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About dancesmith

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. All the ABT guys mentioned are great. Glad to see Bocca included. The one guy that didn't see mentioned that's a favorite of mine is Carlos Acosta.
  2. Rev. Sharpton engaging in hyperbole? I'm shocked! The name I haven't seen mentioned regarding pioneers in racial barrier breakthroughs is Nat King Cole. He gained crossover acceptance even in the years before the civil rights movement. He was "first" in many things. Others that come to mind are Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Harry Belafonte. While I admire the work of Michael Jackson and appreciate the tremendous creativity he brought, I would agree that there are many others that would be in the Jackie Robinson category before him as breaking racial barriers in entertainment.
  3. First, I fully admit I am not near as experienced as other reviewers here, but I was also at the Saturday matinee to see Osipova and Vasiliev. We had seats center front orchestra, about 8 rows back. Before any other comments, I must say I absolutely loved the performance! I thought the production was beautiful. More than any other, if there was one ballet I would take someone to who believed they didn’t like ballet performances, this was it. I took Kaufman’s remarks in the Post regarding the length as positive and would echo them. At three hours, while it’s acknowledgeably longer than th
  4. Having danced just enough pas de deux to really appreciate the challenge, I have to say that I enjoyed the “Balanchine Couples” immensely. While I was considering writing a review, Maculay’s review of the 14th actually stole 95% of my own thoughts, and much better written! All in all, I was impressed with the dancers since the production featured, if my count is correct, 15 dancers in the spotlight, from a company certainly not normally thought of for its depth. I also felt it was a much more personal production than what we are familiar seeing, not only because of the nature of being solel
  5. I'm pretty obsessive about finishing books I start, but after a number of attempts, I admit I've never made it though Joyce's Ulysses. And I really wanted to like it since I bought my copy at the Trinity College bookstore in Dublin. I just couldn't get into the rambling thing. Maybe it also had something to do with never being excited about The Odyssey, even after a couple of readings. But I have enjoyed Fagles translation of The Iliad very much. The major classic I've never read is War and Peace. While I certainly didn't hate Anna Karenina, I found it got tiresome in places and have to
  6. According to statistics from Dance USA, Baltimore is the largest metropolitan area in the nation without a dance company with a million dollar plus budget. Washington is third in the nation with the number of million dollar companies with 4. Baltimore supports an opera and a symphony and is the home of several art museums and schools, including the prestigious Maryland Institute of Art and the Maryland Conservatory of Music. Probably about the only thing it lacks is a major ballet company. I don't know if Baltimore is what Washington Ballet has in mind but it certainly seems that it would
  7. Perhaps you'd recognize the complete title - "Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises"!!
  8. It seems to me that creativity is about a circle, or more hopefully, an upward spiral. Art (culture) is created and exist to inspire. Artist, such as dancers, in order to go beyond the mere technical and actually become creative, require inspiration. Therefore, since cultural artifacts (masterpiece art, literature, music, etc.) purpose is the inspiration they provide, it might be natural for those for whom inspiration is so vitally important to look to those cultural artifacts as a source of inspiration. And for some, they certainly do. Looking at a masterpiece of art, reading a great boo
  9. You might check out the information in her entry on wikipedia. If it's anywhere near accurate, it sounds like she was much more dancer than skater, and is still involved in teaching advanced ballet.
  10. Paul, thanks for bringing up Ray Bolger. I agree that he ranks right in there with Astaire and Kelly. For better or worse, I think he played to the fact that his face and demeanor was better suited for comedy rather than leading man roles. To a large degree, this served to limited his exposure and the true recognition of him as the highly skilled dancer he was. I read an interesting reference to Bolger in Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance by Marshall and Jean Sterns. In it, they quote Herbie Harper, who was an assistant to Balanchine for “On Your Toes.” Along with Budd
  11. Personally, I'm pulling for both Miley Cyrus and Oprah to take up ballet .
  12. Bart, Thanks for bringing up the continuum of art. I actually had written a similar paragraph but fortunately cut it from my post because you expressed it much better. The one thing I might add is that the range of our ability to understand and appreciate art forms all along the continuum is limited only by our own individual vision. There are no true dividing lines, only those we chose to create and allow. I believe that if we expect others to have a broader vision, we must be prepared to demonstrate that possibility ourselves. SanderO, I like the point you make about the difficulty som
  13. My first question is how much pop culture actually influences attitudes or is it more of a reflection of existing attitudes. Because I tend to believe the later, I’m not sure that the portrayal of ballet in pop culture is changing very much because I’m not sure that the attitude about ballet overall is changing very much. To me, the challenge of the image of ballet lies deep in its roots, from its beginning as a court dance, as an activity associated with elitism. Regardless of what the reality might often be, children whose families can afford ballet classes are often seen as priv
  14. The reality is that whoever pays the bills becomes the boss, be that a capitalist, a king, a socialist government, or the public. Whomever pays the bills will always have the ability to exercise control, either benevolent or not, of the art (and often the artists). Sponsorship of the high arts has rarely been broad-based and each method of funding has always come with a different set of problems. We should remember that support of the high arts, until just a couple of hundred years ago, was largely provided by either royalty or the church. With their demise as controllers of wealth, differ
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