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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. David Vaughan David Vaughan (dance archivist) - Wikipedia
  2. From a 1984 Dance Magazine review of Bugaku: "Why is it that almost every choreographer has to do a Japanese ballet? There's a whole set of cliches none of them escapes: flexed feet, stamps in second position, turned-in knees, curled fingers. They're all in Bugaku, which seems to be deeply offensive in its vulgarity and its exploitation of the woman, who is put into a series of ungainly positions; the man promenades her with her bottom uppermost, in fact he does everything but put her in a half nelson. Inevitably, Heather Watts, who always gets the living pretzel roles, was cast as the bride. Bart Cook tried to be intense but just looked angry. Toshiro Mayuzumi's score must be one of the worst Balanchine ever used." So, Bugaku has always had its detractors.
  3. I just read the news on various Instagram accounts. Not a surprise in terms of talent and the POB was fairly depleted in terms of male etoiles anyway. Now as for Mr. Alu . . .
  4. The New York Observer has picked up on events at Miami City Ballet: https://observer.com/2020/11/ballet-companies-body-shaming-kathryn-morgan/
  5. The New York Times has published an obituary for Betty Jones: Betty Jones, Founding Member of Limón Troupe, Dies at 94 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
  6. Dance Magazine has published this tribute to Betty Jones: Former Limón Star and Teacher Betty Jones, 94, Has Died - Dance Magazine
  7. The Limon Company has announced on its Instagram account that founding company member Betty Jones has died. Jones was a key member of the company for two decades -- she was the original Desdemona in The Moor's Pavane -- and taught the Limon technique for decades. Daniel Lewis wrote of her: "In the rocky period after Doris [Humphrey's] death, a quiet, steady development in Limon technique had been taking place at Juilliard with Betty Jones, Ruth Currier, Lucy Venable and June Dunbar adding some of their own ideas and helping Jose refine the technique. Betty Jones became the principal tutor in . . . teaching students how to move efficiently and properly, using the length of the muscles, and teaching the principles of alignment and breathing as developed by Lulu Sweigard, a pioneer in the field of movement analysis. [I]n Betty's [classes], they learned how each part of the body relates to a central axis and how to use the central axis to balance and suspend."
  8. Well, their most recent publicly available IRS Form 990 (dated May 2019) lists $304.5 million in net assets. But, in fairness, nearly two-thirds of that amount is restricted and, with little to no revenue coming in, they could blow through a fair share of the remainder in no time if they kept expenses like salaries on the books.
  9. Clotilde Vayer is set to become the new ballet director at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, succeeding Giuseppe Picone: https://www.danzaedanza.com/it/news/nuova-direttrice-al-san-carlo.html https://napoli.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/10/30/news/clotilde_vayer_nuovo_direttore_del_balletto_del_teatro_san_carlo_di_napoli-272455189/ "NAPLES Clotilde Vayer is the new director of the Corps de ballet of the Teatro di San Carlo. Announced by the Neapolitan opera foundation itself, Vayer, current maître de ballet associée à la direction de la danse at the Ballet de l'Opéra in Paris, will take over the reins of the corps de ballet in April 2021, succeeding Giuseppe Picone." With Eleanora Abbagnato leading the ballet troupe at the Rome Opera and Manuel Legris heading the troupe at La Scala, Vayer becomes the third person with a connection to the Paris Opera Ballet to take charge of an Italian company. You can see (and hear!) her coaching Amandine Albisson and Hugo Marchand from World Ballet Day 2020: A big loss for the POB!
  10. I haven't but it's on my to-do list. The Brussels period is the part I'm interested in reading about. It was a creative period for Morris (perhaps his most creative) but it a disaster of sorts in terms of his relations with the Belgian audience. And I'm not sure that he has ever recovered in Europe in terms of his works finding their way into company repertories.
