Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by checkwriter

  1. "Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg will run the National Romanian Ballet from February 2014 after recently signing with the ballet La Sylphide in Bucharest." Link here.
  2. On Friday, as part of the Royal Theater's contribution to Copenhagen's "Kulternatten" ("Culture Night"), the theater will present (among other things) a new work created by Ms. Ryom titled "Østrogen," ("Estrogen"). The piece focuses on three women -- Karen Blixen, Marilyn Monroe, and Twiggy -- who inspired Ms. Ryom at various points in her life.
  3. Here's an article with more about the evening, which sounds quite interesting. Saturday, April 20 at New World Center.
  4. A Google News search of "'Miami City Ballet'" and "Piazza" yields results from USA Today, LA Times, the "Bleacher Report" (not known for its ballet coverage), the UPI wireservice, the Pottstown Mercury, CBS Sports, SI.com (Sports Illustrated), and the International Business Times, among others. All free coverage.
  5. It's been picked up all over the place - The Daily News had one of its usual photo-mashups - and I happened to be watching Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan when they spent a few minutes discussing it on their morning gab show, with several complimentary references to MCB. And it's nice that he's doing it at the behest of his daughter. “It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing the reaction of my two little girls,” Piazza said in a statement. “For (Nicoletta) to have the opportunity to see Daddy on stage is my little gift. I’m looking forward to it.” Hard to buy publicity like that.
  6. In that vein, the school will have a new director, Darleen Callaghan from North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance, starting March 1. Busy days at MCB . . .
  7. I think the point of the campaign is that you can do both - enjoy a Heat game AND a ballet performance. See the poster examples here. Who knows, there might be a balletomane or two who sees the ads and decides to try attending a Heat game. And vice-versa. I don't think the goal is to bring ballet to "malls, fairs, and bus terminals" (Really? - "bus terminals"?). I think the goal is to consciousness-raise, and to get more of the community enthused about the cultural benefits of living in the Miami area. As Lourdes Lopez puts it in the last line of the "Story" section of the website: "No Miami City Ballet dancer stands alone just as HEAT players can’t win alone. It requires team work—and that's Miami! We are talking about tremendous pride in the place we call home and being the best together."
  8. Via Michael Kaiser's piece in the Huffington Post: "Recently I went to a board meeting of the organization where the new artistic director laid out her ambitious plans for next season and for the expansion of the school, the new executive director reviewed anticipated changes to marketing and fundraising strategies, a budget was approved for the next fiscal year without much fanfare and a marketing partnership with the Miami Heat was unveiled. Oh, and Nutcracker ticket sales were $150,000 higher than last year and an upcoming gala in Palm Beach had outsold last year and ticket sales for the next two sets of performances were outselling last year as well. Special gifts of $7 million had also been received."
  9. Some great pics here of MCB dancers and Miami Heat stars. Clever marketing!
  10. A generally nice review from the Miami New Times.
  11. Keep in mind that Swan Lake can take a serious toll on the corps. It's physically a very demanding ballet, and you need to have confidence in the fitness of your dancers before you work it in to the repertoire - and then, you need to pick the timing of when in the season you perform it. You risk debilitating your corps if you start the season with it, and end up with a bunch of injured dancers. As for her teaching skills, Lopez is an accomplished dance teacher. Villella's classes - while interesting to the dancers as a sometime thing - were in fact very punishing. Dancers would remark as to the relative lack of warmup, which can lead to injuries. I saw him teach a number of times, and it was very odd - he would make a series of grunting noises, not quite words, and would sort of jerk his body through the moves he was asking the dancers to do. The dancers clearly knew what he was asking for, but I'm told it took some getting used to. I've also seen Lopez teach - she's very attuned to the needs of dancers, and is clear about what she's looking for. I think they're in very good hands. Expanding the repertoire could be great for the company. Keep in mind that dancers like to dance, and like new challenges. Dancing the 'same old thing' year after year - even if it's mixed up - can get boring for them. Most dancers I know like the challenge of learning new choreography - this comes through to performances. And many companies have created avenues for dancers to explore the challenges of creating their own choreography, and there's no reason why Morphoses could not be that avenue for MCB. I know dancers who love Balanchine, but jump at the chance to do something different - it doesn't change their fealty to Mr. B, but they enjoy new challenges too, and believe that if the art form is to move forward, new works need to be created. Finally, I like the fact that over the weekend, some of the MCB dancers appear (according to the troupe's Facebook page) to have participated in a 'flashmob' dance presentation in Miami's Wynwood arts district. It's this kind of low-cost innovative marketing that may help grow the audience.
