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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. A lot of repeats from recent history (Play, the Mats Ek night, A Midsummer Night's Dream) but then the Opera has been reeling first from the strikes that began in December 2019 and then the pandemic. Don Q, Bayadere and Giselle should make people happy, though.
  2. Mathieu Ganio may be at the point in his career where. having played all of the princely roles for the better part of two decades, he now wants to explore the dramatic character roles in the troupe's repertory.. Such a move would not be dissimilar to an older ballerina seeking out roles in which there is less emphasis on technique and more emphasis on mature dramatic ability. (I'm thinking of Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country and Marguerite and Armand, John Cranko's Onegin, and John Neumeier's La Dame aux Camelias.)
  3. With the death of Jacques d'Amboise, that leaves Russ Tamblyn as the sole surviving "brother".
  4. Agreed. Tomasson's primary legacy will be how he took a well-regarded national company and turned it into a ranking international company. But it has to be said that, in terms of diversifying the roster with black dancers (and black American dancers in particular), his directorship has been a failure. I went back and looked at the program for the Harkness Ballet's 1969-70 season, of which Tomasson was a part before Rebekah Harkness disbanded that iteration of the company at the end of the season. It's jarring to see that the San Francisco Ballet of 2021 is no more diverse in terms of black dancers than the old Harkness was in 1970. And the Harkness had far fewer dancers. All these mission statements are worthless if the new director cannot nurture black dancers to principal ballerina and danseur status. Ultimately, that will be how the director -- and the company -- will be judged. The down side to a very public recruiting effort is that you get no takers, which in itself would be a commentary. As for people putting themselves forward, look what happened with Miami City Ballet. A number of dancers came forward on Instagram with stories about how they were treated. But what changed? Did their complaints receive any traction in the dance press, let alone the mainstream press?
  5. Just focusing on the Joshua Kosman article, I would say that the quotes from the company's management are a "triumph" of consultant-speak. This comment from Toni Wilson is particularly "amusing": "Diversifying the workforce also becomes harder, Wilson said, when there are so few hiring decisions to be made." The easy, obvious reply (which Joshua Kosman should have made) is why did the company make one of the few hires Julian Mackay, who embodies the traditional male danseur look? Now, the company might reply that they put out word they were looking for a male principal and they received no interest from black dancers. Impossible to know what was going on behind the scenes. And the company did hire Nikisha Fogo, who is of Jamaican and Swedish heritage. But the impression left by the Mackay hire is one of reverting to the mean. Helgi Tomasson's statement also caught my eye: “I’ve always appreciated having dancers of color in the company because they bring their unique persona and background to S.F. Ballet and we are better for it." When was this magical era where he worked with "dancers of color"? Take a look at the pictures in the 65th (1998) and 75th (2008) anniversary books and the Tomasson 30th (2015) anniversary program -- you don't see many faces of color peering out from the ranks.
  6. I had the opposite reaction to the camerawork for Emeralds. I found it static and inert, and it took me out of the actual performance. Fairly or not, I couldn't help but compare it mentally to the extraordinary film of Suite en Blanc that the Royal Swedish Ballet has been streaming with its "you are on the stage" quality. (Yes, I understand the filming conditions were different.) I enjoyed Rubies more, mostly due to Mathilde Froustey and Pascal Molat (Froustey in particular brought a Folies Bergere showgirl quality to it.) Haven't watched Diamonds yet.
  7. Julie Newmeyer a.k.a. Julie Newmar, who will turn 88 this year.
  8. Happy Birthday to Jane Powell, who turns 92 today! I didn't know until today that Powell shared a birthday with Debbie Reynolds, who was three years younger. Powell and Reynolds co-starred in Two Weeks with Love (1950), Athena (1954) and Hit the Deck (1955) at M-G-M.
