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Leah

Digital Spring Season

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Whereas I skipped Stafford's and Hall's intros and went straight to the dancing. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Helene said:

Martins learned it in Denmark from Henning Kronstam, who was also not a tall blond.  (From his interview in Striking a Balance.)

Kronstam wasn't blond,  but he was definitely taller than the average male dancer.  (I had the privilege of dancing in the same production as he - not Apollo!.). He reminded me of Leslie Howard,  the Hollywood star,  or Howard's grandson,  Tony Goldwyn,  with a very aristocratic bearing. 

I was surprised to learn that Craig Hall had danced the part,  as Apollo seemed to be off-limits to black or brown dancers,  or even dark-haired white dancers..

Edited by On Pointe
Clarity

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Craig Hall was part of a dancers’ choice evening—he wasn’t cast by NYCB management. Taylor Stanley was the first dancer of color to be cast in a regularly scheduled performance I believe.

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19 hours ago, pherank said:

[at 25:49] The Muses' handclap is missing (instead they thrust their hands towards Apollo) and I think that is a shame because the handclap is a one of the more humorous and effective dramatic moments of the ballet.

 

The handclap is there. They clap on the way up and then turn the palms on the way down.

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I liked Taylor Stanley, but I thought Tiler Peck was miscast in this.  Her limbs are too short for Terpsichore.  Her choreography in particular has a lot of extensions, where a long line is more aesthetically pleasing.

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4 hours ago, Petra said:

Apollo is an amazing work of art. Hard to believe that it is 92 years old!

I loved Stanley. I see a lot of similarities with the photos of Nijinsky in Afternoon of a Faun - that intense, other-worldly look - and I wonder whether the original Apollo looked more like Stanley than the typical tall blond Peter Martins type.

I also thought of Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun when watching Stanley’s Apollo and even found myself regretting that it’s a version of Faun he is unlikely ever to dance.  

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

Craig Hall was part of a dancers’ choice evening—he wasn’t cast by NYCB management. Taylor Stanley was the first dancer of color to be cast in a regularly scheduled performance I believe.

Then NYCB could be accused of strategically utilizing dancers of color (again) to make the company look more diverse than it actually is.  If this is a viewer's first encounter with the ballet and the company,  he or she might conclude that Apollo is a black role,  and assume there is a racial aspect to the part that isn't there.

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Just now, On Pointe said:

Then NYCB could be accused of strategically utilizing dancers of color (again) to make the company look more diverse than it actually is.  If this is a viewer's first encounter with the ballet and the company,  he or she might conclude that Apollo is a black role,  and assume there is a racial aspect to the part that isn't there.

I don’t think if I were a first time viewer I would assume that Apollo was a “black” role per se, but I agree it certainly gives a very misleading impression as to the company’s inclusivity and diversity.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Then NYCB could be accused of strategically utilizing dancers of color (again) to make the company look more diverse than it actually is.  If this is a viewer's first encounter with the ballet and the company,  he or she might conclude that Apollo is a black role,  and assume there is a racial aspect to the part that isn't there.

There are no "black roles" or "white roles" at NYCB.  There are just roles.   Who gets cast depends on lots of factors.

Edited by abatt

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

There are no "black roles" or "white roles" at NYCB.  There are just roles.   Who gets cast depends on lots of factors.

I wasn't referring to company casting policy directly,  but rather the impression the casting might  make on a new audience member.   The company's only black ballet master introducing a ballet starring the company's only black principal dancer.  I know from experience how audiences make racial (not racist) assumptions.  That said,  it's obvious that there is casting by type at NYCB,  just as there is in every other ballet company.

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Craig Hall  coached Taylor Stanley in Apollo and also danced the role himself  (albeit in a gala and not at an NYCB performance).  Since all of the intros so far have been done by either NYCB staff/administration  or, in one case, the composer of the music, I don't see any plot here to hoodwink the public regarding how many black people work at NYCB.  

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Then NYCB could be accused of strategically utilizing dancers of color (again) to make the company look more diverse than it actually is.

Or, to take a perhaps more charitable view, they could be signaling a break from the past and a new management team's dedication to more inclusive casting.

Edited by nanushka

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24 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Or, to take a perhaps more charitable view, they could be signaling a break from the past and a new management team's dedication to more inclusive casting.

I think that's exactly what management is attempting to do. They have to start somewhere, but it IS rather pathetic that in the year 2020 it's a big deal that someone of "mixed race" finally gets to dance the role of Apollo, in a 92 year old ballet.

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5 hours ago, pherank said:

Coincidentally, the 1960 Montreal TV broadcast of Apollo was accompanied by a short interview (conducted in French) with Balanchine, and he was asked the following question:

Q: May I ask you why no one, since 1941, has attempted to do a Rite of Spring, possibly Stravinsky's masterpiece?

A: Well, it had been done before my time...Yes, several people did it.
I must tell you: it is impossible to assemble the huge orchestra the piece requires. You also need a big theater, as it requires 110 musicians. That is very expensive and the ballet is poor [in funds].
If you wanted to hire all the musicians that are needed, you'd never find the money...That's the reason why."

