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Alexandra

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Posts posted by Alexandra

  1. A review of New York City Ballet's second program by Mary Cargill for danceviewtimes:

     

    Spice Girls

     

    Quote

    The current programming scheme of performing three similar ballets together took a welcome break on Wednesday, as New York City Ballet presented a varied triple bill, proving that variety is really spicy. The all Balanchine program had three varied works: the exhilarating opening, a drama, and a black and white masterpiece.  The newest of these works, "Allegro Brillante", was choreographed in 1956, but there was nothing old-fashioned or fusty about the program or the dancing.

     

     

  2. A review of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba's "Nutcracker" by Gay Morris for danceviewtimes.com

     

    http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2017/01/a-havana-nutcracker.html

     

    Quote

    In the United States, Alicia Alonso is best remembered as an important ballerina of the 1940s and ‘50s, noted both as a sensitive dramatic dancer (Giselle was her most famous role) and a technical virtuosa; Balanchine made the notoriously difficult Theme and Variations for her. However, in her native Cuba, Alonso is far more than a ballerina. She is a major national figure, certainly the only woman in the country to hold such a position. Her name is enshrined on buildings and her image is found on posters scattered about Havana. The Cuban government named her a National Hero of Labor and in 2000 she received the Order of José Marti, a UNESCO award sponsored by Cuba and more often given to male political leaders

     

  3. The New Year's dance scene in New York is just gearing up, but keep this new site marked so you'll follow it.  Leigh Witchel (long-time poster and Moderator on Ballet Alert! as well as a writer and the Associate Editor of www.danceviewtimes.com), is starting a new site, covering....dance in New York! Check it out here:

     

    http://dancelog.nyc

     

    Best of luck, Leigh. I look forward to reading you!!!

  4. Thanks, RG.  The photo is beautiful -- she's so charming! (I didn't know that, in addition to being a star at 14 she was a ballet mistress at 19). And I really appreciate the info on the back of the photo. I also had no idea she was the great grandaughter of the Sultan of Java!

  5. It is with great sadness that I report that Judith Percival (widow of the late John Percival, long-time dance critic of the London Times) who wrote under the name of Judith Cruickshank, most recently for danceviewtimes.com and The Guardian, but also for many British dance publications for many years, has died. A friend wrote that she passed away of a brain tumor about a week ago.

    Many of you know Judith by "aylmer," one of the earliest posters on Ballet Alert!, and someone whose knowledge of ballet (and the world) and beautiful writing was crucial to this site. She was not only our eye on the London stage, but she had seen so much, and interviewed so many people in the ballet world, she could provide fascinating background for many of our conversations and was a model of the "civilized discourse" we'd wanted to have on the site.

  6. Tom, the first year I saw ballet performances, I saw ABT's "Swan Lake" and then, about two months later, The Royal Ballet's version. They were very different, and it made me ask the same question you did -- how is this version of a ballet different from the one at the ballet's original premiere? There are some who say that a ballet is different after its first performance, but definitely, when we look at older ballets, there are differences and often we don't realize it. (How could we?)

  7. Re "La Sylphide," it's usually translated as "a fairy of the air." During the Romantic Era there were dozens of ballets about different fairies -- dryads, naiads, etc. Yes, there were two different versions. The French version (in which Marie Taglioni danced the title role; the ballet was created by her father) was enormously popular but didn't last. Some speculate that was because the audience had trouble accepting another ballerina as the Sylph (although Fanny Elssler, Taglioni's polar opposite, had great success with it in New York and other stops on her North American tour). In the late 20th century, Pierre Lacotte revived "La Sylphide," but it's quite updated.

    Bournonville's ballet uses nearly the same story (there are a few very minor changes), but had to commission a different score, and wrote that the choreography was all his. His ballet ("Sylfiden" in Danish) is still in repertory.

    Ballet came a bit late to Romanticism, but people in that era were fascinated by fairytales and supernatural beings, as well as exotic places (and what could be more exotic to Paris than Scotland?) In the Danish version, Madge, the troublemaking witch, is very much a major character and there have been several major stars who gave unforgettable performances in the role (Sorella Englund and Niels Bjorn Larsen, for two). And in Denmark, James is THE great male role, and (as was usual in Bournonville's ballets) the equal to the ballerina.

  8. In every online encyclopedia I could find (including two Danish ones) she is still listed as living. One of the Danish newspapers did a HUGE article about her on her 100th birthday, and there are at least two interviews with her (in 2011 and 2012) on youtube.

  9. A bit of history -- before World War II (as best as I can find) more men were interested in the ballet. Anecdote: my aunt, born in 1902 who did not like ballet, saw lots of Ballets Russes performances, because, as she put it, "That was the only way I could get a date." I've read articles that make the supposition that men were attracted to ballet back then because the female dancers wore much scantier clothing than the women they knew, and there was also, in some companies, an active backstage life (i.e., theaters were a great place to find the date).

