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 Post subject: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2002 8:34 am 
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A topic that has been on the minds of many, this is what today's NY Times turned up:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> <B>Where Is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?</B><BR>By JENNIFER HOMANS<P>Now the unthinkable has happened: at the City Ballet, Balanchine ballets have become boring, pompous and passé. Since Balanchine's death, what was once so vital has become dull and "established: a lifeless orthodoxy reigns. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/26/arts/dance/26HOMA.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2002 8:42 am 
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In the Spring season, NYCB thread this topic had begun to be explored. To see the commentary
Click Here

(Edited to fix link)

<small>[ 08-09-2002, 01:36: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2002 9:39 am 
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I just love it when people write about dance in a way that really makes sense to me as a dancer, i.e.: "When Suzanne Farrell, one of Balanchine's greatest muses, threw herself into a phrase and wound her way to its end as if it were her kingdom to command, she made the music and dance live. Why? Because we watched her take chances and make choices in rigorously restricted frames of time. To pirouette now or a split second later? To accent a movement or pass through it? Each decision had consequences for the next step, for the other dancers onstage, for the shape of the role. Free will, choice, responsibility, relationship to others: the drama was big, bold and real."<P>And can someone please remind me how to make the cute quote thing? Thaaaanksss


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2002 11:20 am 
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Hey Priscilla, I am in complete agreement with you! I love that particular section of the article too! Image The cute quote thing is: putting the word quote within brackets [quote] and then doing the same thing w' /quote (within brackets) for the ending.<P>Regarding the article: I think the author brings up some good points. Homan's states that audience's may look elsewhere (outside NYCB) for lively Balanchine representations. Having enthusiastically watched the Suzanne Farrell company develop over the past few years, I happen to agree. I should note for the record that I've been a frequent audience member at both City Ballet & Farrell's ballet. Farrell's company brings an elegant, crisp freshness to Balanchine's choreography that I find City Ballet lacking these days. <P>Homan also mentioned the diverse community which Balanchine fostered (including Russians, Muriel Stuart [English] and Americans); today, Suzanne Farrell also attempts to create a diverse artistic community. Although different in nature (obviously the times they have-a-changed), Farrell's company more closely represents the diversity of Balanchine's original group of dancers. Russian dancers (mostly Kirov dancers) frequently, if not always, guest with S. Farrell's company. Some Russians are now full time or more permanent members of the company. In addition to Russian trained dancers, Farrell auditions, chooses from a pool of dancers that do not come striclty from SAB. This freedom allows for a fresh and exciting approach to the work yet does not retract from the authentic quality, not to mention deep knowledge, that Farrell brings to coaching the company.<P>In reagard to City Ballet, it is not the new choreography being showcased which distresses me. Far from it!!! I am happy to offer my personal congratulations in support of a project such as the diamond project. Creating an audience for new choreography is a great thing, something that Balanchine surely would've supported (given the very nature of his own work). However, sidelining the quality of Balanchine's work is the issue. I do not support the idea of pouring money into something like the Diamond project while Balanchine's choreography is wasting away without proper coaching or rehearsal time. I think there is room for both; new choreographic exploration and the proper preservation of Balanchine's legacy. It is my hope that in the future City Ballet will create a more balanced approach....meanwhile, for my Balanchine fill, I'll continue to look towards outside sources with their respected, time honored commitment to preserving such a huge legacy.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2002 11:48 pm 
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A hard-hitting article by Robert Gottlieb on NYCB and the care (or lack of care) of the Balanchine tradition there:

City Ballet, Balanchine And a Legacy Imperiled
by Robert Gottlieb in The New York Observer

What’s wrong? Why do Balanchine’s ballets grow fainter by the season? Why aren’t City Ballet’s dancers more expressive? Is this an American failing? With the exception of Ethan Stiefel, those terrific A.B.T. boys are all either Latino or Russian, and Mr. Stiefel himself isn’t particularly expressive, he’s just phenomenal. Or is the failure specific to City Ballet? The Balanchine stagings at the annual School of American Ballet workshops still look like Balanchine—they’re stamped by clarity, propulsion, expression through relation to the music, not pasted on as punctuation. But these are not the qualities the company seems to encourage—or maybe it doesn’t know how to.

