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Autumn 2009 DanceView


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The autumn 2009 issue of DanceView is out, and subscribers everywhere are smiling. On the black and white cover is a lovely shot of Thomas Whitehead embracing Tamara Rojo in "Goldberg: The Brandstrup-Rojo Project, a ballet danced this year at Covent Garden.

This issue features the following articles:

Horst Koegler's "Searching for What Makes Mankind Move -- Pina Baurch: 1940-2009"

David Vaughan's "Working for Merce"

Michael Popkin's "Contre Diaghilev: The Writings of Akim Volynsky"

Mary Cargill's "King's Row: ABT's Spring Met Season"

Marc Haegeman's "Troubled Times: The Mariinsky in Amsterdam"

Carol Pardo's "The Wolf at the Door: Programs, Performances and Money: Miami City Ballet 2009-2010 Season"

Reports from New York, London and Copenhagen, and San Francisco by Gay Morris, Jane Simpson, and Rita Felciano respectively.

And then there is my favorite article in this issue, Nancy Reynolds' "Taping the Siren" on Yvonne Mounsey coaching Melissa Barak and Arsen Serobian in Prodigal Son for a Balanchine Archive Project taping.

A few excerpts from Reynolds on the taping:

It becomes clear over the course of the coaching session that Mounsey does not approve of the ice-cold Siren persona often seen today. "She should be a seductress, a woman of the world," Mounsey explains. . . . her movements should not be abrupt and staccato, but rather, drawn out and elongated, despite the angularity of the choreography. Mounsey contrasts her preferred smoother delivery with the steely approach that has crept into the role over the years. "Doubrovska wanted it lucious, not hard, and she really made use of her back and shoulders. Her movements never stopped moving." . . .

And during the seduction dance,

there is a shriek from the floor. "That hand!" Who taught you to do that?" It seems that one of the Siren's signature movements, in which she uncoils her arm behind her toward the sky, does not look the same now as when Mounsey (and Doubrovska) did it. In performances today we see a hand rising with splayed finger, palm forward, but for Mounsey the hand should be cupped, fingers straight and together, with thumb partway down the index finger. It forms the head of a snake. "That hand's been changed," she remarks drily.

DanceView is the print big sister of danceviewtimes, and both are published by Ballet Talk founder and site owner, Alexandra Tomalonis. Subscribe and support this board, and have more to talk about too. :lol:

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I've just had the chance to sit down and read -- seriously -- this issue. For Ballet Talk members, I'd especially recommend a couple of longish pieces that deal with matters we discuss here frequently.

Marc Haegeman's "Troubled Times" is a review of 2 of the 4 ballets which the Mariinsky performed in Amsterdam this past summer. For those of us concerned about the state of the Mariinsky in general, and the effect of the company's ambitious and non-stop touring, it's an eye-opener. (He saw Sleeping Beauty and Don Q.) Alina Somova was there, and Haegeman is brilliant in describing her.

American Ballet Theater is our second most active company forum. For that reason, I really urge you to get a hold of Mary Cargill's review of ABT's Spring Season at the Met. Cargill's trenchant comments on productions she likes and doesn't like ... and her appreciation (or not) of the various lead dancers ... is worth the price of the entire issue. She captures complex experiences in a few short and telling phrases. And, she can be wicked -- for example: "[ABT's version of Swan Lake] is frequently referred to as "traditional", which means, I guess, that Siegfried doesn't ride in on a motorcycle, but it is the wrong story in the wrong time period with the wrong choreography."

Then, for fellow followers of Miami City Ballet, there's Carol Pardo's thoughtful sum-up of MCB's2008-2009 season.

Pardo saw multiple casts in each program. She knows the training, styles, strengths, and limitations of every principal and principal soloist in the company AND their partners. She knows and understands most of MCB's rep by having observed the pieces danced by other companies as well, so she has a basis of comparison (not always true of local reviewers). I enjoyed, though didn't entirely agree with, her skewering of Tharp's In the Upper Room (take away the smoke, lighting and costumes, and you don't have much left). I learned from her long paragraph on Mercuric Tidings, with its comparison of the Taylor Company style and the way MCB's ballet dancers perform it.

Really good stuff !!!

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