Martha Graham was oh so right! Movement never lies.<P>The National Ballet of Canada moves more truthfully than it speaks. I wish I could take credit for those words of wisdom but they belong to the late Antony Tudor—in the context of man of course. Below is a spoonful of truth for the NBoC. Open wide! Of course, that’s much easier written than done. You’d have better luck feeding a pill to a member of the feline race! Below is a passage from arbitrator Christopher Albertyn’s interim award to Kimberly Glasco lifted verbatim courtesy of <A HREF="http://www.kim-glasco.com." TARGET=_blank>www.kim-glasco.com.</A> <P>“When Ms. Glasco received notice of the non-renewal of her contract and her dispute was made public, Ballet spokespersons took the position that Ms. Glasco never raised financial concerns or the Swan Lake production with the board. For example, Ms. Wilder, the Ballet’s Executive Director, interviewed on January 5, 1999 on a radio program, ‘This Morning,’ broadcast by public radio throughout Canada by the CBC, said the following: ‘Ms. Glasco never did speak up at a board meeting, ever... The minutes will show it. Her claims are absolutely incorrect. In fact, they are baffling, quite honestly. She not only had never spoken up about our new production of Swan Lake, she never spoke up about fiscal responsibility or any such topic.’<P>The same position was advanced by the Ballet in an article in which Ms. Wilder was quoted in the Toronto Star, on January 7, 1999, and, on January 11, 1999, on the television program, ‘The National’, which is broadcast throughout Canada by the CBC. (This can be viewed in its entirety at <A HREF="http://www.infoculture.cbc.ca." TARGET=_blank>www.infoculture.cbc.ca.</A> Click on ‘Dance,’ ‘James Kudelka renews contract’ and then scroll down to ‘Brawl at the Ballet’ and click on it. During the interview Wilder said: ‘She (Glasco) never did speak out at a board meeting.’)<P>The position adopted by the Ballet was erroneous, and it appears that the Ballet has not publicly acknowledged the error. From a reading of the minutes it is clear that Ms. Glasco did raise these matters at two board meetings, as described.”<P>In a conversation with me (the author of the below ‘Dance Ballerina Dance,’) Allen Marple, former Chairman of the ballet’s Board of Directors, had the following to say about Glasco’s claims: “...she said she was fired because she spoke out at board meetings: well she did not! I can tell you precisely what she said in October which was: ‘Weren’t our reviews in New York marvelous!’ ...And then in December she said: ‘Didn’t we do La Bayadère beautifully!’ Which is, of course, patting herself on the back! She did do a good job. There’s no question about that.” <P>The above report from arbitrator Christopher Albertyn clearly confirms that Kim Glasco did indeed speak out at board meetings contrary to the above BS from the NBoC. This does not look good on the ballet. Their dishonesty strongly suggests Kudelka fired Glasco NOT for artistic reasons but because she spoke out at board meetings and didn’t support him when he ran for artistic director in 1995. For them to appeal a ruling that Glasco be temporarily reinstated while the arbitrator decides on the case is very cruel. This has dragged on far too long. Apparently the NBoC has bottomless pockets when it comes to destroying a living work of art. They certainly don’t pay to keep their talented dancers in Canada. If they did, Jaimie Tapper and Johan Persson would still be at the NBoC rather than the Royal Ballet. <P>The Ballet knows they are wrong. Kimberly Glasco is not artistically incompatible. James Kudelka is the only one at the Ballet who is artistically incompatible. The doughboy of the Ballet world is on an out of control ego trip paid for by the National Ballet of Canada, taxpayers and every ballet-goer who gives to the Ballet. If you disagree, ask yourself why Kudelka is so obsessed with redoing Petipa’s classics? Why would he erase the “after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov” from the souvenir program for his version of Swan Lake? Why would he fire his best classical dancer and silent actress? A dancer who according to the NBoC’s 98/99 souvenir yearbook is “recognized as one of the world’s finest interpreters of Petipa.” Kudelka hasn’t given a reasonable explanation, so I’ll take a stab at writing the truth. <P>Glasco believes in Petipa. Kudelka is the anti-Petipa. A duet hopelessly doomed from the very beginning. Marius Petipa, master chef of the Imperial Ballet (1818-1910), excelled in stirring sophistication into classical ballet. He created choreography to serve up the ballerina. Kim Glasco would have been the main dish of his ballet. James Kudelka, the urban peasant of the National Ballet of Canada (1956-), excels in stirring modern movement into classical ballet. He creates choreography to serve up his own choreography. To him, Kimberly Glasco is nothing more than a seasoning for his ballet. To one, the ballerina whirls the ballet; to the other, choreography stirs the ballet. How can it be that Glasco sticks her toes into the dough of Kudelka’s choreography but makes Petipa’s ballet rise?