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Everything posted by cgc

  1. Hi All, I'm in the process of gathering articles for SFB's Ballet 101 course manual. Apparently the New Yorker article "Ballerinas Wage a Backstage War on Pointe Shoes" about the rise of Gaynor Minden was a big hit, and the search is on for more of the like - informed, culturally astute, but entertaining. Anything come to mind? I thought of using Homan's infamous epilogue paired with Marina Harss's response in the Nation; perhaps Macauley's review of Black Swan (movie). Any and all ideas welcome!
  2. Thanks, everyone. Those ABT and Maryinsky bios are helpful. I'm still unable to find the composers for Whipped Cream, Jurliberlu, Sarabande, and Water (many of these are listed in Tatyana Ratmanskaya's bio and appear to be choreographic miniatures and early works). So those could be the missing pieces. Here are some composers I did find listed for some of the more obscure Ratmansky works. 98 Steps - Nino Rota Old Lady Falling Down - Desyatnikov Capriccio - Stravinsky Charms of Mannerism - R. Strauss Turandot's Dream - Hindemith Leah - Bernstein Chromatic Variations - Bizet I couldn't find anything on Moscow Cheryomushki other than that Gergiev conducted a production in London in 2006 (no choreographer mentioned), the Chicago Opera had a run in 2012 (Ratmansky was not the choreographer), and the Maryinsky revived the production in Feb. 2015. But I don't see the choreographer listed for either of the Maryinsky productions.
  3. This is a fact seeking question, rather than an aesthetic philosophical one, but I wasn't sure where to post it. Apologies. My question has to do with the number of ballets Ratmansky has produced to Shostakovich's music. I've counted 7: La Sylphide88 Bolt Bright Stream Concerto DSCH Symphony #9 Piano Concerto #1 Chamber Symphony In her June 7, 2013 New Yorker article on Ratmansky and Shostakovich, Joan Acocella states that he's done ELEVEN to Shostakovich's music. Anyone want to fill in the blanks here? Apparently I'm missing four. THANKS
  4. Thank you, Sandik, I find that very helpful along with much of what is written and discussed above. Thank you, everyone. There is so much here to think about. I am curious if other people associate the term "neoclassical" with Balanchine. I find it perplexing, perhaps out of habit, to consider Ratmansky "neoclassical" because of this association in my mind, as his choreography to my eyes does not appear to come out of a Balanchine lineage. Yet as someone who is working (lovingly, it seems to me, and as someone else pointed out) with the classical tradition in a very interesting way, and incorporating other movement forms, he undoubtedly qualifies as "neoclassical" in that definition. His reworking of the classical tradition also seems to have a different flavor from that of Wheeldon. Yes, his movement vocabulary incorporates other forms, as does Wheeldon's; but Ratmansky seems to be grappling with the narratives, the themes, the heritage of the older works - both from the Petipa/Ivanov era and from Soviet ballets of the 30s; this is a different kind of engagement entirely.
  5. I am coming late to this topic, but I think it is a very rich and complex one. Offhand I'd say that what makes Swan Lake in particular "Russian" is the fact that Tchaikovsky wrote the music. That makes it "ours" from a Russian perspective in a way that Giselle could not quite be, for example, despite its restaging by the (French) Petipa in St. Petersburg in the 1860s. In a larger sense, though, I think that what makes ballets Russian is the fact that they are "archived" by living Russian institutions, the Maryinsky, the Bolshoi, and others. Unlike a painting, which simply hangs on a wall and is viewed, Swan Lake has lived and passed on through Russian dancers and teachers. It survived the Revolution - with a changed, more uplifting ending - and continued on through the Soviet era, passed from dancer to dancer. That direct physical link, along with the workings and reworkings of this ballet (Gorsky, Vaganova, Lopukhov, Sergeyev), make it Russian, even if there are no overtly Russian dances in the ballet (the Russian dance not being performed in contemporary productions). And there is a lot of consciousness about Swan Lake being a sacrosanct tradition in Russia, even if the ballet went through a lot of changes. I don't think you see that in the States. Swan Lake is just another ballet to be performed, albeit one with its own special style and history, but not one to be approached with reverence and awe.
