Timeless Pieces of Art.

Posted by on 09.12.2011

The Mona Lisa sits in the Louvre in Paris and attracts over 6 million visitors a year.  The famously mysterious painting was created by Leonardo di Vinci circa 1503–1519.  The Mona Lisa, along with the 35,000 other works of art housed within the Louvre’s walls, are undeniably timeless. But would you limit the “timeless pieces of art” category to only paintings and sculptures?  What about ballets?  Full-length classical ballets are still appreciated in the 21st century though they are obviously dated.  Yet other choreography seems to be able to stand the test of time more effectively.  Specifically, what is it about Balanchine ballets that allow...

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Questions with Bart IV

Posted by on 08.10.2011

Questions with Bart returns for another round! These questions were sent to me by a great lover of ballet who often comes to Miami City Ballet performances. He has a wonderful appreciation for what we do, and has a great understanding of the ballets we perform. Here is his fourth question: The issue of speed: essential to Balanchine, but not everyone’s natural gift. How do you work on it? Does it ever come naturally? This is a subset of the issue of adagio-v-allegro. Most dancers I know are more comfortable with, and capable of greater artistry in one or the other. How does one compensate?   This question comes at a perfect time: after our successful...

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Publicizing Ballet.

Posted by on 04.15.2011

As I was reading Suzanne Farrell’s book, “Holding On to The Air”, an interesting passage caught my attention.  Ms. Farrell talks about the publicity that a new Balanchine ballet would generate.  She says that Balanchine did not like to give the press backstage information, as he believed that it ruined the magic of the stage; the details of the dancer’s lives should not be laid out for the public to see.  He wanted the audience to see the dancers as elusive people they could only know through dance. Publicity and press has changed a great deal since Balanchine’s time.  Now we have the internet, social media, and blogs where we can...

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Encompassing the Role of Sleepwalker.

Posted by on 01.20.2011

A couple weeks ago I received a question on my Tumblr about the challenges faced by the ballerinas who dance the Sleepwalker in George Balanchine’s La Sonnambula.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ballet, the Sleepwalker catches the attention of the principal man (The Poet) as she enters the stage.  This woman wanders around her husband’s mansion like a ghost, entranced, with her hair down and a lit candle in hand. The man begins to dance with the Sleepwalker and attempts to wake her, but to no avail.  This role is very complex, not to mention technically difficult. So in order to better understand what goes into this role, I asked one of the...

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Allegra Kent’s Remarkable Journey.

Posted by on 01.17.2011

I have spent the past few weeks reading Allegra Kent’s autobiography, Once A Dancer.  Right off the bat, I was intrigued by her story.  The triumphs and hardships she experienced in her life captivated me through to the end.  I don’t wish to give you her whole story here, as I highly recommend her book.  However, I do want to share with you a little bit about her, as well as some moments from the book that were highlights for me. – Allegra Kent was born Iris Margo Cohen on August 11, 1937.  Iris’ mother, Shirley, changed her children’s last name to Kent when Iris was 2.  This was Shirley’s way of rebelling against her husband....

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George Balanchine: His Ballerinas.

Posted by on 01.11.2011

This is my next Balanchine series installment as I continue to read “George Balanchine The Ballet Maker” by Robert Gottlieb. Balanchine was notorious for having muses who inspired him throughout his career.  He would find his first major muse when City Ballet moved into City Center in 1948.  Balanchine would end his marriage to Vera Zorina and turn his focus to emerging star, Maria Tallchief, whom he would later marry. In her autobiography Tallchief says, “Work took precedence over everything…. Passion and romance didn’t play a big role in our married life.  We saved our emotion for the classroom.”  However, in the...

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