  9. I have to defend McKenzie just a little bit. When he took over in 1992, no one wanted the job. The company was bankrupt and on the verge of dissolving altogether. McKenzie rebuilt the company using who remained from the Baryshnikov era (Bocca, Ferri, Gardner, Hill, Jaffe, Kent, McKerrow), who he could bring in from the outside (Beloserkovsky, Carreno, Corella; Dvorovenko, Steifel) and who he could promote from within (Abrera, Cornejo, Gomes, Hallberg, Herrera, Murphy, Radetsky). That 15-20 year period under his directorship was magic. (I freely concede that the last 10 years have been messy with the 'Guest Star' era of 2000-2005 being particularly destructive.) Here would be my dream artistic team: Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky as artistic directors. Irina Dvorovenko as an additional coach for the principal ballerinas. (Sorry to be a downer but Irina Kolpakova will be 88 years old this year.) Someone of a Royal Ballet vintage to coach the Ashton and MacMillan works (and replace Georgina Parkinson, who the company never replaced adequately.) John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow (through their work with the Antony Tudor Trust) to safeguard and revitalize the Tudor repertory. Alexei Ratmansky to keep doing what he's doing. By writing that, I'm sure I have just jinxed the possibility!
  10. She would but she also just replaced Terry Orr as the director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Even if she wanted the top job at ABT, it would be poor form to walk out on a job she's barely started.
  11. The Abrera-Radetsky duo would be ideal. They spent their careers at ABT and know the culture and repertory by heart. The ship may have sailed for Angel Corella and Julie Kent-Victor Barbee. Corella is building the kind of company he wants in Philadelphia after a very rocky start. Does he walk now just when his plans for the Pennsylvania Ballet are coming to fruition? The Kent-Barbee team have done OK in Washington but I don't know that their joint directorship has produced anything extraordinary. Once, I would have said that Ethan Steifel had the inside track but I'm not so sure anymore. Interesting that 2 of the top tier directorships in American ballet will need filling at the same time.
  12. Actor Geoffrey Scott, who played tennis pro/gigolo Mark Jennings for two seasons on Dynasty, has died at the age of 79. Even though he was only a member of the cast from 1982-84, his contributions were significant and he is still remembered fondly by Dynasty fans.
  13. More Dark Shadows- related cast deaths: Actor Chris Pennock, who joined the show in 1970 and played prominent roles in the Leviathans, Parallel Time and 1840 storylines, died on February 12th at the age of 76. Actor Geoffrey Scott, who appeared from January-March 1970 as Angelique's husband, died on February 23rd at the age of 79. (He achieved greater fame years later when he played tennis pro/gigolo Mark Jennings for two seasons on Dynasty.)
  14. Remembering the late Jorge Donn on what would have been his 74th birthday.
  15. "Funny" you should mention this. The mention of Garcia's name has had me thinking that dancers (particularly male dancers) at San Francisco Ballet who decamp for other pastures are rarely seen with the company again, even as guests. The only one I can think of who left and then returned in some capacity is Aaron Robison.
  16. I'll play . . . I would add Ashley Wheater to the pool of candidates who have worked under Helgi Tomasson and have since acquired directorship experience. But he is secure at the Joffrey Ballet and wouldn't gain all that much moving up a little further on the hierarchy of American ballet companies. Not only do Vanessa Zahorian and Davit Karapetyan know the repertory by heart but they would bring a certain glamour to the directorship. Karapetyan also has a lot of contacts in the Euro dance world. But they seem settled with their academy in Pennsylvania. I would throw in Felipe Diaz's name as an under-the radar choice since he's been dancer, teacher, ballet master and assistant to the director at the company. If you follow the company dancers on Instagram, he shows up a lot in after performance photos with them. So I think he is well-liked. Christopher Wheeldon has a nice set-up with the Royal Ballet and his own foray into company management with Morphoses was not a success. Benjamin Millepied flamed out spectacularly in Paris so I think he would be a hard 'NO' from the board's perspective. Besides, he seems most interested in contemporary dance trends. I would agree with pherank that the board most likely wants a successor who will emphasize continuity and not drive out half the company and generate a lot of bad publicity (see Corella, Angel).
