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Everything posted by Helene

  1. Ms. Dec has performed as a guest artist with Ballet Hawaii, California Ballet, Corpus Christi Ballet, Dance Arts Theatre, Grand Rapids Ballet, Lafayette Ballet, and Mid-Columbia Ballet, and is an artistic advisor for Ballet North Texas. This is sad news for the audience, but I wish her happiness in her immediate and long-term future plans. . Couples aren't always compatible partners onstage, but Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz were one of the best on-stage partnerships I've ever seen.
  2. From PNB: Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancer Lindsi Dec Announces Retirement. SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal and principal dancer Lindsi Dec have announced that Ms. Dec has decided to retire. Ms. Dec joined PNB as an apprentice in 2001, and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2002, soloist in 2009, and principal in 2014. Ms. Dec will focus her post-PNB career on teaching private and master classes, in addition to working on plans for a private ballet studio, and continuing with Solu, the professional dancewear line created with her husband, former PNB principal dancer Karel Cruz. (For more information, visit LindsiandKarel.com.) “With a mix of emotions, I announce the news of Lindsi Dec’s decision to retire from PNB,” said Mr. Boal. “Lindsi stepped into our School as a wide-eyed teenager with a burning desire to dance and perform. When I met Lindsi, she and Karel were both stand-out talents in the corps de ballet. After the rehearsal day was done, they would start their own work on classics, exploring technical and artistic growth. In many ways, Lindsi grew up at PNB becoming not only a striking presence in a wide-ranging repertoire, but also a friend, supporter, and champion to everyone at PNB; from students to staff, and from fellow dancers to audience members, sharing joy and inspiration for all along the way. As I watched her in Don Q, Red Angels, Rubies, The Nutcracker, Petit Mort and the many original works created for her by friend, Kiyon Ross, Lindsi never held back on the work, laughter, tears, or triumphs. It has been a true pleasure to work with her over the years. I know leaving her PNB family is hard, but she and Karel have a new family now and her decision, like everything Lindsi has done, is admirable. We will miss you, Lindsi.” “It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from PNB,” said Ms. Dec. “I have spent 19 years growing up here, never imagining the beautiful journey I would go on, growing as an artist, dancing wonderful roles, becoming a wife and now a mother of two. There are so many people in the PNB family to thank: To [PNB Founding Artistic Directors] Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, thank you for taking a chance on a very weak, gangly student, and for your unconditional love and support throughout my entire career. Words cannot express how much you both mean to me. Thank you, Peter, for the numerous demanding, satisfying, amazing dancing opportunities – always giving me roles that challenged me on so many levels and for believing in me. Thank you to the artistic staff for being with us every day in the studio, pushing us more than we thought imaginable. Thank you to all the hard working development, admin, PR and marketing teams. Thank you to the costume and wardrobe shop, who always made me feel beautiful and made sure we were always feeling great in our costumes; to the stage crew and stage managers, who helped produce such wonderful shows, making sure we were always comfortable on stage so we could dance our best; and the talented PNB Orchestra and our daily pianists who brighten our day and time on stage with their beautiful music. Thank you to Boyd Bender and the therapists for helping our minds and bodies to continue pushing to do what we love so much. Thank you to our generous donors and audience members for the constant love and support, who are always there for us. It was a true honor and gift to be able to dance on stage all these years for you. And thank you to my beautiful colleagues, my friends. My family. Their love and support along the way has meant the world, not only to me but to Karel as well. I will miss you all so much and am incredibly grateful and blessed for this cherished time in my life. Thank you all.” Kiyon Ross, PNB’s Director of Company Operations (and former company soloist) added: “Lindsi and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and in that time I have danced alongside her, danced as one of her many lucky partners, created several new works for her, and watched her steady rise to the pinnacle of her career. Lindsi is an extremely generous artist, giving everything she has each time she steps into the studio or onto the stage. Her gifts are plentiful and one cannot help but be in awe when she performs. Whether in Balanchine’s leggy, and jazzy Rubies lead or her ethereal and fierce Myrta in Giselle, she is the epitome of grace and beauty personified. Despite the fact that Lindsi will not be able to share a final performance with her PNB family and fans, I am certain that those of us who had the opportunity to see this incredible artist in her natural habitat have a special memory of her that we can recall so that we may once again experience the joy produced by Lindsi’s dancing. As she moves into this new chapter of her life of raising two incredible sons with her husband Karel, I am certain that Lindsi will continue to find ways to share her gifts and all of the acquired knowledge she has gained during her incredible career. Leaving the stage is no easy task for a dancer, however, I know that Lindsi will carve out a new path with new challenges and treasures. I am so grateful to know Lindsi, to have seen her dance, and to be able to watch what comes next. It’s going to be great! From me and all of the PNB family, we love you, Lindsi!” Ms. Dec will be focusing her post-PNB career on freelancing, teaching master classes and private classes. She and Mr. Cruz recently launched their new website, LindsiandKarel.com, which also includes educational information, interviews with professional dancers, clean eating recipes, info about online classes and how to