Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Former NYCB dancer John Clifford's YouTube page contains many NYCB rarities. Audio and video quality is often poor, but even so, these are some historic performances. For example, a 1966 Concerto Barocco with Suzanne Farrell, Marnee Morris and Conrad Ludlow, a 1968 Apollo with Martins, Marnee Morris, Von Aroldingen and Farrell (the entire performance), Agon with Allegra Kent, Square Dance with Wilde and Magallanes, a 1973 La Valse, and more. The Trust seems to be allowing Clifford to post whatever he can find. Perhaps they have finally realized that this keeps up interest in the Balanchine ballets, and there is little harm done in making these old videos available.

https://www.youtube.com/user/jcliff26/videos

Someone else has Duo Concertante with Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins (you will most likely see the link in the right hand video thumbnail column), and "Balanchine's Funeral", a mini-documentary - we see many familiar faces in the crowd outside the cathedral. Not sure if this was shot for a New York audience primarily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FONK5omBIdU

Share this post


Link to post

Greetings, pherenk, and thank you for your post.  I have seen a couple of John Clifford's YouTube offerings and they bring me back to my experiences with NYCB at Saratoga.  I can't wait to see more of these, thanks to your posting the link!  HappyHolidays.

 

     
 

Edited by KarenAG
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, KarenAG said:

Greetings, pherenk, and thank you for your post.  I have seen a couple of John Clifford's YouTube offerings and they bring me back to my experiences with NYCB at Saratoga.  I can't wait to see more of these, thanks to your posting the link!  HappyHolidays.

 

     
 

 

Happy holidays to you, Karen.  ;)

 

John Clifford is one of the interviewees in the much recommended "Balanchine, Broadway and Beyond" series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQbhP0SLZS0
Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwVoppmPMPk

Part 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnOx5kmN9bE


"When Balanchine was choreographing a pas de deux for Arthhur (Mitchell) and Suzanne (Farrell) there's a place where [omitted dialog] which is very sexy, and very wild - at the premiere gala some man was drunk in the second row of the audience, and Suzanne does this very sexy step, with three big fan kicks, and then he grabs her waist, and she throws herself into a back spin, totally abandoned, and some guy in the audience screamed, "go baby, go!"

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

Also in the much-too-short two-part interview for MCB dancers Rebecca King's and Michael Sean Breeden's Conversations on Dance podcast:

 

Part 1

Part 2

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, Helene said:

Also in the much-too-short two-part interview for MCB dancers Rebecca King's and Michael Sean Breeden's Conversations on Dance podcast:

 

Part 1

Part 2

 

Excellent interview - "Cleefurd" can talk, and talk! But he has a great memory for details, and is always amusing.

 

The part about Balanchine and the opening tableau/pose for Rubies reminds me of the line, “Good artists borrow; great artists steal”. Certainly, great artists know what to do with something they see as worthwhile. The lesser artists, and general public, tend not to know how to distinguish between useful or innovative, and hackneyed.

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

Clifford was certainly on the spot for a significant chunk of 20th c American ballet history.

Share this post


Link to post

Clifford also has a blog where he has posted several chapters of an autobiography manuscript.  I haven't heard about it from any other source.  This link goes to the chapter on Goldberg Variations and PAMTGG.

http://johnclifford26.blogspot.com/2013/09/ch-28-goldberg-variations-reveries-and.html?m=0

 

Moderators, I wasn't sure where this would fit in the writings on ballet forums.  Please post where it is appropriate.  There are several chapters that are scattered among the blog entries.

 

Thanks, Lisa

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, that's a great read, Imspear.

 

I recall reading that PAMTGG (Pan Am Makes the Going Great) was a commissioned ballet - by Pan Am, of course. But I don't remember where I read that.

It was at the PAMTGG premiere, just before the curtain rose, that Balanchine announced to Barbara Horgan that there would be a Stravinsky Festival "this time next year". Kind of ironic that people would be saying he should retire from ballet - after the PAMTGG fiasco - assuming he had lost his good taste and talent for choreography (as if talent were something that could be used up).

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, lmspear said:

Clifford also has a blog where he has posted several chapters of an autobiography manuscript.  I haven't heard about it from any other source.  This link goes to the chapter on Goldberg Variations and PAMTGG.

http://johnclifford26.blogspot.com/2013/09/ch-28-goldberg-variations-reveries-and.html?m=0

 

Moderators, I wasn't sure where this would fit in the writings on ballet forums.  Please post where it is appropriate.  There are several chapters that are scattered among the blog entries.

