Monday, January 15, 2018

Dear Chosen Ones (part 2)

Hi, it's me Fatova.

I am thinking a lot about the artists of Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro.  And of you.

The years you went unrecognized were shameful.  The struggle to find you was not easy but it was so joyful when I DID find you.  It's like when I make pie crust:  I kick it old school with a pastry cutter and if you knead it just right you will roll out a masterpiece.  If you don't, you get a crappy pie crust that you can dump a can of fruit into and give it to a stranger on the street.

In other words, the reward drives me with Chosen Ones and pie crust.

So I am asking every pie I have ever made and every Chosen One I have ever worked for to adopt this image as your profile photo and stand up for the dancers of Rio de Janeiro.

The theater doors are closed.  They are not being paid.  They are trapped by the state and the red tape in which it maintains its own agenda. AND!  AND!  They are the company that has continued to fulfill the promise of Le Sacre du Printemps:  the ballet you performed for no recognition is now being denied the dancers by the government.

Essentially, it is the same boat.

Stand up.  Just stand up and use this as your profile photo in solidarity


Saturday, January 13, 2018

There Is No Toilet Paper In Rio

This is a call to arms.  

If you are a dancer in Rio de Janeiro you are not dancing.  You are an employee of a corrupt government who is not routing funds to all of its employees.  

You have no way to get to the theater to rehearse ballets that will not play and even if they did there is no toilet paper in the rest rooms.  Can you believe that in the 21st century there is a major player in the theater world that had to shut its doors because they had no toilet paper?  There are other reasons of course but still!

If you are a dancer in Rio de Janeiro you are a waitress, a taxi driver, a maid, a furniture mover.  You are tired and hungry and you are slowly being erased and no one is paying attention beause there is toilet paper in Italy, France, Russia.  There is so much toilet paper, in fact, that at the Mariinsky. there is enough to steal, you know, jam a roll in your purse, see Swan Lake, go home and wipe your ass for free.  

In Rome, Warsaw, New York, Paris, Bailado you can buy a ticket to see a ballet and actually see it.  

But in Rio de Janeiro, you buy the ticket, the ballet is cancelled and the money is refunded to the government who will in return route it away from the theater.  Because there is toilet paper in the Maracana Stadium.

If you are a dancer in Rio de Janeiro you are losing hope and we are doing nothing to help you because we don't know what is really happening. 

But we starting to find out. And we must stand up for you.

Photo by Conrad Krivochein. Ballerina Priscila Albuquerque

Monday, January 8, 2018

What Am I Missing?

This is me, Fatova.  Thorn in your side.  Whatever.  I ASK:

Why is it so difficult to organize yourselves, you dance companies once given the privilege of performing a long-lost masterpiece at the time of its discovery?  

Repeat:  a long lost masterpiece at the time of its discovery?

Why do I have to over-dose on adderall and spend 36 hours on search engines in 4 countries trying to shake out a photo or 2 which you either (a) lost because of ineptitude or (b) never took because of ineptitude?

Why am I waltzing in 20+ years later having to irritate and harass you - AND document that I am doing it - to shake a half-rotten fruit from your bullshit trees?  

Why are you lying about who is alive and who is not?

Why do ballerinas who speak about your mistreatment disappear into the fringe, refusing to talk?

Why did you, YOU of all companies, not take photos of each girl who turned in her toes and danced herself to the floor?  

Why am I blocked here and there and banned from your Pinterest pages?  Come now, do you think I have all these photos by playing nice? 

What the hell is it that I don't understand? 

Did you fuck up THEN or are you fucking up NOW?

Somebody please answer because I am tired of screaming into the winds of your fading ballet companies.

Very sincerely,

Fatova Mingus,
no title

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Letter To Vaslav Nijinsky

Dear Vaslav Nijinsky,

We do not know each other, you and I, not conventionally, that is.  You were once divided from the world by the greatest of men but even they can not erase a man completely.  My years of devotion to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" - which took the world from you - would one day be the legacy that lead them to you.

Waiting is not an easy thing.  I imagine you understand that more than most, for you waited 80 years to be acknowledged.  It was your courage of conviction that gave us reason to hope for you and, consequently, gave you reason to wait for us.  And so we passed in the night, year after year, a ship and a raft, both taking on water.

Choreographers circled you for decades but never sent up a flare. Did they want you to come from the past and cause them to look ridiculous in their efforts in the present?

