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uptowner

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About uptowner

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    Ballet Alert!

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    parent of a dancer
  • City**
    New York City
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    NY

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  1. My son (a serious teenage ballet student) and I saw the Mark Morris "Letter V" last night at the Houston Ballet City Center performance. Keeping in mind that I am not at all an expert on ballet or dance in general, and certainly not on Mark Morris, this thread is interesting because of the conversation I had after seeing the performance. I had listened to an interview with Connor Walsh on Conversations on Dance https://conversationsondancepod.com/2019/10/16/connor-walsh/ where he talked about how closely Morris connects his choreography to the music, which I could definitely see (particularly being someone who has had a lot more formal training in music than dance). And I didn't just see it as the same steps done over and over, but as having been planned out- as with the music- to go from a solo theme into an intersecting group dynamic. My son had a different reaction- he said while he liked how tight it was, and well executed, that he felt distracted by it trying to "force" too many jokes and funny asides. He said it took him out of the experience of watching it, and I can see what he means-- he would have preferred the "jokes" to be more sparing. Was he not "getting it" maybe? and we were watching in a well-sold house, so there was the feedback of the audience reactions who were definitely responding to the (many) odd moments where the dancers come briefly out of a ballet idiom. By contrast, he has seen the Hard Nut, and found it to be hilarious and enjoyable- in that he didn't find the humor to be at all distracting. I personally liked the restraint of a lot of the movement-- to me it doesn't look like anyone could do it, but its not in your face or flashy at all. However, the quickness and precision takes a lot of skill. And stylistically, that seemed a good fit with the Haydn. I haven't seen a lot of Mark Morris though. And this was Houston Ballet performing.
  2. https://www.nycitycenter.org/pdps/2019-2020/houston-ballet/ Is this the right place to put this? Houston Ballet in NYC for 3 days at City Center.
  3. Helene, I think this is true except that some of the schools attached to bigger companies are recognizing that they have to proactively seek out talent in the community and nurture it with financial and practical support so that they create a more diverse "onramp" for their elite training program. So there may be a 5th way, and I would love to see that be more common-- where companies or prominent training programs actively look to engage potential students from diverse backgrounds in their own communities-- and fundraise to adequately support that. Miami City Ballet has the "Ballet Bus" program; Elliot Feld has a dance program in NYC that goes into multiple public schools to audition and identify kids, then provides transportation and uniforms for them to come to his school (Ballet Tech); programs like National Dance Institute provide free, high quality, in-school dance education to students; and I have heard about programs at Hubbard Street and PNB that I believe are free and actively doing outreach into their communities; ABT has Project PliƩ; and I do hope there are others. More to the point for this thread, School of American Ballet has two big initiatives that have been in place for several years now. The first is their community auditions for the children's division (and they do community performances called "Beauty of Ballet", which are free and lots of fun) to encourage kids from all over NYC to come out and audition. Then they have comprehensive need-based financial aid available for accepted students, which they make clear in the auditions. The second program I am thinking of at SAB is the "Visiting Fellows" program which is a grant for ballet educators with a proven track record working with communities of young dancers of color, with the express purpose of strengthening relationships to local programs and helping to strengthen that "on-ramp" for talented students of color to enter the elite upper division of the school. The reasons for a lack of diversity in ballet are complex, and it absolutely is a real problem. More funding for arts for everyone would of course mean that more kids would have the chance to discover dance (and music, theater, etc... ) but the ballet companies seem to have determined that long term, one important tactic for diversifying their workforce is to try and actively reach out into local communities, and provide support and opportunity for young dancers of color to receive the training they will need to enter an elite program as a teenager. The work of convincing parents and families to prioritize it, and trying to address the practical and cultural barriers have to be part of that too, for it to succeed. It appears to be paying off for NYCB in terms of a (somewhat) more diverse group in the younger corps, but its going to take a long time (a decade at least?) to see if this is indeed an effective tactic. SAB certainly fundraises for these initiatives. note... I am a little confused with the idea (posted by someone else) that a dancer like Chamblee has been "passed over"-- he has only been in the corps since 2015, during which time he has had a number of opportunities for featured roles. While a few dancers at NYCB are promoted very quickly, current male soloists at NYCB-- excluding Furlan who was hired at the rank of soloist-- joined the company in 2005, 2012, 2013, 2012, 2005, 2000, 2013, and 2012 (I just went through in alphabetical order and looked at when they joined the corps). I don't think anyone will be shocked if there are some promotions to principal in the near future (much needed, right?) which will open the way for some of the really fantastic young men in the corps to move up as well...
  4. Re: Alec Knight's hair-- Knight has now commented on Macaulay's post, "noted" (editing to add that I do not know how to post a link to an instagram comment, but here is the link to the Macaulay post: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3Qzq2HgoT5/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link)
  5. Ballet X will be at the Joyce with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "The Little Prince". I wasn't sure where to put it because I couldn't find a dedicated thread about Ballet X, but I thought people in this group might be interested. (hope the links below work, they are from the theater and the dance company) https://www.balletx.org/event/the-joyce-theater-3/ https://www.joyce.org/performances/balletx-0?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2efrBRD3ARIsAEnt0ehHargJmPOD56xHhxPGGgcTW8g2g5PS3zN85GzCTFNwGgyhJzMlZaMaAo1VEALw_wcB Conversations on Dance podcast interviewed the choreographer when this was presented at the Vail festival- the episode is available through podcast services, but here is a web link to stream it online: https://tendusunderapalmtree.com/annabelle-lopez-ochoa-roderick-phifer/
  6. meunier fan, I just got an email from NYCB with a code (RSU20) saying for a limited time, the minimum for a subscriber package is two performances (through June 28). If I am understanding it correctly, this sounds like you could buy two tickets, and still have the benefits of subscription.
  7. apologies for probably asking a real newbie question, but I have just gotten at TDF membership, what are the seats usually like for ABT? In the past two years I have had really good luck with rush tickets getting quite decent seats day of (and you can see what seats they are before you pay for them)-- for those who have used both, are they similar in terms of seating?
  8. Tickets are on sale https://www.sab.org/news_events/workshop_performances/ticket_information.php
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