DanceView Times, New York edition
Volume 1, Number 6 November 3, 2003 An online supplement to DanceView magazine
Letter from New York
Jinx Falkenburg, one of the pioneers of live talk on television, estimated that, during the 1940s and ‘50s—when she was producing two radio shows and a live t.v. show daily, five days a week, with her husband, Tex McCrary—she conducted over 16,000 interviews. Many of them were with political figures, such as Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. Some were with intellectuals, such as Albert Einstein. And thousands were with entertainers, among them, Fred Astaire, whom Jinx interviewed while dancing with him. Among the youngsters on the production crew for these programs were William Safire and Barbara Walters, who closely studied Jinx’s interviewing style and went on to incorporate it into her own way of approaching subjects on camera.
cover girl; movie starlet (she played a bit part in the Gene Kelly-Stanley
Donen movie Cover Girl, whose script was based on her own career); champion
swimmer, tennis player, and golfer—Jinx only danced for pleasure.
She was never formally trained. However, her lanky frame (5’9”
or so), intense athletic discipline, perfect posture, and lush, high-boned
beauty gave her the look of a dancer. Had her life taken a different turn,
she might well have been a great one. Two weeks before her death, on August
27th of this year, she excavated several publicity photos taken of her
on the set of Tahiti Nights, a hapless movie from 1945. One shows
her in a vivid leap, somewhere between a saut de chat and a grand jeté;
another shows her poised in sous-sus on high, 7/8th point, her legs pulled
up like the stems of martini glasses—each producing one smoothly
continuous line that might have been drawn by Al Hirschfeld.
Catch up on past Letters you may have missed.
ABT City Center Season
Dorian—Not Quite Wilde Enough
else, American Ballet Theatre’s fall season proves that when critics
declare that William Forsythe is the antichrist of ballet, they really
mean Jiri Kylian. It’s always better to try something and fail,
as Forsythe is apt to do. Kylian, however, invents serviceable dances
that include the same basic traits: Mickey Mousing the music note for
note; the addition of props, however incongruous; Martha Graham contractions;
and meaningless gesture as a way to jazz up classical vocabulary. I’m
not sure when covering the eyes with the fingertips became accepted as
a part of the ballet idiom, but judging by Kylian (and that of his adoring
imitators, Nacho Duato and Stanton Welch) it is as crucial as the arabesque.
in to the Master Works
ABT's Master Works program sounds fantastic, given the choreographic masters
represented: Sir Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, Antony Tudor and Marius
Petipa. Not too shabby, as they say. It is a bit odd, however, that the
company looked more at home in Graham's Diversion of Angels than
the three "real" ballets. Not that the dancers looked particularly
ill at ease in the other works, but rather that, while one might reasonably
expect that a ballet company must find its own path with a modern dance
work, particularly such good, old-fashioned idiosyncratic modern dance
as Graham's, the same can't really be said for works by ballet choreographers,
even ones as diverse as these, and here, although the ABT dancers usually
gave clear and strong renditions of the overall choreography, they were
less consistent in presenting the unique, subtle perfume of each of these
distinctive and truly masterful works—not that ABT, and Kevin McKenzie,
shouldn't be commended for trying.
"I Am, and Will Always Be, a Hoofer"
DANCE! - A DANCE TRIBUTE TO HOLLYWOOD
Coherence is not usually a term one associates with gala evenings, with their hodge-podge of specialty acts and their dominance by star turns. But this year's Career Transition for Dancers annual gala took the theme of paying tribute to dance in Hollywood films and stuck to it in a smooth-running, intelligently organized program that covered all the bases—without showing a single film clip.
premise was to introduce each program segment with a Hollywood veteran
(or two), whose career had a connection to the ensuing number . This worked
very well when, for instance, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris—the
Riff and Bernardo of the 1961 West Side Story film—came
out to reminisce about the making of the film, leading into an excerpt
of from New York City Ballet's dynamic West Side Story Suite.
The underlying sense of impassioned spirituality that underlies Ronald K. Brown's work tends to evoke a powerful response in audiences, but it can also be problematic. He creates dances that allude to a higher purpose, using a blend of African-inspired movement and club-dancing sensuality, and they make a strong impact on an emotional level. His Grace (1999) for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tends to leave audiences ecstatic, but while it a rich display of luscious movement, it creates what amounts to a cheap high, greatly buoyed by some luscious music.
program his company brought to the Joyce offered a great deal of wonderful
dancing, earnestly presented and propelled by noble or spiritual intentions.
But it revealed the weaknesses of Brown's choreography, which assembles
some blazing and thrilling passages of movement but doesn't always have
a structure or coherent plan behind it.
What's On This Week
4 and 11
4-9 (opened October 22)
4-November 30 (opened October 30)
November 6-8 (Thu-Sat) & 13-15 (Thu-Sat) 8pm $20
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