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Everything posted by redbookish

  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!
  15. Oh, how sad ... and 79 is not really that old nowadays. I can take or leave The French Lieutenant's Woman, but I found The Magus infuriating & fascinating ...
  16. But please be aware of copyright issues, and fair dealing with (hard working/starving) artists' works! There's guidance to this on the "other" ballet board - ballet.co.uk where they are very strict about linking to sites where photographs are plagiarised or used without the photographer's permission.
  17. My main point was that Mr Ahnlund should have resigned at the point of awarding the prize last year. That he didn't strikes me as perhaps rather unprincipled - cowardly? sulky possibly? And, for me at least, I'm afraid that there's a suspicion in that critique of 'reasons more ideological than literary' that smacks of misogyny in its uncanny similarity to criticisms made of women's art in many fields since the year dot - which (reductively) basically proceed from the assumption that women's work is not, nor cannot be, art in the same way that men's work is. (Think of Robert Southey's advice to Charlotte Bronte for example). And suspiciously misogynist is the view that that any celebration of women's writing is 'ideological' - particularly any celebration of women's writing which - heaven forfend! - might be feminist in tone - as Jellinek's certainly is (or at least in the English translations I have read). But maybe I'm just a suspicious feminist ?
  18. Press reporting of the Nobel juror's resignation here in Britain (sorry, can't give the exact reference, but I think it was the Guardian, which is my regular paper, so probably where I read it) suggests that this particular juror was also unhappy with the decision to award the Nobel this year to Harold Pinter, but was bound by confiodentiality rules, so chose for his dissent over last year's winner to become public ... However, his public dissent comes across as rather grumpy and probably misogynist. FWIW, I think both choices are excellent, and celebrate challenging bodies of work by both writers.
  19. I was supervising a PhD student in a dance history/theory thesis and she wrote about the Trocks really interestingly as preserving a version of ballet history through their work - she read through the parody to see what they identified as the quintessential qualities of the pieces they do and the styles they work in. Danced history ...
  20. This news comes from the Akram Khan Co website. Should be very exciting.
  21. Oh yes, I saw her dance a lot when I lived in Sydney & had (could afford!!) a subscription to the AB. I always enjoyed her dancing - very sharp and fast - although, I'm afraid, MinkusPugni, I don't think she was the best dancer Australia has produced :blush: - or rather, her style wasn't so much to my taste. I preferred Christine Walsh, and Elizabeth Toohey. And of course, their regular male dancing partners! To my mind, Kelvin Coe was one of the very best in Australia & the world. The AB's recording of Giselle shows the beauty of his partnership with Christine Walsh. And Liz Toohey & David McAllister were just amazing to watch. IMO (and it's just my opinion), the decision by the AB's AD at the time, Maina Gielgud, and other artistic staff, to limit what Toohey & McAllister did together - to all intents & purposes sidelining Ms Toohey and breaking up a wonderful partnership, was such a misjudgement ... But Fiona Tonkin shared with a lot of Australian-trained and/or employed in Australia dancers particular quialities of energy, attack, and a sheer physicality that makes Australian dancers (and actors, actually - thinkof Geoffrey Rush) immediately recognisable world wide. The AB in the late 1970s and 80s was a marvellous company - whatever Gielgud did that I would take issue with (the Toohey/McAllister thing for example) she pulled the company together and gave it a precision, and an artistry and a repertoire that made it very exciting to see.
  22. What an interesting question! It's a tricky one, because professional ethics and collegiality are involved - in most professions, it's usually very uncollegial to criticise publicly your management etc. However, there's a different background to this in the classical ballet world, because dancers (until relatively recently) were expected to have bodies but not brains throughout their training. I mean brains in terms of things other than dance! Yet in all the other arts, we don't expect or encourage, say actors or painters, to be uninformed about the arts, the world, politics and so on - quite the reverse. But dancers are expected not to speak (and all that that implies in terms of voicing opinions). So I wonder whether given these circumstances it is OK for dancers to be rather less deferential than they used to be! In thinking about this question, I'm remembering the dancers' strike at the Australian Ballet, and the way that dancers had to find strong and political voices, very quickly, and the changes that occurred because of that (I saw the results of this at relatively close quarters). Whereas before the strike the atmosphere at the AB tended to be one of dance and don't ask questions (at times a regime based on something akin to fear), afterwards, some of the dancers found public voices and personae beyond the stage, and, I think, became better artists for it. I'm thinking of Kelvin Coe, for example - one of my all time favourite dancers, who seemed to grow a deeper maturity after the dancers' strike. Of course, this is my interpretation - I couldn't say how Mr Coe himself felt about the strike & he did return to the AB after a time.
  23. What is wonderful is to see the film, then spend a day (or three) in the Hermitage, and then see the film again. Last time I was in the Hermitage I'd just seen the DVD of the film, and it added even more ghosts to those wonderful rooms. I really recommend watching the film again (or seeing it on DVD) if you're going to Petersburg.
  24. bart, in the UK the distinctions between "ballet" and "dance" are just as a number of people have already identified. But add to that a strong experimental performance culture in which contemporary dance and physical theatre (and note the UK use of "contemporary" rather than "modern") are quite central - there is a tendency to call a whole variety of things "performance" rather than "dance" or "theatre" (as in play) - it's all theatre in the end!
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