Sunday, August 13, 2017

Have You Read Fatova Lately? She Sucks.

Yeah.  I have.  She is writing on this site  Lackademik.  

But she is totally unrecognizable.  Alright, this third person shit is for the NFL and every drama on BET. 

I am losing my voice.  My sarcastic, caustic, rude tone is drowning in the correctness one must adopt when teetering between the gracious company of their previous targets and their quickly-thinning target audience.

Let it rip, let it rip. 

beatriz rodriguez (orig from Oct 2010

About a year ago someone wrote me here and asked if I knew anything about Beatriz Rodriguez, the Joffrey dancer who had the first honor of dancing the role of the The Chosen One in the 70 year-in-the-making reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" or Le Sacre du Printemps - considered by many to be the single greatest musical work ever. I'm on board with that of course. 

Rodriguez debuted the ballet to the world in fact when The Joffrey Ballet televised the performance out of San Francisco in what we all know today as the 1987 debut of "the reconstruction" and I hate that.  I refer to it as the recovery of Nijinsky's ballet and soul and he was at last recognized thank you Millicent.  Big stuff. 

I like to compare the reaction of the Chosens when they are ..chosen!  All are unique.  But here...I look at B-Rod's face and you see her surpsise AT the other girls.  As if the schoolyard bullies stopped yelling and hit her but they have selected her to die, something she knows might befall her but when it happens... 

Her face registers that "how could you!" and from there she is in no state of graceful ballet.  She spins in that circle in confusion.  And this stuff is not lost on the kids/people watching the 87 Joffrey on my YouTube channel. 

This little 10 second piece shows what I mean .  She registers the emotional shock and I think she conveys the libretto with such frightening drama that she holds people in those minutes.  It's so barbaric and she is terrified.  

Some kid wrote:  "see how she runs to each side of the circle?  I think she is trying to escape."

This is not some pedestrian observation.  It is the huge spiritual aspect of Le Sacre which is why I am shuffling over here to Lackademik

So there were rumors that she was not "light enough" for the role. That is, she is ethnically not perfect. Thank goodness she wasn't dancing for Mary Wigman in France in '38.  She would have been on a freight train in no time - yes, Wigman DID hand her Jewish friends over.  Genius - nope. Nazi - yes.

I digress.  It's possibly true for that time though it;s foggy and I can't get a real grip on it. I read an article today where B-Rod hints at this in '95 with the Chicago Trib.

So, I was asked - when I first wrote this piece in 2010 - if I knew anything more on Rodriguez because Inquiring Minds Want To Know. And a year later, I have this site with 3 pages of Herbert Migdoll  slides from Joffrey performances of days gone by featuring Beatriz but not as a Chosen One.  What you do find is black and white shots and my God she was TINY! 

So who knows?  Beatriz and the company and so to you who have asked, I know as much as you. Sorry I lost track of you. It's been a terrible year. 

5 years later

UPDATE::  Along with a wild Hungarian dancer named Andrea Ladanyi, some SERIOUS progress has been made.  Thank you to the "heavy hitters" who have gotten involved.

Beatriz is a mythical creature to the thousands of viewers/commenters on the YouTube video.  They want to know more.  And they hate dance.  They swear and say stupid things and insightful things and then...they come back.  And they have learned more.  Just like I did in my beginning.

Tonight when I heard from one of the THREE ORIGINALS of the 87 Joffrey - Gates, Rodriguez and  Carole Valleskey  I was over the moon.  Took 7 years but I may actually communicate with her and you know what?  It needed to take 7 years.  In that time, that peformance on YouTube has transfixed and transformed so many people.   She has a curtain call left.  With us.

Carole Valleskey...BLESS YOU for sharing this which will be shared and so excitedly received.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Forrest Through the Trees ?

Carolyn Carlson's "Don't Look Back" for Pietragalla was stunning, really.  It doesn't get old, I never tire of it and Pietra - though young - was peppering her own signatures all over the performance AND IT WORKED. the end I like the part where she shoves her fist in her mouth. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

stuck in the middle

Too many projects and I will finish none.  

Here is a photo of Beatriz Rodriguez in "Taming of the Shrew", Joffrey, I don't know what year.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

An Unkind Time

There would be a price to pay.  There usually is when you take a wild chance like Nijinsky did with 1913's "Le Sacre du Printemps". 

I don't think he knew the price would be his life.  And if he did, would he have changed anything?

