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 Post subject: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2000 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
With Boston Ballet in the news, I thought you may be interested in my review of their Arabian Nights. And yes, my letter to the editor in regards to this went unpublished! The ballet was given a lot of buildup in the press and by the NBoC. It did not live up to the buildup. <P>The pointe shoes came off in this stinging review of The Globe and Mail’s prima ballet reviewer. Deirdre Kelly goes down for the count overwhelmed by my ballet nomenclature and lightning quick wit! <P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> No ballet fan can resist her sweet muse. Poetic wax so good you can almost taste it! Her words literally jeté across the page. There are only two pleasures in life that hold a candelabra to Deirdre Kelly’s prose: ballet à la Kimberly Glasco and making love to music. Too bad “Tales of the Arabian Nights” could not possibly hope to live up to Kelly’s tutu kissing critique. Never mind (former ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada) Vanessa Harwood’s most hyperbolic review: “It’s Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, Napoli, the Nutcracker and Giselle all rolled into one.” Puh...lease... <P>I was afraid the combination of a sultry theme like Arabian Nights and all that eye candy on stage would prove to be too much for me. My imagination danced wild with visions of Kimberly Glasco, the siren of the harem, shimmying every ounce of her glistening celestial body into pure ballet decadence! Bring the kids. All my fears of too much ballet couldn’t be more unfounded. There were no come-hither looks, batting eyes, not even a blown kiss to arouse the usual collection of grizzled ballet fans in God’s Waiting Room. Twenty or so of the double letter subscribers didn’t even bother to come out. They must have stayed home to watch Ellen. <P>Warning: Don’t sit too close to the stage. Some high tech wizardry which looked like railroad tracks glued to the dance floor will block your view. My neck still aches from craning to see Kimberly’s tiptoes kiss the stage. The exploding smoke should have been on wheels and was most definitely the only thing smoking on stage.<P>The house program claims Toni and Bruce Marks revived the choreography of August Bournonville (1st performed in Copenhagen on March 28th, 1855). Well call 911 and tell them to bring the paddles. Not even the funny bone tickling antics of Jeremy Ransom (Abdallah); Victoria Bertram (the mother-in-law from hell) and Jacques Gorrissen as a Rip Taylor like guardian of the harem could revive this ballet from its 142 years of obscurity. The entire corps de ballet looked like they were just dancing through the motions. Some of Glasco’s vamps shattered the hypnotic spell of a frozen scene by noticeably moving. The harem dance was screaming for a pas de deux with steamy lighting. The choreography was a trip through the light simplistic. Cause of drowsiness: too much nice, not enough sugar and certainly not enough spice! I can only surmise the National Ballet of Canada doesn’t think we’re ready for a steamy ballet.<P>In Kelly’s review of Arabian Nights, beauty never got the chance to dance with reality. This Arabian Nights was tailor-made for a eunuch. Signed: “I eagerly await Deirdre Kelly tying me down with prose and dripping her hot poetic wax all over me!” <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 6:47 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks for this Michael. It's an interesting review, even if the show gets a thumbs down.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 4:59 pm 
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Thanks ever so much. By the way, I have had many letters to the editor published as well as columns. Don’t forget I’m the one juggling 3 jobs. When I accept my screenplay award for best writing at the Oscars, Stuart and company will be but distant memories in the windmills of my mind. <P>The review was obviously about the NBoC performing Boston Ballet’s Arabian Nights. Even members of the NBoC thought the ballet was mediocre at best. I doubt very much you will see the NBoC perform it again. So there. <BR><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: USA
Michael, I've always wanted to go to the oscars so I could wear a fabulous dress. Joan Rivers would then interview me and use me as an example of one of the best dressed, star or not. I assume, Michael, that when you win said award, that I should be your guest, because at that point you will be getting your life size sculpture of you-know-who. Of course, you will be impeccably dressed also.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 6:02 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Dear Grace: I didn’t think the review was that long at 466 words. They’re usually 1,000 words long in the newspaper. By Boston Ballet’s Arabian Nights I meant that they created this version. So next time I will implement your suggested format at the top so there is no confusion. I guess you don’t luv me anymore. If I ever have enough money to visit Australia would you go to the ballet with me? <P>By the way, I’m also rather long-winded in other areas of my life! I take forever to do everything! <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 6:30 pm 