 

Thanks, Lisa

 

Thanks for the link!

Share this post


Link to post

Mr. Clifford has posted a good quality video of the POB performing Robbin's Opus 19/The Dreamer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHT3oDLOKBk

 

He provided a long comment about the piece which is interesting reading:

 

"Here's a wonderful performance from the Paris Opera Ballet from a few years ago, of one of Jerome Robbins' more Balanchine inspired works. "Opus 19/The Dreamer." I saw the first season of this and actually was pretty unimpressed...even though the leads were Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride. Now however...after all these years, I appreciate it much more. Please understand that Balanchine was still alive then, and all I could see was Robbins' choreographic references to Balanchine's "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" and other Balanchine works. Now this blows me away with it's musicality and freshness of thought. It holds up really well compared to most of the anemic new ballets that to my eyes look more like gymnastics to repetitive "machine" music than actual "dancing." I have a bit of a history with this score too. Originally Balanchine had given this music to Edward Villella to use for his 2nd ballet for the company. Villella couldn't find his way through this music, so Balanchine asked me, a 20 yr-old new dancer in the company, to get a Stravinsky ballet I had started choreographing for the school, SAB, ready to replace Villella's on the Spring season! That was my first ballet for the NYC Ballet and Mr. B was pleased enough to ask for 7 more before I eventually left the company. Then flash forward 10 years and I use this same Prokofiev Violin Concerto for my own LOS ANGELES BALLET. It was a success and Polly Shelton, Ken Mraz, Johnna McHugh (Kirkland), Charles Flemmer, and myself were the leads. Then Jerry Robbins did this version. (His was better than mine I think) What I LOVE about this Paris Opera version the most is Mathias Heymann. I find him to be the best of his generation. Elegant, stylish, perfect proportions, sterling technique, and an understated quality that lets the choreography shine through...in whatever he is doing. His beauty of line and movement quality always impresses me. I actually much prefer him to Baryshnikov in this...and that's a very tough act to follow!"

 

A couple of the YouTube commentators felt that the performance continued to lack something.

Share this post


Link to post

John Clifford has posted a video of the original cast version of Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux in Aria I) with some significant choreographic differences from the 1977 Dance in America version.  As noted in the comments there's a wonderful short short stretch of dancing from 2:02 to 2:38, later dropped, and the ending seems a little different.

 

I'm sure I'm a minority but I do like the "bad" editing and the way it pulls out all sort of details that you miss in the later version. (More in the style of a Dziga Vertov or lesser Eisenstein film – which might have pleased Stravinsky more than Balanchine.) You really notice the graphic quality of Balanchine's compositions in each still frame, the maltese cross-like layering of hands and feet. Makes the case for Violin Concerto's kinship to Agon, at least in Aria I.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84aGjY3V8Dw&spfreload=1

Edited by Quiggin

Share this post


Link to post

I love following Clifford's Instagram feed because he always has some tart comment like this one from this weekend:

 

"Yes kids . . . LA did have a fully professional ballet company once upon a time."

 

Me-ouch!

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, miliosr said:

I love following Clifford's Instagram feed because he always has some tart comment like this one from this weekend:

 

"Yes kids . . . LA did have a fully professional ballet company once upon a time."

 

Me-ouch!

 

Millepied's LA Dance Project is still very much "balletic", imo, even if they are pursuing a non-pointe shoe, contemporary aesthetic. The choreography that they employ isn't all that different from the contemporary repertoire at major dance companies in North America and Europe. Clifford may be thinking, "that's not ballet", but I'm not sure everyone else is going to agree. I do like Clifford's pointed commentary though.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, pherank said:

 

Millepied's LA Dance Project is still very much "balletic", imo, even if they are pursuing a non-pointe shoe, contemporary aesthetic. The choreography that they employ isn't all that different from the contemporary repertoire at major dance companies in North America and Europe. Clifford may be thinking, "that's not ballet", but I'm not sure everyone else is going to agree. I do like Clifford's pointed commentary though.  ;)

I actually thought he was taking a shot at Colleen Neary's Los Angeles Ballet with the comment about "fully professional".