We all love the story of "The Rite". We all love the reconstruction!   It is all very dramatic and stunning....more than was expected, I believe.

But in our joy to have Nijinsky's work recovered, I think we forget the price he paid and the length of time he waited....and waited...

1987 was as important as 1913.  Nijinsky was alive and rejected, Nijinsky was dead and lauded and everything he may have believed was finally understood. 

Life was unkind to Nijinsky.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

7 Years Of Le Sacre

On January 30, 2010 I uploaded the Joffrey's 1987 debut of "Le Sacre du Printemps" onto YouTube.  Back then the time allotted was 10 minutes so it is in 3 installments.

I have had over 1 million views about 1,800 comments, some of which disappeared in 2014 for some reason and it is an absolute joy to see peoples' reaction to Le Sacre. Installment One ends almost at the end of  "The Ritual of Rival Tribes"...that's one hell of a cliffhanger though...

The comments run the gamut.  

Seven years ago, I was all emotion about the reconstruction.  In LOVE with it and surprisingly I didn't fight with viewers/ commenters.  My parents raised me to think expansively about art.  I have encouraged people in the last year now that music students have to watch it.  

Then you see some young music students going back and forth - 2 of them love it and are watching on their own time.  I don't know why that excites me but it does.  It's encouraging.  I like to answer and educate without being condescending.  It's taken some time to learn but I have learned. 

I never found the ballet as scary as the students who see it for the first time though!  I think 60% of the comments are about how scary it is:

It doesn't matter what their comments are, they saw something so historically and artistically significant and they don't even know it.  Not yet. This guy 3 months ago made a comment about how they are just jumping around

I am going to work on a project of "the comments". Oh...what?
I have no funding.

One thing that everyone agrees on is that Beatriz Rodriguez, in the "death rattle" scares the hell out of them:

"You can tell from her eyes she's gone mad cuz she's dying!"

You're right dude.  She does. And you sat through the entire ballet to get to it...!!

I'll write more on this.  I see people come back with more knowledge and comment again, usually inaccurately like I used to at first. But damn.  They come back and want to talk about it. I love it. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dame Margot Fonteyne on Vaslav Nijinsky, 1979 (originally posted 2010)

Dame Margot Fonteyne, still considered one of the world's greatest prima ballerina, spoke about the history of ballet in this 1979 documentary. Here, she quite clearly states that it is Vaslav Nijinsky and not any later choreographer (ie Martha Graham) who should be credited with modern dance, citing his 1913 Le Sacre du Printemps as a work quite far ahead of its time, referencing the riot.

In the clip, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring score is played, a couple of photos of the 1913 Ballet Russes Compagnie who performed this near-mythical masterpiece are shown, as are some sketches from newspaper reporters present at the opening (Valentine Gross) while Fonteyne laments that the choreography was not preserved. You see a genuine pain in her as she speaks on Nijinsky'
s lost legacy and sadness when stating that "he lost his reason" soon after the 1913 debut. 

Fonteyne then goes on to speak with Kyra Nijinska, Vaslav's daughter, also a dancer and choreographer and - let's face it - also with an attic full of toys. It is a sad thing when she recalls her father being taken away by the "policemen" to the institution after a violent episode.  She begins to cry just like a 6 year old but stops herself,   Her father, Vaslav Nijinsky, was the world to her.  There was no need for fairy tale books, she explains, when you have a father who is like a fairy tale. 

Everything about Nijinsky from that debut forward, is sad.  Seeing his daughter, strange thing that she was, start to weep like a little girl makes it feel worse.

Fonteyne - who danced way beyond her years and in her last filmed clip, Le Spectre de la Rose, looked like Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", really someone should have stopped her - she would not live to see the reconstruction of Nijinsky's masterpiece which she clearly believed it was in this 1979 interview.  Her absolute conviction that Nijinsky's Le Sacre would be groundbreaking had it not become lost makes the reconstruction that much more exciting though I certainly felt disappointed for her.

Kyra, on the other hand, was still alive at the time of the 1987 Joffrey presentation but I can find no information on whether or not she saw it. She lived a nomadic life until her 2001 death -  maybe 2002? - and was rumored to have been working as a sales clerk in a department store in San Francisco at the time of The Joffrey Ballet was there in California resurrecting her father, so to speak.  Like I said, toys in the attic. 

Russian stacking dolls. -Fatova Mingus.