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  1. This is a rather far-out: a music ensemble in which all the instruments are made out of vegetables. Admittedly, the music is rather primitive; I don't think you could play Mozart on vegetables. The site has downloadable MP3s as well. http://www.gemueseorchester.org/anfang_e.htm
  2. In my reading of ballet history, I surmised that the most innovative periods are often those in which a ballet tradition is just being established in a society. That's true of Balanchine as well as the Russican Classical period. Balanchine went to Denmark before the USA, but evidently was not able to do his thing there because of the strong Bournenville tradition. And the Ballets Russes --- they came to Paris at the end of "the decadance" period of French ballet. So again, Paris was a fertile ground for thier "new thing".
  3. This report ignores the fact that popular culture plays a HUGE influence through the mass media. For example, nearly everybody (ballet dancers included) watches the SuperBowl every year, even though only maybe a couple hundred thousdand watch it LIVE. Same for rock concerts: rock's influence extends WAY beyond the live concert, thanks to recorded media. When one takes these factors into acount, I think one must conclude that popular culture and sports are FAR more popular than the "high arts".
  4. Bugs in the radiator... nowadays in America, we have video bugs just about everywhere. And it is widely believed that secretive government agencies spy on as much Internet traffic as they can. Makes a KGB bug in the radiator seem quaint.
  5. The trend is a result of the way ballet has operated. Ballet training is focused entirely on children; there is very little discussion of continued training of the (adult) professional dancer, let alone any other kind of adult dancer. Talk to 11-year-old ballet students, and many of them are expecting to quit in a couple of years; it's seen as a children's activity, something they had fun with as fantasy princesses, but they will drop as they enter adolescence. Ballet is marketed to children with Ballet Barbie. The Nutcracker really is a Children's ballet --- not only in its subject matter but also in the fact that it involves so many children. The Nutcracker is also so incredibly dominant, it skews the public's entire perception of ballet. Every time ballet avoids "serious" or "political" topics, choosing fairy tale subjects instead, that furthers its reputation as being for children. Children enter the profession as early as 15, a time that most other teenagers are just starting high school. The age of 18 is more common, still a child in today's society. The AVERAGE age of retirement is 28, an age at which many people are just beginning serious professional careers. With all that, it's no wonder that ballet is seen as something for children.
  6. Corps choreography gets changed as well for reasons: * Change in number of dancers * Change in scenery or props * Change in dancer bodies relative to each other
  7. The difference between corps dancers and students isn't necessarily what they can and cannot do; it's HOW MUCH they can do in HOW MUCH time. Dancers in our company are expected to dance MINIMUM, for example: flowers, fairies, maids, snow, maybe a couple of other things as well. I'm sure that is typical for Nutcrackers. And they get 4 weeks to learn all those parts. Students cannot yet work up 4 or more parts like that in 4 weeks. But they CAN, for example, work up 1 or 2 parts in 6 weeks. So you start integrating advanced students into the production 2 or more weeks into the show --- after the stress of putting it together to begin with is over. This isn't a matter of lowering standards by putting students --- the students dance the parts generally as well as their somewhat older peers. These people are still students because they don't yet have the experience to learn a large number of parts quickly, in time for opening night. Putting them in fewer roles with more rehearsal time is the necessary process to get them to that point. However, I suspect that the situation described at PBT goes beyond this use of students. The deciding factor is the question "if this student drops dead, will the show still go on?" You must always have enough professional dancers to cover the parts if need be.
  8. I heard a creative suggestion today: maybe BB (or anyone) could offer a "buy two get one free" type of deal: buy two Nutcracker tickets and get a free ticket to a future repertory concert that the company doesn't expect to sell out. This could be a good way to try to get more audience to realize that ballet is more than Nutcracker.
  9. Seven Deadly Sins was exactly my thought too, when I saw the thread.
  10. I agree, Alewife is a more user-friendly option, has nicer subway cars, an all-underground ride, etc. Probably worth the extra 15 miles in the car.
  11. Plus whatever to park at Riverside; I think it's a bit less than $4.
  12. The Wang Center is on Tremont St, just south of Stuart St. Stuart St, which turns into Kneeland St, chock full of business. Also, Chinatown starts on the the north side of Stuart St (opposite side from the Wang Center). There's a ton of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in there --- walk, don't drive. These are real Chinese restaraunts, the best Chinese seafood in town, etc. My favorite restaurant in the theatre district is a Vietnamese restaurant at the corner of Washington and Stuart, just two blocks from the Wang. I used to eat there all the time when we performed at the Emerson. It is definitely on the budget end of things, quite good and family run: Pho Vietnam Restaurant 1 Stuart St Boston MA 02116 (617) 292-0220 Don't get them confused with "Pho Pasteur", which is more of a chain in Boston and lacks in authenticity. I believe there's a "Pho Pasteur" right around the corner. Parking at Alewfie is a good idea, it will make driving REALLY SIMPLE. Basically, you take the Mass Pike to Route 128 North to Route 2. It's all freeway. The freeway dead-ends at the Alewife parking garage. From there it's not more than a 20 minute subway ride downtown. Very easy. If you don't want to drive as far, you can park at the Riverside stop on the Green Line. Take the Mass Pike to Route 128, then take Route 128 south for one exit to the "Riverside MBTA station". There's a big parking lot there as well, and the Green Line will take you directly downtown. Alewife will cost you $2 round trip per person; Riverside will cost you $3.50.
  13. BBFan is right. The thing about ballet is that every role is a specialized skill. The more experience you have with a role, the better you are at it. So the best people for the roles are going to be the ones who did it last year --- and the year before, and the year before that, etc. If a ballet company used that system of casting exclusively, then pretty soon the people who are good at the roles would retire or move elsewhere and NO ONE would be left who is any good at all. It would be sacrificing the long-term viability of the company for short-term improvements. This is especially true for shows like Nutcracker, which come again and again every year. To be put in as first cast on an important dance (such as a divertissement) in my company, you pretty much have to have done it at least a couple of times the year before. So when a company has dancers "dance up" roles, it is balance current vs. future needs. By not introducing these "alternate" castings until partway through the run, you give these dancers more time to learn and perfect the parts before they are put out. I have also observed that our AD has certain minimum standard he needs to see before he puts a dance on stage. He will assign us in rehearsal as alternates for a dance, but until we get the dance up to his minimum standards, we do not go out on stage with it. If that doesn't happen this year, well, there's always next year. So even if the primary casting was better than the secondary, at least we know our secondary casting still meets certain requirements that our AD needs to see in the dances. The other effect here is that casting is always very fluid. I honestly cannot tell you what our casting will be next weekend. I have seen hoped-for castings be scrapped at the last minute because the hoped-for dancers were not yet ready. The need for rest is real. I know what it's like to do 28 shows between Thanksgiving and New Years: downright exhausting. But I believe BB does at least 50 or 60. I assume that does not mean that individual dancers do 50 or 60 shows, that would be more than exhausting. So I can easily see that you get to a point in the season that you want to give the first cast dancers a break and you get some second cast dancers in there.
  14. Leg shape is definitely affected by training.
  15. I got the impression from reading the articles that ASB received some kind of special dispensation allotment of visas. 14 out of 19 ABT principles are foreign-born? That just indicates to me the poor state of ballet in this country. Why can't we do better? That means to me that if we weren't so wealthy and able to attract foreigners with high salaries, we'd barely have a ballet at all. Contrast with Balanchine: he built a system that turned out great dancers, and he was willing to hire them.
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