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popularlibrary

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About popularlibrary

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan
  • City**
    NYC
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    NY
  1. Well. this has been an interesting discussion, as usual on BT, but I strongly suspect it isn't what emilienne had in mind when she started it. I think maybe she was hoping for something more along the lines of "when I was seeing Giselle at Ballet Russe in 1947, the Willis all had green toe shoes for two performances," [yes, I made that up] or "I remember the caller in Square Dance, and how different the ballet was without the Bart Cook solo," or the like. Let's see - I can offer a Bolshoi Spartacus from circa 1961 in which we all watched poor Maya Plisetskaya search for the body of her bel
  2. One detail to add that has always amused me. I saw Mr. B's Swan Lake innumerable times over the years I was going to NYCB, from the late fifties through the mid-seventies, and in the early years the pas de quatre for the little swans always brought down the house. It not only brought down the house, it tended to completely disrupt the ballet, which, from conversations with NYCB staff at the time, I gather drove Balanchine completely nuts. So he took it out and replaced it with something less disruptive. I see that the MCB revival has honored this choice. Fans I knew at the time, myself in
  3. The New York Public Library Dance Collection has several recordings of Harlequinade: a 1984 and a 1985 live performance, both with McBride and Ib Andersen, both recorded 'for archival purposes'; 1978 stage rehearsal - not quite complete (Harlequin appears to be missing) - with McBride; and a 1993 live performance with Margaret Tracey and Peter Boal. All four are listed as 'available'. You can get full information at the library's web site, nypl.org.
  4. All these years later and I still remember Todd Bolender's ineffable wit and flawless timing in Phlegmatic. To my mind no one has ever touched him in this part. His musical sense was something very special, and Balanchine also used it in Agon's first pas de trois. I also remember Tallchief's flash and brio in Sanguinic, and Govrin's amazon power in Choleric. Herbert Bliss used to dance Melancholic - he was almost as boneless as Allegra Kent, and quite wonderful. I don't know if any of these interpretations have been preserved, but I hope so.
  5. Here are links to four photos (by Jennie Walton) of the Brahms-Schoenberg duet with McBride and Ludlow: http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/aa314/p...t-mcbride-1.jpg http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/aa314/p...t-mcbride-3.jpg http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/aa314/p...t-mcbride-4.jpg http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/aa314/p...t-mcbride-5.jpg I don't remember that McBride danced this with Bonnefous, though I do remember them in Who Cares? and Dances at a Gathering, among others. When did you see them Carbro? - I had to stop going by 1975, but I would have been fascinated to see them t
  6. When I was going, her partner in that was almost always (and best) Conrad Ludlow. She's not alone in saying he was the best partner she'd ever had. He was an amazing partner for every ballerina with whom he danced. I found him irreplaceable in things like 2nd movement Bizet, Liebeslieder, Emeralds and Monumentum pro Gesualdo.
  7. I have always understood that the entire scene takes place not in heaven, or the beyond, but in Solor's drug-soaked brain, and the shades, as well as Nikiya herself, have no expression or emotions of their own; they are a reflection of Solor's pain and guilt. I believe that the shades are simply refracted versions of Nikiya rather than separate characters, so I imagine interpreting them has, to some extent, to depend on how Solor himself is being characterized. Doubly so with Nikiya. Directing the scene would, I imagine, begin with Solor and procede from there, which is a complicated busine
  8. I've watched this interview, and mostly thought Charlie Rose showed, as he has in other interviews, that he doesn't know a great deal about dance or dancers; it would also help if he managed to resist his love of his own voice a little better. Still, I thought, for all that it was two people talking somewhat at cross-purposes, Allegra did pretty well. But that's neither here nor there. In reading the discussion here, and over at the Suzanne Farrell Holding onto the Air thread, some strands in both reminded me irresistably of a long ago colleague - a man of great charm, and, in fact as well
  9. My guess is that the Balanchine Police caught up with it and removed it.
  10. I was afraid this topic had played itself out, but happily, we seem to have found our second wind, so----- Why was Gelsey discomforting even back in her NYCB days? Well, not wanting to invent or rely on thirty-five year old memories, I went back and checked my notebooks for the period, and found fewer specifics than I would have liked, but some of my growing reservations (widely shared by other fans I knew, as I remember) were expressed as either "she's dancing like a computer," or, worse "she keeps substituting a fiction for herself - ultimately there doesn't seem to be any person there beh
  11. I agree the remark could go in both directions, but I also tend to agree with Alexandra that Balanchine probably meant it in a greater degree as a warning against the kind of intellectual analysis that gets in the dancer's way, causing self-consciousness and blocking a truly complete engagement with the choreography. In other words, I think he was trying to keep his dancers from needlessly limiting themselves and reducing their interpretations to only their own notions. That dancers argued with him we know from their accounts, and he did not punish them for it, Kirkland included. I can't he
  12. I do love discussions like this! We go so many interesting places. I think Balanchine's statements (like those of most great artists) are not only far lesser things than his works, but have to be taken quite individually to avoid collapsing into silliness. When he told Danilova that the Dark Angel (I don't know if he ever called her that, but never mind) in Serenade was married to her charge, the two of them just going through life together, and of course he left that other girl because she was a foolish creature who had too many affairs, we can agree he was either joking or in one of his c
  13. I hadn't been specific, but when I was talking about his kind of statement (which is not exclusively theological nor religious in any case), I was pointing to a kind of faith in beliefs of some sacred kind when talking about how they were necessary to protect a domain that is considered sacred. Theology would therefore explain why certain of his remarks were developed into such forms they took. But to assess them objectively, they have to be placed next to the opposing aesthetics, because the realm is first ART, and if religion and theology play a major part (as they obviously did with Bala
  14. Given that Balanchine was an intensely (Diaghilev might have said morbidly) religious man, steeped in the theology and mysticism of Russian Orthodoxy, and given the frequency with which he called attention to this ("the real world is not here," "only God creates - I assemble" among many other statements) it seems to me that, whether mediated by Kirstein or not, this is a fairly recognizable Balanchine religious notion rather than an aesthetic or critical one. I realize how very irritating this is of Mr. B, to put his admirers and critics at the disadvantage of having to deal with his beliefs,
  15. But it's also true that Balanchine was fond of American popular culture, from jazz and Ginger Rogers to Wonder Woman on tv. I couldn't speak to Balnchine's total view of American/European culture, but the man who made dances for Ray Bolger, Josephine Baker, movies, television and Broadway did not, it seems to me, reject pop culture where he found it good. Didn't he also love John Wayne movies? I don't disagree with the general argument that the flattening out of "high" culture and the huge, commercially driven, expansion of pop culture has had a lot to do with the decline in critical stan
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