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Posts posted by bart

  1. The long and short of it: education good, no curiosity and illiteracy, bad. ;)

    That does seem to be the point, doesn't it?

    I'm wondering about a couple of things.

    First of all, the ideas summarized in your two quoted paragraphs are clearly oversimplifications. In fact,

    they seem to confirm some rather old stereotypes about the radical difference between Northern versus Southern European cultures, along with assertions of the superiority of the former over the latter..

    Also, as ballet lovers, shouldn't we be a bit on the side of the "liturgists"?. Reading can't tell us everything we need to know, Nor can intellectual analysis. Sometimes "doing" something in a serious, committed, even sacred manner (either as ritual, or dance, or other performance art) is an equally profound way of accessing knowledge.

    Which suggests that an active education in the arts is something that ideally should go hand in hand with the kind of intellectual training that the writers of the article above are advocating. Thinking in terms of the paragraphs quoted above, we might think of this as a union of "Northern" and "Southern" European types, both of which are of great value to us as individuals and as culture.

  2. The images are very, very strange (though possibly the norm in high fashion magazines nowadays?). I'd love to hear what others think about the photos ... and, from those who read Russian, the interview itself.

  3. phrank wrote:

    My own mother (an Honors English major) and her good friend (an Honors Sociology major) were both approached by the NSA upon graduation. Her friend accepted.

    I was an American studies major and was urged by a professor who had "connections in Washington" to apply for the Foreign Service. My preliminary interview quickly disabused me of my fantasy that Foreign Service work would involve lots of socializing with artists and intellectuals in a place like Paris or London. These were the early days of the Vietnam War, and I intuited that they were actually trolling for people to work in some sort of intelligence organization. I did not pursue the matter further.

    At the time, I was told that a benefit of a humanities-based education included such abilities as -- comprehending and using language/ analyzing and comparing texts/ asking questions and knowing how to research them/ learning new material efficiently/ and the ability to place texts of all sorts into a larger social and political contexts. Pretty much everything I have done in life since those days has required and rewarded those abilities. I'm, grateful to my high school and college teachers and curriculum-writers for having taken such things seriously.

  4. I just checked and see that Ashley has already done an Interpreter's Archive segment for Ballo, with Ana Sophia Scheller and Joaquin De Luz (NYCB), April 3-4 2005. Thinking about it, a single cameraman suggests something being done inhouse at MCB. The Archive series includes sound, with interviewers who include such figures as Nancy Reynolds, Arlene Croce, Francis Mason, Nancy Goldner, our own rg, Robert Gottlieb, Francia Russell, Anna Kisselgoff, Joan Acocella,etc. Deborah Jowell did the interviewing for Ballo.

    An interesting sidebar is that Edward Villella did the next Archive's segment, in 2008. With Sara Esty and Alex Wong (Tarentella) and Jennifer Kronenberg and Renanto Penteado (Rubies).\

    Here is the link to the complete list of projects. You can read accounts of a number of them if you have a collection of old numbers of DanceView. Several of the sessions were written up by Leigh Witchell.


    EDITED TO ADD: I see that kfw and I were cross-posting about the Ashley-Ballo filming.

    Also: the first MCB Interpreter's Archive filming was in 1999: Maria Tallchief no less, coaching principal roles from Pas de Dix and Allegro Brilliante -- and Marjorie Tallchief coaching a variation from Pas de Trois (Minkus). Dancers were MCB's prima at the time Ileana Lopez, with her husband Franklin Gamero. And Deanna Seay, Mikhail Nikitine, and Melanie Atkins in the Pas the Trois..

  5. Next to me, in a corner inside, there was a camera man with a huge equipment. He was filming the entire thing.

    I wonder whether this was for MCB's benefit alone, or possibly a version of the Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive of coaching sessions.

    Thanks for the photo. I love that location. We come down a couple of times a year for the Open Barre performances (matinees) and to stroll the beach and eat something in one of the cafes. There's always the hope of a dancer-sighting, of course.

  6. Cristian, I envy you your chance to observe through the plate glass windows. I wonder how the casting is/was determined. In a new work, the choreographer sometimes getd to choose. But what about a situation like this, when the repetiteur is the dancer on whom the work was created? I don't know whether Lopez has danced the role but imagine she has watched it often. Ashley of course knows the role intimately, though not MCB's dancers.

