Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Return of CNB

I have not written here in some time. My last post was called "I feel weird cuz le jeune homme turns me on".  There is a good reason for it.  There is a lot going on with  Makhalina and Fadeev .  A lot.

photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lopez, 1997 CNB

I deleted the post.  Well, I finished watching it, sinned, then deleted it.   Fucking ballet. I have to confess that you know!

Nonetheless, and despite the fact that we squared off and I trashed them mercilessly , Companhia Nacional de Bailados is staging Le Sacre du Printemps after a 12 year absence and I could not be more excited!  

And impressed.  

(1997 clip of the Glorification to Four Piano, Elizabeth Lopez Chosen One.  wild..)

Altough I was harsh with CNB which ultimately got me the photos of the dancers , every Ballet company from 1987 until 2007 perhaps did not treat their Chosen Ones very well. In fact nobody knew who they were.  In fact in Finland they were deceased despite being alive. Okay that's a broad brush : it was one dancer but it came from the director, Yeah, So when I posted on FB that this dancer had died, I was immediately contacted by a dancer in Finand who told me she is not dead take that down .

That girl's Facebook profile was gone within the week. I haven't been able to find her either. Finland is one strange place. They have weird names and hide ballerinas in bunkers.

I have no data on that.

And that's another thing. I have lost my voice as a writer and dance hack.  I got conservative and that is no longer working for me. I am returning to the nonsensical bullshit writing that got me here in the first place. Tip of the hat to Elizabeth Kiem. And a shot of  anything.

I've been writing about Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps ballet since 2007, I have amassed a ridiculous YouTube collection that includes even Marie Chouinard because it is " relevant" for some reason.  I don't think so.  It is like Jan Fabre threw up, pushed her in the puddle and she emerges with something even more hilarious. 

And by the way Jan Fabre has completely - and with no return-  lost his shit and I cannot believe that there are still dancers on that sinking ship with him! This is a "Raft of the Medusa" situation,  kids. Eat the bastard and move on to a real company if you can but they probably won't take you. 

where was I? 

(Absolutely phenomenal CNB shot 1994 courtesy of Guipomar Cabral Machado)

In the process of creating the first collection of the Chosen Ones -what a privilege -, I realized something about the 1990's CNB: 

unless you were Ana Lacerda in Pedro and Ines or unless you were Filipa de Castro in anything - you were a nobody. 

But that was the old CNB.  And those were the old days. I am going to go along that line.

I think they might be in the process of really doing something right:  they posted dress rehearsal photos. 

There are three Chosen Ones set up for their debuts on rotating nights and each one has made a contact with me and that's very exciting! I can't wait for these girls to have photos that I can enter into that little collection that "almost archive"  full of terrible shots of important dancers. 

This is the era of social media.  And so these girls -  and the whole corp de ballet - will experience something entirely different than Sonia Abrantes.  But they will still be working with Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer who remain luminous decades in and decades out.  From the first curtain call with the Joffrey in 1987 until this very day in Portugal, they bring such excitement to these dancers ! They are incredibly gifted and talented people with such a well of generosity that they are able to revive Nijinsky - the effigy of 1913 - each time they stage this monster. Each dancer in a staging of Le Sacre du Printemps with Hodson and Archer are brought into a secret world and from there, they dance.

I'm hoping that CNB will not carry a grudge and maybe I'll get a video?   I hope they begin a solid website with dancers from the past which they do Bulgaria ! 

And I am  confident that they will shoot a professional video of the ballet and release it freely. Rio has meted out 1 minute clips since 2013 and really I am tired of appetizers.  

The crown has long been on the head of The Mariinsky .  They have twice released that full ballet ,  professionally shot and edited though sometimes I think they shouldn't have done it. 

Now come on Portugal,  take that crown, You can do it!

I am making that "woop woop" thing with my arm right now and I am terribly embarrassed.

In closing, congratulations to the dancers and musicians who get to be a part of this thing which they will recall as one of the greatest moments of their lives.  As did those dancers of CNB who paved the way.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The 20th Century Presents: Ballet Russes stuff

Simply put, there are  videos:

National Gallery's  "Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes"

Nijinsky's "L'apre midi d'un faune

The groundbreaking and career destroying "Le Sacre du Printemps"

and the interviews with Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer regarding it all.

