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Everything posted by sidwich

  1. I'm a rear orchestra person for the most part. The orchestra section slopes downward, so you can still see feet without feeling too far away.
  2. That's true, but that was under a different administration. Also, Gelsey Kirkland was the right size to dance with Baryshnikov which no doubt helped in casting her alongside him. And Baryshnikov was no doubt sympathetic to casting smaller dancers. Kevin McKenzie was a tall dancer, and he seems to favor taller dancers, as Lane herself commented. Sarah Lane is allegedly the shortest dancer they've hired in quite some time. I'm just saying, I don't think her short stature is doing her any favors in the casting area. And believe me, I am very sympathetic to Sarah's plight. I'm probably shorter than she is, and when I was dancing, I just had to suck it up that there were dances I just was never going to do as well in as taller dancers.
  3. I think McKenzie steers away from casting Sarah Lane as well, but I honestly think it's more to do with her height. My feelings has been that he just feels she's too short. Lane herself alluded to it in this article from several years back: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/dance/life-in-the-fast-lane. Perhaps Murphy and Part are older or present partnering problems, perhaps some of the other principals are too expensive/present scheduling problems, but I'm not sure why McKenzie didn't didn't give Isabella Boylston one of the extra Swan Lakes. I know she's not a favorite either, but it would have at least eased some of that punishing load on Hee Seo.
  4. To come full circle, Royal Wedding also would have reunited Allyson with Chuck Walters who also directed Good News. Walters pulled out of Royal Wedding when Garland was cast. Although her close friend and frequent collaborator (he directed Easter Parade and Summer Stock, choreographed and staged numbers in other films for her, and later worked with her on her concerts), he had had it with Garland by the time Royal Wedding came around. I actually like some of Garland's delivery in Easter Parade. For me, it's more that by 1951, the abuse and air pockets in her voice started to become apparent. Actually, to bring it back to Good News again, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were the the first choices to play the leads. (I suppose a 5'2 quarterback is no more unbelievable than a decidedly British one.)
  5. Considering DiCaprio retains one of the top publicists in the country, I think he might disagree with you on the necessity of media to his career. (To give you an idea of how important marketing and publicity is to Hollywood, the Hollywood rule of thumb is that the marketing budget for a film is at least 2X the film's production budget). And while I have the utmost respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there were many factors in her appointment to the Supreme Court, a number of which were unrelated to her outstanding work. Ginsburg was actually pretty far down the list of Clinton's choices. She was already 60, and many felt that her time to ascend to the SCOTUS had passed. But some chose to drop out of consideration (Mario Cuomo, Richard Riley). The Clinton Camp ruled out others like Janie Shores (first woman on the Alabama Supreme Court) because they weren't well-known enough in Washington. Others had political considerations attached that could prove problematic. No one has ever hidden the fact that a significant part of the decision-making to nominate Ginsburg was because she was female so she would became the first woman nominated by a Democratic president, and also because she was Jewish (there hadn't been a Jewish justice since Justice Fortas). Other jurists who were in play as potential nominees at the time were David Tatel of the D.C. Circuit who would have been the first blind justice and Jose Cabranes of the Second Circuit who would have been the first Hispanic justice.
  6. I got to spend some time in NYC last week, and got to ​An American in Paris (as well as a few other things). I liked it more than canbelto, but there are problems with it: Lise is terribly underwritten, Henri's character is gay/not gay/resistance fighter/confused?, "Fidgety Feet" makes no sense, and the Wheeldon choreography doesn't reach the heights it needs to for the resolution to pay off. (I find the resolution of the film weak as well, but the ballet is so dazzling you forget about it). It's still probably the overall best piece I saw in the week, though. (I also saw Gigi, The King and I, On the Twentieth Century and On the Town. Yes, my mother really likes musicals...). Crowley will definitely get a nod, and I think Fairchild has an excellent chance at a nomination as well. An American in Paris basically rests on his shoulders, and he is so magical and charming in it that he can carry it through a lot of the weak spots. (My mother who is no ballet fan absolutely adored him in this and is now a fan!). The only other actor that I saw last week with an equal or better shot would be Peter Gallagher in On the Twentieth Century, and that's partly because of his beloved veteran status. Other actors who I think have good shots at nominations based on who they are and what they're in would be Matt Morrison in Finding Neverland and one or both of Brian d'Arcy James and Christian Borle in Something Rotten. Ken Wattanabe could get a nod for The King and I, but I honestly don't think his performance is nomination worthy. (My mom's comment at the end of of the performance: "He looks relieved it's over!").
