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Everything posted by altongrimes

  1. As I slug my way out of the media driven despair that would surely seek to undo me, I am more resolute than ever that the sanctify of this glorious art form - danse la fleur exquisite - be preserved in all of it's power and wonder. I am, afterall, something of an ambassador in that regard, even if it is just "little old me" sounding the chimes of this freedom. I refuse to "feed" on a diet of fear and loathing. If the argument culture would show me disgust, I will show them Osipova. If they would parade before me their intimidation, I will show them Semionova in New York. If they would seek that I dishonor and become contentious with my fellow man to whom I have never been properly introduced, I will show them Wendy Whelan in Agon. Therefore, I will not come down from this "montagne d'espoir ... cette forme d'art glorios". For mine eyes have seen the glory.
  2. I marvel that just when I might lapse into the thought that "I have seen it all", especially through the rude awakening and smog of Covid, that within this glorious art form, another posting comes along -- this time from the most perceptive al.longe on Instagram -- that alas, I have been "born again" as I view the exquisite talent of Deirdre Carberry in a 1989 clip of Who Cares with Mikhail Baryshnikov. How is that there can be this infinite spectrum of signatures and color among the artists who populate this realm? How can such a thing be?! Why, dance seems a kind of diamond whose parameters defie finite measurement. That intangible but O so palpable AND decidedly unique facet that each dancer brings to the stage that when discovered has me ablaze with the joy and wonder of the art form and as if for the "very first time" and all over again. Deirdre Carberry ! How sumptuous, how rich, was her contribution . And yet, I had not known of her. And so, I am now off the sofa and on a mission to find out more about this wonderful artist ! O pour la beaute infinie la danse !
  3. While persevering in my study of Apollo's Angels, I encountered a fascinating passage from Jennifer Homans that reads: "it was really just the old reworked Petipa classics (and Swan Lake in particular) and a few dram-ballets such as Romeo and Juliet that linked Soviet and Western dance. Otherwise, the gaps in understanding and judgment were enormous -- and remain so today." Now while I find myself completely fascinated by the above passage, I would very much like to explore it's meaning in greater depth. I wonder if there is anyone on Ballet Alert who might take the time to explain what Jennifer Homans is describing here ?
  4. I had to say how excited I am to find al.longe on Instagram. Never have I seen such a treasure trove of ballet postings. So many profoundly inspired selections are to be found there that I could feel the fog of Covid all but completely disappearing from my senses. Wow ! I'm not sure how could have missed this !
  5. Rudolph Nureyev was born March 17th, 1938. Had it not been for his untimely demise, he would have celebrated his eighty third birthday today. Lately, as I reflected on his massive and more obvious talent as a dancer, I realize that I am equally impressed with the brilliance of his choreography. I played my old clunky recorded version of his Cinderella starring the unflappable Sylvie Guillem until it was unplayable. Then there was his stunning rendition of the Nutcracker during one of those televised Nutcracker marathons that flooded my sensibilities even to a standing ovation from my living room. I wonder if my enthusiasm for Nureyev's choreography is also shared by those within the art form who are far more experienced and perceptive than I ?
  6. My inner child has found the keyoard at lightning speed after having watched only three of the finalists in the 2021/Day 2 Prix de Lausanne ! What a delight is this event. In the midst of all of the media "talking heads" and this damnable plaque, arises this phoenix of hope ! This Prix de Lausanne ! Like some great pearl, how it glistens and shimmers with the promise of exciting new talent! I am taking great inspiration from all of these young faces ! I wanted to write in case some of the Ballet Alert population has been too busy or missed the timing of this deeply inspiring event. A "light in the forest".
  7. I will always remember Melanie Nix in the 2004 issue of Dance Europe exclaiming: "They say writing a good review is harder than writing a bad one -- possibly because you sit mesmerized and then forget quite how you got to such a hypnotic state". Such was the case as I -- as if for the first time -- basked in the Marguerite and Armand pas de deux video featuring Sergei Pounin and Tamara Rojo. Filmed in the most refined high definition, I was seized by a swell of hope that there might yet be a return of the art form to live performance -- even to the inclusion of a live audience. And then out of some well within, bubbled up a little Shakespeare: "Now is the Winter of our discontent ". Indeed. And a little Thomas Paine as well: "these are times that try men's souls". They are. Even so, I wanted to write "something" on this wonderful Ballet Alert and not allow my creative spirit to collapse under the weight of the mere verdict of my senses.
