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Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

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42 minutes ago, sandik said:

I have to disagree with you -- I think it's a wonderful and sly work.  When people look at the whole of Baryshnikov's directorship at ABT, I think his invitation to Twyla Tharp will stand as one of the most influential things he did.  I don't always love the direction that ballet travelled at that time, but there have been some phenomenal works come from it, and fascinating dancers to perform them.

They should put The Upper Room and Push Comes to Shove back in ABT rep, imo, but maybe that's off topic. Perhaps the new NYCB AD will invite Twyla back to make a new work?

Edited by BalanchineFan

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1 minute ago, California said:

Although Push premiered in January 1976 and his directorship didn't commence until 1980. I don't know who had the idea originally to invite Tharp, but I remember a sense that  Lucia Chase was trying to bring in lots of work (new and otherwise) for him to perform.

Thanks for clarifying -- I didn't mean to imply that he brought in Tharp to make Push.  If I recall correctly, that was the first time they worked together, which certainly started something!

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5 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

The should put The Upper Room and Push Comes to Shove back in ABT rep, imo, but maybe that's off topic. Perhaps the new NYCB AD will invite Twyla back to make a new work?

I would go to that! A couple of years ago, there was a hint that a movement from Push would be shown at an ABT gala, leading some of us to wonder if they were bringing it back. But that seems to have fizzled. And I love Upper Room, which is now in the rep of several companies, including Colorado Ballet. 

Royal Ballet has a new piece she choreographed for them last fall. I don't remember reviews on it, but she's still working:

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/the-illustrated-farewell-by-twyla-tharp

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32 minutes ago, sandik said:

I have to disagree with you -- I think it's a wonderful and sly work.  When people look at the whole of Baryshnikov's directorship at ABT, I think his invitation to Twyla Tharp will stand as one of the most influential things he did.  I don't always love the direction that ballet travelled at that time, but there have been some phenomenal works come from it, and fascinating dancers to perform them.

I agree with you, Sandik.  Push Comes to Shove is a delightful work.  Tharp was an unusual choreographer and what she choreographed on Baryshnikov was unique.  Kirkland trashed  Tharp in her book, ditto The Turning Point, and anything she didn't consider artistic enough.

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1 minute ago, Marta said:

I agree with you, Sandik.  Push Comes to Shove is a delightful work.  Tharp was an unusual choreographer and what she choreographed on Baryshnikov was unique.  Kirkland trashed  Tharp in her book, ditto The Turning Point, and anything she didn't consider artistic enough.

I loved some of what I saw Kirkland dance, but I do think she has a fairly narrow vision of what ballet should do. 

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On 1/11/2018 at 2:37 PM, Amy Reusch said:

I am aware of what AGMA stands for, however one might derive from your statement that the orchestra musicians for ballet companies would be members of AGMA.

Apologies. I made a lot of incorrect assumptions. I thought the AGMA thing referred to Sophie Flack, and instead it's Wilhelmina Frankfurt in her Salon interview.

During Willie's time (1970's/80's) I recall that ballet dancers had complaints about AGMA, saying the union represented musicians better than dancers, perhaps due to the union's hisstory. That may be why she refers to the union as she does. This NY Times article shows the musicians' and dancers' labor interests being at odds in 1973.

http://www.nytimes.com/1973/11/15/archives/issues-muddled-in-city-ballet-strike.html?_r=0

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13 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

I feel very fortunate that I saw Gelsey Kirkland perform. I saw her in Giselle with Ivan Nagy in Minnesota. Sublime characterisation and fabulous dancing. The Act 1 variation on youtube is just a taste of what she could do. The whole evening was like that. I saw The Leaves Are Fading live as well. I've forgotten what else. I love the Nutcracker film, costume and all.

Regarding Kirkland's memoirs, I don't recall that she "excoriated" Baryshnikov. I worshipped him like the sun, too, so perhaps I've blocked it out. IIRC, she wrote her heartbreak that he moved on romantically, whereas with Peter Martins she seemed blind to the fact that he and Heather Watts (even though he told Kirkland they'd broken up) were still emotionally attached. She seems very young and naive in the book, (age appropriate given her youth and inexperience with men during the events she describes) and extremely self-critical. Maybe the impulse to anorexia is anger turned inward. You can see that in the Diane Sawyer interview. Dancing on My Grave is a juicy read. I recommend it. Martins is the one to introduce her to Baryshnikov and suggest they dance together. Early evidence of his eye as an AD?

I saw Farrell quite a bit too. I happened to see two performances of Walpurgisnacht in a week in 1981 (or so). In the second one Farrell held a balance in attitude so long that she had to improvise an ending to the phrase. What guts. The audience went crazy. Darci danced the second ballerina role that performance. It was a golden era... for me at least.

I regret that I never saw Gelsey dance live! Lucky you.  What I recall from her book is that she met Baryshnikov in Leningrad while watching a class at the Kirov.  Also, he had seen NYCB perform in Leningrad and had noticed and admired her dancing, even, according to some, wishing  to someday dance with her.  I don't think Peter Martins  introduced them or suggested they dance together. I believe one of the reasons Kirkland left NYCB for ABT was to dance with Baryshnikov.

