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Everything posted by BalletNut

  1. She's dancing The Vertiginous Thrill Of Exactitude, by William Forsythe.
  2. These pictures are great! Maybe someone can tell me who the dancers are in the pictures?
  3. I don't think so, at least not since I started following the company. I'd like to see Jewels filmed in its entirety, myself...which means, of course, that Rubies would be captured for posterity. And made commercially available.
  4. Which ballets have you seen that have the best endings? The kind of grand finale that leaves you feeling totally satisfied? I like: Etudes 4 Temperaments Theme & Variations Sleeping Beauty
  5. I will. La Fille Mal Gardee. Funny, yet tasteful; sweet, but not sappy; and it's just my favorite ballet of his that I've seen.
  6. The online cast list has now been updated to include Program 5. (The link is the same.)
  7. Good! We look forward to hearing all about it. (hint, hint)
  8. Casting is up on SFB's website for these programs, which are: Program 4: Square Dance, Grosse Fuge, Reflections (Possokhov World Premiere). Opens on March 9. Program 5: Meistens Mozart, Concerto Grosso, The Four Temperaments, Study In Motion. Opens March 11 (casting for this not up as of 3/5, but will be shortly). Anyone going?
  9. Actually, you're right, Mel, and that's why the whole idea of dividing feminism into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd "waves" is problematic. It makes it seem like feminism "died" after each wave and nothing happened in between the waves, or that there wasn't anything going on before the "first" one. The truth is, there really isn't any definitive, agreed-upon boundary between the waves--which means, sure, the first wave could have included Wollstonecraft et al if you prefer, even if most Women's Studies departments define it with the abolitionists and suffragists. Some professors say the 2nd wave was from the 1960s to the late 70s, others say it's from the early 70s to mid 80s, and as for the 3rd wave, it's either from the early to late 90s or is just beginning now (2000s). In other words, not as clearly defined as other historical periods. OK, that was quite Back to Acocella...
  10. I hope there's no limit on how many wishes we could make... 1. Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee 2. The female lead in Square Dance 3. Kitri 4. Ballerina in Etudes 5. Tchaikovsky PDD 6. Liberty Bell 7. Any role in Serenade 8. Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (any role) 9. Gala Performance (Russian or French) 10. Siren in Prodigal Son (the ballet fairy would have to add 8 or 9 inches to my height for this to work, however) Great topic, ToThePointe!
  11. Jewels. It's 3 ballets in one: Emeralds (romantic-style), Rubies (neoclassical) and Diamonds (classical). And it's Balanchine, which is a plus.
  12. Reminds me of the quote, "What a man enjoys about a woman's clothes are his fantasies of how she would look without them."
  13. Well, I know I said I wouldn't go on and on about feminist theory and ballet, but I lied. Contrary to appearances, there is not currently a monolithic body of academic feminist theorists whose word is law for everyone who studies them, and I'm not sure that there ever was. (I'm not accusing bart or anyone else of having the notion that there is, by the way. Just so that's clear.) While feminists who do not like ballet outnumber those who do (or at least they out-publish and out-shout the ones who like ballet), it's oversimplifying to conclude that ballet and gender equality are diametrically opposed and always will be. There's been a move away from accepting pronouncements that ballet is universally sexist, demeaning, and patriarchal, as gospel truth, because I've seen more emphasis on nuance, diversity of opinion, and "complicating essentializing narratives." (Would that there would be a move away from the "scary" academic-ese, but none appears imminent.) This is probably true. Feminist theory, along with every other type of theory out there, is always reinventing itself. Unfortunately, a lot of students are unaware that these arguments are indeed "old hat," or at least based on outdated information. I remember a couple of years ago there was a discussion on Ballet Talk of an essay by an undergraduate sociology student (posted online by her university, I believe) whose aim was to demostrate Why Ballet Is Evil, and she relied primarily on Kirkland and Suzanne Gordon (I think that's her name) to support her thesis. It's been my experience that many college students, particularly in fields like sociology and women's studies, still support this assessment of ballet and Balanchine. (I suppose now would be a good time to say--parenthetically--that, yes, it is suffragIST, not suffragETTE. I stand corrected.) As far as Balanchine goes, I think the same could be said for his choreography as for feminist theory: it's not monolithic and requires a nuanced assessment. There's Agon, and Prodigal Son, and Bugaku, but there's also Theme and Variations, Serenade, and Liebeslieder Walzer. It's too large, complex and varied a body of work to be boiled down neatly into a single statement of his views on women. I realize this has strayed somewhat from the topic of the actual lecture, but these issues and others come up quite a bit in some form or another. Personally, having seen the advertisements for this lecture series (and being unable to either attend myself or access the archived material online), I'm wondering what people were expecting when they came in, and whether the actual lecture met their expectations.
