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Kathleen O'Connell

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Member of the Audience
  • City**
    New York

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  1. I was particularly struck by Pazcoguin's analogy between the visual/cognitive impact of a dancer's line and the sound of a bat connecting with a baseball: "The line is meant to be a full-on experience of the human body, designed in a way that is pleasing to the eye, but beyond the cognitive response of your brain thinking, Huh. I don’t think having your foot that close to your ear is normal. Beautiful line makes watching ballet seamless. It encompasses that just-perfect combination that makes the experience unforgettable. Think the loud crack of a baseball bat that charges the stadium with an energy that signals, Whoa, dude just hit a home run. Your body is out of the seat cheering, your beer splashing before the ball lands in the bleachers ..."
  2. Russian Seasons is a good choice for Stafford's retirement performance. I've always enjoyed her in the roles Ratmansky created for her and thought she took on Jenifer Ringer's role in Russian Seasons with real distinction. (That's the role danced by the woman in emerald green.)
  3. I'm listening to the audiobook as well and I'm enjoying it. Pazcogiun is an excellent narrator—she sounds authentically herself and she's able to inhabit other voices as well. (Not many authors can narrate their own work well, and even fewer do it with genuine flair, so kudos to her.) I suspect that @nanushka is onto something in observing that the profanity may come across differently on the page; in my ears she sounds like a considerable portion of my acquaintance. One thing about the audiobook that does give me some pause is Pazcoguin's willingness to mimic the accents of people whose first language isn't English—Peter Martins and Antonina Tumkovsky in the early chapters, for example. I don't think she's trying to mock them by doing so; it's clear that she has nothing but respect and admiration for Tumkovsky and her killer classes: "These exercises were meant to humble our bodies and build strength—all in sync with the speed of the music ... I willed my body to keep moving, and eventually the anxiety and loneliness started to slide off my shoulders. The combination she was calling out was crazy-intense, like nothing I’d ever done before—but my body and soul were buzzing from delight. My homesickness faded. I no longer cared about who was taller, longer, more experienced, more talented, or had the right weird shoes. I wanted to throw myself all in. I was here to learn Balanchine’s way, and if that meant busting my ass for the Michael “Mickey” Goldmill of ballet, well then, I was down." While I'm happy that Pazcoguin's editor didn't flatten her voice by ironing out the slang, I'm going to guess that "I was down" will sound as amusingly outdated as "hep cat" a generation or two hence. While Pazcoguin is clearly out to de-mystify some of the trappings of the ballet world, she's also dead-set on celebrating ballet as an art, and I'm, you know, down with that.
  4. It appears that the FDA will accelerate the final review process for the Pfizer vaccine with the goal of issuing final approval as soon as it can: "Under heavy pressure, the Food and Drug Administration center that reviews vaccines is planning to deprioritize some of its existing work, like meetings with drug sponsors and plant inspections, in an effort to accelerate its review of Pfizer’s application for the formal approval of its Covid-19 vaccine, a senior agency official told STAT." "The process requires FDA staff to review millions of pages of complex data, conduct plant inspections, and negotiate with Pfizer over issues including the terms of the FDA’s approved label and the company’s postmarketing responsibilities. Now, the senior agency official said, the agency will initiate a 'sprint.'" As someone who worked for over two decades in the pharmaceutical industry, I can attest to the painstaking nature of the FDA review process. There's a lot more to it than it might look from the outside. ETA: This STAT News article provides a little more context around calls to accelerate the final approval process and agency pushback. As does this longer piece from Forbes.
  5. I think requiring proof of an FDA or WHO approved Covid-19 vaccination in order to gain admittance is the right call. I was somewhat surprised that there is no exception for children under 12: since they can't (yet) be vaccinated, they will not be allowed to attend NYCB repertory performances. While both the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall have also decided to bar children under 12, Broadway theaters will allow children under 12 to attend performances if they've been tested for the virus. Broadway will also require masking, however. (San Francisco Opera is also requiring proof of vaccination and masking, and will allow children under 12 to attend, with the proviso that anyone planning to bring a child to a performance should call the box office "to discuss seating and safety options.") I note that vaccines will be required for "all employees and visitors to the David H. Koch Theater and Samuel B. & David Rose Building." Will children under 12 be allowed to attend classes and rehearsals at SAB? NYCB's announcement states that children under 12 can't attend repertory performances, but doesn't state that they can't otherwise enter the theater or the Rose Building.
  6. Agreed. And in truth, the vast majority of New Yorkers in my neighborhood are still masking up in most indoor spaces, even if it's not required that they do so. I'd expect that at least some audience members will resist masking, but that more will be willing (or even eager) to don them again.
  7. Yes. If there's anything that argues for a mask mandate, it's this. To be clear, I don't think it's an argument against vaccines.