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Kirkland also was hand-picked to be the Marie in the NYCB Nutcracker but was "fired" because she didn't think the boy they had chosen as Prince was worthy of her. For better or worse this sort of withering criticism of everyone (including herself) was there from the start.

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You've lost me...  in that NY Times article there were two unions involved... the dancers' and the musicians'... neither union's name appears in the article, but I see no reason to think they were not AGMA and the AF of M.

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2 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

You've lost me...  in that NY Times article there were two unions involved... the dancers' and the musicians'... neither union's name appears in the article, but I see no reason to think they were not AGMA and the AF of M.

I guess it's not the best example of the issue I'm remembering.

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22 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Kirkland also was hand-picked to be the Marie in the NYCB Nutcracker but was "fired" because she didn't think the boy they had chosen as Prince was worthy of her. For better or worse this sort of withering criticism of everyone (including herself) was there from the start.

I’m not sure that is correct — I thought she had a sort of little girl crush on the boy in the other cast, not that she thought anyone wasn’t worthy etc.  Don’t have the book at hand right now.  I believe she has also told that story in interviews.

She certainly was not her own best friend.

Edited by Drew

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BalanchineFan... and I believe stage managers are also AGMA.   Probably confuses things further...

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On 1/14/2018 at 5:42 PM, BalanchineFan said:

They should put The Upper Room and Push Comes to Shove back in ABT rep, imo, but maybe that's off topic. Perhaps the new NYCB AD will invite Twyla back to make a new work?

ABT has always looked spectacular in The Upper Room, and I'd love the chance to see Push Comes to Shove, as it gets discussed so often in these forums. I really like Tharp's Brahms/Haydn Variations, but I consider it a good, not great, work. Her last work for ABT, Rabbit and Rogue, was pretty much a flop (though not at all offensively bad), and she hasn't been invited to choreograph anything for the company since.

I could be wrong, but I feel as if Twarp isn't really in fashion these days, for better or worse. Meanwhile, a choreographer like Millepied, whom I consider lacking in the fundamental imagination required of a choreographer, dominates ABT's fall season. 

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NYCB has always taken pride in the fact that the vast majority of the rep was created for NYCB.  They generally do not incorporate rep that was created elsewhere for another company.  The only recent exception I can think of is Wheeldon's DGV, which was created on the Royal Ballet.

Edited by abatt

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If you look at calendars across NA, "In the Upper Room" and "Nine Sinatra Songs" are performed regularly. PNB has had three original Tharp works during Boal's time as AD in addition to performing the works above, and they've done "Waterbaby Bagatelles" as well.  (Korbes was wonderful in the central pdd.)   Ballet Arizona also used to do "The Golden Section" from "The Catherine Wheel." 

I don't know if any of the works she made for ABT are performed anywhere else.  

I'm not sure it's a matter of fashion:  she's selective about who does her works and the conditions required, and if I understood correctly, she is (or can be) expensive.  (And that's besides the half pound of roast beef she eats every day :) )

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10 minutes ago, Helene said:

I don't know if any of the works she made for ABT are performed anywhere else.  

 

Colorado Ballet is doing four performances of her Brief Fling, March 30-April 1. They also have In the Upper Room in their rep, although they have not done it in many years.

https://www.coloradoballet.org/performances/ballet-directors-choice-2018

Gil Boggs, the company director, was in the ABT 1990 premiere: https://www.twylatharp.org/works/brief-fling

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Oh, yes, PNB has done "Brief Fling" as well, at least twice:  I'd forgotten that was made for ABT.  The first time, Sascha Radetsky guested in one cast, so :wub:.

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55 minutes ago, Helene said:

If you look at calendars across NA, "In the Upper Room" and "Nine Sinatra Songs" are performed regularly. PNB has had three original Tharp works during Boal's time as AD in addition to performing the works above, and they've done "Waterbaby Bagatelles" as well.  (Korbes was wonderful in the central pdd.)   Ballet Arizona also used to do "The Golden Section" from "The Catherine Wheel." 

I don't know if any of the works she made for ABT are performed anywhere else.  

I'm not sure it's a matter of fashion:  she's selective about who does her works and the conditions required, and if I understood correctly, she is (or can be) expensive.  (And that's besides the half pound of roast beef she eats every day :) )

Without following her career all that carefully, I've been under the impression that the 80s and 90s were her heyday in terms of successful works for ballet companies, and all her major works that receive revivals seem to be from that era. 

In terms of being "out of fashion," I meant that solely in regard to new commissions. But this could be colored by living in NYC, where I don't believe we see new work from her very often (Rabbit and Rogue, from 2008, would have been the last one I've personally seen.) And, like you said, she may just be selective. I can also see the virtue in not over-extending oneself and churning out too many works each year.