  6. I would add: Karole Armitage Rosina Galli, who ran the Metropolitan Opera Ballet through the 1920s - this was essentially the only resident ballet company in the US at the time Gisella Caccialanza and Ruby Asquith, important ballerinas and teachers in San Francisco Has anyone mentioned Agnes de Mille already?
  7. Perhaps this has been discussed often here before, but I couldn't find it on a search. Would love for someone to point me in the right direction here! Tonight I wrote up a few thoughts on my blog (cgaisercasey.tumblr.com), which I will reproduce below. But my real question is, can anyone point me to a helpful, substantive discussion of what we mean when we say "contemporary ballet"? What is Contemporary Ballet Does anyone have an answer to this one? I see (and use) this term a lot, but I don’t think anyone really knows what it means. OR, it means a lot of things to a lot of different people. I am going to use this format to think out loud in list format about two meanings of “contemporary ballet” that I have come across or that are in my head. (Looking forward to the Society of Dance History Scholars mini-issue on this topic…maybe that will help me out.) Contemporary ballet is: 1. Ballet choreography being created currently that, like Balanchine, uses a classical base but adds “twists” from other genres, in other words, an expansion on neo-classical ballet - e.g., Wheeldon, Ratmansky, Scarlett. [This definition seems overly broad to me. Ballet choreography throughout its history has drawn from other sources to enrich itself. The other problem with this definition is that it is Balanchine-centric, which could cloud out the importance of other influences.] 2. choreography drawing from a classical ballet base, but using composition techniques and performance practices drawn from the 1960s avant-garde (Cunningham, for example). Here I am thinking of Wayne MacGregor’s experiments with consciousness, neuroscience, and the body, and William Forsythe’s use of improvisation and aleatory procedures. I see reference to how movement conveys the “intention” of the dancer frequently in the essays of my students who work with Alonzo King, for instance. In these works, the dancers appear hyper-focused, almost meditative, not portraying any specific emotion, but concentrating rather on the mind-body interaction as they perform. [Hmm. Could be a helpful definition, although it leaves out, potentially, a lot of choreographers…needs more thought] Like so many “genre” questions in dance, you bump up immediately against its multi-media nature. On what basis do you make the definition? Is it dance vocabulary, steps? Is it artistic lineage? Is it decor? Is it narrative vs. abstract? Is it a common choreographic intention or preoccupation?
  8. Hi All, I've been signed up for balletalert for about five years, and in the intervening time had two children, finished my PhD, and various and sundry other things that have made posting the last thing on my mind! But the time has come... My name is Carrie Gaiser Casey, and I am a HUGE ballet geek. I have a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley, with a dissertation on women in early twentieth century American ballet, pre-Balanchine. I teach in the LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) program at St. Mary's College, which enables working performers, usually dancers, to achieve their BA while working full time professionally. I also assist with adult education and outreach programming at San Francisco Ballet, and do their Ballet 101 dance history lectures and repertory reviews. I have a blog on dance history topics: cgaisercasey.tumblr.com. It's really my forum for thinking aloud, and holding myself accountable to writing about dance on an ongoing basis. I am currently reading about Soviet ballet (the books by Sourtiz and Ezrahi), sparked by Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy, which premiered here at SFB this season (2014). Other obsessions include Balanchine's La Valse and his "neo-gothic" choreographic strand; Pavlova's world tours; and how dance changes through its transmission in the studio, and how teacher-student relationships shape steps. Oh, almost forgot. Professional career, danced with Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, Paul Mejia, AD, back in the day (1993-97); attended the Kirov Academy, Washington, DC, for three years when it first opened. My teacher was Alla Sizova, a beautiful human being inside and out.
  9. Is there any way to find out which nights she'll be performing? Or if she'll be going to OCPAC as well? Dream casting: Kirkland and Vishneva in SB on the same evening!!
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