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Everything posted by miliosr

  1. 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.
  2. I bought another stash of Dance Magazine back issues from e-Bay; this time from 1979. Here is another news item involving Violette Verdy from March 1979: "As announced by Rolf Liebermann and Violette Verdy, Jacqueline Rayet, who as danseuse etoile created many important roles, has been appointed to the new post of maitre de ballet at the Paris Opera, effective Jan. 1, 1979, through July 31, 1980. In this position she will be charged with taking a group of dancers selected from the corps to foster choreographic creation and to develop interest in the company in the suburbs of Paris and the French country." Curious that Liebermann and Verdy would pursue this initiative when they each had one foot out the door. I wonder how long the choreographic initiative lasted? (Benjamin Millepied tried this during his tenure and it lasted for one season.)
  3. I picked up a copy of Arthur Elgort's recently published photo book, Ballet. There are some very beautiful photos contained within its pages but the view it gives of the ballet world is very particular. The book is heavy on portrait and rehearsal photos from the New York City Ballet's 1979-80 season as well as of Vaganova Academy students in more recent times. Some of the most memorable photos for me were of Mikhail Baryshnikov and James Cagney backstage together in 1979, an impossibly handsome Patrick Dupond of the Paris Opera Ballet, and New York City Ballet dancers at a public swimming pool in Saratoga in 1980. Warning: Some of the captions are not right. There are photos of Robert La Fosse from the early 80s which have him at the New York City Ballet and there's a photo of Julie Kent which also places her at City Ballet.
  4. Francois Alu and Paul Marque as Beranger and Bernard are definitely deluxe casting!
  5. Jean-Guillaume Bart talks a lot about technique in that interview. Here he is teaching company class at the Opera on World Ballet Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMGVMmZOJ3E At the 39 minute mark, the class ends and Raymonda rehearsals begin.
  6. I had forgotten it was the very first thing he said!
  7. Froustey is a prime example of the promotional system not working to perfection. Not being a good "test taker" worked against her at the moment of truth. Brigitte Lefevre had the power in her hands to override the juries and promote Froustey to premier status. But Lefevre must have thought that such a move would have been a bridge too far relative to the similar move she had made with Mathieu Ganio. Ultimately, matters worked out for Froustey because she found the company that was ideal for her. This move did not go without comment either. Not long after Ganio was promoted in rapid succession to premier danseur and then etoile, Jean-Guillaume Bart gave an interview in which, without citing Ganio by name, he said that he thought the position of etoile was rather "too easily won" these days.
  8. I would go even further and say that there's a fundamental mismatch between the cultures of the New York City Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet as borne out by the unsuccessful directorships of those who have had a strong connection to the former: John Taras - (1969 - March 1970) Violette Verdy (1977 - January 1980) Benjamin Millepied (2014-2016) City Ballet-related directors arriving at the Paris Opera Ballet with grand plans to abolish the annual competitive exams, ignore the hierarchy and take control of the school invariably have their heads handed to them on a platter by the house.
  9. volcanohunter is correct. Froustey herself has admitted that she had a tendency to flounder on the day of the competition. There was nothing sinister about the results. If anything, friends and a boyfriend voting against her promotion speaks to the validity of the process: people were able to put personal feelings aside and vote on the merits. (Admittedly, this probably didn't do wonders for Froustey's relationship with her boyfriend.) In addition, there are only ever a limited number of promotional slots available each year. Complicating this during Froustey's time at the company was the fact that 'Generation Nureyev' remained in place at the top for a very long time, which resulted in a 'Lost Generation' for whom there were limited promotional opportunities. Finally, the competition jury is split in two -- half from the dancers' side and half from the management side. Presumably, Brigitte Lefevre had other potential votes for Froustey but not enough to overcome Froustey's own onstage struggles at the competition.
  10. You've set up the chaser to this trip down memory lane . . . In the following month's issue of Dance Magazine (December 1978), this news item appeared: VIOLETTE VERDY WILL LEAVE PARIS OPERA IN JANUARY, 1980 Although it had not been officially announced at presstime, Violette Verdy's contract as the director of the Paris Opera Ballet reportedly will not be renewed when it expires in January, 1980. Her rumored successor is Rosella Hightower, who currently heads her own school in Cannes, to be assisted by Victor Rona. A press conference making the official announcement of the change was expected for November in Paris. The staff of the Paris Opera is in a period of transition now, as director Rolf Leibermann will be replaced by Bernard LeFort in January 1980 when Leibermann's contract expires. This appointment was made approximately six months ago. LeFort, who is the director of the Aix-en-Provence festival, is already working at the Opera, scheduling performances for 1980. So, Verdy's time at the helm amounted to about 2 1/2 years and even that is being generous as the last year+ of her tenure was as a lame duck.
