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Posts posted by Allegrovitch

  1. http://www.panix.com/~blackwoo/md_glentetley.html

    "I have always wanted to be free," says Glen Tetley in this portrait, explaining why he never had an exclusive association with one particular dance company. As a result he has led an extremely varied life in dance, working with many superior talents in many places and thereby enriching the repertoires of the great dance companies all over the world with his ballets.





    An era ends, with the passing of this choreographer, as well as the great Russian teacher, Tumey. Peace.

  2. In the Greater Boston area, it is showing today. Unfortunately, it is only accessible IF one has HDTV, (on channel 802). Not sure if & when it might show on the non-HD channels.

    Anyone else have more info re: this? Previous forums here also stated that it would be released on DVD ard Christmas? I certainly hope so.

    New York City Ballet: Bringing Balanchine Back

    The New York City Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Monday, November 13, 4:00am

    Monday, November 13, 8:00pm

    Monday, November 13, 11:00pm

  3. Agree with Helene’s comments. The camera work is way too busy throughout this DVD. Wish the editor &/or cameraman had learned from the Dance in America series. In this case, the camera cuts too often into the dancers' bodies, for close-ups of heads or body parts, making for an extremely aggravating and frustrating viewing experience. One can't watch through a movement phrase without having to suffer through almost as many editing cuts as there are musical counts. Some camera angles are not flattering, others are just bewildering and seemingly arbitrary.

    Could the editor somehow please be informed that it is very important for dancers and dances to be recorded with the entire body in view?!! It is equally important to see the space/architecture of the dance, as well as the relationships between dancers. In this case, the camera work is so obtrusive, it completely takes away from focusing on the dance and dancers. It is self-defeating -- even shameful -- to film quality dancers like this, when the editor makes it more about the camera than the dancers and dance.

    Daniil Simkin, the teen-aged virtuoso dancer often compared to a young Baryshnikov, is better served on his web site (watch his Don Q, as well as other solos there) than on this DVD. It would have been preferable to see him in the classical variations he does so well, rather than the contemporary pieces he is in. To add insult to injury, the camera continues to cut to a tight shot of him, cropping out the opportunity to see his consistently remarkable pirouettes. The duet with his father is only briefly entertaining as a novelty.

    The pas from Who Cares brought to mind the old axiom with which Balanchine advised: "Don't act. Just dance." The camera work here continues to be distracting and obfuscating. What one could see raised questions about unusual phrasing & tempos, compared to NYCB’s or even ABT’s performances of this pas.

    The special effects introduction to each dance is really irritating. Reminded one of the Giselle filmed with Erik Bruhn and Carla Fracci. Too busy. Does the editor feel it necessary to embellish ballet? Good dancing and dancers can hold the screen easily, without this kind of bothersome editing. It is worse than a pesky mosquito. The faux documentary style is equally ineffective, & seems to serve little purpose other than to add to the disruptive, choppy rhythm of this DVD.

    It is good, at least, to be able to see modern choreographer José Limon's The Moor’s Pavane here. Most of the contemporary works suffered from predictable choreography. The classical works were shot so poorly that it was simply annoying to try to view the dances, in spite of very good dancers.

    Sorry for ranting, but this is a real pet peeve.

  4. Leigh Witchel Posted Yesterday, 10:28 PM

    Andre - I think what you mention is part of the danger of the maturity of an art form. It's easier to innovate in a wide open field - because sometimes innovation is simply that people haven't seen it before. Petipa went to Russia, Balanchine to the US, Ashton worked in a nascent English Ballet. I'm not sure we can have another Balanchine because the field's already been plowed.

    While I tend to agree with Leigh's statement, it also bears reiterating that Balanchine drew his inspiration, as well as ideas on structure, rhythm, harmony, etc., from the music he chose. Stravinsky, his long-time collaborator, wrote (in his Autobiography), "... I found that the absence of many colored effects and of all superfluities produced a wonderful freshness... ", referring to writing his Apollon Musagete. That same concept surely contributed towards Balanchine creating his masterpiece to that music at the tender age of 24.

