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Quotable Quotes

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Here's one I love, from Alistair Macauleys's NY Times review of "Beauty in Motion."

Everyone onstage dances like hell, and when we get to hell, it will be full of ballets like this. Its loud rock score, by David Rozenblatt, sounds like a refrigerator copulating with a hot tin roof.

I won't mention the specific number. We've all seen something like this at one time or other, I suppose. :smilie_mondieu:

Thanks, dirac, for the LINK

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"She danced like a peroxide blonde with the odd root showing. Wait a minute.... She danced Shades like the whole thing was just a bunch of dull stuff between opportunities to show how high she can kick (I give her points for doing, or rather trying, doubles in both directions while holding the scarf, though.) And those arms. Dear God. And those jetes where she'd kick her front foot up so high it was like the prow of a Viking warship. Truly, truly ugly."

(Eric Taub on Somova's Nikiya, April 1 at New York's City Center).

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Thinking about the appealingly elegant, cheereful, high-speed, ultra-considerate world depicted onstage by Balanchine's Square Dance, currently being performed by Miami City Ballet, led me to this:

Balanchine and Goldner on "reality" in ballet.

Balanchine (speaking of the Nutcracker): "Actually, it's not a deam. It's the reality that Mother didn't believe. The story was written by Hoffmann against society. He said that society, the grown-ups, really have no imagination that they try to suppress the imagination of children ... They didn't understand that nonreality is the real thing."

Nancy Goldner's comment: "Many of his other ballets move into a dreamlike or imaginary world that becomes a Balanchinian reality. Serenade is the most spectacular example, but it's not an overstatement to say that all of his ballets begin where Nutcracker ends -- in an eternal dream. The difference is that in the other ballets the dancers don't need to dream to be in a dream. The curtain rises, usually with a blue cyclorama as decor, and presto!, you're there, in a timeless placeless place. The dancers don't need a plot device to get them there; they don't need to lie down on a bed and fall asleep or take opium (like the hero in La Bayadere) or search for swans (like the Prince in Swan Lake).

From: Nancy Goldner, Balanchine Variations, p. 55. (The Balanchine quote comes orignaly from Nancy Reynolds, Reportory in Review, p. 157.

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From an interview with the late Michael Bjerknes by Alexandra Tomalonis:

A.T-"But there’s so much pressure to do this. 'No tutus and toe shoes for this troupe! They’re going beyond the rigid confines of ballet' — you read this over and over and over.

M.B-I think that’s a lot of crap. I know with a lot of people that do that, it’s because they can’t."


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'Classicism,' he [Diaghilev] often said, 'is the university of the modern choreographer. The dancer and ballet-master of today must matriculate in it, just as Picasso must know his anatomy and Stravinsky his scales.'

My Life in Ballet by Léonide Massine. page 85

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"I liked this number [Reminiscence] best because I did not have to understand anything."

-- Samuel Chotzinoff, NY Post, reviewing the first first Manhattan performance of Balanchine's fledgling American Ballet in 1935.

Reminisence was a trifle, choeographed to what Balanchine called the"cute, nice, melodic" music of Benjamin Godard.

Chotzinoff did not like Serenade, on the same program, presumably because that ballet DID require that you understand something.

Source, Richard Buckle, George Balanchine: Ballet Master, p. 94.

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George Balanchine to Gelsey Kirkland:

"Dear, you're young. Young people don't have injuries. Go home and read fairy tales. Try little red wine. You need nothing but this place. You don't need anybody else; you don't go anywhere else. You have a beautiful theatre here. You come in the morning. When you don't work, you go into studio by yourself; you do releves. You just stay here all day; you go home, drink little red wine. That's all you need".

From Gelsey Kirkland's "Dancing on my grave"

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Oh, well...and here we go with the old "Think vs. Dance" issue.

"I think too much, far to much, to dance. For years i've been told this by friends, lovers, teachers and messiahs. Maybe I should have listened and stopped thinking. But must thinking be the death of my career?"

Toni Bentley: "Winter Season: A Dancer's Journal"

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Oh, well...and here we go with the old "Think vs. Dance" issue.

Oh vell, Cristian, while I can hardly thank you in the most sincere way for that one, I may, however, repay you with one of her productions from 2005, in the New York Review of Books:

In the full-page ad, her beautiful, mournful gaze, twenty years after losing her maestro, peers like a blond widow out of a black web. She, the last muse of the Man Who Knew Time, is posed with her arm across her neck like a noose.

Unlike the Joan Acocella review of Bentley's book, you don't even have to pay for this one. I can't imagine why...on the other hand, I may be :) because, even though quotable, I'm not sure if for the best reasons. The one you placed is along the same lines, very 'The Days of Our Lives.'

Edited to add: Sorry I forgot, she was talking about Darci. It's possible one might not have known.

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..."when challenged directly once with the question "What keeps you in ballet?" he [John Cranko] answered.

'Well, if it's just steps, it's obviously not worth devoting one's life to. ...

There's a limit to the amount of jumping around people can do. You can lift a girl only so high; she can spin around on her foot only so many times. One has to convert this extremely physical image -- a physical way of expressing oneself -- into a spiritual way of expressing oneself.'"

Theatre in My Blood: A Biography of John Cranko
by John Percival. Page 139

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I do go to every performance. [...] When you do this, of course, you must realize that you're seeing something entirely different from everybody else. From someone who sees Swan Lake once a year. You become intimate with the work. With the way the dancers are performing. You begin noticing people in the corps. The choreography -- I can still be brought up short by a ballet I've seen over a hundred times. I'll come out and say, "Was that little such and such always there in the third movement?" and they'll say, "Well, yes, it was," and I say, "Oh, I never noticed it before." Of course, your mind wanders a good deal.

-- Edward Gorey, interviewed in Dance Magzine by Tobi Tobias, January 1974. Included in Asscending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey. (ed., Karen Wilkin, Harvest Book, 2001), p. 17.

Sounds wonderful :) ... though Gorey, whom many of us on Ballet Talk saw regularly in the City Center and NY State Theater lobbies, probably overdid it ... just a tiny bit.

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I am going to ad two quotes.

The first was from Marcel Marceau. He was describing a ronde jambe to a class of mimes and I was sitting in the audience. He said, "Think of it this way, someone has just dropped their wallet and you don't want them to see you push it behind you with your foot."

The second quote was from Linda Kintz (Prima Ballerina for Washington D.C.'S Late, lamented National Ballet). She and I were in a Pas De Deux class...actually, she and I were assisting the late Stanley Herbertt (from the old Ballet Theatre) as he gave the class. One teenage girl, with designs to go to New York to study, raised her hand and asked Linda, "Is it true that there is a lot of crime in New York and what do you do when you hear a gun shot on stage?" Linda didn't miss a beat and replied, "When in doubt, bourré out!" and she followed this up by a quick bourré out into the hall. 25 years later, I am still telling that story to dancers.

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