  8. While soaking in the extreme delicacy of Akane Takada and Fumi Kaneko in Christopher Wheeldon's rehearsal of The Winter's Tale (2018), I just had to rush to Ballet Alert and proclaim my excitement over my discovery. "O for the extreme delicacy of these two artists", I voiced outloud to no one in particular. My mind became instantly intrigued with the Japanese culture and those deep ancient roots that would surely have helped define and produce such a unique creative signature in these two magnificent artists. I wonder if anyone among the Ballet Alert population knows of a book that seeks to understand and articulate the nature of those glorious roots? I am somehow reminded of a kind of fine China -- Noritake, I believe it's called -- that my father brought back from Japan while once deployed as a Naval officer in the South China sea. How both Akane Takada and Fumi Kaneko seem as exquisite and refined as even that.
  9. As I am steadfastly refusing to cave to the fear and paralysis associated with this Covid, I have, in my resolve, manage to "keep the faith" and continue to "stir the coals" associated with of our glorious art form. Lately, for example, I have become fascinated by those dance pioneers who have gone before us. Question. How does it happen that those creative giants often manage to shine even more brightly in death than in life? Does such formidable talent, like some fine wine, require an inordinate amount of time to age and ripen to be fully appreciated? Apparently. Even as they pass from this earthly realm into the next, they often manage to inherit an even greater measure of recognition and glory. So then, I might wonder at whom, among the vast spectrum of present day dancers, choreographers, etc., might also mystically ascend into that rarefied air as the icons of this generation, whose signature and legacy will likewise become even more profound with time and death?
  10. In spite of the preponderance of talking heads shouting their professed expertise on the telley, especially as it relates to the Gordian Knot called politics (I refuse to participate in that "rage") I am yet strangely consumed by a kind of firestorm of creative anticipation to experience San Francisco Ballet. My inner child is just rockin' with joy at a time when I could easily be filled with self pity and singin' the blues. And the Inn At The Opera looks grand ! And although the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker has been cancelled for this December, the rest of their season has not. At least, it was not as of a phone call last week to one of their lively reresentatives. I confess to living in somewhat snooty but wonderful Santa Barbara, California 🙂 and am just far enough away from the Bay Area to Amtrak or fly my way north to experience my "castles in the sky". Three days of camping out at Inn At The Opera whilst l navigate my way around the magic and restorative power of live performance -- and on that level ! -- would bring a great surge of creative and spiritual renewal to my soul. Fingers crossed !
  11. Lately, I have been riveted to an old interview that I have been watching with Jimmy Stewart. In this fascinating encounter, he says the following: "There is a theory that I have always had that creating "moments" in movies is the important thing. Nobody knows exactly how it happens. What you should do is prepare yourself the best you can to make those moments happen. Because in a movie, it's really not so much about the performance; rather there are these "moments". Now when I heard him say this, my memory took flight and immediately began to race back to ABT'S "Light Dancer" -- Zhong-Jing Fang ! -- that I experienced and later identified in an unforgettable Romeo and Juliet performance in New York or the burning and searing revelation of Poina Semionova's iron technique and extreme delicacy in a Swan Lake production that left me completely overwhelmed for days. More recently, I will never forget the way Marcello Gomes supercharged Stanton Welch's CLEAR so that I wandered to the backstage door in a kind of hypnotic trance. Performers on this level would seem to be in possession of some extraordinary quality -- some divine quality, perhaps -- so that at any moment they can attract "the lightning". And you just never know when that "lightning" might strike. And in the light of this interview, I realize more than ever that I fly to New York to experience those "moments". And there have been many .... Thank you, Jimmy !
  12. Hi Drew ! I will try to employ the assistance of my young computer friend in order to send you that little clip. I will try. She will be away, however, for a week. I meant to add that I had viewed this "An Untitled Love" numerous times previously before acquiring the "eyes to see". Fascinating, that the genius or perhaps, the nuclear core of a piece is not necessarily so instantly comprehended.
  13. Drew, I hope you get this. Yes. I think it was Instagram. It is among those videos that I have had for several weeks. I'm not as conversant with the computer as I would like but perhaps there is a way I can send it to you? Looks like I could email it to you if you find that acceptable? Perhaps, that would be unwise, however, for your security.
  14. While luxuriating in just a snippet of Kyle Abraham's "An Untitled Love", featuring Calvin Royal III and an unnamed female partner at The Fire Island Dance Festival, I was smitten by the brilliance of this piece. This was performed outdoors and appears to have been framed and even more inspired by the arrival of a sultry Summer's evening by the sea. How I delighted in the construction of the piece. One moment, the couple seemed in normal conversation together as if completely oblivious to the art form in which they were about to participate. Suddenly, in the most delightful and seamless transition, they burst into dancing the languid rhythms of this hot August night. This juxtaposition of casual space against these intermittent explosions of their delicious Summer dance caused such a firestorm of creative excitement within me that I just had to get on Ballet Alert and share the creative joy of this discovery.