  17. Bumping up this thread because I don't think the late, great Diahann Carroll got a remembrance when she passed on in October 2019. Here, Carroll's character, Dominique Deveraux, meet Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) for the first time: Alexis Colby and Dominique Deveraux - Shade Fest - YouTube Also bumping up this thread because Dynasty turned 40 years old on January 12th! To celebrate, here's a fun feature about the Filoli estate in California, which served as the exterior of the Carrington mansion on Dynasty, and whose interior inspired the soundstage sets used on the show: Bobbing Along Visits the Carringtons and Colbys of Dynasty at Filoli House & Gardens in Woodside, CA - YouTube
  18. I didn't mind the defile with the masks although I would have liked for the House of Chanel to have created special masks for the event. I don't know how I feel about the ending bows with no applause -- weird or haunting (or both?) (Shallow person that I am, I definitely missed the applause-o-meter for the etoiles and premieres.) In the Night worked best within the context of the deserted opera house. Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude showed off new etoile Paul Marque to perfection. And Hugo Marchand has the rock star hair going on!
  19. Actress Diana Millay, who played the supernatural Phoenix during the present day and in 1897 on Dark Shadows, died on January 8th at the age of 85. In this clip, she unwisely antagonizes Angelique: Laura Collins Tries to Kill Barnabas~1897 - YouTube
  20. If the 'Guest Star Era' of 2010-1015 (roughly) didn't sour McKenzie's relations with the ABT Board, then I don't think there has been anything since (up to and including the Sarah Lane situation) that would have put him in jeopardy. For the sake of argument, though, let's say that McKenzie retires after 30 hears at the helm. Before the company hires one or more artistic directors, I think they need to answer the following questions: What kind of company does ABT want to be in the 21st century? What financial resources does the company have at its disposal to realize this vision? What artistic resources is the company lacking currently lacking? Point-by-point: 1. The company still adheres to the policy Lucia Chase implemented over 50 years ago when she gradually moved the company away from mixed bills to the multi-act story ballets that are now the company's bread and butter. Is this the path they should continue to trod in the 21st century? Making a case for the defense, I would offer up a qualified 'yes'. I don't get any sense that ABT's regular audience is crying out for the shorter one act works which McKenzie has been commissioning for 25 years and which haven't produced much in the way of a lasting repertory. I don't think there's any demand for the company to dance more George Balanchine, especially considering there's a company right across the Lincoln Center courtyard whose whole existence is to do just that. Heck, I'm not that convinced ABT's regular audience wants Alexei Ratmansky all that badly. My sense is that he is loved by the ballet intelligentsia but tolerated by the rest who would be just as happy to watch Giselle or Swan Lake or Romeo & Juliet over and over again. 2. If the company stays the course with the multi-act story ballets, then whoever eventually replaces McKenzie will face the same constraints that McKenzie has faced since 1992: money. ABT has had to deal with three great financial crises since the early-90s: the overspending from the Baryshnikov era which left the company destitute and on the verge of folding in the early 90s, the Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath, and now the COVID-related collapse of 2020-21 and its aftermath. Whoever comes in may be wonderful from an artistic standpoint but they are still going to be bound by the financial constraints that have bedeviled the company. 3. Point #3 dovetails with point #2. Whatever policy the company pursues this century, they need to give substantial thought to how they will perpetuate that vision given the obvious fiscal limitations. I'm speaking now in terms of coaching, which has always been a problem for ABT. (People were complaining about it in the 70s, which is considered the Golden Age!) The company never successfully replaced Georgina Parkinson and Irina Kolpakova will be 88 this year. Susan Jones has done heroic work with the corps over the decades but she is no longer young. (The male ballet masters are relatively young so that's less of a pressing need.) As such. the company has to give plenty of thought to what it will take to replenish its coaching staff both in terms of (a) age-related need and (b) finding the resources to hire the right people relative to the artistic vision (see point #1). (My preference would be for Irina Dvorovenko and Xiomara Reyes to return as ballet mistresses.) As for a replacement for McKenzie, my choice would be Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky as co-artistic directors. They know the existing repertory backwards-and-forwards and they both have actual managerial experience: She running Kaatsbaan and he running the ABT studio company. Together, they also would bring a much need glamour to the central post.
