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Nanatchka

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Everything posted by Nanatchka

  1. Speaking--to quote Leigh out of context-- of "umpty frillions"--my French friends, this is a made up silly phrase, but a "frill" is something you see a lot of in LaCroix--will some PLEASE describe and evaluate the LaCroix costumes for Jewels. I'm dying to hear about them. Here in the US, ABT did a version of Gaite Parisienne with his outfits a long while ago.It was one of those moment--at the opening, some of the audience wore LaCroix, too. (Peter Martins using Manolo Blahnik shoes in his "Thou Swell" is a version of the same thing: Show the patrons themselves, and they'll be happy, goes the thinking. )
  2. No, there is no accounting for personal preference--chocolate or vanilla. Cats or dogs. Men or women. Like that. That would seem to be instinctive. However, the kind of taste you are talking about here is educated. You don't have a right to expect it, but by the same token you might be wrong NOT to expect it. With someone , new to the field, who prefers a bad current work to a great old one is that part of the problem lies in the performance. If a great old piece is presented in a cloak of perfume of mothballs, and an indifferent current one is danced with the energy of people who know the choreographer is watching, and might have something great in mind for them if they do well, you get a kind of cognitive dissonance that can, in essence, confuse an uninitiated viewer. ...On the other hand, with someone well versed in the field who has a distinct leaning towards the awful---that's just bad taste. (Restraint is not the same thing as good taste, but they often look alike.) In brief: If you prefer Picasso to Matisse, I don't agree, but it's a matter of prefence. (De gustibus...) If you prefer Leroy Neiman, that's bad taste--or, in your lexicon, a lack of taste. (A passion for kitsch is beyond the scope of this conversation, but there is certainly such a thing as "knowing" bad taste .)
  3. Fonteyn was my first Giselle,--my grandmother took me-- and she sets the standard for me. The part of the performance I can still see in my mind's eye--and at the time I went, it didn't occur to me that I might be interested in remembering it more than thirty years later--is the mad scene. The break from decorum, the letting down of the hair, the circling with the sword, those little desparate runs and leaps, the breaking down in her mother's arms, the onset of real madness. She was marvelous. Nureyev was Albrecht, about which I recall nothing. ... In response to a previous post: As it happens, I saw Jorge Esquivel partner Alicia Alonso in one of her very very very late career performances. His partering was beyond inventive. (As a side issue, the worst Giselle I ever saw was Starr Danias, touring in a Victorian era period production star vehicle.) Maybe we should have a favorite Albrecht thread. Then we could talk about the whole deal with the cape and the grave.
  4. You can see Valda Setterfield in a beautiful 1968 film (I think available on videotape; you can check at www.merce.org, or see it at the NYPublic Library Dance division, probably) of Merce Cunningham's Walkaround Time, a marvelous work that transpires in a set Jasper Johns designed "after" Marcel Duchamp's "The Large Glass."
  5. Can't I just ban bad performances of these ballets? That would be excellent. Barring that, I vote for R and J because I think if I hear that dumpty tum ti tum ti tum ti tum de tum ti dum dum one more time I'll run screaming from the theater.
  6. I am interested in the notion that "Sinatra Songs" "fails." I cannot get over that dance, years distant from having seen it, I still just adore it. I think it succeeds, fabulously--by using two different versions of MY Way, Tharps gives the piece a shape, and a resolution. The individual dances were all, with the first cast, so distinctive and wonderful. When Keith Young entered carrrying Shelly Washington over his head, so she flew on stage feet first, it was just about the most romantic and sexiest thing I've ever seen. (To Strangers in the Night.) Of course Tharps Movin Out is a song suite. I realize neither of these is strictly ballet, but since the thread has the choreographer and the Sinatra embedded in it...Sinatra is in some ways like Liebeslieder--the individuals, then the gathering. Liebeslieder, of course, stands alone. The epitome of the genre. (I mean Balanchine's. Mark Morris's is more than okay, too.)
