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Everything posted by Nanatchka

  1. I have used this quotation in writing about Merce Cunningham. Same deal, but substitute "viewer" for "reader." It's an interesting correspondence.
  2. http://www.westportmagazine.com/archive/02...ugo_Fiorato.htm This is a link to a profile of Hugo Fiorato written by David Rosenberg. You only get the first two paragraphs without subscribing, and it's a year old. Here is a sentence from it: This is the closing performance of the New York City Ballet’s winter season, and the generous applause is begun by a patron who frequently sits directly behind the podium. As Fiorato bows his head, he says to the familiar balletomane, “Good evening. How the hell are you?"
  3. I know full well the exigencies of short formats in specialzed contexts (listings, newspaper reviews, other brief forms), but I still, myself (this use of"myself"would be an example of what I am in fact writing about), like the slight mist of distance allied with unveiled personalization that characterize phrases like "it seems," "one cannot but be reminded of," "to me," "possibly, " etc. I have come to like these little devices later in my career rather than earlier--at the beginning, I charged around like some sort of Caped Avenger. (I even wore capes, although only in the evening.) There are ways to maintain voice and curtail length, to reassure a dissenting reader and lure him on, and to, of all things, hedge one's bets. As for Jack Anderson's assertion that those Ballet Boyz flicks were a failure--I doubt it. In this case, I think youth speaks to youth--or at any rate (another nice conditional phrase) young to younger. Anyway, they were a practical device more than, in the context of the Joyce concerts, a marketing device. (No one went to the theater to see the films.) Something had to go on between dances. Why not little films? I found them very reminsicent of Moses Pendelton's antic cinematography surrounding Pilobolus and Momix, but blessedly less arty.
  4. Had a young Freddy Ashton not seen Pavolova dancing in the old Opera House in Lima, Peru, he might not ever have been Sir Frederick Ashton, choreographer. Talk about influence! I don't feel myself that Kenneth King is that influential, due to his being largely unreadable--here I think that a certain distance from the post-modern experience on the part of the authors may have led them to lend him an extra-size role (he certainly has some role). To my mind, the person whose influence you cannot over-stress is that of David Gordon. I just got this book. Must go read Merce pages and report back. It's always easiest to assess things from the point in space you yourself occupy.
  5. I am reading or giving all the books everyone talked about last summer and before that--got my husband the Da Vinci code for Christmas, and a new book about evolution. I personally am reading all of Angela Thirkell's Barchester novels, some 29 in number. The early ones are the best, before she got really really cranky about everything, and before her various bigotries were so overt--apparently Albert Knopf, her American publisher, was key in damping that down. But they are all, to me, both diverting and somehow germane. Because there is such a panoply of characters in each novel, there is always some personage of about my own age, whose world view and modest yearnings Thirkell delineates to perfection. I am told that one of the books--The Brandons--was a bestseller in its day. They are comfy reading, still, and literate enough not to make you feel you are reading junk--not so much stylistically, the style is endlessly chatty and discursive (insert comment here about influence on my posts), but in terms of references and quotations that emerge in the dialogue. I use a concordance some really dedicated fan put together to chase down allusions I don't get, which are many. It's possible, I think when reading these books, that great plumbing and efficient central heating will emerge as the great American contributions to civilization.
  6. Jack Anderson's book on the various Ballets Russes probably has this information. I also have, somewhere, a biography of the impresario Sol Hurok, who may have booked this tour. Absent finding the information in the book, you might find something in a local newspaper of the day....
  7. I wonder if there wasn't a ballet to a piece of music called La Joyeuse? It exisits as I know it in a two-part transcription for duo harpists.