<P>Kudelka’s signature ballets—The Four Seasons and Terra Firma—just happen to be as anti-Petipa as you can possibly get. Kudelka’s dancers dress down: hip, with-it and cool. They sweat! Petipa’s ballerinas dressed up: all a glitter, the rage and très chic. They would never do anything as distasteful as sweat. Petipa’s ballerinas glowed with dew. One was a tutuhorse; the other a smart shopper. Both dressed appropriately for the circles they danced in. Petipa’s ballerinas danced with the upper crust; Kudelka’s dancers danced with common folk. The worlds they danced in could not be more different: one opulent, the other down-to-earth.<P>Dance maker Petipa loved mime. Dance maker Kudelka let his dance do the talking. One prefers four act ballets; for the other, one is enough. Petipa froze time to spice up his dance. He loved to take a photograph of his choreography for the audience. Kudelka keeps his bodies in perpetual motion. For him all those moving bodies thickens his choreography for the audience. One made ballets that would pause for applause. The other made ballets that would wait for their applause. That Petipa, he loved the pas de deux while Kudelka loved the pas de beaucoup. These choreographers could not be more different: one a show-off, the other beauty unadorned.<P>One loved harmony. The other preferred a little disharmony. Petipa’s ballerinas hardly ever intertwined full of passion. Kudeka’s dancers almost always intertwine full of passion. Petipa drew precise classical lines with dynamic pointe work. Kudelka paints modern circles with softer pointe work. For Petipa, balance should endure. For Kudelka, balance is fleeting. They even had different ways of creating. Petipa planned everything in detail at home before going into rehearsal. Kudelka prepares too but prefers to create more so in the studio with the dancer as his inspiration. These choreographers were the flip side of one another. One prefers to have a man dance through The Four Seasons of life. The other would have made a woman for all seasons.<P>Kudelka wants to eliminate the traditional role of the ballerina as the focus of ballet. To him, the silhouette of Kim Glasco clouds his choreography. For Petipa, the ballerina was the focus of ballet. To him, the heart beat of ballet was the ballerina. For Petipa, man was born to support woman. To Kudelka, man, woman, doesn’t matter everybody supports everybody.<P>There is one very important distinction to be made between their creations. Kudelka makes athletic dancers. Petipa made elegant ballerinas. Kudelka’s dancers have to move to many languages. From MacMillan’s Manon to Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew to Kudelka’s (after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov) Swan Lake to...well you get the idea. The National Ballet of Canada presents ballets from a veritable smorgasbord of choreographers. It appears Kudelka believes Glasco is incapable of wrapping her toes around a wide variety of choreography. I agree to a pointe but not to the extent of Kudelka. No dancer will excel in every kind of ballet. This past season, the National presented four ballets Glasco absolutely shines in: Cinderella, Onegin, Les Sylphides and Giselle. And Glasco did dance Kudelka’s Nutcracker well enough to earn rave reviews from the critics. According to the write-up in the NBoC’s 98/99 yearbook, Glasco “gives outstanding performances in Tetley’s La Ronde and James Kudelka’s Désir and Cruel World.” If that is true, how can Kudelka call Glasco artistically incompatible? <P>In Kudelka’s mind, Glasco dances not for him but for Petipa. In Kudelka’s mind, Glasco stomps all over his choreography with Petipa’s ballet method. From my view of the stage, it appears Kudelka doesn’t believe he can teach an old ballerina new tricks. I can only surmise he doesn’t care for any dancers who can’t dance the Kudelka way to his liking. Why else would he callously refer to Glasco as “dead wood?” <P>Of course, Mr. K. has proven he can go toe to toe with Petipa. I just don’t believe you can include the Nutcracker and Swan Lake as original Kudelka creations. In the case of the Nutcracker he improved upon it by doing away with Drosselmeyer, adding his bears along with a dancing horse. Twenty years or so from now when ballet historians evaluate his career The Four Seasons and Terra Firma will be identified as the Kudelka style. If he can’t bring out what he wants from Glasco I think he should share some of the blame. There certainly appeared to be enough other ballets to have kept Glasco’s feet busy during the course of this past season. <P>Case en pointe: Cinderella. Three ballerinas all made their debuts as Cindertail: Chan Hon Goh, a pregnant Jennifer Fournier and Xiao Nan Yu. None of whom came close to Kimberly Glasco’s portrayal of Cinderella in 1995. The rather plump Fournier was replaced by stand-in Stacey Shiori Minagawa for the evening performance of May 20th. So basically Kudelka thinks a pregnant dancer and two rookies are better than Kimberly Glasco. Doesn’t make sense, does it? It’s still called the National Ballet of Canada but in reality it is the National Ballet of Kudelka—which is a shame. All this talk of artistically incompatibility is 100% artistic BS. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Michael Goldbarth (edited June 03, 2000).]
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.