    Albertson is one of those dancers I always watch with fingers crossed. She is capable of so much, though her performances don't always make the impact that they should. Sometimes this seems to be a matter of concentrating on details and losing the overall arc. In Ballo especially it can be death, during passages like the one on the video above, if your eyes want to drift away to the other women on stage. I hope Albertson will be able create that metaphorical spotlight that obliges the audience to pay 100% attention. I can't wait to see her (and possibly Esty and Arja too).

  7. It's timely that this appears now, at the start of school; I have to spend a good deal of time introducing students to the idea that we're going to think about literature and analyze texts--even, gasp, make arguments about them, not just rhapsodize about how much we love them.

    I can imagine the difficulty, Ray. I suspect that many of us on BA grew up with English teachers who expected analysis and explication of text and convinced us that this was simply a normal part of "reading." This approach affected me so much that, I honestly cannot imagine reading without doing it.

    I meet so many people nowadays who do not read except for information-gathering, work requirements, or escape. This must certainly be a challenge for teaches with larger goals.

  8. dirac wrote:

    :I can't imagine wanting to be any number of the fictional characters I read about. I take Gopnik's point that reading can be a lot of fun, but I certainly don't want to be a used-car salesman, Holden Caulfield, Humbert Humbert, or even a charmer who gets a happy ending like Elizabeth Bennet. And for the vicarious pleasures of time travel, movies can provide them just as well and sometimes better. I don't read about Humbert because I want to be him; I read for the pleasures provided by his creator's prose (among other things).

    I can't imagine wanting to be many fictional characters either. But I do identify with Gopnik's point that reading "remains the one kind of time travel that works". I began reading historical novels very young because I found them around our house. For some reason, we had a complete works of Balzac and Dickens in the house (inexpensively produced, possibly one of offerings that newspapers used to sell one volume at a time earlier in the 20th century). We also had lots of Book of the Month Club selections.. It didn't have to be long-ago history. For me, growing up in the post-war suburbs of New York City, the world of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, even Cheever and Updike, were very much "history." They encouraged me to go to the library looking for works of real history about the period, the places, and the people who inhabited them. -- everything I had just been introduced to in the novel. I'm convinced that this was what led me eventually to history as an academic field and profession.

    I realize that films can also spark this kind of time-traveling experience, and I have often done that. But what books have over movies is that you can proceed through them -- into them -- at your own pace. You can pause, close your eyes, think, imagine alternative words or actions. You can get up from the chair and go the book shelf (or, nowadays, Google) to pick up another book that you were reminded of. Visconti's The Leopard is visually ravishing and dramatically involving. But Lampedusa's The Leopard -- the essence of which is captured very well in the film -- is something I have traveled through frequently since I encountered it in high school, sometimes reading the whole book, sometimes just a chapter or an episode. .

  9. Thanks, Jayne, for that link to the Patrick Corbin clip. It's one of those rare talking-head (dancer not dancing) videos that left me wishing it would go on a lot longer. A beautiful dancer during his stage career, and someone you feel it would be nice to know personally..

    Corbin has come down to Miami City Ballet a number of times to set Tayior dances. Although MCB does a ballet hybrid version of the choreography, they do it more authentically than the other ballet companies I've seen in the same rep. Here's a clip of Corbin talking in the MCB studio while working on Piazzola Caldera. He doesn't dance in this video but he sure knows how to do the port de bras and adapt the Latin attitude.


  10. We are starting to get information about the preparation for the season.

    -- already posted that Patricia Neary was down in Miami to coach Episodes. (With the Paul Taylor solo coached by Peter Frame.)

    -- Jason Fowler has been down to work on Christopher Wheeldon's Polyhymnia. There's an excellent series of studio shots of Katia Carranza (guest artist) and Chase Swatosh working with Fowler


    -- Merrill Ashley is working on Ballo della Regina (the ballet that Balanchine choreographed for her).. Here is a brief clip of Ashley talking about the part, with a video that suggests how much warmth, and even the suggestion of floating through, the air can be injected into the technical challenges of this piece ... with the right dancer..

  11. In the world of arts funding, pretty much everything -- orchestral seats, chairs, drinking fountains, seats, curtains, rest rooms -- is now a "donor opportunity." Given this situation, it looks like sponsoring individual dancers is the new reality ... at least for companies with a donor base that can support it.

    If I recall correctly, ABT did not start off with sponsorship for all the principals. That happened only with time, as is probably the goal at SF.

