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The Traveling Ballerina

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Editor-in-Chief of The Ballet Herald; former professional ballet dancer, teacher, studio director
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  1. Thank you, @duffster, for sharing your history with Robin! I love hearing your shining testimonial of her as a dancer and how it seems to echo how radiant her personality is. Enjoy the book!
  2. As many of you are probably aware, Allegra Kent's new book releases in a few days. I had the opportunity to interview Robin Preiss Glasser, the illustrator for Grand Jeté and Me, who you may know from either her career at Pennsylvania Ballet or Fancy Nancy fame. I find her story to be quite interesting, a testament to many professional dancers who go on to have successful careers beyond the stage. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did the conversation with Robin and writing the final piece!
  3. I have to say - I agree with all of your wishlist interviewees. Maybe we can convince Hochman to make a part 2? 😂
  4. Hahaha, yes, you will definitely hear Villella's story! I was surprised that some dancers aren't even mentioned by name (although Suzanne Farrell is not an interviewee shown, she is discussed) nor given verbal screen time - Kay Mazzo's perspective was one I was really missing. Who were you hoping to see?
  5. I had the privilege of being granted access to a prescreening of In Balanchine's Classroom. I think that any ballet aficionado will appreciate it whether it's for the intimate and some never been seen before footage, the interviews with some of his dancers, or the insight into Balanchine's ways. Here's a link to my thoughts supplemented by Hochman's answers to some of my questions.
  6. I found "The Celebration" - Artistic Director Marcello Angelini‘s beautifully crafted “sentimental journey” of his twenty-six years in leadership - to be a visual tale of diversity executed by a spirited generation of talent.; here's my review. I kind of regret not having auditioned for him as a dancer... the company it beautiful!
  7. If anyone is interested in hearing a dancer's perspective, here's our interview with Regina. I'm impressed - I know that as a classically-trained ballet dancer, I would have been so intimidated by hip hop!
  8. When I heard the news that Marcello Angelini has commissioned a hip hop piece for the company's final program of the season, I was intrigued! So I reached out to them and was granted the opportunity to interview Jennifer Weber, probably more known in this ballet space for her work with Tiler Peck and Brooklyn Mack and possibly for The Hip Hip Nutcracker, to find out more about this unique creative process. I'm also working on an interview with Regina Montgomery, one of the featured dancers in the work, to learn what her experience has been like. Stay tuned!
  9. You're welcome! Knowing now that you are a fan of hers, I am sure you will really enjoy her memoir; there's an excerpt included in the article
  10. Gavin Larsen is a first-time author who has just published a memoir about - as the title so precisely expresses - Being a Ballerina: The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life. I highly recommend this book for aspiring dancers who wish to have insight into the industry, as well as current or retired professionals who will find so much detail, emotion, and experience that they can relate to. As the author herself suggests, although the stories are (obviously) about ballet, anyone who is passionate about something in particular will be able to see themselves in her writing. Larsen is an excellent storyteller - in fact, you may have already read her in Pointe or Dance Teacher, publications for which she is a contributor. Here's the link to read more about Gavin, an interview with her, and links to purchase her book should you feel inspired to do so
  11. I must bring up a few points here, and I do this will all due respect to any ballet training or professional experience you have had. I say all this - without aggression or defensiveness; just a different perspective - from my experience having trained at SAB and danced with two companies - one that was not "Balanchine" but who had a former NYCB dancer as a Ballet Master and another where the director was a principal with NYCB under Balanchine's direction and the Ballet Mistress also a dancer with NYCB - both which included Balanchine ballets in their rep. Although a certain degree of speediness and a specific aesthetic can be attributed to "Balanchine technique", musicality and articulation cannot; these are qualities that ballet dancers trained in any curriculum and in any professional company must develop. Plus, Balanchine ballets are staged by extremely qualified and chosen repetiteurs who not only teach the choreography but also work on the nuances in both timing and style. So although NYCB is naturally the most practiced in the Balanchine ballets - for obvious reasons - I don't think that being a professional in a company other than NYCB is an excuse to forgive the qualities necessary to execute them as authentically as possible. And I feel in the case of Froustey that we are referencing, many liberties were taken (or given). To piggy back on this, of course SFB is lucky to have Tomasson at the helm, one of them being his ties with Balanchine and NYCB. This is a nice advantage when it comes to his company performing Balanchine ballets but - and I have no statistics to prove this, just first-hand experience about how the staging of a Balanchine ballet proceeds - I feel that to say that "Most companies don't even have that" is perhaps not completely true. Again, going back to the significant amount of attention the repetiteurs pay to the details, as much as a reminder about these after she has gone is nice, as professionals, it is our responsibility to carry the words and concepts with us as we develop the roles. In reference to the soloist in Rubies - and again based on personal experience having performed the role and rehearsing the other - to simplify it to either having "the right look" or not seems to diminish the technique required to perform it. Absolutely, it is not traditionally virtuosic, but this does not mean that it does not involve a lot of dancing. Absolutely agreed!
  12. @pherank, I loved reading your comments about the performance and we took away many similar feelings as can be read here in my review. Historically, Rubies is my favorite section but this time around, I was a tad underwhelmed mostly due to Froustey's interpretation and - as you mention - her lack of articulation. All around, though, I enjoyed the production.
  13. Writing these reviews gives me a chance to actively reflect on the art I have just seen and often brings to my attention just how much a piece has impacted me. It felt especially the case with this program.
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