The two Georges: Balanchine & Chakiris

Dance · Film
Okay, it’s a stretch! But bend-and-stretch is what dance is all about, isn’t it? Still, we were delighted to trip upon an amazing comparison, in a book review/essay by one of our premier dance writers, Joan Acocella. Publishing in The New Yorker magazine (“Balanchine Teaching” January 11, 2017), the critic/dance historian, in describing George Balanchine’s ...

Review: Los Angeles Ballet “Directors’ Choice” program

Dance · Reviews
by 
The last time I saw Los Angeles Ballet was at the Ford Theatre in the early 1980s – that, of course, was the other Los Angeles Ballet, the one directed by John Clifford. Always on shaky ground, and much maligned by the Los Angeles Times, it later faced dwindling financial support and stiff competition from ...

REVIEW: Ballerina Wendy Whelan, restless for a reason 2

Dance · Reviews
At left, an iconic photograph of George Balanchine partnering Suzanne Farrell in “Don Quixote” for New York City Ballet. Wendy Whelan/Restless Creature, which we enjoyed Saturday evening in Long Beach, brought to mind this historic pairing — a great choreographer dancing with his muse. The four-ballet program, premiered in 2013 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, ...

Irina Baronova, baby ballerina no more

Dance
In 1932 George Balanchine happened upon a ballet protégée, Irina Baronova, when she was a 12-year-old pupil of Olga Preobrajenska, the Russian ballerina teaching in exile in Paris. The visionary choreographer, who throughout his career would repeatedly mentor and package outstanding female dance talent, bundled Baronova with two equally precocious ballet cohorts, Tamara Toumanova (12) ...

Story of Tanaquil

Dance · Film
We are so looking forward to Dance Camera West‘s special screening of “Afternoon of a Faun” at the Aero Theatre next Thursday evening, co-presented with the American Cinematheque. I will be interviewing Nancy Buirski, the documentary film’s director, after the screening. It portends to be an amazing event, mixing and matching a crowd of dance ...

Gomes transcends in Balanchine’s “Apollo” for ABT

Dance
It was not just “awesome,” but indeed a privilege to watch Brazilian-born Marcelo Gomes, a great personal favorite, stretch his lovely long limbs as the Greek god, Apollo, in George Balanchine’s plotless ballet dating from 1928. In the dance the young man encounters and frolics with three muses, Calliope, the muse of poetry, Polyhymnia, the ...

Balanchine visits Grand Park, courtesy of Los Angeles Ballet

Dance · Reviews
Perhaps it was City Hall — imposing, authoritarian, standing “at attention” behind Grand Park’s platform stage — that riveted the crowd. People were afraid that if they misbehaved, they’d get busted. Or blame it on Balanchine. A huge throng of more than 3,000 respectful onlookers serenely watched Los Angeles Ballet present a double-bill of works ...

Cruising “Corsaire”s

Dance
Preparing for four “Le Corsaire” (1856-restaged) performances by American Ballet Theatre next weekend at the Music Center. I’ve not seen anything beyond the warhorse pas de deux of this pirate-themed full-evening ballet. The PDD’s a beloved ballet chestnut, an old and familiar friend, bearing the slight tinge of mothballs. My only-middling enthusiasm for a full-length ...

Commemorating George Balanchine who died 30 years ago 1

Dance
Thirty years since he left us, we are still in his thrall. Here’s a wonderful historic photo of the great Russian-born choreographer-genius George Balanchine, provided to us by the chief archivist of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Norton Owen. In this beautifully composed photograph, Balanchine instructs Mary Ellen Moylan. Photo credit: Hans Knopf, 1942, Jacob’s Pillow ...

Maria Tallchief, who trained in Los Angeles, dies

Dance
Excerpted from “Maria Tallchief, America’s Ballerina, Larry Kaplan [University of Florida: 2005]: When I was twelve years old and Marjorie was ten and a half, we went to a new ballet teacher. A ballet mother at Mr. Belcher’s told Mother that the great Bronislava Nijinska had opened a studio near Beverly Hills, and even though ...