Tag Archives: steps of silence

Support dance mentoring and down with the tyranny of the Balanchine Trust!

21 Aug

So I was actually writing this entry yesterday, but decided to go out for a walk, despite an impending thunderstorm.  The park in question (Highbanks, for you C-busers) was right on the edge of the storm so it was kind of deceiving because there was a lot of sun, and I kid you not when I say after getting out of the car, I walked on the trail for about ten seconds when there was a flash of lightning and a deafening crash of thunder.  It actually scared flocks of birds out of trees, so needless to say I high-tailed it out of there.  Anyway, I have in store for you, a smorgasbord entry of mish-mash-melee and unrelated pieces of information, but as always relating to dance.  I also write this amidst recovering from a slight sinus headache of some kind that has been perpetuating for a couple of days.  If you’ve had one, you’d know because port de bras forward makes your head throb and all your muscles are tight as if your body’s been shrink-wrapped.  Oddly enough, that kind of helped my turns, but I would prefer to do without the feeling like I ran into a wall (which happens enough of its own accord).

So young grasshopper, maybe you noticed a couple of new links on the sidebar?  I have a couple of public service announcements, because I like to pretend that an influential public figure might be reading this blog.  So cause number first, is a project shpearheaded by a PhD student at Ohio State, Ashley Thorndike (who I’ve had the pleasure of taking of class from) called the Now & Next Dance Mentoring Project.  Its goals focus on providing service learning opportunities for college age dancers to teach in diverse settings, developing physical competence among adolescent girls, and of course supporting established and emerging dance artists by having them teach in workshops.  She’s looking to promote this at institutions all over the US and Canada, so please check out the website (click here) and join their mailing list/facebook page to stay in the loop or forward information to potentially interested parties.  One thing I love about the dance community is that it IS a community, and dancers, choreographers and students alike are always supporting each other.  They also take donations to help fund the organization, and personally I think this is a great project because oftentimes I think people take for granted what it means to have a mentor.  Not every coach or teacher is in fact a great mentor, and I think this project will help target the development of mentoring skills.  Plus, I’ve always liked Ashley because she has this really entertaining “super model laugh,” where she does the closed eyes, mouth wide open giggle. It’s awesome.  Don’t be fooled, she has moxie though; I remember during one class we were slated to watch a re-staging of Anna Sokolow’s Steps of Silence (jarring music, contorted bodies, oppression, concentration camps…HEAVY stuff) and one of the dancers was sick/injured, and since Ashley had danced that part once before, she ended up filling in.  Now Sokolow was no fluffy choreographer…she meant business, and in that piece the dancers strip down to their underwear like in the concentration camps, and something tells me Ashley wasn’t planning on leaping in front of her entire lecture class in her underwear.  She’s a pro though, and a true artist because it didn’t phase her at all. If it were me, I would have passed out…so if you’re interested in collaborating with Ashley on this project, rest assured you’ve got a confident and good natured professional on your hands.  Best of luck Ashley!

Next cause was made aware to me via theballetbag on twitter, which is that popular youtube user “ketinoa” had their account removed, which included around 1300 videos of the Kirov/Mariinsky performing, some of which I had seen myself.  They were an invaluable (why is it that valuable and invaluable mean the same thing?) resource, for teachers and balletomanes, especially because a lot of us may never get to see the Mariinsky live.  I mentioned in my Salute to Center Stage that the Balanchine Trust is notoriously stingy about having Balanchine works on the tube, and it should come as no surprise that they were the ones responsible for this crime against humanity.  Like, seriously Balanchine Trust…it gets with the program!  Youtube is a great social media outlet that’s basically a free advertising gold mine!  You don’t have to pay, people get to watch, become more interested in Balanchine, and will pay to see his works, because believe it or not, fans of the dance do prefer live performances.  It’s bad enough that a lot of Balanchine’s works aren’t available in full on purchasable media, and if they are it’s an obscure, old VHS tape that hardly anyone has available.  And the fact that one measly percent of the 1300 videos were Balanchine ballets just makes you monstrous biatcherinas.  For more information on how this all went down, and where you can direct your angry e-mails to, check out this video (which hilariously infuses wit with a really sheety situation by calling upon Giselles and Juliets):

I would also like to announce that one of my ducklings, Ifes has a blog to which I’ve added a link, and she’s really into traditional African dance, hip hop, and even a little modern.  I wish I knew a little more about her involvement in those arenas (she did let me try on a lapa once!), but I know she teaches African, choreographed for 3-D, one of the hip-hop (and in my opinion one of the legit) teams at OSU, and…actually I have no idea what she does with modern.  We actually took ballet (which she hates) and jazz together (hey mama!  Papa was a rollin’ stoooone!), saw many modern shows at OSU and we literally traversed through a blizzard to see Ailey II.  She has some beautiful pictures in her blog, and hopefully she’ll write more about her dance experiences for us to enjoy.  Maybe I can convince her to get involved with the Now & Next Dance Mentoring Project!  Oh Billy…sometimes I’m like actually awesome.

Last but not least, if you pay attention to my twitter as much as I do, I posted a link to a review of the script for Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (read here).  It sounds really dark, and it’s going to be directed by Darren Aronofsky (director of Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, among others) so you can expect some serious seriousness.  Normally I don’t do so well with really intense movies, but I have to say this is one I want to see.  With Mao’s Last Dancer coming out this fall, it’s an exciting time for ballet movies…perhaps a legitimate ballet movie will win an Oscar!  I don’t count Benjamin Button because that was a long ass movie that was NOT worth the price of admission for two and a half dinky ballet scenes, which in essence had nothing to do with the story, other than the fact that aging out is an issue in ballet (as if it wasn’t in other career fields?  Puh-lease.)

Have a nice day.