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Everything posted by Ray

  1. Surprising and moving insights about the creation of the familiar musical, with readings from Bernstein's own notes on the process. (Who knew that the original gang conflict was conceived as Jews vs. Catholics?!?!) Listen quick, though: BBC tends to shut down its streams for foreign listeners after a pretty short time. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b043wz2c
  2. Oh my bad--it's actually a very direct parody of a dancewear spot (which is already ridiculous). Here is another parody that hews close to the language of the original target of satirical attack.
  3. A funny parody here of all those ballet "reality" shows--or of ignorance about ballet in general.
  4. Just FYI, Woetzel is presenting PAB at Vail this summer: http://www.vvf.org/content/events/vail-international-dance-festival/2014-upclose-jewels
  5. This will be very challenging for this company which, unlike PNB or NYCB, has not spent the time/resources to develop a strong organization. IMHO.
  6. Also, I would argue that PAB's origin story is odder than most NYCB satellites: Barbara Weisberger, the putative Balanchine heir who founded PAB, was never really an NYCB company member, even if she was "a former Balanchine protégée" and had some singular and significant connections to the choreographer (a 2006 NYTimes article explains all).
  7. A brief answer to that careful response is that I don't see PNB's kind of creative and thoughtful curating an programming--whether or not it's to one's taste--at PAB. It's just not happening, at least not on a sustained, engaged level.
  8. The Academy stage is plenty large--they recently retooled to admit large Broadway shows. It's all about the way they filmed it; having attended the performance live, I also notices the legs seemed larger than usual for this show--perhaps, again, for the cameras?
  9. Not being a choreographer was a good thing--no quibbles there. And yes to Wheeldon and Neenan. But if you chart out the Wheeldon-level projects over the Weiss-level ones, the latter predominate. And numbers of Balanchine ballets performed have fallen off. Yes, fostering Neenan was of course great, but from my perspective, it's not part of a larger vision of mentoring or developing young choreographers. They were both lucky, basically. I agree that the board and subscribers are conservative, but they are also loyal; you can lead them to new places. I don't believe he ever really did that.
  10. He was fine as a dancer--from what I remember; but I've been very disappointed over the years with his programming. I feel that, in the field, he's been more of a follower than a leader. I'm not sure what he watched or sought out (in terms of the global context). Many rep choices seemed to me simply expedient (all those Ricky Weiss ballets, for instance); as a former dancer I sometimes wondered, from the evidence of what I saw on stage, what was going with training and coaching. And I have no strong sense of what the "Balanchine legacy" really means to the company, other than boilerplate.
  11. Wow, Sandi, I guess I need to hear more from you on this--it's too uninteresting, to me, to be good musical theater. And I was not compelled by the narrative at all.
  12. Sorry, Amy, I have to respectfully disagree here. I think his scope was very limited.
  13. The choreography is thin, the concept is cheesy; what's left? Sorry, I don't get the appeal at all; I don' t understand what the "nature" of such a company is.
  14. Sorry, guys, this was just awful. His choreographic vocabulary is so very thin. The angel-vampire figures just seemed a cheap piggybacking on pop-culture references. The music was great, though.
  15. Not to disagree with anything said here so far, but I think it's perfectly accurate to call Gergiev a "major musician of our time." To my ears, that sounds fairly neutral; I'm not sure what the problem is with that description.
  16. Right around twice as many worlds as the critic for the Inquirer got. I'm just saying... Quantity does not equal quality. I'm just sayin'... "The original Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, with choreography by Nijinsky, is one of the most beloved works of modern dance"??? I don't think so.
  17. Yes. Since the Calders have deep roots in Philly (Alexander's father and grandfather both worked and made public art here; at one point you could look done one end of the Ben Franklin Parkway and see Calder's grandfather's fountain; on the other end, on the Phila. Art Museum plaza above the "Rocky stairs," there was a Calder stabile, now sold off to a museum in Seattle), there was at one time a drive to build a Calder Museum, not too far from the new Barnes. I think this pdd was done to commemorate him in the spirit of launching or supporting that project (which looks dead in the water for now.) But I'd rather sit in front of an actual Calder than watch this pdd.
  18. My opinion is that they revived this b/c it was already in their rep, so they didn't have to pay much for it. It has no particular resonance for PAB dancers or audiences.
  19. For what it's worth (not much IMHO), here's the local yokel's "review" of the performance, which trots out the Company's boilerplate about Serenade being its "signature" ballet (whatevs, as the kids say), and makes some obscure comments about Julie Diana's extension in Faun. This "critic," you may note in the byline, is a staff writer at the paper, not a stringer. Cue the weeping emoticons!
  20. Some brief observations. The program last night was: Serenade (Balanchine); Afternoon of a Faun (Robbins); Under the Sun Pas de Deux (Sappington); Petite Mort (Kylián). Complete casting can be found here. Serenade: Competent, energetic performance, though I thought attention to detail was lacking (makes me question how well it was coached/rehearsed). The Valse was too slow; Élégie too fast; orchestra sounded ragged (which is often the case on opening nights here). The stage of the Merriam Theater, where PA ballet does many of its rep programs, felt cramped. Finally, the tulle skirts didn't seem to fit quite right--they seemed to ride awfully low on the dancers' hips. Amy Aldridge, scheduled to dance, did not appear; that change is reflected in the attached casting. Jermel Johnson shined in Faun, in which he partnered Julie Diana. They both appeared to have been well-coached and well-rehearsed (by Bart Cook) in this narcissistic psychodrama of a pdd. Under the Sun: Unspeakable, ghastly pdd, but mercifully short. Live music helped make it tolerable. (This pdd will be part of PA Ballet's PBS/WHYY broadcast sometime this spring, along with Diamonds, as detailed here.) Petite Mort: the Kylián formula is not interesting to me, but the performers did a great job. And again, the live music made it more interesting.
  21. No, she's not in a show, but Joanna Lumley (of Absolutely Fabulous fame) hosts a really thoughtful hourlong BBC radio program on the cultural resonance of Broadway. I don't think these get archived, so you have to listen soon. Part two will be about the business of Broadway. Skip ahead to 3:45 on the player; the program begins after a short news segment.
  22. An interesting link to baroque music, upon which Stravinsky based Pulcinella.
  23. Well, here's a more critical take on the film, from which I quote: "Some have pointed out that it’s simply being true to the historical record of Northup’s life. But the creative process begins with selection: which narratives we decide to privilege over others matters. [...] What would a cinematic aesthetic of American history look like without the white savior? Perhaps the myth of white American exceptionalism would begin to crumble. Filmmakers would have to struggle to find new ways of getting people of color out of tight situations. Unpredictability might ensue; creativity would thrive."
  24. The title of this thread sounds like a headline from the 1960s.
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