other emphases entirely. If Gottlieb damns the POB for their "narcissistic self-presentation", does that mean Acocella totally misses the point by not damning them? Did they see the same performances. It hardly seems so.
  3. The problem with a lot of writers on ballet, e.g., Gottlieb, is that their review tells us what they think is terrible and what they think is swell and very little about the actual performance. His opinions about aspects being the worst he has ever seen, etc., is not relevant nor helpful.
  4. Seems so odd that a company can require binding arbitration for what are criminal acts
  5. I agree with canbelto. Taken together, the memoirs of Kent, Villella, D'Amboise et al. provide a more interesting picture than the current biographies.
  6. Lauren Lovette with "Not Our Fate" has made Ratmansky's point somewhat moot. As George Balanchine says in Solomon Volkov's Balanchine's Tchaikovsky, "The feeling is important, not the object".
  7. If memory serves (?) I think Merrill Ashley coached the Bolshoi in Diamonds a few years ago, and Karin von Aroldingen is still an active coach. In coaching music, a good teacher is able, while remaining true to the essence of a piece, to dissociate themselves from the way they learned a piece and thus have a fresh perspective when listening to students perform. Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Paris Opera and NYCB are so different in their training and presentation, and thus it would be fascinating to get their views. Balanchine (like Beethoven, Bach, or Shakespeare), has a universal message such that his compositions can be presented in these really different traditions.
  8. It would be interesting to know what the original generation of dancers (I am thinking of Allegra Kent, Karin von Aroldingen, Jacques d'Amboise etc.) who may have seen this summer's performances thought about it. Their thoughts on how Balanchine's works are being passed down and out of New York City to other companies would be most welcome.
  9. Thank you all for a very interesting discussion. Because I believe the most enduring artistic aspect of Balanchine's work is his choreography informed by his musical acumen (sometimes combined with the "mind of the poet" [Croce]) resulting in a look into the "Real World", I would naturally like to see an emphasis on that, but a biography is probably not the place for it. Probably more of the flavor of CM Joseph's writing but less technical (musically speaking) and more accessible to any person who can listen and watch at the same time.
  10. All the SAB summer school kids were there tonight. Haven't taken deportment yet.
  11. A brief first impression: Emeralds: A professional dancer friend who is a NYCB docent said to me (paraphrase): My God, did you see how tshe (one of the principal ladies) used her arms and hands? The way they move through space is as if the air has weight to it." Some of the movements had beautifully synchronized movement and music; other not so much. Rubies: In addition to excellent performances by Reichlen, M Fairchild and the corps, Joaquin da Luz was practically channeling Edward Villella. Diamonds: Some of the orchestral playing was outstanding, bringing out various sections and individual instruments. Played rather slowly, which was probably to the Bolshoi's taste. Olga Smirnova was as advertised, unbelievable. She had said in an interview that the pas de deux was both beautiful in a cold way (like diamonds), and also rather sad. It was exactly that. She has a mystery about her that I have seen rarely, in old video, in a few others.
  12. There are some 3rd ring 1st row seats for Sat evening (Smirnova dancing Diamonds) for $150.
  13. I second Quiggin, Jack. Always good to read your descriptions.
  14. The season brochure is online. At the website menu, down near the bottom is "17/18 season"
  15. On the phone today the ticket office said the season subscription brochures are about to or soon to be mailed out.
  16. Also, programs are once again listed by date on the NYCB website
  17. Ticket office is accepting subscription orders starting this morning
  18. Alas, they took it down! The NYCB keepers of the website are very capricious
  19. The programs are now shown by date in the NYCB website calendar
  20. Thanks Drew, I don't have an opinion after one viewing regarding the production as a unified work of art, but I thought it was a heck of a good try at theater and at times I had the feeling I was watching an opera: The relative importance of 3 elements: music, scenic design, and choreography was something unusual in my (limited) experience. Just my own opinion - it was a more compelling use of ballet than, e.g., what Ratmansky and Wheeldon are doing.
  21. Thanks Amy for a good discussion. In Iowa City, the streaming of the audio also cut out for 1-2 seconds on a regular basis. Must be transmission issues.
  22. The music was good and intriguing. The highly-skilled (young!) composer had to write a lot of it, and much of it (but not all by any means) was derivative of different styles (Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev especially). The first two female leads were pretty stunning, and Zakharova was her usual self. Balanchine said there are no mothers-in-law in ballet, i.e., ballet is not a good medium for complicated plots.
  23. I just ran across a Macaulay review of NYCB in London in Ballet Review 1984 (12:1, Spring; 84-96) in which he strenuously defends Balanchine and the NYCB dancers against the preponderance of British critics.
  24. Very late in GB' life: Here is the quotation from D'Amboise's book: In the year before his death, I often escorted Balanchine to visit the legendary Dr. James Gould for ear tests. Killing time in the waiting room, I once asked, "Mr. B, in the history of all the ballerinas you've taught and choreographed for-from the earliest days, Toumanova, Baronova, Riabouchinska, all the way up till today-who do you con­ sider the most talented? The most unusual? " He immediately answered : "Allegra. She is the most gifted. She is missing only one ele­ ment in 'the formula to be perfect .' . . . It's like chemistry in a jar . Energy, lots of it, must be there. That's the soup that everything cooks in. Then you put in ambition and humility. 'Ah, I'm not good enough yet, I can be better.' But, there must be balance-not so much humil­ity that you end up saying, Tm not good enough, I'll never be ready.' You must have in the formula pride, but not so much that the dancer says, 'I don't do matinees.' You can be stupid and still dance beautifully, but you can't become great without intelligence . . . Allegra has the right ingredients, but something prevents her from being consistent. I can't count on her. Still, I keep her on salary and tell her, 'When you're ready to dance, come dance. If you dance one ballet a year, it's enough.' She's worth it.''
  25. Cubanmiamiboy - Yes is was from the D'Amboise autobiography: he (J.D.) asked Balanchine the question.
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