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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. I recently bought some back issues of Dance Magazine from 1967. This interesting tidbit was in the 'News' section of the April issue: "Maurice Bejart announces he's staging a modern-dress version of Othello, starring Brigitte Bardot." Did this ever come to fruition???
  2. Rome Opera Ballet has announced its 2019-20 season and Zach Catazaro will be appearing in In the Night: https://www.operaroma.it/en/shows/serata-jerome-robbins/
  3. The timing may have been off for San Francisco Ballet to visit London given that the Royal Ballet's spring season has consisted of MacMillan's Romeo&Juliet, the triple bill of Fokine's Firebird, Ashton's A Month in the Country and Balanchine's Symphony in C, and the Margot Fonteyn centenary celebration. But then, as pherank noted, there may never be that "perfect moment".
  4. There's no need to second guess your impressions of the piece. As Arlene Croce once said in an interview: "Personal taste always operates." (The debate now raging on this forum and elsewhere regarding Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre proves that point.) In any event, I would return to my very first comment about Medusa; namely, that enjoyment of it may depend on how much you enjoy Martha Graham's "Greek" phase. Medusa exists so solidly within the Graham "Greek" tradition that her successor company should be the next company to stage it. As for Medusa's final dance, it would work for me if we saw her triumphant over Athena and Poseidon for their wrongdoing (Poseidon for raping Medusa and Athena for blaming Medusa for the crime.)
  5. I would agree with you about the "sense of atmosphere". The costumes (but for the men's), lighting, music, props and sets all worked together to create an otherworldly effect. I do wish Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui had left things with Perseus giving Medusa's head to Athena and then Athena's priestesses rejecting Poseidon one-by-one. It was the perfect ending.
  6. I attended the cinema broadcast of the Royal Ballet's triple bill consisting of Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Medusa and Crystal Pite's Flight Pattern. (My local movie house experienced a 71% decline from a whopping 7 ballet fans for the Royal Ballet broadcast of Don Quixote earlier in the year to 2 today.) Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour was made for the San Francisco Ballet and exists comfortably within the neoclassical idiom. There are 7 couples -- 3 principal and 4 corps. Curiously, I found that the full ensemble portions and the corps portions (in various configurations) were more engaging than the three central duets featuring some of the starrier principals. Surely this couldn't be Wheeldon's intent as the three duets are clearly designed to be the major statements in the work. And yet, I found my interest flagging a bit during these sections relative to the high octane corps and full group work surrounding them -- a curious effect. Jasper Conran created new costumes for the piece and they don't work for most of the men. They look like male swim suits from the 20s but sparkly. The cut of the costume only really works for tall, thin dancers like Vadim Muntagirov. Shorter, stockier dancers like Alexander Campbell just look squat in them. Enjoyment of Medusa probably depends on how much you can stomach of old-school American modern dance, particularly the Greek period of Martha Graham. Medusa is like a full-blown tribute to Graham from its costumes for the women (Graham "Greece" rather than ancient Greece "Greece" or Isadora "Greece") to its prodigious use of fabric to Athena's hair, which boldly co-opts Graham's own hair style from her later years. The movement is a typical Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui mish-mash of different styles rather than full-on Graham Technique. Medusa works well enough as a retelling of the story from Greek mythology and its has some ingenious effects; most notably Perseus' (Matthew Ball) decapitation of Medusa (Natalia Osipova). It's a clever bit of theater that even Graham might admire. Unfortunately, Cherkaoui doesn't leave well enough alone by ending Medusa with the decapitation. Instead, we get a tacked on and extraneous star solo from Osipova. Well, as Joan Crawford would say, a star vehicle should always end on its star and Medusa is nothing if not a star vehicle. The title character's ability to turn men into stone if they look directly at her comes and goes during the course of the piece. Sometimes Ball is looking directly at her (to no effect) and then sometimes he's doing all he can to look away from her. At one point, he's waving around a piece of fabric as if it's a religious icon from the Denishawn era with the power to protect him from Medusa's legendary stare. The costumes for the men are hideous. If you can picture the Six Million Dollar Man from the 70s running on his bionic legs in a see-through track suit instead of his iconic red suit, he would look like this. Given what I had read in advance about Crystal Pite's Flight Pattern, I was expecting something bold and innovative. And if I had never seen Jose Limon's Missa Brevis, I would think that the dancers standing in profile and staring up into the light would be just that. And if I didn't know anything about some of Anna Sokolow's "heavier" works, I would think that the dancers confronting one calamity after another represented a bold advance in dance theater. As it was, I thought a lot of it was derivative of mid-century modern dance, however unintentionally. As for Pite's theme ('refugees are a bad thing'), the "piling up" of one calamity after another actually works against it. If Pite's thought was that 1+1+1+1 would equal 5 (that is, the cumulative effect of each incident would create an impact greater that that of each individual incident), she had the opposite effect with me: I found my attention dividing in half with each new development. That being said, there are two strong moments in Flight Pattern. First, there is a sequence where the dancers begin piling their coats one-by-one in the arms of a female dancer as she walks to the back of the stage. The coats resemble dead bodies, which is a powerful theatrical effect. The second sequence occurs at the end when the entire ensemble of 36 begins moving like human waves. It's not a new or novel effect but the Royal Ballet dancers bring their collective might to it. Finally, I missed Kristin McNally as co-host of the broadcast as Darcey Bussell grates beyond all measure.