Nijinsky's first choreography l'apres midi d'un faune

Obvious previews of the lost choreography to the Rite of Spring show here in bright light.

And finally, though the Mariinsky is not a company that represents this work properly, the quality is better than the Joffrey ballet's shocking 1987 debut of the recovered Nijinsky choreography 1913's Le Sacre du Printemps.

If you wish to see the truth of the "Nijinsky Inheritance", you should watch the Joffrey which I uploaded so long ago that it is in 3 installments.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Flavor Of The Season


How does a dancer deal with this Olympic level objectification?

I was looking for photos of Joanna Wozniak and Elizabeth Hansen - not in the role of Chosen One which was easy enough, being the Joffrey and all - no.  I was looking for photos of them in classic roles - Don Quixote, Giselle, and the penitential rite of the Nutcracker. Yikes.  I assumed that would be easy enough  

I looked and looked and then I realized the company changed its name to Victoria Jaiani.  I was LOOKING for April Day which is what it was last season.  Who will the Joffrey fall to next and how unceremoniously that hat must be handed - like a passive aggressive carrot.  Carrot de Ballet.

As women, we are objectified and it will remain there, it is a set stain.  Now we can scrub and scrub together and make headway but a soloist does not have that good fortune,  Does she?  Rotating in and out of favor, aging out, aging in, being humiliated into leaving.  

And the worst, erasing them shout out to Finland.

That I had to struggle through the Joffrey Ballet's quagmire of rotating divas to find one classic shot of Joanna Wozniak was gross.  She did more than dance herself to death I am certain. And this photo is not a Joffrey shot either (photo cred Frank Poza).

Were it not for this video I would not be likely to find classical role documentation of Chosen Ones Maia Wilkins, Deanne Brown, Taryn Kaschok-Russell and, of course, Heather . (thank you Deanne Brown)

And how is this photo of the Zurich's Chosen One Anna Simondi reasonable?

So the Finnish National Ballet &  Companhia Nacional de Bailado have a challenger and  "Companies That Treated Their Dancers like Shit" is now a three party system.   I am using too many vague metaphors, I need to stop this.

The Joffrey Ballet has no photos of Heather Aagard as the Chosen One and also none of  Jodie Gates the 3rd to dance the role and I don't see what is so hard  about snapping off a shot or two with a Kodak disc or some shit!

There are NO photos of the 1990s Chosen Ones of the Finnish National Ballet , save Sini Länsivuori-Engström who has ignored my pleas for photos of her fellow dancers.  

And were it not for Kirsi Tiiliharju I would have thought the ballet company was some myth you threatened dancers with: "You better practice or we will send you to FINNISH NATIONAL BALLET!!"

There are no REASONABLE  photos in classical roles of Deanne Brown, Heather Aagard, Viviane Barretto, Anabel Segura,  Renata Versiani , Paula Passos, Anna Simondi, Nina Farah, Kirsi Tiiliharju, Susanna Vironmaki, Marjo Raiasala, Katja Frank, and even Beatriz Rodriguez. 

And "Deuce Coupe" is not classical ballet.  It's the walk of shame after a night with "Mr.- I -have- -to -stop -drinking".

I am so glad I chose to a nobody.  The fall is so much easier.

Yours for free,


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Let Me Tell You What I Like About Iosifidi

Man, the Mariinsky dancers never stop. They never stop dancing.  And they play every role...including "Death" in Petit's almost-masterpiece "le jeune homme et la mort".  I don't think they have any say really.  No choice, no choice. 


I have said in the past - and regrettably on occasion without kindness - that Alexandra Iosifidi is too soft as a Chosen One and I continue to feel that way.  She is a ballerina, elegant, poised, every movement is present and the Chosen One needs to get absent, yeah?  Look she's not a "dance-yourself-to-death" kinda gal.

Yesterday though, I found this crappy clip of Iosifidi in "le jeune homme et la mort"...

Let me tell you what I like about Iosifidi

The softness works perfectly. It is as if she is dancing without awareness of anything but herself and occasionally reigning in "the boy".  

