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Everything posted by bart

  1. It's interesting to compare the arts in terms of the 'PERCENTAGE OF ADULTS ATTENDING THE PERFORMING ARTS EVENTS." -- BALLET: -- 2008: 2.9%. -- 2012: 2.7%. -- DANCE -- 2008: 5.2% -- 2012: 5.6% -- OPERA: -- 2008: 2.1% -- 2012: 2.1% -- CLASSICAL MUSIC. -- 2008: 9.3% -- 2012: 8.8% -- JAZZ -- 2008: 7.8% -- 2012: 8.1% -- MUSICAL THEATER -- 2008: 16.7% --2012: 15.2% -- MOVIES -- 2008: 53.3% -- 2012 59.3% Some surprises for me: -- ballet is bigger than opera. Possibly "theater attendance" includes all those ballet school recitals -- only jazz, dance (non-ballet), and movies are growing. (I thought movies weren't doing well.) This period (2008-12) coincides with what is now being called the Great Recession by many, I suspect that the biggest factors behind this decline (all of which have been mentioned already on this thread) might be (a) lack of funds, (b) lack of genuinely free time, © the disappearance of quite a few local companies, and possibly (d) stress levels that make chilling out in front of the tv, or at a popular movie, especially appealing. The study was conducted by the Census Bureau, which interviewed 37,000 people, quite a large sample as these things go.
  2. Yes, Harkness has become almost a forgotten name. It would be fascinating to construct a detailed outine of the influence of her school, company, and extended patronage. I suspect that the late, lamented Ballet Florida would probably not have existed and flourished for so long without the Harkness connection. Someone should really document this story for the country as a whole.
  3. ... but a lot fewer ballet companies (as opposed to other forms of dance) than there were a generation ago. The article linked by phrank consists of nominations by "international dance critics." It's a lot easier to be an "International dance critic" in Europe, with the shorter distances between countries, than in North America. The large number of names (and companies) suggests that the critics were trying hard to get maximum coverage for as many companies as possible. The few "American" dancers (by birth and training, or by career) seems pretty restricted to those from US companies which have actually performed in Europe in recent years. Kent from ABT; Kochetkova and Tang (and Taras Domitro) from San Francisco, Joseph Gatti, who danced with Corella's company in Spain.. One thing that DID intrigue me about this list was the absence of women from Russian companies. (There's only one man, from the Mariinski.) Isn't Russia considered a part of Europe anymore?
  4. Thanks for reviving this thread, Christine and California. It's an important and interesting topic, and there has been a lot of development since the thread last flourished in 2001. PLEASE, everyone, tell us about the "Important Women in Ballet" that you feel deeply about. (I'm working on my list right now.)
  5. Context: Alastair Macaulay review, NYTimes, 9/26/13: "Amid a fall dance season richly packed with significant events cross the New York dance map, a single program at New York City Ballet stands out like a summit. All four of its items are by George Balnchine, and all are well known -- and yet who ever knows any Balanchine ballet?
  6. And that is made more complex by the fact that few in those large crowds can actually see the whole picture of the event -- i.e., what WE see when we look at photographs. The live experience is visually more limited, but emotionally more complex and (for many whose faces are captured on film) intense. The social scientist in me wants to devise a survey and hand it out to all those hundreds and thousands in the street. "What did you see? What did you feel? What did this leave you with after it was over?"
  7. brokenwing, I'm definitely with you on this:
  8. Indeed. Justin Peck's involvement with Miami City Ballet is a case in point. Scheduling has to be one of the major concerns when you are combining a dance career with one company with a choreography gig with another company .... and when you also have to factor in the completely separate schedule of an independent orchestra. Peck was in Miami last spring to choreography a 2-person ballet, to be performed in April 2014 (more than a year later) at a concert of the New World Symphony. The dancers he selected were Jeanette Delgado (whom he describes as "one of America's greatest ballerinas right now") and Kleber Rebello. Title is "Chutes and Ladders." Music is from Benjamin Britten's String Quartet No. 1. Peck will be back in Miami in early March, when he will participate in a couple of the Open Barre performances at the studio in Miami Beach. (March 7-8). Then, I assume, back for the premiere on April 20th. The following is completely OFF TOPIC, but the MCB blog has a well-produced and thoughtful 3-minute video of Peck talking about the process, including studio video as well. Imagining "New Work" with Justin Peck
  9. Macaulay is always a fascinating topic on Ballet Alert. I suspect this is due to more than matters of taste. One advantage Macaulay has is that he gets to see an enormous number and range of performances, including many by companies and dancers who are outside the NYC market. Few reviewers have this kind of travel budget and access to print. He does his research. The few times I have observed him in the audience, he seemed to be deeply attentive to what is going on onstage. His visual memory is exceptional. Most of us focus by necessity on one or just a few companies. Our viewing experience is such that we become experts on the dancers we have the chance to see, which often breeds emotional commitments that make it hard for us to hear criticism (or, worse, indifference) from outsiders. (I'm talking live performance, here. DVDs and YouTube tell us a lot, but not, perhaps, as much as we would like to think.)