  7. I question whether Gorak is being "criminally wasted" or "neglected". Of the three deficiencies you note, the first two -- acting ability and heroic stage presence -- aren't necessarily things that can be taught (heroic stage presence especially.) Regarding partnering, ABT has always had a small coaching staff. There's a limit to how much attention they can devote to any one dancer while still getting productions up-and-running. San Francisco Ballet is thick with male talent right now so I don't know that they would have any need for Gorak.
  8. I didn't see this anywhere else on the forum: http://www.balletreview.com/announcement.html
  9. Along with the Sarasota Ballet, Julie Kent remains an Ashton loyalist: https://www.washingtonballet.org/events/balanchine-ashton/
  10. Is it a matter of fragility or one of will? I pose the question because the Sarasota Ballet has built a unique reputation as a bastion of "Ashtonism" in -- of all places -- southern Florida.
  11. Turner Classic Movies has announced the roster of movies for its Doris Day tribute: TCM Remembers Doris Day (1922-2019) The beloved actress/singer, one of the last remaining icons from Hollywood's Golden Age, passed away May 13 at the age of 97. Turner Classic Movies pays tribute to Doris Day on Sunday, June 9 with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note. The new schedule for Sunday, June 9 will be: 6:00 AM Romance on the High Seas (1948) 8:00 AM My Dream is Yours (1949) 10:00 AM Tea for Two (1950) 11:45 AM On Moonlight Bay (1951) 1:30 PM Carson on TCM: Doris Day (1976) 1:45 PM Love Me or Leave Me (1955) 4:00 PM Calamity Jane (1953) 6:00 PM Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960) 8:00 PM Pillow Talk (1959) 10:00 PM Lover Come Back (1961) 12:00 AM Move Over Darling (1963) 2:00 AM The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) 4:00 AM Julie (1956) And Barbara Hershey posted this on Twitter:
  12. Day did it in reverse of how it's usually done. If a star is lucky, they will have a big run when they are young and then -- maybe -- have a comeback later in life which is not quite as big as the initial success. (Think of Joan Crawford with Mildred Pierce or John Travolta with Pulp Fiction.) Day had a decent-sized beginning at Warner Brothers and then as an independent (Love Me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much). But she really became major in a big way with Pillow Talk in 1959.
  13. You have captured my thoughts exactly regarding the paucity of Ashton at the Royal Ballet in 2019-20. (The absence of Balanchine doesn't bother me in the slightest as Balanchine has never been central to the Royal's identity.) As for the Royal having become a fortress for Kenneth MacMillan-style expressionism, that's nothing new. Arlene Croce wrote this in 1981 (!): "The directors of the seventies -- first Kenneth MacMillan and now Norman Morrice, with MacMillan as principal choreographer - have turned English ballet away from its native classicism and toward the turgid expressionism in force on the European continent from Stuttgart to Amsterdam, from Paris to Hamburg. In her forward to a commemorative volume, The Royal Ballet: The First Fifty Years, by Alexander Bland (Doubleday), [Ninette] De Valois writes of the need for periodic change, and recommends that change be carried out "with a detachment producing a calm contemplation of any temporary moments of stagnation." Is this her attitude as she sits nightly in her box watching the institution she created drift into the Stuttgart whirlpool?"
  14. Here are Doris Day's placements in the annual 'Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll': 1951 - 9th/1952 - 7th/1959 - 4th/1960 - 1st/1961 - 3rd/1962 - 1st/1963 - 1st/1964 - 1st/1965 - 3rd/1966 - 8th From The Man Who Knew Too Much:
  15. Oh J.Lo: https://footwearnews.com/2019/fashion/celebrity-style/jennifer-lopez-met-gala-2019-red-carpet-versace-dress-heels-1202779376/ So vulgar and in the worst taste . . . but that's why we love her!!!!!
