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Everything posted by vrsfanatic

  1. Bart your courage is amazing! As my late husband (an acclaimed ballet master who was trained in East Germany and in Russia as well as made his USA career in a highly recognized American ballet company) would say, "oh Vikula, you really do not want to open that can of worms". Somehow I always did want to open that can so I could learn more. I will take a crack at the Vaganova question. Of course, you knew I would! Prior to Vaganova, there was no written/codified method of teaching ballet from the beginning to the development of a professional dancer. Cecchetti and the Danes had a written/codified method however, it was for professional dancers only. It was only after Vaganova, with help of many others who are not given the distinguished recognition Vaganova is given, wrote/codified the methodology that others began to put down in ink how to do this and that from the beginning. The French to this day do not have a written program of study that details how to do this and how to do that. As the Russians began to perform through cultural exchange programs as well as defect, the world was able to see the work that had been going on behind that large curtain. It was astounding not only mechanically but also artistically. Artists and audiences alike opened their eyes with eagerness for more. Ballet professionals wanted to know the hows and whys of what they were seeing. Not only did the Russians study ballet from the age of 10 in special schools that functioned as grammar, middle and high school, as we American students were unable to do, they also were trained methodically in music, character, duet (partnering), men's work, pointe, variations and repertoire. In short, they were far more educated in the art of classical dance than we. Europe also opened its' eyes to a higher level of technique and artistry. The Europeans had the educational system in place, but they did not have a program of study that had produced continuously dancers of a high caliber as consistently as the Russians. In the early 1980's through 1995, my husband (who defected in 1974) was asked to help to develop the teaching level of not only the Royal Ballet School in London but also the Australian Ballet School, ballet schools in Japan and the Philippines. The Russians had been quite busy setting up methodology clinics influencing the teaching in China, Cuba and many South American nations. The Russians had also been accepting international teachers to their methodology programs at GITIS (Moscow) and The Vaganova Academy ( St. Petersburg). Many of the teachers trained in Vaganova schooling as teachers were now out and about spreading the word, so to speak. In the 1980's and 1990's, the ballet teaching world was abuzz, discussing what the heck was it that Vaganova schooling was doing. Everyone has their opinions of what they like to see in students, so generally people were not in agreement about what they saw, liked nor understood, however people were talking and opening their eyes and minds to Vaganova schooling. Various small teachers courses began to pop up here and there. Some were qualified to pass along the information they learned in school but only those who had done additional studies as a teacher had the full program at their fingertips. My late husband alone was employed to train teachers in the Vaganova methodology on 3 continents. If this is not worldwide impact, I do not really know what is. The influence of Vaganova and "her" methodology continues to shine through the dancers who continue to delight audiences worldwide. One will find the influence of Vaganova schooling in all of Europe, China, Asia, South America and in the USA. I know of someone setting up the teaching program for the national School in Guatamala! One might add Central America to the list. While not everyone likes what they see nor agrees on the topic of the schooling, every professional ballet person knows a well trained Vaganova dancer when they see one. Unfortunately I must also say, they also know a poorly trained one as well. There continue to be many people hiding behind the name Vaganova. Please keep Vaganova on the list of most influential women in ballet in the 20th and 21st centuries. .
  2. The question might be, which came first the chicken or the egg? We only know the order of announcements. The times are changing for sure. The chances of a Weisburger protégée leading PABallet (FYI in the 1970s and 1980 we called it PBC) seems quite slim. There is Christine Cox, still in Philadelphia choreographing and directing Ballet X , who is young enough and has quite a bit of experience as an ED as well, more so than R. Kaiser when he took the helm in the 1990s, but chances are they will be selecting from an international pool, leaving the talented Ms. Cox with her Ballet X. The point I am trying to make is that if it is not Ms. Cox, the connection to Weisburger will be lost.
  3. Thank you Natalia for your review. It is much appreciated. Oddly I have never thought of Isabella Boylston as large boned. She is about 5' 5" (guessing), but I always think of her as having a smallish frame.
  4. Maybe this is a discussion to have in a new forum? What does it actually mean to be "homegrown" and does that really matter?
  5. Just a question or perhaps an observance abatt. Unfortunately the American "system" of training for students has become spending little more than 4 years in one school before moving on to the next bigger/better opportunity. Halberg and Gomes spent 10 months each at POB, as advanced ballet student. While the experience added much to their intellectual and physical development, why should this additional training not classify them as American trained or "home grown" ? As for being international stars, we all have our own viewpoint on that one.
  6. FYI, this link contains a threat according to AVG.
  7. The hallways in Vaganova Academy are highly waxed wooden floors although I have noticed in photos that they have now laid some area rugs. Wax gets on the ballet slippers, pointe shoes and street shoes making the new marley/limoleum floors and wooden floors (if there are any left) very, very slippery. It can be quite dangerous. Marley/linoleum floors and street shoes are not made for one another when it comes to dance. When I was in Vaganova Academy, almost 20 years ago, Belsky/Nadirov/Dorofeeva were at the helm, as is the Russian custom, one wore different shoes inside than outside. One carried a pair of slippers for inside wear. In the case of the students, they wore slippers as well in the hallways. This is only an old/new rule. All dancers must learn that wax and ballet slipper or pointe shoes are not a good combination. It is good to read that the students are required to go to their academic classes now, as this was not the case in my two years studying in the school. While I am not a support of Mr. Tsiskaridze overall for Vaganova Academy, these changes have their merit.
