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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Performing arts academic & adult dance student
  • City**
    Birmingham UK
  1. Today, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a wonderful programme following Crystal Pite's choreographic process in making her new piece for the Royal Ballet, Flight Paths. You can hear it on the Radio iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ynq1q It's called "Behind the Scenes" and it was broadcast on Radio 4 at 9am today (Tuesday 25th July). In my experience, it is possible to listen to BBC Radio overseas (I certainly stream it when in the US), so it should be possible to listen to this - it's very very interesting.
  2. Dr Jane Pritchard will be in conversation with Monica Mason in the February lecture of the Society for Theatre Research lecture series. It's on 7th February, 2017 19:30 at the Swedenbourg Hall in Bloomsbury (just off Bloomsbury Way. (Nearest Tubes are Holborn or Russell Square). They'll be discussing Dame Monica's long career, culminating in her directorship of the Royal Ballet. Many of you will know Jane from her marvellous curation of the V&A Ballet Russes exhibition - she's an ideal expert to draw out the best from Dame Monica. The event is free, open to members & non-members - and they're generally a pretty friendly bunch (although I won't be there - it's too far from home on a week night when I have to teach). If you can't be there in person, the STR organises a livestream of each lecture on YouTube. For those of you not in the UK, the talk is probably around 14:30 East Coast time. I think there's an archived set of live stream talks on the STR YouTube channel. There's usually a relaxed atmosphere and the chance to meet the speaker informally over coffee and biscuits afterwards. It's always a good night - the STR brings together a broad range of performance experts and enthusiasts. Full details here on the STR's website: http://www.str.org.u...ures/index.html
  3. Many thanks, rg. That is a really helpful list of sources. It is as I suspected and there isn't a neat source I can cite, so as to be able to get on with the rest of my argument. Scholarship was ever thus! Indeed, it'll go into my store of research ideas to follow up, particularly as I hope to have the opportunity to work with the V&A on a related project in the future.
  4. I wonder if experts here can direct me to sources they've found useful on the development of the technology of the pointe shoe? I've read Ivor Guest and other standard histories of the Romantic ballet. Guest mentions in a very brief way, that the block of the pointe shoe didn't emerge until the 1880s alongside the development of the Imperial/classical ballet technique. I've also read the online sources such as the useful (but with no cited references)Gaynor Minden potted history of the pointe shoe. I also had a really good close look at the pointe shoe on display as part of the V&A's Ballet Russes exhibition last year. However, for a book chapter I'm writing, on the pantomime fairy and the technology of pantomime specatcle in relation to the female performer's body, I'm being led inexorably & pleasurably towards the Romantic ballet, and La Sylphide and Giselle, and I find I'd like to get some good sources on the actual nuts and bolts of when, where, and how what we know as today's pointe shoe emerges. Not asking anyone to tell me, or write this bit of my book chapter for me! I'm diligently searching my institution's library & the British Library. But thought that if there were accessible experts, BalletTalk would be the place!
  5. BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE BALLETS RUSSES A Study Day in conjunction with the exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 At the Victoria & Albert Museum, London Saturday 4 December 2010, in the Lecture Theatre, 10.30-17.00 Programme 10.30 Introduction and welcome Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Geoffrey Marsh (Director of Theatre & Performance, V&A, Co-curator Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929) Coffee The Choreography of Fokine, Njinsky and Nijinska Professor Claudia Jeschke (University of Salzburg) Igor Stravinskys The Firebird and music for the Ballets Russes Gavin Plumley (writer, lecturer and broadcaster) Discussion Lunch Break In Studio and workshop: the making of Ballets Russes productions Jane Pritchard (Curator of Dance, V&A, Co-curator Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929 ) Modernism on Stage: Natalia Goncharova and the Rigid Costume Dr. Anthony Parton (Durham University, Author of Goncharova: The Art and Design of Natalia Goncharova 2010) Tea Léon Bakst, Fashion and Orientalism Clare Rose 16.20 Back on the Stage: the conservation and mounting of a Ballets Russes collection Susanna Hunter and Sam Gatley (Textiles Conservation V&A) End Cost £46, £37 concessions including members of the Society for Dance Research and the Society for Theatre Research and £5 for students . To book call 0207 942 2211 or visit www.vam.ac.uk/tickets and quote Society of Dance Research or Society of Theatre Research to qualify for the concession.
  6. I spent most of Sunday (17th October) at the V&A as well. The Ballet Russes exhibition is worth taking some time over, as it includes a lot of innovative material -- it's not your ordinary exhibition, and includes new art works by digital and film artists as well as the standard archival materials. There were the highlights which are likely to be different for everyone, but I loved the front cloths on display. You got a sense of the scale of the productions from those. Jane Pritchard has done an amazing job, and I know just how hard and long she worked on this exhibit. There's a bit of a political thing here too. The V&A decided to close the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden -- against the wishes of most of the theatre industry -- so this exhibition is part of establishing the performing arts as a major part of the V&A. I just hope it's not a start that never develops! I also attended a couple of events from the Education programme in conjunction with Ballets Russe exhibition and the ENB, called "Rephrasing Ballets Russes." An excellent lecture on Nijinska and Balanchine, ad a delightful demonstration class from entry level students at the ENB School. Very clean technique and control in some lovely young dancers in training. Here's the link to the programme: http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance/diaghilev-ballet-russes/events/index.html
  7. The Society for Theatre Research announced Julie Kavanaugh's biography of Nureyev as one of five shortlisted theatre books for the annual Theatre Book Prize. Alas, it didn't win (the prize was given to Michael Billington's amazing book on the last 30 years of British theatre), but it was a hot favourite. You can read what the judges thought about the five shortlisted books on the Society for THeatre Research website. Mods: not sure if I can post the link, but will if it's permtted.
