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Jack Reed

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About Jack Reed

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    aficianado
  • City**
    Chicago, Illinois, USA

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  1. Thanks, volcanohunter, nice to have my guess confirmed. With California, I admire how they do things there. (Where did I see that PBS doesn't broadcast ballet currently because they can't figure out how to market it? What did they forget?)
  2. It looks like part of that page has been changed again. At the top it says: What now looks out-of-date speaks of live-streaming only the Monday Concerts, themselves now canceled at least until April 20. As for video-on-demand, it's hard to imagine how this announcement, half-way down the page under the heading, "Videos-on Demand coming soon:" will be honored in those circumstances, i.e. if there are currently no performances to record for on-demand viewing: 7:30 pm Central European Time is 1:30 pm Central Daylight Time, so this Chicagoan will look here again a little before then, to see what's on offer - something from their archive? - but I'm not holding my breath.
  3. They are included in a limited edition hard-cover book, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet - A Celebration, published by the Kennedy Center in 2017, along with short essays by others, a list of the dancers' names, and pictures of some of the performances.
  4. Thanks for the comments, canbelto, and especially for posting the link. Trusnovec's solo - what we see of it - really does have the quality of a fly caught in a glass of milk!
  5. As it happened, space opened up at the last minute for me at the wonderful Maricopa Manor both for Napoli and for some Nutcracker performances, but Maricopa Manor is no more. In December, they told me the property was being re-purposed, and it comes up now as Olivette Place, a developmental enrichment center for intellectually disabled adults. Great concept, and I certainly wish them well! The couple who ran Maricopa Manor mentioned a "boutique" hotel of 30 rooms or so about to open nearby on Camelback Road, but it doesn't come up on Google Maps, and Camelback is a heavily-trafficked street for this light sleeper to stay on. In the meantime, has anyone got an update on the theme of places for visitors to Phoenix? I appreciate Marquis de Carabas's suggestion above, though Maricopa Manor will be a hard act to follow. But this forum is where I learned of it!
  6. I'm glad to know about this book, too, and "representing" Kisselgoff by a book introduction rather than a review speaks well of Aloff's book. Kisselgoff's career on the New York Times pretty well coincided with the years I watched ballet most intensively, especially in New York, but comparing what she wrote with what I saw, as I did with everybody, I never learned much from her reviews, and soon gave up reading them. Surprising for a critic in the arts, a field where where style is important, her writing lacked style - compared to the direct "All The News That's Fit to Print" clarity and directness of the news reporting, to say nothing of the Times's sports writers - and I noticed pretty soon after her promotion to chief critic after Barnes left, she seemed musically unaware too. Before her promotion, though, and after her retirement, she contributed some historical background for ballets on view, and I think that's where her real interest and ability lay. It'll be interesting to see what Aloff has selected from Croce, already much published in her own collections; Croce I personally rank with Edwin Denby and Alastair Macaulay as writers who write so well they help me to get more out of watching ballets they haven't even written about specifically, like good tutors do. (Excuse me if I don't plow through the contents pages of those collections right now to see if Aloff's selections are there. I don't recognize the titles, though, except for Denby's "Against Meaning in Ballet.") Thanks for the good news, dirac.
  7. I meant to say above, that for someone like me who likes to see what he hears, just seeing Balanchine's steps and gestures clearly as these dancers show them is not nothing! His choreography more than anyone's in my experience enables dancers to make music visible. (In the context of this season, Wheeldon's Polyphonia is an example for me of "well-heard" choreography not by Mr. B., even more impressive for the fact that Wheeldon assembled his suite of musical numbers himself, rather than taking over a ready-made sequence by Ligeti. Polyphonia looks like Wheeldon began to hear his ballet before he made it.) But as I've been saying, there has been, and can be, more. Even Polyphonia pleased me more when I first saw it danced by Edward Villella's MCB years ago.
