More aching ballet-world news: Edward Villella to retire from his great achievement, Miami City Ballet, after next season 2

Dance
Just as we digest the news that ABT’s young prince, David Hallberg, will dance only part of his season in the U.S. and spend the preponderant part in Moscow, along comes a startling piece of dance news, an announcement from Miami. Another prince of ballet, this one a veteran, Edward Villella, will retire at the ...

Serenade: C’est un ballet abstrait.

Dance · Language & ideas
Everything sounds better in French. That’s a given. But beyond sounding beautiful, the lovely and poetic program note posted below tackles the hard job of putting the ephemeral into words. What’s the subject? “Serenade,” a ballet that in its making, and in the viewing of it, touches God. C’est un ballet abstrait. C’est- á-dire, sans intention ...

America’s greatest immigrant: the Georgian, Giorgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze 1

Dance
What a man, what an artist! It’s not a glower, it’s not a gloat; what on earth is that expression? [click on photo for better view.] It’s brains, bearing, and class. It’s the look of pure culture. But whatever was going through his mind, there stood Balanchine, majestic Georgian gentleman that he was, photo courtesy ...

Carmageddon & ABT’s communist caper-ballet 5

Dance · Reviews
Despite best efforts, California authorities (the people who brought you Ronald “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev!” Reagan) could not put the kibosh on American Ballet Theatre’s “The Bright Stream,” choreographed by their new in-house guy, Alexei Ratmansky. Clearly controlled by Soviet agents, ABT foisted a clever piece of communist propaganda on our sunny climes. ...

Lorenz Hart taught Balanchine English 1

Dance · Language & ideas · Music
Chatting by phone with George Balanchine’s longtime assistant, Barbara Horgan, I learned an amusing story about the great expatriate choreographer. “Balanchine was rather reserved,” noted Horgan. “But he adored Lorenz Hart [the brilliant but troubled lyricist of Rodgers & Hart songwriting team]. “Balanchine always used to say that ‘Larry taught me how to speak English.'” ...

Polina Semionova, one of seven powerful female dancers of “Reflections” 1

Dance · Reviews
Just back from “Reflections” at Orange County’s Segerstrom Center, a beautifully performed showcase for the spectacular skills of seven Bolshoi Academy-trained ballerinas and four of their male counterparts. Lots of vibrant creativity on display here — in a regrettably overly long program. (I never thought I’d write the words, ‘Cut the Balanchine,’ but here they ...

Early Balanchine/de Chirico collaboration feted in Aussie costume exhibit 1

Architecture & Design · Dance · Visual arts
Ballets Russes expert Dr. Robert Bell, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the National Gallery of Australia, shares these images of Giorgio de Chirico’s original costumes for “Le Bal,” an early Balanchine work based on a Boris Kochno libretto. The “Le Bal” costumes are part of an exhibit now on in Canberra of ...

Ringing in 2011 at the Neujahrskonzert

Dance · Music
They’re gonna have to tie me into my seat when the Strauss waltzes kick in at this weekend’s Neujahrskonzert at Walt Disney Concert Hall. New Year’s concerts — famous, festive, and now franchised — are an old Austrian tradition. You know, like sacher tortes and California governors. [How did the Austrians come up with something ...

Great Los Angeles-born ballerina Cynthia Gregory returns to West Coast 1

Dance
This Martha Swope photo of Cynthia Gregory with the Hungarian, Ivan Nagy, was published in a dance book I pored over as a teenager. The image had a huge impact on me — it was a proto-feminist portrait of a powerful, free young woman. Boy, did I ever want to be her. I enjoyed a ...

Arthur Mitchell delights in his ballerinas

Dance
“I love to partner,” admits the great pioneering African-American ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell who joined New York City Ballet in 1955. In conversation he shares affectionate sound bites about the ballerinas he partnered when dancing for choreographer George Balanchine at New York City Ballet, 1955 – 1966. On Allegra Kent: “Otherworldly. A real creature, there was nothing she ...