    One serious drawback to this would be if the patron begin to act as though the individual dancer actually owes them some sort of compensatory service. Or, if the sponsorship is contingent on hiring or promoting a protege who might or might not qualify otherwise. There's a reference in the NY Times story linked by abatt to a board member of Colorado Ballet who went to China scouting for dancers and who returned with an offer to pay a year's salary and expenses for two dancers he liked. One dancer worked out; the other (too tall) did not. This sets a bad precedent. I also wonder about those rare sponsored corps dancers. It would be unfortunate if the sponsor turned out to be a doting relative with deep pockets, or something like that.

  12. Count me as one who, like dirac, found myself gradually giving up on Woody Allen's films a while ago. Midnight in Paris, his biggest money-maker by far, was something I actually had a hard time sitting through, despite the evocative glimpses of late-night Paris..

    That film was, however, fascinating in the way it manipulated its target audience by dropping the names of so many 20s-30s cultural figures. At the screening I attended, you could hear the little self-congratulatory gasps of recognition whenever "Picasso," or "Stein," or "Fitzgerald," or "Dali" made a brief appearance.

    Based on reviews, I've been envious of those who had the chance to see Blanchett's Nora and Blanche on stage when she came to the U.S. with the Sydney Theatre Company. I read one reverential review of Blue Jasmine in which, like the commenter on the website referred to by Quiggin, considered her performance in Blue Jasmine as being in the same league as that in Streetcar. My reaction was skeptical. So I'd like to hear from readers who can argue a good case for Blue Jasmine.

  13. Thanks, Ray, for the link. (It's good to hear from you, even when you are a bearer of bad news. wink1.gif )

    Has it occurred to anyone that this might be an elaborate joke? Mr. Horning might actually be parodying the "badness" of the Joffrey's program by intentionally outdoing them in incompetence. This relatively short review packs in so much philistinism, limited vocabulary, awkward style, cliche, and hamfisted sarcasm. Tht could only be intentional. Right?

    My favorite touch is his complaint that Interplay, a Robbins jazz ballet, lacks "good synchronized dancing." Perhaps next year the Cleveland Orchestra will learn from this and hire the Rockettes. Their version of Rite of Spring should be sublime.

  14. It might be a good idea (hint, hint) to keep this thread on the topic of Joseph Phillips.

    We already have threads on the ABT forum relating to the promotion or non-promotion of other dances from within. Or, it would be possible to start a new thread on this topic if this seems desirable.

    Here is the list of existing ABT threads for those who wish to pursue that side of the discussion: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/forum/53-american-ballet-theatre/

    In the meantime, Mr. Phillips and his interesting switch from ABT to the State ballet company in Vladivostock deserves a thread of his own.

    I first saw Phillips -- a very young dancer at the time -- when he came to Miami City Ballet, from SF. He came to MCB as a soloist. Reading back over those old posts, I see that I and others were excited about the possibilities. For some reason or other, Miami did not work out. Also, Philllips definitely seems to have been under-uitilized at ABT.

    The Facebook video of a long solo from Spartacus is worth looking at. It suggests that he is already thinking in terms of a repertoire that would have been unthinkable at ABT. And it makes me wonder whether he might not have real potential in terms of the kind of work he would be more likely to find in a Russian ballet company (even in Siberia) than in New York City.

    I'd love to hear what others think about the Spartacus clip from those who know more about his recent appearances onstage, at ABT and elsewhere.

    Here is the facebook link, kindly provided by kbarber in the OP.


  15. I've been trying to think of how the Botticelli painting would relate to the white acts of Swan Lake. They share a watery milieus of course. Venus -- unlike Odette -- exists in world of light, with movement of wind and water, and with vibrant colors. Also, you have to take the music into consideration; As to music, The Birth of Venus is far from being an "adagio" painting.

    Didn't someone do a dance to "Pavane for a Dead Princess," using the iconography of the Velazquez Las Meninas? I can see the dance-to-painting connection in something like that.

    Goya's world has also been used in dance. Certainly a choroegrapher might be inspired by the world created by the

    -- pinturas negras https://www.google.com/search?q=goya+pinturas+negras&client=firefox-a&hs=Brx&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=bAoUUt6MMNPS2wX06IDYCA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=607

    -- or the Disasters of War series https://www.google.com/search?q=goya+disasters+of+war&client=firefox-a&hs=dCd&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=mwoUUoLYFMqF2QXbzIHYCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=607

    -- or Los Caprichos., which could make a wonderful satirical set of divertissements. https://www.google.com/search?q=goya+caprichos&client=firefox-a&hs=TDd&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=zwoUUvX4EoyA2QX4uoGgDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=607

    Also: several companies have used Granados' Goyescas for more narrowly "folk-Spanish" pieces. including ABT. Here's a photo (top left) of a production by Ballet Ara, Madrid. http://www.arademadrid.com/repertorio/nacional.asp

    A virtue of Goya is that his works express movement vividly .... and often make one think of music..

