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Ashley Bouder


PeggyR

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Sometimes (actually, always) it's frustrating to hear about the New York dancers that we on the West Coast are unlikely to see, especially NYCB performers. I've been dying to see Ashley Bouder and finally there are two videos on YouTube (not counting the official NYCB video, where she doesn't really do much dancing). I'm not sure what's allowed link-wise, so I'll just suggest you do a search on her name.

One is her with Igor Zelinsky rehearsing for Vail. He just walks around in the back while she does some very nice fouettes. Though she moves around a little, I can't help but be impressed that she doesn't seem to lose energy or momentum toward the end.

The other, and it's a treasure, is Bouder with Joaquin de Luz in a variation and coda. Watching this video (obviously pirated but halfway decent quality for a change), it's easy to see what all the Bouder-fuss is about. In all the years I've been a ballet lover, I can't remember ever seeing anyone attack the steps like that. And she's musical and light as a feather. Oh yes, and de Luz is no slouch either. Must be a thrill to see them in person.

Edited to remove excess commas.

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Sometimes (actually, always) it's frustrating to hear about the New York dancers that we on the West Coast, are unlikely to see, especially NYCB performers.

Not only the West Coast, Peggy! Most of America. Maybe we'll be luckier with her Giselle in Rome.

Thanks for the Heads Up.

Bouder has a stage quality which really reminds me of a the great 60s-70s generation of Balanchine dancers. I love the way she controls and projects, as in those brief freezes (arm pointed up and out) in the midst of fast choreography. Her dancing in this is large, witty and very clear. Hayden, in the original cast, also had these qualities.

The August/Sept. Pointe Magazine has a mini-interview with Bouder on the last page. (It's the issue with Corella on the cover.)

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Bouder has a stage quality which really reminds me of a the great 60s-70s generation of Balanchine dancers. I love the way she controls and projects, as in those brief freezes (arm pointed up and out) in the midst of fast choreography. Her dancing in this is large, witty and very clear. Hayden, in the original cast, also had these qualities.

The August/Sept. Pointe Magazine has a mini-interview with Bouder on the last page. (It's the issue with Corella on the cover.)

You read my thoughts! There's a snippet of Hayden dancing the Stars And Stripes variation I've seen. She dances it so fast and so light with a style I can only call "classically cheeky". Bouder dances it the same way.

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I love how the poster describes the ballet ("inspired by the American flag") so as not to alert the Balanchine Police, whose censorious zeal never fails to astound me. No doubt they'll find this one out--they're probably lurking in the BT shadows as we post.

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If you respect the artist, then you must respect their copyright.

I respect the artist Balanchine more than any other choreographer. But Balanchine Police is not Balanchine. Sure, Balanchine might not like his work to be shown badly. Perhaps so, too, would Petipa. But in cases like the performance under discussion, it is Balanchine being shown at its best. The Balanchine Police abuse "copyright" by keeping well-performed Balanchine away from everyone who cannot physically get to authorized performances. Hiding Balanchine while all other choregraphers, great and (mostly) not, get exposure, distorts the presentation of the art of ballet to the people, diminishing us all.

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Keeping in mind, also, the rules of a union house as well as the dancer who may not know they are being surreptitiously filmed, not to mention that if the balanchine police exist it is because they came into being somewhere along the dictates of the balanchine estate, who have the ultimate word whether one likes it or not.

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If you respect the artist, then you must respect their copyright.

In a perfect world, I'd agree. But I've posted about this before: I think the Balanchine Foundation, Trust, and NYCB are cutting off their nose to spite the face by disallowing 10-minute YouTube clips, which expose large numbers of viewers to Balanchine's art. Such exposure is woefully lacking, as much of the basic repertoire is not available on DVD, at least not yet. The danger of someone doing a bad version of Concerto Barocco seems outweighed to me by the positive effects of circulating Barocco to as wide an audience as possible. I want our art to survive, as I'm sure we all do, not be sacrificed to some idealized notion of copyright protection (which Balanchine never cared about when he was alive--a frequent point of discussion on this board).

At the very least, they could be selective about what they ban, not unilateral.

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If you respect the artist, then you must respect their copyright.

