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Jay Rogoff

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About Jay Rogoff

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    Ballet Alert!

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Dance critic (The Hopkins Review, contributor to Ballet Review & others); poet with two books focusing on dance (The Art of Gravity, Enamel Eyes); ballet fan for five decades.
  • City**
    Saratoga Springs
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  1. I learned of Marvin's death late last night. Marvin was a remarkable editor with a vision for Ballet Review, and in the decade he ran it, he advanced it from a black & white, stapled book to beautiful full color on coated stock, perfect bound. He often published my performance reviews, interviews, and book reviews over the past ten years, and several times my wife & I had the pleasure of meeting up with him at the former State Theater during NYCB intermissions. As anyone who knew Marvin will tell you, he had strong opinions (for which reason he almost never published anything under his own name in BR), a precise and wicked wit, and acute judgment. In our email exchanges, I didn't always agree with him, but I always learned something. And he wasn't smug about his opinions, either. I remember two performances, one of Duo Concertant, the other of Mozartiana, for which he had low expectations because the principals for Duo were too young & inexperienced to convey the passion Balanchine demands, and the lead in Mozartiana no longer had the skill in arabesque the role required. Both performances were glorious, surprising in their daring and rewarding in their richness, and both times he came up to me afterward, delighted and grinning, and said, "I take it all back!" A few times in my dance pieces for The Hopkins Review, I would slip in (with his permission) something incisive he had said about this ballet or that dancer, attributing it to "a knowledgeable ballet friend," since, as BR's editor, he never wanted his opinions to be on record. And while his personal tastes in dance were strong and specific, you would never know his biases from reading BR, a journal that displayed an admirable catholicity of enthusiasms and taught many of us about important dance traditions, choreographers, and performers we hadn't known. Those who knew Marvin only as BR's editor might not have known that he was first assistant and then, after her death, executor to Helen Levitt, the great NYC street photographer. He also was professor of design at Queens College for many years. I will greatly miss Marvin's critical eye, his funny and almost always accurate judgments about dancers then and now, and our email dialogues about dance. That he has died simultaneously with BR seems a terrible, yet fitting irony.
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