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Stravinsky-Balanchine video in Saratoga

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OK then! I'll do that here, and if one of the moderators thinks another place is more suitable, it will move.

I am very pleased with yesterday's program. As it turned out, we were competing with two other dance events in town. I just hate when that happens! We go for months here longing for things, and then everything happens at once. But we were aiming for different audiences, so no big problem.

Jenifer Ringer was doing a children's program at the mall, so we didn't have young kids, just as well since my program would have bored them silly. The dance museum had a workout program, so the fitness buffs went there. And we got a group that was interested in the cerebral...so it was all good.

We had about 50 people, not bad on a day of glorious summer sunshine. Nancy Reynolds began the program. I asked her questions from a prepared list that I had emailed to her: about the video project and the foundation in general, about the intended purpose and audience for the video, about Stephanie Jordan's background and her own. We could have gone on forever but held that part to about 45 minutes because Nancy had to get back to the city and the video is over one and a half hours. Some attendees got restless during the video, some watched part and had to leave, but the majority stayed right with it, and that is no small trick: the material is dense and complex and it requires close attention.

Afterwards I introduced Chuck Joseph who is a friend of mine, and we followed the same type of question and answer format: Stravinsky and Balanchine and their backgrounds, their friendship, the structure of the music, memories as related to Chuck by Stravinsky's son, who was his teacher.

It was a long afternoon--almost 3 hours--and I got lots of positive feedback. I had asked Albert Evans and Wendy Whelan (both in the video) to come, but they were unable to, due to rehearsals--just as well, although they would have added so much, the time would have been just too long. Interestingly many NYCB dancers (including Peter Boal, who is in it) have not yet seen the full video, due to their crazy schedules.

The library is donating the video to the Dance Museum--it is intended for research purposes and my library has no research collection in video. This is just one more reason for all of you to come to Saratoga!! Come to the museum and view this work.

I really enjoyed the day, and meeting Iris was such fun. Farrell Fan: this morning I sent you a snail mail note telling you that we had met, and that we want to have a get together in DC during Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Start thinking of restaurants!

NOTE to admin: As I think about it, this should be moved. This is not a City Ballet event, but a Balanchine Foundation event. The Foundation was very clear about that. So can you move it please? And thanks!

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I'm glad you had Charles Joseph at the event. I read both his recent books on Stravinsky and I thought his book on Stravinsky-Balanchine complimented Jordan's film as it looked at the collaboration from two different sides. Although his books are heavy on musicology (understandable, given his position), he appeared more open to different ideas when discussing the artistic union, whereas Jordan seemed to only look at how Balanchine was challenged rhythmically by Stravinsky's music. Yes, that was a huge part of his reaction to Stravinsky (he said so in a Jonathan Cott interview), but there were many other factors involved - the dancers he was using, his own personal themes or missions, outside influences such as social dances, architecture, etc... that I don't think Jordan mentioned. Of course, her film was pretty long and she could have decided to just focus on rhythm. Has anybody read any of her other books?

Did Reynods mention any new projects upcoming for the Foundation?

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Dale, she did talk a bit about upcoming events, especially as they relate to the Balanchine Centennial. There will be a series of four lectures, the first one on November 16 and 17 (phooey--I have plans to be in Florida and will be seeing MCB, but still....). There are also more video projects in the works, including a very exciting series with original dancers of Mr B's works coaching new dancers-- YAY and HOORAY! Among them, Helgi Tomasson and Maria Tallchief are the ones I remember offhand. She indicated that there will be other events, NY Public Library and Manhattan School of Music were two venues that she mentioned, some of these are Foundation and some are Foundation supported.

Additionally, there has been "talk" about another "Balanchine and" video--she mentioned Tchaikovsky, but my impression is that is very early stage and heavily dependent on financial issues.

It should be an exciting year!

And re Stephanie Jordan's books: I have read "Moving Music", but not all of it. Like the film, it is dense and tough going. I think she is brilliant, and that she has the most interesting career. I was most fortunate to hear her speak about two years ago and I won't forget it.

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