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About leee

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, balletgoer
  • City**
    San Francisco
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**

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  1. "Die Toteninsel" was easily my favorite from this past season.
  2. Any recommendations of contemporary fare for 2020? The name of Program 3 sounds apt, as do 5 and 6. However, I just saw Etudes this past season, I didn't find "Snowblind" interesting in the least, and am generally not a fan of Ratmansky.
  3. Certainly not short, and maybe old news, but if you have SF Public Library card, you can watch full-length performances of The Little Mermaid and The Nutcracker through the SFPL website.
  4. I wonder what it's like to have your own personal peanut gallery.
  5. If you don't mind a duffer's opinion, my erstwhile general culture blog on dance and ballet. I also achieved some internet renown for my SYTYCD blogging, but that was another lifetime.
  6. And apropos of the discussion some pages back about the social ramifications of the pointe shoe, I fondly recall a conference where one presenter described ballet dancers as cyborgs, since they use technology to enhance and augment their biological abilities. So, the transhumanist (if not specifically feminist) reading of ballet does exist.
  7. Thanks all for the responses and recommendations! I've finished Apollo's Angels, and SFB does rate a mention... in the author's biography. SIGH.
  8. I've just finished the book and generally enjoyed it -- I'm qualifying "generally" because of the epilogue, of course. I'm a neophyte compared to the other contributors on the board, and so as a historiographic survey AA is a useful starting point(e) (first position?), if you'll permit me the puns. Homans' preferences for ballet as restrained, graceful, and elevated -- in short, an endeavor of elitism -- shows through enough of her prose throughout the book and early on enough that I knew that her tastes and mine diverge. This difference in taste largely isn't an issue (I was disheartened to read that Robbins dismissed Philip Glass's music, as I count "Glass Pieces" as my favorite dance of his) and I thus knew well enough to view her assertions not as gospel truth but as the stories she as a neoclassicist wants to tell -- that is, until that epilogue. There, her aesthetic judgments take on an aggressively ethical dimension that casts a pall on the rest of the book. The tone of the epilogue actually soured my mood when I reached it, partly because for me the most vital and appealing aspects of ballet are the ones she takes as signs of its decline as an art form of today. I adore contemporary ballet for its obvious athleticism (which I might argue for beyond a mere democratization / vulgarization of taste, and connect it more to minimalism in music) and its lack of emotional affect (here I think I should familiarize myself with Tudor), the combination of which delivers a pure dance experience unencumbered by narrative, bathos, etc. (I also have an immediate skepticism for people who announce that an art form is dead or dying and pine for some inaccessible, halcyon past, which to me invariably comes from a reactionary reading of history, but this is a prejudice of mine, and I also can't argue that we're clearly living in a day and age where ballet is a niche and not mainstream form.) All this, and her unnecessary and unfair dismissal of Hodson's reconstructed Rite -- a "travesty"? Really? I also wouldn't describe her prose as beautiful, since Homans largely writes in the transparent register of a historian; any passages of rhapsodizing are too fleeting (or, if I'm being honest, simply not to my tastes) to have made an impression on me as good writing. (There were a few places, however, where the editing failed her; I believe during the Soviet chapters where her diction gets mired down in the plodding lumpenstyle that wouldn't be out of place in a dram-balet.)
  9. I'm just about finishing Apollo's Angels and have some opinions about Homans' epilogue... would this be an appropriate thread to air my grievances or should I start a new thread specific to AA?
  10. If this thread produces nothing else but this delightfully piquant turn of phrase, it will still have been worth it.
  11. I'm reading Apollo's Angels and have reached what's probably my favorite artistic era ('20s modernism), namely the Ballet Russe and even namely Le Sacre, all of which I'm eating up. But I got to thinking that I'd love to see a book-length history of SFB, since it IS the first major American ballet company that nevertheless seems to be ignored when the subject is American ballet since it's so far from the NY epicenter. Is there anything out there at all on SFB? I just had the bright idea to check the bibliographic section of the SFB wikipedia entry. Has anyone read any of these?
  12. I went for opening night, and while I really liked the first 10-20 minutes (up to and including when the Poet first meets TLM) and the ending image is chilling and beautiful, I found a lot of the stuff in between to be protracted repetition. I've been reading Apollo's Angels and its discussion about the narrative limitations of dance/ballet seem relevant: I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where in the story we were at any given time instead of letting the emotional affect carry me forward. (Then again, I think the narrative pacing in Frankenstein was a lot brisker and thus more engaging.) HOWEVER: I've never sympathized as much to YYT's dancing as when she plays TLM -- and all it took was flexed feet and knocked knees. Other notes: TLM's pants seemed to have made the partnering a lot more challenging than usual, as some of the lifts looked unusually labored. I think I saw YYT crying during the bows! I don't get what TLM sees in the Prince. Not much of a catch, if you ask me. So many other fish in the sea. Who was the dancer with light brown hair in the pink Jackie Kennedy dress? She gave great comedic face.
  13. I didn't mean to suggest that she's angry, only that her game face is one of stern, imperious hauteur -- which I think she uses to great effect!
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