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Funny Face

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Everything posted by Funny Face

  1. Re Kulik ... and, as he first went pro, he took admirable risks at a tender age to try his hand at innovative choreograpy. Sometimes the technique suffered, but I didn't mind because I could see what he was trying to do as an artist. Gosh, yes, I do miss the Olympics in which Wylie earned his silver. I still have the yellowed news clippings from then. I remember when he barely made the U.S. team that year, after not having a great skate at Nationals. Before he knew whether he would go to the Olympics, he sat there so calmly and said that "nothing happens by accident." Afterwards, when he did make the team, many were vociferous about Wylie being washed up and wanting Mitchell to take his place. Meanwhile, the press ignored Wylie, concentrating on "Bowman the Showman." I remember every time that commercial would come on, I'd talk to the tv, saying, "Just you wait, it's going to be Wylie." Of course, we all know what happened from there. After he got the silver, Frank Carroll said that Wylie was actually robbed of the gold, and that Petrenko's performance was the weakest gold medal figure skating performance he'd seen. (It was also suggested that since Wylie's world ranking was 11th at that point, the judges couldn't wrap their minds around giving him the gold). But Wylie was ecstatic with the results.
  2. I enjoyed Savoie a great deal. Too bad about his lutz in the short, because he might have had a shot at medaling. There are a number of editorials written about Weir's demise, ultimately pointing to his failure to seize the day. We saw living proof that it's better to fall on a quad than not to attempt one at all. I think this new systems definitely has some kinks to it in that there is far less program to most of the skaters' performances. It's very calculated. But the real problem for me is the presentation of Olympic figure skating this year -- period. I remember when it was an evening, from start to finish, of excitement and drama. Now, it's like living with a crazed channel surfer with attention deficit disorder -- figure skating, skiing, curling, speed skating -- switch, switch, switch every few minutes. I think this is a large part of why they lost so much of the American audience this year. And -- it was also disappointing to be driving home last night and hear the results on National Public Radio hours ahead of time, along with commentary on same.
  3. And then there was Rasta Thomas in the tv Gap commercial a few years back. On the other hand, there's the issue of non-dancers modeling dancewear ... oh dear! I've got a few tear sheets of this kind of thing. It should be against the law. One thing I've always noticed is how good dancers in general can make even unexpensive clothing look sensational. I guess that's the tradeoff of working in a profession that generally doesn't pay much. All you need with such a great 'hanger' is one little black dress. (The real Funny Face demonstrated that!!!)
  4. I must pay tribute to the lovely Mary Munro, who, at 76, is a youngster among some others mentioned. Ms. Munro was a ballerina with Ballet Rambert in the early 1950s. She returned to New Orleans after Katrina and gives class "among the ruins" two blocks from my home. The studio has been reduced to its studs, and we sometimes even wear jackets and scarves while taking class (yes, it does get quite chilly here, esp. in a 'challenged' building). What an incredible picture I wish all of you could see -- some quite wonderful dancers, really, all gathered together under less than ideal circumstances, all dedicated to keeping on taking class and dancing. And every day, Ms. Munro still has that lovely disposition, no matter what. And, she can pull the most logical and beautiful combinations out of her ... well, I don't know quite where she pulls them out of. But she is so pleasant and elegant and still ready with a story or two when we get stumped. And, yes, she still demonstrates. She's got those lightining quick little feet. (BTW, for any of you who are familiar with my circumstances, I've taken a leave from Milwaukee Ballet, to 'help with the cause' down here and get some closure as well). We are striving to keep dance alive and well here.
  5. Right -- laboriously pulling the leg up and holding the foot just doesn't have the same merit as some beautifully stretched and held spirals. I've always wondered why the U.S. has got such a 'leg up' so to speak in that aspect of artistry. Spirals just don't seem to be valued or worked on by the Russians. Any idea as to why?
  6. Lots of surprises going on in Moscow as we speak. Michelle Kwan is struggling a great deal with the new scoring system. After qualifying rounds, she placed 5th behind Slutskaya, Suguri, Arakawa (defending champ) and Carolyn Kostner. The result is that for the first time in over 10 years, Kwan will not be included in the last to skate group of six. Kwan said the new scoring system had her off her game. Slutskaya did quite well, but was breathing heavily after her performance. With the men, Lysacek is the highest scorer of U.S. men, currently in 5th. Weir, who has an ongoing foot injury, is 7th, and fell once. So did Goebel. I sure miss Matt Savoie in this group. I think he would have fit this threesome better than Goebel does. We're seeing a return to artistic skating with our U.S. men -- in my opinion, it's great to see the almighty quad not be such a big deal.
  7. A file cabinet's not such a bad idea if you think "antique." Mine is a 4-drawer, turn of the century, American oak. You can save your programs and justify your addiction to antiquing.
