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About BalanchineFan

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid ballet goer, particularly NYCB, former modern dancer, teaches dance
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    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**

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  1. BalanchineFan

    Job posting for artistic director

    From Whelan appearance at Balanchine at City Center (she spoke on opening night) I believe she worked on that festival. She was an artistic associate at City Center 2014-16 and both Restless Creature and her other projects have had considerable touring.
  2. I thought the POB couple performed Agon PPD well enough, but something else struck me about the whole thing. NYCB tends to have taller women. Most of the foreign companies have women that are short and tiny. Sae Eun Park, is an example. Hugo Marchand had to duck under her leg in arabesque when he was on one knee. I've only seen the woman's leg sail over her partner. Agon should be danced by a taller woman, or at least a couple that are more closely matched in size. There's another section where the man supports the woman under the arms as she does a series of splits, two or three times going upstage on alternating diagonals, twice coming downstage. Marchand was so much taller that her pelvis couldn't reach the ground. Do these companies have enough tall women for Balanchine rep?
  3. BalanchineFan

    Job posting for artistic director

    I was at the SAB open house this year and they had a presentation on costumes. It wasn't Happel, but a man spoke about how costumes for Concerto Barocco and Serenade had changed over time and about how each costume has a book showing design, decoration placement and fabric swatches, (including fabric costs, where to purchase etc.) for all of its elements. The costume shop is on top of it!
  4. I haven’t spoken to any dancers about the floor surface, but I trust it won’t surprise anyone to read my differing opinion of the reason for the slips and falls. I think it’s part and parcel of the occasion; bringing different companies together, a different routine, the excitement of seeing heros or idols up close, the excitement of the unknown. The first day of the festival Unity Phelan posted an IG film taken just before company class. The little films disappear after 24 hours, but the excitement in the room was palpable. She highlighted a dancer from another company at the barre, a friend and/or someone whose dancing she admired. After a close up view all the dancers are probably comparing their own interpretations to the dancing of this vast number of other people (even if only subconsciously), changing routines and approaches to movement that were proven by time. The snow globe has been shaken and the flakes now fly. Until they settle anything might happen.
  5. Yes, the Russians cut bits of the choreography. It's a star vehicle, so in a certain sense we should expect dancers to tailor it to their particular gifts. Somewhere on Youtube there is a compilation of Balanchine sanctioned (at least in several cases) changes to the male variations. Still, Tereshkina doesn't hop backwards in her variation very long. She took two or three hops and then turned and ran to the corner. She doesn't really gargouillade (Patty McBride didn't either). Kim leapt so high in his variation that he ran out of space and stood smiling in the corner waiting for the music to catch up. He's good looking, the audience didn't seem to mind. The dancers often exited early, leaving the stage empty before their partner's next entrance. They gave a spectacular performance in many ways, but it wasn't really Balanchine, imo, and they weren't terribly connected to each other emotionally... aside from the play acting in the bows. I heard the couple from the Royal Ballet had a much better version of Tschai Pas that also brought down the house. Kimin Kim DOES have an spectacular and amazing jump. Truly gasp worthy. But that doesn't make an entire ballet. I thought the Joffrey showed what a disadvantage it is not to have Balanchine training. 4T has eleven soloist/principal roles and a large corps de ballet. They did an admirable job, but you can't fake or coach your way through ten years of training in a few weeks (I have no idea how long they've had this piece). Colleen Neary, who staged it, must have had to pick her battles. It was accurate and recognizable as 4T, but the use of space, the off balance moments, many of the leg positions were not Balanchine. A Balanchine attitude has the knee directly behind the hip and the lower leg bent behind the body to the opposite side. It's super crossed over. So is tendu to the front, with the toe ending up even with center of the body (read Merrill Ashley's book). It's extreme, and the dancers, HIS dancers are super pulled up through the hips and middle. The Joffrey dancers haven't mastered that and it makes a difference in the tension and energy of the entire piece. I think the Joffrey cast did a laudable job, the men often stronger than the women, but they also showed just HOW MUCH there is to master in this choreography. All that said, I really enjoyed it and I think the whole festival is wonderful. I loved the Paris Opera ballet couple in Midsummer PPD. My friends thought it woud have been better programmed before Tschai Pas. Calm you down, then rile you up.
  6. It was a beautiful opening night performance tonight. Miami City Ballet gave a beautiful and moving Serenade. The audience is closer to the dancers at City Center so we were viewing it from another angle. Jeanette Delgado was superb. The Mariinsky dancers brought a different style to Tschai Pas. Lovely at times, puzzling at other times. Kimin Kim has such ballon he looked like he might jump off the stage. I’m not sure he was able to fit all the choreography into the available space, but he was a hit with the audience. They also take a lot of time with their bows in the middle of the piece. Perhaps that’s the style in Russia. It seems self indulgent in NYC. Tarantella was a lot of fun and really connected with the spirit of the piece and with the audience. More later.... I’m interested to hear what others thought.
  7. BalanchineFan

    Balanchine's Don Quixote: Worth a Revival?

