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6 hours ago, Petra said:

(although why do they get a front-curtain bow when the demis in Valse-Fantasie do not??)

I wondered that same thing. My guess was that there's just a traditional protocol for each piece, the protocols aren't always mutually consistent, and a particular inconsistency was highlighted by the juxtaposition of these two pieces. That said, the Valse-Fantaisie protocol seemed much more in keeping with what I've seen of typical NYCB practice. But once I saw the Kammermusik guys come out, I wished the Valse-Fantaisie dancers had gotten to as well.

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I didn't get the last part. Most of it was too Gene Kelly and On The Town, and not Royal Navy enough.

Nancy Goldner writes this in her More Balanchine Variations piece on Union Jack:

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Balanchine lived and worked in London in the early 1930s... He made dances for several reviews, but they were rather high-end. ... He had also choreographed a couple of hornpipes in 1926 for the Diaghilev-produced The Triumph of Neptune... The critics who saw the ballet wrote of the hornpipe dances with affection, and sometimes awe. When the New York City Ballet was close to premiering Union Jack, the company invited the Royal Ballet, which was dancing at the Metropolitan Opera, to watch a rehearsal. I watched this rehearsal as well. After the hornpipe section was finished the Royal's old timers stood up and cheered, some of them laughing and crying at once. They were simply incredulous that Balanchine had been able to get at the essence of the dance—its free-wheeling joy. "How does he know about this?" they exclaimed. "I haven't seen this since I was a boy!"  (133-134)

 

Edited by nanushka

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5 hours ago, nanushka said:

I wondered that same thing. My guess was that there's just a traditional protocol for each piece, the protocols aren't always mutually consistent, and a particular inconsistency was highlighted by the juxtaposition of these two pieces. That said, the Valse-Fantaisie protocol seemed much more in keeping with what I've seen of typical NYCB practice. But once I saw the Kammermusik guys come out, I wished the Valse-Fantaisie dancers had gotten to as well.

If you've attended rehearsals for NYCB or other companies, they typically rehearse bows -- who, what, when...it all seems to be plotted out in advance.

Edited by California

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6 hours ago, nanushka said:

My guess was that there's just a traditional protocol for each piece, the protocols aren't always mutually consistent, and a particular inconsistency was highlighted by the juxtaposition of these two pieces. That said, the Valse-Fantaisie protocol seemed much more in keeping with what I've seen of typical NYCB practice. But once I saw the Kammermusik guys come out, I wished the Valse-Fantaisie dancers had gotten to as well.

I would go rather in the direction of the Kammermusik corps guys not getting a front of curtain bow, to make it consistent with most other pieces. Front of curtain bows are for the principals. MHO. 

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10 minutes ago, cobweb said:

I would go rather in the direction of the Kammermusik corps guys not getting a front of curtain bow, to make it consistent with most other pieces. Front of curtain bows are for the principals. MHO. 

It's interesting to watch old Met Opera videos now: front-of-curtain bows after every act for every solo singer. Definitely going overboard!

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11 minutes ago, cobweb said:

I would go rather in the direction of the Kammermusik corps guys not getting a front of curtain bow, to make it consistent with most other pieces. Front of curtain bows are for the principals. MHO. 

I agree, but the juxtaposition seemed unfair.

 

Nanushka - thanks for the info. Now I realky wish I could see Union Jack again.

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12 minutes ago, Petra said:

Nanushka - thanks for the info. Now I realky wish I could see Union Jack again.

Not the same on video, of course, but the Royal Navy section has been available on YouTube, as an excerpt performed at the 1993 Balanchine festival.

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3 hours ago, cobweb said:

I would go rather in the direction of the Kammermusik corps guys not getting a front of curtain bow, to make it consistent with most other pieces. Front of curtain bows are for the principals. MHO. 

It’s my guess that this part is considered particularly vital and/or difficult which is why it merits a front-of-curtain bow. It is certainly out of the ordinary to have the corps now in front of the curtain. 

I don’t really see it as a problem. 

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19 hours ago, JanLevNYC said:

Lauren King has always been a delight to watch!  It was a great performance.  

As far as I'm concerned, Lauren King's dancing was absolutely the highlight of Saturday evening's performance of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. She was delightful six different ways. I mostly went to see Summerspace, but I'm really glad I got to see King's TP2 performance, too.

