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Everything posted by Nanatchka

  1. "So I am upset by the allocation of NYCB's precious resources: i.e., the amount of money it will take (1) to mount new works and (2) to bring the Georgian State Company to perform. " It may actually have been easier to raise money to mount new works--funders like that, to see something they've made possible--and to do the international exchange thing. (One can hardly imagine NYCB mounting a Save Balanchine Campaign, sort of like Save the Whales, but it's not a bad idea.) It will be interesting to see the credits.
  2. "This calls for a poll." This calls for a drink.
  3. Further, even when played by a girl, that character is a boy in the narrative. As for the humidity, the worst instrument is a harp. You can't even stay in tune with yourself. By the time you get to the top, the base is out again.
  4. Keeping in mind that the question was not "Who is your favorite choreographer," I answered "Graham." She links back to the early days of modern dance, having studied with Ruth St. Denis. She extends to the current days through two others on the list, Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, both of whom danced in her company. You might say that Cunningham's work is in reaction to Graham, and that Taylor's work continues Graham. In terms of today's field--Cunningham is indeed a potent influence, though one cannot attribute the vogue for "non narrative" dance to him alone. Ashton and Balanchine made non-narrative dance as well, to speak of only two of his older contemporaries. His influence also lies in the realm of structure and in spatial orientation--for instance, a 360 degree front, and in the introduction of complexities of various kinds. The pure dance aspect--dance apart from music-- is important, but perhaps the one in which Cunningham is least sucessfully followed. (There are also choreographers who say they have been influenced by Cunningham, but whose work displays no particular evidence of this.) In terms of influence--whether Graham, Cunningham, or Taylor, it is also interesting to think , as I started to above, about what we might call "negative" influence-- about those who danced in the companies, and then went off and made work in reaction to it. As for the personal--In terms of making dances that offers one a lifetime of interest;a way of seeing, or several ways; a way of being, intuited through the work, and the choreographer's persistence in it; not to mention offering a complex and rich experience in the theater, and of the theater, I do find, and have found for a long time, that Merce Cunningham is the choreographer who has the most influence on me.
  5. Oh, The Mouse That Roared--that's Leonard Wibberly. I went through a Wibberly phase and read all of them. Also all of the Nero Wolfe. Etc. But my first favorite book was called "Mr. T. W. Anthony Woo,the Story of a Cat, a Dog, and a Mouse," by Marie Hall Etc. Of course I did not read it--it was read to me (and it's right here now on the shelf behind me), as was A. A. Milne. I loved many many of the books above (though I noted Edward Eager's Half Magic et al are missing, as are THe Borrowers), but my all time favorite book--in any category whatsoever--is a childern's book, of sorts. It's called Mistress Masham's Repose, and T.H. White is the author.
  6. Don't forget to click on the link above when ordering from Amazon.com. A pittance of your total--no charge to you--goes back to Ballet Alert. I'm going there now to get this book!
  7. What a marvelous thread. Thanks so much. For the Stegner lover--Crossing to Safety is so beautiful. To the Halberstam reader--thanks, I'm going to click on the icon up top and order it for my husband's birthday! As for what people read on the lighter side, okay, I''ll confess. I am currently indulging in Carl Hiaasen, who writes comic novels out of Miami. And this thread has made me think its time to reread Dorothy Sayers, start to finish, this summer--except that one of my sons is taking a Gothic novel course in the fall, and to keep up (I must be delusional; keep up, ha!) I may have to revisit Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. For the record, I hated The Lovely Bones.
  8. Yes, Swan Lake was originally a German tale--thus Siegfried, now changed to Daniel, played by Ken. (This is so strange. Ken and Barbie are real, and play fictional characters.) I really had hoped you made this up, Alexandra, but I suppose you did not. I know this is a ballet board, but may I be forgiven, in the circumstances, for suggested that Barbie as Martha would be swell? You know, Barbie Herodiade, and stuff. That would keep Ken busy. Changing the ballets is clever from a commercial standpoint--if you aren't doing a particular version, you don't have to pay particular royalties.
  9. We haven't yet discussed NYCB's traditional (for them) mode of operation vis a vis casting--that is, that the company does not have "stars," although it has principals, and that casting is only announced at the end of the week previous to the performances. A ballet like Swan Lake does not lend itself to such a system. People tend to want to see particular casts. (For instance,ALonso and Youskevitch.) Philosophically,NYCB has been repertory driven rather than personality driven. Does anyone want to see that change? NYCB has a fabulous neoclassical Swan Lake already, choreographed by George Balanchine. It would be interesting to see it in the rep in the same season as the Martins pastiche, or ferrago, or whatever you call it. I don't think a company presenting Christopher Wheeldon is really strictly formalist and neoclassical. He's something else. Even when he works in those modes he brings in something more. When he works in his story ballet mode, there's nothing neo about him at all.
  10. Which is what? What happens? Von Rothbart dies, right?( Or he runs off in reduced circumstances, crouched over, and is no longer allowed to wear a cape--which is what we see.) Odette stays a Swan forever ( right?) even though Von Rothbart's power is broken. So what good is it that his power is broken? They're stuck being swans. (Or were they all swans, and only Odette was suffering from a spell?) Is the happy part that Von Rothbart doesn't bother the swans anymore, propagating daughters (the black swans)? I;m confused. I think "other" stands for "what was that?"
