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Mel Johnson

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Everything posted by Mel Johnson

  1. Where does one find this function. I can't find it. On my screen, this appears at the very bottom of the page. (There's a black bar right under the last -- i.e. Archives -- listing in the index section.)Perhaps it would be a good idea to put it at the top of the page, to save time scrolling etc. Thank you for this. I agree that it would be much more useful at the top of the page.
  2. With a standard like Balanchine's staging of the work near to hand, I find viewing it over the years gives me a good metrology for gauging a company's standard, but that could be true of any standard production of any work. With Nutcracker, however, it is also useful for estimating the future of the company. Many of tomorrow's company dancers are party children, Polichinelles, Candy Canes, etc. in the present season. When one goes from a Candy Cane to a Flower or dances the Harlequin pas de deux in the first act, you notice these things. Now the Balanchine staging is proliferating, and more places will be able to use it as a yardstick to measure their local company over the years, and thence to the Mother Version at NYCB!
  3. If it's not a part of the Peasant Pas de Deux, then the other famous piece of ballet music by Burgmüller is "La Péri" which was recorded many years ago by Richard Bonynge. Don't know if it's still available.
  4. I've noticed the same sort of thing since we updated and got a new "face". It must have something to do with board settings set in the Administrative Control Panel.
  5. I can recall at least one year, a long while ago in dance years, that Gloria Govrin and Suki Schorer used to alternate as the Dewdrop. Talk about the long and short of it!
  6. Best yet, the handy-dandy amazon.com link on our headline will find it for you! Just put in "Nutcracker score" and you'll find the latest printing at the top, the previous printing second, and the Taneyev piano reduction of the complete ballet which makes for easier reading, if you're not accustomed to following full scores.
  7. The numberings refer back to the original manuscript score. The first publisher of the music in Russia (1892)was P. Jurgenson. Modern scores have been published by Kalmus, Belwin, and easiest of all to get, Dover.
  8. Yes, but that's not the question being asked here. The Balanchine version changes the score, and even interpolates a part of Sleeping Beauty into the production. The change is relatively little but huge in total effect. The celesta line in the introduction to Act II (#10) is on a rising line of tones, the coda of the variation of the Sugar Plum Fairy is on descending lines. The coda to the variation is a vastly different thing from the coda to the entire pas de deux. Thank you for pointing the similarity out. It used to be that the coda to the variation was an option. Nowadays, it seems to be obligatory.
  9. In the Balanchine version, the celesta entrance he uses for the entrance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is integral to the score #10, Scene. Her variation #14c, is then shoehorned in before #11. The male variation, #14b, a sort of wheezy tarantella, is dropped from the production. The pas de deux goes from the adagio #14a to the coda #14d.
  10. If anyone has, it hasn't been successful. I remember thinking that it might be a good idea, but the extremely rubato phrasing, and interpretive leeway granted the soloist would make it a difficult choice for choreography. And besides, it's hard to find a ballet pit orchestra with a soloist (even the concertmaster) to be able to play it!
  11. The process gave rise to two words, "stereotype" - meaning an unchanging image from one sheet to the next, and "cliché" - taking its name by onomatopoeia from the sound made by the molten metal striking the moist paper matrix. Oddly, both were initially intended as complimentary descriptions!
  12. Just a clarification on the technology of the art. This page appears to have been made in the stereotype process, which involves casting entire pages in typemetal using a wet-matrix mold of papier-maché. Typemetal can generously be called a kind of pewter, being made of lead, tin, and a little antimony. The process was invented in the 1790s, but didn't really catch on until the second quarter of the 19th century, when the Illustrated Newspaper (London, Harpers, Gleason's, etc.) took off as a genre. The soft metal of the pictorial plates were not as hard as steel (or as expensive!) But they wore a lot better than the former boxwood plates which could only do a few hundred impressions. With stereotypy, entire PAGES could be cast at one time, and they then could be sold into syndication as whole sheets, giving the outlands the same form and content as the city slickers!
  13. Just bear in mind that James probably didn't write the title for this article herself. Editors do that, ordinarily, and that's where you'll find the bias of the journal. I can't figure out how they've stayed in business so long with such a postwar (that's WWII) mindset.
  14. Newsweek maintains a long-standing editorial policy toward ballet, particularly when relating it to men. Was it in 1966 that they trumpeted "Ballet is Woman" as the cover story, showing an owlish Balanchine seated in the midst of his younger female principals and soloists? And during the height of Baryshnikov's popularity, they ran a story entitled "...Those white tights....", describing men's squirmy feelings while watching other men dance in ballets? This story is just another in that tradition. Given this bent, it's no wonder they've slipped so far down the newsmagazine ladder.
  15. Nestle's Quik (sic) is a fast-dissolving soluble powder for making chocolate milk, hot or cold. Since 1999, it has been marketed under the revised name Nesquik.
  16. At NYCB, Edward Johnson used to play both the Gangster and the Major-Domo. I think he was consciously imitating Sir Malcolm Sargeant for the latter part.
  17. Yes, I recall a photo of Gerry as a Seaman in the Coast Guard. That would have been right after WWII, when the CG had reverted to the Treasury Dept., after having been part of the Navy for the War. Also worthy of celebration are those in Merchant Marine service, who in wartime, sailed into danger with little or NO armament. In wartime, they get absorbed into the Navy, too. Eddie Villella, with his King's Point Academy degree in Marine Sciences counts here, too!
  18. Capt. Vernon Castle (US Army) was killed in a plane crash while teaching Army aviators to fly at Benbrook Field, TX in February 1918. Not his fault, though. A student pilot near-missed his craft and caused it to stall.
  19. On this anniversary of the ending of the Great War, I think it appropriate to notice and commend the services of dancers who have served their countries in honorable military service. Prominently must be mentioned T5 Conrad Ludlow of the US Army, PO1 Igor Youskevitch of the US Navy, and Flying Officer Frederick Ashton of the RAF! We are grateful to them and their brothers and sisters, but would that war were no longer an instrument of anyone's policy.
  20. Elmhurst is in Birmingham, or to use the local patois there, Brummagem. The West Midlands accent can be an item of scorn or of pride, depending on who you talk to.
  21. Let's not overthink this! Late nineteenth century waltzes, whether Viennese, French or Russian were fast waltzes, beaten "in one" rather than the valses lentes of the early nineteenth, which were, by the Imperial period, being called "polka mazurkas" even though a mazurka step was nowhere to be seen.
  22. Robert Joffrey used the unranked company roster as a selling point, leading to the famous "No-star, all-star" locution. In point of fact, we couldn't be sure who would still be unhurt until about a week before the show. And sometimes, that was a crapshoot!
  23. Although the two works cited are from the era when Anacreontic ballet was hot, as rg says, they're not actually the real deal. "Whims..." is a sort of parody of the genre, being a kind of satyr play on the general themes of Anacreonism. But for the modern audience, while "Whims" is fun, in a naughty sort of Politically Incorrect way, it's like trying to guess what all of Greek drama was like if Euripedes' Cyclops alone had survived from that time.
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