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Everything posted by kfw

  1. I agree about Hindemith, but not really about Times, Context matters, and in the context it was loud, although I loved it, especially the first section, and the volume suited the choreography. "Lightweight" might be an apt description, but at least as a one-off I found it winning. I know the company and the Center want to appeal to young adults, as Deacon's score undoubtedly does, but I feel for the patrons who were unpleasantly surprised.
  2. Agreed, with the difference that Wheeldon is no Balanchine (and Who Cares? is far from one of may favorites Balanchines). But if you loved it, more power to you.
  3. Thanks a lot, Imspear. I was planning on skipping the company's visit this year because there was so little Balanchine, but we had to be in Herndon in the morning anyhow, so I picked up discount seats for the matinee. Wheeldon's piece left me cold, Rhapsody in Blue notwithstanding, but then Broadway's not my thing. The Four Temperaments received a mostly strong performance, I thought, and it's a big favorite, but I've sometimes been disappointed. I had no/low expectations for the Peck but though it was great fun, especially with that thunderous score. I do feel sorry for the two elderly couples in the orchestra we saw leaving - and we were halfway down the floor so there may have been more. They must have hated the loud contemporary music, and there was nothing in the program or in the marketing, at least that I saw, to prepare them for it. The Hindemith score can't be everyone's cup of tea either, as great as it is. There was no typically lovely classical music to be heard this afternoon, but that was fine with me.
  4. Well put, Jack. And even though his Instagram page identifies him as the Times critic, he's not writing for the Times on that page. Anyone can make a mistake.
  5. Another way is to see the company at the Kennedy Center. Tickets for the January 30 open rehearsal are $15 and go on sale tomorrow, May 31.
  6. Agreed about the "ton." And if the artists need financial support, and their music needs support because it hasn't already found its largest possible audience, it has a place at the Kennedy Center in my opinion. There may be some hip-hop that fits that bill, but I'd be surprised.
  7. Pandering to people who don't appreciate the Center's core offerings. Sandik, no doubt a few people buy tickets just because they're there and see something advertised. Beyond that, it would be nice to think that this kind of outreach makes a significant difference. I know some creative artists in the fields of jazz, dance and drama are using and/or being influenced by hip-hop. Naturally. And I see a couple of upcoming Center programs that fit the bill. The breakdance contest they had last fall does not, and could have found another venue. I also remember the hip hop the NYCB ballet audience was forced to hear between acts of Jewels a couple of years ago. That was a rude way to treat paying customers.
  8. Hip hop is popular and it's music, so it's popular music. That seems self-evident. It may be good pop, but it's still pop. For complex interaction, they can bring back Cecile McLorin Salvant. A quick check brings up only one appearance of hers.
  9. The Center has traditionally brought the complex stuff, yes, and the stuff which isn’t all over the airwaves and the news and the street already. In regards to what’s sophisticated and what’s shallow, sure, absolutely, there are exceptions to every rule. Is there evidence that just bringing pop fans to high art venues sells a significant number of tickets?
  10. I don't mean to say all high art is good art, or all pop is bad, or even always of less value. But pop is easily approachable. Is bringing it into a place devoted, for the most part, to work that is more demanding, work that to be fully understood and appreciated requires effort and education, justifiable outreach, or is it pandering, is it checking off the diversity box? And if it's outreach, is it working? Is there evidence the hip-hop crowd is buying, say, Alvin Ailey tickets?
  11. The mandate for high art is implicit in what the words "the greatest" would have meant at the time, before pop and folk art had the respect it does today, and in the history of what it has presented. The fact that the KC Honors presents awards to pop stars is another lapse from that mission. The Education Department, on the other hand, is faithful to that core mission, Kids don't need to be taught to appreciate hip-hop. Again, why does pop music need the support of the Kennedy Center?