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On 10/6/2019 at 10:30 PM, Petra said:

I attended the 10/01 performance. I hadn't seen NYCB in NYC for eleven years, so it was a special evening for me. Happily, it didn't disappoint. Not even my youngest daughter falling asleep halfway through Union Jack and lying on my arm for half an hour could dim my joy at the all-Balanchine program, especially since each work was better than the previous one.

Valse-Fantasie was ok as an opening work. The dancers were great and if I hadn't read that it was Roman Mejia's debut, I would never have known that. He looked as secure as if he had danced it a dozen times already.

I loved Kammermusik No. 2 much more. The  inventiveness of the male corps (although why do they get a front-curtain bow when the demis in Valse-Fantasie do not??), the mirror-yet-not-mirror images of the soloists. This is the modernist ballet I've been craving for a long time. I loved the severity of Abi Stafford. Reichlen was almost too leggy and graceful for the part (I know, just shoot me...).

And Union Jack (at least, the first two parts) was divine. I am one of those that find the first part very profound. The Busby Berkeley-esque soldiers dancing on into infinity can be interpreted in more than one way, and each member of the audience can consider what it means to be a patriot and to serve one's country. My only complaint is that the headgear made it very hard to identify dancers.

The Costermonger part was lovely - I'd never seen Lauren Lovette before and both she and Daniel Ulbricht are fantastic actors.  It was funny and moving, just like the best comedies. Interesting that the 'theatrical' section is danced on a bare stage and the other sections have proper backdrops.

I didn't get the last part. Most of it was too Gene Kelly and On The Town, and not Royal Navy enough.

And finally - the first thing my middle daughter said during intermission, after the first two ballets, was "why are all the dancers white?" After 3 days of running around Manhattan, and seeing people of every possible skin colour, the lack of diversity was striking. Union Jack was more balanced but right now the make-up of this company does not reflect the city it represents so well.

'And finally - the first thing my middle daughter said during intermission, after the first two ballets, was "why are all the dancers white?" After 3 days of running around Manhattan, and seeing people of every possible skin colour, the lack of diversity was striking. Union Jack was more balanced but right now the make-up of this company does not reflect the city it represents so well.'

In more than 40 years as a patron, I have seen more casting OF color in the last two years (even when the DANCER might not be appropriately matched).  The majority of the corp men are young men of color.  The reality is the in the past, the percentage of fair skinned dancers pursuing a career was a large number.  Regardless, I think there is too much attention about this issue.  Let these dancers dance and be artists.  I do know NYCB has done an EXCEPTIONAL job making sure they are recruiting students to SAB from all walks of life, all skin colors, all ethnicities.  If anything, there are dancers that are being left behind because they are TOO white.  Which is reverse-racism - it is not that young dancer's fault they were born white anymore than they were born not-white.  I applaud all the NYCB dancers and the company for doing out there and working hard and hopefully they are thinking about their artistry - not race.

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5 hours ago, JanLevNYC said:

I applaud all the NYCB dancers and the company for doing out there and working hard and hopefully they are thinking about their artistry - not race.

Some of them do undoubtedly have that privilege.

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 Take a look at the female corps, there are a lot fewer dancers of color there. And dancers like Chamblee and Farley should have progressed to the soloist level but have been passed over in favor of white dancers. Who are the dancers you speak of that are getting discriminated against for being “too white”? I’d love to hear some examples.

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5 hours ago, Leah said:

Take a look at the female corps, there are a lot fewer dancers of color there. And dancers like Chamblee and Farley should have progressed to the soloist level but have been passed over in favor of white dancers. Who are the dancers you speak of that are getting discriminated against for being “too white”? I’d love to hear some examples.

Leah, I love it that you responded and shared your opinion, as well.  I also think Chamblee and Farley are amazing dancers and truly hope they receive promotions one day but not because they are half-African American - but because I love to watch them dance and believe they are hard workers.  I do know both have had injuries and missed stage time over the course of their careers.  But I do not believe they were passed over because of skin color.  Goodness, I think it would help them these days (which is sad).  Sebastian V-V was recently promoted and he is from Puerto Rico, of Latin descent.  Does that not count as non-white?  What about Jovian?  Daniel Applebaum is half-Asian.  Aaron Sanz is Spanish/Latin.  Sean Suozzi is Italian.  Do they not count toward the 'not white American male' box everyone is so intent on having?  They do.  But again, that box needs to be thrown away.