  14. For some reason, I got an error message when I tried to access the archived webcast, but from the sounds of things I'm glad someone finally got to give a talk, in an academic setting, specifically at a very "politically correct" school, refuting the oversimplified assertions about ballet and gender made by well-meaning theorists. I'm completing my Women's Studies degree right now (go me), and I've heard just about every feminist argument about why ballet is bad, in lots of nice convoluted theory-speak (or, as Paul puts it, "polysyllabic theorizing and career-making in shocking disregard of the evidence." Terms like patriarchal objectification and commodification of the female body, reification of the heteropatriarchy, etc :yawn: ) so it's good to have a refutation of that. Again, my computer wouldn't let me play the clip, so I'm basing this entirely on other people's comments. But, as I said, I'm glad that college students and other audience members got another side of the issue than the typical "second-wave" (first wave was the suffragettes, for what it's worth) feminist theorizing about Balanchine as the epitome of patriarchal oppression of the female body and the objectification of the ballerina, which is, more often than not, based largely on Dancing on My Grave. It's also nice to see more nuance making its way into feminist theory generally, and that it's starting to look a lot less black-and-white than it used to, so that it is possible to "justify" institutions and practices which may have traditionally been regarded as demeaning and oppressive in a new way. I could go on forever on a feminist approach to ballet, but I won't. I'm just sorry I missed this lecture, and I can't think of a better way to illustrate Balanchine, ballet and sex than with Agon pdd. Thank you very much, Paul, dirac, and everyone who commented on this. What do other people think?
  15. Aha! So, is this a "discrimination" lawsuit, like the one at SFB several years ago? At that time, a woman (Krissy Keefer) tried to sue the SF Ballet School after it rejected her daughter for being too short and too "round", on the grounds that it was violating San Francisco's newly passed size-discrimination laws banning discrimination based on height and weight at city-funded jobs, SFB supposedly falling into this category because of its public arts funding. Much debate ensued among ballet people, modern dance people, and fat-acceptance activists, among others. It wasn't pretty. The lawsuit was thrown out, or at least hasn't gone anywhere. Of course, I am well aware that this lawsuit is different for obvious reasons--i.e., it's not San Francisco, it's not even the USA! Was the author of the article merely reporting the facts or editorializing on the matter? What are the particulars of the local legal and judicial system as they apply to this lawsuit?
  16. Since I have nothing better to do with my life, I fed Natalia's little excerpt to the translation software at babelfish.altavista.com. However, since it's done automatically, not by an actual human being, it came out sort of funny: See what I mean? (You should see what happens when I feed it Shakespeare...)
  17. Hootin' and hollerin'...funny, I kind of like the fact that I can escape from hootin' and hollerin' when I go to the ballet... If the Welch Swan Lake is indeed "traditional" (more or less), then this sounds like the kind of thing SFB tried to pull a few years ago when they'd have these apparently "irreverent" advertisements with dancers in studio shots and captions like "Drinking, Debauchery, Violence: A Real Bible Story" for Balanchine's Prodigal Son. God forbid all the young whippersnappers should get the impression that we're a bunch of stuffy old-fashioned snobs with tutus and tiaras! Imagine the disappointment on the young audience members' faces when they discover that it's real, old-fashioned ballet, not the super-hip subversion of dominant paradigms that's being peddled in the ads. I find it incredibly condescending, myself. And I don't hoot or holler, either.
  18. Oy. Can't they leave the poor ballet alone, already? Pretty soon we'll be left with no "traditional" versions of Swan Lake at all, just these new "hip" versions designed to get the young 'uns into the theater. --written by a young 'un who's never seen Welch's version, or the Houston Ballet...