  11. "Do you think the production is improving?" Has it changed? The only thing I notice that's different this time around (in the Martins version) is that there's no puff of smoke when Von Rothbart expires. Wasn't there a puff of smoke? Or did I make that up?
  12. I've been to two Swan Lakes this week. And it was unreal....
  13. This won't make me popular, but sitting behind opera glasses devotees can be maddening. Up go the glasses and the elbows. Down go the glasses and the elbows. Up go the glasses and the elbows. Etc. Of course I know Ballet Alerters always keep their elbows politely pressed to their sides, but others don't. I was thinking this week that I really am not an ideal audience member, since I am so easily distracted. I never use opera glasses myself, (but I see the allure). I kind of like to widen my eyes and aim for a trance state.
  14. Well, I do (have a comment or two), but I should say right up front that I am an unabashed and whole hearted admirer of Macauley, and no fan of Macmillan, whom I feel he treats with admirable even-handness and even-mindedness and a fine discrimination I could not myself muster. I particularly admire two aspects of this article: the movement at the end towards a broader criticisim of the Royal Ballet rep and some comments about the future there, which is a fine move from the particular to the general; and the long view throughout. We also hear, in his own words, from Frederick Ashton, courtesy of material from one of Macauley's own interviews with Sir Fred. Imagine! Ashton on MacMillan. Who knew? It's a rare treat to read that, no? As for Macauley's opening question--who's your favorite choreographer? Mine is Merce Cunningham, who is blessedly still alive and working, but it is an interesting side note that right around the time of MacMillan's death in 1992, his musical director the modernist guru John Cage died. This simple coincidence made me consider MacMillan as I never had--as a modernist, or really, not. He certainly resisted modernity as I think of it. Because Macaulay set an historical context, he gave me a framework to think of Macmillan in large terms. Finally, I am a big fan of the remark "So what?" In the context of a large, great, artist--I admit I am not thinking of MacMillan here--we get the occasional clunker work. But so what? Let's think largely, and with fine discrimination, just as Macauley writes.
  15. 1.Laurie Bellilove is considered a current credible recreator of Duncan. 2. Also: in the current Goddess exhibition and catalogue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Fashion Institute, reference is made to Isadora. 3. I think it is interesting that she had a long relationship with the scene designer Gordon Craig. 4. Frederick Ashton made an Isadora-esque solo for Lynn Seymour which you can see on film (or maybe videotape).
  16. The more you know the dancers, the better you know the dancers, the better you will see the choreography--you will be able, in time, to see it apart from the dancers even while they are in it. By this I mean knowing them as performers. As for knowing them personally--it changes the experience, for sure. Your become emotionally invested. ( Otherwise who would go to school plays and THanskgiving Programs, to stretch a point?)This isn't a bad thing, but it isn't why I go to the theater.
  17. Liebeslieder. He was wonderful in Liebeslieder, though he tends to be associated with "leotard" ballets. As I recall--this is off the top of my head--he dances with Patty McBride. THere was this spot where they were downstage center, and she turned to dance upstage, and he gave her a little push, so gentle, right where she would have had wings, if she were winged. (Just on the shoulder blades.) And he also was imporant to the Robbins rep....
  18. Did anyone else see this topic and think of Balanchine's remark, "There are no mothers-in-law in ballet?" But of course he meant in the plots. I bet there is one someplace real life....Can anyone think of a dancer mother-in-law? A peculiar variant of the stage mother....
  19. I remember the lightfooted, slender Linda Kent in Esplanade (as in so many other dances) too--but I checked, and her role was originally danced by Susan McGuire. So having the divine Silvia Nevjinsky in the Kent role--the part where the woman stands on the mans stomach--is a return to having an Amazon dance it. About the Debussy--the costumes do date it--I had the same initial impression you did--,but the movement doesn't--except that it refers to Nijinsky. (Do you think that, too, Glebb--to Faun, not to the Sacre?) But I wouldn't call that dated....Do you think the Met would swallow Black Tuesday if the Taylor company danced it there??? Is it the theater, or the company dancing it? It's certainly Blacker on the Taylorians. I loved the Taylor season, too....So nice to read you on it....
  20. Grupo Corpo is indeed Brazilian, very hot, from Sao Paolo, as I recall. Very energetic, very colorfully costumed, with some native Brazilian martial arts flavor and samba rhythms mixed in with a ballet derived melting pot company style. There was a feature on the company in the New York Times Sunday Arts and Leisure section within the last year, when they performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
  21. Merci, dear Estelle, for the excellent links to the costumes! They are much more restrained that I expected from LaCroix's designs for ABT Gaite Pariesienne. Did you think that was a good shade of green? Emeralds is such a French variation, anyway==with the Faure, and remember, originally with Violette Verdy. It was so interesting to see the pictures. I wish I were in Paris (well, I always wish that) to see the dance itself.
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