Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cirque de Diego

Well yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we had (have) the pleasure of hosting the dancers from Cirque du Soleil's show, Delirium.


Delirium is in town for the week and they needed a studio to do some replacement rehearsals. They also like to give their dancers a variety of enrichment experiences, so they were kind enough to ask me to teach a class.

So that was fun. The dancers are from all over the world and are trained in a variety of dance styles. Unlike the dancers in the ballet company, they aren't the least bit shy about "embellishing" the given combinations. That's fine. They are all working very hard night after night and on the road. So class needs to be as much about letting loose some steam, as it is about keeping in training.

Tonight, I'll take in the show itself.

Given the online images of it I am sure it will be a feast for the eyes.

So today my favorite thing is ... Cirque du Soleil.

I just love the attention to detail that they bring to all their productions. They raise the bar for when it comes to doing things right. My favorite show was the fourth edition, Nouvelle Experience. It was the show that really brought the costuming and music into the innovative circus acts to create a unified whole. It was also the show where we introduced to what have become two cirque staples

The contortionists. Twisty bendy people getting their bodies into all sorts of intricate shapes.

And the strap act. This is where you have someone who wraps themselves up in leater straps (or long panels of silk or chiffon) and is pulled up into the air as they twist, turn and pose.

Sometimes the two are mixed and you get twisty bendy people pulled up into the air as they twist and pose.

The Nouvelle Experience contortionists were a group of 4 girls who excelled in making a sort of backwards human pyramid. And the strap act featured some Russian muscle god who stalked across the stage with panther like paces before he would launch himself into Michaelangelo style poses of angst. All set to an erotically bowed cello accompaniment.

Since Nouvelle Experience has been closed for a while, I would have to say my next favorite show was Mystere. The first of the Vegas takeover shows.

Mystere featured: kodo drummers that descended from the ceiling, mermaid-like bungee aerialists, a big fat baby clown, an amazing hand to hand balancing act and its strap number (which was beautiful) began with a male gymnast who seemed to be suspended high above the stage in a rotating metal sphere (which he manipulated). He would then come down to "earth" and sweep up a female dancer into the ether.

Although there have been other Cirque shows that have been perhaps more spectacular (O, Ka, etc), I loved Mystere because of the physicality of it.

Someone once commented on the fairly expensive ticket price of Cirque shows. I agree they are expensive. But you know, I figure that they are going to amaze and delight me and it really comes down to less than a dollar a minute. Which is less than what you would pay for a chat on Psychic Friends Network.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time To Tidy Up and a Surprise Visit.

Cleaned my desk at the office today.

Made a big list on some blue paper of stuff I needed to do. As much as I keep things percolating in my mind, when it comes to tasks, I am much better having a written list that I can scratch stuff off of.

Scratched 11 off of a list of 35.

So that isn't too horrible.

Might get 3 more things done before I leave. Will take some home with me.

Very pleasant surprise today. One of our alumni dancers came in. Corina Maggi (Fabbroni) was a long standing member of the company. She created roles in many of my pieces and still comes to people's minds when they think of performances of our ballet, Mambomania. Her early solo (a fusion of jazz, ballet, and even some vaudeville tricks) not only set up the ballet but previewed much of what San Diego Ballet has become known for.

Exciting, accessible dances performed by exciting, accessible dancers.

Not that we don't also do work that is challenging to our audiences in one way or another. but we hope that we ENGAGE them in the challenge.

Well, Corina was in town visiting family and decided to visit her other "family"... us. So there was much hugging and catching up. Safe travels back to the city of Oakland in the Great Wilderness of Northern California, Corina!

Went to see a production of Mandance by San Diego Dance Theater. 8 choreographers... all male. All the pieces were danced by men. It was interesting and laudable, but so serious. Speaking for myself, I would have liked to see one happy dance. A couple of smiling "man" dancers in bright colors jumping and bouncing around in a happy mandance.

But anyway, it reminded me of one of my favorite dance pictures.

