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Herman Stevens

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About Herman Stevens

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  1. He has been The New Yorker's editor since 1998. It's remarkable he took time off to research and write this Bolshoi piece.
  2. "He could now face jail and possibly the end of his dance career." Possibly? Who would hire a man like that?
  3. And how would they do this? Dancers typically put their 'slippers' (pointe shoes?) on in their dressing room. And most dancers make sure everything is just so with their shoes. This has a distinct Black Swan sound.
  4. I'm not sure about territorial broadcasting technicalities, but perhaps you can watch the tv-registration here: http://ntrpodium.ntr.nl/page/archief/aflevering/15144648/ntr-podium-het-nationale-ballet-danst-cinderella
  5. It's the most successful story ballet I have seen this century. Here's my take: http://www.hermanstevens.nl/result_weblog.asp?Id=173
  6. Unfortunately the Raymonda broadcast was taken off the internet after a day. What I find rather puzzling is this discussion about the way Raymonda's story is un-PC. Of course it is. Virtually all 19th century ballets entail stereotypes we would like to believe are gone. What are you going to do about it? And on the other hand Alexandrova's facial features are discussed here with a judgmental frankness that does not seem to take into account that her cheekbones and close-set eyes are ethnic features, and I doubt we would talk this way if it concerned an American company and an, let's say, Afr
  7. Well, all I can say is it is possible to look at it in a different way. I think her clapping variation is terrific, conveying this sense she's looking back and realizes she has the power to destroy men just like that. And she is okay with that. She's that kind of princess. Not the Aurora type. Next, in the galop, the way she stops the music and then revs it up again, with this exuberant shake of her head. This De Brienne is going to have to be very careful around her. Another detail that struck me in the exotic dance with the Saracen (I'm trying to avoid typos), the way she puts the back of h
  8. I'm intrigued by Bessmertnova being regarded as pretty much the gold standard in Raymonda. She's a wonderful dancer, obviously, but by the time her Raymonda was filmed she was well past her prime and in the 3d Act she looks very tired and, occasionally, bored. Saying Alexandrova, in comparison, looks like a "Soviet apparatchik" is a really weird counterhistorical joke (?), since the Grigorovitches were just about the consummate USSR ballet power couple. Alexandrova was 11 years old when the Berlin Wall came down. Maybe Alexandrova doesn't do "passive suffering" as convincingly as Bessmertnova
  9. ...like what's the purpose of the over detailed descriptions of the sex activities going on on sexpots, clubs or bath houses..even if that was part of Rudik's life...? It made me feel like she didn't know what else to add. Sometimes they would be just pernicious descriptions of situations and places in which Rudolf wasn't even being mentioned, so what's up with that...? I certainly don't find that all those details reveal anything of significance to the narrative, other than adding some cheap thrill . I found it vulgar, strange, driven by morbid curiosity and totally out of place. At the e
  10. Peter Wright’s version of Sleeping Beauty has been in the Dutch National Ballet’s repertory for such a long time (since 1981) few people can remember seeing another version. Four years ago the previous run of Sleeping Beauty was the occasion of a dvd-shoot with Sofiane Sylve as Aurora - one of the few cases of a dancer winding up on a dvd in the prime of her / his career. Sylve was at the height of her powers in her December 2003 Sleeping Beauty, and yet one cannot help but wonder whether that much power should be visible in an Aurora. For purists Sylve’s Aurora was too athletic, too much P
  11. I’ve seen complaints in the reviews and comments that Kavanagh made too much of his sex life, but as far as I can tell without dipping into the book she doesn’t ignore the artist. Certainly a biography with any claims to comprehensiveness does. It's just prudery. People want to read about it, but they want to complain about it, too. Nureyev was a sex symbol, just like Nijinsky was - only in another era. It would have not made any sense to have ignored or glossed over his sex life. I couldn't help but notice in the National Review piece discussed here that the reviewer would not
  12. So did I. If you consider that John Martin had previously been the NYCB's nemesis, it's doubly outrageous. BTW as far as I'm concerned Kavanagh's biggest blooper occurs early on when she mentions Yakov Flier and misidentifies him as a violinist who won the Tchaikovsky Competition. Flier was, obviously, a pianist.
  13. Do you think Kavanagh does a good job alerting us to this? In other words, is the collusion disconcerting in itself, or because JK can't "unpack" it? Do say more--yes, it certainly might be disconcerting on a local level (or for other reasons? say more if you can), but culturally it's a fascinating reflection of mid-century critical practices. Well, I think Kavanagh does a good job in that she isn't "unpacking" it too much. At first it looks as if she thinks nothing out of the ordinary is going on (which is probably true, considering the era we're talking about). Only later in the biogr
  14. I cannot help but think Acocella somehow falls into the trap of not liking a biography because she would not want to be its subject's friend. This is a link to my review of Kavanagh's Nureyev biography: http://www.hermanstevens.nl/result_non-fictie.asp?Id=62 One aspect of the book I didn't have any space for is the disconcerting collusion of journalist / critics and the dancer / company at the time. One cannot help but hope things have gotten a little better in the intervening decades There's the strange case of Nigel Gosling, one of Nureyev closest London friends, who also happened to be
  15. As far as I can tell halfway in, the Nureyev biography is much better than the Ashton book - especially in balancing the intimacy stuff. The book is, like all biographies these days, way too long, but Kavanagh will set the standard in RN biography, I suspect. I'll post a link when I write the review.
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