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2021: Free Streaming during COVID-19 Crisis


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7 hours ago, Jack Reed said:

That's the kind of life and enjoyment we got every night (and twice on weekend afternoons) from Balanchine's New York City Ballet, only more so, as the dancers were a little older, a little longer in their development under his supervision, and so, a little stronger than these Ballet Chicago dancers. 

It's partly because these Ballet-Chicago dancer-students are students, but I think it's also because of their teaching from dancers who danced for Balanchine (or for Villella, or Farrell), that, even though they are secure in their steps and moves, they continue to explore how these movements fit what they hear.  At any rate, that's the way it looks. That's fresh life, that gives enjoyment, otherwise it's dry.

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Jack, this video has me thinking George Balanchine more than I have in a long time. 

I always liked the sense of abandon and aliveness that The Miami City Ballet had when Edward (Villella) was there. He said at a pre-performance practice for an audience that he always started his practices with fast, jazzy type exercises. Is this something that NYC Ballet would do ?  Would this account for a difference in the company style and feel ?  Does it have real meaning to you ?  

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On 3/9/2021 at 12:19 AM, Buddy said:

Jack, this video has me thinking George Balanchine more than I have in a long time. 

I always liked the sense of abandon and aliveness that The Miami City Ballet had when Edward (Villella) was there. He said at a pre-performance practice for an audience that he always started his practices with fast, jazzy type exercises. Is this something that NYC Ballet would do ?  Would this account for a difference in the company style and feel ?  Does it have real meaning to you ?  

I don't know anything about company class as it's given at NYCB now, but back in the day it emerged that Balanchine was likely to give whatever he thought the company needed.  There was the famous (or maybe infamous) instance of one class where he gave battement tendu, a movement he regarded as basic, for an hour - the dancers, so my friends, some of whom worked for the company or who knew dancers, told me, came out complaining that their legs felt like they were going to drop off.  

Nor did I ever have the experience of seeing class at MCB, but it looks like from what you say that Villella had more of a set pattern.  Whatever it was, it worked, and his company gave me more of what I needed than Peter Martins's NYCB did.  But Balanchine himself made a point of extending the dancers toward extremes - fast and slow, for example - so they could do anything, and I would expect that today from those who got it from him, in New York, more at SAB (where Balanchine's dancers teach), than at NYCB, run by dancers who matured under Martins, wherever they may have started. 

This shows some more of the value of these Ballet Chicago performances.  They offer another kind of Balanchine, more authentic, I'd say.

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6 hours ago, Jack Reed said:

I don't know anything about company class as it's given at NYCB now, but back in the day it emerged that Balanchine was likely to give whatever he thought the company needed.  There was the famous (or maybe infamous) instance of one class where he gave battement tendu, a movement he regarded as basic, for an hour - the dancers, so my friends, some of whom worked for the company or who knew dancers, told me, came out complaining that their legs felt like they were going to drop off.  

Nor did I ever have the experience of seeing class at MCB, but it looks like from what you say that Villella had more of a set pattern.  Whatever it was, it worked, and his company gave me more of what I needed than Peter Martins's NYCB did.  But Balanchine himself made a point of extending the dancer toward extremes - fast and slow, for example - so they could do anything, and I would expect that today from those who got it from him, in New York, more at SAB (where Balanchine's dancers teach), than at NYCB, run by dancers who matured under Martins, wherever they may have started. 

This shows some more of the value of these Ballet Chicago performances.  They offer another kind of Balanchine, more authentic, I'd say.

Thanks again, Jack.

How old would you say that these Ballet Chicago students are ?

I'm continuing to watch this video a lot. I like the quality and pleasantness of these young dancers and the contrast with Simone Messmer in Concerto Barocco is very enjoyable and interesting.

Also the performance of Divertimento No.15 is very good. For some reason George Balanchine's inventiveness is more apparent here (or perhaps more enjoyable) than in some video compilations I've seen of his own company. The way that he plays with Mozart, of all individuals,is quite delightful. He uses a lot of idiosyncratic structuring, for example, and just when I think that it might be getting a little too loose he puts in something brilliantly sophisticated.  