book privates, and more. For additional information, visit LindsiandKarel.com. The new website is also the link to Solu, their professional dancewear line. “As dancers, staring in the mirror for hours, what we wear makes a difference with how we dance – garments that follow the fluidity of our movements and cater to the versatility of jumping, turning, and partnering – are forefront. We wanted to create a line of dancewear for every type of dancer — to provide a unique, edgy yet elegant look.” Seed money for Solu came from Second Stage, PNB’s career transition program for its company dancers. Conceived in 1999, Second Stage supports PNB dancers in achieving their goals following a career in dance. Its resources allow dancers to take classes, access mentors and vocation counseling, and receive grants. At its inception, only a handful of dancers actively planned for their career after dance. Since that time, Second Stage has provided nearly $1.1 million in grants to over 200 dancers. For more information, visit PNB.org. ADDITIONAL ARTIST BIO INFORMATION Lindsi Dec is from Fairfax, Virginia. She trained at Washington School of Ballet and on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School before joining the company in 2001. At PNB, Ms. Dec has performed leading roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, Coppélia (Discord and War, Prayer), Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Sugar Plum Fairy, Coffee, Dewdrop), Prodigal Son, Rubies, Serenade, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and Symphony in C; Peter Boal’s Giselle (Myrtha); Trisha Brown’s Spanish Dance; Val Caniparoli’s The Bridge and The Seasons; David Dawson’s Empire Noir and A Million Kisses to My Skin; Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Red Angels, Serious Pleasures, and Vespers; Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat and Rassemblement; William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and New Suite; Kiyon Gaines’ Sum Stravinsky; Paul Gibson’s Sense of Doubt; Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy, Gold and Silver pas de trois, Queen); Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land and Petite Mort; Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette (Lady Capulet); Benjamin Millepied’s 3 Movements; Mark Morris’ A Garden and Pacific; Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Cylindrical Shadows; Justin Peck’s Debonair; Crystal Pite’s Emergence and Plot Point; Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU; Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote (Kitri, Mercedes, Piccilia) and Pictures at an Exhibition; Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, Fancy Free, Glass Pieces, In the Night, and West Side Story Suite (Anita); Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Stepsister), Hail to the Conquering Hero, Nutcracker (Clara, Flora, Peacock), and Swan Lake (Black Swan pas de deux, Pas de trois, Persian Dance); Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE…More or Less; and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Nine Sinatra Songs, Opus 111, and Waterbaby Bagatelles. She originated leading roles in Andrew Bartee’s Dirty Goods, Kiyon Gaines’ M-Pulse, Paul Gibson’s Mozart Pieces, Victor Quijada’s Mating Theory and Suspension of Disbelief, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic. She has been featured in Balanchine’s La Valse; Robert Joffrey’s Remembrances; Todd Bolender’s Souvenirs; William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated; Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Silver Lining, and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet; Richard Tanner’s Ancient Airs and Dances, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Variations Sérieuses.
  3. I have the privilege of doing the same. Not everyone does, and with schools planning to open, that leaves a lot more people without the privilege to stay home. Edited to add: I hit send before I saw your reply, @pbl, and before I didn't type what was in my thoughts, which was trying to stay out of your ER, @pbl and add to a system that is overburdened. While some people might be in denial at obvious symptoms and/or feel they can't stay home regardless what I was obsessing about thinking of were those symptoms that are really mild and isolated at first, when a person is still contagious, but before they even thought of themselves as a danger.
  4. What I mean is that if we decide not to leave the house because we're showing mild symptoms that overlap with COVID symptoms, but are not caused by COVID, although we can't be sure, I'm not sure how many of us would have to self-quarantine because we might be contagious. And among the more hypochondriacal people -- raises hand -- if we start looking for symptoms, yikes.
  5. Given the number of people with other conditions, diseases (chronic and periodic), and allergies, and the number of COVID symptoms, especially when mild, that overlap with other conditions, just taking into consideration the people who have a choice to self-quarantine when they are at all symptomatic, how many people would be able to walk out of the house in the morning?
  6. We sometimes hear about them in post-performance Q&A's, although not in great detail, but exclusively when something encouraging is spoken about. Not that dancers can always speak freely no matter whom the interviewer is, but Peter Boal almost always does them at PNB, so they're talking directly to the boss.
  7. Only bits and pieces of this are made public. If the company has an AGMA contract, sometimes older versions have been online publicly. Sometimes dancers who are union reps will speak about terms and/or grievance processes. When Peter Martins didn't renew a large number of contracts one season, reducing the size of the company, there was a NYT article about it. In podcast interviews, social media, and Q&A's dancers have spoken about not having their contract renewed at some point or having a yearly evaluation in which they were told directly how far the AD saw their career going and then left because they wanted more. If anyone else has, from official sources, info about other ways this works in other companies, I'd appreciate learning how. Have SFB dancers talked about this?