  8. I have saved all of my programs, not only from ballets, but from plays, symphonies, etc. My first one is from attending my first play, "The Sound of Music" at the elegant Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, at the age of 10. In high school, I used to usher at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater so as to see the plays for free. It's fascinating to see how far most of those actors have gone. I keep them in those decorative rectangular boxes that come in various sizes. Mel mentioned some sources. I've bought mine at Steinmart, of all places, but "Hold Everything" and the Archival Company are good sources. I like to reflect on where I was --literally and figuratively-- at the time I attended the various performances. They've also proven to be good sources of research material. When stored in these boxes, they take up a surprisingly small amount of space. Ditto for the ticket stubs. I've been saving them forever in a pretty glass bowl. Everything from a 1988 Brewers vs. Yankees game at Yankee Stadium to one general admission to Mount Vernon to American Ballet Theatre presents Ballet in America at the Kennedy Center to various European train ticket stubs -- it all goes in the bowl. Some are pretty faded, but it's a fun bowl to go through now and then, and again, very little space taken up for such a fun collective souvenir.
  9. All of which makes me think that the greatest threat to the wellbeing of dancers has little to do with dance ...
  10. While reading this, I was wondering if any of you can recall some of your worst weather conditions for performing? As a teenager, I performed on a float for Nixon's Inaugural and the weather was anything but accommodating. It was in the 20s plus wind chill and snow, and we weren't clad in much. That was probably my toughest one. I can take almost anything except extreme cold. Do you all remember not too long ago when those poor Rockettes tried to perform on the Today Show and they all went down for the count on live tv due to a rain-slicked stage?
  11. As I write this, I am watching an infomercial about something called "Yoga Booty Ballet," with my jaw hanging open slightly. It has exercises such as "Anti-ballet leg lift." I thought I had seen/heard everything with a starlet's recent promotion of an exercise tape that focused on getting into shape via lap dancing. I'm wondering if anyone can come up with some PG-13 ideas for the next exercise trend for 2005. It just strikes me as so incongruous to see a grandmother tearing up about how yoga booty ballet changed her life. Any ideas in this regard?
  12. Yes, there is word about Sarah Hughes returning to compete in the Olympics, but that may be coincidental in Cohen's decision. My impression of Cohen is that she has always been very close to her family, and this may be a simple matter of homesickness. Sometimes we forget how young these ladies really are.
  13. Thought I'd better qualify that statement, since it was a rumor for awhile. You can go to usfigureskating.org to read the actual press release. Cohen will be training with John Nicks, who also coached Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia, as well as Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, for the upcoming Nationals in Portland (in January). Also of news, Amber Corvin became an official college grad as of 12/16 at California State.
  14. Just passing this along: Sasha Cohen announced today she's leaving Robin Wagner and moving back to California to train with her former coach in preparation for U.S. Nationals.
  15. Very interesting -- how long has there been such a festival in D.C.? We've got one here earlier in the spring along with the infamous "Stella" contest, which is a hoot. (Fellas line up to take a shot at bellowing their version of the doomed damsel's name.)
  16. The only review I've encountered that was longer than the movie ... Me thinks the lady doth protest too much -- that is, this girl clearly loved the movie. How else does she explain watching it hundreds of times in order to trash every tiny bit of it? I gave up on the review because of its rambling and because the 'writer' is clearly not associated with the meaning of research. Most people with basic knowledge of current stars in the ballet world know that Steifel had to have it specially written into his company contract that he could ride his motorcycle -- there was nothing contrived about including it in the movie. Yeah, and if he's gay, I'm shy.
  17. Let's not forget wonder boy Rasta Thomas. His father, a Taekwondo instructor, began giving his son martial arts lessons at the age of 3, but the child misbehaved so much in those classes that he was taken instead to ballet for "punishment" -- and the rest is history. (I attended the IBC competition the year he won -- it's a very exciting competition to watch). For more information on Lynn Swann, visit his web site (it's lynnswann.com). He's been quite a force in the arts in Pittsburgh for some time. In 1984, he started the Lynn Swann Scholarship Fund with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and has given over 110 scholarships to children to take ballet class since its inception. Willie Gault has some moves, but his teammate, the late Walter Payton, also did. He made a national tv appearance on "Soul Train," doing the "Cock Walk," a move he invented. It may not be along the lines of what you are looking for, but it would be remiss not to mention that the greatest diver in history, Greg Louganis, studied dance throughout his childhood, and did do some guest appearances with professional companies. Finally, I think you would find some of the debate/discussion about this issue on www.dance.net very interesting. Also -- a wonderful article written by a parent on www.suite101.com. Hope this helps.
  18. The dysfunction of her family stood out more to me than that of the ballet world. She obviously had a lot of inner demons that were separate from those she encountered as a dancer.
  19. I have Tom Murphy's book. I bought it when it first came out in 1978 and haven't read it since, so I'll have to see what I think of it now. He steals a bit from real life in creating his characters. For instance, instead of the artistic director giving his favorite dancers a bottle of specially concocted perfume - a al Balanchine - the fictitious version signifies a female dancer has arrived by giving her a specially colored scarf. There's also a young defector named Dimitri, obviously modeled after Baryshnikov. Another novel that came out the following year is "Ballerina," by Edward Stewart. The NY Times pronounced, "It is the right moment for the big ballet novel - and this one is it!" Inside the front cover is a quote from Publishers Weekly: "Rumor has it that galleys of this book were being passed around backstage at the New York City Ballet just the other week, and no wonder. Stewart has put together the quintessential ballet novel, long overdue ... bound for as much success as a book as Turning Point achieved in films!" Both of these books came out a year or two after the release of "The Turning Point" and the U.S. was on a ballet high. I still have the cover of the Time issue with Gelsey Kirkland on the cover -- above her picture it said 'U.S. Ballet Soars!"
