Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Amy Reusch

Senior Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Amy Reusch

  1. If her repertoire included Aurora, wouldn't that qualify her as a ballerina? (Honest question).
  2. Another Thank You... the photos were fascinating and unlike others I had seen of St. Denis, and I would never have come across them not being in the habit of researching St. Denis. One of the reasons I adore Ballettalk is being exposed to work like yours.
  3. I'm very sorry to hear this... he was kind of a father figure for ballet in Chicago.. continuing Ruth Page's legacy running the huge Chicago Tribune Nutcracker. A great loss for Chicago.
  4. I think that would depend on the focus. Dance doesn't have to be in a leotard to be a valid piece of art, and yes there is technique involved in fabric manipulation. One of the oddest surprises for me was to hear that when St. Denis toured the Far East with her dancers was that she was very successful there. I thought that with the real thing available, the public would have shied away from a Western take on it... but have been informed that at the time very few of the general population actually got to see the temple dancers and indian classical dancers, and they were delighted to be entertained by St. Denis. Have to run before finishing this thought...
  5. I think St. Denis taught Humphrey a great deal about the manipulation of fabric as an element of the dance... and there are several Humphrey works that show this influence: Air for the G String, Grieg Concerto (which I regularly mix up with With My Red Fires), Valse Caprice?, Quasi Waltz, and of course Soaring... You see no Denishawn influence? Noy orientalism but fabric manipulation. Remember, St. Denis was originally a skirt dancer. Also, I suspect St. Denis taught them a great deal about how to bear themselves elegantly... I think this was what the Hollywood starlets were sent to her to learn... carriage.
  6. I think the director is always leading the audience. When they're good, you don't realize you're being lead... it's usually when they make mistakes that you notice someone is choosing camera shots. Usually the problem is simple ignorance, it's not frequently possible for the director & operators to have a strong knowlege of shooting dance, or if they do a lot of archival dance work to have much practice (with trial & error) of catching a particular piece in a particular theater with several cameras. Budgets do exist after all. There's a degree of improvisation often in the camerawork, and sometimes it's on... and sometimes it's off... just as with all improvisation situations... Also, it's quite possible for a director to notice something and then try too hard to "set it off" for the viewer, just as it is possible for a dancer to do the same thing with a piece of choreography by "over dancing" it. Another thing is, what looks good on one medium (say a small black & white viewfinder) might not register the same way on a large color screen... I think HD must be tremendously freeing for videographers... both in the possible closeness of the wide shot, and in the level of detail that is retained. (With that detail is often a great deal of nuance.)
  7. I believe that St. Denis sported snowy white hair when she was older... perhaps you are misreading "white" as "blonde"? The costume moves beautifully, it seems she was always very careful with the way her costumes moved... (I'm not really on a costume kick, though it's beginning to sound like it...)
  8. Okay... I guess what I'm trying to say is my understanding was that Horst started out our mothers of modern dance on a path of analyzing choreography as if it were simple music theory; started them down the pathway of considering the underlying structure of choreography. That Cunningham, etc. totally rejected tying steps to music doesn't mean he totally rejected structure. I believe he actually had to involve a lot of structure to support his chance operations. To say that because someone took the theory several steps further or even in a different direction is not to say that artist was on a totally different non-intersecting path... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Horst
  9. The internet still makes my jaw drop... thanks for the lovely link. Reminds me of how St. Denis tried to leave her costumes to UCLA (I think I have this story right, but my memory is always suspect... I heard it from Karoun Tootikian, but again my memory is like that old party game "telephone")... she left her costumes to the dance department at UCLA, but years later Karoun came in and discovered them thrown all over the floor of the girl's locker room and felt they were not being respected (as is possibly imaginable, UCLA having gone past St. Denis in the direction of world dance) ... and perhaps pulled the archive? Not sure where it now resides, but surely the fibers must be beginning to fail? Silk is strong, but... ? If moderators have to delete this as not official press release info, please leave in my question: Where are the St. Denis costumes now?