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On 3/4/2021 at 1:27 PM, Jack Reed said:

Ballet Chicago's Virtual Spring Season, February 27 - March 28, 2021

 

Ballet Chicago, a fine local school run by Daniel Duell, who danced in Balanchine's NYCB, and his wife, Patricia Blair, who danced in the Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island when Edward Villella was "Artistic Advisor," has put together seven programs, compiled from their archive videos, going as far back as 1998, I believe.  One program, observing Black History month, is already underway:  The programs are available on Zoom and YouTube, starting on a weekend and running through the following week.  Some look a little short, about 30-45 minutes.
 
 

Jack, I'm continuing some of my responses to another topic that you started.

https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43497-balanchine-non-finito/?tab=comments#comment-395746

 

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On 3/9/2021 at 6:33 PM, Buddy said:

Thanks again, Jack.

How old would you say that these Ballet Chicago students are ?

I'm continuing to watch this video a lot. I like the quality and pleasantness of these young dancers and the contrast with Simone Messmer in Concerto Barocco is very enjoyable and interesting.

Also the performance of Divertimento No.15 is very good. For some reason George Balanchine's inventiveness is more apparent here (or perhaps more enjoyable) than in some video compilations I've seen of his own company. The way that he plays with Mozart, of all individuals,is quite delightful. He uses a lot of idiosyncratic structuring, for example, and just when I think that it might be getting a little too loose he puts in something brilliantly sophisticated.  

I passed your question about dancers' ages along to B.C., and I'll post if and when I hear back. 

I think you want to know how old they were when they performed in  these videos, but in the meantime, I gather that the oldest members of the B.C. Studio Company are  mostly pre-collegiate; since these videos were shot, one has gone on to Harvard, another divides her time between B.C. and Northwestern, which she chose partly for its proximity to B.C., I think, as well as family - behind every dance student, there's a family, as far as I know, a very close one, which reminds me - have I mentioned that the majority of their costumes are made by "The Guild of the Golden Needle," a group of the students' mothers?

I'm curious about when those "compilations of Balanchine's own company" you've seen were shot.  In the late '80's NYCB changed radically in the view of many of us in his audience, and a lot of us, called "Old Audience" by the NYCB marketing department, stopped attending regularly - or at all - because it didn't do anything for us anymore.  But I try not to miss any of B.C.'s shows, on stage or on screen, because to a considerable extent I do get what I feel I have to have now and then, from them.  (I'll admit that being able to sleep in my own bed is a plus.)  Without trying to describe what it is, it looks here like we may both perceive that authentic performance quality, although I don't know if you had much experience watching his company in the theater when Balanchine was there.  Other performers today may offer us (most of) Balanchine's steps and moves, coordinated with the music at each instant, and that can be rewarding to see, but in my experience the Ballet Chicago Studio Company makes them more clearly visible, makes more clearly visible their organic relationship to that music, than some professional companies (with older dancers).    

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3 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

To mark the passing of Patrick Dupond, the Paris Opera Ballet has posted the Burmeister production of Swan Lake, with Marie-Claude Pietragalla as Odette-Odile and Dupond as Siegfried. Available until March 21.

https://chezsoi.operadeparis.fr/ballet/videos/le-lac-des-cygnes-hommage-a-patrick-dupond

What a treat - thank you. A very different version of Swan Lake, too. Much of the music we are most familiar with for the Black Swan PdD appears in Act I. And the PdD is quite unfamiliar in most ways. Long ago, I listened to an orchestral recording of the score and it had similar differences. 

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“Stravinsky’s Firebird by Dance Theatre of Harlem” 

This has apparently been around since 1982. I'd never heard of it before and having skipped the introduction and gone right to the performance I was ready to call it an instant classic. I do indeed think that it's a classic. 

The performance starts at 30:00. Available through March 19.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Jack Reed said:

I passed your question about dancers' ages along to B.C., and I'll post if and when I hear back. 

I think you want to know how old they were when they performed in  these videos, but in the meantime, I gather that the oldest members of the B.C. Studio Company are  mostly pre-collegiate; since these videos were shot, one has gone on to Harvard, another divides her time between B.C. and Northwestern, which she chose partly for its proximity to B.C., I think, as well as family - behind every dance student, there's a family, as far as I know, a very close one, which reminds me - have I mentioned that the majority of their costumes are made by "The Guild of the Golden Needle," a group of the students' mothers?

