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Quiggin

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About Quiggin

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

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  1. Quiggin

    Job posting for artistic director

    "No more masterpieces" is a polemic by Antonin Artaud who wanted to move back to a simpler, more primitive theater. In the art world in the past 20 years there has been a move away from the idea of a masterpiece and a master, sometimes considering the artist's work as a "practice". You also think of work as an ongoing series or a constellation, and how the pieces fit within that. In ballet I think the problem is whether the master is a master over his craft or a master over others. A ballet master could be both, and maybe people want to get away from the second meaning even at the expense of sacrificing the first, especially after the Martins years. And at City Ballet now many of the dancers – colleagues – coach and teach each other parts they don't know, so maybe there's less of a hierarchy than when Balanchine was around.
  2. Quiggin

    Job posting for artistic director

    You're right that the usage peaked in the 1880s. However, it was enough of a problem in the art world that Joan Mitchell's biography is titled "Lady Painter." She always pressed the point and, would say, up through the eighties, "Not bad for a lady painter!". And in Town Bloody Hall, Susan Sontag says to Norman Mailer, “I don’t like being called a lady writer, Norman. I know it seems like gallantry to you, but it doesn’t feel right to us.” Lady, woman, female + art seem to have acted as a downgrade by men to women in their fields. Even here in this recent instagram post, Mitchell, perhaps facetiously, is referred to as a "woman painter." https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj9YtWXhzWq/?taken-by=goldenrock * Actually, sandik, the article was written by a former political writer which perhaps the Times felt was called for. And as pointed out before, the Flemming Flindt's Lesson has kind of old world a master-apprentice relationship.
  3. Quiggin

    Job posting for artistic director

    Maybe "ballet master" is more a traditional European designation, therefore Balanchine and Martins would prefer it. But not really a "new world" job title. Poetess became superseded by "woman poet," as in "she's one of our best women poets" (or novelist or painter, or "Lady Painter"). Norman Mailer is especially fond of the combination in the rousing 1979 documentary "Town Bloody Hall" where he defends his use of the modifying woman or lady as an act of chivalry. Interesting that the writer covering this arts news item was "previously a national correspondent; a political reporter covering presidential campaigns; and a metro reporter covering the police, City Hall and Albany."
  4. The age old answer (!) might be for music to be subservient, if only by a hair, to the choreography. For example, Balanchine chose Mozart divertimentos or his Gluck variations via Tchaikovsky (Mozartiana) to set his ballets to rather than to the denser symphonies or concertos. Ratmansky did well with an unassuming group of Scarlatti sonatas. I wonder why choreographers are drawn to Beethoven sonatas and craggy late quartets rather than the lovely but by no means insignificant Bagatelles. Likewise the Schubert Trout quintet might be already pretty well saturated with its own musical development and visual language (zipping fishing lines and gurgling forellen) to need much more. Anyway the Times had an interesting Saturday piece comparing performances of the Schubert quintet along with comments about the Mark Morris choreography - (at the end of the scroll) - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/arts/music/turning-climate-crisis-into-sound-the-week-in-classical-music.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=26&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F08%2F10%2Farts%2Fmusic%2Fturning-climate-crisis-into-sound-the-week-in-classical-music.html&eventName=Watching-article-click (Includes a lovely clip of Marianne Crebassa singing Ravel Sheherazade.)
  5. Lew Christensen, who was the Apollo of the late thirties, also says you dance Apollo without emotion, just going here and there, one step and the other... And didn't Balanchine use stories when he needed them to make a point in rehearsal (and discard them as easily) rather than for the ballet to illustrate a literary or mythological narrative as Macaulay seems to want? Anyway for me the ending of Apollo is like the extended ending of Emeralds – a real mystery as where the players are going or what's going to happen to them. And so very moving because it is such a mystery.
  6. Seems to be working for me properly now. I get both topics and blogs right away. Thanks!
  7. Thanks. I am able to successfully reset my content to "topics" after I refresh my browser but I find the site defaults back to "all content" on my next visit. This happens with both Safari and Firefox. Perhaps there is another step I've missed to lock in the modified settings?
  8. Quiggin

