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Kathleen O'Connell

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Everything posted by Kathleen O'Connell

  1. I found most of Emeralds filmed much too close, which may be a function of my irl preference for sitting further back from the stage than most people might prefer. I kept wishing the camera would pull back even just a little bit to put more air in the frame, even (especially!) for the solos and pas de deux. The camera work in Rubies and Diamonds was a bit better in this regard, but not much. And lordy, that shiny shiny stage floor is distracting.
  2. The 1993 recording of Kistler and Zelensky you're likely thinking of isn't of the whole ballet, alas—just the pas de deux and the finale. It was part of the Balanchine Celebration broadcast.
  3. I think it would be fine if there were two versions of Colorforms, one developed for film (and in this case, site specific) and another developed for the stage. Some of the former's effects could probably be ported into the latter via technology, but it's OK for the stage version to simply honor what can be done on a proscenium stage—much as the film version needn't try to emulate the experience of being in a theater.
  4. Colorforms was absolutely worth the price of admission, but I don't think it would be half so delightful on the stage—and I mean this as a compliment to both Thatcher and Hurwitz. It's a dance made for film—a good one!—not a filmed dance performance. The jump cuts between the dancers moving through the museum in their sneakers and street clothes to those same dancers moving to the same music in costumes, point shoes, and slippers in a color-drenched space that isn't quite that same museum but vibrates in resonance with some of the colors and shapes of the art on display tells a little story about what happens to us when we engage with art. Ditto when they (literally) step through the frame into the wider world and take the dance and some "colorforms" (brightly hued paper airplanes) with them. I kept thinking about Balanchine's comment on the two halves of Liebeslieder Waltzes: in the first half it's people dancing, in the second half, it's their souls.
  5. From NYCB's New York Choreographic Institute, three new dances on film choreographed by NYCB Dancers Eliza Blutt, Preston Chamblee, and Claire Kretzschmar: "For 20 years, the New York Choreographic Institute has cultivated a global community of choreographers committed to evolving classical ballet for the 21st Century. Responding to the challenges of this unprecedented year, this past Fall Session focused on talent from within NYCB - bringing together 22 dancers to work collaboratively over a two-week bubble residency at Martha's Vineyard. With strict Covid-mitigation protocols in place, emerging choreographers and NYCB Dancers Eliza Blutt, Preston Chamblee, and Claire Kretzschmar had the space to create three original ballets on film with a group of their peers." So far, I've only been able to watch Kretzschmar's ballet, which is set to Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme of Chopin. I liked it a lot—better than many of the trifles that have been thrust at us during the company's annual fashion gala, frankly—and I hope NYCB gives her more opportunities to choreograph.
  6. The Baryshnikov Arts Center has several months of free digital presentations lined up for Spring 2021. Each presentation will be available for two weeks. Up first is Bijayini Satpathy, a leading exponent of classical South Asian dance. "Classical Indian dancer Bijayini Satpathy’s first choreographic endeavor, Vibhanga, is a non-narrative solo set to a reimagined traditional South Indian music score. Drawing from the curvilinear tendencies of the Odissi dance form and influenced by explorations of rhythm, the work reveals the layered complexities of the classical movement technique." Per Mark Morris: “She’s easily among the top five dancers I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.” If you aren't familiar with Odissi dance, a Bijayini Satpathy performance is a good place to start. The video comes down at 5PM on February 15, 2021. The work itself is 14 minutes long and starts at the video's 6 minute mark. (The video begins with some introductory comments by Satpathy.)
