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miliosr

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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. From a June 1985 Dance Magazine news story about Guggenheim Awards winner Arlene Croce: Croce . . . is writing a book on the ballets of George Balanchine. "It's going to be a concentrated study of Balanchine's methods and technique," Croce said. 'But the work won't really start until the fall." 36 years and counting . . . it's the Chinese Democracy of dance books!
  2. Florian Magnenet had to replace Mathieu Ganio after the ballet had started. And kudos to Pierre Lacotte for creating such a large work at age 89!
  3. Interesting tidbit from a November 1976 Dance Magazine feature on dance in Philadelphia: "The Philadelphia Civic Ballet owned a name which kept [Barbara] Weisberger from founding a Philadelphia Ballet [note: my emphasis] and she had to settle for the Pennsylvania Ballet, a name that still strikes a provincial note." So maybe the name change was a way of honoring her wishes after her death?? (I wouldn't agree that Pennsylvania Ballet sounds more "provincial" than Philadelphia Ballet.)
  4. To her credit, Tobi Tobias had this to say in Dance Magazine (April 1975) regarding Farrell's return to the New York City Ballet: "Her Bejart schooling has helped her, most specifically, in developing a beautifully sinuous use of the arms and hands. Their movement is fluid, rich and heavy, motivated from the back, a corrective contrast to the flailing and clawing, the just plain frantic sketchiness so often criticized in the New York City Ballet's tossaway ports de bras."
  5. Given the very contentious year the company has had with the orchestra regarding financial matters, the management may very well be staggering promotions so that there's a direct 1:1 link between retirements and promotions.
  6. Didn't Balanchine bring Union Jack to London shortly after Lord Mountbatten's assassination in 1979? If so, the timing of that would seem to have been unwise. As for Onegin, I suspect the cultural aspect didn't bother Balanchine nearly as much as the uses to which John Cranko put Tchaikovsky.
  7. Perhaps there is no answer to your question. With the successive deaths of George Balanchine, Antony Tudor and Frederick Ashton in the 1980s and Kenneth MacMillan and Jerome Robbins in the 1990s, the classical dance may have entered a creative trough for which no immediate end is in sight. Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky and Justin Peck are (or were) the three great hopes of the 21st century and yet I could make a case that the works we're seeing from them (at least in part) are merely variations on prior work: MacMillan (Wheeldon), Marius Petipa/Ashton (Ratmansky) and Robbins (Peck) As for the modern dance crossovers Morris and Tharp, we'll find out soon enough just how lasting of an impact they have had. Morris has produced 8 ballets for the San Francisco Ballet over 35 years but none of them enjoys widespread dispersion in the national (let alone international) repertory. Will they long survive the changeover once Helgi Tomasson departs? As for Tharp, she had made "ballet-ballets" for an even longer period but her ballet repertory is only marginally more secure than the Morris repertory. Generally speaking, I'm wary of modern/postmodern/contemporary choreographers crossing over to ballet companies. At its most extreme, the phenomenon results in Wayne McGregor at the Royal Ballet. He brings to mind Arlene Croce's words from early in her career: "There is always a small but highly vocal portion of the public . . . that greets with enthusiasm the most wanton distortions of a great classical dancer's technique and style, especially if they're accompanied by an electronic score and presented in the name of a progressive choreography." I think it's telling that the great male classicist and star at the Royal Ballet, Vadim Muntagirov, has never appeared (based on his Royal Ballet bio) in any of McGregor's works. Maybe McGregor doesn't want him. More likely is that Muntagirov doesn't want his classical technique strip-mined by McGregor and has enough power in the organization to say 'no'. So, I come back to my original thought: There may not be an immediate way out of the current impasse.
  8. Jared Matthews would be a contender for sure. But Connor Walsh seems to me to be the face of the organization. He's their biggest star and has been for what seems like forever. As challenging as it is for me to summarize Houston Ballet's repertory, Walsh has appeared in everything and has all the resulting national and international connections.
  9. That was definitely true in Powell's case. She had an overbearing stage mother so marrying at 20 was a way of gaining some control over life. But getting married so young (and still under the studio's grip) resulted in a whole set of different problems.
  10. Fun fact: Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor were bridesmaids at each other's first weddings in, respectively, 1949 and 1950. Given the cloistered nature of M-G-M, it made sense for them to be bridesmaids for each other -- they didn't know many people outside the studio walls.
