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Megan Fairchild


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Hi Everyone,

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy. I just wanted to share a few links that have made my time in quarantine a bit more bearable. Megan Fairchild has been uploading videos to YouTube and her interview with Sara Mearns is highly entertaining and informative.

I also enjoyed her quarantine diary on the New York Times. Enjoy!

Jessa

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ_WNxLiIEESXCpqGdUGiJw

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/arts/dance/megan-fairchild-city-ballet-coping-at-home.html

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Thank you for sharing.  It appears from many of the NYCB dancers' Instagram pages that they've all begun receiving flooring sent to them by NYCB and Harlequin.  Hopefully that will ease some of the "ouch factor" of all that dancing on hard wood, tile, carpet, or what-have-you.

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On 4/15/2020 at 9:50 AM, jessa_sissonne said:

Hi Everyone,

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy. I just wanted to share a few links that have made my time in quarantine a bit more bearable. Megan Fairchild has been uploading videos to YouTube and her interview with Sara Mearns is highly entertaining and informative.

I also enjoyed her quarantine diary on the New York Times. Enjoy!

Jessa

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ_WNxLiIEESXCpqGdUGiJw

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/arts/dance/megan-fairchild-city-ballet-coping-at-home.html

I am just loving Megan Fairchild's channel. She is a wonderful interviewer and provides so much insight into what these artists have been through and what it takes to make a successful career in NYCB (and probably any large ballet company).

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Wow, that interview with Ashley Bouder was fascinating.

I can't believe that point shoe thief story (well, two thieves?!).  That's alarming, I certainly hope that doesn't happen with any regularity.

I loved how well Ashley Bouder spoke about diversity and inclusion.  She had such a great perspective and brings so much empathy.  I loved how she advocated for a mothers' room at NYCB and that they finally got one!

Her comments about female choreographers were particularly resonant, especially with regards to Anabelle Lopez Ochoa.  I saw one of her works at SFB and loved it - couldn't believe I hadn't seen anything by her before. Bouder's right that so many of the "hot" choreographers today are so deserving - especially Wheeldon, Ratmansky, and Peck - so none of this is meant to diminish any of their work.  There's no doubt that they have the talent and the skills to be where they are, but I loved that she brought up how many men are afforded so many choreographic opportunities, where it seems so many female choreographers aren't given remotely the same volume of opportunity.  I'm thinking of some women choreographers I've seen recently - Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Danielle Rowe - have impressive resumes and have put out fascinating work, and I'd so love for them to have the same high profiles that the Wheeldons of the world have.

 

Anyhow, I'm loving Megan Fairchild's interviews.  She asks great questions.

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I've been watching/listening to many of these podcasts too! I really like the casual "chat between friends" aspect of each episode...it gives a peek at another more personal side of the guests and many humorous moments :)

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I just want to echo that I have absolutely loved Megan's interviews on her YouTube channel. It's been such a great mix of interviewees that we might not hear from in typical media interviews, like Anthony Huxley. So insightful - I hope she keeps it going as she really has a talent for it. Such a natural talker.

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6 minutes ago, cassieallison said:

Anyone else watch her interview with Lauren Lovette? Based on her comments I wouldn't be shocked if Lovette does not return to dancing.

There's a good discussion on the Fairchild/Lovette interview under: NYCB cancels Fall 2020 and Nutcracker seasons

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Off topic but I have to say: I rented the NYCB Nutcracker on Marquee last night and Megan Fairchild's Dewdrop was a big WOW. Beautiful jumps and turns; it's incredible how such a small person can cover so much space. You also feel like she's really having a lot of fun-- she's a little madcap, but it isn't "too much." Highly recommend to all!

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Loved the Merrill Ashley interview!  She's so candid.  Some interesting insights:

- She was so open about her interactions with Peter Martins.  In particular, it was interesting hearing about Martins' opposition to individualized coaching... curious for more about that.  In particular, it seems like a good number of apprentices wash out, and Ashley seems to have pushed for a company with more individualized mentorship/coaching that never came to fruition.  Wonder why.

- Merrill Ashley had some *extremely* candid remarks about her experience with the Bolshoi.  Interesting that she said the highlight of her career was staging Diamonds on Olga Smirnova.  Also, she confirms all the rumors about the directors and coaches being abusive to the corps members.  The story about the director yelling at the dancer for rehearsing in her flat shoes was particularly illuminating.

She comes across as so well-spoken and thoughtful. Was definitely one of my favorite interviews Megan Fairchild has done!

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The Merrill Ashley interview was wonderful. Loved her reminisces about the Bolshoi. Also about her relationship with Balanchine, and how she found out she was promoted (a pay raise). I think this interview is different because Merrill was sort of Meghan's mentor so there's this respect there and the interview doesn't wander off into tangents. 