  7. This begins a list of modern dance links: merce.org Merce Cunningham Dance Company ptdc.org Paul Taylor Dance Company trishabrowncompany.org Trisha Brown Dance Company twylatharp.org Twyla Tharp and Twyla Tharp Dance mmdg.org Mark Morris Dance Group
  8. Incidentally, Tamara Geva was Balanchine's first wife. And as for the "League of David," I've been reading about it lately, and there really was a group of romantic (as in romantic movement, not people in love) thinkers who gathered, and thought of themselves as a league. Schumann was among them. So there are layers of reference in the music, and more layers in the ballet, as Leigh Witchel explained. When you look at it, you don't need to know all this, though of course it is interesting. Balanchine also had intense relationships with two of the original ballerinas, so that also plays into what you see. I think of the ballet as being a kind of reminiscence--as if all the men were Balanchine, and the women various people in his life, at various times. Another something to remember is that Balanchine had a German nanny as a child, and a German wife (Vera Zorina, not her real name, which was Brigitta). I don't think the ballet is really tied down to any of these people in a specific way--I just think those notions can be felt in it.
  9. No, a company should not. They are hardly objective, nor are the reader's interests their own.
  10. Way back on this thread, the poster asked if anyone had seen Kyra Nichols in Peter Martins's Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. I saw her do Aurora and Lilac Fairy, and her Lilac was one of the most beautiful and sublime performances I have ever seen. In particular, that boat trip--all port de bras--was magical. One of the most wonderful things I have ever seen at the ballet.
  11. Let me mention , since no one has yet, what I think of as the "understory"--that is, Alexandra's brilliant delineation of Kronstam's battle with manic depression. [One can see, for instance, how his control of his affect--the province of an accomplished stage artist--led people to misunderstand his state(s). ]There is also, underlying the dance story, the sensitive portrayal of his private life. This book is dignified, but deep. Not that there is any such thing as " just" a dance book, but this biography transcends the cateogy. (Every psychiatry resident should read it.) If there is a down side, it's that it induces a kind of melancholy. You read about Kronstam, and then you go out at night and see what's missing in whatever is in front of you.
  12. Merce Cunningham, born 16 April 1919 Paul Taylor, born 29 July 1930 Twyla Tharp, born 1 July 1941 (22 years after Merce) ( International Encyclopedia of Dance)
  13. Tharp danced in Taylor's company, way back, by the way, and Taylor in Cunningham's. I don't think of them exactly as same generation--there's a twenty odd year gap between Twyla and Merce, with Taylor somewhere in the middle, towards the younger end, I think.
  14. You rang: In re springing to PT's defense: I don't think Paul Taylor needs my defense. Besides,I wouldn't care if he carried on like the mad lovechild of Cruella deVille and Atilla the Hun, not that he does this. You see, as far as I am concerned, anyone who made Esplanade can act however he must. (The dancer still got to dance the part, didn't he?). I'm not a dancer, I'm an audience member, and I go by results....
  15. Folk dancing would be different from primitive (note spelling for your paper) dance. An example of primitive dance in "modern "choreography would be Nijinsky's Rite of Spring. YOu can find photographs of the Joffrey Ballet revival (supervised by Millicent Hodson and her husband, whose last name is Archer), which was written about extensively at its debut, and also documented by Hodson and Archer. You can also find lots of interesting source material on the ballet itself, which dates from 1919. (The only before 18th century part is the transplanted ritual, so I don't know if your prof will approve this.)
