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Everything posted by Quiggin

  1. Mashinka – Here in the UK we applaud the medical profession on Thursdays, we come out of front doors, stand on balconies or lean from windows to clap, shout and cheer, next time I do this I'll be thinking of doctors and nurses worldwide. I think in Spain too they applaud every evening. In Italy they used to sing in the evenings but that may have given way to applause – in Bergamo someone said she never wanted to hear singing again, there had been so many deaths. Difficult time to figure out how to respond beyond being super prudent and protecting others as well as yourself. How celebrities are coping doesn't seem to be the key to life anymore which is perhaps a good thing. More about how Cristian and the front line healthcare workers are doing, as well as how the second ring of essential services, the staff at the pharmacy and the workers at the grocery store and the farmers at the greenmarket, are doing. They counsel us when we should be offering them whatever counsel and support we can. We're all in this together.
  2. Well yes. Librarians as a group are fairly progressive and want the best materials for their patrons. Knowing the full shadings of a word is important for writing essays and poetry (Robert Graves recommended saving up and buying the entire 20v OED). A word carries all its meanings with it like recessive and dominant traits in a seed. Ballet teachers assiduously (more than sedulously) comment about French vs Italian vs Russian ways of executing movements and standing in position (Pascal Molat most recently in an online class practice). After that you can be as free, descriptive and unrestricted, as you want.
  3. For the record, Webster's Second was prescriptive; the Third was descriptive. There was a big argument about this back in the day, and libraries were criticized for not keeping the Second alongside the Third. (I ended up with one of the "tossed" copies.) The Second also seemed to have better literary citations for usage rather than from magazines and now-forgotten contemporary writers like the Third, and so it has aged better. A Fourth International apparently was intended but never produced. I think dirac's point is right that one would be reticent to talk, but reluctant, not reticent, to watch. Watching is too passive an activity and lacks the sharp intent that talking has to be matched up with reticent. Anyway Webster's Second does offer Gia Kourlas this alternative: "I could understand that Ms Waterbury would be loath to watch the episode."
  4. "Such fine and noble reticence," Tennyson in Webster's Second. Related to TACIT, to pass over in silence. OED: Reluctance to perform a particular action; disinclination, hesitation. It be nice if ballet were treated in film and fiction as an unglamorous crafts-oriented business where everyone who was doing something to build a show were treated equally. Penelope Fitzgerald had just the right tone for depicting the world of child actors in At Freddy's and the world of the BBC during World War II in the delightful Human Voices. For me the Waterbury case comes down to being about the commodification of intimacy and making tokens of that intimacy for exchange. And that fact that it's among the men – not between the original couple – and how they are always bidding up the stakes gives it an homoerotic turn (-Epistemology of the Closet). Some of that could come over in a Law and Order episode, at least as I remember them from the mid-nineties when that show and Homicide Life on the Streets (an early version of The Wire) were the highlights of the week in the small town I was then living in.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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:
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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/
  15. 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.
  16. 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 -
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. BalanchineFan: Yes, it written by Carina del Valle Schorske from San Juan. It's in the Opinion rather than Dance section. She says "these continuous revivals [only] reinforce America’s colonizing power to determine who Puerto Ricans get to be." Also what I tried to summarize before: On another note Gia Koulas cites Marc Crousillat, who danced with Trisha Brown, as a particularly effective dancer in the musical. Nice video of him in Locus Solo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=727379wYnB0
  21. Don't know what material is best but I wonder if the change will affect the acoustics of the room, the reverberation time and the "patina" of decay. Because of the high ceiling the sound at the SF Opera House is supposed to be better in the balcony than the orchestra section. What part the pillowy orchestra seats play in the mix would be a question for the acoustic engineers. Quicker reverb time is supposed to be better for voice and early music whereas slower better for romantic music and Mahler. And shoes? I just came across this paper in the Journal of the Acoustical Society which has some comments on upholstery and concert sound among all the calculations. Interesting comparision also between the acoustics of Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher and on Berlin Philharmonie's "vineyard" seating. https://asa.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1121/1.4944787?showFTTab=true&containerItemId=content%2Fasa%2Fjournal%2Fjasa&
  22. I always I tend to sink and feel enveloped in the orchestra seats and find them a bit sleep inducing, so I usually sit (way) upstairs or stand. The plush red of the old seats does match the 1920s theater decor of the house. Sometimes though you do feel in the Opera House as if you've slipped back in time – is it still the protective well-cushioned nineteen fifties you sometimes think. http://www.ducharmeseating.com/
  23. "Nobody in theatre thought that brown face was "miserable" when WSS debuted. It was just the way things were." Back in the day the makeup in West Side Story seemed phoney. almost like a simulated sun tan, at least in the movie version. I saw it when it first came out. I was going to college in Chicago and my close friend at the time was a Puerto Rican architecture student from Brooklyn. We both made jokes about the film. Max Factor brownface always seemed artifical and affected – the most bizarre case being Marlene Dietrich (as well as Charleton Heston) in Touch of Evil. I guess George Stevens tried to address some of that by casting Sal Mineo in Giant. Anyway the socially unjust aspects of brownface were apparent then. Perhaps on the stage it all came off differently.
  24. From the Wikipedia entry on Etudes, Harald Lander: "The order of the various sections of the ballet, as recorded by the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky in 1997." An order not necessarily that of the current SFB production. According to Horst Koegler, its dates are 1948, revised in 1951: "The whole ballet is propelled by an irresistible escalation of technical difficulties, with a pas de deux a la La Sylphide interrrupting its drive." Overture (exercises at the barre) Tendus, Grands battements, fondus and frappes Ronds de jambe Silhouetter-au milieu Adagio Port de Bras et pas de badin Mirror Dance Ensemble Romantic Pas de deux Sortie Conclusion Pirouettes Releves Piques et grands pirouettes Solo for the Prima Ballerina Coda Small Leaps Mazurka Tarantella Broad Leaps (Finale)
  25. Enjoyed Program Three, the Harald Lander Etudes much more than I thought I would and Misa Kuranaga especially whom I now look forward to seeing in everything. Etudes seems to be a ballet exercise book like one of Bach's where two or more "rounds" of a particular exercise work in counterpoint with each other and make the other more complex. It's never-ending but in a wonderful way. And though not as highly developed as Symphony in C and with more dry wit, the finale (“broad leaps”) with all the dancers assembled on stage was quite thrilling. Esteban Hernandez and Max Cauthorn were the two sweetly self-effacing ringleaders acting as demi / locus points for everything else to pivot around. The new Trey McIntyre piece The Big Hunger was an odd mixture of American plain-spokeness and European expressionism. The story of the characters in sharp pink blunt-cut wigs seemed to be a follow-up report on the lives of the goons from The Prodigal Son. Diaghilev himself was quite taken with the earlier version of Prokofiev's Concerto #2 and wanted to use it as a basis of a ballet, with a Pan-like character who was "gently grotesque and mocking." But in the end it turned out too difficult to match a story to. I liked McIntyre's third pas with Cavan Conley and Lonnie Weeks best and could have seen more variations. It was the most direct and satisfying of the three and where the expressionist dressings were least important. The partners were like the two minor characters who often appear in the backgrounds of Kafka novels. The Edwaard Liang work Infinite Ocean was an audience favorite, but I couldn't find my way to a basic structure underneath and to a clear vocabulary of building blocks. It seemed overly ornamented, with too much "spinach" as German modernist architects used to say, bits of generic this and that and not enough air between. My own bias I suppose is for “arte povera” ballets of simple movements in more and more complex combinations – like the plain-spoken parts of McIntyre works or the basic floor plan of the witty Etudes.
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