I'm curious about when those "compilations of Balanchine's own company" you've seen were shot.  In the late '80's NYCB changed radically in the view of many of us in his audience, and a lot of us, called "Old Audience" by the NYCB marketing department, stopped attending regularly - or at all - because it didn't do anything for us anymore.  But I try not to miss any of B.C.'s shows, on stage or on screen, because to a considerable extent I do get what I feel I have to have now and then, from them.  (I'll admit that being able to sleep in my own bed is a plus.)  Without trying to describe what it is, it looks here like we may both perceive that authentic performance quality, although I don't know if you had much experience watching his company in the theater when Balanchine was there.  Other performers today may offer us (most of) Balanchine's steps and moves, coordinated with the music at each instant, and that can be rewarding to see, but in my experience the Ballet Chicago Studio Company makes them more clearly visible, makes more clearly visible their organic relationship to that music, than some professional companies (with older dancers).    

Thanks, Jack, for your response and the information about  Ballet Chicago. I've watch this video everyday since it appeared and hope that it's kept on for as long as possible. The main reason is becoming a chance to see Simone Messmer in a complete video performance, which we've never been able to do before. She's quite something !  And - I feel that she, the company and the invited guests are a very good fit. I do like these young student dancers.

You mentioned the costumes. Somewhere in the description the director said how important the accurate reproduction of the Balanchine originals is. In the Divertimento No. 15, especially, I think that the costumes are lovely.

In regard to the compilation videos of the NYCB, they were two CDs released when George Balanchine was still there, I believe. I'll say again that someone who viewed a lot of these stage performances thought that the videos didn't really capture the aliveness of the company. In response to your question, I've been watching ballet for about twenty years, but I never saw the NYCB when George Balanchine was there.

Here is the video again. Simone Messmer appears in the first work. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnhdQuMn7UE&t=650s

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This is a nice and interesting 16 minute video put together by the Dance Theatre of Harlem on how the “Stravinsky’s Firebird" character is danced as explained by former dancers.  

"In this video, past Dance Theatre of Harlem “Firebirds” reflect on dancing the iconic role in what became a signature work for the company. Former Principal dancers Christina Johnson, Kellye Saunders, Tai Jimenez, Bethania Gomes and Paunika Jones explore the opening Firebird solo, deconstruct the role from their experiences and coach company artists...." The role was originated by Stephanie Dabney with Donald Williams.

These are mainly technical descriptions. A few thoughts that were mentioned were: 

Expressing an actual bird's eyes 
Bird's head movements, your own "movement of the head is a counterpoint to the rhythm of the steps"   
Flutter of the hands is on the descent, a releasing rather than a resistance, a looseness

Room for interpretation, make it interesting for yourself within the choreographed constraints

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOAsN7iz7wY

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6 hours ago, Buddy said:

These are mainly technical descriptions. A few thoughts that were mentioned were: 

Expressing an actual bird's eyes 
Bird's head movements, your own "movement of the head is a counterpoint to the rhythm of the steps"   
Flutter of the hands is on the descent, a releasing rather than a resistance, a looseness

Room for interpretation, make it interesting for yourself within the choreographed constraints

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOAsN7iz7wY

I always enjoy hearing about these sort of details.

I've yet to see anyone improve upon Nina Ananiashvili's interpretation of the Firebird role.

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3 hours ago, pherank said:

I always enjoy hearing about these sort of details.

I've yet to see anyone improve upon Nina Ananiashvili's interpretation of the Firebird role.

Thanks, Pherank. I've never seen Nina Ananiashvili perform this. I just looked at the video. I don't think that I've ever seen a better Firebird, either. It fits her perfectly.

Here she is with Andris Liepa. The famous duet is at the beginning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_WJnRF5o0g
(posted by Andris Liepa)

I do like Stephanie Dabney's take on this for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, especially in facial expression, as seen in the video posted earlier.  
 

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On 3/15/2021 at 7:09 PM, pherank said:

I always enjoy hearing about these sort of details.

I've yet to see anyone improve upon Nina Ananiashvili's interpretation of the Firebird role.

Pherank, if you like the detail video and you haven't seen it already, the first half hour of the Dance Theatre of Harlem's Firebird video, posted above, shows some of the original detail instructions along with other interesting material about its beginnings in documentary form.

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Czech National Ballet’s world premiere Puppet by Douglas Lee is available till March 24th.

 

Another work Dos Soles Solos by Alejandro Cerrudo is coming up on the 26th. Trailer. 

 

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