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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Ballet Parent & fan
  • City**
    Portland, Oregon
  1. Well, Jack, if I couldn't be there (dd has stress fracture: Miss Farrell did not want her to risk it healing unproperly) you certainly helped make up for it. Great reports! I was taken aback by the dismissiveness of some of the UK reviews. Having seen two performances at the Kennedy Center last year, I was suprised. Maybe this is just one of those ballets you "get" or don't. It's spiritual and has to be understood on that level. Seemed like a (critics) group agenda to me. Anyway, you certainly gave us a refreshingly posivitive (but still critical) view of the whole run. I remember speaking to some of the company after the KC run who spoke of a magnificent performance by Heather Ogden (the one in which she was dropped) in which she danced with the abandon most associated with Miss Farrell in that role. The word had spread through the company that something special was happening on stage and they had all gathered in the wings to watch Heather "go for it". Any hint of that in Edinburgh? Would have really loved to have seen Natalia M and Goh. I really enjoyed your film analogy. That's why I get those seats! Cheers, Watermill
  2. I have unexpectedly had to cancel my trip to Edinburgh. I am selling two single tickets for Don Q. They are both very good as I purchased them months ago. Mon Aug 28 front row Balcony a little to the side. Tues Aug 29 Orch center row N. PM me if interested.
  3. I'll be there..DD in corps...will see last two performances...Hope to catch two different Dulcineas. Will report in Sept upon return. Cheers, Watermill
  4. One of the area's most influential ballet instructors, Elena Carter Richardson has passed away after a prolonged struggle with cancer. Throughout the tumultuous roller coaster ride years for ballet students at OBT and the Portland Public Schools, she was a serene prescence, providing a focus on excellence that was unmatched. When one thinks of the words "Beloved Teacher", Elena surely comes to mind. I hope others who knew her, as dancer or teacher will post their appreciations. Peace, Elena...you dance in our hearts forever. Obituary from Oregonian
  5. Thanks for keeping us informed, msfifiroxsox. Watermill
  6. Thanks for the quote from Gottlieb, bart. I hope to read it soon. I was so stunned by the beauty and variety of this neglected and much maligned work, that it forced me to remember how some of Mozart's operas, such as the glorious Cosi Fan Tutte lay unperformed through much of the 19th century. If you can imagine hearing that music as it was being rediscovered, that's how I felt "discovering" Balanchine's Don Quixote. I thought it a triumph for Ms. Farrell. ...and I'm sure someone heard a warm chuckle from Mr. B, wherever he is. Watermill
  7. And her sharp opinions of DC ballet are a pleasure to read as well. All the best, Ari. Watermill
  8. No Maria. Just as well...I probably would have burst into tears. And the day I meet Suzanne Farrell I don't even want to think about. Some memories are so perfect they grow crystalline with passing time.
  9. Missed Chris Stowell's opening remarks (and a video clip of his upcoming work) but can report on the rest of the evening: Bart Cook, equally elegant and articulate, spoke of a wide range of subjects, illustrated with some wonderful still photos and two utterly amazing film clips. He began by talking about The Dybbuk, that much of the principal male choreography was shaped on him; how the fighting between Robbins and Bernstein "killed the life" of the piece... Mentioned a revival is in the works. How he felt that Robbins used him so much because of his very "theatrical" training with the Christiansens in Utah gave him a more human, character based kind of dancing. The rivalry between Robbins & Balanchine: how neither one understood what the audience saw in the other's work. That they were both jealous of each other and found the the other to be "an enigma". That Mr. B hired Robbins to provide variety and relief from his own ballets: "You can't eat steak every night". Mr. Cook speculated that a very different group of works would have come from Robbins had he not stayed at NYCB. How autobiographical Watermill was. How Tanaquil le Clerq became furious because she felt it exposed their relationship (!) Robbins' powers of observation: how they informed his dances with everyday drama and gesture. Many photos: Robbins in Prodigal with Tallchief, as Ringmaster, Bart Cook in Glass Pieces lifting Maria Calegari, in the Concert, The Dybbuk. The first film clip was Cook as the Happy Sailor from Fancy Free. Astonishing virtuostic performance with an ease, flow and joy of life I have never seen so strongly in that role. And I've seen some good dancers tackle it. Amusing anecdote about the spacing beween the stools and what happened when the bartender did not move them properly between solos. The second clip was the pas from The Cage with Cook and the predatory Heather Watts. Amazing unity, tension...and again: virtuosity. When the life of the choreography leaps out of an ancient fuzzy videotape, you know the live dance must have been positively explosive. The evening made me most nostalgic for my NYC ballet going years of the 70's and 80's. How inspiring to know that Mr. Cook is passing the torch. He was not just close to the fire: he was the fire. Artist James Buckhouse was amusing and animated ...well, he is an animator. Some interesting insights into the working process of Chris Stowell's new Impending Hour. It sounds positively awful: cobbled together by a visual artist from a vague concept about how rain affects people; Buckhouse will "play" the computer keyboard during the performance; the last element chosen was the music... and yet I find myself excited to see it...come rain or shine.