  16. Cunningham: Berkeley, premiere Loosetime; Lincoln Center summer season, particularly How to Pass, Fall, Kick and Run, for novelty of seeing again--it was my first Cunningham dance; Event for opening of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council new theater, in the rain, on the southern tip of Manhattan; three Events at the American Express Tower of the World Financial Center. Stephen Petronio, in his solo Broken Man Terry Creach's "Creach and Company" at the Joyce Soho. Old fashioned contact improv style movement for movement's sake--in the middle of a year with a lot of expressionisn and maximum production values, here was the real pure dance deal, on a shoe string. Amazing performance of Mark Morris's The Office, with Mark and Guiellermo (Didi) Resto in the cast. Paul Taylor Dance Company--Piazzola Caldera really sizzled that season. NY debut of Jamie Bishton Dance. To die for partnering. Movin' Out, Twyla Tharp, Billy Joel. Amazing dancer showcase, fab Benjamin Bowman, John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Ashley Tuttle. (I also saw William Marrie do the Selya role (he's the NBoC star who died after a motorcycle accident) in a studio showing, he was a marvelous dancer.) Trisha Brown: a meticulous revival of Set and Reset, which is just as wonderful as one remembers it. STREB: A raw in progress night at the St. Elizabeth's Warehouse in Brooklyn. And then the finished product in her Joyce season. So different, so interesting to follow the trajectory.
  17. It's that opening, with the ballerina seeming to invoke something from above--Once Balanchine was dead, it always looked to me as if the ballerina were summoning him, from somewhere up above the chandeliers in the State Theatre. As if he had said, "Dance this ballet, and I am with you." (He's the "partner" for the ballerina, really.)I had this feeling distinctly when Maria Calegari first took over Farrell's role. ("The redhead, so beautiful," as Balanchine said.)I would suppose it is different for ballerinas who did not know him, but the notion still persists, at least for me.
  18. When you search, you can put quotation marks around a phrase, so the search will be for "exact phrase," rather than "both words" but not in order. For example, "modern dance," "ballet biography."
  19. "...a reinterpretation of the story focussing on an [hitherto unexplored, and clearly unintended] erotic relationship between..." "topless" And please, goodbye to the spreadeagled ballerina. I mean, never mind bare "feet...." Also, goodbye to rope. No more rope. Or electrical devices on stage that require extension cords. Happy New Year from Nana, more formal(ist) by the moment....
  20. My Best of every year is always the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. This year I was especially happy to see Robert Swinston's marvelous revival for the 50th Anniversary (he did the work of putting it together; Merce of course looked at it before it was presented)of a dance from the 1960s called How To Pass, Fall, Kick and Run, which was on the first Cunningham bill I ever saw. THe company's Events across the street from the World Trade Center "pit" at the gallery of the American Express Tower were beautiful, and moving.At NYCB, I adored Ringer, Ansanelli, Somogi (was worried about Kistler, who looks so breakable, and Whelan, who looks so frail), and saw three Midsummers in a row, all of which enchanted me in different ways. The orchestra was NOT problematic, a real plus. I note with pleasure Twyla Tharp's Movin Out, with a fabulous John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Benjamin Bowman, and Ashley Tuttle. (You didn't ask what I most hated, but it had to be Ballet Biarritz's Ballets Russes bill. )Oh, let's not forget best date: the young man who held my umbrella over me so I could take notes in the rain at the opening of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's new outdoor stage (MCDC performing). (You're not a cradle snatcher when yours was the hand that rocked the cradle...)
  21. Note witty quotation therein from Alexandra, writing in Washington Post. I have been thinking about Joan's article all day. We'll never know, but I wonder if Suzanne Farrell had staged Balanchine's ballet's at NYCB, if we would have been ecstatic, or agitated. What one really wants is for things to be the way they were, and that can never be. In this dance is just like life, but more clear. I think that one can never equal the ideal situation of a choreographer watching his own work from the wings.
  22. I meant that I hope Mel (hello, Mel!) will write when he gets to Chicago....or wherever he thinks he will be safe from all this. But it's a small world. Is there a new International Style in the making in ballet? I'm all for World Federalism, and the Balkanization of Ballet at the same time....
  23. pas de boo, Ray= Just sit quietly if you don't like it, dear pas de quatres= I've gotta get some change for the bus My all time favorite of these is actually Spanish and has nothing to do with ballet, but here it is anyway: Feliz Navidad= my cat can swim
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