  8. Wouldn't it be possible to require vaccination of everyone over 12? One way to protect those who can't be vaccinated—e.g., children under 12—is to ensure that those who can be vaccinated are vaccinated.
  9. I still can't figure out the logic behind no intermissions. I suppose the intention is to limit the absolute amount of time front-of-house employees and audience members are exposed to the virus given that duration of exposure is one driver of transmission risk. But it's hard to see how adding, say, one 20 minute intermission materially increases the risk for people who will be sitting (unmasked!) in close proximity to potential carriers of a highly contagious variant for 90 minutes.
  10. I wonder if NYCB will decide to revise its policy in light of 1) rising Covid-19 case rates at both the local and national level; 2) revised CDC guidance re indoor masking; 3) more and more organizations in the for-profit, non-profit, health care, and government sectors requiring vaccinations of both employees and customers; and 4) the number of public figures now urging everyone to get vaccinated. Surely headlines like "All NYC Counties Fall Under CDC's New Recommendation For Universal Indoor Masking" has to prompt a NYC performing arts organization to re-think its re-opening policies. (Or this one, as Nutcracker season approaches: "Arkansas Children’s hospitals report record high number of children hospitalized with Covid-19"—it certainly got my attention.) Frankly, it might be easier for a venue to require vaccines for admission than to try to enforce a masking requirement. You just know that there will be audience members who will kick up a prolonged and noisy ruckus when an usher politely requests that they put their masks back on.
  11. In the Theater Formerly Known as State where you can actually see what's going on onstage? Oh, I'd be elbowing my way to the front of the box office line for that one.
  12. Yup. Ditto with masks. I sometimes wonder if we aren't suffering from a national epidemic of adult-onset oppositional defiant disorder.
  13. I'm going to push back on this just the little tiniest bit—not because I want to accommodate vaccine hesitancy, but rather because I can see from day-to-day interactions with any number of people that there is a TON of Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccine mis- and disinformation out there and that even smart and well-educated people can fall prey to it. Some of it has been promulgated in bad faith by people with an agenda; some of it has been promulgated in good faith by people who are either innumerate (i.e., can't process the statistics) or who don't have a basic grasp of the science; some of it arises out of a fundamental mistrust of experts, the pharmaceutical companies, the medical establishment, the FDA, the CDC, and the government; some of it is the result from science reporting that is at best inept and at worst sensationalized for clicks and ratings. ALL of this mis- and disinformation works to undermine confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, despite the fact that the demonstrated efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is excellent and serious side-effects very, very rare. (The risk of "long-haul" Covid is very, very real, however: studies suggest that 1 in 4 Covid-19 patients will suffer long-haul symptoms months after contracting the disease, even if their cases weren't severe or they didn't have any risk factors. One may worry about the long-term risks of the Covid-19 vaccines; one might more profitably worry more about the long-term risks of even a mild case of Covid-19.) So, I can understand some degree of vaccine hesitancy and why someone who's wary might think that wariness is legitimate caution—especially if other members of their community—be it family, friends, fellow church members, fellow PTA members, whatever—reinforce that wariness. That being said, I have absolutely no qualms about requiring proof of vaccination to do things like board a commercial flight, get on a cruise ship, be seated in a theater, eat in a restaurant, enter a store, work in an office, work in a health care setting, or attend a college or university.
  14. Yes, try again. This email from NYCB hit my inbox at around 4:30: AN UPDATE ON YOUR EARLY ACCESS It was brought to our attention that some of our priority sales patrons were having trouble accessing seats for Maria Kowroski's farewell performance on October 17. The issue has been fixed and available seating for this performance should now be displaying correctly online. If you were experiencing problems ordering online earlier today, thank you for your patience. Please try to order online again as our phone lines are experiencing extremely heavy traffic. We apologize for this inconvenience and look forward to seeing you in the theater.
  15. The perception that politics may be a driver of vaccine hesitancy is likely driven by reports such as these: Data Show Politics Has Become a Powerful Driver of Vaccine Hesitancy State vaccine rates fall along red, blue divide Least Vaccinated U.S. Counties Have Something in Common: Trump Voters Vaccine hesitancy among Republicans emerges as Biden's next big challenge Amid vaccine push in reluctant communities, politics plays big role; Black, Hispanic parents say in survey they are willing to get vaccinated, but Republicans were less likely to say so Regression analysis run on county-level data shows a clear correlation between vaccination rates and partisan vote lean, although as this dive into the data by Cornell professor Tom Pepinsky suggests, it's important to look for nuance when analyzing the data: Trump Support and Vaccination Rates: Some Hypotheses and Some Data Of course there are other drivers of vaccine hesitancy, such as education and income levels (see the first article I linked to above for some data on that), distrust of the pharmaceutical industry, distrust of medical experts, the way one tends to evaluate risk generally, whether one lives in the city or the country, etc etc etc.
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