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Everything posted by Drew

  1. Marguerite Porter bore a striking facial resemblance to Fonteyn. I don't believe she danced like Fonteyn or on that "level"--and I vaguely suspect that the resemblance may have ultimately hobbled her career at the Royal as well as helping it. But a much closer Royal Ballet watcher than myself would have to weigh in.... Croce remarked Stephanie Saland's resemblance to Kirkland--and I agree, though Saland seemed to me a more...well...glamorous version. In this case I'd say a facial and bodily resemblance, which meant that their lines sometimes looked similar, or to me they did, I don't know that it went further than that...
  2. A wonderful life! Rest happily Jacques D'amboise!
  3. Very sorry to learn of this. I never had the chance to meet her, but her tours sounded fascinating and I sometimes fantasized about going on one. As I always enjoyed reading her posts, I thought I would enjoy meeting her one day as well....Sending best thoughts to her friends and family.
  4. Just learned a few minutes ago, through an announcement on Atlanta Ballet's FB page, that one of the company's best dancers, Jackie Nash, is departing. She has long been one of Atlanta Ballet's strongest and most reliable dancers --often (as in their Nutcracker where she played ...well...a super adorable and graceful chicken) one of the most charming and witty as well. I missed her Effie in Sylphide but she was terrific leading the highland reel at the performance I attended. I also got a kick out of the fact that one of the teachers at the school where she trained in Connecticut was, years earlier, one of my ballet teachers. She will be much missed. She is, however, not retiring, as the company announcement makes clear, but departing for Atlanta-based Terminus Modern Ballet Theater. (Latter was founded by former Atlanta Ballet company dancers--several of whom left on their own steam while others were pushed as Nedvigin went into his second year as company Director.) When I went to Instagram to set up a link to the announcement of Nash's departure, it was "OH NO!!" as I found out there that Moisés Martin is also departing. Martin--probably known to some on this site from his career at other companies including San Francisco ballet--is an elegant dancer and, as best I can judge as an audience member, also a skillful partner. When I saw him, he made an especially attractive pair with Jessica Assef. As far as I can guess from company bios etc. he must be around 40 so it doesn't seem shocking he would leave, but it's still a loss to the company. (I suppose a careful reading of my previous posts on performances in which he appeared might lead one to suspect that his appearance on stage made me swoon, but I'm not confirming one way or another .) Links to Instagram posts about both of these wonderful dancers below--both posts include video fragments of their dancing: https://www.instagram.com/p/CN8YZmeFqSP/ https://www.instagram.com/p/CN8w1HwgeCp/
  5. For those who would respond that way, and mean it, well, I could wish they would choose their words more carefully. (I think a lot of ballet fans just wish the larger problem would go away -- and that's not a recipe that seems likely to protect future talent whether we are thinking of dancers on the receiving end of mistreatment or rising stars given leeway because..."genius" or some such.)
  6. Just as I was typing this @canbelto responded and I think that response is pertinent. I will say that I think you (Pherank) are right that the word "automatically" was not well chosen, but I wouldn't say the anger around Scarlett's suicide has "nothing" to do with victim blaming as you do. I have seen a lot of comments on "rumor" and "insinuation"--as if the person commenting somehow knew that was all the Royal Ballet had to go on and no-one had actually experienced or testified to anything first hand; also generalized remarks about how anyone can say anything out of spite and questioning why the accusers didn't have to come forward publicly and lots on Twitter (often by people who seem not to know much about the case) declaring that Scarlett was "cleared," was innocent etc. -- how he is another victim of puritanism, of people launching accusations and having them taken seriously when there is no evidence: you can also see some of this in the responses on FB to Ratmansky's comments when he posted them there. To me, this clearly implies blame of whoever brought the original concerns to authorities at the school and company, not exclusive blame, but blame. (And I agree with Canbelto that this blame is there in some cases where people don't think of themselves as victim blaming. And of course for many people the issue is that they don't believe there were any victims. Or they believe that the accusations were brought by dancers/students/workers who didn't suffer anything we should take very seriously. I'm not one of those people.) It may clarify my perspective if I speak "hypothetically:" if I had filed a complaint about a co-worker and later heard people speak this way about the case, using these phrases, then I would certainly feel that I was one of the people being blamed for the fall out. And that my concerns were being belittled and marginalized. Another hypothetical: if I am angry at a ballet company director for firing someone for behavior that an internal investigation found was inappropriate for the workplace, what does that say -- if only indirectly -- about my view of that behavior and of the people who complained about it? My other thoughts about the nuances of the case, what we do and don't know, what I personally do and don't believe, my emotions in response to the suicide etc. were expressed above in my original post. I will repeat just one thought which is that it was always my hope that over time Scarlett would be able to re-assume a place within the ballet world. (How exactly? Not sure...My few ideas about that, which assume he lost his position for a reason, are rather stereo-typically American, eg I used to picture some kind of therapeutic narrative...and it would have taken time.)