  21. For New Year's, I watched Holiday Inn (1942) - which has Christmas and New Year's content! To say that Holiday Inn is problematic would be the understatement of the year. The blackface "Abraham" number really is as terrible as its critics have said. What makes it especially bad is that everyone working at the inn when "Abraham" is performed is in blackface -- the band, the waiters and waitresses, even the coat check girl! The other thing that bothers me about Holiday Inn is the relationship between Marjorie Reynolds' character on the one hand and those of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire on the other. By the time the movie ends, I find myself wondering -- "Why does she want to be with either one of these selfish, self-centered jerks?" All that being said, I still watch Holiday Inn every year to see the movie's real star -- the "inn" itself (which is really just a stage set, as the finale reveals.) I never tire of the scene where the inn is semi-dark and Crosby and Reynolds converse before singing "White Christmas" together. The scene is so beautifully lit and shows off the inn in all its glory. Honorable mention: The way Virginia Dale says "picture" as "pic-cha". I also watched the New Year's eve party scenes and some others from The Divorcee (1930) with Norma Shearer. Filmed in late 1929-early 1930, the party scenes really capture that transitional moment when the Roaring Twenties were ending and the Depression years were beginning. Some other choice moments: the car crash scene (with some bad rear projection), Shearer looking especially beautiful in location shooting from Catalina Island, and anything with Florence Eldridge as Shearer's friend, Helen, and Robert Montgomery as Shearer's retaliation one-night stand, Don. As much as Joan Crawford resented Shearer for "stealing" this picture from her, I honestly can't picture the Crawford of 1929-30 playing this part. And I say that as a Crawford fan!
  22. danceviewtimes has reviewed the livestreamed performance: To Everything There is a Season - danceviewtimes
  23. The Limon company livestreamed a performance from Kaatsbaan last Saturday night and they dedicated the performance to Betty Jones. The livestream also included a brief feature about her long career as a dancer with Limon and as a teacher of the technique. I didn't write about the performance because this thread attracts so little attention that there was no point to it. I registered for the livestream so I'm still able to access it on Vimeo until Wednesday. I don't know if it's freely available on Vimeo otherwise -- it might be.
  24. I rewatched Words and Music (1948) which, technically, isn't a Christmas film. But M-G-M did release it in December 1948 as one of the studio's big releases for the holiday season. If it's possible for a bad movie and a great movie to co-exist in the same "body," Words and Music shows how. The "bad" part is the highly fictionalized story of songwriters Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The outright fabrications and omissions (i.e. Hart's sexuality) aren't helped any by Mickey Rooney's over-the-top playing as Hart and Tom Drake's stolid playing as Rodgers. The mawkish (and ludicrous) ending with Rooney collapsing in a rain storm in front of a shoe store is particularly cringeworthy. BUT, the musical numbers (the "great" part) truly are great. M-G-M was at peak strength in 1948 in terms of its roster of dancers and singers. On hand for the fun are June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Perry Como, Judy Garland, Betty Garrett, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Ann Sothern, Mel Torme and Vera-Ellen. Allyson's "Thou Swell," Garland's "I Wish I Were in Love Again" (w/ Rooney), both of Lena Horne numbers, and Kelly and Vera-Ellen's "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" are particular highlights. (Interestingly, many of the players on this movie -- including Drake, Como, Garland, Garrett, Horne, Sothern, Rooney and Torme - would all be gone from M-G-M after 1950.) The DVD comes with an excellent commentary track from film historian Richard Barrios who provides many interesting details as to the genesis of this production. (Originally, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra were considered for the parts of Hart and Rodgers while Lucille Ball was suggested for Betty Garrett's part. There was also supposed to be an Esther Williams aquatic number!)
  25. David Vaughan David Vaughan (dance archivist) - Wikipedia
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