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  1. I'd write Peter Martins a check for $1,000,000, but tell him he had to use it to revive Pan Am Makes the Going Great.
  2. That's the awful thing about video-filmed performances, that you're forced to watch whatever the director wants you to watch. Maybe I don't want my attention directed to facial expressions, overdone or not. When it comes to editing dance for video/film, less is more. I suppose the powers that be didn't want users who might not be familiar with the story to get confused, but they should know it already, and would it've killed PBS to have a quickie synopsis? I'd like to see a Cornejo/Ulbricht Puck dance-off.
  3. Of course, in the "good old days," ABT was just plain old BT. Can someone recall (or look up) when the "American" was added, and why?
  4. While I missed the review of Liebeslieder which Ari cites, I can certainly imagine the POB dancers not quite knowing what to make of it. It's not surprising that many Brits don't think much of Balanchine's A Midsummer's Night Dream, as, I believe, its only recent performance there was PNB's rather awful production. I did think the British reviews of DTH, at least the ones I read, were fairly accurate: that this company just isn't as good as it used to be. I also don't think DTH is the best Balanchine standard-bearer, either. Didn't the British critics go wild over the small group Peter Boal took there a year or so ago? I don't remember how much of their rep was Balanchine, though.
  5. Would it be too arch to add Bruhn and Baryshnikov to the list? Probably. But if I didn't mention them, someone would've. But I have to add Peter Schaufuss. Schaufuss could've done much, much more, although he was supposedly a handful and a half. And let's not forget Jorge Donn. (I know, I know.)
  6. I am hoping that with its incorporation as a legitimate nonprofit organization, "Save the Ballet" can act as a persistant gadfly to the do-nothing SPAC board. At least SPAC board meetings will be open to the public from now on -- I'm sure there will be "Save the Ballet" representatives at each, taking careful count of who can't be bothered to attend. I'm glad the SPAC board dug into its own pockets for $300,000, but where's the fundraising plan? Where's the vision? Where's the endowment just for the ballet? There are so many things a responsible arts organization could be doing, and SPAC isn't. The board is just letting others take the lead. The fact that the board has set well-nigh impossible conditions for the continuation of the ballet at SPAC shows where their heads are really at. I'd like to ask the board what THEY plan to do to assure such attendance; I'm sure the board's only answer will be that it's Saratogians fault if they don't come out in record numbers, and not the boards'. Actually, I know where this board's heads are at, but I shouldn't say in this forum.
  7. I suppose the most (in)famous example of Balanchine's reaction to audience applause came during City Ballet's first Russian tour, when an audience was so taken with Eddie Villella's solo in Donizetti Variations that they brought the performance to a halt with noisy demands for an encore, which Villella and the orchestra's conductor eventually supplied. Needless to say, Balanchine was not pleased, and Villella details in his autobiography the somewhat humiliating way Balanchine got the message across.
  8. I loved it that a few hours (day? weeks? it's a blur) after Merrill Ashley told Ashley Bouder (Ok, this is getting confusing) to make Stars a straight, classical pas de deux, Jacques d'Amboise showed that kinescope of himself and Patricia McBride dancing Stars at the NY State Theater's opening-night gala hamming it up and and mugging to the heavens. And speaking of heavens, how about those times he tossed McBride about 12 feet off the floor for those entrechats? Wow!
  9. I'm still absorbing Merrill Brockway's revelation that Mr. B's favorite TV show was "Wonder Woman." Funny thing is, I can really see it.
  10. Remember in the late sixties and early seventies how so many buildings would mysteriously burn down, and the local joke was that it was because the insurance papers got too hot? Things certainly have changed....
  11. So are you saying the practice died out with the past century, or that you've been watching 19th century dancers? I hear it's all that Foneteyn woman's fault...
  12. Hello, MJ, and welcome to last year. If you find "State Theater" a confusing abbreviation, I'd hate to think what you'd make of how New Yorkers still refer to the Pan Am building, tell you where to hop on the BMT to get where you're going, or blithely ignore that someone in the Roosevelt administration decided Sixth Ave should really be "Avenue of the Americas." And Fashion Avenue? Let's not even go there. Yeah, I miss the telephone exchanges, too, but that's another story. I'm still hoping that my own shorthand for the Time Warner Center, "that monstrosity where the Coliseum used to be" will catch on, but only time will tell. Personally, I think it's just fine that The Times is aware of the differences between American and British spelling and usage, and respects them. Great, even. It's pretentious for Americans to deliberately misspell a word in order to give themselves cachet, or because they think it looks cooler. Perhaps if "Gentleman Johnny" had been a more effective general, we wouldn't have such differences in spelling and usage to vex us.
  13. Perhaps it was too much to hope for, but I wanted to see some of the Joffrey I've missed so much: Robert Joffrey's exquisite collection of historical gems rescued, however fleetingly, from the dustbin of history. Perhaps the current Joffrey still has some of delights in its repertory, but I strongly doubt it. I really didn't expect to see Parade, The Green Table, Jazz Calendar, Big City, New York Export, Opus Jazz, but some hint of ballet as part of an long and noble tradition would've been welcome. What symbolism one might see in the inclusion of the bit from La Vivandiere as backdrop (and reason for?) a veteran dancer's career-ending (in the real world -- it's glossed over in the movie), I'll leave to the imagination. Old-fashioned ballet as damaging? (Heck, had those Arpino clips gone on longer, I'd have busted a few tendons just watching. What has the guy got against plies, anyhow?) Instead all we got was Arpino's relentless perkiness, and other "modern" ballets which presented little more than catchy facades. Arpino's work was useful back when; it set a counterpoint for Joffrey's catholic collecting, and, as such, was less objectionable. Presented as the centerpiece of the Joffrey's current rep, the Arpino I saw (espcially Suite Saint Saens) just set my teeth on edge, like arriving at the State Theater back when hoping to see Suzanne and getting Heather. Without rewriting my original bit about this ballet, I found the cynicism very, very disturbing, and, as has been noted, Altman's cinema verite approach covers a multitude of sins. This is, in many ways, a very conventional backstage romance story, and also young kid (Ruby Keeler, Neve, whomever) makes good. Also, I find it really hard to believe that a dancer's boyfriend could run out onstage as Campbell's did at the end of Blue Snake without getting tackled by a few security guards.
  14. Let's not forget that when the Kirov last visited New York, Daria Pavlenko danced the Mimi Paul role in Emeralds and the Pat Neary one in Rubies on the same night (and did a fine job of each), and was even grander the next night in the Farrell role in Diamonds. I'm not sure what this says about emploi, other than that a truly extraordinary dancer can transcend its limitations.
  15. Somehow, Nijinsky's sturm und drang puts me in mind of Mark Twain: "Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they use." The problem, well, one of them, I have with Nijinsky is that, once you get past the shiny surface, it's all based on received wisdom. Nijinsky looks like he's having a toothache, so he must be Suffering for his Art. Neumeier sends Nijinsky's characters crashing into each other, so it must be a Brilliant Juxtaposition. Soldiers are made to look like mental patients, or is it the other way around? Aha! Nijinsky was going insane within just as Europe itself was going mad in WWI! War is crazy? No, really? Neumeier presents cliche after cliche dressed up as profundity. I'm not so sure the divide here is between formalism and theatricality, or whatever. I think it's between good theater, and bad theater, and Nijinsky is, for reasons many have noted, bad theater. Here's one definition of received wisdom, culled from an intensive Google search:
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