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Everything posted by 4mrdncr

  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.
  16. Ah, but you didn't see Angel rehearsing the swans... he knew what he was doing, and how to get the results. BTW: I really liked this production, and the way he utilized the corps in the fourth act.
  17. Many thanks cinnamonswirl for the detail and definitions, I wondered too whether the "Italian" derivation was because of a distinct school or interpretator, and because, I don't think in my training anyone ever defined or called them anything other than fouette turns (with the distinctly different starting positions you noted above). Nevertheless, I do remember practicing them, and practicing both en dehors and en dedans versions too.
  18. When I was small, I would hum the entire score to Swan Lake. Now, whenever I'm stressed or nervous about something, I'll find myself humming (sometimes subconsciously) the Act3 waltz of the princesses from Swan Lake. It's like a pause--a serene center--in between 4 acts of highly emotional drama and dramatic music. And therefore, it helps to calm me too. I will add more later. Suffice it to say, I ALWAYS have ballet music in my head whether I am consciously aware or not.
  19. Not yet. There was a sort of wistful request I received, but I would have needed a longer lead time to prepare, (day of, was rather short notice) and more time & money to negotiate with the NYCC unions. But of course I would be interested to do so if a future opportunity arises.
  20. I'll write more later after I've seen Swan Lake, and attended the Toronto Documentary film festival to tell all those filmmakers, studios, distributors what they're missing.
  21. Yes,I was there all week to see the NYCC performances, and of course promote the existance of the film and need for completion funding. But unlike 2010, I wasn't allowed to screen the trailer (which includes Corella-Barcelona Ballet's 2008 debut performance of "Bruch..." on the outdoor stage at the royal palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso)& performance excerpts in the lobby monitors, but instead was relegated to a 'concession booth' in a corner of the City Center main lobby and either my 9" portable dvd player, or a semi-functioning 15" laptop. But hey, a few people did come over to inquire about Angel's future, or the company's, or the film's (when they wern't asking where the restrooms were) so there was some compensation for my efforts. Regarding the performances themselves I will say... RE: BRUCH VIOLIN CONCERTO No.1 This was danced much as I remember, with precision, joy, and enthusiasm. And, if I remember other dancers with more verve in some sections, that's not to say the current group are worse, only phrasing differently. I still think Cristina Casa rules in the Pink--when I first saw her do it in '08-'09, she was put in last minute after Ana Calderon was injured and not only nailed that oh-so-quick menege of sautes-piques-chaines but conveyed the punch & pizazz the role required. At NYCC this time, she danced the Red, and though without Natalia Tapia's amazing extension/flexibility, still flashed across the stage. Ana Calderon, a more elegant, glowing dancer onstage, with a very strong technique and confident stage presence, was also fine in that role. Both Yuka Iseda (Aqua) and Momoko Hiratu (Pink)showcased their strong technique and control. Regarding the lengthy Blue pdd, I agree with most comments about Carmen: Beautiful, elegant, lovely extensions, and surprising control in some things, however she DID lag behind the music on Tuesday, and overcompensated on Friday (ahead of the phrase)to correct it, before finally settling in and finding the right lyricism and tempo. But no one uses their back and arms like she does--whether classical or contemporary choreography--and that was exquisite. Maria Jose Sales is lighter and more refined--more a diamond, to Carmen's moonstone--but she doesn't have the port te bras Carmen does. However, I do think she is the more quintessential dancer in this pdd. As others have noted, Aaron Robison and Alejandro Virelles were the standouts among the male casts of this ballet. Aaron's balon and stage presence are always notable (and noticeable), he's tall with long lines and can fill a stage easily with his vitality, energy, and intelligent awareness of technique. Virelles dances beautifully, in some ways reminding me of a young J.M. Carreno for his elegance and control; he's more lyrical than Aaron. But both Kiril Radev (he's a much more assured and stronger dancer than last I saw)and Daryon Vera (mostly partnering Carmen) were comfortable in their roles. Jonathan Diaz did look a little unsure in his pdd with Carmen, but that could be because of nerves, and/or that he was still a corps member partnering a principal and assistant AD of the company. PS. RE: That YouTube clip of ABT--I believe from an original 1996 PBS telecast--Angel dances the Aqua and was already a principal dancer when this was filmed. (He joined ABT as soloist in April '95 and was promoted to principal in Aug.'96--age 20.) FOR4: Was originally created for the 2006 debut of the "Kings of Dance" whose original incarnation included Corella, Stiefel, Kobborg, and Tsiskaridze. At