  11. And the last excerpted parts D.M.: Are you planning to eliminate the yearly exams for the corps de ballet? V.V.: Eventually, maybe, when we have made more changes in the house. Without them, at the moment, we wouldn't have the same competitive spirit and we wouldn't have any way to check on some of those dancers. Also, we will do what all big companies do, which is cut down on the number of categories. We would have corps de ballet, demi-soloist, soloist and principal dancers with everyone being rather interchangeable. [Note: And we all know how both of those objectives fared. Benjamin Millepied pushed for the same things -- eliminating the annual promotional exam, fostering more interchangeability -- 35 years later and failed.] D.M.: What are the projects for this year [1978-79 season]? V.V.: [Note: This was a long answer so I will only reproduce the final part.] Because of the reopening of the Opera Comique, which is a very good thing, I'm going to able to start a choreographer's workshop which will give me a chance to use my younger dancers who want to try some choreography in a place a little safer than the Opera.
  12. Even more Violette Verdy: D.M.: What were your goals when you came to Paris? V.V.: I have tried to put young dancers in many roles before their time and it has been more or less successful. I have unearthed some of the older dancers that lately had been rather stigmatized and condemned and have forced them to appear in certain parts, in which some have really shone. I have had to fight a great deal of negativity from some of the principal dancers who have a mythical idea of themselves and are not very flexible about serving the art. I have not forced them to dance anything they don't want to and some have gone into hibernation rather than dance. For instance, they feel the Balanchine repertory does not make them shine enough as stars; but more as dancers! They feel naked as dancers rather than stars.
  13. More Violette Verdy: D.M.: Is there a difference in the mentality: V.V.: Yes. The Opera dancers are very knowledgeable and very demanding and, in a sense, more sophisticated in knowing about the theater and about quality, but they do not have enough occasion to lose themselves, to abandon themselves in creations so that they become selfless. They develop much more in terms of heroes and princesses. They develop a mythical idea of themselves as stars in the traditional star system which makes them more selfish in their approach to their work. They see art as helping them to be stars. D.M.: What changes have you seen in one year? V.V.: Some of them figured that I was weak and too nice and that it would be easy to overcome me and make me do things or obtain favors. I had to overcome that too. it still is going on because they are not sure how firmly I can step in and make a decision and show authority. They have been testing me and even setting traps for me so they could denounce me as weak or unknowledgeable. They are a very tough company - almost like a gang. [Note: My emphasis]
  14. I recently bought a collection of Dance Magazine issues from 1978. The November 1978 issue contains an interview with Violette Verdy reflecting on her first season (1977-78) as Director of Dance at the Paris Opera. Verdy's comments are interesting because some of the issues she faced are the same ones Benjamin Millepied faced 35 years late:. D.M.: When you accepted this position, did you know the problems that were involved? V.V.: Yes, but there is nothing like the reality of a situation to make you see how much of a problem it is, and they did not give me the means to make changes. Without making a real change in the situation, for instance, in the union and the union rules, without throwing out the dancers who are not very good any longer or who have a bad attitude, I had to deal with what was there without being able to really accomplish a change. So, I had to find a means of making the change. D.M.: In what ways do you find that American companies differ from the Paris Opera Ballet? V.V.: We have a very stratified company at the Paris Opera, which makes it difficult to use dancers from one category in another. Also there are too many dancers. It is very hard to preserve a unity of spirit because of that, so I have not been able to act as freely as if I had gone into an American company. They are not unified because they do not have one permanent choreographer. They are dependent on different styles and choreographers which, in a way, makes them versatile but does not predispose them mentally to a foreign director. I will post more highlights in successive days!
