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Everything posted by Nanatchka

  1. Yoo-hoo, Victoria, do you want to play Scarlett? You can have anyone you want for Rhett.
  2. Catch-22 would make a really bad ballet. The language is so wrong. Milo Minderbinder in tights?
  3. And there you have it: These days one goes to the ballet and guys come out in black leather and boots, one thinks,"Oh, this again
  4. Well then I am wrong. The Osbert Lancaster is about the crusades and such. Sorry. I was thinking about this last night in the wee hours, and thank you for the correction. The Lancaster is still terrif. Must check proper title. Sorry again, all. I would blame Edward II--in fact I will. As far as I am concerned, the latch on my washing machine is broken becasue of Edward II....
  5. Cargill cites the marvelous1066 and All That (which I admit was read aloud to me when I was a child, right along with Winnie the Pooh), which is by Osbert Lancaster. It got me thinking about this strange Brit dichotomy--you get Mrs. Tiggle Wiggle, and Dancing Veggies on the one hand, and Men In Masks and Leather and Let's Not Forget the Hot Poker on the other. Is this the same coin, flipped? I hope not, but I wonder.
  6. I take it back. I told Cargill at intermission this ballet (of which I had seen the first act) was the worst thing I had ever seen, but I was wrong. The second act was the worst thing I have ever seen. This ballet has all the vulgarity and misogyny of MacMillan's Manon, taken to a truly staggering extreme. Mind you, there are a lot of other things I don't like much, but this was truly debased. More about the British than I really wanted to know. I leave it to someone less exhausted to figure out how to describe this ballet on line without being offensive.
  7. Darci Kistler is the last of the Balanchine ballerinas, but was never a muse, pe se. That is,someone who inspired the work. By the time she came into the company, the muse days were pretty much over. Of course there were many, tucked in and around the marriages, or meta-marriages: to Tamara Geva, Danilova (never officially married), Vera Zorina (called Brigitte offstage), Tallchief, LeClerq. And Farrell, the never wife. The last great meta wife was Karin Von Aroldingen, Balanchine's last great consoler. The great take over artists in the muse roles have been Maria Calegari, Kyra Nichols, Kistler, and some would say Maria Kowrowski. With them, you see (or saw) the originals floating behind. Terpsichorean pentimento.
  8. You will recall that Manhattnik wasn't sure exactly what entranced Neal in Liebeslieder. Maybe he was happy with his new haircut. It is a kind of Napoleon do--or a George Clooney, though certainly it seems more Bonaparte than ER.
  9. Don't let him fool you. He is a professional writer. (He just knows how to write about computers, too.) The setting in context is superb, isn't it?
  10. If you want to compare a Cunningham work directly to Liebeslieder, which is among my favorite works, August Pace would be a good choice, or another piece with its structure and also its elasticity: A series of duets (in this case with other things transpiritng) of certain yet mysterious import. Liebeslieder is, to me, most like Midsummer within the Balanchine canon. So heady you can just swoon in your seat. In the Midsummer, too, there is a change in tone between the acts, or at least a shift. The Cunningham work most like Midsummer is called Points in Space. Meanwhile, in another part of the forest...or universe....
  11. In the Sleeping Beauty performance I saw with the substitions, Kyra Nichols injured her **foot** in the first act, in which she was Aurora. She in the first intermission **switched** roles with the Lilac Fairy and did the journey through the mist in the boat scene, which is all port de bras (and beautiful ones at that), and then went home. A member of the corps or a soloist, I don't know who--if this is really part of the story above, it would be that dancer--then danced the last part of Lilac, not in the Lilac Costume, but with the wand. Meanwhile, the former Act One Lilac Fairy, who was I think Valentina Kozlova, danced Aurora. I also saw that Peter Boal substition, from the fourth row. One just sat there in disbelief....For some reason I think he was dancing in his socks, but it couldn't be. Maybe it was just the wrong socks. I also remember it being Soto not Hubbe, which shows my memory should be supplemented by my program collection. [This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited January 25, 2000).]
  12. Hey, Mel, the Drama School could have built that stage *without* the engineering department....and at least you didn't bomb in New Haven.
  13. Very interesting Leigh, but: do we have any reason to believe Balanchine saw Ib dance Bournonville before making Mozartiana? When ? Where? The Danes gave him many wonderful dancers (although in turn the homegrown crew doesn't take well to Bournonville, from the scanty evidence), and long before Ib had knew what they could do, I suspect. Note: Maria Calegari was absolutely beautiful in Mozartiana, taking over from Farrell. In her first performance, she evoked Suzanne so powerfully you could see both ballerinas at once. Onward to Liebeslieder! Please, may it be what it should be.
  14. Concerning Paul W's post: While contemplating Balchine's "relationships and use of women" in his life is perhaps interesting biographically and psychologically (Moira Shearer in her odd Balanchine bio is especially trenchant in her observations about the "wives"), it is not really germane to liking or not liking the ballets. There is in them no display or suggestion of abuse of women in any way, unless deification is abusive. I think there are choreographers whose attitudes towards women are utterly and dismayingly clear in some if not all of their work ("The Cage" by Robbins being a case in point), but this is *in the work,* not something one learns in researching the life. In other words, you don't have to think Mr. B. was stellar date night material to think he was a stellar choreographer.