    Of course, then as now, there are men who genuinely love ballet for much more noble reasons!

    Also, from the beginnings of ballet until the early 19th century, the male dancer was more important -- The Star, the director, the choreographer -- than women. The Romantic Era changed that. In the 18th century, there were men in the corps de ballet (and choreography for male corps) as well as for women, usually for battle scenes.

  10. I have some sad news about a very beloved, long-time poster, Giannina Mooney. I just learned from a friend of hers (who spoke with her husband) that Giannina died last week (May 21). She had been ill for some time, so this was not unexpected, but I know all of those who knew her and read her posts with pleasure will miss her.

    Giannina was one of our very first posters. She passionately loved ballet and saw a great many performances. Her posts were always fun to read and very important to the board. Many will also remember her as our beloved Welcome Lady. She would welcome every new poster when they found the board and help them get settled in.

    Rest in peace, and much love, Giannina.

  11. From the George Balanchine Foundation

    THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF ITS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

    NEW YORK CITY: The George Balanchine Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the official GBF YouTube channel. Taking advantage of the ubiquitous and ever expanding digital media available to the general public, the GBF YouTube channel will launch with content from our Video Archives Collection. We believe it is critically important to share this work, and to this end the Foundation will begin by posting nearly 50 video interviews from the Collection.

    The GBF’s Video Archive Collection is designed to document as closely as possible Mr. Balanchine’s original intent as he choreographed his ballets. We engaged dancers for whom Mr. Balanchine either created or taught his ballets to coach today’s dancers in these roles. These recorded coaching sessions provide invaluable insights into Mr. Balanchine’s creative process. At the end of each coaching session, a dance historian or critic interviews the original interpreter(s) in depth in order to further flesh out Mr. Balanchine’s ideas. These interviews will now be readily accessible to dance professionals, students and the general public through our YouTube channel.

    Nancy Reynolds, dance historian, writer, and the Foundation's director of research, conceived and continues to direct the program, assisted by independent film maker and film professor Virginia Brooks, Gus Reed, a New York City based film maker and Paul Boos, a répétiteur with the George Balanchine Trust and former dancer under Balanchine with the New York City Ballet.

    Please visit the GBF YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/blnchn. For a full listing of the George Balanchine Video Archives please visit: http://balanchine.org/03/gbfvideoarchives_videos.html The complete versions of the Archive videos (complete versions include the entire coaching session) are available through many public libraries and universities through our partnership with Alexander Street Press. http://alexanderstreet.com/discipline/music-dance

    The George Balanchine Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine’s work and aesthetic in order to facilitate high standards of excellence in dance and related arts.

  12. I've noticed a real change in the students I teach over the past four years. Before that, high extensions were noted, but more and more, now they are expected. I'm beginning to wonder if Guillem and Zakharova (even more so) will go down in history as latter day Taglionis, in the sense that their dancing changed the art form. (My students come from all around the country and from at least a dozen other countries, and we get new students every year, of course, so even though the sample is small, I think it probably reflects the general young dancer population.)

    High extensions aren't new, of course. Bournonville used to make his dancers sew a thread from front to back of their skirts to "remind" (or prevent) their raising the leg higher than he wanted. :innocent:

    I've found the comments above to be very interesting. There's been a HUGE change in modern dance since modern dancers now take ballet classes, something that would have been anathema before the 1970s.

  13. I was looking forward to reading some responses to this one -- I hope there will be some. I haven't seen the current generation of dancers often enough to contribute. To me, Gudrun Bojesen is still one of the new young ones :) as the dancers I saw most often were Lis Jeppesen, Silja Schandorff, Rose Gad and Heidi Ryom, each of whom I admired greatly.

  14. Arne Villumsen, one of the greatest dancers of the Royal Danish Ballet, received the Friends of Danisih Ballet's Honour Award this year, and Eva Kirstrup posted an interview she had done with Villumsen a decade ago (in DanceView magazine). As the editor of that publication I may be a tad biased, but I think this is an excellent interview with a very interesting artist:

    A Man For All Seasons

  15. I've just gotten Costas's latest collection of photos, "Dancing Men; Four Decades of Dance Photography" with dozens of gorgeous photos of male dancers. Costas is most known for his photographs of the New York City Ballet, but he gets around :) I showed the book to my students and they gasped at several of the photos because they were "so beautiful."

    It's publshed by Tide-Mark Press and here's a link to more info (on the Press's website). I'm sure it's available on Amazon, too:

    Dancing Men

  16. ABT has commented:

    ABT mourns the passing of former Principal Dancer Johan Renvall, who joined the Company in 1978. His 18-year career with ABT was highlighted by such roles as the Bronze Idol in "La Bayadère," Franz in "Coppélia," the Peruvian in "Gaîté Parisienne," the Nutcracker-Prince in "The Nutcracker" and James in "La Sylphide." Following his performing career, Johan passed on his knowledge as a member of ABT's Summer Intensive faculty.

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