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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
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    California

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  1. The lawsuit shouldn't overshadow their fruitful relationship. Nadine Meisner says this – Meisner will present Petipa's point of view, then gently correct it for the recond. What's impressive about the book is the number of footnotes in Russian cyrillic – so it appears she done lots of primary research rather than recycle others' takes on the subject. But I don't have the book at hand yet (which I eventually will), I'm working from a borrowed view via Google books.
  2. Good question but a formidable task with something so ephemeral as dance. No equivalent exists of X-raying a painting to see what came before. The new Nadine Meisner Petipa book, however, may provide some hints. From the LRB review, "The Bedroom of a Sorcerer" – Meisner – https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n07/simon-morrison/the-bedroom-of-a-sorcerer I've always enjoyed looking at these Royal Ballet's reconstructions of simple pre-Petipa choreography and steps – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFEuShFvJzBww3lVbFABGB0HbIxNQ2TiA
  3. The Times published an interactive chart today that allows you to plot various shelter-in-place / flattening the curve scenarios as an epidemiologist would. It looks as if a 60 day or even 90 day stay at home period would be most effective, especially in hard hit areas such as New York and Seattle. This of course would impact heavily on all arts events in those areas. Deborah L. Birx in todays press conference (Thurs the 26th) described a more sophisticated way of measuring data and constructing these models than this one does, so it's a only rough sketch of what could happen. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/25/opinion/coronavirus-trump-reopen-america.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage Unfortunately the present administration has not yet filled many important jobs to deal with the crisis (Times today: Unfilled jobs and high turnover mean the government is ill equipped for a public health crisis, said many former and current federal officials and disaster experts.) Lucky for us Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci have been around to give the public sober and helpful answers. Dr. Fauci was an important actor in the AIDS crisis. In the 1980s he listened to ACT UP Treatment & Data Committee members with their on the ground reports, their drug and dossage recommendations, and helped open up many early protocols for promising drugs. Previously these evaluations took up to nine years. Many of the fast track protocols established then helped future groups of patients get early access to promising treatments.
  4. The only thing I can suggest is to read the fascinating source material, the ETA Hoffmann stories, The Girl with the Enamel Eyes and The Sandman. Dr Coppelius, a kind of analogue of Dosselmeyer in Nutcracker and the Mouse King, appears in both tales. In Hoffmann's originals there is most often a psychotic break with reality (even Clara in Nutcracker undergoes something of one) – and an anxiety about mechanical human-like dolls. Free will is discussed by the characters and overly perfect hostesses and guests at tea parties are suspected of being automatons. The original of Frantz tries to throw the original of Swanilda from a church tower after being given a telescope by Coppelius which makes him go mad. (Glasses and optical viewing devises are best to be avoided if find yourself in an ETA Hoffmann story!) Some of this trickles down into the various ballet versions, Coppelia and Nutcracker. Freud wrote his famous essay on the uncanny, Das Unheimliche, based on Der Sandmann, and others followed his lead in defining the uncanny (or unhomely) and its eerie feeling: Lacan ("the field where we do not know how to distinguish bad and good, pleasure from displeasure"), Kristeva (abjection and "what is the self and what is the other"), etc (:Wikipedia). I would like to hear more about the second act of the ballet and the meaning of all the fertility symbols, dance of hours, war and peace, etc, as wonderfully reproduced in the Balanchine version (of which Danilova staged most of the first). Best of luck, eab4. Maybe you can give us a summary of your findings.
