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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2002 10:09 pm 
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Another example of Martins hardline attachment the the old policies of City Ballet is that he is so concerned in maintaning the rule that NYCB dancers must under no circumstances go to outside coaches for help (generally they go for help with aspects of technique not roles), when they already have so many Ballet Masters at City ballet. That he has not put proper thought into whether or not the Ballet Masters, though many in number and exceptional, are adaquate enough to meet the needs of preserving the rich legacy that City Ballet holds. This is perhaps the reason why he does not see the necessity for having outside ballerinas come in to coach works. As any person who is not currently on payroll at City Ballet is seen as an outsider whether or not they are a famous Balanchine Ballerina is just policy not personal. Balanchine didn't have his former ballerina's come in and coach the younger dancers when he was alive so why now? This is the train of thought in the corporate structure of City Ballet whether us outsiders understand it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2002 11:30 pm 
Thanks for your valuable insights, BalletMan. I still remember that old Vanity Fair article on NYCB which you mentioned.<p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited May 06, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2002 4:48 am 
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It seems to me that Martins' policy of doing everything in his power to maintain the heritage of Balanchine repertory and not allowing outside sources for that reason to coach, it at cross-purposes.<P>If Ballerina "Mary Jones" was the one upon whom the original work was cast, and she is the one who performed it most under the direct supervision of Balanchine, then even if she is not on the payroll of NYCB, she should be logically the one asked to coach it and pass it on to the next generation.<P>Preserving policy is a good idea as long as it conforms with the realistic attainment of the goals as they exist today. <P>Just my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2002 6:15 am 
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<B>Revisiting Showcase Productions</B><BR>Anna Kisselgoff in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The Diamond Project, conceived by Peter Martins as a showcase for new classical choreography, was a blockbuster event when the New York City Ballet started it in 1992. The New York State Theater resembled a pressure cooker as choreographers, known and unknown, from near and far, presented 11 premieres in five days.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/06/arts/dance/06REUN.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2002 9:25 pm 
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Basheva, <BR>You may have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I meant that Martins has tried to preserve the corporate policies of NYCB as those policies stood when Balanchine passed away, not that he has tried to maintain the heritage of the Balanchine repertory. That is not his purpose, but the purpose of the Balanchine Trust, and those Balanchine Ballerina's you mentioned, are all Ballet Masters for the Trust. Martins' goal is to preserve the New York City Ballet as a corporate entity and therefore he follows a set formula of management that was set during the tenure of Balanchine as Ballet Master and Chief. He follows that formula with a fierce determination, through dogedly trying to produce new repertory by in-house and specially invited choreographers in such festivals as the American Music Festival and the following Diamond Projects exactly as Balanchine had done in the previous festivals. This is the formula Martins follows, thus there is no great mystery as to the way he directs the company. Few people understand that it is not the reponisibility of NYCB to preserve the Balanchine legacy all they own are the costumes and sets, it is the Trust that owns the ballets, and if there was a ballet company headed by the Trust, that had dancers trained in the Balanchine Style, and that utilized the entire staff of ballet Masters at the Trust, that company would most certainly perform far superior Balanchine than City Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 4:17 am 
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Then the next question, BalletMan, is - do you think that it is a good idea, good for the future of the Company, to follow so strictly the policies of Balanchine? Times change, circumstances change. Balanchine was open to change.<P>And a further question, if I may.....<P>Yes, I do understand that the Balanchine ballets are under the Trust, not the company. But suppose the Company wished to mount a particular Balanchine Ballet, say Don Q, and contacted and received permission from the Trust to do so. <P>There are many roles involved in that ballet and while the Ballet Master (from the Trust) appropriate to that ballet is in charge of mounting the ballet, there might very well be other dancers from the original cast, who are not part of the Trust, but have a particular knowledge of a particular role......would that/those dancers be consulted?