Tim Wengerd was a leading dancer with the Martha Graham Company in the late 70's and 80's. This image captures the artist in an extremely dynamic and difficult movement. How difficult? Well, you try doing it.

This sort of hinge movement was very much part of my early dance training, so I love seeing it performed well. What is interesting about the pic is that it is not a pose that can be held for long. So did Tim get to this position from a standing position ("Is he falling back?") or did he come from a kneeling position ("Is he rising?).

There are some hints in the pic, but I'll let you dwell upon the conundrum.

Wengred was a powerful, beautiful dancer. He moved with a combination of grace and strength that echoed that of Graham's original male dancer (and partner) Eric Hawkins. As his career progressed, he became known as a promising, thoughtful choreographer.

Tim Wengred died of AIDS at the age of 44 in 1989. But in this image he looks out at us, balanced precariously between rising and falling.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Feathers!

Yes, after yesterday's discussion of feathers, we come to another avian discussion.

One of the pieces, I am looking at for next season is Carnival of the Animals. I think it will work well for our yearly collaboration with Culture Shock. Because of that I am sneak previewing one of the choreographic pieces.

The Swan

At our June 2nd fund raiser.

Now, swans and ballerinas go hand in hand, but I need to make a distinction here. Below is a lovely image of Anna Pavlova in the famous last moments of The Dying Swan.

I actually have a large version of this image in my walk in closet. I see it everyday as it hangs across from my authentic jackalope mounting I got in Wyoming.

There is a difference between...

The Swan
The Dying Swan
and Swan Lake

Swan Lake... is a huge 3 hour ballet by Tchaikovsky. It was premiered in 1877, but did not achieve popularity until it was re-staged by Lev Ivanov (the white swan acts) and Marius Petipa (the court acts) in 1895. It is all about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer and whose spell is broken by a handsome (if a bit too Hamlet like) prince. Well, they both die, but they sail off to a better place.

The Swan... is a short piece of music from Carnival of the Animals. A collection of tunes by Camille Saint-Saens. Each piece is descriptive of a different animal, randomly chosen. Along with the swan, we see a lion, an elephant, a tortoise and many other beasties. There is no story. Just small snapshots of critters.

The Dying Swan... is a choreographic miniature that was set to... the Swan, by choreographer Mikhail Fokine for Anna Pavlova. Fokine was known for rebelling against "classical" dance. Although the dance is performed in a tutu, it is not a classical dance. It is more along the lines of a improvisation on pointe. The piece shows us a swan that has been shot by a hunter, in the last moments of its life.

Pavlova (above) was known for her delicacy and exquisite lines. She was a "spiritual" ethereal dancer who also had an element of decadence in her dancing. She excelled in pieces where she portrayed dragonflies, poppies, summer breezes. Because of the strength of her portrayal (and her tireless appearances around the world) the image of the ballerina as swan became a cultural icon. As an aside, I love how it looks as if they just ripped some wings off of some poor swan and tacked them on to Pavlova's tutu. There is something so wrong, yet so right about it.

Fokine (and Pavlova) a piece that became a "right of passage" for ballerinas to come. You aren't "really" a ballerina unless you have died on-stage swathed in feathers. So here we have three Russian ballerinas...

Galina Ulanova. Known for the fluidity of her movement, this photo doesn't quite add to the Ulanova mystique. But you DO get to see how gloriously curvaceous her feet were.

Maya Pliesetskaya. Gloriously gauche. This image actually makes her seem like more of a classicist than she was. Pliesetskaya was the big rule breaker at the time. Arms and legs flying everywhere in serpentine patterns.

and Natalia Makarova. Ultra sensitive and introspective. Rather than project out into the audience, she would pull them into her performances.

All putting their own stamp on the flock of interpretations of being a big white bird. Nobody does it quite the same. Nobody dies quite the same.

