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Everything posted by DanielBenton

  1. A poet friend of mine, upon seeing the 1973 Berlin video of Allegra in the Symphony in C 2nd movement, said she has a nobility about her...Her autobiographical book referenced above shows her to be an extremely intelligent, articulate, and very witty observer or herself and her own life, which, off the stage, was often a mess! What did Balanchine think of her? Page 31, Gloria Contreras: Diary of a Choreographer. What I Learned from Balanchine, Jorge Pinto Books, Inc., New York, 2008. "I just got back from a rehearsal of Concerto Barocco, which I attended as a spectator. It’s set to Bach and the choreography rivals the music in its beauty and depth. Allegra Kent and Violette Verdy are the soloists. The former, as usual, has a harmonious style and is delightful to watch. Violette has a lot of personality and is a very good ballerina, but she’s going through hell because she still doesn’t know the piece. During the rehearsals she concentrates and is respectful to the choreographers and amiable with her companions, without talking down to the girls in the corps de ballet. At the end of the rehearsal I went up to Balanchine and told him my opinion of Concerto Barocco, that it’s profoundly religious. I know that he liked the idea because his eyes shone and a subtle smile passed across his face. But his answer was “Allegra is divine!” "
  2. for information on Balanchine I would recommend, in addition to the "direct" biographies, the autobiographies of d'Amboise and Villella (cited above), and Allegra Kent's autobiography"Once a Dancer". All give nuanced views of GB by his finest dancers. The Charles Joseph book cited above is also very fine, somewhat muscially technical, and contains important information about the aesthetics and principles formulated by GB and Stravinsky. Also Elizabeth Kattner-Ulrich's "The Early Life and Work of George Balanchine." Yuri Slonimsky's article in Ballet Review: "Balanchine: The Early Years" and Elizabeth Souritz' "Soviet Choreographers in the 1920s" are wonderful in giving context to Balanchine and Soviet dance in the post-revolutionary period . I am wary of Kendall's book because it is both speculative and not a primary source. Goldner's books can be a useful list if you have seen the works she describes from her viewpoint. Joseph Mazo's "Dance is a Contact Sport" is quite an unusual and good read about GB and the NYCB for one full year (1974).
  3. I don't know what her background was. My surmise is that is was marketing. with little or no orientation to the arts. I was stunned by her remarks. I believe she is no longer at Iowa Public Television.
  4. A few years ago I queried the director of Iowa Public Television as to why they did not schedule the Great Performances series episode of the School of American Ballet spring program (which was broadcast in early December of that year). She replied that it was not in keeping with midwestern values and in lieu of the regularly-scheduled Great Performances they would show some locally-produced program from Minnesota Public Television. I did not call her a moron, nitwit, nor plebian. I did not tell her that a woman from Coralville Iowa is in the NYCB corps de ballet. Nor did I tell her that our friends' daughter is a scholarship student in the SAB summer program. I did tell her my New York friends would be laughing at her response.
  5. In Iowa City, I saw the preview performance of Joffrey Nutcracker. The musical acumen was perfunctory at best; the transitions were abrupt and thoughtless; the dancing was adequate. Mostly it was a visual-effects show with minimal emphasis on both dance and music.
  6. Quiggin, Sandik, Drew, et al: Many thanks for this very articulate discussion of the influences on Balanchine and Ashton. The more Balanchine I watch, the more I see both Petipa and the early post-revolutionary Russians, in whatever mix he chose for a particular piece.
  7. Amen to that. It does seem like the starburst is more difficult to accomplish without the staircase; the lighting seems to be critical to its success.
  8. Just my opinion, as a composer - Apollo makes much more structural sense without the birth scene. There is a structural coherence to the shorter version including the music preceding curtain up, which makes the birth scene somewhat superfluous.
  9. Thanks jmsu for the discussion of Sonatine. I knew something was missing and could not quite identify what it was!
  10. Thanks mussel! Can some of you compare the Sonatine of old (i.e., 1970's original GB-supervised production) with the contemporary version as seen here? Many thanks.
  11. I have read the first 100 pages and have learned much about Patricia Wilde, about whom I knew little. The major drawback is that much of the copious commentary and opinions about ballets and ballet dancers are not attributed. This leads me to believe that they are Lobenthal's opinions, not Wilde's. So far it seems as if I am reading approx. 35% about Wilde and 65% unattributed.
  12. Can anyone explain "dissemination of sorostitutes"?
  13. Do they ever do Scotch Symphony? I have been attending since 2012 and do not recall.
  14. The program for each performance day is posted on the NYCB website. It will show if you log in first then go to the calendar beginning Sept 20 2016
  15. I am sorry- Referring to Fracci-Bruhn I was thinking of Giselle, not La Sylhpide (I have Giselle on my mind these days, watching many versions in preparation to give a course on 19th century ballet). I have seen only a few versions of La Sylphide but prefer the traditional RDB DVD with Jeppeson, Hubbe and Englund. Along those lines, I appreciate Peter Martins' traditional staging also, seen a few weeks ago in NYC.
  16. Bournonville because of the stylistic consistency and the music. Performance: Fracci-Bruhn movie from late 60's ABT production. In spite of the film-makers intrusiveness and brevity of the ensemble dancing, Bruhn's acting and development of relationship with Fracci makes it better theatre than any other I have seen.
  17. The Iowa City/Coralville area is a hotbed for ballet training!
  18. At first reading I thought it was a pretty scattershot approach to GB, but actually for people who do not know much about GB it may pique their interest.
  19. Greatest movie ever: Children of Paradise. ok, its not a Christmas story but back in the day (70s and 80s the York Theatre in San Francisco on 24th Street deep would show it every Christmas.
  20. I just came from today's performance at the cinema. The visual was fine including some nice close-ups of Clothilde conducting. There was something wrong with the audio - it sounded compressed, canned, like AM radio. I don't think the problem was with the theatre sound system, it sounded more like the recording process and/or the feed. Curious if anyone else heard the same.
  21. Thank you Syrene. I found it visually stunning and it would make a great blu-ray DVD. I am still digesting the content and considering the match of dance to music which I did not find convincing on my first viewing. I thought the overall mood of this production was somewhat at odds with the mood that the music dictates...but that is just my initial opinion on first viewing. I will be watching it again!
  22. The RDB 2015 Swan Lake is up on YouTube. I am interested if anyone has seen it and their reaction.
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