Regardless, each dancer has a journey and despite how amazing they are, their lives are dictated by subjectivity.  There is no perfect formula.  To promote or even hire someone because they are not-white is a disservice to all people who came before who worked hard and grew on merit.  And honestly, the dancers in the company feel a ton of pressure from this on-going social pressure when all they want to do is dance their best and be picked because of merit and nothing else.  My goodness, they just got out from under the threat of presumed favoritism from Martins and all those reasons/accusations.  I wish everyone would let these dancers focus on their art and the admin focus on cultivating the talent they have to each dancers best ability.

I believe NYCB/SAB is doing the right thing - they are recruiting students from all walks of life, all skin colors, all ethnicities, etc.  Once these students enter the program they can begin their journey.  If they are able to be successful in the unique bubble of dance requirements of the NYCB and there are slots available/funds available, hopefully they will join the company.  That's another thing - money.  There is a machine in the background and it has limits.  And decisions are made, in the end, because of finances - who knows day-to-day when/if finances say 'yes, promote'.  There are 9 male soloists today, 11 female soloists.  Maybe they are out of money for promotions - who knows.  I think NYCB has so many irons in the fire (new management, casting problems, increasing technique, filling empty seats) and I believe they are doing all the right things about this social call for diversity - by starting at the foundation, cultivating dancers of all colors and ethnicities from an early start.  And as everyone knows, just because a dancer goes to SAB doesn't mean they will dance professionally nor does it mean they will dance for the NYCB.  And even then, just because you are invited to dance for NYCB doesnt mean you will be cultivated!  I have seen quite a few dancers that could have and should have been more over the years.  Back to the subjectivity.

I think it's naive to ignore the history and numeric statistics of young dancers pursuing professional careers.   The world is getting smaller and people are more homogenized (thankfully).  Let's be more patient and just have confidence.

Me, I believe these social demands by the public for more 'not-white' dancers is not only hurting all dancers but causing emotional stress where there should be none.  It's hard enough, I am sure, to navigate their unique pressures.  Let's not add to it.

ps.  My children's father is Japanese and I am white.  I believe I can speak with some degree of knowledge.  I raised my children very color-blind (30 years ago) and focusing on hard work and things will all work out.   I cannot then expect anything less for the dance world.  Sorry.

 

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21 minutes ago, JanLevNYC said:

Me, I believe these social demands by the public for more 'not-white' dancers is not only hurting all dancers but causing emotional stress where there should be none.  It's hard enough, I am sure, to navigate their unique pressures.  Let's not add to it.

Jan, the reason I commented on the racial makeup of the company is because it was a comment made by a naive teenager. These are issues that many of her generation are very sensitive to - regardless of their own skin colour or privilege.

Of course it begins with danxe education, and I wouldn't like dancers to be promoted on a quota system. However unlike most world-class companies in the West, almost all NYCB dancers are American. That in itself is unusual. The USA is a diverse country and as of 2019 that isn't reflected in NYCB.

But please go back to discussing the season. It seems like this is a great Fall Season at NYCB.

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16 minutes ago, Petra said:

Jan, the reason I commented on the racial makeup of the company is because it was a comment made by a naive teenager. These are issues that many of her generation are very sensitive to - regardless of their own skin colour or privilege.

Of course it begins with danxe education, and I wouldn't like dancers to be promoted on a quota system. However unlike most world-class companies in the West, almost all NYCB dancers are American. That in itself is unusual. The USA is a diverse country and as of 2019 that isn't reflected in NYCB.

But please go back to discussing the season. It seems like this is a great Fall Season at NYCB.

Thank you so much for responding.  Agree on all points!  Forgive me for playing devil's advocate.  Just share with your sweet daughter that there are currently dancers from Australia, Spain, France, Italy, and truly every ethnicity has been and  is also represented as well - Indian, Asian, African-American, Latino, European, American Indian, Caucasian  .... 

I have loved NYCB for more than 40 years and I just believe they are doing all the right things regarding race - call me an honest loyalist.

Enjoy your day and hopefully you will get to enjoy more ballet.

Best wishes.

 

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1 hour ago, JanLevNYC said:

Me, I believe these social demands by the public for more 'not-white' dancers is not only hurting all dancers but causing emotional stress where there should be none.  It's hard enough, I am sure, to navigate their unique pressures.  Let's not add to it.

It is almost always stressful when you can no longer rely upon your own privilege as a given, and that applies to far more than ballet.  And I see demand as less of "more non-white dancers" as "dump the preconceptions that close the doors on anyone who isn't white."  Among men, particularly when there were fewer men, there has been more diversity out of necessity, although "more" is measurable differently by different companies, countries, and times.  Acosta, famously, was encouraged to leave Cuba, and his mentor gave him the example of a tremendous artist in Cuba who earlier was not given his due because he, too, was a black Cuban.