Dancers listening at the door of history would only catch murmurs of what might have actually happened those years ago.  Some returned with a greater capacity to listen, years having matured them and made them wiser.  But even the great Dame Margot Fonteyne  ,who believed in you passionately, would never make sense of it.

Historians would pursue you in theory but, as you know, academia, despite claims to the contrary, will often settle with what seems "close enough" when the subject is too far away. And nearly forgotten.

It would take all three- choreographer,dancer,historians -  to find you. Adrift, tattered and wretched from abandon,  you gave a strained gesture that would lead them down the rabbit hole where they remained for 15 years, looking for a way to breathe life into you for once and for all; time waving its wicked finger, unrelenting.

Did you know Mr. Joffrey was pursuing your life as his death pursued him?  It is true.  "A life for a life" though we would be left with the debt - a staggering debt -  that every one knew could never be repaid and because of it's greatness it is beyond repayment anyway.

It would be through a never ending celebration that the scales would settle and then only because one great man and 2 young historians - in the shadow of such great waiting! -  knew that they too, must wait in the spots where treading even lightly could have set you adrift once again, forever.

There will always be geniuses who change the world but so seldom is the man who resets its orbit.

You caused a sensation with a challenge to peoples' preconception of dance so great that it would span 75 years and twice raise the ire of critics from the drab corners in which they loiter calling themselves patrons of the arts. 

Scratch the surface and you will find a philistine.  Well dressed, of course.

I'm not sure where to go from here at the moment. How strange as I have so much to tell you!

But as is the case with most meaningful correspondence, an ending is never certain and hardly desired.. .

Until then, I remain

Yours untiringly,

Fatova Mingus

(photo:  Fatova Mingus by C. Keough)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

This Is All None Of My Business...But


From the fist-in-the-mouth of "Don't Look Back" to the first jump in the Four Variants through La Tentation d'Eve... I was a gushing dipshit over her.
But Conditions Humaines, (2006) was the crown jewel, so say I. 

Using the story of that horrific mine collapse, she  needed only music and execution.   That was the key and she killed it.  Swinging the performance art door wide open for her is Julien Derouault and despite being with the company for only a few years, he shifts it completely.

These dancers are the miners - trapped, death a certainty.  That panic is conveyed in the dancing and that dancing was pretty fresh (I chose the correct spelling).  Incorporating martial arts and street dance, performance art and impeccable timing, I knew this dancer and performer could make a mark.  He was "bringing it" as cool people I can't stand would say.  

As they progressed, married, whatever I started to get nervous for her.  Pietra. She is amazing.  Always has been - and there's a double entendre I didn't intend.  Yikes.  She will forever be an artist to admire.  Sadly, I think she is in  the sunset of her greatness. 
Julien Derouault is in the sunrise / mid-afternoon of his. 

And it's not fair, really.

He is ever changing and evolving and taking to the stage something a little different each time he walks onto it.  The man is a full event.  While he is a talented performance artist in addition to great dancer and choreographer, her signatures are becoming predictable. 

Like that "3 times in a row thing" - she tends to 3-fer an odd move in staccato fashion if that makes sense and it seems hammy?  Is that a word?  Because it reminds me of me being hammy when I was about to fall of the balance beam and I would repeat the "I almost fell" gesture like it would fool everyone.  I was a dorky girl. You can never fool the judges though.

Is no one telling her this?  If he is not telling her  then I do indeed have a reason to feel weird when I see them dance together.  Whether you are the great Pietragalla or the not great Fatova Mingus, these age difference things end badly.

I loved him.  But I was 12 years older. I knew in 5 years, I would be too old for him.  At first you whistle past the graveyard.  Then they chase you with shovels.  It's over.

At first you think making that crooked side arabesque will keep it together.  But then he surpasses you.  It's over.

And I bet he loves her very much.   But she has varicose veins in her calves you can see them while he is this chiseled...thing... that dances on a different plane in a double genre. 

Again, it's not fucking fair and I still think she is one of the best, always will be how cool was this?

Is she facing a slow death?  I hope not.  But I think she is going to try to keep pace with him on stage which will become embarrassing and that stuff spills into your personal life and it just occurred to me that this is really none of my business except they are full on with the erotica in their new performances now. 

