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dirac

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Everything posted by dirac

  1. How about Ida Rubinstein? I suppose we must add her to the ranks of frustrated-ballerina-rich-ladies, but she did commission works from Bakst, Fokine, Ravel, Stravinsky, et al., not to mention keeping a youthful Ashton gainfully employed (he got a lot of social mileage out of a wicked imitation of her frightful dancing later on). [ 07-13-2001: Message edited by: dirac ]
  2. How about Ida Rubinstein? I suppose we must add her to the ranks of frustrated-ballerina-rich-ladies, but she did commission works from Bakst, Fokine, Ravel, Stravinsky, et al., not to mention keeping a youthful Ashton gainfully employed (he got a lot of social mileage out of a wicked imitation of her frightful dancing later on). [ 07-13-2001: Message edited by: dirac ]
  3. It might not hurt for the administrative/creative functions to be shared or separated. Yes, Balanchine did everything, but that doesn't mean that everyone who follows him can or should. Not all choreographers have a taste or talent for administration, and it seems reasonable to recognize this. As for the choreographer/conservator question, that might be very difficult to settle, depending on the choreographer. Someone who is working at Balanchine's level is not going to be wildly interested in spending a lot of time curating someone else's stuff, however distinguished, and understandably s
  4. As an aside, it seems to me that a couple of reviewers have made too big a deal about Lawrence's not being permitted access to Robbins' papers and having the nerve to produce an unauthorized biography. I don't doubt that Robbins' papers have a lot of useful information, but after all we're not dealing with Thomas Jefferson here. And quite a few valuable biographies would never have appeared if the authors had folded their tents and stolen away after being denied "authorization." (Whether Lawrence's book is among these is another matter, of course.)
  5. Something I used to do when I was in your position was go to the library and browse through the books at random. Often I would come across interesting stuff I never would have thought of on my own. You might look at Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. There's tons of information out there and lots of colorful anecdotes and personalities associated with the era.
  6. There was Hilary Hahn in the "Classical Musician" category, I think it was called, and there was a novelist, architect, artist, and so forth. I certainly wouldn't expect a dancer to make the cover of an issue such as this one, but I hope at least an effort was made to find somebody. Wrestlers made the issue, incidentally, under "Odd Jobs."
  7. TIME has produced yet another Special Issue, the first in a series called "America's Best." This one has Julia Roberts on the cover, and profiles "the artists and entertainers who rise above the rest." I scanned the list, and couldn't help noticing that there was no "Dancer" or "Choreographer." (Susan Stroman makes the cut, but in her capacity as "Broadway Director.") Desperate, I went to the section called "Odd Jobs." No luck. Apparently, TIME had room to showcase "Rappers," "Talk-Show Host," "Fashion Designer (Tom Ford, rakishly showcasing his chest hair)," and "DJ" but not Tharp, or B
  8. My understanding is that Balanchine thought of this piece primarily as a technical showcase for his stars. (I think the music was a rewrite forced on Tchaikovsky by a temperamental ballerina who wanted different counts, so maybe he was considering the source.) After all, when you're building a repertory you need all kinds of ballets, and I wouldn't be surprised if he thought of this as a crowd-pleasing bonbon for galas and whatnot, although it's a cut above, say, "Tarantella."
  9. Dance Fan, you bring back happy memories. Walken's strip in "Pennies from Heaven" is totally awesome. I think he's a little too strange for Drosselmeier, though. Maybe Madge?
  10. This is all from memory and a particular or two might be off base, but "Slaughter" originated from the 1936 Broadway musical "On Your Toes" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and produced by George Abbott, which starred Ray Bolger and Mrs. Balanchine #1, Tamara Geva. (It was originally intended to be a movie property for Fred Astaire, who nixed it.) "Slaughter " was the Act II ballet, and it was one of the first (and may in fact have been the first, but I'd have to check) Broadway musical ballets to forward the musical's story line as well as provide a dance divertissement. It was revived t
  11. Rozhdestvensky quits the Bolshoi. Report from Reuters: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/14/arts/15B...LSHOI-WIRE.html
  12. I was browsing in Tower Books and noticed a new fiction title, "Flight of the Swan," by Rosario Ferré, with whose work I am unfamiliar. It concerns a Russian ballerina who finds herself stranded, because of political complications, in the Puerto Rico of 1917. I am knee deep in unread titles at home and didn't purchase it, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has read it. (I also thought that a new addition to the not exactly extensive list of novels dealing with ballet should be noted for its own sake.)
  13. I think declining support for the arts is a bipartisan thing. No one on either side of the aisle wants to vote more money to an arts program only to have some opponent discover that one of the artists spit on a crucifix in 1978 or whatever. I'd make the same demand of any president. Words of support are nice, but.
  14. dirac

