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Quiggin

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    balletgoer
  • City**
    San Francisco
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    California

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  1. I read the whole thing and have highlighted some of it below. I think he makes the whole matter worse. Macaulay should simply say he was trying to be witty in a way that no longer has much standing and that he's learned to move on.
  2. How the spoken name sounds with "Ballet" matters too. Chicago sounds better than Illinois, Cleveland than Ohio, Houston than Texas. Philadephia and Pennsylvania, on the other hand. are equally appealing – and in my California imagination equally exotic. At one time I associated them with "The Philadelphia Story" and "PEnnsyvania 6-500" from "The Glenn Miller Story". Or with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. At least ballet companies don't complicate matters by pulling up stakes and moving as sports teams sometimes do, like the once Los Angeles Rams or the Minnesota Lakers.
  3. Both Louise Fishman and Joan Mitchell were represented by Robert Miller Gallery and later followed John Cheim to Cheim & Read. Some very nice catalogues on their works are available to page through online here – https://www.cheimread.com/publications Poem Read at Joan Mitchell's I hope there will be more more drives to Bear mountain and searches for hamburgers, more evenings avoiding the latest Japanese movies and watching Helen Vinson and Warner Baxter in Vogues of 1938 instead, more discussions in lobbies of the respective greatnesses of Diana Adams and Allegra Kent, more sunburns and more half-mile swims in which Joe beats me as Jane [Freilicher] watches, lotion-covered and sleepy, more arguments over Faulkner's inferiority to Tolstoy while sand gets into my bathing trunks ...
  4. Another cohort that might be of interest are the "women of Ninth Street" – Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning (who also wrote about ballet), Lee Krasner and Grace Hartigan – all of whom held their own at the "Club" of Abstract-Expressionists of the 1950s. Frankenthaler's complex woodcuts are currently on view at the Dulwich gallery in London and a large (underlit) Joan Mitchell show is on display here in San Francisco, after which it will move onto Baltimore and Paris. Ninth Street Women – https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ninth_Street_Women/afQlCwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=ninth+street+women&printsec=frontcover Frankenthaler at Dulwich – https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk Nice talk on Mitchell's work at SF MOMA by Stanley Whitney – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_bxpmwYdqg
  5. Natalia Goncharova is indeed a major artist – you can see traces of her influence in New York gallery painting today. We mustn't forget that the Soviet Union of the 1920s was a very encouraging climate for women artists – for Lyubov Popova and Alexandra Exter (who also did sets and costumes for ballet), as well as Goncharova. From the Tate show The short life of the equal woman – https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-15-spring-2009/short-life-equal-women
  6. It's a rather effective episode of Anatomy of a Dance – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKKt2mSPI-8
  7. Good discussion. I think Balanchine may have had trouble with Onegin based on the distortions to, and sentimentalization of, Pushkin's story. (And what Balanchine himself could have done with Tatiana's dream!). Also the British were a little cool on Balanchine in general in the 50s, complaining that his choreography of ballets like Symphony in C was cold and mathematical. I find Peck and Ratmansky works inventive and witty enough to fit into the City Ballet repertoire and hold up their end of the evening programs. Russian Seasons can be very affecting and Ratmansky's recent Bernstein Bubble for ABT was full of wonderful variations. What's nice about Pam Tanowitz's work is how it cleanses the palate of postmodernist empty gestured, live-fish-in-a-basket choreography such as Wayne McGregor's and treats the parts of dance as simple set of materials to be assembled and incrementally varied. Well, Balanchine was a unique phenomenon and it's difficult to hold him a kind of norm. He brought the inheritance of the traditional Russian ballet, the radical Soviet avant garde of the early twenties (out of whose style book The Four Temperaments comes) and ideas he had worked on in Diaghilev's company. Only Ratmansky has some of that depth of experience, with the Bolshoi and via the Taganka Theater productions he watched closely. In the art world the parallels would be with the Black Mountain College where young artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly were exposed to the Bauhaus teachings of Kurt Schwitters and Josef Albers. Now it's Matisse who often seems to be a point of reference in the art world, not only with his color sense but with the way he pushes the dynamics of the painting right to the edges of the canvas. I wonder if there's a point of reference in the past that young choreographers could open and and have a dialogue with – Ballets suédois, Kurt Jooss – that would enrichen their work and help them use the space of the "canvas" in a different way. Some place outside the closed loop of the usual influences.
