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word came yesterday of the death of Marvin Hoshino, Editor and Designer for BALLET REVIEW; date of death was not mentioned.

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I just heard this morning -- I am so sorry.  The magazine is in the process of publishing its last issue, and he did not live to see it come out.  Sometimes the universe is pretty mean.

Like many of us here, I've been a subscriber for as long as I knew it existed.  Way back before the internet made it easy to talk with people who were elsewhere about dance, I would read something in BR and nod my head vigorously (or scratch it as I tried to understand something a bit beyond my experience) -- it was an intellectual companion on many trips to the theater.  Many thanks to Marvin H, and to the whole crew, for their unconscious contribution to my dance education.

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I learned of Marvin's death late last night. Marvin was a remarkable editor with a vision for Ballet Review, and in the decade he ran it, he advanced it from a black & white, stapled book to beautiful full color on coated stock, perfect bound. He often published my performance reviews, interviews, and book reviews over the past ten years, and several times my wife & I had the pleasure of meeting up with him at the former State Theater during NYCB intermissions. As anyone who knew Marvin will tell you, he had strong opinions (for which reason he almost never published anything under his own name in BR), a precise and wicked wit, and acute judgment. In our email exchanges, I didn't always agree with him, but I always learned something. And he wasn't smug about his opinions, either. I remember two performances, one of Duo Concertant, the other of Mozartiana, for which he had low expectations because the principals for Duo were too young & inexperienced to convey the passion Balanchine demands, and the lead in Mozartiana no longer had the skill in arabesque the role required. Both performances were glorious, surprising in their daring and rewarding in their richness, and both times he came up to me afterward, delighted and grinning, and said, "I take it all back!" A few times in my dance pieces for The Hopkins Review, I would slip in (with his permission) something incisive he had said about this ballet or that dancer, attributing it to "a knowledgeable ballet friend," since, as BR's editor, he never wanted his opinions to be on record. And while his personal tastes in dance were strong and specific, you would never know his biases from reading BR, a journal that displayed an admirable catholicity of enthusiasms and taught many of us about important dance traditions, choreographers, and performers we hadn't known. 

Those who knew Marvin only as BR's editor might not have known that he was first assistant and then, after her death, executor to Helen Levitt, the great NYC street photographer. He also was professor of design at Queens College for many years.

I will greatly miss Marvin's critical eye, his funny and almost always accurate judgments about dancers then and now, and our email dialogues about dance. That he has died simultaneously with BR seems a terrible, yet fitting irony.

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Posted (edited)

Oh how sad! 

I agree with Jay Rogoff's comment above that BR made great strides under Hoshino's stewardship. I keep hoping that some academic institution will see fit to fold BR in under its wing. (Hello, hello Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, are you listening? Might you at least digitize the archive? It would be a splendid way to honor his memory ...)

PS - I did NOT know about the connection to the great Helen Levitt! 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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I am so, so sorry to hear this. Thanks to rg for passing on this sad news and to Jay Rogoff for his wonderful post. BR seemed to be going forward wonderfully under Mr. Hoshino's editorship and I miss it already.  My condolences to Mr. Hoshino's loved ones and friends.

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