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Posts posted by Nanatchka

  1. Alexandra, you founded a cyber-country, and, when the time was right and ripe, handed it over to a parliament. Truly an act of noblesse oblige. We all thank you forever, and I want to add that I am happy to see that you are teaching--and we know you are a wonderful teacher-- the next generation of dancers and dance appreciators. That will be the best way of all to keep ballet alert for all of us. And yes, please, adminstrators, find a way to incorporate Alexandra's name into the site, if she doesn't mind! A reverence, Ballet Alert Mistress, deep and heartfelt. You are taking a curtain call with cyber-roses raining down from all sides, in a theater you built, and filled to the rafters.

  2. The idea of scanning everything and keeping it on CD ROM is right up there with turning base metal into gold. I will do it right after I find the Sorcerer's Stone and the Holy Grail. I have invented several systems, and use none of them. It's sad. I did jettison some inventory, so I have only about fifteen huge plastic storage bins of stuff. Not to mention the stacks on the desk, on the bookshelves, etc. This is depressing. I think I will go read a book. There's one I've been wanting to get to right here in this pile over here. It's an appealing pile--Merce Cunningham's Notes on Choreography, MFK Fisher's Sister Age, Robert Gottlieb's Balanchine....and a lot of programs.

  3. I've watched many prima ballerinas at very close range and being willfull and manipulative would seem to be a sine qua non toward achieving prima status -- along with many other qualities.

    I repeat I have talked to many first hand sources including Edith Le Clercq -- hardly a third hand source.

    I would hardly take Edith Le Clercq as an unbiased source. One's mother has a particular view of one gained over years which include those typically marked by willfullness and manipulation. Further, those qualities may directly be drawn out by a parent, in response to the parental personality. One can draw the conclusion that Madame Mother was speaking to you in confidence, or one can draw the conclusion that she was content to broadcast such remarks about her daughter. [As a last aside, I would just mention that someone who cannot do what she wants to do (dance) or move herself as she chooses (being paralyzed) might understandably develop some compensatory character traits involving will and manipulation, and might particularly feel free to express in the presence of close family. However, I have no knowledge whatsoever about the actual case at hand, other than what I have read and what I saw. In the face of profound frustration, if you want to read her circumstances as such, Tanny was graceful.)]

  4. The Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music is a world class theater, wonderfully run. THey have, by the way, a good restaurant, and excellent informal coffee bars. It is not hard to get to BAM from Manhattan, on the subway, or on the "BAM bus" --you will need reservations through BAM--which you can take from a central location in the city to the theater, and then ride back after the performance. Of course it is extremely convenient to Brooklyn Heights and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. By the way, if you have a car, there is a very good parking at BAM. Last year, the Midsummer Night's Dream that the Propeller Theatre brought to the BAM Harvey was outstanding--one of the best productions of Shakespeare I have ever seen, and one of the most fun. In addition to all the dance I saw there.... In sum, if BAM were the only theater center in a city, it would put it on the cultural map.

  5. Canbelto, Don't give up on Enigma and Liebeslieder, my favorite Ashton and my favorite Balanchine. They will grow on you,because they are beautiful. Nothing to do with the esoteric snobbery at all--I'd say within the Balanchine canon, it's a rather romantic, non-esoteric choice. Ditto the Enigma and Ashton. On the other hand, what's wrong with being an esoteric snob? (I think that what bothers people isn't what one likes, it is one's opinion of what they like. In other words, if I like Balanchine that's okay, but if I think Eifman is a vulgarian, that's esoteric snobbery.)

  6. And then there's Funny Face. Extreme age difference--very young Audrey Hepburn, not very young Fred--but "He Loves and She Loves" is one of the loveliest film moments there is. The model for the Astaire character was Richard Avedon, and the film was mentioned in some of Avedon's obituaries last week. He was on the set with Stanley Donen, advising on the photography aspects (the Astaire character is a fashion photographer).