  10. I wish someone knowledgeable here would talk more about the influence St. Denis' school, and in particular, Louis Horst's influence. I do see traces of St. Denis in Graham & Humphrey, though I believe they took elements of her decorative style and used it almost as costuming on a movement vocabulary imbued with deeper meaning and motivation. Interestingly enough the next generation revolted against that deeper meaning but went on to explore choreographic structure further... so, if St. Denis and her music visualization exercises with her music director Louis Horst teaching dance composition could be seen as a catalyst, you could trace this approach to dance down through to today's choreographers... even contemporary ballet choreographers.... not that they use her choreographic style by any means (and I do think she was best at creating vehicles for her personal performance mystique than at creating choreographic works that survived her retirement), but by employing Horst she started the first serious study of dance composition in this country... the vestiges of which are probably still taught in university dance departments around the world.
  11. 4mrdncr, we must all obey our muse, but I disagree about the diagonal shots... I find they distort the choreography (unless the choreographer tends not to think proscenium, which is indeed sometimes the case) and use them only when I want to use a wide shot but it's too wide... or would like to show the relationship between two dancers splitting the stage. They're nice for shooting counterpoint. (I must however offer the disclaimer that having retired before the advent of HDTV I don't know what works best on the wide aspect ratio.) I usually prefer a single central camera using mobile framing to direct attention to the disorientation of side angle cameras point-of-view jumping the audience to different seats in the theater. BUT, if we're talking shooting dance designed for filming rather than for the stage, then yes... please... diagonal shots, with close-up in foreground and full view in background. My biggest complaint about most dance filming is that the directors rarely to look at the choreography, but only at the dancers. If one looks at the choreography, sometimes a close-up is called for, sometimes a wide shot, sometimes a medium close-up, etc... shooting blind to the choreographic intent gets boring to watch after a certain number of minutes...
  12. For me, the Septet imagery was evocative of Matisse's Dance @ MoMA.... I remember as a young bunhead seeing a photo of Septet in Dance Magazine and thinking perhaps modern dance had something to it after all... (young idiot!)... how we pry the brain out of it's habits...
  13. ' I'm now struggling to imagine movement outside time and space... seriously, and with all due respect (because I'm pretty sure Cunningham can imagine movement outside time and space)... I must be overlooking something obvious?
  14. Your are correct to say that David Lichine's version of The Prodigal Son " did not do so well" as the Balanchine version, but that does not mean that it was not a successful work. It was well received by critics on three continents. I would absolutely concede that he did not have the talent of Balanchine, but then, he didn't have that group of highly influential good old Harvard boys behind him as Balanchine did to cushion his journey. You are absolutely right... I spoke without having seen the piece and based my judgement on the survival of Balanchine's. I stand corrected.
  15. Myrtha in Prodigal Son with one of Madge's scarves? ... and, ahem.. it's nowhere near warm enough to be August yet.
  16. Yes, when it happens, I always wonder what has been said to entice the move... not to mention that it must be hard to get back into the corps mindset... It would make more sense to move to a different company of the same level, wouldn't it? Perhaps ballet is such a small world that it is difficult to move to another company? Perhaps it is easier to go to another country?
  17. It's not the first time this has happened, that a principal elsewhere joins ABT's corps. I think the hope is that they will rise up through ABT and get to perform beyond their old regional area. Also, I don't know if this plays into it much, but principals don't get to dance as much....
  18. I don't know if this is noted elsewhere, but there's a nice slideshow of the Australian Ballet's tribute (Les Sylphides, Petrushka & a new Firebird) http://www.australianballet.com.au/main.taf?p=4,1,1,1,12
  19. I'm willing to say that Fokine had more influence on the first half of the 20th century, but surely Balanchine had more influence on the 2nd half. Would we have had Forsythe without Balanchine? Now whether his influence will be significant in the 21st century, I'm not sure ballet is still moving in the same direction. Who are Ashton's descendents? Wheeldon? Moving Pictures? Perhaps tellingly, the other Prodigal Son with the exact same costumes and exact same music and perhaps the same dancers (?) did not do as well.... ?