Now, I do have to mention that I am not setting The Dying Swan. In Carnival of the Animals, the swan doesn't die. Given that we are doing these shows primarily for families and kids, it seemed odd to come out with this tragic death of a swan. So our swan has become an allegory for the quest for spiritual enlightenment. At the end of her solo, she soars off into the heavens.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Substitutes, Good Luck, and Angels

I was awakened at 7:45 this morning.
I am not a morning person. Ever since I was in 9th grade, I never went to bed before 1 am. I would watch the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder after Johnny Carson. Such interesting topics that you couldn't hear at 8 am. That and late, late movies.

So I got an urgent call from Beverly asking for emergency class coverage. She had a medical situation that needed taking care of. Emergency or not, I cannot face the day without a morning shower. A looooooong one. I told her I would be at school in 40 minutes.

40 minutes later, I arrived and set the beginning of a tap dance. Woo - woo. Accentuate the Positive. I started as a tap dancer. She showed up about 90 minutes later and I handed her class back to her, but only after I had set a revival meeting type beginning. We shall see if she keeps it. At least, I kept the girls from running amuck.

Headed to the office, where I now sit, and took care of various scheduling and meeting issues.

While Robin and I were working, a nice guy (Bill) showed up inquiring about DancePlace. Our building is part of a renovation of the old Naval Training Center (NTC). It seems that he had gone through a program here (in our very building) in '89 that was (is) called BOOST. BOOST was (is) a compressed program that prepared enlisted personnel who demonstrated potential to earn a college degree and commission in the Navy or Marines.

So since he was zooming by on his motorcycle, he wanted to peek in. Turns out our offices are where he had his literature classes and he took physics and math upstairs. Works for me, since I was always more comfortable with literature than math.

Anywho, he left his card and maybe we can convince him to help out his old (new) alma mater with a little pro bono assistance. He works in web design.

Thats about it. Getting the entertainment geared up for both the SDB Fundraiser (on the 2nd of June) and the SDPAL Star Awards (on the 12th). I had a great bit of luck. I am doing a Joplin ballet next year. I set two pieces for our Intimate Studio evening but I had choreographed some Joplin pieces years ago for some programs we did with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. We try to video tape everything as a record, but we don't always. And contrary to popular belief, I don't remember everything I set.

So I was HOPING that we had been forward thinking enough to tape it, so I could re-set the old numbers for the auction. as a sneak preview. Robin didn't think we had. But lo and behold, I went to the Video Vault and there was a single video tape that said "San Diego Chamber Orchestra." So I am saved having to start from scratch. Huzzah!

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing Cheek to Cheek.

In the movie...

Where to begin?...

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (for those of you who don't know) were (ARE) the GREATEST dance team in movie history.

Did I say the greatest dancers? NO!

I said the greatest dance team.

In the 30's and 40's, they made ten movies together: Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Top Hat, Follow The Fleet, Shall We Dance, Swing Time, Carefree, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and The Barkleys of Broadway. Some were more memorable than others. All made lots of $$$$ at the box office. Of these, Top Hat is the highest grossing,

Many Rogers and Astaire afficionados point to Swing Time as being the pinnacle of their accomplishments (and the specific number, Never Gonna Dance as THE pinnacle achievement.) But to put it bluntly... they are fools.

In the BIG SCHEME OF LIFE, its all about Cheek to Cheek.

Yes, Never Gonna Dance is more accomplished, but it is almost as if they are trying too hard. The look like dancers. In Cheek to Cheek, they look like they are DANCING!

If you consider yourself a dance fan, you must watch this dance. The movie itself is not necessarily necessary, but it is cute and gets you in the mood. But you DO need to see the vocal set up where Fred sings the song to Ginger as they dance.

If the dance doesn't "send" you when you watch it... Then you must watch it again... And if it still doesn't move you... WATCH IT AGAIN... if after repeated screenings you are still not transported to a higher plain of consciousness, then you are, quite simply, spiritually dead and all your taste is in your mouth. So there.