    Do does the work of William Blake: https://www.google.com/search?q=william+blake&client=firefox-a&hs=cxx&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=-wsUUvvqO8nD2wWI8IGQCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=607

    I can also imagine working the other way around, i.e., starting with an existing ballet concept and score -- possibly Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort and Mozart -- but giving it a completely knew look, based possibly on Giorgio di Chirico or Salvador Dali.

    In fact, there are so many choices that it almost makes you want to .....



  16. I just received the video that includes the Nerina Giselle.(combined with a 1953 Sylphides, including Markova). It's a much shortened version (less than an hour) shot in b&w in a small BBC studio overstuffed with scenery .

    Despite the production limitations, Nerina's Giselle in Act I makes the whole thing worthwhile. Watching her was like seeing Gislle/Act I for the first time. She has all the technique required, though the studio stage does not allow for expansive movement. What makes her performance, however, is a kind of freshness and spontaneity that is rare even among great Giselles. Nerina is one of the most appealing ballet performers I can recall. There are a number of individual touches that stick in the memory and make you love her character -- the way she bursts into spontaneous dance right after her first entrance (responding to Albrecht's knocking), the way she blows her kisses to him, the way she (and Fadeyechev) deal with the daisy petals, I could go on. In terms of emotional effect, the closest thing I can think of is Carla Fracci (in the video she made with Erik Bruhn).,

    Act II is another story. The cuts and the limited dance space -- combined with Nerina's unflattering costume and uniformly glum facial expression -- are less than fortunate. Probably no Giselle could carry of the dramatic demands of Act II in these circumstances..

    Nicolai Fadeyechev -- with his big, beautifully proportioned body, manly chin, long arms, and alarmingly expressive hands -- is constrained by the small spaces and not always flattered by the closeups. He supports Nerina elegantly, especially in a superb series of lifts, but seems on the whole like someone visiting from a different era of ballet. (It was a relief to go from this to YouTube to watch Fadeyechev in his native element -- on the big stage, dancing with Ulanova, two years earlier.)

    The ballet master was Peter Wright. Lydia Sokolova (Daighelev's first English ballerina) was an affecting Berthe. Margaret Hill's Myirthe had little to do beyond miming, gesturing, and looking irritated.

    Best bit: the way Nerina bursts into dance at her first entrance.

    Second best bit: during the return of the peasants, Hilarion (quite distressed at the time) becomes entangled in their happy gambols and has a hard time forcing his way through the crowd. I could not help recalling this later on, when he became similarly -- though much more disastrously -- mixed up in a crowd of dancing willis..

  17. Thanks, abatt, for reviving this thread and for that fascinating link. The article is balanced as to the positives and negatives of claqueur culture. I was rather appalled though, by Mr. Abramov's sense of humor:

    “I would love to pour a ton of acid on her head,” he remarked cheerily about a critic who had offended one of his favorites.

    This throws light on something reported on one of our Bolshoi threads yesterday: that 30% of respondants to a question about the acid attack on Sergei Filin felt that throwing acid wasn't such a big deal. "Fanatics," indeed (to use a term embraced by Mr. Abramov).

    On the other hand, it is nice to hear that Abramov has, since experiencing a heart attack, given up encouraging his claques to disrupt the performances of out-of-favor dancers.

  18. The latest company roster shows an increase in the size of the corps by 4.

    One corps member has left, Ezra Hurwitz, who first came to MCB in 2006 as an apprentice.

    The five new members are:

    -- Briana Abruzzo. First professional position.

    -- Nieser Zambrana Reyes. No information available yet.

    -- Ariel Rose (mentioned above)

    -- Eric Trope. Danced with Pennsylvania Ballet. Here is a brief interview from the MCB website:


    -- Damian Zamorano. Trained in Cuba and at MCB School; danced with Compania Nacional de Danza.

    This is an increase of four in the size of the corps, three of them men.

    Two familiar faces are back as "Guest Artists," former principals Katia Carranza and Jeremy Cox.

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