  7. sidwich

    Misty Copeland

    The statistical employment data shows a statistically significant difference in the employment opportunities for black Americans versus white Americans: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/upshot/the-measuring-sticks-of-racial-bias-.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1 The article cites numerous studies of everything from employment opportunities, car dealership negotiation, to graduate research opportunities, and consistently a statistically significant difference appears in how the races are treated. However, I think one of the most interesting points made in the article is that even in Ebay auctions, iPods held by white hands received 21% more responses than those held by black hands. Just the appearance by a white hand makes an objectively identical item more attractive. It's also borne out by the Okcupid data. (Laugh if you must, but one of my close friends is one of the top data scientists in the country, and he consistently cites Okcupid because of the sheer volume of behavior data it sits on). http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/race-attraction-2009-2014/ Even though the number of people saying they prefer people of their own race has consistently trended downward, black profiles get consistently lower ratings than any racial profiles, and black women get much lower ratings than black men. Of course, there's no study of just ballet company, and I don't know how you could even isolate such an effect in that environment. But it's very difficult for me to believe that such an effect doesn't exist at all in companies just because.
  8. Whoa. No disrespect to Ms. Fairchild, but I'm sorry to miss this. I hope some of her performance is preserved!
  9. That's my favorite single dance, too! Actually, my favorite group of dances is probably Swingtime, although I think Top Hat is a better overall film. (We showed Top Hat in my dinner and movie group a few months ago and people generally enjoyed it although they found the "It's a Small World" version of Venice pretty humorous.) Barkleys of Broadway has some strange tensions running through it. The obvious one is Fred and Ginger reunited via Judy Garland's work issues, but "They Can't Take That Away" from me dropped into the middle of the film is also kind of strange. (And Harry Warren really wasn't happy about it.) It's really not a comfortable film to watch.
  10. Michael Keaton has had the buzz and the momentum for months now. He's the veteran with a great comeback story, and "Birdman" has been getting excellent reviews all around. I would be very, very surprised if he does not win. He, Moore, Arquette and Simmons have been the odds on favorites for a while now. Carell will not win, and I don't think the other three are seen as having paid their dues yet.
  11. I didn't see these clips posted: http://www.francetvinfo.fr/culture/spectacles/video-premiere-mondiale-a-paris-pour-la-piece-un-americain-a-paris_752099.html
  12. No offense taken. As much as it's beloved by many theatre folk, I'm actually not a fan of Light in the Piazza. I do think it's a stronger piece than Pippin, though.
  13. Well, sorry to say, I find Pippin to be inherently weaker in material than either Hairspray or Light in the Piazza. Most of what's memorable about the original production is Fosse's fantastic staging and Ben Vereen's performance as the Leading Player (both of which are preserved in the video capture of the original tour). As I remember, Pippin started as a student piece which Stephen Schwartz began writing while still at Carnegie-Mellon. If you take out Fosse's staging and the standout performances, the work itself is very slight. (The original cast really was excellent, though. The original ensemble included such exceptional dancers as Anne Reinking, Jennifer Naim-Smith, Cheryl Clark and others.) I haven't seen the general licensed version in a while, but I would imagine it takes out parts like the orgy scene. But I really don't think that those add that much meat to the bones in any case. I do have to say, I think the alternate version that's generally licensed now is an improvement though. Here's the original Fosse staged opening:
  14. Honestly, I don't know if this will be a net positive if we're looking at it solely through the prism of her career as a ballet dancer. However, I think stretching boundaries, opening horizons and being exposed to other artistic approaches is a good thing as an overall artist and as a person. I also think it's interesting that you bring up musicality as the area that she has grown the most in recently because I do think that a year of dancing to Bernstein and working with professional jazz dancers could be a positive for her in this area. The score to On the Town is interesting, complex and certainly food for musical thought, and Tony Yazbek who is playing opposite her is an exceptional jazz dancer and musical theatre performer. As an audience member, I am more concerned for Robbie Fairchild and An American in Paris. In the Gene Kelly role, Mr. Fairchild is going to have to carry that piece, and in the clips I've seen of him jazz dancing I'm not totally sold on his ability to do that yet. The Gershwin music is tough, and I'm not sure he has the chops to phrase the music well and it's really crucial for that to work.
  15. These "crowdfunding" platforms are the new vogue in business fundraising, and I've seen a bunch of these new platforms are being launched in the wake of the JOBS Act. I didn't know that theatrical producers were attempting this as well, but I can't say I'm surprised.
  16. If anyone is considering going to see Megan Fairchild/On the Town, this is rehearsal footage from the "Miss Turnstiles Ballet" with Ms. Fairchild: (Actually, as far as I can tell, it's footage of the entirety of the ballet). Ms. Fairchild seems quite charming in the clip. And in case anyone is wondering, no, Ivy, her character is an entirely non-singing role, and there's really not a whole lot of non-dancing acting in her part either. It's really almost entirely dancing, and most of that is heavily ballet based. Early reviews and buzz for the Broadway transfer seem positive. It could run for a while.