The dance is certainly of its time. The music becomes huge and romantic and Rogers and Astaire dance with a fullness and passion that is quite simply not matched in their more refined dances. The only thing that comes close is the number "Face The Music and Dance" from Follow The Fleet.

There are many legends and myths surrounding the Astaire/Rogers team

"They hated each other." This is not true. They respected each other immensely, but quite simply had no romantic feelings towards the other.

"Fred was a perfectionist, who worked Ginger into the ground." Ginger was just as driven as Fred was. As a matter of fact, when she wasn't making the movies with Fred, she was busy cramming as many other film projects in as she could.

"Fred was the better dancer of the two." Who cares!?! Get a life!!!

"Fred hated this dress." This is true. Ginger took a lot of interest in her costumes. This particular dress was white satin with light blue ostrich feathers. And anything with that many ostrich feathers is going to start molting when you start dancing in it. So every time, he would touch her feathers would come off on HIS tuxedo, which HE was very particular about. In the final shot, if you look hard enough, you can see the occasional feather flying off. But then you are looking at the wrong thing!

That said... the dress MAKES this dance. This number transports you to another place. Rogers' dress is like a mist that encases the couple's movement.

The immortal first lines of the song... "Heaven... I'm in Heaven and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak and I seem to find the happiness I seek, when we're out together dancing cheek to cheek."

it is quite telling that this dance is used in at least two other movies. In the thoughtful, haunting "The Green Mile," the wrongly accused saint on death row has a last wish. He asks to see a "flicker show." In an empty theater, he watches Fred and Ginger dancing this number. As he watches he says. "Angels. They's Angels." Moments later, he is executed.

In Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cario, the heroine (a movie buff who escapes form her horrible life during the Depression by going to films) has just had her life destroyed. She walks in shock into a darkened movie theater. The movie is in progress. It is Top Hat. Fred and Ginger begin to glide into their eternal dance and slowly this woman who has lost EVERYTHING, begins to smile.

Cheek to Cheek is not just movie magic.
It is magical.
The swoops.
The swirling lifts.
Rogers' fast running steps.
Astaire's exquisite carriage and sophistication.
The juxtaposition of tension and ease with which they pull against each other as the create beautiful FULL plastic shapes.
Their unified purpose. They are so in sync and harmonious.
It is sublime.

Sublime: worthy of adoration... lifted up or set high... that which is grand in nature or art, as distinguished from the merely beautiful.

Sublime AND eternal.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Two Show Sunday

Matinee and evening performance of our choreographer's concert today.

The matinee is over and so far, no major mix-ups. I had to go buy some coffee for intermission since we didn't have any. So off I went to the Trader Joe's a block away.

Since I don't drink coffee, I was perhaps not the best qualified person for the errand.

I was a bit disoriented by the "dark roast","house blend", "Ethiopian," etc choices. At least, I knew enough not to just buy whole beans and bring them back. I did, however, have to depend on the kindness of strangers (or at least the Trader Joe's staff) to help me operate the coffee grinding apparatus.

By the time I got back, I had to figure out how to use an industrial coffee pot. So many traps I could fall in. Especially since I always hear people grumbling about "bad coffee."

That said, I am now the Coffee King!!! Or at least that is what people said to my face.

As for the concert. Some nice things and some things that could have used some guidance. So when we do this again, we will have a couple of get-togethers with the choreographers before hand. So that they can get feedback from each other and the staff.

But all in all, a good beginning. Knock wood for tonight.

Lemons. Yes, more food. I'll do something artistic and serious on Wednesday. Too busy right now.

Lemon ice cream. Lemon candy. Lemon flavored marinades and dressings.

I can even just eat the whole thing with a bit of salt.

I LOVE lemons.

Favorites are Lemon Starburst, Lemon Jolly Ranchers and San Pelligrino Limonata.

All that ultra superduper sour candy they have these days, where was it when I was a child!!!!!

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Here I Sit...

It is 7:07.

The show will start in the studio upstairs in 53 minutes. Just walked in the door and I have absolutely nothing to do until I walk into the studio. Such a lovely feeling. Bliss.