  15. Happy Birthday to Norma Shearer, born this day in 1902! With fellow M-G-M star Joan Crawford in 1959: http://www.joancrawfordbest.com/59joannormawaldhwood.htm
  16. Single tickets were supposed to go on sale in August but -- no surprises here -- the Harris Theater has cancelled the February 4th-6th, 2021 run of Le Parc: https://www.harristheaterchicago.org/tickets/2020-2021-season/paris-opera-ballet/tab/summary
  17. I knew it was coming and yet there was the part of me that thought she would live forever. As cousin Miriam in Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte: "His pure, darling little girl was having a dirty little affair with a MARRIED MAN!!!" Classic
  18. I've been rereading Pauline Koner's autobiography, Solitary Song, this summer. The chapter on Doris Humphrey is unintentionally revealing regarding the disappearance of the Humphrey repertory. As I read along, I kept a tally of the dances Humphrey created from 1946-1958 and Koner mentions: Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Meijas (1946) Day on Earth (1947) Corybantic (1948) Invention (1949) Night Spell (1951) Fantasy and Fugue (1952) Ritmo Jondo (1953) Ruins and Visions (1953) Felipe el Loco (1954) Airs and Graces (1955) Theatre Piece No. 2 (1956) Dance Overture (1957) Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (1958) The last time the Limon company performed any of these dances was in 2006, when Day on Earth and Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Meijas were revived. The latter was supposed to be revived in excerpt perform this summer but, other than that, the Humphrey repertory is non-existent at Limon.
  19. The circumstances involving the New Rock City Ballet and the "non-renewed" corps members in 2008 involved two unique circumstances: (1) a roster that had grown much too large and wasn't experiencing the yearly churn it needed to make room for new dancers fresh out of the school, and (2) the Great Recession of that year. While I don't think it was literally untrue that the company was experiencing financial difficulties in 2008. I believed then (as I do now) that the Great Recession gave Peter Martins cover to do something he wanted to do anyway: get rid of a number of corps members who weren't fitting into his plans or weren't working out generally.
  20. Christopher Wheeldon has choreographed an online version of Bolero for the Royal Ballet: Personally, I think the credit should read, 'A New Work by Christopher Wheeldon - Inspired by Maurice Bejart'.
  21. From an October 1971 Dance Magazine review of American Ballet Theatre's revival of Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet: "Antony Tudor's 'Romeo and Juliet,' first performed in 1943 and revived several times since, is more literary in tone than either the MacMillan or Cranko versions. It is Shakespeare with the passion muted. The ballet is part modern, part classical, in orientation, giving us pockets of common body language as well as passages of lyrical dance. The other versions lean more on spectacle and their style is operatic. Then, there is the difference in scores. The music of Frederick Delius for the Tudor version is delicate where Prokofiev's is enraptured. it is also less urgent and sweeping than its Russian counterpart. Tudor is concerned with the essential elements of the story, so parts of the plot are either condensed or altered. He eliminates Juliet's journey to the friar's cell and has her take the potion in her bedroom after her parents force her to marry Paris. There is little banter between Romeo and his friends. Tudor foregoes a full-blown pas de deux for the balcony scene and instead has the suspicious nurse unknowingly interrupt the tete-a-tete between the lovers. The scene thus reinforces the sense of pervasive interference and makes their triumph over unfavorable odds more cogent. He also draws on the play within a play motif by having two girls sit downstage off to the side and observe most of the action. They are disinterested parties much as the Veronese duke is in the other versions." ABT performed at the New York State Theater from July 22-August 8, 1971. The two pairs of leads for Romeo and Juliet were Carla Fracci/Ivan Nagy and Natalia Makarova/John Prinz.
  22. Sarasota Ballet has announced its 30th anniversary season for 2020-21: https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/subscribe-30th-anniversary-season Program 1 - October 23-25, 2020 George Balanchine - Donizetti Variations Ricardo Graziano - Amorosa Paul Taylor - Company B Program 2 - November 20-21, 2020 Frederick Ashton's Birthday Offering and Dante Sonata David Bintley's The Spider's Feast Program 3 - December 18-19, 2020 Frederick Ashton - Romeo & Juliet Program 4 - February 26-March 1, 2021 Peter Darrell - Othello Will Tuckett - Changing Light Yet to be announced third ballet Program 5 - March 26-27, 2021 George Balanchine - Serenade Mark Morris - The Letter V Kenneth MacMillan - Elite Syncopations Program 6 - April 9-10, 2021 The Sarasota Ballet Presents Mark Morris Dance Group Program 7 - April 30–May 1, 2021 Agnes de Mille - Fall River Legend Ninette de Valois - Checkmate Bronislava Nijinska - Les Biches
  23. Yes, it is disappointing given that those Humphrey works don't have much of an active life outside of the festival circuit. That being said, I'm more concerned about the fate of smaller companies like Limon. Sadly, I think we're going to see a lot of companies disappear before all this is over.
  24. After four seasons as artistic director of the Limon Company, Colin Connor is departing the company. Former Limon dancer Dante Puleio will be the new director. He is the sixth artistic director in the company's history after Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, Ruth Currier, Carla Maxwell and Colin Connor.
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