In a perfect world, I'd agree. But I've posted about this before: I think the Balanchine Foundation, Trust, and NYCB are cutting off their nose to spite the face by disallowing 10-minute YouTube clips, which expose large numbers of viewers to Balanchine's art. Such exposure is woefully lacking, as much of the basic repertoire is not available on DVD, at least not yet. The danger of someone doing a bad version of Concerto Barocco seems outweighed to me by the positive effects of circulating Barocco to as wide an audience as possible. I want our art to survive, as I'm sure we all do, not be sacrificed to some idealized notion of copyright protection (which Balanchine never cared about when he was alive--a frequent point of discussion on this board).

At the very least, they could be selective about what they ban, not unilateral.

remember too that a larger and larger number of the posters "get around" the barrier of 10 minutes by chopping a lengthy film into many 10 mnute segments. and, i think, to circulate a bad barocco is not to circulate barocco at all, i'm not sure what good it would do.

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remember too that a larger and larger number of the posters "get around" the barrier of 10 minutes by chopping a lengthy film into many 10 mnute segments. and, i think, to circulate a bad barocco is not to circulate barocco at all, i'm not sure what good it would do.

I don't know how much more clear I can be about how serious I think the problem of underexposure is in ballet. In my opinion it far outweighs the problem of pirated productions. Outside of our charmed little circle, people need to see Balanchine. There are college grads who don't even know who he is, even if they know who Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Picasso are. So I say: go posters go!

Opera companies, BTW, which involve many more performers and unions than any ballet orgnization, manage not to pull all of their clips off of You Tube. They understand something about the power of the Internet, it seems to me, that still escapes the "powers that be" in ballet.

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I don't know how much more clear I can be about how serious I think the problem of underexposure is in ballet. In my opinion it far outweighs the problem of pirated productions. Outside of our charmed little circle, people need to see Balanchine. There are college grads who don't even know who he is, even if they know who Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Picasso are. So I say: go posters go!

Amen! This has happened with every new medium. Radio stations weren't allowed to play records in its early days. And how many of us really truly thought the FBI was going to roll up to our door back in the 70s because we'd taped something off TV? This too shall pass. In the meantime, I'll join the go posters go chant.

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I don't know how much more clear I can be about how serious I think the problem of underexposure is in ballet. In my opinion it far outweighs the problem of pirated productions. Outside of our charmed little circle, people need to see Balanchine. There are college grads who don't even know who he is, even if they know who Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Picasso are. So I say: go posters go!

Amen! This has happened with every new medium. Radio stations weren't allowed to play records in its early days. And how many of us really truly thought the FBI was going to roll up to our door back in the 70s because we'd taped something off TV? This too shall pass. In the meantime, I'll join the go posters go chant.

Me, too. Ray and Alexandra say it better than I ever could. The Keepers of the Gates (Rights Restricted) are running the risk of turning Balanchine into someone little little known and inaccesible to most people -- a "Great Name," but not a living artistic presence.
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Isn't the 10-minute rule YouTube's? As far as I know, the Balanchine Trust tolerates nothing. I'm waiting for them to pull the video of Farrell on Sesame Street, because she demonstrates a series of grands battements and, in another clip, a series of pique turns, steps used in Balanchine's ballets.

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Isn't the 10-minute rule YouTube's? As far as I know, the Balanchine Trust tolerates nothing. I'm waiting for them to pull the video of Farrell on Sesame Street, because she demonstrates a series of grands battements and, in another clip, a series of pique turns, steps used in Balanchine's ballets.

Touche, cabro--and why not ban all videos featuring any dancer who went to SAB while we're at it?

From my understanding, the ten-minute rule is YT's good faith effort at "fair use." Of course, Mme. Hermine's right in that people can piece clips together. I watched Mahler's 2nd the other day, Simon Rattle conducting, 8-10 minutes at a time. Now, with the score in front of me (remember, composers and playwrights allow their actual notes and words to be published), I think I'll go out and conduct it just as he did, spoiling Sir Simon's good name--and Mahler's--forever! (Actually, I probably would!)

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wait a minute, though. i'm *not* saying i think balanchine shouldn't be out there, he should! but the way things are now, the trust or whoever has the right to do what they're doing, and in that respect it's hard to do anything other than acquiesce (even if noisily) as they exercise a legal right. i don't know the details, whether they're going with a time frame that's specified in their mandate or just going according to already established copyright laws. but consider this too, if they were to suddenly say 'terrific, we want as much of it was possible out there', it might still be impossible to do, given all the other interests(various unions etc.) involved. i'm not very optimistic that even if they switched directions that the others would too. if it ever does happen i suspect it will be from that point in time onward and might not involve the past (unless the Negotiation Fairy visits every union office there is).