  15. Thank-you for your interesting recasting of your "yucky" remark, Steve. I think it illuminates two different ways of writing criticism.(This being a public venue. In private conversation, anything goes, of course.) Were the ballerina in question to read your first post, she would simply have to regard herself asyucky. Were she to read your amendment,she would understand something about how she appeared in performance to a seasoned eye. I personally will say anything about a choreographer that I feel impelled to, ditto about theater directors and artistic directors. They are their ship's captains, and they ought to sink with them. (Although may a director has taken the heat for an intransigent actor not of his own choosing, and many a dim bulb has shone bright under a director's invisible hand.) Towards perfomers I usually feel much more kind-hearted. Whatever it is, they have to go out there and do it, and wear it! [This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited October 05, 1999).]
  16. It depends on what he means by "yucky. " "Yucky "seems to me--and mind you I have no business objecting to a passionate fan's visceral reactions, when you get right down to it, do I?--to be an indictment of the person, not the performance, being an indication of *disgust*. Without further unrequested line editing of my distinguished friend Mr. Keeley's interesting post (with which, mind you, I am not in disagreement), I will say only that I found myself feeling sorry for the ballerina. I would always prefer that one criticize performing rather than being. This comes from knowing devastated actresses who have fallen prey to the wasp-sharp barbs of John Simon.
  17. First, in answer to the (rhetorical) question "Isn't Balanchine all about legs?" how can one not quote Arlene Croce? "The arabesque is real, the leg is not." Second--about the opening of this thread-- Steve, I must be getting old or something, BUT: I think your not liking Miranda Weese the dancer is interesting, as are your reasons, but I must say I don't think it is fair to take it ad feminam and call her "yucky." Third, a question: are those little red emoticons with the closed eyes and open mouths little red screams or little red yawns? [This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited October 03, 1999).]
  18. This is all very interesting, and I am taken with the discussion, tangential I admit, about men looking as if they are dancing in their underwear. I have long thought that myself--you know, the leads wear the poet shirt or the bolero jacket or whatever, and then NO PANTS. I can suspend my disbelief as readily as the next person (maybe even more, I am horribly susceptible), but I am almost always taken out of context by this. I think the problem is that *all* the men are not wearing just tights. Thus, since everyone else is wearing trousers, or sailor pants, or pantaloons, or whatever, the lead seems to have forgotton to finish dressing. It is the mixed metaphor which is confusing. They all should wear their underwear. Consistency is useful in fantasy. .
  19. No Jane, it isn't important in the sense that British is better/worse, only interesting that we are discussning British bios of a British choreographer. Perhaps the different approaches reflect a generational shift, come to think of it. The old Britian, and the new. The same shift as in the public deportment of the royal family. And Alexandra, while of course I admire and appreciate David Vaughn's recognition of the public/private distinction, I am also frustrated because he knows soooo much that I would like to know myself. Nosy of me.
  20. Interesting comparison to the Quentin Bell Woolf bio, which I read when it came out and found fascinating. What I loved about it and remember best was Bell's (Vanessa's son, Virginia's newphew) correction of his most detested apprehension about his aunt: that she was a gloomy, moody person-- Of course one thinks that because of her illness and final suicide--but he pointed out that he always found her very merry and a great deal of fun. (So interesting to see how she acted when with the children, no?)Julie K. only knew Ashton late in life, and her point of view is not comprehensive at first hand, yet she, too, gives one the feeling of knowing the private, real Ashton, in various circumstances. This is not something everyone desires.It didn't help me understand the dances better. I just got to know Sir Fred better. I like to read books all at once, but this one is better in bits, I think. [And yes, David Vaughn's (another English person, say what?) works are invaluable dance histories, admirable indeed, and of great use to those already interested in a topic.I would not, however, describe them as enticing reads. Very proper, dry as toast.} [This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited June 29, 1999).]
  21. Mary, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your interview with Lynn Garafola in Ballet Alert, and your additional commentary here. So nice to go to the exhibit prepared! And interesting to see what Lynn considered most interesting herself.
  22. Instead of criteria, might I offer some questions I ask about a performance? Sometimes I might answer one in a review, sometimes all of them: What was done? Was it done well? Was it worth doing? What does it remind me of? How does it connect and to what? With a master choreographer's new piece: How does this piece fit into the sceheme of the total work? As for the critic, I like Victoria Leigh's method for silencing a potentially bothersome airplane seat mate: "I am a dance critic." It does tend to shut down a room, a dinner table, you name it. I wonder what you all think the role of the critic is.... (Some of you answer this in an adjacent thread, I have since found.)I think the role of the critic, to quote the wonderful late art critic John Candaday, "is to clarify, intensify, and enlarge the pleasure people take in seeing art." And, of course, to take the occasional revenge on Bad Art. [This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited April 19, 1999).]
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