  16. Given that yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the release of Flamingo Road, I certainly hope we all made sure to watch it on the day. If you're one of those poor unfortunates who doesn't own a copy, here's the trailer: And here's the 'Joan Crawford at Warner Brothers' featurette that is on the Flamingo Road DVD: It's short but it packs a lot of information into its running time.
  17. Two books from 1998 to consider: At the Ballet Onstage Backstage (Universe) and San Francisco Ballet 1933-1998 (Watermark Press). The Universe book is more of a 'year in the life' type of book while the Watermark Press book is a 65th anniversary tribute to the company and includes an extensive history. (Note: the 65th and 75th anniversary books are -- in my opinion -- pro-Tomasson to the point of hagiography. Michael Smuin becomes a kind of unperson in the historical retelling.) Other historical sources from the 70s would be Dance Magazine and its sister publication, After Dark, which did try to keep abreast of dance outside of New York. Finally, Arlene Croce reviewed the San Francisco Ballet in 1978 and 1980. In the 1980 review, she described the company as being, "a big, brash, variously accomplished but raring to go ballet company."
  18. Regardless of whether Ramasar will be 38 or 39 this year, he's still in his late-30s. Perhaps, like Roberto Bolle, he will defy the odds and keep going strong for another 10 years. But, as I wrote, it's more likely that he will age out sooner rather than later. None of us can predict for certain what will happen, though. (As for De Luz, if it's correct that he was born in 1976, then he aged out in his early 40s.)
  19. This is a telling detail. Ramasar will be 39 this year. Regardless of whether City Ballet cuts him loose at the first contractually feasible time or sticks with him to the end (however awkward that may be), he's going to age out sooner rather later.
  20. Based on the photos I've seen, Catazaro cut an impressive figure in Onegin. Just because he came up through the New York City Ballet system doesn't mean he was born to be a City Ballet dancer. The European "bodice rippers" - La Dame au camelias, Manon, Marguerite and Armand, Onegin - may prove to be a very congenial home for him. Exactly, which is why Catazaro may be making the smarter play.
  21. I didn't want to create a new thread for this so I'm free riding on this one . . . The Royal Swedish Ballet has announced its 2019-2020 and, in some respects, its more French than what you will see at the Paris Opera Ballet: Giselle (Makharova production) All Stravinsky: Noces (Angelin Preljocaj)/Agon (George Balanchine)/Rite of Spring (Maurice Bejart) Nutcracker (Par Isberg) wings of Wax (Jiri Kylian)/Woman with Water (Mats Ek)/Minus 16 (Ohad Naharin) Don Quixote (Nureyev production) Les Ballets Suedois - 100 Years - a Tribute: Skating Rink (after Jean Borlin)/La Boite a Joujoux (Jean-Guillaume Bart)/Carmen (Roland Petit)
  22. In an interview he gave to Dance Europe in the recent past, Catazaro indicated that he was interested in appearing in things like Manon and Onegin, which he certainly wouldn't get to do at City Ballet. So, for him, he wins the arbitration case and gets to pursue his other artistic interests in Munich.
  23. The schedule for the University of Michigan Musical Society's 2019-2020 season arrived in my inbox. ABT will be performing at the Detroit Opera House from April 16-19, 2020: https://ums.org/performance/american-ballet-theatre-2020/
  24. I consulted the miliosr library regarding the demise of the Harkness Ballet's first iteration in 1970. From the February 1975 issue of Dance Magazine, here is Lawrence Rhodes' take on it: Two events triggered the demise of the company. First, Mrs. Harkness began to have mixed feelings about Rhodes' choice of repertoire. Second, Mrs. Harkness had become involved with a smaller company which she had formed in New York, called The Harkness Youth Dancers. It would become the nucleus for a brand-new company. "Mrs. Harkness became disenchanted with us," Rhodes recalled. "We were in Monaco, when a telegram arrived, saying that Mrs. Harkness would fold the company in two months. That, by May, 1970, it would be all over. She then sent another telegram which included the names of sixteen dancers. There were offered contracts to enter her new company. I was not among them, nor was Lone Isaksen [miliosr note: Rhodes' future wife]. She wanted Helgi Tomasson, Dennis Wayne, Bonnie Mathis, among others. None of them accepted. They decided they'd rather do anything than stay with her. One corps girl in our company went with the new Harkness Ballet - and that was all! And so, the company folded, and to this day, I have neither seen nor spoken to Mrs. Harkness."
  25. Anna Kisselgoff has written an obituary of Lawrence Rhodes in the Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/obituaries/lawrence-rhodes-dead.html?login=email&auth=login-email I wasn't aware of the connection Rhodes had to Kevin McKenzie. Also, I don't know that Kisselgoff has it exactly right regarding the end of the original Harkness Ballet in 1970.
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