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 4:54 am 
BalletMan, but don't you think that the Balanchine repertory at City Ballet has also suffered due to a lack of rehearsal time, the majority of which seems to go to the endless new ballets that are being premiered each season? And most of these new ballets don't seem to last long in the company's repertory anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 5:46 am 
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BalletMan,<BR>Thank you for the insights into the post Balanchine era since there is so little documentation and a lot of controversy. You wrote, “and if there was a ballet company headed by the Trust, that had dancers trained in the Balanchine Style, and that utilized the entire staff of ballet Masters at the Trust, that company would most certainly perform far superior Balanchine than City Ballet.” It seems to me that “ trained in the Balanchine style” is the heart of the question. <BR>SAB gave the preparation but it was in the company class, thought by Balanchine, that the Balanchine Style was developed. How has the company class changed? Does Peter lead it and if so did you note the shift in emphasis from the women toward the male dancer?<BR>TIA.<P>

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 12:01 am 
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First of all, Don Q is exclusively owned by Suzanne Farrell and only she has the sole right to allow the work to be performed or stage the work. In fact, during the Balanchine Celebration when she was on staff at NYCB as Ballet Mistress, Peter asked her to stage it for the festival and she refused citing that Balanchine was never fully satisfied with the work and continued to tinker with it until he passed on. Her decision, may have led to her being let go shortly thereafter, because in this particular instance she had more power over the artistic policies of the company than the director and her refusal caused a conflict of interest. Additionally, it is the policy of the company to try to discourage dancers, (by not developing their talent or unoffically declaring them to have reached the max of their potiential) after a period of 4 years with NYCB,if they have not yet reached the level of a promotable Soloist. There is a economic reason behind this policy, as in your 4th year with the company you are officially senior corps and have maxed out union scale, and are paid just under the amount of a soloist. But here is the catch, because of so many lastminute rehearsals involving corps dancers,requiring the company to pay overtime,Senior corps dancers end up getting paid more than Soloists (up to an additional paycheck in a single week). The other result of this hectic overtime schedule is chronic injury and burn-out, so after 4 years it is necessary physically and emotionally to be promoted, but some dancers are late bloomers such as Merrill Ashley, who took 10 years in the corps to be developed and promoted. These dancers have been overlooked and shelved at City Ballet in recent years. Also, since 1989 there have been mass retirements, lay offs, and resignations of older dancers,especially the Balanchine Ballerinas and Senior Corps members, that have not been retained on the artistic staff. This has left the 17 or 18 year olds to learn roles without ever having seen them performed or coached by someone who danced the role before. When I entered the company every major role was still being performed by someone who had danced for Balanchine so it wasn't necessary to have it rehearsed or taught to us very much by a Ballet Master, because we could just watch it performed by someone who knew it and danced it well. My generation is now all gone so the young ones don't even have us to watch. In respose to the question about proper rehearsal times for a Balanchine Ballet. If you have already danced the role before and the ballet has been staged properly, perhaps only a full run-through is what you need, if a ballet has never been done before you need exactly ONE WEEK in order to stage and rehearse the work with at least one full run at the end, no more, no less. Otherwise the ballet will be overreahersed, (just as bad as under) or underreahersed. The amount of time you need to choreograph a premiere is at least a month with rehearsals daily and a full tech, dress etc... Add up the amount of Balanchine works, revivals, and Jerry's works (which I have already explained need more rehearsing) as well as the amount of premieres that City Ballet does in a single season, with only a 6 week rehearsal period and you see why there isn't enough time. The rehearsal time left after the premieres are alloted their blocks is nill, therefore no time to teach new dancers principal or soloist roles, or rehearse the corps until the last minute. This results in the bulk of the current Ballet Masters having little to do but twidle their thumbs, there certainly isn't enough time or money to bring in outside Ballet Masters, when the current ones don't even have enough time to do anything themselves.<BR>Ideally, City Ballet needs to have enough money to go back to its circa 1983 roster of 73 corps members and a new 52 week year round schedule with 20 Ballet Masters to put out the quality of work it did in 1983. To move on to the issue of Balanchine Style teaching, there are 4 teachers specifically chosen and trained by Balanchine in the 1960's when he had fully realized his style. These are Carol Sumner, Richard Rapp, Gloria Govrin, and Suki Schorer. Only one is currently on staff at SAB. Furthermore, Merrill Ashley, an increadibly capable and excellent teacher is a "Teaching Assistant" at City Ballet, but very, very rarely teaches (like once a year, when I left) company class. Also, Peter is an excellent teacher, especially one on one, but teaches about the same amount. Last of all, Peter originally strenghtened the role of the male dancer at City Ballet due to the exceptional male graduating classes coming out of Stanley's Special Men's Class during the 1980's. While, at the same time the number of exceptional females coming out of SAB at the time was very few. At the time many of the exceptional Balanchine Ballerina's were still dancing and there was not really a special woman's class developing at the time. Maybe they never developed due to the lack of Ballanchine's chosen teachers (see above) and or Ballanchine Ballerina's on staff then or since. But, additionally only one male dancer from Special Men's class in the 80's really reached his potential at City Ballet, Peter Boal. All others have been developed or come from the outside. Many at City Ballet lament that no true male Principal has developed at City Ballet who didn't work with Balanchine, Peter Boal was in Balanchine's school and worked with him as a child, and Damian was, truely developed by John Clifford at LAB, and Ethan never reached his full potential there either. Every other main Principal has been foreign. While, Wendy Whelen, Jenny Ringer, amd Maria Kowrowski are particularly elegant, refined and daring principals due to there individuality, and Jenny Somogyi has profited well from her early training with Madame Youskavich. Although Miranda Weese and Margret Tracy have suffered the most from not having enough Balanchine roles and Balanchine Ballerinas to learn from. Also, I don't see much in Janie Taylor. She seems to have a "I know I'm good look on her face" all the time and almost never smiles, but has had the opportunity to do numerous Balanchine roles, which always develop, just by dancing them, an exceptional dancer. Though she especially needs to be coached by a true Ballanchine Ballerina if only to humble her and bring her back down to earth.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 12:05 am 
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P.S. Inflation since 1983 requires City Ballet to have a 100 million dollar budget to do all of this. In this economic climate, where is that type of money going to come from?