  7. Merce Cunningham uses chance operations at some point, or points, in the making of every work. It is a variable. He does not make huge amounts of material and edit it down. By the time he goes into the studio to work with his dancers, his work is already mapped out. (His remarkably detailed and complex choreographic notes--charts, sketches, and so forth--- have been published, for instance in his own book, Chances: Notes on a New Choreography.)Sometimes there is a very complex chance mechanisim (numbered squares on stage, chance determining how many dancers which square , as in the dance called Eleven, for the 11 zones into which he demarcated the stage floor in the composition of the work) sometimes less so. (How many enter? How many exit? Upstage, or down? Those sorts of questions. )As for redundancy, I would say that chance operations are the exact opposite of that, and in fact the enemy of habit. Cunningham uses them to open out his work to possibilites he otherwise woudn't see. However, in the course of thinking about chance, it is important to remember that it is Merce casting the dice, or tossing the coins--and as Pasteur said, Chance favors only the prepared mind.

  8. The finale was a re-creation of Merce Cunningham's 1965 opus, How to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run.  It's a lovely exhibit of Cunningham's refined everyday movement and ironic, friendly relations between dancers.  The dancers were as alert and exact as ever.  But the same could not be said for John Cage's sound score, which consists of slightly smug Zen-type jokes and parables, read at a meditative largo by Cunningham himself and David Vaughan.  This was oh so 60s.  Cunningham's work depends on a dynamic interaction between sound and sight, and in 2004 this looked like a mismatch.

    Wonderful to read your report! Though if I might just mildly disagree with one of your points, for the interest of the discussion, I hope you won't mind--I don't think Cunnigham's work DEPENDS on an interaction of any kind with dance and music. That can happen, and if it does it's great, but the work is made in silence, and is fantastic to see in silence. I do agree completely that How To is very much of a place and time. If there's an imbalance in the current rendition, it might have to do with a really split focus--I keep watching the narrators , and having to pull my attention back to the dance. If Cunningham were not the narrator, that might not happen--but it's divine that he is the narrator, isn't it? Are you going to the festival again??? If so, please post again!

  9. I've copied this over from Links for discussion.  I can't imagine ANYONE here who has the SLIGHTEST interest in Cunningham, of course.....  :unsure:

    You rang? The Cunningham company performed at City Center last night and will be in London this week, and then on a six week tour of Great Britain ,in Ocober. The London rep includes a dance called "How to Pass ,Fall ,Kick and Run," about which there's an article in this weeks DanceViewTimes. danceviewtimes

  10. There is no choreographer on the cited list of "artists making recommendations." But there may be on the part of the list unpublished, I guess. As for Dame Joan Sutherland--after so much pleasure from her singing, I cannot object. And she toured American extensively. I don't see why the honors have to be xenophobic, as long as the winner is a contributor to the arts in America. I'd rather see Ingmar Bergman get the award than Warren Beatty....

  11. It's possible. (I mean about the avant garde being in Europe, not about Duato.) But his feeling that Wheeldon is avant-garde makes me dubious about Fonte's definition of "in the vanguard," as he puts it, in the first place. I am also dubious about the notion of avant-garde in ballet. It seems to me that when someone produces something along those lines, it is then deemed "not real ballet." The grand exception is streamlined but technically classical work, but one can hardly call modernism avant-garde. Anyway, come to think of it, do we merely mean "ahead of the next trend" by this term, or do we mean "something new?" If the former, the something could be avant garde and retrograde at the same time. Now, we're getting to Wheeldon...

  12. In deference to Tom's enduring dedication to alt. arts. ballet, I have posted a brief tribute there, which I am also posting below, since so many of his internet friends are found here on Ballet Talk. He was a rare and generous man, and a gallant one.

    With maxima reverentia for our vir eruditissme, our learned man, our dear Tom,

    author of our FAQ, beloved and witty correspondent to many, charming friend to

    the lucky, loving husband to Pat. Our world was more fun with him in it,

    smarter, kinder, more open minded, more scholarly, and more game. I will miss

    him. His devotion to this board was enduring.


  13. It is my understanding that Peter Martins is an extremely effective executive leader, with a strong relationship with his board and funders. I doubt whether some carping from the house or the press really undermines him. As for retiring, why should he? He makes an excellent salary, has a prestigious post, and speaks to the cultural affairs of all of Lincoln Center, and indeed the entire city. He is a commanding presence, and hardly seems headed out to pasture. (I recently saw him coach Apollo, and he seemed more hot than old.)

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