Apart from the daily papers, almost every serious critic is now calling this spade a spade. Arlene Croce, in the late 80’s, was the first to recognize the impending collapse; since then you’ve been reading about it in The New Yorker (Joan Acocella), New York Magazine (Tobi Tobias), The Wall Street Journal (Robert Greskovic), etc. It was the cause of my own departure from the City Ballet board more than a dozen years ago when I was at The New Yorker—as Peter Martins said to me then, "You’re not only printing Arlene Croce’s pieces, you agree with them." And he was right.

link is now broken

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 21, 2002).]

<small>[ 11-16-2002, 02:07: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2002 11:50 pm 
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I've copied two posts on the same theme from our NYCB Diamond project topic.

**************************************

BalletMan
Member posted May 05, 2002 23:47

(Edited to fix link)

<small>[ 08-09-2002, 01:40: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2002 6:04 pm 
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The points raised by Mr. Gottlieb are troubling, not new and undeniable. And he knows from whence he speaks...he edited both Paul Taylor's and Allegra Kent's autobigraphies, and has obviously been around dance for a long time. Whether the board at NYCB sits up and takes notice about these isssues remains to be seen. In the meanwhile, the Balanchine legacy remains in limbo, in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 1:23 am 
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Just to clarify Trina, do you mean the Balanchine legacy at NYCB in particular or in general? It has always been my impression that the Balanchine Trust, which doesn't cover performanes at NYCB, is probably as well organised and successful as any similar arrangement worldwide.


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 8:03 am 
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Sorry Stuart, for my lack of clarity. I am referring in these posts to New York City Ballet only, not other companies. In my mind, the NYCB represents the "gold standard" of the Balanchine legacy, by which all other companies should be judged. Though of course they are a separate entity from the Balanchine Trust. From everything I have seen and read, Mr. B put his entire heart and soul into the company during his tenure there. One need only read his biography, or talk to any of his dancers of that era, to see that. NYCB company pre-dates the Trust; the Trust was established late in his life as a legal and artistic mechanism of preservation. But the "record" or reconstruction of a work is predicated upon the muscles and minds of the CURRENT dancers and of course, the integrity and vision of the current artistic director and Board. With the additional ingredient of the original dancers, where available, to coach and pass on their irreplaceable contrbition. This ingredient seems to be omitted as of late. I feel that the current situation has been at least partially precitipitated by a schism betweent the Trust and the Company, among other things. The situation seems quite complicated, but people need to rise to the occasion. As a footnote, Mr. B, in some interviews, feigned disinterest in his legacy, or how dancers would dance his work in the future. But surely, he would not have established the Trust if he really felt his way.<P><p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited July 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 12:24 pm 
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I think one must take a broader view than NYCB as the Gold Standard. NYCB is an organization of people, and people come and go. Mr. B put his heart and soul into the collection of people who were called NYCB during his lifetime. Today's NYCB is a different collection of people; I'm don't know how much or little overlap there is.<P>In the meantime, many of the dancers Mr. B worked with have done significant things for dance outside of NYCB. Villela and Farrell come to mind. Why should they be discounted just because they chose to continue their work outside of the institutional boundaries of NYCB? These two people should know what Balanchine is all about, if anyone does!<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 1:28 pm 
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Citibob, Farrell did not choose to continue her work elsewhere, she was summarily fired form NYCB. And you exactly made my point, yes, their expertise and knowledge should be included in NYCB. And if it develops that NYCB is not the gold standard, so be it. But the critics, writers and many fans seem to want it and expect it to be. But only time will tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 2:55 pm 
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Well, ok - here's a dumb question - perhaps I missed it somewhere...but...<P>Has anyone in an interview ever asked the 'powers that be' at NYCB -artistic director - board - why the dancers upon whom these ballets were created are not being used to pass on the heritage?


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 3:29 pm 
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I know nothing more than what's on this thread. But BalletMan seemed to imply that this was not done because Balanchine didn't do it that way. On the other hand, in my opinion, Balanchine was Balanchine so he ultimately knew how it should look, what the concept was, etc; he didn't necessarily need his old dancers around to tell him what he was thinking.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by citibob (edited July 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 3:35 pm 
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I'm not sure Basheva, if the Board has any say in that area. I believe, at least generally, that the artistic director makes those decisions. The Board is typically left to more financial, fundrasing and administrative stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 4:28 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Has anyone in an interview ever asked the 'powers that be' at NYCB -artistic director - board - why the dancers upon whom these ballets were created are not being used to pass on the heritage?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Not unless you want to offend the "powers that be" and upset the political balance.


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