  7. It is! Here's the link: https://vimeo.com/494232574 It will be available until Wednesday, December 30 at 10pm. Here's the program: The Moor’s Pavane (1949) by José Limón Suite Donuts (2020) by Chafin Seym (Co-commissioned by the American Dance Festival with support from the Doris Duke/SHS Foundations Award for New Works.) There is a Time (1956) by José Limón
  8. ABT did get a grant in the $100,000+ category. Search under Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc., which is the legal name of the non-profit via which ABT operates. NYCB is a member of New York City's Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) and therefore likely receives NYC/Department of Cultural Affairs funding through a different channel. There are 33 CIG members; NYCB is the only performing arts company among the group now that New York City Opera is defunct. (The Theater Formerly Known as State was home to both, as was, prior to that, New York City Center.) Here's a link to the CIG website. Here's the CIG list Brooklyn Brooklyn Academy of Music Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Children's Museum Brooklyn Museum Wildlife Conservation Society / New York Aquarium Bronx Bronx County Historical Society Bronx Museum of the Arts New York Botanical Garden Wave Hill Wildlife Conservation Society / Bronx Zoo Manhattan American Museum of Natural History Carnegie Hall Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. Metropolitan Museum of Art El Museo del Barrio Museum of the City of New York Museum of Jewish Heritage New York City Ballet New York City Center Public Theater Studio Museum in Harlem Queens Flushing Town Hall Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning Museum of the Moving Image New York Hall of Science MoMA PS 1 Queens Botanical Garden Queens Museum Queens Theatre Staten Island Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden Staten Island Children's Museum Staten Island Historical Society Staten Island Museum Staten Island Zoological Society
  9. Not a performance, but ... an online exhibit mounted by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts - Winter Wonderland: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker From the intro: The exhibition Winter Wonderland: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® charts the early years of the ballet’s life, from its premiere in February 1954 to the success of the remounted production in 1964. Through treasures from the archives of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, including photographs, set models, and costume designs, the story of the work emerges, as do the thematic qualities that make Balanchine’s version of the ballet unique and so enduring: namely nostalgia, faith, love, and childhood innocence and wonder. There are lots of interesting photos and images, including this 1954 photo of Eliot Feld and Alberta Grant as the Nutcracker Prince and Marie: Or Rouben Ter-Arutunian's 1964 sketch of Marie and the Nutcracker Prince's reindeer-pulled sleigh for the finale (and which I would like to turn into a holiday card ...) Or Karinska's costume sketches for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier
  10. The Brothers Grimm are grim indeed. My father used to read the Grimm originals to me when I was little, and loved them—the scarier the better. I came away duly wary of stepmothers, that's for sure!
  11. In The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the E. T. A. Hoffman story upon which the ballet is based (loosely based, I should add) Marie (not Clara) must prevail against dark forces ranging from the seven-headed Mouse King to the more mundane but no less distressing parental dismissal of her night time adventures as mere dreams and fantasies. She gets wounded in the battle with the Mouse King, who later proceeds to extort sweets and toys from her in exchange for his not chewing up the Nutcracker. It's she who must procure the sword the Nutcracker will use to dispatch the Mouse King, and it's she who must break the curse by swearing to love the Nutcracker no matter how ugly he is. Basically, she goes through the kind of trials characteristic of a hero's journey. Mark Morris brings back the Nutcracker's humdinger of a backstory in The Hard Nut, and makes it clear that Marie is the work's moral center. Here's a link to Hoffman's original, which really is darker and weirder than the prettied up version used for the ballet.
  12. Thanks for starting this thread, Helene. I've started working my way through the essays in order, although I'm not sure they need to be read that way. Here are the links to all of the articles in "The Offending Classic" series that have been posted thus far: Tanya Jayani Fernando, "Introduction: The Classic and the Offending Classic" Deborah Jowitt, "Sex and Death" Juan Ignacio Vallejos, "On the Intolerable in Dance" Joellen A. Meglin, "Against Orthodoxies" Nicole Duffy Robertson, "Classic Sin: Ballet, Sex, and Dancing Outside the Canon" Mark Franko, "The Offending Classic"
  13. I thought I'd kick of a new Covid-19 topic with a bit of good news from yesterday's New York Times: New York City Cultural Groups Awarded More Than $47 Million in Grants "In a year filled with layoffs and budget cuts, New York City’s cultural institutions got some good news on Tuesday: The Department of Cultural Affairs announced that it would award $47.1 million in its newest round of grants, which this year will go to more than 1,000 of the city’s nonprofit organizations." Here's a link to the list of arts organizations that have received funding: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Fiscal Year 2021 Cultural Development Fund Awardees. There are lots of dance companies, dance schools, performing arts companies, performing arts presenting organizations, and performing arts venues of all sizes on the list. Many of these organizations do receive regular grant funding from NYC's Department of Cultural Affairs' Cultural Development Fund (CDF), but it's heartening to see that the City has kept this year's CDF funding roughly equivalent to that of prior years and that it's added some new organizations to the list as well despite overall Covid-19 driven cuts to arts funding. Via the CDF, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) makes direct grants to non-profit arts organizations to support their programs and activities. It provides arts funding through other channels as well: capital grants, the Cultural Institutions Group (which includes NYCB), and various programs that support artists (rather than arts organization). The DCLA's total budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 - June 30 2021) is $189 million, a significant reduction from last year's budget of $212 million. Here are some other articles re the grant awards: Broadway World: NYC Department of Cultural Affair Announces $47.1 Million in Grants, and New Measures to Support Cultural Organizations Hyperallergic: NYC Awards $47.1 Million in Grants and Pandemic Relief to Arts Organizations
  14. Artists have messy lives, just like the rest of us! And, like the rest of us, they also grapple with concerns about the trajectory of their careers and their relationships with their colleagues, mentors, and employers/patrons. I think what annoys me about so many depictions of artists and art-making is the degree to which the messy lives, career anxieties, drivenness, and seriousness of purpose are pathologized. Pathology makes for sensational drama, though, so that's what we get.