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Dear Maggie: It’s a date! Would you dress up in tutu, tiara and pointe shoes for me? I hate to admit it but the only way I’m going to have Kimberly Glasco is if you create a sculpture of her for me. Of course, I would probably have to place it in a museum if ever I find another girlfriend. What woman would want to compete with a life size sculpture of Kimberly Glasco? What woman could compete with a ballerina siren like Kimberly Glasco? <BR>My last girlfriend tired of my depraved ballerina appetites. After much begging and pleading on my part, she would indulge my ballerina fantasies by dressing up in tutu, tiara and Kimberly Glasco’s pointe shoes! <P>I hope to win best Oscar for my ballet movie—If I ever finish it. I assure you it will be eons better than Center Stage. I winced when I saw that motorcycle ballet. Egad. <P><BR>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth<p>[This message has been edited by Michael Goldbarth (edited July 10, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2000 7:37 pm 
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Look what this has disintegrated into! Anybody who reads my posts is instantly corrupted! Where is the censorship board for Criticaldance when you need them? <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2000 6:20 am 
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Location: new york, ny usa
just as clarification, i have to guess that the nbofc did the ballet and titled it 'arabian nights' but in fact it is called 'abdallah'. it wasn't originally done by boston ballet but by ballet west when bruce marks and toni lander were still there, and then boston ballet did it. i seem to remember being told that in addition the royal danish ballet had also done it. when boston ballet did it it was entitled 'abdallah' and subtitled 'the gazelle of basra', after the heroine, who i seem to remember was named 'irma'. the ballet was set in iran or iraq, making it somewhat unusual, and basra was the old name for one of its cities. i saw it performed with fernando bujones, now retired as a dancer, and karen scalzitti, now with the company in indianapolis, and also with trinidad sevillano and patrick armand. it was done last in boston some time around 1990-91. <p>[This message has been edited by pmeja (edited July 11, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2000 2:30 pm 
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I checked back to the souvenir program for Arabian Nights. PMEJA is right. It was first performed by Ballet West, then by the Royal Danish Ballet and then by Boston Ballet. Next time I shall be more precise in my wording. When it was performed by the National Ballet of Canada the ballet was called “TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: The Story of Abdallah” in the souvenir program. As I said the hype did not in my view live up to the ballet. It was too PG even for the little kiddies who attended. I feel this could hurt a ballet company more than help it. I imagine many 1st timers would not return to the ballet after seeing this. I would have made the ballet strictly for adults. What really bothered me was having a piece of the set blocking my view. There are many seats at the Hummingbird Centre which restrict your view. The last thing you need is another thing blocking the view of the audience.<P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2000 3:54 pm 
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When did the NBoC perform Abdallah? (Not in the past couple of seasons, at any rate, have they?) Who was the AD at the time? As pmeja accurately mentioned, this work was resurrected by Toni Lander and Bruce Marks for Ballet West (ca. 1984/85). Mr. Marks took it with him when he subsequently became AD of Boston Ballet. (I have never been in the right place at the right time to see it, but would like to do so.)


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2000 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
What are you guys talking about? pmeja is always right.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2000 1:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 18, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: new york, ny usa
yikes, always right? didn't know my mom was on this board! Image no seriously folks i guess my tendency toward being a librarian has preceded me! <P>abdallah was okay by me, but i can see michael's point if it was being marketed as an entertainment for children, because it really isn't. i liked some of the variations and such, but it does run a little slow. calling it 'arabian nights' almost implies genies, monsters and magical things that it doesn't have. oh well the p.r. department may have been working overtime...


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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2000 3:36 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Tales of the Arabian Nights: The Story of Abdallah was performed by the NBoC back in May of /97. If ever they perform it again, I WILL eat my souvenir program! At the time The Dark Knight a.k.a. the Ballet Doughboy (James Kudelka) was the Artistic Director.<P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: Thumbs down to Tales of the Arabian Nights!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2000 7:54 am 
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I recall extensive coverage by Dancemagazine just prior to its premiere by Ballet West. The coverage focused on the reconstructive process, headed by Toni Lander.


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