Don't have to deal with a costume that isn't working.
Don't have to deal with tickets.
Don't have to do any last minute tech notes.

Didn't even need to dress up since I will be sitting on the floor for the show. :)

So I am ready to be surprised by whatever choreographic delights may occur tonight.

Had a little emergency yesterday. I don't think I mentioned this but earlier this year, my mom had a major surgery. She had a fairly advanced case of scoliosis that was rapidly getting worse. So in January, she had a 9 hour operation to take her spine apart and put it back together.

Well, things are actually going pretty well. She has a body brace that she wears while she is awake, but she is being weaned off. Well, yesterday, she fell as she was getting out of a chair and ended up breaking her wrist. Everything is fine and she isn't in pain but it made for an exciting evening.

I only have a few minutes, so I'll pick something easy. Since I was talking about my mom...

I loved Mighty Mouse as a child. My mom used to plunk us in front of the TV and turn it on. She said that she liked the show because the mice were so sweet and cute.

I think I liked the ears and the (predominantly) yellow costume.

To this day, I like mice and rats as pets, maybe I am just channeling my days in front to the tube.

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Friday, May 04, 2007


Ah the joy of bulk mailing.

Today, we had to get our bulk mailing sorted out for the upcoming fundraiser. So with the help of my stalwart Chula Vista Middle School students...

We put enough of a dent in the invites and envelopes...

That Robin and I were able to get it all ready...

So that Elena (our office aid and junior company director) can take it off to the post office.

More artistic director glamor, sitting on the floor with address labels. At least the carpet is nicer here than it was in our old studio.

At CVM, I was leaving my room and came face to face with some "lovely" fresh graffiti. Not just gang style tagging, but more along the lines of something you would see in a men's restroom...

In a bad part of town...

Complete with illustrations...

AND gang references.

So since there were kids around I had to stand in front of it, so they couldn't see it, as they passed from class to class. It's the little things that make the life of a public school teacher so delightful.

At SDB, the independent choreographers had a dress rehearsal for their show tomorrow. I didn't attend. I plan on being surprised. But I DID hear a lot of applause from the dancers for each other. And the 3 shows are sold out. So that is good. We are selling space on the floor now. Bring a cushion.

Karen and Chelsy are off to Australia on Monday, so I decided to take them to one of my favorite places in San Diego.

C Level ( a take on Sea Level) is a wonderful restaurant on the bay in San Diego. It is the more informal part of a fancy schmancy restaurant...

For more info on both, you can go to...

C level is a lovely place to go and chat, but it isn't just the yummy food, huge desserts, super cool front door and friendly wait staff (ask for Jesse) that make the place memorable. C level has THE most amazing view of San Diego of any restaurant in town. And I personally think that the view from C level is better than the view from Island Prime.

Now the pic above is very nice, but doesn't do it justice. Because if you kept tracking to the right in the pic, you would see the Coronado Bridge, Coronado, lit up aircraft carriers, the Point Loma Lighthouse and more. All from a deck that jets right out onto the bay.

But reading this one would think that my "favorite thing" I am writing about is C Level. It isn't, although I love the place.Or the San Diego skyline. Which is a favorite thing but not this time around.

My favorite thing is a drink I had at C level for the first time. A Lucille Ball.

For those of you who do not know me, I don't drink alcohol. Never have, never will. Don't like the taste and I have no desire to be high, drunk or in any altered state whatsoever. (Not that my friends live by the same rules.)

Anyway, it isn't often that restaurants take the time to make non-alcoholic fun stuff.

So the Lucille Ball was a nice surprise. A GROWN UP non-alcoholic drink. The flavors were mainly lime and mint. When you drank it, it seemed as if you had a few mint leaves in your mouth and were just letting some purified water filter through them.

It isn't often that you experience a totally new eating/drinking experience at 45 but I can truly say that the Lucille Ball was exactly that.

AND it comes in a BIG glass :)

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

All In Their Places...