I am heartened that my home company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, is looking more and more like the community in which it performs.  And the talent from which to choose is extraordinary.

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27 minutes ago, Helene said:

It is almost always stressful when you can no longer rely upon your own privilege as a given, and that applies to far more than ballet.  And I see demand as less of "more non-white dancers" as "dump the preconceptions that close the doors on anyone who isn't white."  Among men, particularly when there were fewer men, there has been more diversity out of necessity, although "more" is measurable differently by different companies, countries, and times.  Acosta, famously, was encouraged to leave Cuba, and his mentor gave him the example of a tremendous artist in Cuba who earlier was not given his due because he, too, was a black Cuban.

I am heartened that my home company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, is looking more and more like the community in which it performs.  And the talent from which to choose is extraordinary.

Thank you so much for responding.   Please help me understand.  Professional dancers begin their journey sometimes as early as age 3.  Their parents are in charge of their lives until ages 14+.  Most professional dancers then leave home.  How does that child make a decision about its privilege or skin color?  It's doesn't.  I firmly believe dance is unique in this discussion on diversity.  No child /dancer picks its privilege or skin color.  So how can they be in control over their inability to rely on privilege which is something they had no control over from the start?

So are you saying talented, hard-working dancers should be punished for their parent's financial successes?  What about poor white dancers?  Poor European dancers?  What about rich African-American dancers, rich Latino dancers?  What about the middle-class family of any color that sacrifices all to send their dancer from home, knowing it is the only chance for them to do what they love and are called to do?  I am confident the majority of the dancers at SAB are there on financial assistance - and what a blessing for those dancers - so I dont believe privilege is the issue in this day/age.

The reality is there is still a pool of students at SAB year after year.  You cannot force more people of color to bring their children in for auditions, pay for classes and keep it up just to have more color on stage.  I celebrate the organic growth of diversity in dance and look forward to more.

But I do applaud PNB on all accounts!  It's an amazing company in an amazing city with many great successes!  You are very lucky to be there with them !!!

 

 

Edited by JanLevNYC

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12 minutes ago, JanLevNYC said:

Professional dancers begin their journey sometimes as early as age 3.  Their parents are in charge of their lives until ages 14+.  Most professional dancers then leave home.  How does that child make a decision about its privilege or skin color?  It's doesn't.  I firmly believe dance is unique in this discussion on diversity. 

Dance is by no means unique in this discussion of diversity:  it happens in all art forms and all individual sports, as well as in team sports where elite participation costs thousands of dollars in which to participate,  It is happens all the time in education, where tracking into elite colleges has similar "feeder" systems to ballet, and where, recently, there have been a plethora of articles discussion the number of legacy students and/or students whose parents make huge donations who are admitted to the most elite colleges and universities, and how as little as 25% would be accepted on their own.

The child makes no decision on its privilege or skin color, but the people who make the decisions about whether to accept children into elite training and who invest in them with attention, do.  The children aren't the decision-makers who are looking at them through their own lens.

12 minutes ago, JanLevNYC said:

So how can they be in control over their inability to rely on privilege which is something they had no control over from the start?

They are relying on the same people making the same decisions before them, and they and their parents invest in the training, often based on the odds, and at least until a company is willing to foot the bill, a place where affirmative action is primarily on the side of boys.  This isn't solely about race: it can be about physique, like the students who are signaled that they would be great modern dancers, height, or a number of other factors.  But race is there, and it's a huge elephant in the room: when Dance Theatre of Harlem, one of the country's elite companies, closed its doors, very, very few dancers were hired into other US companies, despite their experience and their elite training and coaching by white Europeans, Karel Shook and Tanaquil Leclercq.

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I think part of what makes the pipeline particularly constricted for people of color, when it comes to ballet, is that your talent can't be discovered in the same way as, say, an opera singer. (You might hear a talented child in a school or church chorus, and realize they could have the pipes for opera.) There's a barrier to entry to ballet -- money -- and until you get a kid in ballet class, you don't really know if they might have what it takes to be a ballet dancer. I think cases in which dancers find free classes -- as I believe Misty Copeland did at the Boys and Girls Club -- are exceptions rather than the rule. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

Dance is by no means unique in this discussion of diversity:  it happens in all art forms and all individual sports, as well as in team sports where elite participation costs thousands of dollars in which to participate,  It is happens all the time in education, where tracking into elite colleges has similar "feeder" systems to ballet, and where, recently, there have been a plethora of articles discussion the number of legacy students and/or students whose parents make huge donations who are admitted to the most elite colleges and universities, and how as little as 25% would be accepted on their own.

