If it’s August, it’s NYCB Nutcracker time in Los Angeles

Dance
This fascinating poster — click on it for detail — dating near to 1954 when Balanchine first staged the Nutcracker [Maria Tallchief as Sugar Plum Fairy, Tanaquil LeClercq as Dewdrop] — comes from the collection of Edith Brozak McMann, a former New York City Ballet dancer. It may interest Los Angeles dance fans of a ...

Melissa Hayden hops a train — just as she hopped into the arms of Jacques d’Amboise 2

Dance
A characteristic shot of the inimitable New York City Ballet ballerina Melissa Hayden (1923-2006), nee Mildred Herman, a nice Canadian Jewish girl (who knew?) who wanted to be a champion swimmer, or so we learned from Milly’s habitual partner, Jacques d’Amboise, at an ALOUD book talk last week. D’Amboise reveled in stories about the extroverted, ...

Jerome Robbins’s “Glass Pieces” at NYCB

Dance
Program opener “Glass Pieces” was a standout at the final performance of New York City Ballet’s fall season Sunday afternoon. Jerome Robbins made the piece in 1983, a bit of a late comer to the music of minimalist composer Phillip Glass who had long been the darling of the downtown world. The Robbins validation was ...

Upcoming: NEA classical music institute in NYC

Music
arts·meme is proud to announce her participation in the National Endowment for the Arts’s seventh Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera, October 9 – 19 at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Institute is one of three NEA-funded programs that endeavors to reenforce the role that informed writing/criticism plays in a flourishing arts ...

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 ...

The astronaut and the ballerina 1

Dance
Weightlessness has its rewards. In 1950, the ballerina was a featherweight slithering down her partner’s body and marching on her highest pointes as Balanchine’s snaky Siren in “The Prodigal Son.” In 1969 the astronaut, seen at right, clocked in at 35 pounds while padding around the moon’s soft terrain like a stuffed doll. Los Angeles County ...