With bright shining faces.

Put all of the Middle school girls in their places for their dances.

It is a bit of a juggling act. At that level (first year dance) some girls are just more naturally pre-disposed to the art form. That doesn't mean that if someone really applied themselves that they couldn't bring themselves up, but it takes time.

It takes years to make a dancer. Unlike a San Diego Ballet performance, where I have an obligation to put the best performance out there (even if it means keeping a dancer from performing), here I need to make sure that every girl has a chance to show what she has learned.

Now, the weaker dancers WANT the stronger dancers in front, so they can follow them. But they can't follow them forever. So I try to make sure that they all have at least a moment in front.

After class, I zoomed to the SDB offices to have a meeting about Buddy Holly with Steve Gunderson. We got a lot accomplished but still have a lot to do.

...then I did the glamorous job of stuffing some invites for our upcoming auction.

Back to my childhood, the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat.


I just love the name. It's fun to say. It's great that the actual wombat looks like what one would imagine a wombat should look like.

Nature's bulldozers. Evidently, despite their cuddly demeanor, they can be very nasty adults. Solitary animals that don't like being bugged.

Hmmm. I wonder why I have such an affinity for them?

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Another Day, Another... Day

Welcome to my multi-tasking life.

This morning I had my Star Awards committee meeting at the Westgate Hotel. Made my presentation. It was brilliant! Ate a lovely fruit filled croissant.

I always feel a bit at odds in the Westgate. I don't like being waited on and I dislike heavy ornamentation. The Westgate is very lush.

I am sure others feel right at home in this type of place, but I always feel as if the drapes are too long (They are touching the floor!) and my decidedly relaxed day-to-day attire is decidedly out of place.

Not that I can't clean up well (I am known for that as well), I just prefer comfort over effect. I am sure it has gotten me into situations with funders, since I don't dress to impress. But you know, I am not here to impress people. And some people want to be impressed so badly.

Anyhow, after the meeting (where I killed) I went off to teach 3 classes at the middle school. Finished teaching all the steps, tomorrow they get places. I actually did a hinge up off the floor today in class. A jazz step that I haven't done in years. The girls had never seen one, so I had to "perform it" for them. In all my tubby glory.

It actually felt pretty good. Kind of opened up my back on one side. But it didn't feel so wonderful that I thought I should risk a second one :)

After class, I ran (drove quickly) home to spend some quality time with the pooch. I have to remind him who the master is.

That was followed by a meeting on fundraising for Luce Auditorium, the building next to the dance studios. We want to renovate it into a theater for the resident dance companies at DancePlace. We need to raise $65,000 for a study. To date we have gotten about $49,000, so we are closing the gap.

So now, I am back in the office typing away at you my little blog. The office is getting a bit costume logged, as we have a choreographer's concert coming up... as well as a school recital. Don't really enjoy wading through costumes, but that is the life I guess.

Okay, its about time I picked a dancer. So the first dancer I pick has to be...

Natalia Makarova. Makarova was one of the great Russian defectors of the 70's. Along with Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, she made the "leap" to the West in search of artistic freedom. Although ballet is primarily seen as a woman's art, it is usually the male dancers that capture the public-at-large's imagination. Even the lesser known Alexander Goudenov made headlines and movies (Witness).

So Makarova was probably THE ballerina at the time, although her partners would sometimes get more press. But not because of what was happening onstage.

She was known best for her extreme lyricism and exquisite line. She was a jumper and had lovely extension. She was not a turner. Her great roles were Giselle and Odette. But every Makarova performance was as if she were creating something new. Unlike her younger rival at the time, Gelsey Kirkland, her performances were journeys of self discovery. Both researched their roles extensively. But Kirkland would calculate her brilliant performances in a scientific manner. Makarova would release herself into her roles.

Anton Dolin once told her, "NOBODY does the Act Two adagio in Giselle as slowly as you."

To which she replied with a smile, "Yes, but if something is fast, I like it to be VERY fast. Extreme."