  8. I remember Trusnovec as an outstanding member of Taylor's impressive company. Glad he still is so impressive! (Back in Chicago, now, I didn't see the Episodes program.) Thinking back over this thread a little, I'm not too surprised so many were unimpressed with Danses Concertantes. It's a light, witty suite at best, and I missed much of the wit. It didn't happen. In the introduction before the inner curtain, for example, the "red" girls made their gestures of dismissal of the boy as though to say, "Hmph! Who do you think you are?" before prancing off audience left, leaving him to take his little bow alone, but it was all flat, uninhabited, just steps and gestures again, likewise his bow was there because it was in the script, so to speak. Worse, both the pas de deux girls (yellow) normally nearly cross the stage in a series of turns; her partner, just upstage, has to notice that she may disappear into the wing if he doesn't grab her. It's there, but little more than indicated, and I missed that she didn't go further toward the wing and make his "rescue" more urgent. Not that the movements of these virtuosi are unclear, no. They're sharp and visible to the back of the house, I imagine, but DC and SVC suffered in their preparation, apparently, and lacked vitality and presence for me, if not sharpness. Not so Monumentum/Movements. I went back Sunday (February 2nd) and found Mira Nadon's supple phrasing even more to my liking than Teresa Reichlen's the day before. Both days, it choked me up to see this wonderful pair of ballets coming back to life in Suzanne Farrell's coaching. Like a few others up this thread have said, I want to see more of that. (A friend who saw Reichlen's first performance on January 21 said she had danced with knife-like sharpness and by the Saturday show, February 1, had developed the phrasing. I count myself lucky to have seen the weekend shows.)
  9. There's some background on Haieff Divertimento still online, posted on the occasion when Suzanne Farrell reconstructed the ballet in March 2010 with TSFB at the Kennedy Center. Amy Brandt, previously a member of the company and by then Editor-in-Chief of Pointe Magazine, wrote a heads-up: https://www.pointemagazine.com/issuesfebruarymarch-2010suzanne-farrell-revives-balanchines-haieff-div-2412810352.html and then we had some lengthy discussion of TSFB's programs that included it, with some background on the ballet itself: https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/31338-washington-dc-3-7-march-2010/ and emilienne described the performance: https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/31338-washington-dc-3-7-march-2010/?do=findComment&comment=265481 Unfortunately some images from that time seem to have disappeared. I didn't stay in NYC to see this (or any more of the season than January 24-26). Does anybody who saw Haieff Divertimento this time around recognize any details in the old discussion?
  10. Not knowing how to search this forum only, I don't know whether the Stravinsky program has comments, but having seen the Saturday mat, this Old Audience member - who used to come in from Chicago to see hundreds of performances from early 1973 through Spring 1986, including those where Suzanne Farrell danced Monumentum/Movements - strongly suggests people give it a try. Your last chance is today at 3:00, so I'm posting at the last minute. We have another thread where her return to work with NYCB is treated as good news, and I agree with that! The flanking ballets are danced in the dry, analytical "Martins" way we rejected in the mid-80's and since, but this staging, not entirely different, and being adjusted during the week, according to sharp-eyed, local friends, is so much richer an experience, and a specialty Farrell did with her own troupe - "TSFB" - in Washington, that it makes me hope she continues to work here. Just like old times? Balanchine's day? Not exactly, I wouldn't expect that, not yet, but we'll see. Well worth the trip.
  11. Agreeing with rg, it does. Pilarre sometimes turned up in (open) rehearsals of TSFB at the Kennedy Center. It's giving me some of the same joy already expressed above! Monumentum/Movements too? Time for this Chicagoan Old Audience member to come see NYCB again. Haven't done that much in recent decades...