  19. Not having seen Zahorian as Myrtha, I'm having a hard time picturing her in it. Actually, she'd probably be an interesting Giselle. But I'm not sure size has everything to do with it; it wouldn't be a problem at all if Giselle was LeBlanc. I think it's Zahorian's personality that I'm having trouble picturing as Myrtha. She's always struck me as a very "sweet" dancer, and Myrtha isn't sweet. But, she does certainly have the technique, and "wicked makeup" can make a lot of things possible.
  20. Yes, Talespinner, welcome to Ballet Talk, and what a wonderful first post. Perhaps you'd like to pop into the Welcome forum and introduce yourself there, where you will be Officially Greeted. I look forward to hearing about Thursday's performance. Editing to add: I actually think Long had danced Giselle before Wednesday, but it was your first time seeing her, anyway, right?
  21. I think that the whole thing about marathons vs sprints that came up on the other thread applies here too. Giselle and Raymonda are marathons, to me. And Don Q is a sprint. Bayadere is split between Nikiya and Gamzatti. That leaves Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, which I'd say are "sprintathons." I picked Swan Lake because of the fact that it's like two ballets in one, and to be a good Odette and a good Odile take very different characteristics, and the ballet requires that the ballerina do justice to both, or else it doesn't work.
  22. Thanks for weighing in, Andre Yew. Anyone else go? Tan does have chemistry issues sometimes, but I still think she's physically suited to the role, especially the second act. I wish I could have seen LeBlanc...
  23. Edwaard Liang left NYCB for a while, and then came back.
  24. I've noticed it too, when I saw the Bolshoi in Swan Lake. Either it's the shoes themselves or the way the women dance in them.
  25. Well, my copy arrived a few days ago, but I only found time to post about it now, so here goes. Sheherazade:I thought the costumes and lighting were gorgeous, but I have a feeling that this ballet is supposed to be sexy, and I didn't get that from this performance at all, except from the three harem dancers; the rest of the cast looked too proper, restrained, and virginal to be convincing in the choreography, which I could still tell was first-rate. Zakharova looked particularly miscast in this, in my opinion. First of all, it doesn't seem to fit her temperament at all, she's too "cold" for it; secondly, it really doesn't look good for a dancer as painfully thin as she is to be wearing a bare midriff. Ruzimatov may have been good in this five or ten years ago, but he wasn't at his best when this was filmed. And I would have liked some clarification, perhaps in the liner notes, of what the story was in this ballet, if there was one. However, the score is wonderful. Le Spectre De La Rose: This was very well-danced, very pretty. Kolb gives quite a different interpretation of this from Baryshnikov or Legris, but it's equally good. He's more lyrical than pyrotechnical, and has very nice lines. Ayupova is a lovely dancer, very delicate and feminine and innocent, so this is also a good role for her. I'm not sure I like the shiny fabric on her costume; I prefer it to be more matte, more lacy, but that's a nitpick. The orchestra sounded kind of sluggish. Polovtsian Dances: The first way for me to describe this ballet is "over the top." The second is to say that, for some reason, it reminds me of the Mike Myers SNL sketch "Lothar of the Hill People," for some reason. All snarking aside, I really enjoyed the choreography; Rassadina has such beautiful, expressive arms and hands, and Baimuradov is very powerful technically. My main beef with this one is the camera work; the photographers would cut over to the chorus during the most virtuoso, climactic passages. What the bleep were they thinking? If the cameras had stayed on the dancers, I'd have liked this a lot more. Firebird: I'm used to the Gontcharova [spelling?] designs for the Royal Ballet, so the designs for this production took a little bit of getting used to, and I still prefer the Royal's designs, but the Kirov designs are actually still quite nice. Vishneva is a very good Firebird. Yes, there are probably several dancers who would have been even better, but there are also dancers who could have been much worse. Be that as it may, Vishneva is very easy on the eye, and has the warmth in her dancing that Zakharova lacked in Sheherazade. Yakovlev, as Ivan, was perfectly adequate, but the role really isn't much of a showcase for a male dancer. Serebriakova was a very sweet, pretty, innocent princess. Ponomarev as Kotchei [spelling?] gave me the creeps, which, given the nature of the character, must mean he did a pretty good job. Overall, not bad. So, this isn't the world's best ballet DVD, but it could be worse, and since there really aren't many recordings available of Sheherazade and Polovtsian Dances, it's worth having for that, and the other two, which have been filmed in other productions before, are well worth watching. Plus it's not that expensive; I paid $15 for it on Amazon.
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