She was always looking to draw things out as much as she could so that she could be dancing on the edge. You can see her feeling... "How much further can I stretch this line?"

Although she came to the West for larger creative expression, she made her largest mark in the classical and romantic roles she had performed in Russia. Of her many experiments with contemporary choreography, perhaps the best was OTHER DANCES, a pas de deux choreographed by Jerome Robbins for her and Baryshnikov. Above is an image of her in costume for the piece, but the pose is not from the ballet. It is pure Makarova.

She was NOT a traditionally musical dancer. What people failed to understand about her was that HER phrasing was the most important thing to her. If the music was a bit fast at a performance, rather than push herself to stay with the music but kill her line, she would instead finish her phrase and catch up to the music later.

She did not see herself as a slave to a conductor's baton. Which caused quite a few heated discussions between ballet lovers, music lovers and people who were both.

The first two "real" ballet dancers I ever saw perform were Baryshnikov and Makarova in OTHER DANCES. Not knowing any better, I just assumed that ALL ballet dancers had the same amount of technical mastery and artistry. To this day, every dancer I see is judged by that first glimpse. I will always remember her developpe' a la second in this piece. The plasticity of the movement made think "Oh, THATS what dancing is."

This is an image the two in Sleeping Beauty. Not a good ballet for either, although you couldn't tell by the pic. Sleeping Beauty is THE most classical ballet. Not much drama in the dancing itself, so both artists found it hard to break though what they perceived as the pinnacle of academism. They were both also very short, so in a ballet that is all about grandeur of line they might have felt as if they needed to over compensate.

What Nureyev, Baryshnikov and Makarova did bring with them was an immense knowledge of an art form that had developed in quite a different way in a closed society. As much as Balanchine revolutionized ballet by his work in the US, these three revitalized ... ballet dancers through their personalities and performances. And Makarova, being a woman, was an artistic role model for thousands of girls who needed one. A job she took seriously.

Her re-stagings and coachings of classical roles were invaluable in the renaissance in female ballet dance in America.

Makarova was not just an intelligent, emotional, fascinating dancer, she was an intellectual as well. Her autobiography, complete with PLENTY of pictures is a must read for any kind of dancer.

The end of Makarova's career coincided with the fall of the USSR. Because of this she was able to be reunited in some very emotional farewell performances with her original ballet company in London and Leningrad (Saint Petersburg.)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

testing... testing

Ah... then day is almost done as I sit here in the office at 8:30.

One of the regular renters is in a studio down the hall... capoeira. It's very loud, but the people have great energy. Singing right now

Continued to cover for Bev. They are testing. Remember that? number 2 pencils and filling in the bubbles. So I didn't have to go in until 10. Normally, it is 8 am. Not being a morning person, you can understand why I stopped teaching in the public school arena. Tomorrow, I don't start until 10:40. Huzzah!

Anyway I was freaking out because I had to get some things ready for a meeting at the San Diego Foundation (big granters). And when I got to the office I realized that my meeting is NEXT Tuesday. Huzzah! Huzzah! So now I am ahead of the curve.

Karen (Chelsy's mom) was teaching her final tap class (before they head back to Australia), so she had a pizza party. I got to pinch some. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

So all that left was for me to get my materials together for a Star Awards meeting tomorrow. I have to present the ideas for the awards ceremony, so thanks to Photoshop and Google and my Printer (which is chugging away) I will have my full color inspirational package ready in moments.

The theme I have chosen is from Portia's speech from Merchant of Venice...

"How far that little candle throws his beams... so shines a good deed!"

There are a lot of presenters and I wanted to try to get images of the in the presentation, I managed to find them all (thank you again Google) except one. I couldn't find an online picture of the president of the Performing Arts League, so I had to find a place holder.

So being me, I decided to have fun with it.

Meet Mr. Place Holder...

That should be good for a chuckle.

So onto...

Want a fast one today so I will just give you... a quote that we will use in the Star Awards

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The guy who wrote The Little Prince.

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