  10. I'm conflicted about this. Balanchine was able to work for most of his career with a company of dancers he himself had selected. They were his lab. As he changed he began to reward and hire a different kind of dancer. But before that, he benefited (I think) from having to take jobs of all sorts, with the dancers available at the time. Wheeldon is arguably quite overstretched now.. He does seem to need to "not produce for a while," in Ray's terms. And you do need a secure base (including financial security) for that. Ratmansky, on the other hand, is still a hugely creative guy who might be limited (even frustrated) if he could only work with ABT dancers, and with the constraints of ABT's performance schedule in mind. Traveling around to different companies might, for someone like Ratmansky, and like the younger generation (Peck, Scarlett, etc.) actually replicate what Balanchine was obliged to do when he arrived in western Europe and before he found the berth that Lincoln Kirstein and other were able to provide for him in NYC.
  11. Thanks, phrank. The photos posted with the Atlantic article are extraordinary. I have to say that my reaction is similar to dirac's. I must have spent my life wandering in especially narrow cultural corriders, but Royal de Luxe is a phenomenon that I have not encountered until now. I have the feeling that I HAVE seen the elephant, but I may be confusing memories with something inTerry Gilliam's work. It would be wonderful to see them in real life -- to get a sense of the scale, the quality of motion, and how one sees (and does not see) the many puppeteers and their elaborate "ropes, wires, and contraptions." The expressions on the faces of the on-lookers are amazing, especially in the photo in which they strain forward to pet the dog. (More scarey is the photo of troops linking arms to hold back the crowds who push forward though only a few feet from the giant feet of the diver.) There's so much physical tension in each of these photographs. But the figures themselves -- as opposed to their surroundings -- are impassive and serene. There's a spiritual lesson somewhere in that, but I can't figure out what it is.
  12. The "Grand Jete" brooch by Geoffrey Rowlandson. On exhibition currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum. http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/18817 Click on the photo to enlarge. Not to my taste. But it definitely fascinates. Does anyone have any other favorite examples of ballet-themed jewelry that they would like to share? Or of the use of jewels-jewelry and the like -- paste or real -- in actual ballets?
  13. I've only seen posed studio shots of this before, which have always stuck me as affected and trying too hard for whimsy. These onstage shots give the piece the breath of life. Which makes the costumes look better than ever, as you imagine them moving with the dancers. I love the Knights especially. Thanks, rg, this series is a gem.
  14. It's always nice to hear about ballet sell-outs. Maybe the advance success of this run explains the willingness of the advertising people to indulge in an untypically ugly, 1/6-page ad in the NY Times today. (Arts and Leisure section, p. 2). We see (shot from above) 2 lines of 6 and 5 swans. . Each swan stands on a single turned-out flat foot, never the best angle for a shot of a flat foot in point shoes, None of the feet is aimed in the same direction. The camera catches each swan's right arm as she executes her own personalized version of the bent-elbow-bent-wrist-splayed-fingers effect. A very odd choice, though I guess someone decided to go for the feel of a back-stage shot and to skip the romantic illusion.
  15. Thanks, Dale, for reproducing the text of the press release. The name may be, ( agree with angelica) a little silly, but this impresses me as an ambitious program that actually has a detailed plan for carrying out its objectives. ABT has, arguably, the biggest name recognition of any U.S. ballet company (among young dance students, especially). Coincidentally, I was just watching a a video interview with Daniel Ulbricht in which he admitted that his original goal in moving to NYC for training was to dance with ABT, not NYCB where he eventually landed. The scholarships (15 full scholarships to the Onassis School, 25 to ABT summer programs), teacher training provisions, willingness to utilize the large network of ABT-certified teachers, the alliance with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the arrangements with seven serious regional ballet companies -- this is all good news. So is the funding from what I assume is a donor with the potential for deep pockets, Payless Shoes. When it comes to trying to ballet more inclusive as to race and social/geographic origins, has an American company ever attempted anything on this scale -- and with this complexity of organization -- since the Ford Foundation grant to NYCB back in the 60s?
  16. Thanks, kbarber. For those who haven't yet clicked this video, i hope you do so. He's one of those rare interviewees who thinks before he responds to a question. This adds pauses to the interview, but also encourages you to listen very carefully. At about 19 minutes, he talks about his unexpected partnership with Osipova ("in a sense, she is who I would like to be as a dancer.... I like to respond to direction, she has her own vision of things.") This is followed by the invitation to join the Bolshoi.
  17. Another version with Danilova/Franklin -- taken from a Ballet Russe performance -- can be found here. (Skip the add unless you want to break the mood.) I am hesitant to admit that I am not fond of Danilova in either video. Franklin, on the other hand, gives everything just the finish I look for to save this kind of piece from charges of trivia.