  12. Not to mention the place itself. One evening after a performance I talked with a ballerina I know. We were in the wing, the curtain was back up, but the house lights were still on, and she took in the spectacle. "I've danced in a lot of theaters but this one is the most beautiful", she said. You can get almost this this perspective next time you're at a performance there by making your way down to the orchestra pit and turning around to look up into the house; or better yet, make your way to one of the side entrances into the auditorium from the a side hall, and look at it profile, and not incidentally appreciate how the upsweep, the rake, of the rows of seats gets steeper and steeper toward the back, more steep than necessary for good sight lines, but also for acoustics too. The Civic Theater (it's the Lyric Opera Company, easy to confuse), said to be a more modern theater, has nether virtue in the house but is said to have a more modern, better-equipped stage house, with deeper wings, which dancers might appreciate, but I think both houses, seating nearly 4,000, are too big for ballet. (The Harris Theater on Randolph Street is about the right size, 1,500 or so, and has good sight lines and acoustics, though it's nothing to look at, IMO.) For me, it matters more how well you can see and hear in a theater than what it looks like. It's a mystery why the Joffrey is moving to the lesser of our two oversize opera houses, unless it's for that more-modern stage house in the Civic.
  13. His passing is sad, yes, but he made his time count. An important man, as Alexandra says, and a kind man: One of those who knew, who got it, and wanted and worked to help us to get it. Thank you, Don, may peace be with you, and thank you, rg.
  14. Those frustrated by videos here that refused to play might try again. I think I've got them working better.
  15. The Ballet Chicago Studio Company presents their annual run of their version of The Nutcracker this weekend and the following one, previously eight performances, but this year, nine: Curtain times are 7:00 PM on December 13, 14, and 19-21, and 2:00 PM on December 14, 15, 21 and 22, in the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport, near the intersection of Southport, Wellington, and Lincoln Avenues in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, next to the landmark St. Alphonsus church. Ballet Chicago is one of the country's leading Balanchine-oriented ballet schools; most of their ballet curriculum consists of Balanchine ballets or fragments of them, but Spanish and modern dance are included, as well as choreography by faculty like Daniel Duell, who danced in Balanchine's NYCB; his partner in life, as well as in art, as he likes to tell us before the curtain, Patricia Blair, who danced in the Eglevsky Ballet when Edward Villella was running it; Ted Seymour, who danced in the Suzanne Farrell Ballet and elsewhere, and others, some with background in Spanish and modern, and some alumni. The Ballet Chicago Studio Company takes in B.C. students "when they are ready"; thus it's the cream of the school and performs the top roles, including the surviving parts of Balanchine's Sugar Plum pas de deux in this production, to which Duell has contributed a male variation to replace the lost Balanchine one. Blair has contributed the choreography of the Snow Scene which concludes Act I and includes an adagio pas de deux to the Pine Forest music, as well as other parts, along with a lot by Duell and some by Seymour. (I gather these last two are the ones who remade the Battle scene into the dancey-ist version I've seen, deploying some of the classical vocabulary unexpectedly in martial action.) Personally, enjoying dancing most when I see what I hear, I prefer this production, made by people true to their roots in Balanchine's way - "See the music, hear the dance" - instead of the new Joffrey one, by Christopher Wheeldon, which doesn't look to me nearly as well heard as his Polyphonia did, for example. In these peoples' hands, these dancers do pretty much what Tchaikovsky asks for. And with tickets at about one-fifth the price of the Joffrey production, it's value for money in that way too. That the dancers are paying tuition instead of drawing a salary and that the musicians are recorded (from well-chosen performances) are partly responsible for the lower prices. Belying the low production budget, the costumes, sewn up by volunteers, "The Guild of the Golden Needle", look good and move well, too. (Have a look at some images from my previous, longer posts in this forum here.) Here are some moving images from a few years ago: (If clicking the embedded images here doesn't start the video, use the links on the left.) Mirlitons [Flutes] Waltz of the Flowers: Finale: And here's Act One, from 2014, beginning with an introduction by Ballet Chicago's Artistic Director Daniel Duell: (Inevitably, this imagery provides only glimpses.) How some scene and costume changes are accomplished in full view adds drama for me along with the charm of the evident, dedicated community producing this show. Except for a very brief number with some three- and four-year-old bunnies in the matinees, no one on stage is trying to do something even a little beyond them; and aside from charming the audience (including their parents), these little ones remind us that stage experience is part of a dancer's training. Most of the time, though, we don't notice. We see the music. We're entertained. We're lifted on high.
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