  7. @canbeltoI am sorry you went through such a horrible ordeal. I'm grateful you are with us (even if I can only really know you online)-- In thinking about Scarlett's death, I keep thinking about finding a middle way through these issues. In my eyes, Scarlett was young enough that it should have been possible for him to have a second act--he might have been given (or taken) the chance to grow up and act differently. Certainly, his death is extremely shocking and saddening to me. But it's disheartening to me, too, that his death is being automatically "blamed" in part on people who, it is very possible--in my opinion, probable--were themselves victims. I'll add that from the time of his "fall" from ballet grace, I wondered if more couldn't have been done to intervene in his behavior when he was developing as a choreographer and leader in the ballet world. He seems to have been pegged as a future choreographic superstar very young and that may have gotten in the way of certain kinds of mentoring--along with ballet's long-standing (and I would say problematic) attitudes about what is and isn't appropriate in the studio and the theater. I'm writing based on the belief that the Royal Ballet did not cut ties with Scarlett based on a casual rumor. (And Denmark is not exactly known for American style puritanism.) I just don't find it plausible that there weren't problems that had to be addressed. Moreover, the Royal kept the investigation out of the public eye for a period of many months; it only became known to the public when it was more or less over. That was a way of protecting Scarlett--if the investigation had truly turned up nothing only Royal ballet "insiders" (and maybe not all of them) would have known anything about it. The problem for public discussions of this is that we don't exactly know why he was terminated. The investigation didn't lead to criminal action--that was a good thing for Scarlett too. But, as has already been said, not every investigation has to lead to criminal action for there to be a need to take action in the workplace. Still, no-one in the general public really knows exactly what was involved -- he wasn't "cleared" exactly but there was nothing to "pursue" (which is not the same as saying nothing went down) and then he loses his position with the company. Anyway, no-one who can officially or publicly say what was involved seems able to do so--perhaps for legal reasons--or has done so. For all we know the silences are protecting the accused as well as the accusers. I have certainly known of such cases in my own workplace. But we don't know. We also don't know whether anyone who had worked with Scarlett in a position of authority tried to give him guidance/help of any kind after ties were cut with the Royal. (I recognize it might have been tricky to do so.) So basically, a lot of unknowns. Maybe the Royal over-reacted; maybe they didn't. Given his importance to them, it seems to me they had a lot of incentive not to over-react. Maybe the Royal Danish Ballet was playing it cautious; maybe they had good reason to act. So, yes, greater transparency would be great --and it is surely part of the answer going forward--but I don't think we should assume that it's a magical panacea or necessarily produces fair resolutions. For one thing, it is not only the accused who take a beating when accusations come out; accusers who speak out publicly also take a beating. Often a much worse one, especially if they are accusing someone loved or popular. And I won't even start on research into who gets believed and who doesn't when sexual accusations are made. (Since Kavanaugh was mentioned above, it's worth noticing that even the "perfect" victim, in that very different context, Christine Blasey Ford, was unable to impact the outcome of the hearing.) Forgiving flaws and understanding that humans are...uh...human isn't and shouldn't be the same as saying there should never be any consequences or that no-one should ever lose a job. So, there has to be a middle way--to me, the sloganeering against "cancel culture" misses the point as much as ex-communicating Scarlett from ballet for all eternity does.
  8. Thank you @pherankfor drawing attention to this. This video has footage of Mary Ellen Moylan dancing Sugar Plum Fairy and Sanguinic. It opens with Tallchief talking about her but also includes an interview with her. Likely others have seen this video--I'm quite sure I have--but this seemed an appropriate place to post again. I would have loved to see her dance! May she rest in peace-
  9. Lovely news-congratulations to her!
  10. I had actually stopped checking out her blog, but am glad to be reminded. And glad she is back writing!
  11. Except for Nutcracker I'd be interested in seeing all of these programs. (I'm perhaps more curious than optimistic about the Raymonda, but I am that...)
  12. I saw some video of Vinogradova with Belyakov that I liked better than I expected, though I guess that should be under Bolshoi not Mariinsky... From the Instagram account--VolcanoHunter doesn't need Googletranslate (!) but for those of us who do (Buddy gave this translation as well): "Friends, I regret to inform you that my next performances have been canceled due to an illness that overtook me. A special pain is the cancellation of a performance in my native Petersburg. I think that I have withstood resistance in an epidemic for a long time and often went on stage instead of sick colleagues ... but I am grateful to fate, which gave me a recent wonderful premiere in the Orlando ballet staged for me. Be healthy and take care of yourself and your loved ones." The link comes with a photo I found rather striking... https://www.instagram.com/p/CM9fnSnAiFs/
  13. Deeply distressing...The instagram indirectly indicates this is Covid. (She mentions how fortunate she has been not to get it before this time.) Indeed wishing her a FULL recovery!!!