  8. Julia Kavanagh's biography has been shortlisted for the Society for Theatre Research Book Prize. It's on a shortlist of 5 out of over a hundred book entered this year. The awards ceremony is at Drury Lane on 1st April -- I'l lbe there & shall report results here.
  9. In a recent documentary about the Royal Ballet, Stephen McRae was featured, and was open about being very ambitious. Good to see he's achieving his ambitions.
  10. I saw this production in its first Sydney season live, and found the whole thing an entirely credible and refreshing reinterpretation of the Nutcracker. You have to realise, also, that there isn't the huge tradition of the Nutcracker at Christmas in Australia or the UK to the same extent as it appears to be in the US (from the evidence of this board and BT4D!). Indeeed, I rarely saw the Nutcracker in 20 years of dance spectatorship in Australia. - well, I saw it as frequently or not as any other ballet from the classical repertoire. One of the very moving things about the opening scenes of the original season of Graeme Murphy's re-interpretation was the appearance of Dame Margaret Scott, then recently retired from her headship of the Australian Ballet School, preceded by a pioneering career as a dancer in Australia. A formidable woman (she taught my sister at the ABS & I met her a few times), but still an extraordinary performer and presence in Murphy's production. Live, I didn't find the opening scemnes problematic in their dance content or ability to tell the narrative -- but I've never been the kind of spectator who expects a certain type of performance as "ballet." I appreciate the way choreographers like Murphy and Forsythe (and I'd put them together in what they do & the quality & originality of their work) are re-making ballet through a re-interpretation of the classical repertoire and vocabulary.
  11. Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan were interviewed on the excellent arts programme "Front Row" on BBC Radio 4 on Weds 18th April. You can "LIsten Again" via the BBC Radio 4 web site. Here's the link: Front Row Very interesting interview. Guillem is extremely articulate about her work.
  12. It was announced earlier this week that choreographer Robert North (remember his wonderful Troy Games?) will take over as Ballett Direktor at Krefeld Mönchengladbach (NRW, BDR), after the sudden death of Direktorin, Heidrun Schwaarz. His ballet "Bach" was recently made on the company, and is a wonderful joyous and clever piece, showing the dancers beautifully. Great news for the theatre and ballet company to be working with such a choreographer, particularly after their recent shocking loss of Frau Schwaarz. The press release (in German) can be found here: Robert North
  13. What an interesting topic, and fascinating & thoughtful replies. To me, Alexandra's hit the nail on the head, with her observation that small to medium companies are often headed up & led by women and their vision, but whewn we get to big companies, status, and what sociologist of culture, Pierre Bourdieu, would call "cultural capital" it becomes a "man's job." That's the pattern here in the UK, where through my job, I come into contact with a lot of contemporary & experimental dance makers, most of whom are women, whose companies operate on shoestrings of project-based fiunding - I'm thinking, for example, of the extraordinary work of Charlotte Vincent, with her Vincent Dance. But the telling thing to me is that the question is still able to be posed and able to be answered. Try reversing it, and it's a bit silly - we rarely pose the question of whether men as dancemakers are a threatened species! As the marvellous judge in the US, Patricia J. Williams argued in her Reith Lectures (BBC, 1997), the main privilege of whiteness is not having to think about race issues - by analogy, the main privilege of maleness is not having to think about gender! This is changing slowly, but meanwhile, some old patterns are repeated. And one of them in dance seems to be that women excel as "nurturers" - teachers, assistant ADs (I'm thinking of Janet Vernon's role as co-Director with Graham Murphy in the SDC, for example), coaches, etc - while men are the "leaders" with vision. I suspect that Maina Gielgud didn't fit that model, and trouble ensued, as someone has remarked in this thread already.
  14. Well, here in the UK, contemporary dance is flourishing. There are several established contemporary dance conservatoire schools (eg Northern Contemporary Dance School in Leeds, or Laban in London), and mostvuniversities which offer dance degrees offer them in contemporary dance, with ballet as training, but they're not aiming to produce ballet dancers as such. There are many small experimental companies based around choreographers - some personal favourites include Vincent Dance, Akram Khan, Volcano, Richard Alston Company. And some of these have become very successful, performing in larger and more prominent venues (Russell Maliphant comes to mind). And that's before we start on Europe & some of the extraordinary stufff in Belgium. for example. Of course, there's project-based and ongoing funding, but I wonder if it's more than that. There's a conscious desire to experiment and kick against the mainstream. Perhaps the idea opf "success" is different here than in the States? Also, it's a smaller country, and performers can tour widely. THere are also several very interesting festivals in which dance is prominent. And then there are dance festivals - NottDance (in Nottingham) coming up!
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