  8. Thank you bart for posting. I wish I could be in NYC to see it again. It was highly educational, entertaining and lovely! Maybe PBS in Palm Beach might consider re-broadcasting it in the near future?
  9. Mrs. Stewart has been married to Mr. Matt Stewart (former SFB member as well) for some time.
  10. Thank you Helene for stopping any speculation regarding Mr. Fredmann. Philip, I have sent you a PM.
  11. Thank you cubianmiamiboy. A lovely story on a very kind and talented young man.
  12. Bart and cubanmiamiboy you both bring up good points about the various factions that truly do have ebbs and flows within the ballet community. Perhaps we do bite ourselves in the back. It is spoken of amongst ourselves, not with intentionally disparaging intent, non the less, it is discussed. We have so much to learn from one another. I guess it kind of like the world. We are all people loving the art form of ballet. We can and must learn from one another. We must learn to share and teach one another with respect rather than a divide and conquer attitude. This would be a very interesting additional topic, if the ballet artists would come out of the shadows and actually talk about it publically. While I am not of the Cuban school background, I do identify with what cubanmiamiboy is saying. Thank you cubanmiamiboy for being so honest. Let's hope the discussion might bring people who love ballet a little bit closer together.
  13. While Mr. Villella may have been aiming his commentary toward certain Board members, through out the years his unkind statements about other thriving arts organizations in the South Florida area helped to lead to his lack of shall I say "emotional" support from the arts community. While I attended the performances in order to support dance and see other good dance in South Florida, his curtain discussions and interviews were at times impolite towards the other struggling arts organizations in the area. By struggling, I mean audience seeking not necessarily donor seeking. Many of us were/are subscribers and donors. As for the South Florida lifestyle and the Northerners living and visiting our area, the outdoor life is amazing here, without a doubt. That activity base dwindles after 6:00PM. Residents and tourists do look for wonderful things to do at night. Particularly in Miami, there is a very large segment of the population that attends the theatre on a very large scale. What has changed is that there are more events to attend than ever before. The financial base to what it is. The buildings are here, with opulence and glory. Thirty years ago those buildings were not even here. Ballet, opera and the symphony were thriving with the help and dedication of Judy Drucker and her Concert Association of South Florida at the Jackie Gleason Theatre and at Miami Dade Auditorium. Many of the donors are still active while many have passed away and the families have not taken up the same interest. There is however audience interest in the arts. As a side note, our most attend performances are matinees. Difficult to get a ticket. This is the same for most of the theatrical arts organizations in Boca Raton. While we are not in Miami, for Boca Raton it is huge to be sold out consistently for matinees, even in August! That said, the article was enlightening and interesting. As I said earlier, I wish him well and I thank him for all that he did achieve while he was in the South Florida area.
  14. Odd, having been in and out of the Miami/South Florida area continuously for the past 30 years, Miami has changed culturally incredibly and Mr. Villella along with other non-native and native Miamians have been an important part of the cultural changes. They have built the buildings. The have invested much more than money.The transition continues. While I enjoyed reading the interview, it is a bit discouraging to be a thriving artist in the South Florida area and see that Mr. Villella seems to harbor an arrogance that anything outside of NYC is the boonies and culturally vacant. There is very good art being made in South Florida. Very good dance indeed as is evident in the large numbers of dancers who have joined dance companies throughout the world. Even when I was a student many moons ago, it was known there was good teaching going on in South Florida. While the culture of South Florida may not be the same as NYC, for that matter Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow etc., there is culture in South Florida. As much as I enjoyed seeing Mr. Villella perform and having his presence in our community, it is evident that his arrogance was a detriment to fundraising and the further growth of MCB in South Florida. I thank him for all that he accomplished for us, but the alienation of a community is not the way to win friends and influence or the continued growth of ballet here in South Florida. May he find joy in his new life in NYC.
  15. abatt would you please mention the Fairies from last night? I live so far away from NYC. Would have been there if I could have but that thing called work kept me from being there. Any review of the fairies will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. As for Miss Boylston and a glum face, odd. She is generally very kind and happy to be dancing. Maybe something was wrong. I hope not, but maybe.
  16. Does anyone know the Fairy casting. There will be a few corps de ballet dancers getting chances as Fairies. If anyone sees the performances could you please also include premieres with Fairies. Thanks.
  17. Thank you Natalia. How lovely!
  18. The demonstration of Russian port de bras and the 4 arabesques were not correctly done by the students nor described in the piece. I cannot address the Cecchetti nor the French school.
  19. I saw it. John Meehan did a very nice job. A bit of misinformation about Russian schooling, but overall, it was a lovely piece.
  20. I was there Saturday evening. A wonderful performance overall. Sets and costumes, lovely, although I did not care for the 3rd Act Gulnare costumes. Just not a flattering design. Premier by Roddy Doble as Lankendem, Isabella Boylston as Gulnare and Sarah Smith as Lead Pirate Woman. All danced beautifully. I am more familiar with the current Mariinsky production of Corsaire therefore, finding this production difficult to follow. The 3rd Act overall was anti-climatic. Gomes, Ilyin and Vasiliev were wonderful throughout, as well as the Odalisques, Messmer, Abrera and Kajiya. The company is dancing beautifully.
  21. Roughly, not word for word, but the general idea... Let's watch Leningrad Ballet's 2nd Act of The Red Flower, performed by Makarova, Desnitzsky, Ononshko and Denisov. I believe the man speaking is Piotr Gusev?
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