  14. Balanchine may have been asked about the costumes, but the black-clad corps de ballet was added in 1986 -- after his death. On the company website, when they talk about this redesign they offer speculation that he was planning something of the kind and include the quote you mention: "In 1986 the production was redesigned once more by Alain Vaes who created an icy landscape instead of the traditional Gothic lakeside, and dressed the corps of swans in black, which Balanchine may have been planning in 1981 when he mysteriously ordered 400 yards of black tarlatan. When asked to justify this odd request, Balanchine merely said, 'There are black swans as well.'" I remember very much enjoying the Vaes designed version on the occasions I've seen it, but this anecdote seems to me rather thin evidence that Balanchine himself planned on dressing the corps of swans in black. (Since apparently he wasn't being asked specifically about this ballet, he could have had all kinds of things in mind including teasing and putting off the questioner. )
  15. Thanks for the heads up...
  16. Video from illiushkina's Raymonda debut (from the Grand pas)--
  17. I have not been keeping up with most Covid-era digital ballet offerings, but saw something appealing tonight. Recently Atlanta Ballet posted two "live" programs (shot live that is) performed at the Rialto Theater in Atlanta albeit in front of an empty auditorium. (The Rialto is attached to Georgia State and regularly features some dance in its rather eclectic programming--however it is not a usual venue for Atlanta Ballet.) The programs feature premiers choreographed by the Atlanta Ballet dancers themselves, most or all of whom are first-time choreographers. The second of the programs also includes a premier by Atlanta Ballet choreographer-in-residence Claudia Schreier. After her terrific premier for the company "First Impulse" -- which I saw at the last live ballet performance I attended pre-pandemic--the company hired her for a three year stint as choreographer in residence. The new work is titled Pleiades Dances and is set to (quite wonderful) piano music by Takashi Yoshimatsu. To my eyes the choreography seemed more eclectic/contemporary than First Impulse with modern dance technique and yoga poses melded together with ballet technique. I'm a bit of a skeptic about this kind of blend, though I guess I had better come round since it is pervasive in the ballet world. What made Schreier's approach more interesting to me than similarly contemporary work was how often and how fluidly the dancers took unexpectedly curving and tilting but graceful shapes that made me think of art-deco ornaments and statues -- and, also, especially, the ballet's musicality. I've only watched Pleiades Dances once on video but I'd say that at this point I am more than interested in anything Schreier does. The work, by the way, was created initially via Zoom --which seems rather amazing to me given its group dynamics and its musical responsiveness--though the choreographer and dancers did come together in the studio for the final weeks of rehearsal. It's still up on youtube. The Schreier piece begins with her saying a few words about it 25 minutes and 55 seconds into the video that I have linked below. (I haven't watched the rest of the program yet.)
  18. It was a separate video. It does seem to be down now...
  19. Finally had a chance to catch up with the Stravinsky Violin Concerto--just under the wire too. I had, maybe not exactly reservations but questions about one or two elements in the second aria, but overall enjoyed it very much. Of the three featured Balanchine works they have shown, this is the one I've seen least (by far) in the theater, and for that reason I was especially pleased they included it in the digital programming...I also watched the 'behind the scenes' feature and was interested in hearing what Krohn and Mearns had to say about Von Aroldingen and her roles...
  20. I thought it extremely unlikely Bruhn had been honored with a stamp. Maybe one day....Happy to hear about the other stamps...
  21. Wonderful that Sylphide is being honored....thank you for the link. (Please let us know if they ever create -- or have created) -- a stamp with Erik Bruhn on it!)
  22. It's a fascinating question for discussion but I'm not sure very many people are qualified to answer it because there has been so MUCH programming from so many companies.
  23. I was unfamiliar with this company but the news still makes me sad....Here's hoping the dancers and staff have found -- or will find -- other great projects.
  24. Drew

    Simone Messmer

    Very happy to learn about this--thank you @Buddy-- I have just had time to watch the adagio. I thought it was a lovely performance (and that music!!!) and agree with the spirit of @Jack Reed's earlier comments, the ones to which he linked; Messmer gives an unshowy and for that reason all the more beautiful and effective performance (at least as best one can judge on this less-than-ideal video). To my eyes, she has always been a genuinely compelling ballerina....here, the same.
  25. Dupond was a ravishing dancer! Very sad news...May he rest in peace.
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