  20. Thank you Ilya, I was truly at a loss at the walking-without-wings point... I was not seated close and was off on the side, which may have interfered with my understanding of what was happening. I guess fluttering the hands would be like an attempt to fly. Also, the lighting probably looked very different from where I sat, certainly Airs was not too dim... but I know from times of watching the same producton (not this one) from several different seats in the house, that light bounces back at the audience very differently depending on the angle one sits from the stage, so won't disagree with those who perhaps sat in better seats. I have a poor memory, but, I remember thinking Gurn was doing a much better job as suitor of Effie, and wondered why James didn't even notice she had entered the room... it didn't seem like he was being drawn away from his preoccupying thoughts of the sylph, but that he was simply unaware, which was weird considering the commotion of her entrance. Also, the mother seemed such a bit part, I didn't understand why she was given such a large distinction in the bows... perhaps the part is made more of in other productions? One other thing I remember being different... the placement of the chair by the fire and the disappearing under the scarf... I remember the lighting singling out James & the fire more in the opening, and almost that the chair was more center.. not necesarily center stage, but not so far to stage right (perhaps this perception was influenced by my obscured view from hosue left?). The way Cornejo tautly stretched the shawl over the chair was very suspicious. I remember it being much more surprising that the sylph wasn't there when the shawl was snatched away... that we fully expected her to be revealed at that moment (and I don't think this was just because I was a child at the time). I notice Effie make something of there being the scarf on the chair under the shawl, but it didn't really make strong theatrical sense. I'm wondering if in the earlier production, one "saw" a body under the folds of the shawl, which when the shawl was snatched away was revealed to be the scarf James had presented Effie earlier? Also, one moment amongst the sylphs struck me as awkward... where the two are dancing with the corps, but perhaps each principal on quarter mark, when it finishes, they come together again, but there's this kind of awkward moment when she sort of scoots back over to him so they both can be center... it was like the choreographer had two images mind and never quite figured out how to make the transition between the two... felt very disjunct and sheepish. A question for anyone who remembers the 1970s ABT setting... were there huge spiderwebs stretched across the stage? There was a nice dark spiderweb hard set in this current production, but I remember something white and silk-ish... (or am I remembering some other production?). My childhood memories were that Madge's world was much more haunting ... Thank you. Jared Matthews and Gemma Bond are certainly names worth remembering.
  21. How different are the various Madges? Is there much room for improvisation? Our Gurn was very danseur noble when he wasn't trying to indicate that James was a flake. I didn't mind a little levity, but perhaps "tragically has lost his mind" is better than "flakey lunatic"? He isn't supposed to be Alain in Fille after all.
  22. I am very jealous. I did so very much want to see Hallberg dance James. Alas for cast changes. But it was nice to see Cornejo. You make a good case for different costumes.
  23. And I very much liked seeing Airs beforehand too... I was worried about there being a modern dance piece, programing wise... It must be very tricky to pick something to put on the bill with La Sylphide. Boston Ballet put Serenade, and I didn't like that (the programming, not the ballet, of course!). I wished Serenade had come on after Sylphide as sort of an encore. But Airs was nice... different enough but lyrical enough to set the mind up for it. I couldn't identify the dancers (not familiar enough to be able to do that), but some were excellent. I felt the men were very effective at sensing the lines, except in some of the partnering... it seemed as if there hadn't been enough rehearsal of the lifts or that they were very different from how they had been trained.. there would be this momentary glitch of effort hoisting the girls up that broke the dynamics... but otherwise the men carried the line up into the air beautifully... made consider how balletic Paul Taylor's choreography was and wonder why some people are against ballet dancers being asked to add modern pieces to their repertoire. One tall blond female just didn't seem to get it though... one could imagine her thinking "what?! What? I'm making the shape! What do you want? God I hate this stuff" without ever getting the sense of how the choreography was drawing lines out through space... It was a fascinating study in how closely one could do attempt the steps and shapes but still not succeed in dancing the choreography. On the other hand, one of the shorter dark haired dancers was so apt in the piece that one would think she came to ABT out of Taylor's company. What pieces have other companies put on the bill with La Sylphide?