  12. I explained what I meant by lowest common denominator, and I explained that I understand your discomfort with the term and how it could be misunderstood. I don’t think we’re disagreeing here. Your rewrite is fine as far it goes, but it doesn’t get to my point that not only is the music (and more important, the level of taste it takes to appreciate it) relatively unsophisticated, a far cry from the high art which is the core of what the Center presents and was created for (see the mission statement Helene posted) (granted, it also shows musicals), but it’s highly popular and doesn’t need support, doesn’t need another forum. I like some forms of pop culture. If I was young, I’d listen to hip-hop. But some of us go to the Kennedy Center to get away from pop culture. The question that needs to be asked is “Why hip-hop and not other folk-derived music (if you prefer that term)?” The answer, clearly, is political, probably in more ways than one. You and Helene both make good points about Copeland, although Peck as both a dancer and a choreographer probably has insights she doesn’t. But I think we all know she was chosen for her name, not her expertise, because if expertise was the point, there are people with far more. Actual curators have a deep and wide knowledge of their field. It would have been interesting, for example, to see what a couple of critics, or ex-company directors, would have chosen. I hope her name did sell lots of tickets.
  13. There is perhaps a better term than "lowest common denominator" -- a term than clearly connotes that it's being applied to simple tastes, and not to the people who hold them, and that doesn't imply that the people who have them don't have other, more sophisticated tastes. I just don't know what it is. In small doses - one or two of their short songs - I like the Ramones. It would be hard to get more lowest common denominator than that. It's true Farrell's not a choreographer (formally, yes), but she worked extensively with one of the greatest, and she's just been around a whole lot longer than Copeland and has presumably seen more. Copeland may in fact have exceptional taste, I don't know, but the KC made no attempt, at least that I saw, to argue that, to argue why she of all possible candidates should be the one chosen to "curate" (ugh, yes).
  14. This post aroused my curiosity. I'm sure Natalia can fill you in on what Washington Ballet's practice has in recent years, but the Eisenhower has an orchestra pit, and when Suzanne Farrell Ballet appeared there they always used it. Apparently Washington Ballet is using it again as well:
  15. The Kennedy Center doesn't program country music, and it doesn't program rock. The only lowest common denominator music it programs is hip hop. I'm all for diversity, but does it have to be patronizing? As for the dance programs "curated" by Peck and Copeland, Peck at least, as a choreographer, has taste worth paying attention to. Copeland has no such credentials and doesn't need them, for obvious reasons. Her name is enough to sell tickets, even though the Center specified that neither she nor Peck would appear. Maybe that's reason enough.
  16. I don’t have a problem with the idealization either. For one thing, people do idealize each other in romance. That’s not all of life, but it’s a good and universal part of it, and it’s a form of wonder, reminding us of things greater than ourselves. Second, if idealization is also a form of blindness – no one lives up to what they’re romantically conceived to be – still it’s akin to and often leads to a more lasting good: a deep respect rooted in the determination to see and remember the best in people even when they’re at their worst. Third, in Balanchine’s case especially we can see how he was drawing from his own history, from having been separated at a young age from his mother. So in that way too it’s true to life, not ideologically determined. Having said that, it’s true that historically the woman on the pedestal was actually in a circumscribed and subservient position vis a vis the men who put her up there.
  17. Congratulations, Alexandra, and thanks! Danceviewtimes is a treasure.
  18. Today is Kirstein's birthday; he would have been 110. What wouldn't I give to read his thoughts on today's hot choreographers, the current condition of the Balanchine rep at City Ballet, and the way social media has transformed ballet public relations. Last week in New York, while walking from E. 49th to E. 16th, I made a point of going by his home, and was pleased to see the plaque there in his honor. I had completely forgotten this thread!
  19. I've seen it only on videotape and would love to see it in the theater. Here's a clip of New York Theatre Ballet rehearsing it in a staging by the much missed Kyra Nichols. Thumbs up to Les Noces. Thumbs down to Dybbuk.
  20. Remnick's a former Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post and wrote a book entitled Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, so the Bolshoi scandal was bound to interest him regardless of his degree of interest in or taste in dance. As for Acocella, in an ironic was she is being a critic by not writing about what she finds uninteresting. But I agree that she's going about it in the wrong way.
  21. I've read that Kent was not at her best in that clip. Can't remember where it was.
  22. Salon has a piece on changes in music coverage at the Times and what it means for jazz that sheds some light on the paper's thinking about arts coverage in general.
  23. Yes, the email checkers should be unceremoniously ejected during intermission. But suddenly leaning over can block the view of the person behind you, and all but the faintest whispers can be heard if not understood. Any movement or noise is bound to be distracting, especially at a climactic moment.
  24. At the climax of a dark and moving ballet, at a moment of great poetry and mystery, an audience member cracks a joke. When did this become acceptable behavior?
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