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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. I'm not sure I have anything substantive to add to Leigh's marvelous evocation of a time "out of time" (for me at least) but I do have a couple of evocations. For the opening post of the thread, I thought of Sidney Taylor's last All of A Kind Family book. As for Fancy Free, I saw it at ABT relatively shortly after Fleet Week in NYC, and remember connecting with an image from a few weeks earlier of four young sailors in their whites clustered around three beautiful women (at 33rd and Lex). ABT's performace seemed very real and NOW to me. But then, I'm old fashioned.
  2. Oh, hurray! I have loved her since I saw the new ABT Swan Lake on video with Gillian Murphey as Odette. Sorry for your loss, New Yorkers! (Shall we consider it a fair trade for Johnny Damon? )
  3. I adore this book. I think it may have been what really got me interested in ballet. Here's my favorite quote from the book. "Thank God I don't remember what I thought when I put on my first pair of ballet slippers as a young boy. I don't want to remember. There is a Russian saying for such situations: it was a long time ago and not true." Mikhail Baryshnikov.
  4. This is just a guess, but based on the title I'd say it was an adaptation of Rumer Godden's book about a struggling ballet school. I haven't read this one, but Godden has written several very good books about dancers. Here's a link to the Amazon Page that has a customer review of the book: A Candle For St. Jude
  5. Here's a photo of a pair of Margot Fonteyn's shoes. They date from the 60's I believe. They are indeed Freeds, as you can see; you might even be able to determine the maker. Size four. Fonteyn's Shoes eta: I remember reading somewhere (but not where) an interview with a DTH dancer who discusses custom dying all of her tights, ribbons and shoes! I can't imagine the work involved!
  6. Oooh! (I love this thread). I am going as Svetlana Zakharova in her Pharoah's Daughter tutu when she's "disguised" as a "fisherman's wife." But only if her legs come with the costume. Here's the one I mean.
  7. One of the reviews (can't remember which and too lazy to find it) specifically carps that in the last scene the Prince's bodyguards/friends block the view of Cinderella putting on the shoe and I was like, "Well, duh!" (I wish we had a a "Valley Girl" smiley). Too funny.
  8. Other than work books (for the diss.) I'm mostly rereading this fall: old favorites that I've read to peices and books I don't remember well enough anymore. I'm in the middle of Daniel Deronda right now, inspired to reread it since I read The Mill on the Floss this summer. Next on my list is either Moby Dick or Brother's Karamozov. I also read myself to sleep every night with books that I have more or less memorized (Father Brown stories, Dorothy Sayers, lots of different kids' books, last night it was Up On Cloud Nine by Anne Fine).
  9. I did want to clarify one thing: I didn't hate the Stepsisters at all, I guess I was thinking of the program, where Kudelka says he was really trying to get away from the burlesque/broad comedy of other productions and I didn't really see that at all. bbfan: I've noticed that everyone (regardless of cast) likes Her Other Stepsister better, I think she's got the clearer character. It seems obvious to me that she's the younger one so there's an easy motivation to assign, even from the balcony--aha! she's the one who's always scrambling to keep up with the other sister, and she picks on Cinderella just because she can. I loved the pumpkin men too (12 men with pumpkin heads represent the 12 hours of midnight) I don't know if it's just the clock music (which I love) but I was definitely a little freaked out, in a good way, when the Bachelors at the ball started appearing with pumpkin heads. Also, having Cinderella crouched on the chair in her underwear really worked for me. Sounds funny typing it but it was tremendously sad. The bows were a hoot, after the Stepsisters shove through all the corps and there are individual bows before the curtain Her Other Stepsister crawls under the curtain trying to upstage the other one.