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I couldn't be more delighted with the exposure youtube is giving to dance... think of how few people fit into a grand opera house compared to the huge number that check out the clips on youtube.

I don't know if one is allowed to selectively police copyright? If you don't police all instances of infringement you are proven aware of, do you weaken your right to police bad ones? (I can't imagine what youtube clips are doing to the union archival waivers... I've been off the circuit since youtube's rise)

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Maybe we'll be luckier with her Giselle in Rome.

Sorry for changing the subject, but I'll be curious to hear how she does in something like Giselle. I can certainly see her in SB or the first act of Giselle, but all that bouncing, American exuberance in Act II -- should be interesting. And you've got to give her credit for trying something so far removed from her usual style.

Peggy

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She did an Emeralds this past season that left me stunned. I never got around to reviewing it, but she was definitely not the extroverted, athletic, all-American rah-rah girl we know. She was very dreamy, lost in her own world, subtle and -- don't ask me how -- quite convincingly French. :)

I wouldn't expect a new gold-standard for Giselle, but don't think other-worldliness is beyond her.

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I too saw her Emeralds this year and she was excellent. Not exactly ethereal, but always compelling and graceful. I think she could be a very good Giselle. Not a traditional one, but Giselle lends itself well to different interpretations. I can see her Giselle being a bit like Vishneva's -- no shy peasant girl, but a strong forceful woman and a stern, implacable Wili in the second act. I wish her luck.

The irony behind the Balanchine Trust's hyper-vigilant attitude not only towards youtube but towards complete releases of their ballets is that Mr. B was very encouraging of his dancers to appear in films. His attitude towards his ballets was famously generous -- he wanted them to belong to the world, and not just the NYCB.

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In re the Balanchine Trust and copyright issues, did anyone see this new book? Perhaps this deserves its own thread:

Michael Heller, Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives. From Amazon.com:

Every so often an idea comes along that transforms our understanding of how the world works. Michael Heller has discovered a market dynamic that no one knew existed. Usually, private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership has the opposite effect—it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, whether a physical or intellectual resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses. Heller’s paradox is at the center of The Gridlock Economy. Today’s leading edge of innovation—in high tech, biomedicine, music, film, real estate—requires the assembly of separately owned resources. But gridlock is blocking economic growth all along the wealth creation frontier.

A thousand scholars have applied and verified Heller’s paradox. Now he takes readers on a lively tour of gridlock battlegrounds. Heller zips from medieval robber barons to modern-day broadcast spectrum squatters; from Mississippi courts selling African-American family farms to troubling New York City land confiscations; and from Chesapeake Bay oyster pirates to today’s gene patent and music mash-up outlaws. Each tale offers insights into how to spot gridlock in operation and how we can overcome it.

The Gridlock Economy is a startling, accessible biography of an idea. Nothing is inevitable about gridlock. It results from choices we make about how to control the resources we value most. We can unlock the grid; this book shows us where to start.

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Thanks, Ray, for that reference to the Gridlock book. I found a review of it on Slate.com which contains the following:

The basic idea [is] that too many stakeholders can kill a project ...

This seems a perfect definition for what has happened with the Balanchine rep and (a related issue) the relative lack of video representations of NYCB in these works.

It would be great to hear others' thoughts on this matter, especially in connection with the "gridlock" hypothesis.

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Thanks, Ray, for that reference to the Gridlock book. I found a review of it on Slate.com which contains the following:
The basic idea [is] that too many stakeholders can kill a project ...

This seems a perfect definition for what has happened with the Balanchine rep and (a related issue) the relative lack of video representations of NYCB in these works.

It would be great to hear others' thoughts on this matter, especially in connection with the "gridlock" hypothesis.

You can hear an interview with the author here.

In "The Permission Problem," a review essay on the book in the recent New Yorker, James Surowiecki writes, "In the cultural sphere, ever tighter restrictions on copyright and fair use limit artists’ abilities to sample and build on older works of art."

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