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Everything posted by whitelight

  1. From the website: Link: http://dancefilms.org/ There's some cool non-ballet dance films, too. I've seen Nora, and it's quite good, and they're screening some Busby Berkeley and other revivals.
  2. Indeed. She has been a great help in getting a young male friend of mine to come with me to City Ballet performances. He calls her "Legs," as in, "Legs is dancing tonight? I'll come!" I admit, it's stuck in my mind and I've started calling her that--sort of like Big Red. I know this wasn't directed at me, but I can't resist. I'm sure I won't be the only one to say that Bugaku is fabulous for her. And my friend and I both loved her in Violin Concerto. I'd like to hear what other ballets people particularly enjoy her in, since I base most of my attendance decisions on casting. ...and welcome, Mellio!!
  3. Thank you so much, Ray! These look like great recommendations and I will definitely be checking them out.
  4. I've been re-reading Susan Bordo's Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, and working on Jared Diamond's Collapse. Both are brilliant.
  5. I've seen billboards for this and I kind of want to see it just for Elizabeth Berkley. It looks hilarious!
  6. Hello, Ballet Talk members! It's been a while since I've been here, and it's nice to be back. I've always been a dance history enthusiast, but as I'm largely self-taught, I'm embarking on a project to fill in the gaps and deepen my understanding. I'm reading about the development of Western dance, in depth, chronologically. And I'd appreciate your suggestions. Right now, I'm in the very early stages-- I read Leonie Frida's bio of Catherine de Medici (which has very little to do dance, but painted a vivid picture of the era and politics that produced Ballet Comique de la Reine) and Mark Franco's Dance as Text: Ideologies of the Baroque Body (very dry and academic, but definitely clarified the development of ballet from Ballet Comique to Louix XIV). I'm looking for other texts to fill in the gaps of the pre-romantic era that gets little mention in the history books I've read. Your feedback and recommendations are welcome. Here's my pre-Romantic list, in (roughly) the order I'm intending to read them: Pre-Classic Dance Forms (Louis Horst) Famed for Dance: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Theatrical Dancing in England, 1660-1740 (Ifan Kyrle Fletcher) Art, Dance and the Body in French Culture of the Ancien Regime (Sarah R Cohen) From the Royal to the Republican Body: Incorporating the Political in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century France (Kathryn Norberg) Letters on Dancing and Ballets (Noverre) The Ballet of the Enlightenment: The Establishment of the Ballet D'Action in France (Ivor Guest) The Code of Terpsichore: A Practical and Historical Treatise, on the Ballet, Dancing, and Pantomime: With a Complete Theory of the Art of Dancing (Carlo Blasis) The Lure of Perfection : Fashion and Ballet, 1780-1830 (Judith Chazin-Bennahum) In my searching for similar topics on this board, I came across The Pre-Romantic Ballet by Marian Hannah Winter. Could anyone tell me more about this book? Thanks in advance for you help. Also, I know I may never (probably won't) finish this project, but it's fun to try. It would really go much faster if I didn't read everything on the subway.
  7. I'm late to this discussion, but I just want to add how sorry I am to see Deborah Jowitt go. And say what you will about the Voice and what they've become, but I would have thought that they would be committed to arts coverage. The whole thing makes me deeply sad.
  8. She did and sorry, it's just MY personal impression/opinion, She didn't move or emote me. I watched her and was MISSING KANDAUROVA (big RED).... Besides, "the Beatles" Osipova & Vasiliev, i was not impressed and greatly disappointed (after almost daily attending the Kirov tour)... but it's just my humble opinion. Also, again, just my personal opinion, I found the program VERY INAPPROPRIATE for the gala where there were so MANY CHILDREN. Could someone sensor what was to be performed on the stage? There are other places in NYC to watch "love making" then the children's competition..... I, also, could not agree more. Remembering my own brief years as a competitor (in admittedly less prestigious competitions), I was sensitive the to adult content of the evening even from the first act. Many of the "contemporary" solos looked more like cutesy and borderline provacative filly-prancing and attitude-projecting than demonstrations of the students' command over modern dance technique (or contemporary ballet technique as found in Forsythe, Wheeldon, and others' work). I realize that you have to let this go to some extent-- they're classical ballet students, may not have access to the training required for that style of movement, and have limited resources to contemporary choreographers. But the choice to perform Carmen in the 2nd half of the program was completely inappropriate! There's not much else to say about that. I was also highly disappointed in the behavior of the kids & parents, who screamed at inappropriate moments (as mentioned above) and took flash photographs throughout the first act of the program-- with no apparent intervention either from the host or the ushers. The unfortunate Hodgkinson and Bolle had to perform their duet (the first of the 2nd act) to the accompaniment of probably 40 flashes before Mr. Cumming made the "no flash" announcement. All that negativity aside (I know, I can be pretty crotchety for a young person-- and I think that in general I simply dislike galas), I was blown away by Osipova and Vasiliev. Osipova not only has all the tricks-- the multiple fouettes described earlier and her gorgeous, jumps-like-a-man leaps-- but also a warm and expressive upper body. Both of them are downright lovable. Very giving performers. And I also loved the Momix. That Moses Pendleton sure has a gift.
