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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    ballet master
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    New York City
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  1. Suffice it to say, I was "around" in the 70's - an ex-ABT dancer. I can tell you the following: Ex-cast members came around - Fernand Nault, Sono Osato for example. Enrique Martinez & Scott Douglas were ballet masters though I only remember Tudor & Hugh Laing running rehearsals. Dimitri Romanoff also helped with remembering the Friar(his role). Every one, at that time, had great difficulty remembering the ballet & putting it together - which is why I know that some re-staging was done, at that time, to fill lost elements. There was a notator but the score is not complete. Film footage is not complete. I believe Joan Acocello wrote in this week's New Yorker that it would cost $2,000,000 to reproduce the set & costumes - which is probably at least what it would take. As to dancers of the 70's remembering it: You have to realize that we didn't do it often. That made it difficult for both dancers & staff. Pillar & Lilac Garden were done ALL the time - but not R & J. Of course if it were to done I imagine some ex-dancers may be called upon. One has to realize that it is the corps work & smaller roles that are the most difficult to see on the films. Re-constructing the principal roles is not the problem. Re: the question about revival of repertory works: Yes, a ballet is a ballet, etc, etc. But in this financial climate, finding that kind of money for a repertory ballet is a dream. Repertory ballets don't sell as well as full-lengths. Repertory works can't be repeated as often. And the price tag on this one is enormous. If anyone has the $ to donate for this purpose, I'm sure it would come together. Not an easy task, but certainly well worth it.
  2. In re: who lost Tudor's R & J: When the ballet was revived in the 70's so much of had been lost. Ex-cast members came around to try to put it together. Tudor undoubtedly changed some it to make up for the lost material. It wasn't performed long enough in the 70's in order for it to be notated. Because of lighting & costuming, films/videos are not clear. Ballet masters don't live for ever, & unlike other Tudor ballets that were performed often, R & J wasn't - so future Ballet masters weren't given the opportunity to learn the piece. It's a pity. The Library has footage. But incomplete. Not to mention the cost of the scenery & costumes! There would be no point to do it without the Bermann designs. In this day & age there's no way it could be resurrected given that it isn't a full length. That, to a certain degree, puts the blame on the public - poor ticket sales for repertory programs!
  3. It is true that there are 2 systems of notation available, as well as videos/dvds as tools to help feeble minds remember ballets of old. So many ballets are unrecorded as few companies have been able to employ notators, (in the past or presently); videos have deteriorated; performances that were and are recorded are not always reliable or true to the choreographers' intent. Archival taping is often hampered by orchestra union rules. The quality of the tapes is terrible in relation to the price of the stage crew member who is hired to simply turn the machine on & off. While the true heroes are the Ballet Masters of the world, it is a fact that those heroes from Ballet Russes days & early ABT days are a dying breed. In trying to resurrect some of the lost ballets of that time, one can only hope that the Library of Performing Arts(Robbins) has some footage. Even footage without sound can be of use to those that have some knowledge of ballets. In writing this I am hoping that someone out there has a link to pirated films or tapes - only for the purpose of helping to re-construct ballets that deserve a life. To those of you who have footage - copy it - send it to the Library of Perf Arts. You'd be doing such a service even if you filmed illegally! On that note - does anyone know where Tobi from the Ballet Shop has gone to? Perhaps he has some sources with films.... Lastly, if there are collectors of any of these films: SHARE THEM WITH THE LIBRARY!!!!! It is overwhelmingly depressing to see works like Tudor's, Demille's, etc go to sleep - Never to be seen! If any one has any helpful and promising news on this front, please reply.
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