  24. I saw the Wednesday evening performance and was thrilled. Osipova's floating quality was perfect... She truly has it down... those back sweeping cabrioles (?) in the first scene seemed as if she were being manipulated by the Foy Brothers... without warning she just swept up & back, no discernible effort... so like floating... And I was so happy with the Bruhn staging after seeing Boston Ballet's a few years ago. This is much more the ballet I remember seeing 40 years ago as a child... the setting was so beautiful. Unlike Macaulay, I liked the light tartans and the even the beautiful empire dresses (followed the "if we can't see a dancer's legs, make the costume gorgeous" rule). How annoying not to have the program handy... Who was the handsome Gurn? (I kind of agreed with Madge, Effie deserved him rather than James). He had very noble stage presence, something I was missing in Cornejo's carriage, though I loved his flights, of course, he just didn't seem like the laird of the keep... and the walking was so preoccupied with whether his feet technically pointed..? picky picky picky I get when the dancers are world class! And Effie was gorgeous and perfectly cast... (Who was this? I'd love to see her in any acting role, Tudor, Sleeping Beauty? R&J?)... so nice to see a dancer who can act. Gurn was a hoot whenever he described James running about the woods like a lunatic... very effective. Karl Barbee as Madge was thoroughly enjoyable too. Say, what was that circle he draws on the floor with his staff in Act one? Very curiously intentional, but I didn't quite follow. Also, was he spooling out spiders at the beginning of the 2nd act? I do miss that wonderful pas de trois in the Paris Opera version, where the Sylph is unseen by Effie, is that in none of the Bournonville descendent versions? The scarf was far closer to what I remembered from my childhood and missed in the Boston production, but still not quite as airy as I remembered... almost, but not quite. I suppose there was some special material back then that Bruhn insisted on? Now, though I adored Osipova, and the ABT staging I did have some gripes with the 2nd Act drama scenes. My companion came away not quite getting why the Sylph died... I don't know where the problem lay but that's kind of the crux of the whole ballet, isn't it? I couldn't tell when the Sylph stole the ring that she had done so, and I was looking for it.... I'm not sure whether this was due to Cornejo's reaction or what... I didn't like the lighting of the ending... perhaps it was my view from one of the side boxes, but it was odd seeing James lying there on the wide flat stage... I think I wanted everything to shrink down to just him & Madge? It was weak instead of the powerful moment it should have been. I think McKensie should fine those two sylphs with the noisy pointe shoes... for what reason would they need hard shoes in this ballet? Totally blows the moment to hear them land clank clank... what is going on there? ( That was my only fault of Gurn as well, that he missed some finesse in the landing of those Bournonville style grand jetes... but I have faith he can learn) Back to the ending... I didn't quite get why Osipova flutters her wrists rather than trembling her fingers as immortality leaves her... is it from the Bolshoi coaching? Is it so that it reads in that huge theater? And the Now Suddenly I'm Blind! scene seemed to lack sense... Surely the ladies of the romantic era were very familiar with the symptoms of fainting... how ones vision starts to swirl with shadows... one didn't get the sense her vision was signaling loss of consciousness to the Sylph but that suddenly Osipova was clumsy with blindness... lose wings=instant blindness... it wasn't a lightheaded dizzy blindness it was a "someone turned the lights off now where am I" blindness. Other picky-picky things about our new legend? (I hope she inspires a whole new trend in ballerinas!!) the little wind up for easy little turns... doesn't seem appropriate for the effortless sylph quality, and it's not like she was launching into triple Petipa fouettes here.. it was incongruous... Oh, and I guess the whole hand consciousness thing... one would want them light and without melodramatic affect but she seemed to use her fingers from that school of ballerinas who appear to have had their knuckles rapped once too many times by a nun... a little too limp & lifeless in the first act... could have just saved this for after the scarf. OK, no more picky-picky... But Osipova! But oh Osipova! One gets a sense of what seeing Nijinsky must have been like! Seemed a great loss that there were any empty seats... I wish everyone could have seen this performance. I could have clapped ovation another 15 minutes, but my hands had gone numb.
  • Create New...