  9. I remember reading that, too, and I also had forgotten it. To echo carbro, how fortunate for Wheeldon to have reached this point. His presence will be missed, though I imagine he'll continue producing work for City Ballet. I am a bit curious as to who stages his existing work on new dancers...
  10. I guess I'm not surprised either, though I am disappointed. I fear for a spike in new Martins work as a result of Wheeldon's departure... what do the more seasoned viewers think will happen as a result? More Martins, more guests choreographers, or a new resident choreographer? I can't think of anyone poised for the role. And I was also sort of hoping Wheeldon might succeed Martins, so I'm disappointed to hear that it won't be happening. Despite my distress, I recognize that this is a very good thing for Mr. Wheeldon, and I have admired him from afar since before he started getting notice for choreography. Congratulations to him, and the best of luck with his future endeavors.
  11. I apologize-- this is the second time this month I've posted a ticket available the day of the show. I have a ticket for ABT's show tonight in the rear mezzanine for $15. Please email me at mhodges@ardorny.com if you are interested. Thank you.
  12. That does sound really interesting. I wish there were more events like this.
  13. Can I just say that I adore Malcolm Burn? He is a tremendous asset to Richmond Ballet, and I hope you have a wonderful experience working with him.
  14. In response to the Croce quote, I actually agree with her to an extent: I absolutely hate what gets passed off as "art" or even "worthwhile" because of the cause it supports. I do believe that great art has a higher purpose than propaganda. On the other hand, I think that Bill T Jones is a great artist. I saw his new work, Blind Date, supposedly his most political in a long time, a direct response to the Iraq War. However, on seeing it, I would say that as usual, he is not content to make a dance about this war, but rather, War. Not to mention Nationalism. I capitalize these to make a parallel with the subjects of "high art" that many have discussed here: Love, Betrayal, etc. I am not in any way arguing that Jones' work is classical, but he deserves the respect of an artist-- he goes beyond the specifics of the now and shows us the universal, and even timeless elements of our current dilemmas. The parts I have seen of Still/Here were not "AIDS is bad" but "this is how humans deal with Mortality and Loss." Someone earlier in this thread mentioned admiring the way Jones "tried to put the world onstage" which I think is really the most succinct way to say it. Of course, if its not to your taste, that's fine. But I wanted to point out that he's not some Long Island hipster screaming about Bush and jumping up and down, then labeling it "dance." He is a more sophisitcated fish than I think many posters give him credit for here.
  15. In all seriousness, Degas didn't try to capture dancers in movement (for the most part). His dancer paintings are more like his washerwomen-- he catpured them in rehearsal breaks, bowing, tying their shoes, etc, more than in the flow of movement. It reminds me of a page from a dance history book I have (is it Jowitt's? All of my books are in boxes right now) about Isadora Duncan. A photograph of her is next to a few sketches of her. Since photography was nothing what it is now, Duncan had to stand very still for the picture. The caption reads something like, "the artist's sketch tells us more: we see the joy and fullness of movement Duncan captured." And it's true-- sketches capture an essence that maybe even contemporary photography wouldn't. I thought that was on topic, but now I am not so sure. My apologies if it isn't.
  16. Jumping in quite late here. Perhaps it is because I'm young, but to me, the new system is better than the last, despite its flaws. As many have pointed out, the selection of Balanchine works is much better than the last few years, and it will be easier to see them altogether. I won't have to see the same ballet(s) I don't like repeatedly, just to see a couple ballets I'd like to see once each-- that happens to me every season, it seems, and it's exasperating. I have not, in the past or now, had the flexibility to choose exactly which performance I want to see, and so the idea of the programs repeating a few times is a relief. Plus, for the Balanchine heavy-evenings, I may go twice. Agreed, the theme idea is tacky, and it has driven me away from certain ballets in the past (I know I won't have the stamina for the All-Waltzes nights they've done in the past, though I haven't seen those Balanchine ballets, because waltzing couples bore me to tears. If Liebeslieder or Vienna was performed with non-similar work, I might give them a shot). But the only thing I won't see for sure is "For the Fun of It." I'll probably skip Contemporary Quartet, also. Also, it is MUCH easier to avoid the Martins work this year. Finally, I really do feel that some of the programs are well designed to educate audiences (no doubt a talk or even Q&A would go further than a title). I'm still self-educating, and there are programs this season that are easy to catch because they repeat, and really "cut the fat." I guess my point is that from my perspective, the season seems mostly denser and richer. And I can see how it would make the works better rehearsed and reduce injuries, and we should definitely cross our fingers for that.