  18. According to the article this amount is more than they were able to raise in even the best years before the recession. The NYCO thrift shop on 23rd St. earns more money for the company than the endowment! It seems like just a weeks ago that the Times had an article speculating about a possible move to NY City Center. And now .... ??? I got introduced to NYCO when I was a high school student -- around the time I first attended NY City Ballet -- both at City Center. Decent tickets were $1.95 and $2.95 and there was a city subsidy. I saw and heard Domingo, Triegle, Sills, Milnes, Malfitano, Ramey, Verrett in always presentable, sometimes extraordinary productions, This was affordable, high-quality "people's opera," just as Balanchine's company was "people's ballet." That kind of dream is long dead in this part of the world. Now it seems that even a stripped down company which performs rarely can't afford the tariff to make it in New York City. I'm sorry for the artists who will never get the chance to perform in such a company, and the audiences -- including young people -- who will never be able to afford decent seats at world-class musical theater. And for the young classical musicians who are on the way to losing one more possible source of employment. This is depressing on so many levels.
  19. Thanks, phrank. Some of the social/political commentary on these videos is fascinating -- the one on the Big Apple, for instance, which gives a bit of the history behind one of the late 30s dance crazes. Or, the acerbic voice-over in the video that compares the more free-form aspects of swing with a decidedly formal, cafe-society version of the Lambeth Walk. There's also the contrast between amateur videos of real people jiving in what almost looks like an improvisatory way and the more stylized versions that eventually showed up in nightclub shows or on the vaudeville stage. (Daisy Richardson, jitterbugging alone on an empty stage, creates a very strange image, when you think about it.) It's also illuminating to watch the differences between the "free" almost dionysiac style of Boogie Woogie, for example, and then watch those other dances which seem more formalized (with rules that can be taught, gender roles strictly defined, etc.). "Popular" dance" is a more complicated category than I imagined.
  20. I'm a bit confused by the video clip on the Shimmy. There seem to be two separate dances going on here: -- the "shimmy" movement (super-fast hip rotations moving in the opposite direction from the shoulder rotation); Was the twist a reincarnation of this? If so, the twist was decidedly slower (more mechanical, actually) in its early years. -- almost unconnected was the "cheek to cheek" aspect, with bodies bouncing stiffly up and down. Kids in the 50s quickly picked up on cheek to cheek, but seem to have given the stiff bouncing a pass. My personal favorite of the social dances we learned in dance class was the tango. There was real passion, but the potential for wildness was contained (for the man) by a rather stiff formality and the challenge of remaining in control. It was quite difficult to find a good, responsive, pliant, trusting partner of high school age. I think the version we learned as kids had very little to do with the low dives and milongas where the dance originated, but it always had the potential of getting out of control.. Question: does anyone do the foxtrot anymore? I recall it as stiff and dull, but a safe choice for those who could not learn steps easily.
  21. Thanks, Albany Girl. It's good to hear from you, even under these circumstances. Choruses like Albany Pro Musica have a value that goes beyond the enjoyment they give to audiences. In my experience, choruses can be life lines to musical performance for those who have training (often quite a lot) as well as a love of singing, but whose life work has taken them in other directions.. In my experience, the instrumentalists are often paid professionals -- but the singers themselves are true amateurs in the sense that they love the chance to practice their art. I looked at the Pro Musica website,and found the following information about the audition and membership policies. This brought back memories of the Hampton Choral Society -- also conducted by distinguished professional musician --which gave me the opportunity to "make music" at a high level, something I had assumed I would never have the chance to do again. http://www.albanypromusica.org/about/audition/
  22. It's so interesting to see these dances in terms of the different milieux in which they were actually danced. Rubies is different in contemporary Moscow from what it was in NYC when Balanchine was alive. The Black Bottom in Harlem was not the Black Bottom on Broadway. Similarly, the wildly expressive Lindy Hop at the Cotton Club was a universe removed from the lindy that I and my high school friends tried to learn in suburban Long Island during the late 50s, when it was already an old-fashioned dance. D-A-H dah dah dah DAH DAH. D-A-H dah dah dah DAH DAH. D-A-H dah dah dah DAH DAH. DAH! DAH! DAH! (We practiced this in dance classes, along with the tango, rumba, samba, cha cha, foxtrot, and waltz.) Watching the lily-white group of Idaho teenagers doing the Stroll (c. late 1950s), I had flashbacks to lumbering my way through the same dance, to the same music, and wearing pretty much the same clothes (v-neck sweater for boys, exposing white undershirt; round-neck sweater for girls). The sight of several of the Strollers actually mouthing the counts as they made their way towards the camera brought back memories. Moving like this was way out of the comfort zone of your average white middle-class kid in those days, though possibly less so for our parents' generation who grew up in the 20s.
  23. "Clarity! Clarity! Clarity! .... "Phrasing! Phrasing! Phrasing!"... Thank you, Helene and whoever put together this clip.My only quibble is with the clapping variation. Perhaps a little too cool and controlled (too much hauteur?) for my taste. I first saw Raymonda with Sylvie Guillem, whose clapping variation -- with its sense of mystery and flow -- is widely available on the internet. That remains my own personal gold standard for that variation, though I know it has its detractors.
  24. Yes, as to Kaiser. But, I don't know, "economist" sounds so much more exotic (or something) than MBA.
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