  8. "self-referential, reductionist, and ironic"
  9. It's a great great fantastic idea, and there's certainly a tradition for it. In fact, why not give over the entire role to the men? Robert La Rosse would be fabulous, too, and I think Ask LeCoeur would be beyond divine. (It's the Von Rothbart role, with better accessories.) Alternatively, they could invite back a series of fabulous brunettes--Merrill Ashley, Lourdes Lopez, Helene Alexopolous. (Then it's the Merry Widow role.) And I agree, Kyra would have a lot of fun with it. You know who would be excellent? Peter Martins. He should do Carabosse
  10. Kyra Nichols should dance the Lilac Fairy, as she is the Lilac Fairy, and NYCB should invite Merrill Ashley to guest as Carabosse, in which role she was fantastic.
  11. Hang on. I will check it out for you later this week....!
  12. What Farrell's dancers lacked the last time I saw them wasn't the Farrell style, which no one has ever had or ever will have except Farrell, but consistent training in Balanchine style. That's why "First, a school, " and that's why one would expect the dancers to look more consistent over time with her. I rather doubt it is Farrell's goal to make dancers look like her (how futile would that be?). What struck me on the wonderful work she did at the Washington Ballet some years ago was--this in particular with Helene Alexopolis and Maria Calegari, who were guesting--was how much she made them look very particularly like themselves, which was very beautiful indeed. (Not to wander off topic out of parentheses: I am sorry I missed this incarnation of Peter Boal's Apollo. My own feeling about Apollos is that studying with Stanley Williams or being Danish enhances the performance. I have to say that the greatest Apollo I ever saw was Peter Martins. Before you throw anything at me, I once heard Maria Tallchief say that "Peter WAS Apollo.")
  13. Or die from? You know, vis a vis this thread, I have a really bad feeling the best is yet to come, ta da, ta di....At least the ballets we are talking about are so good you can tell when they are miscast. Think about that, versus works so bad they can't be miscast. But for miscasting you can see on film, Nureyev in Graham with Fonteyn was amazing. Poor Dame Margo looked so unhappy, in a calm sort of way.
  14. ....I have a place to write informally and conversationally, without the pressure of "publishing." Nothing is better for writing than writing. Except maybe reading. ....I have Ari to sort out the international press for me. Love those links! ....I keep in cyber contact with some of the gang from the old AOL/NYT dance chat, whose poster girl was the divine Miss Victoria Leigh. ....I have, I hope, a built-in readership for my DanceViewTimes pieces. (That means you, Ed Waffle!) ....Alexandra should be given a MacArthur grant.
  15. Verdy has to be a green ice cream, because of pun on her name, and because she danced Emeralds. (Would this be right, Manhattnik?) But why is Nichols mocha? Is that your favorite ice cream? In which case. all is forgiven. Otherwise, why not peach?
  16. THis also reminds me of Merce--actually, of something he told me John Cage said--Cage called this concept, Mel, "relative time." It came up in the context of how time seems to fly in some dances, and creep in others. So that two dances of the same length can seem to last not long enough, and beyond forever.
  17. Merce Cunningham made a dance--which has a beautiful video version shot in London--called Points in Space. (After Einstein's "There are no fixed points in space." The dance seems to occur, in the video, without a floor--at least that's how it looks to me.)Many of his works seem to offer illustrations of various princiles of cosmology, among other sciences. And in addition to the macro-world, also the micro-world. I am going to add that after writing this I found on another thread reference to a new dance book called "No Fixed Points: Dance in the Twentieth Century." Thanks for the link, Ari--it's in Weds Sept 03 links.
  18. I'll bite... 1. Should companies contact critics to complain about a review? (Aside from factual errors, of course) No. 2. Should critics have a company's viewpoint in the back of their minds as they write? They should know all they can, but they should write from the front of the house. Which all leads to: 3. For whom should the critic write? The reader. Who varies from forum to forum. Not forgetting: 4. Is it the critic's responsibility to be a booster? The critic should be a fervent lover of the field, or should retire from it. If that is boosterism--to love an art form--so be it. But since critics must live in the real world, I might add that justice can be tempered with mercy, particularly in situations where the critic wields actual power, these being few, and far between. (Being for instance critics of the few powerful newspapers of national conseqence, and critics of only daily newspaper in smaller towns and cities.) But not too tempered, and done so the reader can see between the lines. Boosting--what shall I call it, bad art? bad work?--the awful, or even the tepid, has the inherent danger of alienating the reader. Either from oneself ("What bad taste she has") or worse, from the ballet. ("If that's good, I think I'll stay home.")
