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The Traveling Ballerina

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Posts posted by The Traveling Ballerina

  1. 14 hours ago, dirac said:

    Mazzo was absolutely on my wish list. I’d have like to have heard more from people who’ve been/had been interviewed less frequently, or haven’t/hadn’t written their own books.  For example, I remember Richard Tanner had interesting things to say in “I Remember Balanchine.” Helgi Tomasson. Robert Weiss.  And, yes, I’ll say it, Peter Martins, who had great things to say in the PBS documentary on Jerome Robbins with regard to the difference between working with Robbins and Balanchine. Kyra Nichols instead of Watts. Maybe even soloists who were in the company a long time without making it to principal, since this is about class, not the making of ballets.  But I’ll reserve judgment till I see the movie, which I’m definitely looking forward to doing. 

    I have to say - I agree with all of your wishlist interviewees. Maybe we can convince Hochman to make a part 2? 😂

  2. 13 minutes ago, dirac said:

    Thank you for the link, Cherilyn, Interesting reading. I'm a trifle disappointed by the movie's roster of leading interviewees but I'm sure they'll be worth hearing from. I suppose in Villella's case it will be "(Why I Wasn't) In Balanchine's Classroom."

    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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 :)

  6. 15 hours ago, pherank said:

    It's never going to be easy for a company (other than NYCB) to just turn on the Balanchine technique for a single program and then go back to the myriad other choreographies in the repertoire. SFB is lucky to have Tomasson around to poke his head in and say, "that's not quite right, it was meant to be done this way...". Most companies don't even have that. 

    P.S. - I felt like I should have said more about WanTing in the Tall Girl role, but TG doesn't really involve a lot of dancing - it's more about presentation. Either the presentation has the right look and character or it doesn't, I suppose.

    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.


    13 hours ago, pherank said:

    Yes, at SFB if you don't love one dancer, look to their right or left - you'll probably see something very different.

    Absolutely agreed! 

  7. @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. 

  8. Over four years ago, Pennsylvania Ballet started a pilot program – Dance for All – with the mission to create an environment where dance is available and accessible to any person who wants to learn and enjoy the benefits of our beloved art form. I had an opportunity to interview Valerie Amiss, a most passionate person who is spearheading the program, to learn more about these important efforts.

  9. I'm not so familiar with the dancers nor can I recall the trio you reference, but here is the casting for Abrazo - is this helpful?

    1st Movement: Tiffany Chatfield, Eastlyn Jensen, Helio Lima, Alejandro Mendez, Ricardo Santos
    2nd Movement: Katherine Loxtercamp, Alison Remmers, Ana Maria Spear, Serafín Castro, Alberto Morales Perez, Ethan Price
    Tiffany Chatfield, Helio Lima
    3rd Movement: Katherine Loxtercamp, Helio Lima, Ethan Price
    4th Movement: All

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