 

I think you're probably right that Clifford considers LA Dance Project to be "non-ballet". He may be guilty, though, of living too much in his memories and wanting to freeze dance as he knew it (which was Balanchine dance) in time.

Share this post


Link to post

 

On 11/28/2016 at 11:08 AM, lmspear said:

Clifford also has a blog where he has posted several chapters of an autobiography manuscript.  I haven't heard about it from any other source.  This link goes to the chapter on Goldberg Variations and PAMTGG.

http://johnclifford26.blogspot.com/2013/09/ch-28-goldberg-variations-reveries-and.html?m=0

 

Moderators, I wasn't sure where this would fit in the writings on ballet forums.  Please post where it is appropriate.  There are several chapters that are scattered among the blog entries.

 

Thanks, Lisa

 

Thank you for the link. I hope he writes a book. So much fun to read. 

Share this post


Link to post

John Clifford has posted what I believe is a complete broadcast of A Midsummer Night's Dream (NYC Ballet)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrfiusNHCls

Titania
Maria Calegari

Oberon
Ib Anderson

Puck
Jean-Pierre Frohlich

Hippolyta
Victoria Hall

Thesus
Cornel Crabtree

Titania's Cavalier
Jock Soto

Helena
Stephanie Saland

Hermia
Judith Fugate

Lysander
Kipling Houston

Demetrius
Peter Frame

Bottom
Laurence Matthews

Butterfly
Katrina Killian

Act II Divertissement
Merrill Ashley
Adam Luders

Edited by pherank

Share this post


Link to post

I remember this broadcast, I think it was about 1986.

-- yes, the following from the library:

Event
Recorded at New York State Theater, New York, N.Y., and telecast live by WNET as part of its series Great performances: Live from Lincoln Center, on May 24, 1986.
Credits
Scenery, David Hays ; costumes, Karinska ; lighting, Ronald Bates ; production supervised by Peter Martins ; writer, Danny Abelson.
Performer
Danced by New York City Ballet.
Cast
Maria Calegari (Titania), Ib Andersen (Oberon), Jean-Pierre Frohlich (Puck), Victoria Hall (Hippolyta), Cornel Crabtree (Theseus), Jock Soto (Titania's cavalier), Stephanie Saland (Helena), Judith Fugate (Hermia), Kipling Houston (Lysander), Peter Frame (Demetrius), Laurence Matthews (Bottom), Katrina Killian (Butterfly), Merrill Ashley and Adam Luders (Act II divertissement), members of the New York City Ballet, and students of the School of American Ballet.Mari
Performer
Conductor: Robert Irving.
Host/interviewer: Patrick Watson.
Commentator: Martin Bookspan.
Singers: Elaine Linstedt (soprano), Mary Ann Hart (mezzo soprano), and others.

Share this post


Link to post

I have been following Clifford's videos for quite a time now. My first one was "Valse Fantaisie"-(the second version). I wanted to see how it looked like as Villella has the ballet in MCB, but in it's 50's, original version. The 70's one I have never seen it live, so it was a good comparison point.

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

I have been following Clifford's videos for quite a time now. My first one was "Valse Fantaisie"-(the second version). I wanted to see how it looked like as Villella has the ballet in MCB, but in it's 50's, original version. The 70's one I have never seen it live, so it was a good comparison point.

I love seeing Sara Leland in a number of Clifford's video's, including that Valse Fantaisie. She has such a delightful air.

Share this post


Link to post

Clifford has posted the famous Bert Stern photo of Allegra Kent and Edward Villella in Balanchine's Bugaku (w/ interesting comments) on his Instagram feed:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgkQXF_l-PL/?hl=en&taken-by=john_cliff26

There's also a lively back-and-forth with commenters including Alastair Macaulay (!). But how accurate some of what Clifford writes is definitely open to debate.

FYI -- Sarasota Ballet is performing Bugaku this spring. Now may be the time to see it because who knows if it will be performed again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, miliosr said:

But how accurate some of what Clifford writes is definitely open to debate.

Thanks so much for the heads-up about the comments; I might've missed them. And the above is always true hah.

7 minutes ago, miliosr said:

FYI -- Sarasota Ballet is performing Bugaku this spring. Now may be the time to see it because who knows if it will be performed again.

Oh I would love to see the piece live! When was it last in NYCB's rep, anyone know?

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...