Likely this was not the only reason Balanchine didn't want to work with the Rite score. He may even have felt that Nijinsky's ballet was iconic and he didn't want to get into a competition with Nijinsky. I'm not sure if it is recorded what Balanchine felt about the original ballet.

Thanks, pherank. What a Mr. B. answer...

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

Craig Hall  coached Taylor Stanley in Apollo and also danced the role himself  (albeit in a gala and not at an NYCB performance).  Since all of the intros so far have been done by either NYCB staff/administration  or, in one case, the composer of the music, I don't see any plot here to hoodwink the public regarding how many black people work at NYCB.  

Call it what you want -odd, disingenuous, narcissistic, ungenerous- but Hall spent a considerable portion of his time in both the podcast and the broadcast talking about when he danced Apollo, and never mentioned Taylor Stanley’s name or the fact that he, Hall, didn’t dance it in a regular NYCB performance.  

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1 minute ago, Olga said:

...and never mentioned Taylor Stanley’s name or the fact that he, Hall, didn’t dance it in a regular NYCB performance.  

I can understand criticizing him on the first point, but I would hardly have expected him to make that distinction on the second. The Dancers' Choice evenings were official NYCB events, no? He may not have been cast by management, but it was an NYCB performance, I think, if not perfectly "regular".

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Posted (edited)

Call it not cast by management if you prefer.  I am fine with that. But where I come from, his speech lacked complete disclosure. It created a poor impression, and coupled with not mentioning Stanley, it lacked leadership. I will say no more.

Edited by Olga
Typo

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Olga said:

Call it not cast by management if you prefer.  I am fine with that. But where I come from, his speech lacked complete disclosure.

I never would have thought of not being cast by management (not sure what else one would call it) as something to be “disclosed.”

I completely agree he should have mentioned Stanley.

Edited by nanushka

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The Ballo della Regina was fabulous! As was After the Rain.

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I was thrilled by Taylor Stanley's performance as Apollo; he was excellent, bringing all the beauty, grace, and speed to the role of a young god that I'd expect to see.  For me it doesn't matter much what a dancer might look like physically that would make them especially right for a role.  I find that the qualities like personal charisma, electricity and vibrancy can make all the difference, and as Apollo, I thought Stanley had it all.  The last time I'd seen this role performed was in September, at Herman Cornejo's debut, an unhappy and disappointing performance, to say the least.  Being able to see this far better and exhilarating debut meant the world to me. 

6 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Kronstam wasn't blond,  but he was definitely taller than the average male dancer.  (I had the privilege of dancing in the same production as he - not Apollo!.). He reminded me of Leslie Howard,  the Hollywood star,  or Howard's grandson,  Tony Goldwyn,  with a very aristocratic bearing. 

This is a digression and silly, but I can't let it go.  I don't think the actor Tony Goldwyn is any relation to the late Leslie Howard.  You're probably mistaking Tony's grandmother, the actress Frances Howard, for one of Leslie Howard's sisters, neither of whom was named Frances or married to Sam Goldwyn, Tony's grandfather.  Leslie Howard's real family name was Stainer or Steiner; he came from a Jewish family in London.  Frances Howard was from a Protestant midwestern family.  Last week I quarantine-watched a wonderful TV documentary I found on Youtube about the producer Sam Goldwyn, narrated by Dustin Hoffman and written by A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn's biographer.  Full of fascinating details about Goldwyn and his stressed-out second wife Frances, who spent too many years as her husband's hostess and too little time as her own person. 

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24 minutes ago, canbelto said:

The Ballo della Regina was fabulous! As was After the Rain.

Agree - Ballo was positively scintillating. After the Rain was a fine performance, but I have to admit that I've grown a bit tired of it.

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What a jolt of joy to see Ballo della Regina. Fairchild was great and Huxley was mesmerizing, a glistening model of classical form and radiance. And what fun to see some of my favorite corps/soloists, like Alexa Maxwell, Sara Adams, and Indiana Woodward charmingly smiling out from her days in the corps de ballet. I skipped After the Rain for now, I'll check it out over the weekend. 

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2 hours ago, laurel said:

This is a digression and silly, but I can't let it go.  I don't think the actor Tony Goldwyn is any relation to the late Leslie Howard.  You're probably mistaking Tony's grandmother, the actress Frances Howard, for one of Leslie Howard's sisters, neither of whom was named Frances or married to Sam Goldwyn, Tony's grandfather.  Leslie Howard's real family name was Stainer or Steiner; he came from a Jewish family in London.  Frances Howard was from a Protestant midwestern family.  Last week I quarantine-watched a wonderful TV documentary I found on Youtube about the producer Sam Goldwyn, narrated by Dustin Hoffman and written by A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn's biographer.  Full of fascinating details about Goldwyn and his stressed-out second wife Frances, who spent too many years as her husband's hostess and too little time as her own person. 

You're correct - Goldwyn is the grandson of Sidney Howard,  not Leslie.  To add to the confusion,  there are people named Howard on both sides of his family.

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Also thought filming of Ballo was excellent. 

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