  8. I left out "these days" to reflect my own thinking on Spielberg. I imagine Justin Peck's choreography getting lost in all the restless production values – hot colors, big sets, camera movements, etc. Translating the stage musical and choreography to the screen is always problematic in that film basically a realistic medium. Its tendency is to document everything, major and minor, with a ruthless eye that gives every element an equivalent value, whereas on stage you only notice the magic, not the clunkiness of the sets and furniture and the awkwardness of physical space. Directors who might have been interesing choices: 1) small scale - someone like the Chantal Ackerman or Jacques Demy who in different ways would have separated the everday actions from the songs and dance, foregrounded Peck's choreography against simple backgrounds, thus making them discrete elements – two films checkerboarded or running in parallel. Or 2) big scale - Martin Scorsese, who has a subtler sense of the craft and better understanding of cinematic values than Speilberg. Even Julian Schnabel would have been a more sober choice and would have cooled everything down a couple of notches.
  9. From Gia Kourias's article in the Times today, a collaborative video between Madeline Hollander and David Hallberg cataloguing all the varieties of the balletic bow – a typology of the art, endlessly fascinating. Funniest of all for me was the self-effacing New York City Ballet female bow. https://theshed.org/program/219-madeline-hollander
  10. I have a big pair of classic 7x35 binoculars which do allow a fairly wide view – 4 or 5 dancers worth from the rear of orchestra with a fairly natural amount of 3D. But switching between my single lens distance glasses and binoculars is always a bit of a comedy routine with me. And then deciding between the intimacy of a close up vs the overall view – have I missed someone entering and exiting?
  11. A closer look at the order list shows there may be some duplications, so that number should perhaps be readjusted to 30-40-50 copies? But there are also three electronic resource vendors providing online copies – Alexander Street, Axis and Overdrive. https://sflib1.sfpl.org/record=b4829437~S1 https://sflib1.sfpl.org/search~S1?/aPazcoguin%2C+Georgina%2C/apazcoguin+georgina/-3%2C-1%2C0%2CB/exact&FF=apazcoguin+georgina&1%2C6%2C
  12. I'm number 32 of 40 on the waiting list for Swan Dive at the San Francisco Public Library. It turns out it might not such a long wait as I originally thought since, digging deeper into the record, I see that the library has ordered something like 83 copies! In comparison they purchased/leased 10 copies of Rachel Cusk's Second Place and only two of Susan Bernofsky's well-reviewed (except by Joy Williams in Bookforum) biography of Robert Walser, the last two books I've requested. Anyway I look forward to reading Swan Dive, at least from the intriguing excerpts.
  13. Was probably filmed with a Cine-Kodak, a small popular 16mm camera that could take 50 or 100 foot loads that allowed for about 1 1/2 to 3 minutes worth of shooting before having to be reloaded. It featured a waist-level viewfinder which helped the cameraperson escape notice by ushers, though the sound of the gears grinding away might have limited filming to scenes when the full orchestra was playing. The 16 frames per second recording rate looks speeded up when played at 24 fps but may partially be corrected by double printing every other frame. I originally thought Ann Barzel might have filmed Cotillon but according the the NYC Public Library Performing Arts catalogue, it was Laird Goldsborough, and features members of the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe, including Tamara Toumanova, Olga Morosova, Tatiana Riabouchinska, and David Lichine. 7 minutes in total exists. Barzel did preserve intriguing glimpses of many other ballets including, Ballet Imperial with Mary Anne Moylan, Interplay, Union Pacific, etc. https://www.nypl.org/research/research-catalog/bib/b13483103#tab3
  14. Thanks for the Bently background. Karinska's costumes are definitely brilliant and players in the drama but I thought the seed may have been planted by the stagecraft of the earlier version. Adrian Stokes gives a nicely detailed act by act description of the 1933 Cotillon in Tonight the Ballet, where he refers to Bérard's costumes as "prismatic-colored." per Cartier-Bresson: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/54865?artist_id=1000&page=1&sov_referrer=artist
  15. You might begin at its source, Cotillion, a Kodachrome clip (by Anne Barzel?) of which is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqgFJGDfzGs Christian (Bebè) Berard did the costumes which most likely determined Karinska's lovely purple and black layered ones for La Valse – and which I prefer to the newer white ones. Berard also did the sets and the first version of the black dresses – and set the tone – for Mozartiana in 1933. Kirstein describes the colors of Cotillon as "pistache, purples, gilt and black" and the ballet "full of migraine and nervous ennui, the desperate gaiety of insecure adolescence" in a enthusiastic 11/01/1933 Vogue article, which leads with this photo: https://condenaststore.com/featured/tamara-toumanova-and-roman-jasinskii-in-the-ballet-mozartiana-george-hoyningen-huene.html (I'm a bit of a Berard fan – so therefore all the linkages.)
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