  19. People loved Winterreise, or they hated it. Even if they hated it, they loved Keenleyside, who in my opinion is far better suited to it than to the Orfeo. He reminded me a little of Hakan Hagegaard, whose name I am mis-spelling and someone will please correct, but not of such an underlyingly cheerful-seeming nature. The accompanist, whose name I have forgotton (shameful of me) was really wonderful. I felt I would have enjoyed the evening just as much if the singer had been wearing formal clothing and standing in front of the piano, but I am not mad for mixing up dance and other genres. (I understand that opera is all genres, but lieder?) In a sense, the Trisha Brown is reductionist--if you close your eyes and listen to the music, a given song is larger and more affecting to me than it is when experienced while watching her pin it down in specific and sometimes to me arch-seeming imagery. Still, it is well worth seeing, and I am happy I had the chance. (I have been reading Angela Thirkell for two weeks, and my writing tells the tale, I suppose.)
  20. This is more a charming malapropism than a mis-print or printed bit of misunderstanding, but on alt. arts. ballet several years ago, a hapless poster wanted advice about a ballet called "Akita." Specifically, if I recollect, he or she wanted to know what the music for it was. Someone kind nicely told the person about Paquita, while everyone else wrote the scenario about a Polar Ballet with Sled Dog Chorus. Those were lively days before spam wrecked that forum, from which so many have arrived here. One also recalls the phrase "guise of truth" rendered as "guys of truth," but that's another story....
  21. The evening really wasn't a regular evening at the ballet, but a gala designed but for political posturing and attendees who haven't been seen much if at all at the ballet before, and likely won't again. As a long time follower of the company, the critic was, as critics and devotees usually are, rather put out by the fact that the festive hoopla far outweighed the artistic considerations; and also that, in the circumstances, she was really writing half news, half criticism. She made it clear that the dancers are excellent, and deserving of long time support. They could do without gimmicks and jokes to make them more "appealing." (Slides, blokey interpolations, what have you.) I would say that the reviewer is also appalled that corporations can buy public favor through the arts, while behaving badly otherwise. (So what else is new? Altria by any other name is Phillip Morris....)
  22. The last time I was at the Musee D'Orsay, I trotted in practically averting my eyes from everything else on my way to visit the Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe, which I had been reading about in some detail. I stayed there in front of it until it was time to leave. That to me is a real luxury--to just take in one thing, eyes wide open. Okay, I admit it, it made me cry.
  23. IT's important to remember, sitting in the audience, that we can see something go wrong, but we can't always know why. That's why phrases such as "it appeared" and "it seemed to me" are not merely filler. Perhaps a dancer "appears" out of control because her partner is not reliable, and not because of personal excess. (I just remembered how much I miss personal excess, of the technical kind, writing that. I don't mean tossing one's head towards the wings, I mean tossing one's leg to one's beautifully bent head. ) What I am getting at, not too directly, is that criticism is opinion, and that we can soften what we say by mentioning that it is from a singular pair of eyes in a singular seat. That being about dancers. On choregraphers, it's always open season on my keyboard.
  24. Why would keyboards or typewriters be sufficient to turn primates into writers? What about editors, deadlines, chocolate, lots of mail that has to be opened, back issues of magazines that might have relevant material, coffee pots with lots of parts, a very old bathrobe to wear, and a conviction that someone else has already written a better piece on the same subject--in fact, the conviction that you yourself have written a better piece, and will never again be as good as you were. That might produce, if not Shakespeare, some dance criticism....
  25. Alexander Ritter is a wonderful dancer. At NYCB, he danced Merce Cunningham's role in Points In Space, to fine effect, so it was interesting to see that he was working with a modern company in Boston. I always wished that he would join Merce's company--he had the ability to change direction rapidly in space, and a fine use of the head that looked marvelous in the work.
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