  8. While this depends on the contract, typically dancers are given one-year contracts, at least in North American full-season companies, and every year, they are either offered a contract for the next year or not. At least some contracts require at least a season's notice based on having attained a certain level of seniority, and the dancers have to be offered one more year's contract, but that applies to only a subset of dancers in any year.Peter Boal has described in Q&A's yearly performance evaluations in the winter, where Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers are offered contracts (or not) and have up to a month to decide whether to sign them (or not). This period coincides with the standard company audition windows, so if they have to leave or want to leave, they can try to join another company if they want to keep dancing. It's rare for dancers to be fired outright: they are simply not renewed, and the company has no legal obligation to do so, for the most part. Typically NYCB hires SAB students each year as apprentices -- some of this is automatic if they've performed enough with the Company, contract terms they've described as shifting over time -- and any number of them can be promoted to corps. Or not. And typically companies with schools try to hire at least one Professional Division student each season into their company -- or second company, if they have one -- because, unless they're SAB, they don't attract the best elite students unless they do. But it's usually more complicated than simple one-to-one replacements, because there are fixed costs, like health insurance, as well as the salary make-up of returning dancers that need to be considered, and money for promotions comes out of the same pot.
  9. I agree with you completely, but from what I've seen to date, I don't think the policy will be to protect the vulnerable from disease. Then I'll try to state the policy in another way. All news on the site must be from professionals -- journalists, critics, ballet professionals, board members, ballet companies and administrators (and their counterparts in other professions and public figures who comment on the arts ) -- who have spoken/written publicly under their own name and who put their professional reputations and livelihoods on the line when they do. What they say can be partially or totally untruthful, mis-leading, forgetful, factually wrong, agenda-based, gleefully gossipy, malicious, and/or self-serving. If they are journalists, they can quote anonymous sources or, by themselves or their editors, misquote or quote out of context. Any one of them can let themselves be used for someone else's agenda. But it always points back to them under their name, and it's their skin in the game. The only exception on BA! are the five Editorial Advisors, who can post news without citing a source (link, reference to a book, reference to social media). In the last two decades, they have used this twice and to confirm something they thought was a factual error where they could confirm directly with the (ballet professional) source.
  10. I would write off the 2021 part of the 2020-2021 season easily. Even if the standard timelines for vaccine development are exceeded -- and there are a number of them in progress throughout the world, as Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a recent BBC interview (only accessible for four more days) -- production and distribution are not going to appear overnight, except for the very rich. Depending on who develops the vaccine and whether pharmaceutical companies can block distribution in the US, even if the "right" thing is done and front-line medical people get vaccinated first, I have no reason to believe that the most vulnerable are going to be next in line. I think that, instead, the original "Swedish" model will be put in place, that would have the most vulnerable remain in quarantine while younger people, getting colleges back to capacity and, hopefully, shielding teachers from the disease, and those that drive the economic engine will be first in line. Even if there is enough vaccine to cover the skewing older ballet audiences, I think whether there is any ballet will depend on the success of phasing in and how many dancers will be able to work together at the same time in a lead up to a live season, even if that begins by streaming to empty or near empty theaters. The dancers need to build up dance stamina, no matter how many classes they take in their living rooms and how many miles they run. Program-wise, ballet itself can pivot faster than, for example, opera, although opera singers can give recitals with a single accompanist. Dancer companies can, and often do, perform to recorded music, even if this is not ideal. There is also a lot in the rep that can be either excerpted or is already solo to pdd, to pdt to chamber-sized, and unlike nearly all North American opera, companies, are contracted ensembles, not cast all over the world production by production and often several years in advance. Before a vaccine is widely enough distributed, if dancers can practice and perform together, they can stream performances before the audience is back in the theater.
  11. Official news only has been our policy from the beginning of this site, and we don't need to explain or enlighten why it is key to the online community we were created to be. There are plenty of places across the internet where you can discuss pretty much anything you want under different policies. At this point, there has been no official news about losing any large-small size professional ballet companies, although many companies, in their fundraising pleas, have indicated that their situation is critical. There's also public information about operating budgets and endowments, and some companies are in stronger financial positions than others, although few that could support their last budgets for any length of time without some combination of donor, foundation, government, and/or ticket income and/or building subsidy/rent forgiveness.
  12. I keep going back to watch Heather Watts in Coppelia, her solo and in the finale. What a phenomenal performance.
  13. Vancouver Opera, which recently has performed one opera each in Fall and winter and two during a spring festival, has cancelled its entire 2020-21 season and has rescheduled the productions and moved all subscriptions to the 2021-22 season. I received this via email just now.