    Couldn't they do a revival that is similar in scope to the ENCORES revivals that City Center does? Fewer sets and costumes, limited rehearsal. If they don't want to use the theater they could stage it in a studio at SAB and just invite company members and interested intellectuals/ballet historians... but VIDEOTAPE IT FOR POSTERITY, like they do with the Balanchine Trust rehearsals. The YouTube videos of DQ are beautiful, but the Govrin solo is so dark, and her costume so dark that I can't see anything. Farrell was lucky to be wearing white. As I understand it, the Choreographic Institute works on a similar level (limited rehearsal time, studio environment, NYCB dancers paid scale during non-working weeks).
  8. BalanchineFan

    Job posting for artistic director

    You're so much more concise. I realize now that someone else posted the same rehearsal video upthread.
  9. BalanchineFan

    Job posting for artistic director

    Mimi Paul looks like an excellent coach. While John Clifford is certainly knowlegable, I was struck by the number of times he said "I." I never did... I always... here, I did [such and such]... Most good coaches keep the emphasis on the younger generation. They realize that no one has to, should, or is even truly capable of dancing like another person. It's about empowering the younger generation to make choices in keeping with the style and aims of the choreography.... about showing them options that broaden the possibilities, options that make it more musical, bigger, more varied, more dynamic, more in keeping with the original intention. Clifford calms down a bit in the video, but I found the first six or seven minutes difficult to watch. It's one thing to talk about what Balanchine said in the studio, what he wanted, how he saw the movement. It's another thing entirely to say, in effect, "do it like me," even if you were once a good dancer. It's like he puts himself between the dancers and the ballet. Mimi is entirely different. She says "you." "You do this, you do that, then you're completely caught up in the music." She gets herself out of the way and helps the dancers focus on their tasks. It's more than a semantic issue. It shows respect for the dancers in the room. They are also artists. They are going to be out there onstage. They have to assimilate whatever new information is being imparted. It's good coaching to say "you." If "ballet is now... there is only now" is true, as Balanchine said, then "I did this" doesn't really have a place in the room. Yes, build on what all the dancers did way back when, but recognize that it's not about your personal glory days of old, but about the new generation and their possibilities.
  10. BalanchineFan

    Job posting for artistic director

    Here's a YouTube video of Mimi Paul and John Clifford coaching Megan Fairchild and Jared Angle in Glinkiana (Valse Fantaisie). It may answer every question you ever had about what John Clifford is like in rehearsal.
  11. BalanchineFan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    NYCB dancers also have so much more repertory. When one dancer gets injured it's like EVERYONE ends up picking up the slack. One injury can richochet up the entire schedule.
  12. BalanchineFan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Hey, you're not disagreeing with me! Balanchine said it. Maybe the 10-1 ratio was meant for the person he was speaking to. For someone who choreographed very quickly Mr. B may have wanted to emphasize the work that goes into it. I've read that he spent a great deal of time learning the music he was choreographing to, playing it, analyzing, etc.
  13. BalanchineFan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Aha! THAT'S who that was! Who was the woman in pink who greeted Joaquin last and danced with him at the end? Was it his mother? What a beautiful program. De Luz is such a wonderful dancer and I hope everything goes well for him.
  14. BalanchineFan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    I'm of the opinion that creating new work is what keeps artists growing. Having the choreographer and the dancer in the room together is what makes a ballet company different from an art museum. This conversation also brings to mind Balanchine's famous advice to young choreographers. I'll have to paraphrase but it was something like: You want to be a choreographer? Make a ballet. Then make another one, then another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and then maybe you'll make a good ballet. The point is that Balanchine's expected ratio was about 10 meh ballets to one good one. I understand not all audiences will want to be in on the growing process, but others love that. I love Balanchine ballets, but I find the experience of watching them dull if the dancers aren't challenged by working with living choreographers. When I see people dance Petipa it bores me to tears. It's so slow, the vision of women is so stilted and artificial. NYCB is about the artistic spirit of creation, about finding something new, expanding the art form, as well as keeping the Balanchine/Robbins rep alive. Do any of the 'Balanchine/Robbins only" proponents prefer to watch films of Balanchine and Robbins ballets (and not come to the theater)? You can see the original casts and if the film quality is good those performances have the benefit of being coached by the choreographers themselves. Anyway, I'm rambling. I think there have been a lot of "keepers" among the new ballets. Helene mentions Year of the Rabbit, After the Rain ppd, and Polyphonia. I would add Everywhere We Go, Rodeo, and Times Are Racing. I don't know if other companies are performing them, but maybe it's just because they don't have enough dancers. Another judge of a successful new ballet is whether a young/beginning choreographer gets new opportunities to choreograph. Lauren Lovette made a new piece for ABT 2, I believe. I think that's a very positive step. I don't think many other ballet companies are able to develop ballet choreographers.
  15. BalanchineFan

    New York City Ballet Fall Season

    Prodigal Son is supposed to have a height discrepancy. The Siren wears that crazy tall hat, dances primarily on pointe and the Son crouches (wide bent legs) throughout most of their dancing together. She's chillingly dominant, as per the choreography. Why did you think it would pose a problem?