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Helene

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About Helene

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

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  1. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    And if an audience member believes that a conductor is distorting the temping and/or shape of the music, they might post about it and/or not go to hear that conductor again. The biggest difference between dance and music is that for classical music, the is a score, which is a printed record that can be recovered, unlike the vast majority of ballet, which is passed down and sometimes resembles a long game of telephone.
  2. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    I love that quality of Tereshkina's. I think it's an unusual dancer that can pull it off, but she, for me, is that rare dancer. But I've always liked dancers that others have found hard or cold.
  3. Helene

    Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the mastery model, where a person solidifies their knowledge by teaching it. It's never ideal if the teacher only has the time or inclination to teach the steps/schema, and like in any situation where there are teachers and pupils, there is going to be a mix in quality, resources and inclination. But when Balanchine was alive and watching, he was there to make corrections and adjustments, which is very similar to what dancers routinely describe when an existing work/production is staged for the Company: a stager(s) come in and set the work, and then the choreographer zooms it at the end to polish things up. If there isn't that oversight, then you get what you get. I'm not sure Peck was saying she was inventing the role: I think she was saying that her approach is to pass on legacy, not just steps, and, again, having been mentored by Watts and Woetzel, I think she has a different approach than dancers who didn't have the opportunity to be mentored or coached by dancers from the Balanchine generation. (Woetzel was in the middle, so he would have heard early and often how easy it would be to lose the chain, and from hearing him speak, he and Watts are on the same page, at least at the meta level.) And like many people who have a calling in what they might perceive as a void, they are self-selecting There hasn't been any intel on what the interim staff has been doing, but, again, none of them worked with Balanchine directly, and Peck is getting the intel from Watts, who got it directly from Balanchine, or at least Balanchine for the last few decades of his life. ETA: I wouldn't hire Watts to be an historian, though, I kept wanting to talk back to her TED Talk from 1916.
  4. Helene

    Macaulay on ABT 2018 Met season

    The British had a different tradition, and my understanding is that the early Sleeping Beauty was based on the Stepanov notation, and, of course, Ashton was influenced by Pavlova. I find it interesting that the changes were already being made in Petipa's lifetime, and not by Petipa.
  5. Helene

    Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

    I disagree: the buck stops with the AD. If he -- because it's, sadly, almost always a "he," -- needs more staff, needs to train dancers to teach other dancers, needs to be more hands on with coaching himself, etc. - that's his discussion with the staff, dancers, Board, or himself. The legacy in institutions is set by example and one-on-one. (It's not a lecture/publishing kind of profession.) If the staff isn't doing the coaching/teaching, then the only influence they have is by example, and if the role principals are elsewhere, I'm not sure how that would work.
  6. Helene

    Chase Johnsey leaves Trocks; Joins ENB

    Thread titles are like headlines: unlikely to have been written by the author of the article/interviewer and often misleading.
  7. Helene

    Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

    NYCB Principals are not getting extensive coaching from the staff, who are staging scores of ballets each season. (There's one Ballet Master dedicated to the corps.) Dancers have always coached other dancers at NYCB, passing down roles and teaching them to last-minute replacements, right up to curtain. It's part of the Company legacy and is nothing new. Nor is a dancer believing that by doing so, it's not just teaching a bunch of steps and running: it's actually coaching and passing on legacy. I would guess that Peck, who has been mentored by Watts and Woetzel, has had a deeper legacy passed to her than your average NYCB dancer. She's no more likely to defer to a peer who is passing it on third-hand than someone who was coached in "Rubies" by Patricia McBride, for example. SAB teachers and guest teachers are only relevant to Company members if those dancers return to SAB to take someone's class, like many Company members took Stanley Williams' classes.
  8. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    Tereshkina would have been my third, but I've only seen her live a few times, and all but once in the neoclassical rep the Mariinsky brought to City Center during a three-week stint in the '00's. (The classical excerpts were performed before I flew in.)
  9. Helene

    Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

    I found her comments about the succession interesting as well. I think there are a few things at play: Even when there was a single figure of authority in NYCB -- Robbins was running a boutique within the Company -- there were times in NYCB's history where the company members and staff were running it. In the Balanchine era, there were times of temporary leadership, formal and informal, when insiders kept it together: when Balanchine was gone a year to care for Tanaquil Leclerq, when he was hospitalized with heart trouble, and during his last illness; there were times he threatened to pick up his football and move to Switzerland, like when the dancers voted not to go to Germany one summer to film. While the company hoped that he would return from all but the last, they held it together among themselves, even when they were in limbo, but they assumed that someone was going to come back and run the place, and if they didn't play nicely in the sandbox, they could be held accountable. When Martins was chosen to replace Balanchine, The Powers That Be forced the narrative that rallying behind Martins was the only chance the Company had to survive, while at the same time, dancers, like Heather Watts, have described a fervor in which they performed to hold on to Balanchine's memory and legacy. While there are dancers who are profoundly loyal to Martins and feel they owe their careers to him, that's not an artistic hold: it's a management and institutional one. (This was actually strengthened by the loudly decried decade-long lull, during which most of the dancers from the Balanchine era were cleared out as dancers and not asked to coach. The School then started to release a geyser of talent that fed into the Company, and these dancers have known nothing else.) Martins doesn't have much of an artistic legacy. Now, the Company seems solid as a rock: when Martins was ousted, while there has been turmoil, there has been no threat, real or imagined, to the Company's future. (Chances are, it's such a solid social status plus, that if the current Board walked, there would be others to replace them.) It isn't surprising if at least some of the dancers aren't particularly loyal to an interim team chosen for them and are self-organizing. Even if it had been a single interim AD, unless that person was someone with an inside track to take over, it's really not in anyone's best self-interest to invest in that person, other than acting professionally, and the influence of four people sharing is dissipated.
  10. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    Video and recording applies just as much, perhaps even more, to neoclassical and contemporary performances, especially as the latter start to resemble competition dancing, and then the tail starts to lead the dog, like the Guillem wannabees. Dancers have a choice to either stick to the appropriate style and learn what it is trying to express, and express within the style, or to distort the style and impose contemporary elements onto it that are antithetical to the style. And if they are getting their motivation from YouTube comments and message boards, they aren't artists, in my opinion. While this varies by period to period and composer to composer, there's a reason why composers mark their scores with tempi. And, since we have notations of the many of Petipa's classical works, the choreography that is encoded in much of them would be impossible to perform at the dragging tempi that I've heard for almost five decades.
  11. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    Another reason that classicism is hard to find in ballet -- it's actually not very difficult to find in music -- is that there is a lack of imagination or interest in instilling it with life. It's a revelation when this happens, and that's not tied to classicism: it's just as prevalent in neoclassicism, as evidenced by the rather phenomenal number of dancers who think they are following Sylvie Guillem's example, with any of her impetus. The last classicists whom I saw live were Carrie Imler and Thomas Lund.
  12. Helene

    David Hallberg

    David Hallberg danced Albrecht with Alina Somova at the Mariinsky on 12 July. Clara Arson created an Act II highlights reel featuring him and posted it on YouTube:
  13. Helene

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    RE: removed posts. If you want to discuss the discussion, or to have pissing contests, take it to social media, where air quotes are legion, or your own blog.
  14. Helene

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    Not everyone sees the same thing in a dancer, and no one has the obligation to see what anyone else sees.
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