At the age of 50, Maya Plisetskaya danced to Ravels Bolero, choreographed by Maurice Bejart. At 61 and with arms like flowing ribbon she danced the Dying Swan [more inside]
The “arsenic” ball gown sits on a headless dressmaker’s form in the basement archives of Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum as senior curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, wearing cotton conservators’ gloves, expounds upon its vintage (late 1860s), its provenance (Australia), its exquisite construction—and, most relevantly, its ability to kill.[more inside]
Mistakes were made - a Viennese snippet of Jerome Robbins' The Concert (or The Perils of Everybody) (wiki)
The pointe shoe in ballet is a piece of technology critical to the performance of dance. While mechanically tough, its design is simple and flexible enough for personal modification and tailoring to the individual dancer's needs. Spanish artist Lesia Trubat has taken the pointe shoe into the 21st century, sewing in LilyPad Arduino controllers and sensors and integrating their operation with iOS, allowing the dancer to turn pressure and motion into a dynamic and novel expression of this centuries-old art form.
How pointe shoes get made, at Freed's of London (official shoe makers of the Royal Ballet). Has that whet your appetite? You can try your hand at the Royal Ballet's company class (or the Bolshoi's, if that is more your speed). If you never got a chance to take ballet as a kid, be inspired by the adult beginner ballet students of Kathy Mata. [more inside]
Milena Sidorova is a soloist in the Dutch National Ballet. The Spider. Full Moon (aka the Pillow Dance). Reality Conundrum.
The Washington Ballet's hardest dance moves - PostTV goes behind the scenes at the Washington Ballet to get six professional dancers to show off the most difficult moves in their repertoire. [via]
Second Breath. On Saturday night, the first breath of the BBC's new Arts initiative was a live stream on the evening of Museums at Night which included this short dance piece by Russell Maliphant and English National Ballet at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. All the BBC Arts clips also have their own page which includes other reports from Saturday including a visit with Spencer Tunick in Folkstone and artist Bill Fontana discussing his superb Vertical Echoes sound installation. [more inside]
Mr. B Talks about Ballet:
Only with these people now, on stage, does it exist. It is not sad at all. It is wonderful, it is now. It is alive. It is like a butterfly. I always say butterflies of yesterday don't exist.[1965 Time magazine Google Books warning. You can zoom in to read using the buttons, and note that the pictures start 4 pages earlier.]
To The Great God Pan
There is only one piece of film that shows Isadora Duncan dancing. It is four seconds long, the very end of a performance, and it is followed by eight seconds in which Duncan accepts applause. This small celluloid footprint – light-struck in the manner of Eugène Atget – contains quite a bit of information. It is an afternoon recital, early in the 20th century, and it takes place en plein air, trees in the background, like so much of the painting of the day. Duncan enters the frame turning, her arms positioned in an upward reach not unlike ballet’s codified fourth position, but more naturally placed. ... Because of her thrown back upper body it seems as if she is running, but she is actually slow and steady, offering herself to something so large she doesn’t need to move fast. The dance over, she stands simply and acknowledges her audience with a Christ-like proffering of her palms. In fact, her classical garb is as much that of the sandalled shepherd of men as it is a barefoot goddess of Greek mythology. ‘I have come,’ she once said, ‘to bring about a great renaissance of religion through the dance, to bring the knowledge of the beauty and holiness of the human body through its expression of movements.’ Thus spake Isadora.[more inside]
A Day of Grace: A time lapse video of one day at Studio 7 with the Boston Ballet.
EN PUNTAS (extracts). "A ballerina, whose pointe shoes are extended by a set of sharp kitchen knives, dances and twirls insistently until reaching exhaustion, fighting to maintain balance on the lid of a grand piano set on a stage..." Video installation by artist Javier Pérez, featuring ballerina Amélie Ségarra.
Performance of part of Swan Lake Ballet by Chinese State Circus [SYTL] 4min 29 seconds The full video is here, but for those of you who want to get to the jaw dropping / extreme balance stuff immediately, here is a link which starts at the 1min 40 (ish) mark. Enjoy.
"If anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away." American ballerina Maria Tallchief died Thursday. [more inside]
Bolshoi Ballet Director Is Victim of Acid Attack: [NYTimes.com] "A masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet, on Thursday night, leaving him with third-degree burns and possibly threatening his eyesight, Bolshoi officials said on Friday morning."