    That is not to say that today's choreographers are not attentive to the music they work with. However, in a recent program viewed of Balanchine's Serenade paired with yet another contemporary version of Carmen, Balanchine's work appeared the more relevant, timeless, and contemporary, in spite of the 72 years since its premiere. Of course, that speaks to his genius, as well as to the lessons he learned from Stravinsky's music regarding simplicity, as well as inevitability. Those lessons tend to negate the propensity towards sheer athleticism for its own sake of many of today's choreographers.

    Creativity in the arts seems to very cyclical, & today's times bears some resemblance to the same period that ultimately produced Diaghilev, who nurtured choreographers such as Fokine, Nijinsky, Nijinska, Massine, & Balanchine, all of whom innovated and reinvigorated the rather stagnant and predictable ballet choreography of its day. Undoubtedly, it was the collaboration of so many brilliant and young artists from various disciplines, like Picasso, Stravinsky, Ravel, Bakst, Cocteau etc., with Diaghilev and his choreographers that kicked these changes into being. Diaghilev's broad vision and impeccable taste was the catalyst that made it all happen.

    Sorry for being so wordy... So we need a Diaghilev?

  5. Also a memorable teacher to remember was Antonina Tumkovsky, who can be seen teaching in her 90's from a chair in a video that's out, in what her students describe as a terrifically difficult if brilliant class. It is amazing to view.

    "I believe one of Tumey's greatest gifts is in shaping the essence of a dancer. She not only promoted physical strength, but tried to instill in us emotional integrity as well," writes Wendy Whelan, principal dancer for New York City Ballet in a tribute to Antonina Tumkovsky. "She wanted us to be confident, to learn to handle demands, to be healthy in mind and body." Mme. Tumkovsky retired in September 2003 at age 98 after fifty-four years with the School of American Ballet. A graduate of the Choreographic School in Kiev and former soloist with the Kiev State Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Tumey, as she is affectionately known, came to SAB in 1949 at the invitation of George Balanchine. Her responsibilities included auditioning new students iii New York, and over her career, she taught every level of class at SAB, challenging generations of dancers, including Whelan. "Ultimately," Whelan writes, "she was prompting us to ask ourselves, 'Do I have what it takes to make this my life?' "--KAREN HILDEBRAND

    COPYRIGHT 2004 Dance Magazine, Inc.

    COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale

    Also; Felia Doubrovska & Alexandra Danilova, were both beloved Russian teachers who taught at SAB until very late in life.

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  6. Agnes DeMille appeared in a documentary, teaching one of her ballet's (I don't remember which) to young ABT dancers.  It's amazing what she could convey, seated in a chair, using (a) her arms, head and upper torso, and (b) a shared ballet vocabulary.

    That was the Frederick Wiseman documentary. Agnes DeMille was (after recovering from a stroke & therapy) rehearsing The Other; music by Franz Schubert. ABT's Amanda McKerrow and others were dancing in this last ballet by de Mille, who was being assisted by Terry Orr, now director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

    The mother thought that teachers who can't demonstrate should be "put out to pasture" and suggested that no one over 62 should be allowed to teach.

    Some parents can be so arrogantly clueless!

    Madame Tatiana Legat, still active in her 70's, is responsible for producing the beautiful Sarah Lamb, soloist now w/ the Royal Ballet. Both are Boston Ballet's great loss, IMHO.