  11. Next up on my viewing list this Halloween season was the 1981 slasher film Just Before Dawn. Truthfully, though, Just Before Dawn isn't exactly a slasher film even though it came out at the height of the slasher craze in 1981. It has more in common with a movie like Deliverance than it does with something like Friday the 13th. SPOILERS AHEAD Synopsis: Five college-age campers decide to go camping in a heavily wooded mountain area. Despite warnings from forest ranger George Kennedy (whose ranger station is the last outpost of civilization) about not entering this remote area, the campers forge ahead and travel up and into the mountain range. There, they get much more than they bargained for including two inbred twins who begin murdering the campers one-by-one. Like many horror films of this era, the "Last Girl" has to duke it out with her tormentors. Just Before Dawn is a nifty little thriller that only occasionally lapses into slasher territory. (The movie has an ending that has to be seen to be believed -- or disbelieved.) The best thing it has going for it is its location. The Silver Falls State Park in Oregon doubles as the supposedly uninhabited mountain area. The visuals are tremendously atmospheric and unsettling. Anything can be (and often is) lurking in the dark woods. Adding to the atmosphere are composer Brad Fiedel's unsettling whistling theme, the subhuman noises made by the two inbred twins and the sheer silence of the woods. This is a nice change of pace from the typical horror movie which uses the score to telegraph the horror from a mile away. The five young actors playing the campers are above average and George Kennedy adds a certain heft (literally and figuratively) to the action. Recommendation: Less well known than many of its contemporaries (Friday the 13th, Part 2, Halloween II) from 1981, Just Before Dawn is worth a viewing and deserves its "unsung classic" of the genre status.
  12. With the President of France announcing a new lockdown today, I imagine this program won't make it to the stage in November. And what of La Bayadere in December?
  13. The company definitely has an age problem with its male principals. Not only are Ask la Cour and Gonzalo Garcia retiring but they have another cohort of dancers who will be at or near 40 by fall 2021: Jared Angle -- apprentice (1998)/corps (1998) Amar Ramasar -- apprentice (2000)/corps (2001) Daniel Ulbricht -- apprentice (2000)/corps (2001) Andrew Veyette -- apprentice (2000)/corps (2000)
  14. I was thinking about that today. To be able to say, "I can remember going to see Garbo in Camille when I was in high school!" My favorite Marge and Gower Champion dance and one of my favorite 50s era M-G-M musicals moments:
  15. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/arts/dance/marge-champion-dead.html?searchResultPosition=1 Sad to see another member of 50s-era M-G-M musicals leave us but, at 101, she certainly had a rich, full life (with its share of heartbreak.)
  16. I moved on to something "lighter" this Halloween season with one of my favorite Charlie's Angels episodes, "Haunted Angels" from Season 3 (original air date: 10/25/78). Synopsis: When wealthy Claire Rossmore's nephew, Martin, was killed in a motorcycle accident on her estate, she turned the estate into the 'Rossmore Institute for Psychic Research' in the hope that a team of psychic researchers could make contact with him. The team does make contact but only after Claire gave them an ultimatum that she would not fund the institute for more than another year unless they reached Martin. Claire's friend happens to be Bosley of the Townsend Detective Agency and he enlists the Angels to investigate what he believes to be a con. The Angels infiltrate the institute with Kris pretending to be a graduate student in parapsychology and Sabrina posing as her subject, a medium. But what starts out as simple fraud investigation turns into something else entirely when another medium at the institute, Kathy Wade, is murdered during a sitting even though she was in a locked room and all of the potential suspects were in view of the Angels. Confounding matters further is that Martin's voice is heard by all in the run-up to the murder! I remember being scared by this episode as a kid, especially the poltergeist attack on Kelly and the "ghostly" motorcycle rider riding around the property at night. As an adult, the episode isn't scary but it is a nifty little mystery that keeps the audience guessing until late in the episode as to who -- or what -- is behind all the supernatural goings-on. In many Charlie's Angels episodes, the culprit is obvious from the get-go. But not this one -- the Angels and Bosley have their hands full with six separate suspects; one of whom may be a ghost. Recommendation: A fun little episode from a more innocent time in television history that isn't particularly scary but does have a decent mystery.
