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Balanchine's Ballets -- Has Performance Quality Dropped?

Guest nycdog

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Greskovic and Kent disagree, but they do seem to be describing the same dancer...just responding differently. Neither of them sees Silve as a "Balanchine" stylist, though Kent seems to be enjoying what Silve brings to the repertory anyway.

Greskovic is more concerned with a larger argument that really isn't about Silve at all: if people are describing Silve as a Balanchine dancer when (as he sees it) she is so obviously not one, what does that tell us about the current understanding of Balanchine?

I do think one difference between enjoying "different" approaches to Balanchine today and when Balanchine was alive is that when Balanchine was alive one did not feel that his legacy was under threat or that his own 'schooling' of dancers was going to be lost as a model, as "canonical" (as John Rockwell might put it) for his ballets. In a different historical context Greskovic, for example, might be more inclined to just enjoy Silve's glamor or "old fashioned" technique....

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As far as Balanchine schooling goes, I don't think SAB is in much danger. :huh: Besides, Balanchine dancers have always come from various training backgrounds--Violette Verdy, for example, was French-trained, and no one says she wasn't "Balanchine."

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I seem to recall that it took some people a while to get used to Karin von Aroldingen when she first joined NYCB. It could be said that she became one of Balanchine's greatest assets, and her magnificent presence remains one of the foremost in my memories of all the great dancers I have seen.

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Carbro, I never heard it in my entire life, so maybe it's something that just stopped happening after a while as her fame as a ballerina eclipsed the squabbles over whether or not she was "Balanchine" (whatever that means) enough.

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In the early days (pre-Lincoln Center), everyone recognized Verdy's uniqueness in the company. And adored her for it.

But I don't recall people talking about a single kind of "Balanchine dancer" then they way some do today. There was significant variety among Mr. B's dancers before, during and after the time Verdy arrived. She was one among a number who had their own special manner. And they all danced "Balanchine." (Although, of course, not every Balanchine ballet.) I wonder if the same doesn't apply Sylve today -- as well as to the POB and Kirov dancers of the Balanchine repertoire.

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I always like to read Robert Greskovic’s Dance column in the Wall Street Journal.  At the end of June he wrote about the current and future state of NYCB:

"If New York City Ballet were as successful at looking forward as its recent run proved to be in looking back, the impact and importance of the company founded by the visionary and forward-looking George Balanchine would be more securely on the track often touted by its current director, Peter Martins..."

That's a fairly positive comment I thought! :)  What he meant was he liked Jerome Robbins's 1958 “New York Export: Opus Jazz” which was revived.

Is that how you read it, PF? Even reading the quote out of context, I think Mr. Greskovic considers NYCB to be resting on the glories of the Balanchine era (with or without Robbins) but failing to forge a particularly noteworthy present, let alone a future. It may be praise, but in my opinion, it is praise with much qualification.

But, as I said (and with apologies to the author), I have not had the pleasure of reading the full review.

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:off topic: sidebar

I wonder if you mean Danny Tidwell... ABTers are aghast that he is off the roster.

But look at where he'll be dancing this coming season! He is joining Complexions*, the company of his main role model, Desmond Richardson**. I think he'll make a great addition to that company!

source of info:

* Danny Tidwell's website ("news" link)

** Dance Spirit Magazine interview, January 2003

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