I was also interested in Merrill's reminisces about how she never got to do the "easy" ballets like Serenade or Concerto Barocco. Merrill is so intelligent and has so much to offer that I hope she flies up for coaching even though she now lives in Florida. 

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On 12/14/2020 at 3:10 PM, canbelto said:

The Merrill Ashley interview was wonderful. Loved her reminisces about the Bolshoi. Also about her relationship with Balanchine, and how she found out she was promoted (a pay raise). I think this interview is different because Merrill was sort of Meghan's mentor so there's this respect there and the interview doesn't wander off into tangents. 

I was also interested in Merrill's reminisces about how she never got to do the "easy" ballets like Serenade or Concerto Barocco. Merrill is so intelligent and has so much to offer that I hope she flies up for coaching even though she now lives in Florida. 

Merrill Ashley is just a treasure! I hope she continues to coach for NYCB as well. I seem to remember seeing her in the audience when one or another dancer debuted in Sanguinic in 4T, and I'm sure she did some coaching then. They should make use of these great dancers who worked with Balanchine before it's too late.

I also thought her remarks about support for the apprentices were salient. I hope someone follows up on that in some way. It's possible that more is currently being done for them than happened in her time (apprentices are usually at least 17, routinely finish high school and even college during their careers, for starters) but I can't imagine it would be expensive to give everyone a mentor, or a "buddy" to look out for them. There's a lot more support at the school, now, too.

On 12/14/2020 at 2:26 PM, Phrenchphry11 said:

In particular, it was interesting hearing about Martins' opposition to individualized coaching... curious for more about that.  In particular, it seems like a good number of apprentices wash out, and Ashley seems to have pushed for a company with more individualized mentorship/coaching that never came to fruition.  Wonder why.

 

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I usually really enjoy these interviews but the interview with Mejia was very disappointing. 

Fairchild mentions, over and over, how  the NYCB dancers are interested in the company's history and Mr. B's legacy but it at no point does she or Mejia explain exactly what part Mejia's father played in this history. The Mr. B. - Suzanne - Paul Mejia triangle is an important and complicated parts of Balanchine's legacy, and it could have been a fascinating discussion. Self-censorship doesn't make for good podcasts. 

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3 hours ago, Petra said:

I usually really enjoy these interviews but the interview with Mejia was very disappointing. 

Fairchild mentions, over and over, how  the NYCB dancers are interested in the company's history and Mr. B's legacy but it at no point does she or Mejia explain exactly what part Mejia's father played in this history. The Mr. B. - Suzanne - Paul Mejia triangle is an important and complicated parts of Balanchine's legacy, and it could have been a fascinating discussion. Self-censorship doesn't make for good podcasts. 

In fairness Mejia might not know that much about it or be comfortable talking about it. He's the child of Mejia's second marriage and that might cause a complicated family situation if he were to start talking about his dad and Suzanne.

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Yeah, I really can't say that I blame Roman Mejia for not going there (or Fairchild for not asking — which they may have agreed upon before the interview). He wasn't there, it wasn't his relationship, it was a complicated situation, and there are plenty of good reasons why it's probably best for him to leave it to others to address publicly. Self-censorship, maybe — but I think probably just common sense.

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I wouldn't have gone there at all.  Aside from family privacy and discretion, it's already 37+ years since Balanchine's death and several administrations --- Martins + Rpbbins, Martins, the temporary triad, Stafford.  1968 was over half a century ago.

There are two direct types of day-to-day impact I can see on dancers who were never trained by Balanchine -- and when Peter Boal was one of the first, you know that was a while ago -- and those are 1. Not getting coaching from Farrell (at least through NYCB) during the Martins administrations and 2. (potentially) Any passed-on trauma from the generation that was present at the time, for whom it was a major narrative, and who've taught and coached the last two generations.  And I'm not sure how much of this was passed on.

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Plus Roman is an exciting dancer in his own right, and he has his own career to talk about. I think they made the right decision to sidestep this particular episode of NYCB ballet history. There's tons of books and articles on the subject already.

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As host, it would have helped for Fairchild to provide a quick(!) rundown of Paul Mejia's history at NYCB, so the uninitiated could be clued in. However, it's not Roman's job to be educating the world on his father's history and 1st marriage. This interview was supposed to be about Roman's career and present situation. And he's obviously not the kind of speaker or personality that is going to spend a lot of time gabbing about the years before he was born - I don't get the sense that he's a budding ballet historian.

It would have been OK to skip the subject completely, but Fairchild says just enough to (probably) confuse some audience members about what is being referred to.

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I've moved canbelto's post with the D Magazine article on Paul Mejia to a new thread in the Ballet News forum, so that we don't entirely derail the Fairchild thread.

 

 

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