  12. with Jock Soto - and Elmo and Zoey - teaching cooperation. I'm advised that the choreography is by Christopher Wheeldon. There's also a (very poor quality) - as narrated by The Count. Not sure these really give a good sense of the dancer she was, but there you have it.
  13. On a lighter note is this local TV news report of Villella's departure; in perhaps no other US city would his name be (mis)pronounced "Vee-yay-ya."
  14. According to the Miami Herald. Ms. Lopez has been appointed interim director of the school, with Linda Villella resigning effective August 31.
  15. So the board is being simultaneously critiqued for (a) not standing up to Mr. Villella and (b) standing up to Mr. Villella. It seems the confrontation was only a matter of time; perhaps it would have been better had it happened in the past - in fact, it probably would have been better had the board put its foot down earlier. Now that the board has done so, Mr. Villella is showing his true colors - it's not about the company, it's all about him. And while Ms. Lopez has said she would like to "consider some sort of merger or partnership of Morphoses and Miami City Ballet," (from NY Times, April 4) there has been no announcement that there will be any combination of the companies. So I'm not sure to what extent, if any, Morphoses played a role in the decision to hire her, and don't see it as a burden until a decision is made to connect it somehow with MCB. People seem to forget that Ms. Lopez has danced many, many Balanchine roles, coached by Balanchine, and while she has explored other dance styles (as has Mr. Villella, witness the Tharp commissions as a starter) she is likely to be a very adept steward of the Balanchine tradition. She was taught primarily at SAB, and spent her entire career with NYCB. After leaving, she worked as a teacher at New York's Ballet Academy East, teaching in the Balanchine tradition, and then served as executive director of the Balanchine Foundation. So it's not like the board hired someone who has nothing to do with Balanchine.
  16. Good points all round, Birdsall. The problem is the days when an AD can ignore budgets are long gone, at least until the next investment bubble starts to fill. And at some point, it would be nice if Mr. Villella would stop licking his wounds and start thinking of his legacy. Had he been more gracious, it's not unthinkable that he could have secured himself an 'emeritus' post, with a continuing income and presence - and without all of the headaches being an AD brings with it. As for the Executive Board's 'secrecy' - I count about 50 board members in total, larger than some state senates. It's difficult to get things done with a group that size, particularly when the decisions are difficult. A group like that needs a core set of people to make the decisions and get things done. That said, I'm not sure there is a 'best' way to have done this - would it have been any better if the issues had been out in the press (leaks expand the more people you have involved) for months on end?
  17. Keep in mind that the 'depiction' is just that - one journalist's (and I use the term loosely) creation of a story using a mix of quotes from attributed and unattributed sources. If you'll read Ms. Levin's other work, you'll see a distinct bias in favor of Mr. Villella, and a consistent use of sources that come straight from Mr. Villella's side of the story. There is always much more going on behind the scenes that wanna-be muckraking journalists either are not privy to, or choose to ignore to the extent it does not fit with their preconceived notion of how the story should go. That said, what I get from the story (even through Ms. Levin's pro-Villella filter) is that behind the scenes, Mr. Villella was and probably continues to be somewhat of a prima donna (or is it prima oumo?) ignoring the realities of having to operate on a budget and treating donors and audiences with disdain if not contempt. Just look at his radio silence since Ms. Lopez was named as his successor. If he truly had the best interests of the MCB at heart, he would be front and center promoting her, and would be working audiences and donors alike to boost ticket sales and pledges. Instead: nothing. Which tells me that he is more concerned about soothing his own ego than he is about helping the company he founded continue to exist if not thrive. No matter how talented the artist, for a ballet company to operate in this economy - which has hit south Florida harder than many other areas - there has to be a unity of interest and purpose between the AD and his or her board. If there ever was such a unity at MCB, it appears to have broken down long ago. I don't need Ms. Levin's article to tell me that - just look at the yo-yo budget, the recurring money crises, Mr. Villella's pending departure, and his silence from April on.
  18. Adding livestreams is not difficult to do in concept - it simply takes advance planning. The agreements with each of the contributing artists (choreographer, composer, costume designer, lighting designer, set designer, musicians, and of course dancers) need to contemplate live streaming, but if they do so from the beginning it can be integrated. It's harder to go back and add it to existing signed agreements, because then you're redoing agreements for what is probably at best a revenue-neutral change.
  19. Truman Finney passed away Saturday at his home in Quincy, IL.
  20. Not sure where else to post this - but I thought this was interesting. Tivoli's Pantomime theater ballet has a new one-week summer program for younger dancers (two sessions) that - aside from traveling to Denmark and paying to live in Copenhagen during the week - may be one of the best deals around: 1500DKK (roughly $300) for a week of what appears to be pretty intensive (9 to 4) training, lunch and snacks and Tivoli admission included.
  • Create New...