Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Mel Johnson

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Mel Johnson

  1. That Kent/Villella photo may date from the first couple of State Theater seasons, when I was consciously avoiding seeing what I had seen at City Center as much as I could. Hey, I was in high school, and had to stretch my dollar as far as it would go!
  2. I also recall Suki Schorer in the kilts role.
  3. Tallchief/Bruhn at NYCB came in 62-63, I believe. It didn't last long. The toss, I think, was intended to be recollective of the dive from a platform in La Peri. It became optional after the incident described. I never saw McBride dance the Sylph, but I think I recall a program I have where her partner was Andre Prokovsky. I don't recall any signs that Villella ever did the Scotsman.
  4. First time I saw this was with Melissa Hayden and Jacques d'Amboise, with Patricia Neary as the Girl in a Kilt. Joffrey did it, too, with Noel Mason, Nels Jorgensen, and Rebecca Wright. Nels kept going out for injury, so Mr. Balanchine sent over Anthony Blum to fill in. I also remember Violette Verdy and Maria Tallchief as successful Sylphides. The ballet hearks back to the Romantic era, with La Sylphide a prominent motif. Balanchine created it after NYCB played the Edinburgh Festival.
  5. She is Melissa Hayden, about whom volumes have been written! Google and be prepared for a landslide!
  6. Mel Johnson


    Hi, damien, and welcome to Ballet Alert! This is the audience discussion board. Ballet Talk for Dancers is for technical classroom and stage issues regarding dancers themselves. If you're having trouble registering there, click the "Contact Us" link up at the top of their front page. That way, Administrators can help you with your registration difficulties.
  7. So it is. Only wrong Mary. You're right that many people think that was MM, only it's Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. You can't tell one Mary from another in the Bible without a score card! See especially John 12:3. You are so right! I had forgotten that "Sursum Corda" gesture. When I first saw the ballet, I was not much on liturgy.
  8. Dumas père got quite a lot of mileage out of that concept!
  9. I found numerous moments in Don Quixote recollective of El Greco paintings, especially the curtain tableau, which seemed to be based on "The Holy Trinity".
  10. I wasn't that lucky. I was Mr. Joffrey's Secretary, and took notes from him and the ballet master (Basil Thompson). I did learn a lot of choreography in passing, though.
  11. Hi, Brent, and a welcome from me, too! Easy way to tell the Monotones apart - I has 1 man, II has 2 men. If you don't remember another guy with Glenn, then it was very likely I. When we did them at Joffrey, our original I man was Burton Taylor, the II men were Robert Thomas and...Kevin MCKENZIE(!?!)
  12. Ballet was founded upon a monarchic and hierarchic view of society. This part of the foundation of the art is now vestigial, but it's still there! Indeed, if we consider that the American view that "the people are sovereign" (Which has had good press for the last 200 years) dancers at the end of a performance still bow to the audience, no matter WHO they may be. In class, the teacher is still the monarch. So, yes, the révérence still ends the lesson. But be careful of linguistic cognates. There may be words in both French and English which are spelled practically the same (there are those pesky és!), but may mean different things to the languages' speakers. Or if they mean the same (denotatively), they may suggest (connotatively) different things when they're used!
  13. Hello, Mr_Hulot and welcome to Ballet Alert! The answer to your question depends a lot on the production she's in. Just from the blocking and the "lines" (the mime), she can be played either way. I personally care for a "nice" Bathilde (she's too good for a rover like Albrecht!) That's another thing that makes Giselle a great show. Even the supporting cast has meaty material. The details of movement we can trust to the ballet master!
  14. I think that there's still an echo of the "war" against Tchaikovsky left over from postwar - "All it is is LOUD, mixed with pretty tunes!" But you're right.
  15. A little to see that neither Schumann nor Mendelssohn made the cut, but then again, it's Mr. Tommasini's list, and not mine, isn't it? When you're working that altitude of the musical stratosphere, it's hard to pick only ten. Thank God for the abundance of genius!
  16. The problem with the de Staël is that it contains nothing at all about Wilis!
  17. A sidelight on Heine's work: He wrote it in part to counterbalance a ca. 1812 book by Mme. de Staël (same title) which he found too old-fashioned and sentimental. Don't get stuck looking for that earlier book.
  18. And if you're looking for the Heine, it's "De L'Allemagne", "About Germany", part of a two-volume anthology he wrote in 1835.
  19. Just as long as the ELEPHANTS didn't make you think of certain ballerinas, I think we're all right. Otherwise we're back at the Macaulay discussion.
  20. The problem with decrying a performer's badness is that someone has to be upholding his/her goodness. I don't think anybody's gone that far out on the limb for Reeves, even he himself. He's just not good enough to be that bad. And as for worst actor perhaps ever, surely some mention must be made of William McGonagall, who had sort of a reverse clacque that followed him, pelting the stage with fruit at every line. One account of a McGonagall performance tells of the performers sloshing about in ankle-deep orange juice and pulp. One theatre made him put up a £100 damages deposit against things his fans might do to the place. McGonagall thought this "rather hard".
  21. My memory of the original show came with the caveat "sucky". I couldn't understand how a show could be so inferior to its source material, including John van Druten's I am a Camera. Then I found out that Christopher Isherwood held the show up by declaring that he didn't want to be identified as gay in the show, no matter what the world knew from previous works, including his own. The scenedoctoring to reinvent the show's dynamics in the light of that development was intense. They even asked Jerome Robbins to take it over, but he had other things to do. Helpfully, he suggested that they remove most, if not all, the musical numbers that did not happen in the Kit Kat Club. Just what happened in the movie.
  22. If Balanchine were involved at all, it was more in the nature of editor. Villella did the choreography, and had a rehearsal or two with Balanchine, who did a "Uh-huh, that's good, fix that, less here, more there" kind of supervision. It wasn't echt Balanchine by a long shot. I remember attending a performance by Villella and his company, and the work was on there, but credit was entirely to Villella.
  • Create New...