  15. You are all so amazing as you proffer your wonderful knowledge and patience in addressing my rather primitive questions and ruminations -- even as a shelter in a time of storm
  16. A significant aspect of this present hour -- that in large measure has "gone missing" -- is that distinct privilege to be in close physical proximity with those artists and the myriad of those individuals who provide support to those artists on so many levels. That often unspoken but oh so palpable essence that fairly radiates from so many countless faces who populate the great arena of dance. If, as someone once suggested, that "it is not what a man says that can be heard, but what he is that speaks so loud", then surely this glorious flower -- cette belle forme d'art -- is ablaze with that very genius. I will never forget the thrill of experiencing ABT performing Symphony In C at The Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles and being equally smitten by both the production AND the audience ! As it turned out, too, I happened to be seated next to a delightful woman who had once danced with Balanchine. Live performance is for me a kind of a coming "home" where an unspoken kinship and refinement among those present invariably warms and supercharges my soul with a new hope for a new day.
  17. Thank you pherank ! What a glorious and highly informative response from you ! Your words are so rich. I will ponder them over and over.
  18. Thank you, Helene. I am now watching all videos I can find of these three artists !
  19. I am excited to get to the keyboard and mention a word that exploded into my consciousness while watching Tiler Peck's very aggressive and authoritative command in a variety of videos presented on YouTube -- for example, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Kennedy Center. What a force of nature she seems ! A fellow ballatomane -- far more conversant with the art form than I -- defined an aspect of Tiler's extraordinarily pleasing approach and command as "attack". My mind immediately raced to that glorious video of Gelsey Kirkland "burning down the house" in Balanchine's Theme and Variations. What a joy ! First, I do hope I am correct in applying the word "attack" to partially describe the exceptional quality of dancing from both of these women? And I am curious as to what other dancer's names might come to mind who are famous for their "attack"?
  20. I am filled with wonder at pherank's above response. I want to find the highest mountain (or the White House) and proclaim aloud John F Kennedy's words concerning the arts. My God, I had no idea that our President said such a glorious thing. In a sense, his words are also an arrow through my heart at such a time as this as the nation now finds itself perhaps fighting for it's very life. God forbid. But oh the wonder of John F. Kennedy's words: " The artist becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state .." Glorious !
  21. While navigating my way through Jennifer Homan's Apollo's Angel's, I discovered this delightful passage: "John F. Kennedy also made the arts a priority. His wife was a prominent figure at cultural events, and the glittering celebrity ethos of the White House gave new glamour and sheen to the performing arts everywhere; she sent a jet to escort Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn to the White House for tea".
  22. Perusing the Royal Ballet's masterful YouTube offerings of rehearsals, Ballet Evolved, etc., I get an occasional glimpse of Christopher Carr rehearsing the dancers. So masterful, so larger than life do I find his presence in those rehearsals, that I find myself inexplicably drawn into another level or dimension of the art form. He is a joy to watch; his passion for the art form is highly contagious. But I don't see him on video these days. Perhaps he is retired? I wonder if anyone would care to comment about this wonderful gifted man and perhaps his contribution to the art form as they have experienced it?
  23. I am excited to post this brief excerpt from Tolstoy's War and Peace (courtesy of Jennifer Homans, Apollo's Angels). I have treasured this passage throughout this damnable contagion hoping that I might at last find opportunity to post it on this wonderful Ballet Alert ! " But it was Tolstoy in War and Peace who perhaps best captured the divided life of the Russian aristocracy. 'In her truest moment, the French educated "little countess" drops her Parisian airs and spontaneously breaks into an authentic Russian folk dance. She has never seen the dance before but intuitively knows it's inimitable, unteachable Russian gestures: she stands arms to the side, and instinctively makes the movement of her shoulder and waist that reveal all that is in every Russian soul." Glorious !
  24. I am delighted to be back to Ballet Alert ! Love this forum so much! I am yet intrigued by the term plastique! Upon further reflection, I wonder if it was that very "essence" or plastique that managed to coalesce several years ago when Polina Semionova assumed the stage in a Swan Lake at Lincoln Center. So profoundly impacted was I by her performance that I was rendered decidedly ineffectual for subsequent performances. I wonder then if plastique attempts to define the undefinable - where what is occurring on stage seems to breach the parameters of these five senses and transport us into a glimpse or power of some undefinable reality. Where the final creative product far exceeds in magnitude the literal sum of it's respective parts. Just having fun here speculating - perhaps wildly - about an art form for which I harbor an unquestionable passion.
  25. I continue to feel my heart go out to this young woman and her family. Looking back on "twenty one" - which I believe to be her age - I can recall most vividly how lost I was during my formative years, as well. Considering, too, the enormity of her parents contribution to the world of dance, I would hope that the family can find a fresh new beginning together devoid of condemnation and guilt but rather charged with a new vision and love for one another.
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