    Karen Kain

    There are also a couple of documentary videos with Kain as the subject, although the titles escape me at the moment. I would agree with Juliet that "Movement Never Lies" is definitely worth a read. Kain's longtime partner at the National, Frank Augustyn, has also written his memoirs, which I haven't read yet.
  15. I can't comment on the show since I missed it and I'm hoping that the other PBS stations in my area run it again soon. I did want to veer off topic to add to Ed's comments on the poor quality of the public programming on his local station. We have some of the same problems here, but the difficulty doesn't seem to be bad taste so much as not enough money and the need to attract eyeballs. Hence Antiques Roadshow, Yanni at the Acropolis, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, Michael Flatley discussing the evolution of his artistic vision, and so on. Oops. This reply was supposed to go up to the Don Q thr
  16. I've already unburdened myself on this question in previous threads, so I'll just add a thing or two. The commercialization of ballet is deplorable, and probably unavoidable as long as the art form is left exposed to market forces with only unreliable private funding upon which to depend. However, Baryshnikov himself has benefited indirectly from the commercialism he criticizes; he became an international film star and hawked his own clothing line and fragrance, after all, activities made possible by the same economic system that creates the need for companies to stage Dracula and The Pied Pi
  17. Sounds like someone who could really do Salome's "Dance of the Seven Veils," if her voice is strong enough to ride that orchestra. (I think "move like a dancer" is sometimes a euphemism for "doesn't lumber across the stage like a grizzly.") Back to the subject at hand, I'd nominate Charlize Theron. I understand she has some dance training and I bet the late Bob Fosse would have gone ape over her. She's also a potential Balanchine Superwoman type too, I think. Also Joanne Woodward. She's a big ballet fan and why no company has asked her to do roles like the Queen in Swan Lake I'll never
  18. In the late Robert Garis' "Following Balanchine," he discusses Kent in the role. He liked her distinctive effect but thought that her strength and stamina were not quite up to the demands of the part. Merrill Ashley began dancing the role not long before Farrell came back to the company and also alternated in it later, I think. [ 06-04-2001: Message edited by: dirac ]
  19. It's anal-retentive of me to point this out, but I don't see how the lady behind you could have seen Kelly and Charisse perform "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," since they never danced it together onscreen to my knowledge. (Kelly did do it, but with Vera-Ellen, and I seem to remember that it was somewhat different.) Having said that, I do understand the larger point, if I understand it correctly, that the piece is better suited to musical comedy dancers or ballet stars with lots of musical experience, since a lot of what makes an item like "Slaughter" work is mastery of show dancers' style, which
  20. In the May 18 issue of the Times Literary Supplement, Alastair Macaulay reviews "The Oxford Dictionary of Dance" by Debra Craine and Judith Mackrell. He praises it for some things, such as its inclusion of a larger number of composers and designers than usually found in dance dictionaries, but is disturbed by some factual inaccuracies. He also notes with concern that Bill T. Jones receives more space than A. or G. Vestris, Bournonville, or Fred Astaire. (Link available online to subscribers only.)
  21. Actually, I think JFK's stock is rising again, but I did not intend my remarks to be taken as Kennedy-bashing. If the Democrats exhumed his corpse and nominated him in 2004 he'd have my vote against almost any of his prospective living opponents. I meant my comments only as a caution against taking image and reputation as fact, and I think it's particularly important in Kennedy's case because an interest in the arts became an important part of his political persona. ( I confess that I don't regard this resurgence of Jackie-worship as a entirely a Good Thing; it's almost as if people were
  22. I am of two minds about the Kennedy administration's use of the arts, and I employ the word "use" deliberately. Mrs. Kennedy's husband appears to have regarded culture chiefly as window dressing to attract academics and other egghead types to the Kennedy banner; he was patronizing the arts in more than one sense. (I don't mean to deprecate him,I've tried repeatedly to dislike the guy and failed.) Jacqueline Kennedy's interest was quite genuine, but I was struck by an observation made by Sarah Bradford in her biography "America's Queen"-- which is, incidentally, a very good book on a topic th
  23. I remember reading somewhere that "Wonder Woman" was one of Balanchine's favorite shows. Doubrovska didn't really fit in because of her height, I think, and those super-long legs. Flappers were slim, athletic, and flat-chested -- bazooms were out and didn't really come back till the forties -- but not especially tall (think Louise Brooks or Colleen Moore). As for today, it's kind of hard to tell. The fashion magazines say things like "curves are back" but by "curves" they seem to mean chiefly breast implants on the same skinny girls. The Fifties may not have been the most enlightened
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