It is Christmas Eve (or the 7th night of Chanukah), and the Stahlbaums are having a lavish party in Germany, or Harlem, or 1770s Washington, DC, or a 1970s-esque retro-future, or a cabaret or any number of times and places ... and then the magic happens! [more inside]
Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
The official music video for jbDubs "I Hate My Job" features some lovely choreography by men in high heels.
You may have seen these small little triangular shaped cars riding around on the bicycle paths in Holland. Called Cantas, these are sold exclusively to people with disabilities, though there is a lively secondhand market in them as more people turn away from cars to much cheaper scooter mobiles. Only Cantas are legally allowed to ride on bicycle paths or pavements though and only Cantas have had a ballet designed for them. [more inside]
Ballet dancers of the Staatsballett Berlin at 1000 FPS, to the sound of Radiohead. Also: TimeTwist [more inside]
In 1975, 10-year-old Stephanie was followed by photographer Jill Krementz as the subject of the book A Very Young Dancer (Stephanie was a student at the School of American Ballet, and was chosen by George Balanchine to play Marie in that year's production of the Nutcracker. Now, 34 years later, the New York Times has found her again.
A look behind the surprising amount of CGI used during the production of Black Swan. [slyt] [nsfw] [spoilers]
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan has entered a long line of ballet movies to critical acclaim, Golden Globe nominations and Oscar buzz. But what do ballerinas think of it?
Ballerina Project — Nine years ago, young photographer Dane Shitagi walked up New York City’s Broadway towards the highly patronized and well known STEPS dance studios in search of a ballet dancer who could help him begin his project: to capture images of ballerinas in urban environments. Those images first started appearing on Blogspot, but have since migrated to Facebook. [via]
'I couldn't find one black woman working in ballet and that stunned me. I decided to do something about it myself.' What she achieved was ballet company Ballet Black and its associated school.
An entire opera in sock form. Although the opera has a happy ending, alas, the pictured sock seems to be unmated. Another opera sock: La fille du régiment. Apparently, she often creates "stitch patterns out of something very nearly approximating whole cloth." [more inside]
Street Dance vs Ballet - Dance It Up (SLYT)
(SLYTP-filter) What choreography goes best with Igor Stravinsky's "Dance of the Young Girls" from his Rite of Spring? [more inside]
"Long River High Sky" is a collaborative performance by Alonzo King's Lines Ballet and the monks of the Shaolin Temple USA.
I'm not the world's biggest ballet fan, but there's just something about seeing Chinese ladies doing their plié and their relevé and their pirouettes while pointing rifles that speaks to something deep and primal within me. It's The Red Detachment of Women, of course. And comrades, you are urged to view it in its entirety. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
Pretty Big Dig
A dance film by Anne Troake that gently illustrates the assimilation of technology. QT video [more inside]
A dance film by Anne Troake that gently illustrates the assimilation of technology. QT video [more inside]
Nude Ballet sparks national anger The Russian National Ballet will perform Romeo and Juliet - with nude scenes - for the first time in its World's Greatest Ballets program set to debut in Australia next month.
The Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, with Margeaux Mundeyn, Pavel Törd, Ida Nevasayneva, Vladimir Legupski, Sveltlana Lofatkina, Olga Supphozova, Lariska Dumbchenko, Fifi Barkova is reviewed by Joan Acocella, "they pass through the joke and come out the other side, where the subject, having been laughed at, is once again embraced, enthroned." pic 1, and 2 .
After a three-year absence and $108 million in renovations, Europe's premier grand dame of opera houses, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, will reopen on December 7, 2004. The honor of the opening night opera has been delegated to Antonio Salieri through his obscure opera-ballet Europa Riconosciuta, which is the very same opera that inaugurated La Scala's first season in 1778, and has not been performed in 226 years.
Ever worn a very sparkly, floppy table?* Just one requires enough fabric to cover a tennis court from baseline to net, at least 20 different measurements and the finished product can end up costing more than 10 iPods. [bonus links inside]
When Barbie meets ballet...? Mattel are shelling out £85,000 to sponsor the ENO's traditional Christmas run of the Nutcracker, which coincidentally starts just as Barbie in the Nutcracker hits the cinemas. A good way to "interest young girls in the ballet", or a head-on crash between two questionable influences on their body image? (more inside...)
Cruelty or reality? A San Fran ballet school rejects an eight-year-old would-be ballerina deemed too large to dance.