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 12:18 am 
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Furthermore, Kirov has the amount of rehearsal weeks but not the monetary resources or Balanchine Style to truley dance a large repertory of Balanchine works well. Only POB has the money, reasources, talent, style, and technique to perform ANY work in the international repertory well. It was Jerry who told us right after working with them, "You know your not the best in the world any more.".<P>[This message has been edited by BalletMan (edited May 09, 2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by BalletMan (edited May 09, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 4:02 pm 
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Wow, BalletMan, I read your posts and reread them again. There is a lot to consider, isn't there? Thank you for your insights -- I have learned a lot.<P>It is also interesting to note that Gloria Govrin now runs the SFB school -- I would love to have somone comment on the results of her direction there.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 6:13 pm 
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Ballet Man, your posts are very informative!! Thanks for contributing. I went in several times to observe Stanely Williams' men's class during the late 70's, early 80's. I went to school next door at Juilliard. His classes were quite different and innovative. Would you call them a typical Bournonville class? I'm thinking not. I saw men jump and turn as never before in that class; Misha among them. I always felt like he (Williams) had some "secret" as a ballet teacher. Anyway...regarding the mens' special classes of the 80's. Where did all those well trained men go? You said that only one, Peter Boal, has remained from that era. Why did they leave? Did they leave or peter out when the "Balanchine era" was over upon his death in, I think l983? As far as the bureaucratic structure of NYCB, do you think those were Balanchine's wishes (for it to stay the same as far as organizationally), or was it Peter or the Board's choice to keep it that way?<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited May 09, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 8:51 pm 
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The Special Men's Classes that I am speaking of were the graduating classes of between 1980-1989. Most of whom at least went to an SAB summer session when Balanchine was alive. The particular special men I am talking about are Gen Horiuchi-retired NYCB, Peter Boal-NYCB, Cornell Crabtree-freelancing/retired NYCB, Runshing Ying-teaches Stanley Williams style classes in China/retired NYCB, Jeffery Edwards-teaches at Brown U/retired NYCB, Carlo Merlo-MIA/retired NYCB, Michael Byars-NYC Lawyer/retired NYCB, Edwin Mota-MIA, Steve Weesmore-retired ABT, Lauren Schmalle-retired ABT, Guichi Horiuchi-Gen's Brother-MIA...I was also in this group, I left NYCB but I am not retired. Two other Special Men's students remain from that era, they are Jock Soto and Nilas Martins, but they were chosen as Principals for reasons other than the exceptional technical level taught in Special Men's. Jock was chosen by Balanchine at a very young age, because of his potential as a partner (which he fullfilled), and Nilas was really trained in Denmark and came to the school at a later age. Stanley was a Bournonville teacher, but modified and to the point. He wanted more precision, just like Balanchine wanted more precision. The Vanity Fair article I mentioned earlier, would shed some more light on what the Board wanted before 1989, which was to continue the upkeep of the Balanchine Repertory as prority. Also in a 1987 interview in Dance Magazine Peter said "The world thinks that New York City Ballet has a particular policy. Well, I can tell you there never has been a policy of any shape or sort or size at City Ballet. It simply doesn't exist. We go with what's needed at the time.". Perhaps in the process of not implementing a policy, things just ended up remaining the same.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 9:05 pm 
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I went to SFBS to watch a class taught by Gloria there. Here is my opinion, she is the best thing to happen to that school, she keeps the classes small, intimate, to the proper technical level per the students age, and demands more from those kids than they have ever been asked before. But, I do not believe she will last at the school. The SF media is not too happy about her directorship and most likely the Board will request her dismissal. The ideal school would have all 4 of those special teachers on staff, and a board and media educated in the legacy to which they were taught.


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