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Lincoln Kirstein cover story in the new DanceView

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Everyone who is grateful for the role that Lincoln Kirstein played in bringing Balanchine to America, helping to create the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, and advocating for the arts in general and ballet in particular should read the cover story in the Summer 2007 issue of DanceView Magazine.

Michael Popkin's "Two Mosaics of Lincoln Kirstein's Life: An exhibit and a new biography celebrate Lincoln Kirstein in his centennial year," is full of insights and telling details.

The photos are superb, too, especially the cover photo of Kirstein in old age watching 2 SAB students dance. The joy on his face and fascinated concentration in his eyes are not to be forgotten.

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I'd bought Duberman's book largely from a desire to understand The Succession (from Balanchine to Martins) at NYCB, and so I was glad to read in Popkin's article that Duberman had somewhat skimped everything after 1963, for various good reasons, because I was unsatisfied by what I had found there. The book contains such a mountain of detail I don't know if I'll ever read all of it, and so, dipping into it via the index as I did, I wouldn't have noticed this change in treatment pre- and post-1963 if Popkin's article hadn't told me.

(Using Duberman's index, I stumbled on some mistakes which seemed ironic in the light of all the great marshalling of detail that went into the book: "Calcium Night Light" for Calcium Light Night, the title of Martins's first ballet for NYCB, and "Caligari" for ballerina Maria Calegari's last name. I thought these were easy mistakes to make for some one not some kind of ballet specialist, and the list of Duberman's books on the back of the dust jacket didn't include anything in ballet, but his editor is Robert Gottlieb, who is a ballet specialist and then some, but I guess an editor is not a proofreader, and I hoped these little errors represent the worst ones in the book. But then one evening at the Kennedy Center, Duberman described himself as a balletomane: http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...23240&st=15 See Post #16. Hmm.)

Popkin and Duberman agree regarding further work on the period since 1963, Duberman detailing his sources explicitly for the purpose of assisting later investigation and publication. Maybe when all of us who felt traumatized by The Succession are out of the picture, more will be revealed about it.

Meanwhile, we learn from Duberman that Balanchine had Martins in mind for some time, after d'Amboise. The very idea of d'Amboise taking over is new to me. (If fans talked about it at the time, I've forgotten.) But what a prospect: D'Amboise and Farrell got along well, in contrast to Martins and Farrell, and had d'Amboise taken over, she would have been there at NYCB helping keep Balanchine's repertory alive and well, instead of demonstrating her impressive abilities more fleetingly elsewhere. Why Balanchine made that choice, knowing these things as I think he must have, is a mystery to me.

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Maybe when all of us who felt traumatized by The Succession are out of the picture, more will be revealed about it.

This is an intriguing sentence and I, for one, hope we don't have to wait that long. I can't say I felt traumatized by the Martins succession -- Kirstein had indicated it for some time. What traumatized me was Farrell's firing by Martins in 1993. I'll never get over that.

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While the subject of Michael Popkin's excellent "Two Mosaics of Lincoln Kirstein's Life" in DanceView is Kirstein, in the middle of it, there is a jewel of a tribute to Eddie Bigelow, the curator of "Kirstein 100: A Tribute," the photo exhibition presented in the New York State Theater, which ends,

And I dare you to find someone in a similar position today, say a company general manager or department head, with his tact, culture, intelligence, in a word with his personal refinement. Though slightly younger, he's of a piece with Kirstein and Balanchine: a different era produced them.
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