  20. I saw the film on "Ash Wednesday," and overall thought it was quite well done. As to any controversy, most of that appears to stem from ignorance or spite. It's a 'cool' thing for a hip urban journalist to use 'brilliantly' sarcastic turns of phrase such as "the high cheek-boned Jim Caveziel." Now there's a worthy way to make a living. And don't think that a lot of the negativity doesn't come from major moguls who now wish they'd invested their mercenary interests in the film. The one flaw I did find with the film, and am quite surprised to not hear mentioned anywhere is the use of the special effects in certain portions that I found very distracting. Mainly, the faces of the children who were taunting Judas becoming Satanic, and even worse, that adult midget that Satan was carrying during the scourging. If the film were to be completely authentic, those additions should have been, in my opinion, eliminated. They were a cross between avant garde art film and horror film, and quite distracting during scenes that clearly held their own without them.
  21. Thanks. I'd forgotten about Jane Krakowski. I have the movie "Steppin' Out" in which she plays one of Liza Minelli's tap students. I also saw her wonderful 'audition' for "Chorus Line" in "Ally McBeal."
  22. She's wonderfully talented -- I have tapes of her both skating as a child for Curry and her more recent performances on ice. But I knew she was still rather young when she did an exhibition performance at a natl. competition (Dick Button was crazy about her) not that many years ago at the age of 29, having just re-entered the skating world. This is going to be tough -- lots of people a bit too young or a bit too old. Shirley Maclaine at the age she did "The Turning Point" would be perfect. I'm a generation too late.
  23. You people who attended St. John's -- how lucky! I wish I'd known about that college so many years ago. I was fascinated when a woman I met about 12 years ago told me about her experiences there. I believe there's a similar program in Santa Fe. As to reading the last sentence of a book first, it reminds me of Billy Crystal's line in "When Harry Met Sally," when he told Sally he did that just in case he died before getting to the end -- that was his way of explaining his "dark side." Actually, there have been several recent movies that have led me back to the book: "Where the Heart Is," "The Emperor's Club" and "Under the Tuscan Sun." I recently reread Dorothy Gilman's "The Tightrope Walker." I was curious to see how I would react to it years after first reading it. I think it's interesting to check our own perspective this way. Also -- I believe there's no better therapy when you get into a very dark place than rereading your favorite children's literature. That's when I need the comfort of the Melendy chiildren, Anne of Green Gable, and Betsy and Tacy, for starters. I also love fairy tales, and have rewritten a few from my own perspective. I am currently penning "Cinderella," as I have taught it over the years to dance pupils. I had not realized just how much this tale had evolved in my teaching, and penning my version as a teaching guide has been quite an undertaking. I am fascinated by the appeal this tale has for children far and beyond any other. In my experience, even "Sleeping Beauty" is a pale runner-up. I think there must be some deep belief that many children have at one point or another in their childhood that they were mixed up at the hospital, or somehow landed in the wrong family. For children who come from troubled homes, this could be especially true. In fact, how many of us adults wish on certain days that we could open the door to a fairy godmother? "Please turn my abusive boss into a toad today, please!"
  24. Hmmmm, I think Zeta-Jones is only 32, quite a bit younger than the character. And frankly, a little dishy! I was focusing more on actresses who dance than vice versa, because there is a lot of pathos to convey which is going to require a lot more than good extension. There are traumatic events, such as losing your fiance on the eve of your third cancer surgery -- only to become too sick with grief for the surgery to go forward, and then to be postponed indefinitely because your specialized surgeon needs a medical leave. (All true, and that's only the beginning). Funny thing -- tonight the movie "Romantic Comedy" was on tv. I played on stage the same role that Janet Eilber plays in the film. Some people might remember her most for her roles in some movies in the 1980s, such as that one and "Hard to Hold" with Rick Springfield. But she was principal dancer for Martha Graham's company, and a good friend of Jacques d'Amboise. working with him in the early days of the National Dance Insitute outreach program for kids in New York. She's also a little older than the character, but a gorgeous woman and dancer.
  25. Thanks. Actually, she goes by "Lesley-Ann," which is an important detail if I want to approach her for the role. Chronologically, she's about 10 years older than the character, but she is still so youthful looking that I think she could do it well. Other age appropriate actresses who dance: Jane Seymour, Linda Purl. The latter hasn't been too visible in recent years, but I hear that she's been doing a lot more stage work, including a cabaret act and is supposed to sing quite well, which would be beneficial. She's also an ardent travel adventurer, which also appeals to me. So far, Lesley-Ann seems to have the right emotional quality. I like her femininity and vulnerability, and she has a woman's body. But please keep coming with comments and suggestions.
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