  17. I treated (hohoho) myself to a Christopher Lee-Peter Cushing "double-feature" this Halloween season by watching Horror Express, which, like Dracula A.D. 1972, came out in 1972. (In fact, they were both released in September of that year.) Horror Express has that Hammer Horror period feel to it even though it wasn't a Hammer Studio production and instead was filmed in Spain. Lee and Cushing play rival scientists travelling through tsarist Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express. Also on board is the discovery Lee made in Manchuria -- a primitive human who has been frozen for millions of years. Before long, the missing link escapes from the baggage car and begins committing a series of murders. Horror Express starts out as a conventional horror movie but soon morphs into something else entirely as a science fiction element comes into play regarding the ancient human's powers and motivations. The premise is outrageous but only in the most entertaining way. The movie is also marvelously claustrophobic as the passengers on the train are stuck inside the various train cars with a killer on the loose and no where to go even if the train stopped. (They are in the middle of Siberia during the Russian winter.) What really adds to all the supernatural/sci-fun is the appearance of Telly Savalas as a Cossack officer (!) who boards the train late in the movie. His performance is so different in tone from the other performances that it's almost as if he was beamed into this movie from one of the spaghetti westerns he was making in Europe around this time. But what the movie loses in period accuracy it gains from that unique Telly Savalas presence! Recommendation: A worthwhile viewing on a quiet night due to the audaciousness of the plot (mixing horror and sci-fi elements), the chemistry between Lee and Cushing, and Savalas' antics as the Cossack captain.
  18. With Tommy Rall's death, five of the seven brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers are now deceased: Howard Keel (2004, aged 85), Jeff Richards (1989, 64), Matt Mattox (2013, 91) and Marc Platt (2014, 100). Jacques d'Amboise and Russ Tamblyn are still living. They were both born in 1934. Of the brides, Jane Powell (91), Julie Newmeyer (Newmar) (87), Ruta Kilmonis (Lee) (85) and Nancy Kilgas (90) are still living.
  19. While Rall had a fine career, he came along too late to have a really big career in movie musicals. By the time he entered M-G-M's orbit in 1952, the studio system in general and the M-G-M musical in particular were going into decline. With M-G-M shedding expensive long-term contract stars as their contracts expired, there was no longer much interest on M-G-M's part in developing careers for younger performers like Rall. Once, a performance like the one Rall gave in Kiss Me Kate would have opened up opportunities for him. Instead, he was cast in one more musical -- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers -- and then was released. Here are some more clips: (1) A slightly longer version of the Invitation to the Dance clip which volcanohunter provided with Rall interacting with the redoubtable Claude Bessy of the Paris Opera Ballet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AreQLj0cX7I (2) The "Tom, Dick and Harry" number from Kiss Me Kate, which allows for some interesting comparisons between Rall, Bob Fosse and Bobby Van. (The comparison is cruel to Van): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEaZ5xotL_o (3) Rall partnering Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TufkZ7qFdLg
  20. I've started my Halloween season by rewatching Hammer Studio's Dracula A.D. 1972. This is the seventh film and sixth sequel in Hammer's long-running Dracula series, primarily starring Christopher Lee as the title character. The innovation with this entry is that most of the action is set in the then-contemporary London of 1972. Thinking that Dracula movies set in the 19th or early 20th centuries had run their course, Hammer jumped forward in time in an attempt to rejuvenate the franchise -- with mixed results. SPOILERS AHEAD Dracula A.D. 1972 has a dynamic start with Dracula (Lee) fighting his nemesis Van Helsing (played by Peter Cushing) on a runaway carriage in the Hyde Park of 1872. The movie then leaps ahead 100 years to 1972 where a group of clueless hippies inadvertently resurrect the Count, who is seeking vengeance on the descendants of the original Van Helsing, including Lorimer Van Helsing (also played by Cushing) and his granddaughter Jessica (played by Stephanie Beacham, who would have great success in the 1980s as Sable Colby on The Colby's and Dynasty.) The movie ends as it began with Dracula and Van Helsing again duking it out to the death. Hammer deserves full marks for trying something different with this franchise although the results are wildly inconsistent. The hippies are the worst part with their dated "hip" talk and fashions. The first 20 minutes (or so) set in the present with them are excruciating and unintentionally hilarious. Viewers would be forgiven for thinking they are watching Austin Powers Meets Dracula. But around the 30 minute mark, matters take a turn for the better as the hippies bring the Count back to life and then the movie carries on to its high-spirited finale. Highlights include Van Helsing having to take on Dracula's vampiric second-in-command, Johnny Alucard (get it?) and Dracula and Van Helsing fighting to the death in an abandoned church. Christopher Lee's screen time is actually rather small in this but he is as commanding as ever as Dracula. Cushing keeps pace with Lee throughout and reveals himself as a lively action/adventure hero, considering he was close to 60 at the time. Beacham is always a pleasure in anything she does. (Also on hand for the fun is genre favorite Caroline Munro in one of her first acting roles.) Recommendation: The early parts with the hippies are tough-going but, if you stick with it, the movie improves dramatically during its last hour.