  11. I've been listening to Powell's contributions to Athena tonight. Such a beautiful score and Powell sings it wonderfully. Powell and Astaire from Royal Wedding: [HQ] How Could You Believe Me (Royal Wedding-1951) - YouTube Powell is the real revelation here. Who knew at the time she could so considerably transform her image and singing style? And keep up so impressively with Astaire during the tap dance portion? (I can picture Judy Garland doing this but for the life of me I can't picture June Allyson doing it.)
  12. 7 Greek Dances w/ music by Theodorakis and choreography by Maurice Bejart: Mikis Theodorakis - Danses Grecques - Maurice Béjart "Ballet of XX century" - YouTube
  13. Micha van Hoecke has died: Choreographer Micha van Hoecke has died at 77 (gramilano.com)
  14. The Limon company will be performing Doris Humphrey's Air for the G String and a suite from Jose Limon's The Winged tonight at Bryant Park in NYC.
  15. Jane Withers has died at the age of 95. She was too young to have been a part of the Pre-Code era and yet she lived long enough to be one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood's Golden Age. The Norma Shearer page I follow on Instagram had a cute photo of Jane and Norma together at a USO event in 1941. And speaking of Norma, Wikipedia lists August 10th as her birthday. (Her actual birthday may have been the 11th but she celebrated it on the 10th.) Regardless -- happy birthday to Norma Shearer!!!
  16. Some of these ballet companies have problems that extend beyond the events of recent years and reach back to the "glory years" of the Dance Boom of the 60s and 70s. The "boom" could just as easily be described as a "bubble" given how many companies came into being without having a clear reason for being other than someone thought a particular city should have a ballet company. During the pandemic, I bought old issues of Dance Magazine from the 70s and the 80s. Reading those back issues, it's amazing to see how many companies didn't make it because they had no realistic artistic and business plans (or even a realistic view of the city in which they were performing.) The "boom" is long gone but there are still a lot of companies from that era hanging around and still trying to find the way forward.
  17. In and of itself, the name change may be meaningless. But to the extent that the name change becomes emblematic of the company adopting another identity to the one its had lo these many years, then it might be significant. On the other hand, the company may have already absorbed that hit with the change in artistic directors.
  18. Which also suggests that a change in artistic director(s) might not solve the problems some of these companies have.
  19. The danger is that they achieve "negative crossover": people who have been loyal to the entity known as 'Pennsylvania Ballet' for decades are put off by the name change while "Philadelphia Ballet" does not attract a new, numerically significant audience.
  20. I don't think the Julian Mackay hire helped Kelly Tweeddale's cause any. While she was putting out press releases extolling Sab Francisco Ballet's commitment to diversity, the artistic director was moving in a different direction altogether. At best, it looked like one part of the operation didn't know what the other part was doing. At worst, all the press releases from the last year look like nothing more than an attempt to get the press and the public off the management and board's backs.
  21. Ruben Martin has joined the faculty at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school: American Ballet Theatre - Rubén Martín (abt.org)
  22. Houston Ballet for sure. It's lavishly funded but it has no national profile. I'm hard pressed to even describe its repertory. Perhaps they'll just coast along until Connor Walsh is ready to take over? I would put the Joffrey Ballet in second place. During his lifetime, the late Robert Joffrey worked ceaselessly to give the company an unique repertory. How wonderful would it be if the Joffrey was still the repository for all those Massine revivals? Instead, it's like a mild San Francisco Ballet. Los Angeles Ballet would be my third place. What is the point of this company? It slogs along with no discernible purpose and not much funding. (Don't know if you could replace the artistic directors as they and the company may be one and the same.)
  23. I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's Form 990 filings at Guide Star. Their last filing was for 2018-19 (pre-COVID): 2016-17: $1,411,315 (profit) 2017-18: -$251,518 (loss) 2018-19: $164,705 (profit) The company's highest earning year was 2018-19 with $16 million. Their highest expense year was also 2018-19 with $15.8 million. From the 990s, it's not apparent that revenue has been disastrous enough to prompt a reboot (the name change).
  24. Whatever Shearer's exact reasons may have been at the time, I have the sense she was a believer in the maxim that, "You want to leave things just a little before they leave you."
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