  17. I only skimmed this topic, and I realize it has laid doormant for a while now, but I wanted to recommend Brenda Dixon-Gottschild's essay, Balanchine and the Americanization of Ballet. It is an excellent analysis of the way black culture (specifically music and dance) influenced Balanchine. I was skeptical at first, but there is a particularly convincing point she makes about syncopation. I'm paraphrasing, but she quoted someone talking about why the Russian ballet of the mid twentieth century looked stale compared to Balanchine's work, emphasizing the phrase "they've never seen anything," and pointing out that what they hadn't seen was African-derived musicality and corresponding movement. Anyway, I wanted to put that out there. I hope it makes sense.
  18. I think this is fair criticism, and I meant to anticipate it in some way. The movement is not usually the most interesting element of his work, though I wouldn't call it theater or performance art, because to me, the bodies are so important. This may be a naive statement to make, but I think his style is a very American "danztheater." And I couldn't agree more with Alexandra: Bill T Jones's work is not (and should not be) pretty.
  19. How strange to see Protas brought up here-- I only just a few days ago realized that he was in New York. We both spent a year at Walnut Hill School in Massachusetts-- he was about 14 at the time, I think. I believe that his training was all local (plus summer intensives, I assume) prior to that. The next year he went to Toronto, and apparently spent three years there, then one at SAB. I ran into him quite by chance a couple evenings ago at Fall For Dance, and I had no idea he was now an apprentice with New York City Ballet. I will add, though, that even when I knew him, he was very pliant and had soft landings. I look forward to seeing him in the ensemble of future City Ballet performances.
  20. Oddly, I do remember the hanging, but more as in one of those circus acts with people hanging the rope and moving as in one of those circus acts. I remember lots of death symbolism, murk and shadows, slightly s & m costuming, and a very confused and negative audience response of the "Is this Balanchine !!!" kind. This was NOT the Ravel of Mother Goose. Or of Pavane for a Dead Princess -- which, when you think of it, is a rather creepy concept, though lovely music. I know Joos did a ballet to that long ago. Any others? And are they "creepy"? According to a NY Times article a couple days ago, this may be revived.
  21. I read in Time Out a few weeks ago that Kirkland was coaching some upcoming production in New York-- does anyone know what it is?
  22. I saw the Uncle Tom's Cabin exceprt at FFD. Like everything else, it was very much out of context... if you didn't know about the piece, I am sure you would not have guessed that the funny, half naked dancers in the first section were the dogs in pursuit of a runaway slave. And to me, the final section, with the naked Christ-like figure very peaceful, which may or may not be the intended interpretation. I'll come out and admit that I missed the lynching altogether-- must have been a moment of severe density. I still cannot agree that the narrative "centers on displaying the suffering of a protagonist," though Jones clearly has "lessons to be learned" as his aim. I guess I think of filmmaker Lars Von Trier as a perfect example of a "victim artist," where Bill T Jones, to me, creates a much broader picture.
  23. I have been wondering about the exclusion of Balanchine on the programs, and I suspect the Foundation wouldn't approve of it being decontextualized and performed on a program with hip hop and Maureen Flemming, for example. But that's just my guess. I'd be interested to hear from someone with more insight to this. I agree that white swan in particular is difficult out of context, but despite their rep, I thought it was important for ABT to bring something very classical, since they do it better than anyone else on the festival, and it is definitely not represented elsewhere in FFD.
  24. I picked up a signed copy of Yvonne Rainer's new autobiography/memoir collection, Feelings are Facts. It's terribly interesting, and very easy to read, though it does skip around a bit, and it's hard to keep all of the people straight.
  25. I'm seeing every program this year, and while I'm so pleased that I'm in a position to do it, it IS exhausting. The inherent problem with a sampler program is that none of the pieces are contextualized. The Swan Lake pas de deuxs last night were no different. I was not blown away-- I think the description of a "good dress rehearsal" is accurate. As to the Pennsylvania Ballet-- I definitely did NOT love the piece-- I read some review that said the choreography was too neat and crisp for Wainwright's music, and I could not agree more. Another boring ballet for popular music. The dancers were lovely, but I wish they had brought another piece. The Dutch National Ballet did an exceptional duet called Before After-- at first I thought it was another cliche contemporary ballet, too, but as it continued I felt like it was more sophisticated and engaging. And the tone at the end changes rapidly and unmistakably from the mostly abstract yet antagonistic feel to a downright crushing emotional experience. At least for me. I guess I just wasn't expecting it. I was quite moved. Also, Pennsylvania Ballet and Dutch National Ballet on the same program pointed out (to me) what seems to be a major difference between the European and American approaches to contemporary ballet. American dancers seem much more self-consciously ballerinas at heart. They look like schoolgirls revelling in breaking classical taboos by extending lines or dancing to pop music, but it looks mostly like vain balletic indulgence. By contrast, the European dancers are much more fluid-- they look like they are "in the moment" instead of looking in the mirror. And its still obvious that they have strong ballet technique. Anyway, just thought the contrast was interesting. I'm positive it has to do with the training differences.
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