    Of Interest

    Thanks for the alert and the links. And what rare and wonderful photographs by Nancy Lassalle, in the Ballet Review article, of Balanchine demonstrating steps and body placement. Suki Schorer: "Plie is the most important position in ballet ... The knees bend, the body starts down, and then the arms come – like a parachute – wrists slightly flexed, the hands resisting, holding on to the air. 'We are not dancing in a vacuum,' Mr. B. liked to say."
  9. Well put, Drew. It's an absolute conflict of interest. I thought of Clement Greenberg, the Nation art critic, who got in trouble for changing the colors on David Smith's sculptures – and other interventions. Also I'm of the opinion that Apollo is simply about the steps and 1920's acrobatics, not about the sets of myths that has encrusted the ballet over the years. "Twelve gods, eternity, transcendence" is for a Sunday school lesson, not for a witty ballet.
  10. Quiggin

    Retirement of Daria Pavlenko

    Daria Pavlenko danced here at Zellerbach in 2003 – in Diamonds with Danila Korsuntsev. It was one of the best performances of Diamonds I had seen – perfect phrasing. From a 2003 interview with the young Pavlenko in the San Francisco Chronicle with Catherine Pawlick, who was comparing the different generations of Kirov dancers.
  11. For me it's the style of dancing of the black-face children in the Nina Kaptsova clip Canbelto posted that's so archaic and offensive – like something out of an Al Jolson minstrel show routine. Certainly not an ethnographically respectful depiction of Nubian children, if that's the intent. Here's Lewis Segal, the senior dance critic at the LA Times in a recent review of ABT's 1980 Makarova production of La Bayadere, as recently posted in the Links section: Nanushka is correct about Veblen bringing the term "conspicuous consumption" to the fore in the 19th century, and I believe it was revived here in the States in the 1960's with regard to what was then called the "go go years" when the stock market was booming. But Walter Benjamin's Arcades project that Drew cited in another thread could also be a guide. From the essay "Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century": This might perhaps reflect the difference in settings between a ballet like Bournonville's "Le Sylphide" (1822/1836) and Petipa's "Pharoah's Daughter" (1862)?
  12. Quiggin

    Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

    Forgot to post this but thought it was a nice low-keyed remembrance by August Kleinzahler about meeting up with Anthony Bourdain at the Zam Zam room here in the Haight. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/06/11/august-kleinzahler/remembering-anthony-bourdain/ There was another grassroots food reviewer, Jonathan Gold, who also sadly just died. He covered all of the vernacular food scene in Los Angeles for years, doing a kind of Bourdain thing even before Bourdain. And proverbally so: Pete Wells in the NY Times obituary quotes actor Mindy Kaling asking for a pizza recommendation on Twitter and adding, "Don't Jonathan Gold me and tell me to go to the San Gabriel Valley." I liked the LA Weekly article that Wells cited about Gold wanting to eat in all the restaurants along Pico Boulevard – that perpetually ungentrifiable eight mile stretch of the real deal Los Angeles: http://www.laweekly.com/news/the-year-i-ate-pico-boulevard-2129883 The New York Times obituary: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/obituaries/jonathan-gold-dead-los-angeles-food-critic.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news http://www.laweekly.com/news/the-year-i-ate-pico-boulevard-2129883
  13. On the whole, toned down or toned up, both productions look like minstrel shows, at best parodies of minstrel shows. Kind of surreal.
  14. A good selection of the Balanchine Interpreters Archives is available from Alexander Street which provides online content to public libraries. Here's the San Francisco Public Library's listing for the Theme & Variations tutorial given by Alicia Alonso and Josefina Mendez, whose words see for Alonso. Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella are the dancers. Very worth watching. http://sflib1.sfpl.org/search~S1?/Xalicia+alonso&searchscope=1&SORT=D/Xalicia+alonso&searchscope=1&SORT=D&SUBKEY=alicia+alonso/1%2C10%2C10%2CB/frameset&FF=Xalicia+alonso&searchscope=1&SORT=D&4%2C4%2C Alexander Street: https://alexanderstreet.com/products/music-dance-online-public-libraries
  15. You could also pick Matisse over Picasso in that Matisse opened up painting space, as Clement Greenberg points out, more than Picasso or Braque did, who both had trouble filling in the corners. Matisse's paintings always expand outwards, while Picasso's tend move back to the middle of the frame. (Or you could say Liebeslieder is Picasso synthetic cubism, with its working and reworking of a central area, and Symphony in C is the big open space of Matisse's Bathers by a River.) Or you could pick one of the young Russian/Soviet artists such as Kasmir Malevitch, whose work Balanchine regularly saw, or the stage designer Alexandra Exter, both of whom filled the picture plane in radically new ways. You could perhaps see such an influence on Symphony in Three Movements.
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