  10. Giving this a "bump" in case any area ballet fans missed it. If my rehearsal gets out on time, I'll try to report on the discussion. Martha Ullman West's Oregonian article certainly whets the appetite for In the Night Watermill
  11. Just a reminder to ballet fans: this should be a fascinating evening: Bart Cook is one of the leading repetituers of George Balanchine's and Jerome Robbins' work. He was a principal during the golden 1980's at NYCB. He dances Drosselmeier in the NYCB Video of the Nutcracker. Truly rabid ballet fans will show up on the chance that wife Maria Calegari has accompanied him to our fair city. And it's FREE! Dance Talks with Christopher Stowell, James Buckhouse and répétiteur Bart Cook, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, Winningstad Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway., (reservations recommended), 503-227-0977, ext. 213, free Watermill
  12. You're right, perky, especially since there has not been a dance honor since Baryshnikov's in 2000. (I'm categorizing Chita Rivera as a Broadway performer) I would have thought Ms. Farrell's extroardinarily generous teaching schedule and company directorship in addition to her dancing would have sealed this by now. Perhaps if her Don Q makes the splash it should we'll see her up in the balcony along with ...let's see.... the way things have been going... Adam Sandler, David Letterman, Dolly Parton...and Burt Reynolds! As the KC Honors continue to poop out (or should I say "pop" out?) I find myself no longer wondering whether Ms. Farrell is worthy of one, but instead: are they are worthy of her?
  13. John Rockwell may consider his first article “throat clearing”, but in this radio interview he chokes. Equally offensive and defensive, Rockwell reminded me of a fighter climbing into an opponent–less ring: he looked a little silly swinging at the air. Shadow boxing has its uses, but one doesn’t throw the arms up in triumph at a non-existent knock-out. Look at the wall: the shadow seems to have also won. I was shocked at his opening salvo, "Hitler was wrong." A call for a broad yet disciplined adherence to the classical aesthetic is in what way similar to Hitler's brutally forced policy of racial purity? Of course Hitler was wrong. But Mr. Rockwell is also wrong to so badly mistake the playing field this discussion is set in. It's like he showed up to play polo driving a tank. Talk about being overly defensive. Next came “mongrelization”, with Schaefer, in a lap-se, as lap dog. Oh, swell: let's have symphonies begin hiring jazz players and ballet companies bring in tap dancers and why not feature untrained pop voices at the Met? Why not? Because these are disciplines as well as art forms, They take a life time of training. It is quite naïve to think that a blending of various forms of dance could strengthen any of the individual forms. In my 35 years of observation, I’d say it mostly weakens them. Ballet dancers are the greyhounds of the dance world. You don't ask them to herd sheep. Well, you can ask…but you’ll end up with a lot of dead sheep. “Miscegenation”: Another bizarre twist of vocabulary. (Uttered quite frequently for some strange reason, as if this was a handle on the whole complex situation for him.) The man is certainly free to use whatever analogies he wants but what is this constant allusion to racial mixing? I find it either highly inappropriate or just not thought out on the level I would expect from the chief dance critic of the NYT. In an earlier post, someone mentioned Clive Barnes. We in the theatre had to put up with Barnes’ wildly inconsistent NYT theatre reviews for years until he was relegated to forced cheerleading at a tabloid. This Rockwell situation reminds me of how Barnes, after the smash hit Hair, got on a crusade for integrating pop or rock into Broadway musicals. This agenda lasted a couple of years and resulted in some of the worst shows ever to darken a Broadway theater, most notably the back to back disasters Dude and Via Galactica. This foolish stance also resulted in the box office failures of some very worthy musicals because they did not mongrelize or miscegenate in accord with Mr. Barnes times or Times. And guess what? He eventually dropped the agenda and life went on. Quality mostly rose to the top. Junk mostly sunk. I find Rockwell's first few reviews well written and appreciative. I don't expect, with his generalist background, to receive much elucidation on the finer points of dance, especially ballet. Happily, we have BalletAlert for that. I think he will not do much harm. I also think the Times could have done much better. Watermill
  14. Wagner's lush classical layered chords have little analogous kinship with "crossover ballet" as I understand the use of the phrase in this discussion. Comparison to the weak watered down pop-classical work of Lloyd-Webber would be more to the point...which elicits new cascades of shudders. Congratulations to Alexandra & Leigh (and all who sent letters) for "belling the cat"!
  15. Austin Laurent is the other dancer you must be thinking of. He became a NYCB company member in 2003. Also from that same generation is Jessica Wyatt who was a Joffrey company member. More recent Ms. Gutierrez trained dancers moving into the professional ranks are Amanda Weingarten apprentice MCB, Marika Anderson, apprentice NYCB and Leann Underwood, OBT company. Haydee just moved into the new studios built for her at the new Patel Conservatory at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. URL=http://www.patelconservatory.org/dance/cbtp.htm]http://www.patelconservatory.org/dance/cbtp.htm[/url] She is still one of the top teachers in the U.S., with a professional placement percentage that is among the highest.
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