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Balanchine Archive Project

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I posted this in the Announcements forum, but in case you miss it:

Five articles on the Balanchine Archive Project are now on line at www.danceview.org -- all by Leigh Witchel (thank you, Leigh!) More will follow; our policy is to post articles one year after publication date out of fairness to our subscribers. Rita Felciano wrote about Helgi Tomasson coaching his solo from Baiser de la fee in San Francisco, and Leigh will be writing about a recent taping session soon, if not sooner :)

Anyway, for now, here's where they are:

The Balanchine Archive Project

And here's what's there:

George Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive Project Reports

Notes on Melissa Hayden Coaching at PNB

by Leigh Witchel

Autumn 2000

Notes on Karin von Aroldingen coaching Robert Schumann’s ‘Davidsbündlertänze’

by Leigh Witchel

Winter 2001

Notes on Nancy Knot Mann coaching Reminiscence

by Leigh Witchel

Spring 2001

Notes on Suzanne Farrell coaching Monumentum Pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra

by Leigh Witchel

Winter 2002

Notes on Arthur Mitchell coaching the pas de deux in Agon

by Leigh Witchel

Spring 2002

Related links:

An interview with Nancy Reynolds in Ballet Alert! about this project.

The George Balanchine Foundation

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Speaking of the archive project. Violette Verdy is doing some tapes. See below;




Dancers from New York City Ballet to be featured in coaching sessions of Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and Emeralds from Jewels

NEW YORK CITY - Violette Verdy will teach and coach on camera George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and female solo and pas de deux from Balanchine’s Emeralds, roles choreographed by Balanchine for her. Conrad Ludlow, her original partner in both works, will assist Ms. Verdy with the coaching. The tapings will take place on Sunday and Monday, October 26 & 27, 2003, at Lincoln Center’s Rose Building, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 8th Floor, New York City.

Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow will work with NYCB principal dancers Jennie Somogyi and Peter Boal on Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. For Emeralds, they will work with NYCB dancer Carla Kцrbes on the solo. NYCB principal dancer James Fayette will join Ms. Kцrbes for the pas de deux. Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow will then be interviewed about the ballets and their creation by The New York Times writer and critic Jennifer Dunning. Nancy Reynolds, Balanchine scholar and The Foundation’s director of research, who initiated the video series in 1994, will oversee the project.

Emeralds, choreographed in 1967 to music by Gabriel Faurй and part of Balanchine’s full-evening ballet Jewels, is described in the Complete Stories of the Great Ballets as “…cool, reserved and elegant. Like actual Emeralds, the cold social restraint hides inner fire. The entire ballet is beautiful in a dreamlike way, the green setting a kind of underwater quality, like Monet’s paintings of water lilies.” Emeralds, as described in Atlantic Unbound (Atlantic Monthly’s online journal), “…has the reputation of being difficult and remote, yet in actuality it shows in very clear terms that love is now and time is fleeting….Any number of other truths are apparent in a revelation of what reverence – and, when called for, a lack of it – can do.” In I Remember Balanchine, Ms. Verdy comments, “…in works like Emeralds, Balanchine gave the French ballet its true identity…He showed us the different, several, serious aspects of being French…Emeralds is a very dignified and slightly nostalgic and certainly resigned type of noble French behavior.”

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, a display piece for two leading dancers, was choreographed by Balanchine in 1960 to lost music intended for the third act of Swan Lake, which was rediscovered in 1953 in the Bolshoi archives. In I Remember Balanchine, Ms. Verdy recalls Balanchine choreographing the pas de deux on her: “Balanchine may have wanted to work with me because of a certain clarity in the articulation of the feet and legs. Some sort of eloquence, a pronunciation of the dancing. Something to be joyous about. It’s there in the solo of Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.”

In working with Balanchine, Ms. Verdy recalls “I discovered things about myself I didn’t know but he knew…he surprised me by asking me to dare to do certain things with speed. I was surprised at what I was able to deliver…I would gain a lot of confidence from Balanchine, partly because I would have to agree with what he had done. It would be so much the best solution…I was carried. He carried you” (I Remember Balanchine).

The tape of Ms. Verdy and Mr. Ludlow coaching will become part of The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives, housed at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York City. Copies are made available for on-site viewing to research libraries and accredited repositories worldwide.

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In I Remember Balanchine, Ms. Verdy comments, “…in works like Emeralds, Balanchine gave the French ballet its true identity…He showed us the different, several, serious aspects of being French…Emeralds is a very dignified and slightly nostalgic and certainly resigned type of noble French behavior.”

And clearly, Balanchine knew to entrust these roles to a dancer who has an acutely sensitive poetic inclination. :) (Or simply mined that vein while devising them.)

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I loved reading all of Leigh's articles on the Balanchine Archive Project. So interesting! Two questions; Will you be writing more articles? and have you thought about expanding and compiling the articles into book form and have it published that way? I would love to own a book like that.

By the way you got me hooked, I'm going to subscribe to Danceview!

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Thanks for the kind words.

It is an ongoing project. As long as the Foundation does taping and as long as I have time, there should be more articles, and please note there's an upcoming one I'm writing. I should also note that Rita Felciano also covered a taping in San Francisco so this is as much Alexandra and Dance View's project (or more) than mine.

I have thought about compiling the essays for publication. We can put that somewhere on the list of things to do in my copious spare time. In the meantime, I'm awfully glad you decided to subscribe to Dance View. Alexandra's efforts give a place for dance writing like this that wouldn't exist otherwise.

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Thank you for taking the time to read them, Perky! I think these pieces are wonderful -- it was a pleasure and an honor to have published them. I hope you check the Reviews, Interviews and Commentaries archives, too.

I'd like to take this opportunity to make an anti-commercial -- for the next few weeks, I'll be updating everything: I have three years of articles to upload on the DanceView site. I've started a new site related to my book on Kronstam that's nearly finished. And then, the monster: it's on to updating Ballet Alert! Onlilne, which hasn't had new copy in THREE YEARS. And www.danceviewtimes.com will have new copy every Monday and I'll be announcing that here.

I'll be telling you about these updates because if I don't, you won't know they're there. Of course, we'd love it if you subscribed. Many Ballet Aletniks do, and if even 30% of the people who read this board every day subscribed to its publications, it would make a difference in my life, and in the lives of our writers. But the updates aren't intended to be the virtual cognate for those beloved PBS "if you watch even one program every day and you don't pick up the phone NOW" begathons.

We're not a commercial site; we're an educational and informational one, so we'd like you to read us -- on line (articles are posted a year after publication) or in print. Becuase if people don't read us, there's no point in writing. Our goal is to provide background and context to our discussions here, to what you're seeing in current repertory. So when I zoom into a thread and say, "You might be interested in reading Marc Haegeman's interview with Legris" or "Mary Cargill's review of the Ashton program in DC" or "There's a review on DanceViewTimes of this performance," or whatever, please take the interruption in that spirit. And please feel free to question, challenge, or comment on the articles. Some of our writers also post here, and they will read it, but we all want feedback. If we respond, it's in an attempt to be clear, not to correct or defend.

And now, apologies, back to Ballet Talking!!!

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