This particular moment above is almost motherly.  That is some dark sh*t and she wasn't trying and THAT'S the character!

Now, on YouTube, people are commenting that she "dances it too much" "smiles too openly" "doesn't smirk enough".

Addressing only the issue of how she dances too much... How many minutes can a woman strut with that dragging leg before it becomes comical? I can tell you how many minutes. 


After four minutes it is distracting.  After 6 it is Petit's "almost-masterpiece".  How ridiculous that there would be ballet in this thing and that someone would dance.

There are people who need to be told when to applaud. They need this very defined character to be redefined 30 or 40 times in a performance.  I used to know people like that.  In high school.

Iosifidi doesn't do this.  She seems almost restless in the one-dimensional areas of the choreography and so she dances and she smiles happily here and there and by not forcing the character of Death, she is creepy.  

This is a  juxtaposition I can live with.  This is working.

Marie-Agnes Gillot or, God preserve us,  Tamara Rojo use a lot of tricks with their face but those run out fast.  These and others - all fabulously filmed btw -  overstate the character from start to finish.  Too much sinister eye-squinting and siren slinking (made that up).  

We know from the TITLE that this woman is going to ruin him.   We know when we hit play or sit in the theater that she is the villain, she is a vamp she is a sadistic beautiful woman who likes to kill boys who love her. 

What's not to smile about?  Or dance about?

I think it is refreshing to see ballet in this ballet. All that Iosifidi-grace and removed Russian style make for a bad ass la Mort who doesn't sell it so hard...

because she knows we already bought it. 

Dropping the mic like a weirdo, 


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Let Me Tell You What I Like About Alba Tapia

I have a fondness for this badass ballerina -  a Chosen One who fought for the photos of her performance because she understood and loved the significance of that role.  But that does not influence my opinion of this famous death scene clip.

Let me tell you what I like about Alba Tapia in La Sylphide

There is no mood lighting.  There is no full orchestra.  This is a stark raving bright stage with a distractingly thin accompaniment.. And so that puts Alba in the tough position of conveying everything on her own in this heavy death scene and she is aware of it.

This could have easily gone off the rails.  If she tried too hard it would be like Lillian Gish. If she tried too little the scene would suck. See? Silent movie stuff.

Whether this is a live performance or a variations installment does not matter.  Alba holds the entire scene in her hands without smashing it and though classic ballets are not her niche,  she meets the spoiled ladies of La Sylphide on the road to ballet without flinching.

Yours for attention,


Sunday, July 8, 2018

When Ballet Attacks #4

Marie Chouinard.  That should be enough right there. 

This woman is off the rails.  I tried to get down with "body remix" but after an hour of trying to grasp the meaning of it I concluded there is none.  There is no depth, no secret to uncover in this shit show production.  No.  It's just Marie Chouinard uping the ante and whatever meaning may lie in this thing is nothing more than an inside joke which we have been left out of.    

I have my insecurities and wouldn't want to be left out of any inside thing...except this. 

I am cool with knowing nothing. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

When Ballet Attacks! #4

What should have been truly praised for being the first major dance company - Theatre du Corps - that incorporated street dancing and martial arts to an already progressive situation was just a complete shitshow of multi media overkill.

Marco Polo is a spectacular tale isn't it!  And so much detail in the telling.  Ballets have been done but this was new and it should have hit like a missile.  But it was too soon in the media game to go this big and the artwork, my god.  Just amateur and uncomfortable. 

This scene above in particular - was fantastic weaving 3 dance forms together and you don't see it because of the backdrop (Armand Amar's music of course, perfect).   Mostly everything is lost to the mistake of multi-media as an equal component to the organic, come on now.  Adding new media to an existing form of art is not a heavy handed event - it is experimental - you don't just throw a bucket of pixels at the wall and go nuts.

This show was such a loss.  And Pietra was some sort of after thought in the whole production but the thrill of it all - I think - caused them all to

It catapulted Derouault, that is for certain.  And they held back for a few years before attempting something like this again and though it is better, it is a comedy.  I could tell you why, but the horse died in the second paragraph.  

It was a big hit at the Shanghai Olympics anyway.