  7. This is a fun thread I just come across. My candidates are:

    From the Ballet Russe days;

    Mia Slavenska - glamorous redhead from Yugoslavia, danced w/ Ballet Russe, formed her own

    company w/ Freddy Franklin


    Tamara Toumanova - the inimitable dark-haired beauty

    Tatiana Riabouchinska - one of the "baby ballerinas", also of ABT

    Irina Baronova - another one of the "baby ballerinas"

    From NYCB;

    Suzanne Farrell - now as the voice of Balanchine, emits spiritual as well as physical beauty

    Kyra Nichols

    Stephanie Saland

    Vera Zorina - an early wife of Balanchine, also of ABT

    Maria Tallchief - another wife of Balanchine, also ABT

    Diane Adams - both of NYCB & ABT, & an early muse of Balanchine's

    From ABT;

    Lupe Serrano

    Barbara Fallis - also NYCB

    Sono Osato - also in musical theater

    Annabelle Lyon

    Toni Lander - also Royal Danish Ballet

    Cynthia Gregory - elegant, striking American dancer

    Carla Fracci - also of Italy

    Mimi Paul - also NYCB

    Marianna Tcherkassky

    Leslie Browne - also actress in "Turning Point"

    Nina Ananiashvili - also of Boshoi

    Julie Kent

    Susan Jaffe

    Alessandra Ferri


    Altynai Asylmuratova - Tartar beauty, Kirov Ballet

    Maya Plisetskaya - Bolshoi Ballet, Russian redhead, dynamic personality, now about 80

    Margot Fonteyn - Royal Ballet

    Moira Shearer - Royal Ballet & actress in "Red Shoes"

    Karen Kain - newly appointed AD of National Ballet of Canada

    Yuan Yuan Tan - San Francisco Ballet principal

    Sabina Allemann - San Francisco Ballet principal

    Sarah Lamb - Royal Ballet, formerly Boston Ballet

    This lists keeps growing, but is by no means all inclusive, & certainly not very current. Sort of off the top of my head....


  8. This thread is an interesting one that might bear renewing, particularly to see who of the grand old teachers are still with us.

    Barbara Newman's Grace Under Pressure has an interesting interview w/ Richard Thomas, who apparently only teaches kids at Elliott Feld's school. He is a very colorful, successful teacher, w/ his own unique perspective on the dance world now & then. He must be about 79 now.

    Dick Andros used to teach at Mr. Thomas' studio, & has his own web site w/lots of interesting dance history. He may still be teaching at Steps? Another wonderful personality.

  9. Brilliant book. Just discovered it on the shelf at B&N. The interview with Richard Thomas (a former teacher of mine) was worth the cover price alone. His powerful insights, wealth of experiences, keen eye, astute mind, wit, & critically high standards & integrity, all make for very interesting observations and remarks. Fascinating. Only wish his late wife, Barbara Fallis, could have added her thoughts too.

    Looking forward to reading more of this book. Barbara Newman writes with intelligence and a great sense of perspective. It appears she makes a thorough attempt to cover issues that are important to those who care about the direction of ballet today, with probing & provocative questions.

  10. Recall seeing Marianna T. w/ ABT, & was always impressed w/ her dancing, & her beauty. She did a memorable performance w/ Bujones in Giselle[i/]

    Another dancer that always stood out was the beautiful Naomi Sorkin (?). Whatever happened w/ her?

  11. There have been times when attending a performance in which all the dancers were at a very high level technically, yet still left one asking, "Is that all there is?"

    After a dancer reaches a certain high level of proficiency, one looks for more than simply technique. Otherwise, they may as well be gymnast or athletes, not artists.

    Obviously, having technique or personality to the exclusion of the other is not desirable. The brilliant dancer Erik Bruhn wrote a wonderful article, "Beyond Technique" (anyone know where to find it now?) that best describes the next level a dancer like himself would want to pursue for optimum artistic growth.

  12. There have been times when attending a performance in which all the dancers were at a very high level technically, yet still left one asking, "Is that all there is?"

    After a dancer reaches a certain high level of proficiency, one looks for more than simply technique. Otherwise, they may as well be gymnast or athletes, not artists.

    Obviously, having technique or personality to the exclusion of the other is not desirable. The brilliant dancer Erik Bruhn wrote a wonderful article, "Beyond Technique" (anyone know where to find it now?) that best describes the next level a dancer like himself would want to pursue for optimum artistic growth.

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