  17. Oh fun -- I've never heard that version before!
  18. Actually, my interpretation was that Copeland was referring to the audience being thrilled by performances. But I completely bow the fact that that's open to interpretation.
  19. Considering, Ms. Lane is answering a completely different question: And, as I pointed out, Ms. Copeland doesn't even have the opportunity to answer this question, t don't think it's a fair comparison at all. It's comparing apples and organs.
  20. Actually, the reason Ms. Lane didn't respond is because she wasn't there. You must have missed this part of the article: Here is the link in case anybody would like to read the interview in its entirety: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/arts/dance/american-ballet-theater-dancers-in-conversation.html?pagewanted=all
  21. I was curious about this, so I looked it up. This is the question from Ms. Kourlas and Misty Copeland's reply: Personally, I don't find this response particularly bitter. I think it's a truthful statement of life in a major ballet company that dancers are constantly working to prove themselves. I don't think she particularly calls out McKenzie either. You may be thinking of Sean Stewart's response which is much more critical of the policy:
  22. It's a charming homage to Kelly, but besides the obvious challenges by his different body type, I think Fairchild lacks the crispness in his phrasing necessary to make a piece like sing. In order to make a jazz-influenced piece like this work, it takes a real consciousness of the groove of the music, and Fairchild doesn't quite have a firm grasp on it, so the accents aren't really landing with real impact. It makes me wonder how he'll do on the tap pieces in An American in Paris. In case anyone wants to compare, here in Gene Kelly in Ballin' the Jack:
  23. I think Jeremy Lin's case is a really interesting comparison with Misty Copeland. Here's a guy with a 4.2 GPA at Palo Alto High School, the most elite public high school in the state, captains the team to to the state Division II title and is Division II player of the year, and has NO NCAA Division I athletic scholarship offers. He's evaluated as a Division III college player. After a standout college career at Harvard, he's still undrafted by the NBA but perseveres against the odds and makes it into the league. For Asian-Americans, him breaking into the NBA was a big deal because it was a big statement not only on sports, but the fact that an Asian-American could hang in elite sports, something that is very not in the model minority stereotype of engineers who play the violin. More than one coach has come forward and said since, that they should taken him more seriously as an athletic candidate, but quite frankly, he wasn't African-American or white and despite the objective statistics, they just didn't see him as a candidate for big-time sports. For arts, in which there is no baseline statistical measure, I can only imagine what the implications could be if you just don't fit the expected "look". It's also a big deal in that Lin's journey was seriously hampered by not getting that initial scholarship offer. Once he was turned away from an NCAA scholarship, the odds were seriously against him ever making it to the NBA. Going to Harvard is great, but it's not really someplace scouts take seriously as a breeding ground for NBA players. So the chance than an Asian-American could make an impact as an NBA player is seen as big deal so that the next kid might not be dismissed quite so easily.
  24. I'm not sure of your particular case, but I think it's a big issue with with race and the dance world because there has been such implicit and at times explicit exclusion of many minorities from the elite strata. For example, the Rockettes for decades explicitly would not hire non-white dancers for the line on the basis that it would ruin the uniformity of their "look." The first Asian Rockette was only hired in the 80s and the first African-American Rockette wasn't hired until late 80s. So for a long time, dancers would be excluded or held back explicitly on the basis of their race. While I don't think that explicit exclusion exists anymore (at least, I hope it doesn't), it's obvious that it's still extremely rare to see an African-American female dancer with that kind of seniority at an elite company. And I think that that is one element of why African-American girls identify with her. She also does have a compelling, very unorthodox story, which I think does speak to many young girls and their families who may not come from comfortable middle to upper-middle class means: unfortunate family situation, started late and started elite training very late, nontraditional ballet body, etc. For comparison, here's the way Gillian Murphys ABT bio starts: Here's the way Misty Copeland's bio starts with: So first, yes, I think race can be a big factor, but there may be other factors in why children could find Copeland a role model.
  25. Thank you, miliosr. It's very interesting to look at these figures. I do wonder, though, what the return on investment was as well. For example, ​Rich, Young and Pretty may not have made enormous profit, but given it's a Jane Powell musical, it was probably a Joe Pasternak production. Pasternak's films were usually all-singing, fairy low-budget films. They were the "C" team of the MGM musical arm, so the movie probably didn't cost too much to make. Even though the profit wasn't big, the ROI might have been okay. It certainly cost a lot less than any other of the films on that list, although The Great Caruso probably turned a massive profit and ROI, since I don't think it was a big Arthur Freed "A" production. Comparatively, even though Singin' in the Rain's profit looks okay, I know it was considered an MGM disappointment because it was not a cheap film to make and it was considered an underperformer.
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