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March 24, 2015


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Any documentary made could never mention the greats of the 60s, 70s, and 80s because it would only show how awful the level of dancing displayed by 15 minute celebrity Copeland and floppy wrists Boyleston.

And never will a photo or clip of the legendary Gelsey Kirkland be included. She would wipe the floor of everyone including the current, favored Russian guest artists.

I thought better of Ric Burns once, but this rumored biopic rumored to be a promotional is something I never thought he would stoop to do.

FYI, I saw Copeland in the Bluebird pas de deux during the Sleeping Beauty run in California, and she gave a clean, neat, small performance with a unchanging, little smile throughout. It was an okay if minor performance.

Thanks, J. I should have specified that I was referring to her Saturday night performance.

BTW, I just noticed that the SB picture of Vishneva on the front of ABT's website is without a white wig. I hope that's a real change.

I guess that means no mention of McKerrow or Jaffe either. Did they forget Baryshnikov was the AD for 9 years? (Sounds like they tried to ).

Don't know about that.

I attended Monday's screening of the film. Star dancers from any era were not the focus of the piece. I missed seeing Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones also but I don't think they were deliberately excluded. Instead, I think the filmmaker chose to make a movie about the history of ballet in America and not a highlight of the stars of ABT over the past 75 years.

Instead, the film highlighted the directors (particularly Lucia Chase) and the choreographers that have been associated with the company throughout its history. Dance historian Jennifer Homans provided a lot of background and commentary. Alicia Alonso was interviewed at some length as was Freddy Franklin but footage of their dancing was minimal. Dance footage concentrated on current company members but for the most part not in performance but in rehearsal or film studio settings.

Hi, Jennifer. Thanks much for the report.

It was interesting to hear from others that there was no mention of Eliot Feld, both an ABT dancer and important choreographer during Lucia Chase's directorship.

The choice to omit "star dancers" from other eras but to feature NON-star dancers such as Boylston and Copeland really does a disservice to ABT's accounting of its own history. These two never will amount to what Cynthia Gregory and Gelsey Kirkland had in their little fingers.

The inclusion of Jennifer Homans' commentary will immediately require a forensic examination for authenticity.

What a shame that the history of ABT will have to be maintained and secured in outsiders' books, Twitter, Facebook, forums and blogs because the current artistic management can't be trusted to tell the truth.

I also was there on Monday and must disagree that the film focused on the history of American ballet. Heck no. The first 30-40 minutes were on world ballet, as in Louis XIV and the Romantic movement, accompanied by b.s. mutterings by Homans that made little sense. My guess is that she'll be peddling her Apollos Angels during PBS pledge onto in May and that local stations will be offering a book-plus-DVD if you join at the $500. Otherwise it makes no sense to include 95% of what we saw of Homans in the final product. I also thought that some of the slow motion footage was exceedingly tacky, such as the close-up of the tip of a pointe shoe slowly descending to slam onto the floor.

Jeannette, was this pointe shoe being worn by anyone or was it self-propelled, like a driverless Google car?

Personally, no matter how well it could have been done I think the whole idea of a documentary is ridiculous anyway when the company hasn't had any recorded performances put on video since 2005.... Kinda sad how SFB and Houston Ballet, "regional" companies, are doing better in that regard than "America's National Ballet Company"...
Instead of a documentary, their should have been a live telecast on PBS of their new Sleeping Beauty which would later be put on DVD and Blueray. But I'm speaking too much sense here let me stop...

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