  5. Yes, it has to be one or two people. In publishing there have been individual brilliant editors, Max Perkins, Howard Moss, Gordon Lish who have really helped writers narrow their focus. In the art world it seems its one's immediate peers who share the same esthetic and mission are the ones who are often the most helpful. The film business, despite the auteur theory (which does have its virtues), is often a collaboration between a writer and a director. For instance Fellini worked with the Italian writer Ennio Flaiano for his first ten films through Giulietta of the Spirits and they all have similar themes and obssessions (Flaiano also wrote La Dolce Vita's twin, La Notte.) I don't know how it works in the dance world. With Cunningham I sometimes would think it should end right HERE but it would go on too long and dilute the effect. Diaghilev seemed to know his choreographers and composers well enought to sense what was strong and what needed to go. Robbins? Ashton? Taylor? Who were their editors? In response to:
  6. It all makes you see Hansel and Gretel, or at least the reviews of it, in a different light. Luke Jennings in the Guardian – Jennings says this of the Royal Ballet's hands-off approach – https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/may/12/hansel-gretel-scarlett-royal-ballet-review
  7. I think it was Tom Cruise who introduced the broad smile as the default facial expression. I once came across a comment on a discussion group asking why no one smiled in 19th century photographs and Renaissance paintings. For dancers it looks as if it's difficult for them to make the smile look natural and do all the steps at the same time. To me it seems out of place in most dramatic works and for lighter ballets you should perhaps laugh with your body instead. Nothing should distract from, or countradict, what dancers are saying with their bodies – and they have the means to say a lot. For example with the mute mime of The Four Temperaments and the little jokes of displacement of Donizetti Variations. End of rant. Added: and of course Farrell's and Martins's performance in Diamonds is the standard, I didn't want to imply otherwise. One other thing: in programs notes such as those at the beginning of the performance, it would be nice to cite Tim Scholl's idea that Jewels references the precious stones of Sleeping Beauty rather than use the commercial hook of Van Cleef and Arpels, which was just Balanchine's tossed off pitch, not his deeper motivation.
  8. Interesting version of Jewels which I'm used to seeing in the PBS version directed by Balanchine and under Helgi Tomasson's guardianship at San Francisco ballet. I also remember a very noble and effective Igor Zelensky in Diamonds at City Ballet. This broadcast of the Bavaraian State Ballet's Emeralds had lots of smiles, and knowing smiles, which for me go against its sombre and wistful mood. The effect was more of the character of a social Fragonard painting than an introspective one by Watteau. I thought that Alina Somova was fascinating in Diamonds. Her detailing was much finer than Suzanne Farrell's and the delicate sideways crisscrossing of her feet (don't know the ballet term) was a stroboscopic marvel. She seemed to want to dramatize the choreography based on what she heard in Tchaikovsky's music and gave the ballet lots of little stories ( in comparison Farrell and Martins were completely neutral, verging on poker-faced). At the end of the variable weathers there was a sudden smile, a bit startling, directed at her partner like a burst of sunlight through the clouds.
  9. The idea for the closures of public gatherings is to flatten the spike in new cases so that hospitals will not be overwhelmed. A vaccine on the other hand will take a year or a year and a half at best – according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director. It seems to be a prudent decision to close the ballet and symphony for however long it takes, as the audience demographic, a great many of it over 50 years old, would be especially vulnerable to the effects of a coronavirus infection. In Italy the choices doctors are having to make are being compared to those in wartime (:NYT today). According to a Statnews report people are more contagious before they are ill than afterwards, so it would be difficult to screen people effectively before an event. https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/09/people-shed-high-levels-of-coronavirus-study-finds-but-most-are-likely-not-infectious-after-recovery-begins/ Anyway time to follow the Ballet live-streamed. Perhaps some creative new models of recording performances might be an happy result. (Rene Clair anyone? Jean Renoir? Michangelo Antonioni?) And remember plain soap and hand washing is the most effective protection (it dissolves the fatty links of the virus), followed by 70-91% alcohol wipes, according to: https://virologydownunder.com/why-does-soap-work-so-well-on-sars-cov-2/?fbclid=IwAR2yrwNBq2l7uS5u2DFuSDlI8iIoF3E9PKYZSypZhX1QBJdeVs8YElxF8Hc
  10. This has happened so fast. I almost went tonight but thought tomorrow afternoon would be better, less crowded, I could walk. But it's the dancers who've prepared so long for this who are the most affected. The mysterious world of Balanchine's Shakespeare ballet is one that we'll all have to wait to visit when this program is repeated – this summer? next year? Lots of other things in SF are being cancelled, even outdoor events. According to the Director of Public Health in an earlier story in the Examiner – https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/sf-officials-urge-residents-to-limit-outings-avoid-large-gatherings/
  11. This may be key. As you get older you do long for those little things you grew up with. I will miss them both. My memories are of them in Seven Sonatas but also Sofiane S in various Balanchine works. But there's still an half a season left in which to say our goodbyes.