the time, Wheeldon said he didn't want to have a showcase of cliches and pyrotechnics, and he also tried to play against type in some instances. In Barcelona Ballet's version, all the parts changed dancers, except Angel's former role which was danced solely by Aaron Robison until Friday, when it was takn over by Francisco Estevez due to Aaron's injury in Bruch (didn't anyone elso notice the quick change halfway thru the Bruch Red pdd on Friday?) For the first three nights of For4, Aaron's inexhaustable energy and exhuberance in the 3rd (Brown?)variation reminded me of his boss's. As did his ability to fly through the air with such conviction. (But I missed the graceful fluidity of Angel--who not only connected all the steps--adagio & allegro, but also made them sing, as well as zing.) Francisco Estevez is a more compact dancer, so this variation's phrasing was entirely different when he danced; but more prep time could have made it more relaxed and sure than correct. Alejandro Virelles (2nd-Green) twice made my jaw drop: Tuesday, he stopped a multiple pirouette exactly facing front & center while STILL REMAINING IN RELEVE. How could he come to a dead stop, with that sort of control of momentum, without putting his heel down?! Or don't I understand the physics of torque enough? He almost did it again on Friday. What can I say about PALPITO? I generally agree with most of the reviews--though maybe not with the extreme of the New Jersey Ledger. And on a personal note: The beginning and end were VERY much like "Celaje" from 2008, and the middle took more than one viewing (and listening of the words behind the singing) to understand. Like many, I too found fault with the program's description/translation--something this company has always been prone to. I think they do a transliteration instead of a translation, and usually end up confusing and annoying the English-speaking audience and critics. They can get away with this in Europe, but not here, and unfortunately do not realize this yet, and how it hurts them. Overall, I thought PALPITO was a loosely strung series of vignettes that (as the program book noted vaguely) delineated Angel's trajectory over the last 4-5 years. The lighting and costuming was more effective conveying this than the choreography. Angel the dancer (and frustrated angst-driven entrepreneur?) was often isolated and enclosed by bars of light, tangles of light, and within a circle of light--each time breaking free with a mimed determination and, (what may be to me, who has seen it so many times), a pyrotechnic display of bravura steps that still showed his astonishing speed and prowess, but didn't move the plot (however thready) much. However, I did feel the poignancy of his lonely walk across the stage on a 'sidewalk' of light while life and love continued untouched around him as exemplified by the two couples dancing amorous & playful pdds. His predominantly black (with some white) costume also contrasted with his colorful company, and further isolated him. There was a further change in mood with the darkened stage, black lace female corps, and lanterns--but the staging and music made me think of Paul Taylor's Piazzola work and the short slow pdd between Angel and Momoko Hirata could have been so much more with that music, but wasn't. I'm not sure if Hirata's black-lace dancer was a siren luring him, or compassionate soloist reminding him of his partnering abilities. The fouettes showed her classical abilities, hoorah, but not sure what that did for the plot--unless she was a more sedate Odile/temptress? Eventually, Angel disappears through the blackness of the backdrop, after a long sigh and backwards glance at the audience, to emerge again in the finale of the program. Now clothed in white, he is welcomed by his affectionate sister and then joins his energized, joyous company of dancers. Hooray for a happy ending. Ok, I get it, but the journey was overlong. (Most annoying action: Angel's jacket being repeatedly removed in each scene. Once is ok, but 3 times?!! And a quite literal removal of velcro ankle clips--ie. fetters?--was just one more example of excessive literalism.) In fact, what I did enjoy in this work was the corps. As Amy wrote, they 'got' the Spanish sensibility behind the dances, and they conveyed that conviction quite clearly to the audience. I enjoyed watching those articulate wrists and hands; I enjoyed the hand claps, swirl of the capes, and snap of all those fans. The corps were having fun and so was I. They ladies got to play multiple roles:coquettes--(I kept thinking of the "Kit Kat Lounge" in CABARET, or the women at the 'barre' in SWEET CHARITY), and cheerleaders for their men, and finally dancers in a company. Their costumes were colorful, bright, distinctive, and ever-changing. The men got to tease and play and show off their own abilities in solos interspersed amidst the crowds. It all culminated in a rowsing finale. (Like Celaje, like DGV, like...like...like...) but the audience ate it up and served a complimentary ovation every time. I also liked the music--especially the strings, and was fascinated by the layering of SFX: percussion, recorded voices counting, calling out steps in french and spanish, whispering, and singing of the hopes and dreams of Angel and his company.