  14. I still remember Heather Watts' Who Cares? solo with the WNET transmission interruption because I watched the VHS tape so many times... (This was fixed in the repeat, but I was away and couldn't record it.)
  15. Even better, it was the original intended cast. Christopher d'Amboise danced the Gigue at the premiere, replacing Victor Castelli. I have nothing against Christopher d'Amboise, but I was a very big fan of Victor Corelli, and Gigue was one of his greatest roles. Half of each couple in Vienna Waltzes was original cast, too: Sean Lavery (originally with Karin von Aroldingen), Helgi Tomasson (originally with Patricia McBride), Bart Cook (originally with Sara Leland), Peter Martins (originally with Kay Mazzo), and Suzanne Farrell (originally with guest artist Jorge Donn.) von Aroldingen moved to the Mazzo role in Gold & Silver.
  16. The two that intrigue me most are Carmen, since Petipa live in Spain and was interested in, at least, Spanish classical and folk dance, and the music isn't all the traditional Flamenco-friendly, and Les Troyens, which was recently one of the Met streams and which featured Aaron Loux, who is from Seattle and trained at Cornish College of the Arts, where Cage and Cunningham met, before Juilliard. (He now dances with Mark Morris.) Sadly missing from the list are Don Carlos, the French version with the ballet, which Balanchine used for Ballo, and I Vespri Siciliani, which Robbins used for Four Seasons. The Balanchine Catalogue is full of listings for opera ballets choreographed by Balanchine, and not just during the couple of years he was choreographer for the Met Opera ballet.
  17. Which, of course, also applies to the ballet stage: in the Acosta doc, Acosta's teacher told him he needed to leave Cuba, because of the example of another Afro Cuban male dancer whose did not have the career he should have because his skin was too dark. And this was coming from a company who offered both of them rare and highly coveted spots in their school and invested in their training. It's not like they hit puberty and their skin color changed. And that's in a company whose dancers have a wide range of skin color -- proving that, no, the swans and willis and shades and dancers in the Jardin scene in Corsaire don't have to look like they are clones to be effective -- as long as it doesn't cross whatever that line they've draw is.
  18. Here is the casting for MCB's Nine Sinatra Songs from the closing credits: Softly, As I Leave You: Ashley Knox, Renan Cerdeiro Strangers in the Night: Jordan-Elizabeth Long, Chase Swatosh One for the Road: Julia Cinquemani, Carlos Quenedit My Way #1: First three couples Somethin' Stupid: Jennifer Lauren, Shimon Ito All the Way: Emily Bromberg, Rainer Krenstetter Forget Domani: Nicole Stalker, Alexander Peters That's Life: Katia Carranza, Kleber Rebello My Way #2: All couples Stager: Stacey Caddell
  19. Same here. I'm not sure where the audience was allowed to move during it. ETA: And Marco Armiliato kept kissing the women's hands, yikes.
  20. There was some mask theater by Adam Fischer and a few of the players string seem to have them, and maybe one kept his on. Fischer was also singing along, or at least mouthing along enthusiastically during the Nozze Act II Finale. Armiliato did the handshake thing with two players on his entrance, too. It's really getting bad when you start to recognize some of the recital gowns . My favorite recent live event so far has been Stoyanova's recital the other day, but that's among some really wonderful singing.
  21. In general, when I'm there live, unless it's very close to me or really persistent, I don't even hear it. Although I was once at an Andras Schiff recital where someone in the front row was coughing a lot when he walked in and was focusing before the start. (I don't remember him starting to play, but he might have.) Schiff stood up, said something to the audience member that sound like -- when you're done, perhaps we can start -- and he exited the stage through the door to backstage. As far as I could see, the front row guy didn't leave in shame, but Schiff waited a few minutes, and then came back and started the concert.
  22. This is purely personal, but after listening to tons of recorded live broadcasts from around the world over the last months, that the audiences have been coughing more than the Violettas and Mimis n their dying acts does not fill me with confidence about returning to the theater. (That and wanting to virtually muffle the "bravo" guy in Vienna.)
  23. There's a lot of training in Brazil, including the Bolshoi Ballet satellite school, Escola Bolshoi Brasil. There is also a subset of dancers from a small number of schools who are invited to pre-professional training in the US, like Carla Korbes and Irlan Silva and then are hired into US companies. But there are a lot of dancers from Brazil, Latin America, Cuba and Spain who are hired directly into companies. I've seen a lot of dancers from Russia over the years who aren't any more special than American trained dancers (of different nationalities) I've seen be hired into American companies, and it certainly has raised my eyebrows over time. There are also a lot of companies that don't hire competition dancers as a rule, aside from Prix de Lausanne which is a scholarship to train. They might hire dancers with competition results, but based on their professional experience and rep. Edited to add: but I also raise my eyebrows around a lot of hires.
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