Have any of her (ballet) works from the past 15 years had legs? (I truly don't know, which is why I ask.)

All this aside, Tharp would be near the top of my list for a new ABT commission. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I'm not sure what the criteria are for having legs.

When PNB commissions a work, there's a contract in place to revive the works within a certain period of time.  There can be exclusivity rights baked in, ie, the commissioning company has exclusive or exclusive geographic rights.  PNB has revived "Waiting at the Station," (2013)  "Opus 111," (2008) and "Afternoon Ball," (2008) brought "Opus 111" to the Joyce -- can't remember if it also went to Jacob's Pillow.  I can't remember if any are going to Paris.   "Waiting at the Station" isn't on PNB's active rep list, but something in the back of my head remembers that she might be doing something else with it, and the rights would have expired by now.

From the blurb on "Waiting at the Station" from her website:

Quote

Apart from her own, Tharp has developed long working relationships with three dance companies over the course of her career; Pacific Northwest Ballet is one of these. After seven years of repertory and two prior commissions, artistic director Peter Boal approached Tharp to create a third piece for the company. Waiting at the Station anchored an All-Tharp program that included Nine Sinatra Songs and the Seattle premiere of Brief Fling.

I don't know how much is fashion vs. that she's been working on other things and only works with a few ballet companies to create new work.

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Atlanta Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet jointly commissioned a full length work from Tharp in 2012-- The Princess and the Goblin --  which I liked very much and which has been revived by both companies (Atlanta in 2016 I think and RWB in 2017 -- I haven't investigated exhaustively but I think that's it).  I don't know if any other companies have produced it or want to...(It has great roles for children at all levels too.)

Edited by Drew

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I never really "got" Tharp's choreography for ballet companies.  It seemed to me that she was making fun of ballet and didn't respect its conventions,  for instance her tendency to have a fantastic turner like Baryshnikov deliberately fall out of pirouettes.  But like Madonna,  the woman is a marketing and organizational genius.  I especially admire how she paid her company year round in the days when NYCB and ABT dancers were subject to long layoffs every year.  Whoever takes over for Martins would be wise to consult Tharp,  if she would allow it.

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Tharp did a residency at PNB in which she helped marketing and other admin departments, and people were in awe of her.

I particularly dislike the works that poke fun at ballet with a stacked deck: for that reason I can't stand "In the Upper Room."  But I do love two of the works she made for PNB that specifically don't:  "Waiting at the Station," which is a lot like the shows she been creating, and "Afternoon Ball," which was just revived and is a character-driven piece, and "Waterbaby Bagatelles."

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Princess and the Goblin is kind of a love letter to ballet -- especially the way it is passed from generation to generation.

It has playful bits, but I found it a far cry from the jokes about ballet in Push Comes to Shove.

(Re On Pointe's remarks about Tharp making fun of ballet with her choreography for Baryshnikov etc.: Ratmansky has created a virtuoso male solos that involve stopping-and-starting awkwardly, falling out of closing positions, not really having to land securely etc. --the examples I remember are for "boyish" characters, the leads in Whipped Cream and Little Humpbacked Horse, and always with the punch line being some final bit razzle-dazzle. Even so, I've always been struck by the fact that it does allow for some cheating on the male dancers part. These solos also seem to be making fun of expectations for male dancers in a way that can seem kind of coy.)

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3 hours ago, Drew said:

(Re On Pointe's remarks about Tharp making fun of ballet with her choreography for Baryshnikov etc.: Ratmansky has created a virtuoso male solos that involve stopping-and-starting awkwardly, falling out of closing positions, not really having to land securely etc. --the examples I remember are for "boyish" characters, the leads in Whipped Cream and Little Humpbacked Horse, and always with the punch line being some final bit razzle-dazzle. Even so, I've always been struck by the fact that it does allow for some cheating on the male dancers part. These solos also seem to be making fun of expectations for male dancers in a way that can seem kind of coy.)

Also (not quite the same, but I view it as being in a similar spirit) the Nutcracker PDD male variation begins with the dancer basically standing center stage and then tipping over to the left into his first steps. (Some dancers have done this in a more pronounced manner than others, I think.)

Macaulay wrote about it in one of his reviews (from Dec. 10, 2010):

Quote

Mr. Hallberg’s solo starts with a slow fall sideways that’s exactly what nobody expects to see in a ballet, but this quirky impetus becomes the humanizing force within the beautifully bobbing series of jumps that follow. 

The character of course fits Drew's description of being "boyish," as the adult pair are grown-up projections of the child leads.

Edited by nanushka

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

Also (not quite the same, but I view it as being in a similar spirit) the Nutcracker PDD male variation begins with the dancer basically standing center stage and then tipping over to the left into his first steps. (Some dancers have done this in a more pronounced manner than others, I think.)

Macaulay wrote about it in one of his reviews (from Dec. 10, 2010):

The character of course fits Drew's description of being "boyish," as the adult pair are grown-up projections of the child leads.

Robbins uses a similar path in one of the two male variations of "Other Dances"

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