  22. Of course, and I may still do it (though I've been warned that: (a) 90% of your time must be devoted to social networking--something I'm not that fluent with--to get people to the Kickstarter site and/or to donate. So little time is left-over to actually work on the film, and (b)that self-contributing is not unheard of to reach a goal in the desigated time allowed). But more importantly, there already was a way to support the film... Since January 2009, the trailer to the doc has been posted at www.dancemedia.com/v/1528 (run by Macfadden Perf.Arts Media conglomerate which publishes Dance Magazine, Pointe, etc.etc.etc.) with links to the Dance Films Association (my film's fiscal sponsor-- which allows donations to the film to be tax deductible, and allows me to apply for other grants by giving me "nonprofit status" under the DFA.) The DFA has a page on its website for its 'fiscally sponsored works-in-progress' which DOES have a "Donate" button, http://www.dancefilm...orship-program/ As you can see, this page has a link to the DFA PayPal account which then allows funds to be directed to the appropriate project(s). Maybe the DFA-sponosored w-i-p page was hard to find on the DFA site, (there is no link on the DFA homepage, it must be reached thru a drop-down menu), or maybe it was just the economy, but there hasn't been much action in the last two years. And yet there is such a clamor for news about Angel and/or his company. It's so puzzling and ironic to me--especially now, when the chance to see Angel dance will be even less after June 28th. But anyways, thanks for the inquiry.
  23. I guess this might put a premium on the 80hrs of footage I have (and irony of ironies, still not fully edited due to continuing funding issues.) If anyone is interested in contributing towards the completion of my documentary, (and every penny counts now) maybe we'll finally have a broadcast or DVD to view and remind us of his amazing talent as a dancer and entrepreneur in the intervening days/months/years when we can't afford to visit Spain or other closer venues to see him or his company perform.
  24. Hooray, and thanks for the heads-up. Now I can watch Tavis for more than my usual L.A./PBS fix.
  25. Having filmed the Makarova version of La Bayadere (also viewing it and the RB/La Scala versions several times), and particpated in interviews with Ms. Makarova where she described her reasoning for including some dramatic actions and especially a last act (I may edit this later to include her quotes), I can say that... 1) There is a specific moment where Nikiya points an accusing finger at Gamzatti after being bitten by the snake, and a reaction by Gamzatti (though the reaction--either feigned shock that Nikiya dared accuse her, contempt, or nervous guilt--depended on who performed the role) and Solor to this news. 2) Nikiya doesn't take the antidote because, when she looks to Solor, he is walking away with Gamzatti (after a surreptitious unhappy/guilty look back at Nikiya--which neither she nor Gamzatti see), so defeated and heartbroken Nikiya lets the poison kill her. 3) In the last scene of the Shades act, Solor awakes to find that Gamzatti and entourage have arrived at his door and she proceeds to stalk slowly towards him as he slowly tries to back away and then stops. A literal/physical exemplification of Gamzatti's power and ability to force him to face her & her intentions. 4) There is a moment in the final act (I think after the 'candle dance' but before the PDQ) in which Gamzatti has a solo that expresses both her yearning for Solor and frustration/rage, while the other protagonists remain 'frozen' in place. A sort of dance soliloquoy on her part. 5) Nikiya's ghost is present at the wedding to remind Solor that he made a vow to her on the sacred flame; to confront Gamzatti through the use of a flowergirl who offers a similarly suspicious basket, and by G's horrified reaction, so demonstrate Gamzatti's guilt; and to show her (Nikiya's) continuing love for Solor. 6) There is also a point where the priest literally forces Solor to kneel on the alter--so it is literally a forced marriage in all ways. 7) Finally, the gods wreak vengeance on the wedding party because they (Rajah, priest, Gamzatti et.al.)murdered their Bayadere/temple girl. Nikiya's ghost is just the messenger. That Solor also dies, is a prize for Nikiya who can now lead him to 'the promised land/level/ring of heaven/nirvana/cloud9 whatever to enjoy a happier afterlife. Just some observations of a rather convoluted plot, but luckily with some great footage and dancer-actors to demonstrate its nuances of motivation.
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