  10. I went to Saturday's matinee specifically to see Romi Beppu in the title role. Perhaps understandably the audience was packed with children, and unfortunately I was stuck between two groups that both had kids in the 2-4 age range.... I spent most of the afternoon repeating to myself "It's not a big deal, pay attention, now. It's okay..." It really is a beautifully designed production, though I was left a little cold by Cinderella's "fancy" costumes, her arrival at the ball in a hollow pumpkin was really pretty spectacular. The two stepsisters (Kathleen Breen Combes and Tempe Ostergren) were the big crowd pleasers, but to my taste it wasn't much different than the broad comedy mugging of having them in drag: stiff walking all on pointe with butt sticking out, flexed feet, prattfalls. If it were up to me, I think I'd make them a little more subtle. I know this is supposed to be a comic ballet, but it sure doesn't sound like it in the music. My other big impression of the night is that Kudelka really pays attention to the shoe (which is, after all, kind of a major part of the story). In the Garden/Transfomation scene Petal (i.e. the Summer variation, danced by Lia Cirio) brings Cinderella a pair of pointe shoes, since she's previously been barefoot and after the ball Cinderella dances a (justly, universally remarked upon) variation with "one shoe off and one shoe on." I'm afraid I don't have much more than general impressions, due to some distraction. The men looked very good, though the attendants all doing their grand pirouettes at the end of the "chase around the world" got sadly and raggedly out of sync. Dalay Parrondo dancing Moss/Autumn was the standout among the women for me, after Romi Beppu. If I go again I'll see what else I can add; would love to hear others' impressions.
  11. Holy cow! Thank you Ms Ness for giving some of the whippersnappers (i.e. me) on this board some perspective on the ballet world. I read all the history I can, and while many aspects of ballet history frequently floor me for different reasons there is nothing like an eyewitness account from those who were there (and still are). Thank you again.
  12. When the Bolshoi came to Boston and played the "closed curtain" first movement the (packed) audience up around where I was sitting (nosebleeds) was totally, 100% not interested in the music (we were variously talking, standing up to stretch legs, talking about the casting, involuntarily picturing those talking and standing being engulfed by flames, falling under the wheels of buses, etc.). Perhaps a reason for this barbaric cut?
  13. Background: I am reading Markova: the legend by M. Leonard and have just hit his account of Markova's touring under Hurok's Ballet Russe and independantly during the WW II, and it has brought up a whole lot of thoughts and confusion for me. I'm not even sure if this is a good BT topic, but it's bugging me and you folks were the only one's I thought might be able to help me understand it. How could the small and erratically funded companies of the 10's -50's (or later--I just don't know) tour literally hundreds of cities every year, often doing one night stands in every town, yet it's practically impossible to see a world class dancer today without spending a bajillion dollars and traveling to L.A.; NY, Paris, London, Moscow or St. Petersburg (I'm not listing them all, but you get the idea)? (I do realize that the unionization of dancers is a huge part of this, and that it's not longer, thank goodness, possible to treat the dancers so appallingly). Still, this was happening at a time when most families didn't have enough money or materials to acquire a new pair of shoes every year. All of the War Year ballet biographies that I have read stress how much "ordinary" people flocked to the ballet, how much they were willing to give up, what a struggle it was even to get tickets. Leonard's account of Dolin and Makarova's trip to the Phillipines may be a little condescending to some tastes (including mine) but I don't doubt that the second performance in X town was in such great demand that they had to give in the baseball stadium instead of the theater. My ony question is: Given the awful times around the world, why aren't people turning to the theater as they once did? Is it, sadly, as simple as television? I'm sorry this is such an enormous and rambling question, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.
  14. FYI the Kirkland interview is well worth reading in DM, even if you don't regularly buy the magazine. She deliberately confronts many of the earlier issues head on, and makes a lovely and appropriate (i.e. doesn't appologize for feeling squashed, but for taking said squashed feeling out on others) apology for certain material in Dancing on My Grave, BUT more importantly has some very interesting things to say about staging, dancing and coaching ballets. Even if you've kind of given up on Dance Magazine this is one of the ones worth searching out.
  15. dido

    Wendy Whelan Weds

    Heck, I'm a woman with a non-legally bound, long term, live-in male companion and I can't stand the term "boyfriend" and despite its long and honorable use in popular culture refuse to refer to said male companion as such. Sadly, I have not come up with, nor have I seen anything but sickmaking substitutes. Shall we start a competition?
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