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About Quiggin

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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    San Francisco
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  1. I was thinking of the Sugar Boycott and the role some of the British religious organizations played in it, Quakers and Baptists. I was painting with a broad brush. I always liked Tolstoy's almost Jamesean Family Happiness and the slow analysis of a change in a relationship. My Anna Karenina unfortunately has long faded, superseded by a few childhood memories of Greta Garbo walking fatefully ahead. But situations in 19th century novels, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Stifter, Chekhov, T L Peacock, comic and sad, still do speak to us today.
  2. I'm more of an absolutist and think that slavery was always wrong and people knew it and did some fancy footwork to justify it. The English clergy worked hard and long during the early nineteenth century to remind Caribbean sugar plantation owners of that fact. So moral justice is pretty much the same in each period – otherwise Balzac's, Tolstoy's and Dostoevsky's novels wouldn't make sense to us today. I think we're losing track of the power dynamic here – the power that an older leader has over a group of much younger dancers who depend on his good judgment for their advancement as arti
  3. Thanks, Ashton Fan for the background and how the Royal did not want to repeat the mistakes they made with Stretton's prolonged departure. Also with Scarlett the favors for favors aspect.
  4. In the best of outcomes, I think there might be a problem reviving such works as Sweet Violets (jack the Ripper), Hansel & Gretel, Die Toteninsel and even Frankenstein neutrally and without reading something of the situation into them. The subjects are pretty dark and depend on the integrity and "genius" of the choreographer to sell them. Also who would rehearse and edit them?
  5. Casting like that of City Ballet's When We Fell might be what SFB could aim for. The New York City art world has remade and opened itself over the past two years – it's really shouldn't be so difficult and so painful as all that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8A9xFs31rg
  6. I kept thinking this. It must have been something of an open secret and I wondered why someone didn't take him aside and explain how intimidating his behavior would be to young dancers, no matter how playful he may have thought it was. Perhaps with Frankenstein he was sending some sort of a message. Not sure if a ballet like Hansel and Gretel from what I've seen and read of it, with its sadism and creepiness, can ever be revived not matter how forgiving an audience may be. Anyway, thank you Drew for your carefully reasoning. And I'm sorry, so sorry, canbelto, for what happened to you
  7. In the Cuban experience – and Villella's in New York – boys do take a keen interest in ballet when they see the complexity of the jumps and partnering. I was thinking of an open door after school program, like the Warriors do with basketball clinics. The Fillmore is right outside, so there's not a problem of getting there. I once showed a middle school in the Mission a tape of Stravinsky Violin Concerto and the boys who had been very restless and roudy suddenly became transfixed by the dancing. They wanted to see more when we left. As with the San Francisco Museum, the outreach has been half-
  8. Of course. I've always thought it was ironic that the opera rear stages of the Opera House, as well as the school, open onto the Fillmore District which has been an important Black community at least since the forties. Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk played at the nearby clubs. Yet there apparently has little if any outreach to that community. How difficult would it have been to have offered free afterschool "walk-in" classes (since the walk would have been short one) and a few scholarships to go with that. Also SFB's Nutcracker could have been an opportunity to re
  9. The first time I watched When We Fell, I kept thinking of Merce Cunningham, at least in the opening section set to Morton Feldman's 1957 Piece for Four Pianos, but in a very smooth legato mode. (Feldman had done the music for Cunningham's 1958 Summerspace which City Ballet recently revived.) Feldman's tempo marking on the Four Pianos score says "Durations are free. Slow. Soft as possible." The notes seem to come out of nowhere, one by one, footprints for the dancers to step around and occasionally onto. I thought less of Cunningham in the second and third sections. The mood is cool but not col
  10. Merrill Brockway's ideas for filming Stravinsky Violin Concerto and The Four Temperaments at Opryland for WNET in 1977 might be a good point of reference. They also flesh out some of Daniel Nagrin's thoughts on "the eye of a camera" while contradicting others. (Re Nagrin: I once saw him do a wonderful and very intimate performance at Cal State Long Beach consisting of a log dance, hopping on and off and dancing about, while giving a lecture on what he was doing, and later a ballroom dance with an invisible partner, again narrating a patchwork of thoughts.) Brockway in his program not
  11. "Back in the day, there were many misunderstandings about homosexuality. It was often equated with pedophilia.." Back in the day homosexualy was associated with a weakness of character, a personality flaw. Novelists such as John O'Hara and Raymond Chandler regularly used it as a character type, somewhat undependable, in contrast with the narrator's virility. With Levine, what is incredible is how when he would bring an entourage of children to rehearsals, everyone accepted it as a tolerable eccentricity. Regarding the perfection of Levine's art that many people seem ready to mak
  12. I haven't made a great effort to follow everything but I thought the Royal Danish Ballet's performance of Ballo della Regina from beginning to end was among the best I saw, absolutely delightful. The RDBs training has some affinities with Balanchine's aesthetic and Merrill Ashley did a stellar job of coaching. I liked NYCB's new works (Justin Peck and all) but thought the Balanchine repertory uneven and the video capture inconsistent so that you couldn't get a coherent overview of what the company looks like today – compared to say the 2004 Balanchine Celebration. I do get the impression that
  13. Quiggin

    Simone Messmer

    And so Messmer was in San Francisco in first year of Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy – with the original cast – compelling and unshowy, as Drew puts it.
  14. And Gordon's phrasing is so complete and organic and begins and ends in the right places. Something that's often missing when dancers try to get in all the details and speed through their delivery rather than concentrating on each phrase. You can see the loss by comparing the 2016 NYCB video of "Divertimento #15" on Youtube with the 1986 performance that John Clifford has posted on his channel with Maria Calegari, Kyra Nichols et al. There was a tutorial of T&V with Alicia Alonso, now seemingly only available through Alexander Street, where AA talks about the intimacy and tone of the
  15. Gonzalo Garcia did return for Tina LeBlanc's farewell performance but things did look a little strained during final bows when everyone was on stage at once. Gonzalo Garcia in a sense grew up in the company and his leaving was a big thing both for the company and as a topic of discussion of whether it was appropriate for one major company to "poach" principal dancers from another company of its stature. Audience members did feel the loss during the following year or two – in comments among themselves and at at least one q&a with Helgi Tomasson. In a way I felt that Taras Domitro was h
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