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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Former prof. dancer, PBS producer-director
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    Longmeadow, MA

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  1. Cannot write more now. But suffice to say, my first impression: Less philosophy. More dance. What is/was the purpose of this doc? A history of ballet, or a history of ABT? Neither was integrated well. Both got shortchanged. Overall it was quite boring to watch... a) Because of the repetition of slow-mo shots/footage, and endless abstract philosophizing obstructed the momentum and flow. b) And if the "T" in ABT means theater - ie. drama: there were no conflicting views, or consequent interactions, or struggle of the company against: a lack of dancers/funding/audiences? In short, there was no 'drama' to attract a viewer and make them invest in the topic. Abstract philosophizing works better with modern or neoclassical companies, --ie. even NYCB. This is not the way to attract newer, younger audiences: Nearly all white (Copeland and Seo notwithstanding, a shot of Desmond R. in Othello might have helped), and/or older (ie. over 40) academic/admins pontificating from on high (despite some lovely quotes, most of it was pleonastic palaver) about "the meaning of it all -- ie. life/the universe/everything as exemplified by ballet" --- screams ELITIST. (Most general viewers probably tuned out after the first talking head.) Too much Homans. Where were Ferri & Bocca in the discussion of partnerships? Where was Paloma? Where was Angel (1sec of SL?!) ? Glad to see the archival footage. Glad to see/hear FF and those of his generation. At least PBS showed a documentary, (not a performance), of classical ballet. Why am I going to see ABT, I didn't learn anything new, just a heard few nice quotes to hang on my wall. And now I know MY doc will be better. Much better. Even if I am not Mr. Burns (or ABT, or PBS) with money to burn.
  2. The first thing I was told about any Kickstarter campaign is that 1) It is almost a full-time job 2) You need to be hooked into 'social media sites' on a daily basis to interest people, communicate progress, and 'drive' them to the website, by postings, blogs, film clip uploads, incentive/premiums etc.etc.. 3) You need a team, you cannot do this alone. I know how to film ballet and dancers, I know how to construct and edit a doc. But I am not an expert at social media, and don't have constant access to the internet. I have also been working alone for 4 years. All of Which explains why I haven't been able to do a campaign yet for my doc on Corella.
  3. Ok, I had to wait until 8pm tonight and the press release was made, but there it is...Starting in September 2014, Angel Corella is to be the new AD of Pennsylvania Ballet. According to the press release, the company's current artistic director, Roy Kaiser, will remain with the company for the transition period and then become AD Emeritus.
  4. Good idea sandik, and actually the same occurred to me. But everything also depends on the scale of the production; both the one being peformed, and the company filming it. PBS uses an average of 7-9 cameras (including the remote/booms) for a Great Performance/Live from Lincoln Center type perf, but I've also recorded performances single camera from different angels on separate nights and then edited to create a simulation of multi-cam productions. So, to do a full-size production with 'remote' production vans (think tractor-trailer size) takes logistics to schedule around a country - even one smaller than the USA. But a small, independent-size prod.company could be manageable. If funded. BTW: Has anyone read the latest NEA report on audiences and performing arts in USA - sorry forgot what it's called, though it comes out every 4-5 years.
  5. Sorry, dblpost, so deleted since mostly same memories.
  6. There are 4 "cineplexes" within 20 miles of my house. Two showed Met b'casts, and two showed "Ballet in Cinema" and "Opera in Cinema" (i.e. La Scala, ROH etc.) broadcasts. Then those two theaters stopped, and switched to Met broadcasts only. So now I have to travel a minimum of 3 hrs from home if I want to see any ballets in a movie theater. This may explain why I only saw ONE ballet last year at a cinema - the YAGP 'live broadcast' (NOT First Position film) and only because AC was supposed to be in it - he was, briefly. I also only went to ONE ballet in NYC this past season (ABT). No money to add an extra $100-500 to my ticket price for travel expenses whether its on a big screen, or stage. And yes, advertising is beyond dismal. We get one line in the movie listings THE DAY OF (and often only a few hrs before) the show.
  7. Angel has been at the University of Hartford- Hartt School Community Division's "From Studio to Stage" program since June 30th. He has been teaching, coaching, and setting the full-length "Don Quixote" on the students there (who were accepted into the program through national auditions, and later auditions for the parts they hold.) The students range in age from pre-teen to college age. The final performances will be on July 26th at the University. I have been filming the rehearsals and coaching sessions as a 'coda' to my documentary film about the creation of Corella (Barcelona) Ballet. You can still view the trailer to the film here: www.dancemedia.com/v/1528. Meanwhile, since financial difficulties prevented my working on the film for over a year, I am still trying to raise the funds to finish it. I am glad that here and elsewhere in the world, they still know and appreciate Angel's skill and artistry. The later it gets, the more trouble I have convincing the documentary film funders (who seem fixated on films about the same subjects-"save the planet/environment/children or social justice" year after year) that ballet matters, and trying to create a company in a country that doesn't support its artists mattered too. Till then, the joy of being able to watch and film Angel at work with these young dancers is something I will always remember and cherish - especially since I don't have to travel 7000 miles to do it.