  21. Josua Hoffalt posted this on his Instagram feed two days ago (translated from the original French): "Hello to all, I have had the chance to dance great classical repertoire roles and to work with great contemporary choreographers. Today I feel like passing on what I have been taught. I now propose private lessons in Paris and in the Parisian region for all levels, as well as the possibility of preparing for contests and auditions. For more information, please contact me via email. See you soon"
  22. From an interview with etoile Ghislaine Thesmar that appeared in the August 1979 issue of Dance Magazine: "As far as Violette [Verdy] is concerned, I can only say that she is a close friend and to talk about her situation is a very delicate matter. Suffice it to say that when she came to us, she did so with an open heart. She came with so much generosity and enthusiasm and she wanted the very best. But she was also vulnerable, because she came from America where things are far more direct and far clearer. Well, she came to a theater which, for better or for worse, is filled with an incredible amount of red tape. I mean, you must get absolutely everyone's approval and opinion before you can make a single decision. It's like a royal court - I would say a decadent royal court. So, Violette came into this and lost an enormous amount of time and energy just to get the smallest things done. She came into an atmosphere that can eat you up and destroy you," "Violette wanted to please everyone and that, of course, is impossible - and she suffered. You see, she didn't play the game, and if you don't play the game, you're finished. It is very likely that Rosella Hightower will take over - I hope she will have the strength. The point is that at the Paris Opera we need somebody very, very strong. I think Peter Martins would make a very good director. [Note: My emphasis] In a sense it's not a question of knowledge or experience, but one of psychological character. You have to be a rock for a company like ours." "But to be honest about it, no matter who comes in, it really won't change a thing. Ours is a menage that goes on and on, and change is not one of things we are famous for. It's a matter of tradition."
  23. I agree with the 'excitement' part. By the nature of its repertory, there isn't always room at the top for younger dancers. We saw that from, roughly, 1995-2010 when ABT's fabulous roster of male principals remained remarkably intact. Since ABT appears to be promoting solely from within these days (after all the flak they took for the 2010-15 guest star era), some the guys in the corps will be able to prove themselves and advance to soloist rank. We're about to find out how badly some of them want it, which will be exciting.
  24. ABT really needed to replenish its roster of male principals. With the departures (for various reasons) of Marcelo Gomes, Roberto Bolle and Alban Lendorf and the greatly reduced presences of David Hallberg and Danill Simkin, the company has been relying on Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside to carry the male side of the company, which was unsustainable. Unfortunately, the four promotions from the men's soloist ranks and the retirements of two other male soloists leave the soloist ranks in a highly depleted state. The upside is that this presents a lot of opportunity for some of the guys in the corps. Jonathan Klein was a lead in Ratmansky's Whipped Cream so he might be a prime candidate for advancement.
  25. Hugo Marchand has announced on his Instagram feed that he will me performing Hans van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes with Ludmila Pagliero as well as Jerome Robbins' A Suite of Dances. Germain Louvet has announced on his Instagram feed that he will be performing the Sleeping Beauty pas de deux with Leonore Baulac.
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