And you know what?  I don't like erotic scenes in ballet or performance, does that make me a prude?  I couldn't sit through Pedro & Ines - it is everything but the actual deed (I wanted to say the f-word).  It seems to me, that sex is the go-to in choreography sometimes.  I still can not believe The Gang Rape Ballet.  What a message THAT sends: 

"It's not rape if the Rite of Spring is playing so get out there and get her, boys!" 

Pray, amazing Chosen Ones, do not take this "chosen" role.  You are Nijinsky's Five Minute Survivors.   You're all too far above Preljojac.  

In closing:

Pietra is likely on the losing end of that relationship because (1) Women can carry May but not December; (2) Derouault's talent exceeds hers and (3) she is going to be too old for him in 5 - 4 -3 - 2...   

But like I said...this is all none of my business.

I don't like fuck ballet.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

It Takes A Peacock

Do you remember the first time you saw Maia Rosal's stare from behind the bars of a cage?  The exotic intro of Tchaikovsky's "Arabian Dance" pulses into itself as a life size birdcage is placed down and opened to release the Peacock inside.  It was stunning. Hypnotic.  Hell even Clara was rapt.

Nutcracker:  The Motion Picture (1986), by the Pacific Northwest Ballet as choreographed by Kent Stowell played on television once yearly, maybe twice and what is normally hell on remained hell on stage but for these 3 lush minutes.  Lush.  

Sitting through the Nutcracker as an 11 year old girl who had seen Martha Graham's "Night Journey" on PBS just one week earlier..I don't know I think I had bathroom cramps.   The Nutcracker is the worst and now, in Boston, it is really the worst.  From the tacky flash mob Mice  to the ridiculous Boston Ballet blogs (some now defunct, alleluia), Boston is sticky with Nutcracker.

Like Fokine's insufferable choreographic misfire to Stravinsky's Firebird, possibly the greatest symphonic closing ever , Tchaikovsky's "Arabian Dance" has suffered insult year in and year out, choreographer in and choreographer out...with 2 exceptions:  Bejart's fantastic haymaker and Stowell's  Peacock.

I have this on my YouTube channel where the comments are unanimous: this thing rocks and no one is a big fan of the traditional Balanchine.  Or original Petipa.  Or Federova.  Or Christensen or or or.

One thing is certain...if you smash Petipa and Balanchine's heads'll get a sultry peacock or a little bdsm-infused production:  perfect use of these wonderful 3 minutes, the only ones from Tchaikovsky I can really handle.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Run For Your Life! It's Nutcracker Season!

I wonder if "Nutcracker season" is to a dancer what family holidays are to me:  a terrible obligation one must drag themselves through, no way out, no way out.

But for a 3 minute peacock and a french acid trip, The Nutcracker is TORTURE.  Especially in Boston.  Which is where I am.  

Ready, Set G0 French Acid Trip!

Maurice Bejart, guilty of nailing "Le Sacre du Printemps" to the cross of choreographic atrocities, in some miracle of redemption does what no one else could:  he makes The Nutcracker a funky fuck-you ballet. 

I don't like The Nutcracker.  I don't think Bejart did either.

What he did with this ballet has nothing to do with Nutcracker princes, little girls in Christmas stupors or  Chinamen. I think there may be a few drag queens and I know for certain that there is, at last, a very, very dark, hypnotic and erotic choreography to this sleepy and secretive piece of magical music. 

The Arabian Dance: the most exotic thing Tchaikovsky ever composed which he then jammed into a boring symphonic sandwich, crazy Russian, has FOR YEARS been squandered sitcom-style, where's the laugh track. 

Bejart's "Variations" are mental and awesome but his "Arabian" is the jewel.  A dancer in a trance, in total submission, kept in a box, being circled by a dominatrix and striking what could be considered vulgar poses were it not for the fact that they are brief and angled slightly away from the viewer is so extremely ANTI-Nutcracker that for a moment you forget something as ridiculous as a Sugar Plum Fairy was ever attached to this Christmas shit show. And when you throw the prefix ANTI into just about anything, I am captivated. 

Come now, tell me this confusion is not a fabulous punch to the face of Balanchine's tired but trusty choreography and a few haymakers at the other 42,000 choreographers. Bejart telling his life story behind this bad ass, derailed Nutcracker just ties it all up in a big wrinkled and frayed bow! Merry Christmas wackos!

This is no "almost".  This is spot on, absolute fun shit and it won't come to Boston and is likely performed very little because, damn it, those Flowers gotta Waltz.

No way out.  No way out.