The child makes no decision on its privilege or skin color, but the people who make the decisions about whether to accept children into elite training and who invest in them with attention, do.  The children aren't the decision-makers who are looking at them through their own lens.

They are relying on the same people making the same decisions before them, and they and their parents invest in the training, often based on the odds, and at least until a company is willing to foot the bill, a place where affirmative action is primarily on the side of boys.  This isn't solely about race: it can be about physique, like the students who are signaled that they would be great modern dancers, height, or a number of other factors.  But race is there, and it's a huge elephant in the room: when Dance Theatre of Harlem, one of the country's elite companies, closed its doors, very, very few dancers were hired into other US companies, despite their experience and their elite training and coaching by white Europeans, Karel Shook and Tanaquil Leclercq.

I agree, I am sure  there is some financial contribution sway with the younger students at SAB, but I do not believe it is the case with the professional level training.  Most of the dancers are not from NYC, attending on scholarship or financial assistance.  Although it is not a new story, Ashely Bouder is a great example.  She did not come from privilege and had complete support from SAB for both in dance training and academic support.  What a gift for her and for us now - I cannot imagine NYCB without Ashely Bouder. 

I also saw an interview years ago about another dancer whose parents had taken out debt on their credit cards to support the girl coming to SAB.  She had been offered scholarships to every elite summer program she auditioned for and chose to take her scholarship with SAB.  She then stayed for the school year, trained during the year and spent summers away, always on full scholarship.  She was invited to the company - and she could have obviously had a career at any company.  She is white.  is someone saying she to be passed over because she is white instead being rewarded for her merit?

I think the decision makers are aware of the need for diversity.  I do not envy them, as they are still limited to the students presented to them every year.

I have followed the NYCB diversity effort and think they are doing all the right things by recruiting students into the school at every age from every skin color and ethnicity.  And I do not believe anyone is being excluded over skin color.

As for things that happened in the past, well it cannot be changed (DTH) but I believe things are much better in 2019 - and that's all anyone can do. 

I love these tough conversations and think all of you are courageous to share your thoughts - everyone is right in the end.  Its being able to talk about things which is right.  It's what makes us better.

Hey - NYCB is the my favorite.  I am a New Yorker.  And I hope they have a killer last week of the season!  I cannot wait to catch EWG and Serenade and Dances at a Gathering this week!

 

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On 10/6/2019 at 8:59 AM, nanushka said:

I remember reading, not too long ago, on Instagram I believe (a post by a dancer — I'm being very vague, I know, but I can't recall whose) that word among NYCB men was that, in order to get noticed and promoted, one had to have striking hair. Perhaps this was something Martins really liked (since he himself had it as a dancer); perhaps it was just an assumption about what he liked. In any case, I've often felt that many NYCB men have hairstyles that are too sculpted, styled, etc. I'd like to see more of the male dancers have a more "natural" look. This very likely may just be personal preference on my part. But I feel like there's a definite NYCB male hair "look" — and that Alec Knight has basically taken that and (through color and height) dialed it up to 11.

I often think Joe Gordon might look nice with shorter hair. His isn't overly sculpted or styled like some, though.

On the topic of hair, I would also be interested to see how Tyler Angle would look onstage if he didn't supplement his balding/thinning hair with such an obviously artificial (is it spray-on?) supplement. I get the impulse, but haven't we perhaps reached a point when we can accept a male dancer with a more natural look? I think it'd be worth at least giving it a shot and seeing how it plays.

I think it's Ask LaCour with the toupee, not Tyler Angle.

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16 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

I think it's Ask LaCour with the toupee, not Tyler Angle.

From social media, it looks like Tyler has more hair loss, and it was definitely him I was thinking of (the image of the back of his head from the opening of Diamonds was fresh in my mind), but I’m sure LaCour supplements as well.

Edited by nanushka

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Nureyev_10_Allan_Warren.jpg

Didn't Nureyev also wear a hairpiece later in his career? I had read that his hair started thinning fast. Offstage he often wore a turban or hat.

Edited by canbelto

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1 hour ago, DaniGirl said:

She is white.  is someone saying she to be passed over because she is white instead being rewarded for her merit?

No one is saying that. 

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