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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Writer/long-time balletgoer
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    New York
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  1. I saw him in the Pas de Quatre and remember clearly his unaffected clarity and beauty of line. As these photos partly show, he exemplified a high standard of English male classicism. Very sad news.
  2. WQXR used to have another excellent program called "Music at First Hearing" -- a panel of 3 music critics (occasionally a musician among them) would listen to and "judge" parts or all of a couple of new recordings, without being told who was performing until after they delivered their verdicts. It was really interesting to hear the different "takes" and seeing how they matched up with either received wisdom or the critics' previous opinions about the artists. And, yes, George Jellinek's show was pretty wonderful - it was really sad hearing his final broadcast, which ended poignantly with the "farewell" section of Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony. I confess I haven't listened much to the station lately - too many short, lightweight pieces and too much grade B Baroque "elevator" music. I hope things change for the better.
  3. Gelsey Kirkland's feet may have been good, strong and well-arched, but, with their large, prominent heels they also looked quite idiosyncratic - one long-time observer likened them to "baked potatoes wrapped in foil." Disagree mightily about Sylvie Guillem "raising the bar" for any aspect of ballet - she did raise her legs up a lot, for sure.
  4. Welsely, I wish I could agree with you, but that's not the way I've seen it. Kistler WAS a great jumper and HAD a huge arabesque - before her terrible early injury and subsequent difficulties. Does anyone remember her in one of the Raymonda Variations, in the Scherzo of Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3, as Dew Drop? As the power and range of her lower body diminished, she compensated more and more by playing up the loveliness of her upper body and arms and her general charm. Her performance of Monumentum pro Gesualdo, for example, turned the ballet into a sweet, pitiful shadow of what it had been with Suzanne Farrell. The last time I saw Darci, which was a few seasons ago, she showed some still-reliable turns and lots of arm-waving; it was painful to recall what had been lost. I hope her farewell performance is a wonderful event, but I consider her career a tragedy overall.
  5. My reaction was very similar to yours, and I was also disappointed at exactly that moment when I thought Osipova would astonish - the leaps across the stage during the reel. I'm not sure she couldn't reproduce the effect Kirkland had, of skimming and barely touching the floor, but she seemed not to have been told this was an effect to strive for. You're right about Simkin, too - he had the character of Gurn down, but the dancing was not pleasing or fully under control. And, yes, Misty Copeland was beautiful in Airs.
  6. Don't agree about Airs - always a wonderful work, though not, it's true, meant for grand-opera-house dimensions. Is there anything more ravishing than the music Taylor chose for the final section (the "Good Dreams" sequence from Alcina), which he set with such beautiful, apt simplicity? Cornejo was an excellent and moving James (you're right about the occasional sense of strain, more in the attitude efface poses that punctuate his vibrant jumps and beats than in those airborne movements themselves). Osipova was wonderful in many ways - fantastically high, light jumps, touching and credible mime, a musical flow to everything she did - but I don't think this role suits her all that well. She's a vibrant, powerful dancer, careful and reined in here. Raffa was very good as Madge.
  7. Barbara, your impression is correct. Alastair (who, as I have "disclosed" in other posts, is a friend) told me that he wished he had more space for this review. I'm not sure that even with a higher word count he would have made the Veronika Part fan-atics happy, but I think he would have at least mentioned her.
  8. I haven't seen any choreography by Neumeier that I would describe as either musical or expressive. His ballets have a certain "attitude" and can give dancers a good workout, I guess, but poetic experiences they ain't. I haven't seen his Sylvia and cringe at the thought, but I'd give it a try if I could.
  9. Can someone please explain how ballets such as Mozartiana, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sonatine,Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3 and Coppelia exemplify the High Modernist phase of Balanchine's last 25 years?
  10. Gosh, some of these posts are depressing. Monotony? Balanchine's ballets are as monotonous as the music he chose - in other words, NOT. I can't help remembering and paraphrasing the late Clive Barnes on the subject of La Bayadere: if you don't like Balanchine you don't like ballet.
  11. It seems to me that what Kaufman is saying is that artistically, following Balanchine is only going to take us so far. Many of Balanchine's creations are quite dazzling the first few times one sees them, but after that, his conventional choreographic devices start to wear on one, and there is frequently not much else there to support them. (His formulaic 'homage to Petipa' tutu ballets come to mind.) Couldn't disagree more - Raymonda Variations, for example, is an endlessly enthralling "homage to Petipa" that uses "conventional" steps in wonderfully witty, surprising and brilliant ways. I could watch it every night. Do agree that "following" Balanchine is pointless, in the sense of copying superficial aspects of his art without substance of ones own.
  12. Can't believe we have to read yet another one of those "Balanchine ruined ballet" pieces that crop up every so often...this has to be one of the most useless of the lot. It's significant that Ms. Kaufman mentions the "visual" and "musical" joys of Balanchine choreography and dancing, but clearly that combination of the visual/physical and musical holds no drama for her. Edwin Denby once wrote that to be susceptible to poetic values in dance one had to be sensitive to both poetry and dance - these don't seem to be Kaufman's cup of tea. It's fine that she doesn't care for Balanchine, but does she really think she's going to convince anyone to share her narrow view? I think Balanchine's plot to take over the world's stages from beyond the grave will keep working in spite of her......
  13. The recording of the complete Swan Lake conducted by Charles Dutoit with the Montreal Symphony includes the music Balanchine used for the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. I believe the Bonynge and Lanchbery versions have the music, too, but I am 100% sure about Dutoit on Decca.
  14. I remember a televised performance of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Heather Watts dancing something from Rubies in the East Room of the White House. (And I do hope I'm not mis-remembering!) No, you are not misremembering. They performed the Rubies duet for President Carter. Patricia McBride was there, too, and danced the Act One Harlequinade pas de deux with Baryshnikov; they had a coda and solos, too (the only video souvenir of that magical lullaby Balanchine choreographed for her in Act Two), and some local kids offered a few of the enchanting children's dances. I'm with you about La Fleming, but if she could help jump-start some kind of revival of the arts at the White House, more power to her.
  15. I'm with you on Glazunov and Raymonda. To my eyes and ears, the recently released DVD of the Kirov/Sergeyev production with Irina Kolpakova in glorious form wins hands down - it's a dream from start to finish. I haven't seen either the complete Semenyaka or Bessmertnova versions, but, judging from several excerpts, the visual quality of the later DVD seems considerably better. It would be wonderful to have the various Balanchine works derived from Raymonda on DVD -- the heavenly Raymonda Variations above all, but any of them, please. I also love Harlequinade; it's one of Balanchine's most touching and nostalgic tributes to his bygone Maryinsky past. Anything from this - including the bits once performed on TV by Baryshnikov, McBride and a group of children at the Carter White House - would be a joy to revisit.
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