  15. Dancer derangement is a subcategory of the tortured artist trope, isn't it? It's hard to think of a film, play, or TV series that doesn't depict artists of any variety as damaged, disordered, tortured, or miserable in some way or other. (We can probably add "Making the people who love them miserable" to the list, too.) A life of art-making is rarely depicted as joyful. Nor are artists allowed to have the kind of day-to-day stresses and concerns that we mere normies have: their miseries must be as extraordinary as their talents. The more lurid the crazy, the bigger the award-season buzz. (Remember 1998's Hilary and Jackie? or 2000's Pollock? Or much Ken Russell's oeuvre.)
  16. There's a Black Friday special on today — you can get a one year subscription for $38.70. I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about their service if it were easier to watch their content on an actual TV. "Aircasting" from an internet-connected computer, phone, or tablet is OK, but kinda fiddly and less than the ideal. Marquee TV does offer the full menu of TV apps.
  17. There doesn't appear to be anything on Netflix other than the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker doc California referenced above. Disney+, Hulu, and HBO don't appear to have Nutcrackers on offer either. But Amazon Video has quite a few, including some that are available for free if you are a Prime member.
  18. Netflix, for instance, has very rigorous production standards for the content provided by its various partners, whether that content is in-licensed or produced for Netflix. For instance, a partner producing content for Netflix must use one of the cameras that Netflix has authorized for video capture and further must use the settings Netflix has specified for that camera. (Note that Netflix will make some exceptions for documentary footage.) It was a big deal in the camera world when Netflix authorized the Panasonic S1H—a mirrorless camera that can be used for either stills or video that is cheaper than industry standard cinema cameras (such as those produced by Red Digital ) and that you might see on the street in the hands of a vlogger or someone shooting content for their YouTube channel. I don't know what equipment NYCB uses to film performances nor what its post-production process is, but it could very well be that they don't conform to the major streaming platform's standards. It could also be that NYCB wants to test the pay-per-view model and thought Marquee's platform offered a decent opportunity to do so. Pay-per-view might also be the distribution model that is most acceptable to both the rights holders and the performers' and stagehands' unions. A lot (most?) of Marquee TV's content that isn't "ticketed" is also available as either DVDs or online purchase / rental elsewhere, so a lot of the digital rights issues regarding wide distribution have likely already been dealt with. (Marquee TV doesn't appear to have much in the way of exclusive content.)
  19. I'm delighted to see that NYCB has been able to pull off a program of new works during a lockdown. PS: I don't know the work of Jamar Roberts, but I do know the work of Bell, Miller, and Tanowitz, and I'm eager to see what they've been able to do given the constraints they've had to work under.
  20. It's kind of pricey, alas. You have to buy tickets separately for each dancer's half hour performance. At $13.00 per, that's $91.00 for the whole series. I don't know how many people would actually want to see seven different dancers' take on Fenley's work, but I'm surprised the Joyce isn't offering some kind of discount to see all seven. Anyway, you can watch Fenley perform the work herself here: https://vimeo.com/46187147 Warning: she dances topless.
  21. I presume Balanchine switched the order of the Tchaikovsky's third and fourth movements to set up that darker death and transfiguration ending. Personally, I find it rather jarring to hear the fourth movement finale—including the recap of the opening themes—three-quarters of the way through the ballet rather than at the end where, musically at least, it belongs.
  22. I agree! I sometimes wish they'd do it without the spotlight to see if it would read differently.
  23. Asking for money damages doesn't mean the suit was brought solely for financial gain rather than out of a desire that someone be held accountable or to make a larger societal point. (If I recall correctly, Waterbury asked for money damages specifically to cover the cost of therapy.) Since this was a civil rather than criminal action, money damages is just about the only meaningful punishment that can be imposed. Merson's firm wouldn't take on the case merely to extract an apology in any event.
  24. There are plenty of reasons why Waterbury and her lawyers might have chosen not to sue every man who saw the photos Finlay took of her: 1) If they only received the photos and neither solicited them nor passed them on to others there may not be much that Waterbury can sue them for. 2) They may be "judgement-proof," i.e., even if Waterbury were to win her suit and the judge awarded her money damages, they might not have the financial wherewithal to pay. 3) Friends, colleagues, and acquaintances might have creditably told Waterbury that they knew of men other than the named defendants who'd seen the pictures, but she might not have enough first-hand evidence to bring a claim against them. Suing people is expensive; one must pick one's counterparties carefully.
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