  8. Best: (chronological order) 1. Watching Angel Corella take class (NYCC March). 2. Seeing Barcelona Ballet's Swan Lake in Detroit (Mar/Apr) 3. Finally receiving a donation/ and encouragement that actually helped my film. THANKS ALWAYS to pnj. 4. (Sort of related) - Getting my passport renewed (silly me thought it expired on my birthday, not the night before) last-minute, last-person able to do so, in Detroit so I could attend the Toronto HotDocs conference the day after Barcelona Ballet's last Detroit perf. ) VERY MANY THANKS TO ALL KIND U.S. GOVT OFFICIALS in DET for doing that., and the U.S. Custom's official at the bridge/tunnel who didin't run me over when I thought standing in middle of the road/entrance would get his attention fast. (And finally being able to talk to NHK execs about my film once I got to Toronto.) 5. AC's final ABT perf. (June 28th). Though also sad. 6. Meeting Barcelona Ballet's Gen.Mgr. on the one and ONLY night I could attend ABT's perf at NYCC (Oct.) And seeing Moor's Pavane again after nearly 20++ years. 7. Being able to watch YouTube of performances I miss(ed) at the library when my computer dies--which is often these days. Worst: 1. (sort of related: Not noticing my passport had expired until the last minute.) 2. Not being able to physically work on my documentary film at all due to lack of funds. (ie. no shooting/editing. I was able to attend 2 film conferences and network/take notes.) Meanwhile 80hrs of beautiful HD footage just sits on my shelf. 3. Only having enough time/funds to see 2 ABT perfs, 2 NYCB perfs, 1 Boston Ballet in 2012. (What a comedown from previous years when I went to 4-6+ from each company, and a couple of times squeezed in the RDB, and RB.) 4. Having to listen to horrible pop music all day at work. 5. Waiting for the economy/job situation to improve, and governments/populaces to notice the arts deserve funding.
  9. Saw the broadcast and noticed... The dancing: 1) Tiler Peck danced Other Dances like a Balanchine dancer, not Makarova; it was fun, but was not NM's movement or technique, though it was the most complete and joyous performance for me of the night. 2) Part's fouettes appeared rather 'flat' to me--ok to not do the multiples, but they looked perfunctory not exciting or building to a climax--or was that because of the cutaway/reaction shot breaking it up? (I agree with a previous post that Sarah Lane would have been a more recognizable casting for clueless general auds, though less a tie-in to Makarova trajectory in reverse, or to Letterman.) 3) I also understood why CBS showed only the end of the Giselle Gpdd, but it was so truncated and out-of-context that AC & CC had no time to inject anything other than the bare bones over an expected professional but no way extraordinary performance. (Ditto SL excerpt with Gomes & Part.) I agree with (Helen?) re: Macmillan's R&J being more able to show drama in short excerpt. I didn't have any problem with Kent/Hallberg pairing. Technical issues... 1) The clueless camera choices--too tight CU's of dancers--esp. on diagonal shots; and unnecessary/intrusive cutaways or reaction shots (ok to have, but not timed right here), I didn't need to see XCU's that were partial frames or on a dubious piece of anatomy. I didn't need to see Cojocaru's feet bourreeing; I would have preferred a simple (and more continuous) FS of her et.al. 2) The obvious (and again, rather clueless) edits/cuts to music, choreography, performances which made me wonder whether longer excerpts were shown in the theater? Generally: Having seen Makarova in rehearsal/rehearsing several times, she is always intent/intense. I was always struck by her ability to focus on the technique issues, but also seek to convey the emotional context behind each step to the dancers. I've also seen her at larger press conferences, where she didn't know the language, but trusted in those about her to help out, or in the goodwill of the audience, and then she was relaxed/smiling/funny and very sweet. And of course, I thought he might, and am stil glad he did dance at this honors performance for Makarova, (since I know the debt to her and others) but was sad the Giselle excerpt was so cut up, and that I still miss the things that made Corella unique. PS. I noticed the sleeves. PPS.For many years I have had a pic of a young Judi Dent in that early R&J performance and also remember that Zefferelli staging as being important for him and her.
  10. I'm SO looking forward to viewing this long over-due tribute to Makarova. She has my sincere congratulations, warm wishes, and gratitude for all she has given. I am also glad for the posts and reports viewable here because I'm rather pessimistic regarding the commercial networks in the US, and have visions of an hour-long tribute to Led Zeppelin and 5 seconds of ballet. Please notify us somehow how we may view the pertinent sections if the worst happens. Is there anyone at CBS (producers or editors) we can lobby to keep the ballet segments and make cuts elsewhere?
  11. Just wondering...Did anyone from ABT say hello to AC while they were in town? Or visit his new studio/school? (sorry, I've been away for so long. Computer access issues, business trips away, and now weather. Hope all BA members on East coast have suvived/are surviving these recent storms. My home was ok--only small puddle in basement and a few branches in yard.)
  12. Why were Richard Cragun and Marcia Haydee the first partnership to register on my consciousness after Nureyev & Fonteyn? Because they mattered, and they made it work. With some wonderful memories, and sadness at this news. RIP PS. Thanks for sharing the above links.
  13. I wondered about the lack of ABT on PBS in the last couple years as well. But there were earlier complaints that PBS (being a national 'network' ) should also showcase other national ballet companies - therefore, we had SFB in "Little Mermaid" and MCB in their triple bill last year etc. Personally, I'd like to see that PNB "Giselle" reconstruction (or even BB's which I also thought v. interesting and scarier than most others). RE: Dancers, I guess I'll have to keep pushing for funding to finish my doc, and then you can all see & keep Herman, Angel and others for posterity.
  14. This reminds me of that controversial final chapter/Afterward in "Apollo's Angels" where the author said much the same thing, though she cited Diana Vishneva, Angel Corella, and Alina Cojocaru as the examplars of those with "a wider vision" in addition to their stellar technique(s).
  15. Matching challenge grants have been a standard fundraising tactic at public radio and tv for many many years. No surprise that NYCB and others are doing it too.
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