  12. I liked this from the Pollack-Pelzner Atlantic article - The fifties were a period of passing; college students were the 'silent generation" in a kind of neutered response. "I am Easily Assimilated" – and "Glitter and be Gay" – from Bernstein's "Candide," written a few years earlier, might be the comic antidotes to "West Side Story." "Gay" seemed go mainstream in the late sixties. Dick Cavett later compained that "they" had ruined a perfectly good word (some curious subtext there). Gay was middle class acceptable in a way queer never was – my straight friends began to use it directly. (Late in the game Elizabeth Hardwick writes to Robert Lowell, "we were driven to the reading by a pansy (wrongly) named Mr Bland," offering up Mr Bland as a sort of sacrificial object.) Pollack-Pelzner continues -
  13. You make good points about how artists have spent their time in the past. But also in the past artists have left New York City because of publicity and those kinds of distractions. Agnes Martin and Donald Judd retreated to New Mexico and Texas to concentrate on making artworks. Judd also said that at some point he could feel the resentment of his peers in New York at his moderate success while they were felt they were stuck in place and that was another reason for leaving. Interesting what Holland Carter says in today's Times about Judd, referencing the social media present: Writers too have said that the pull of social media, especially Twitter, breaks their concentration and causes them to stray from that magical place where writing originates. Again I was wondering if limiting photography in class and rehearsal was about the disruption it would pose and if it makes other dancers feel uncomfortable. What are the policies of other companies? City Ballet posts a variety of documentary photos which are well done, catch the flavor of the studio, and seem more than adequate for promotional purposes.
  14. I'm curious too if it's a legal workplace issue. But does one have complete freedom of speech at her/his job? Say could you do a videocast from your cubicle on your breaks about what you do at your job? And maybe some dancers don't want to appear in the backgrounds of other dancers' IGs. Or maybe they aren't as Instagram presentable and feel a little left a little out of the loop. Maybe Instagram cheeriness is a bit depressing to the cyberspace have nots. And of course from my age perspective the question would be: if you're so geared to Instagram, what's left over for your art.
  15. It is the Opera House – War Memorial Opera House – and the ballet was originally called the San Francisco Opera Ballet, so the Opera gets to call the shots. San Francisco also has its odd seasons and migration patterns that might affect scheduling for both companies. People come up from the inner valley – from Fresno and Modesto – on weekends to escape the heat and San Franciscans go to Sonoma and Napa to escape the summer cold and everyone schedules their opera dates accordingly. I like having the ballet season solidly pinned down in winter and in a substantial sequence where each program helps to inform the next – what's missing in one is there in the one to come. With City Ballet the audience seems to go to programs based on their loyalty to or curiosity about certain Balanchine and Robbins works, while at San Francisco Ballet people seem to go to follow the dancers (Leigh Witchel once commented here how Helgi Tomasson's ballets were designed primarily to show off the company's dancers). So breaking up the calendar might someway diminish that effect of wanting to see everything one particular dancer is in and also wanting to immerse yourself completely in the thick of ballet season. This in answer to: Do the companies make money on tours – or is it for a psychological lift and public relations? Added: posted this before I saw the last two comments. Do remember hearing though the the Ballet was exploring the idea of having a split season a couple of years ago.
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