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Subject: "Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Alexandra

23-10-99, 05:30 PM (GMT)
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"Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
 
   Suzanne Farell has started a chamber company (whether it will last beyond this run or not is an open question) that will be touring some east coast cities in America for the next five weeks. She's doing several Balanchine ballets, one Robbins and (brave woman) one Bejart (US is hostile territory for Bejart).

It opened in Washington, and here are the links to the Washington Post reviews, one by me and one by the primary Post critic, Sarah Kaufman. As a stager, Farell is one of those people who can bring a ballet back from the dead and make a nondescript dancer glow. The tickets are cheap ($28 instead of the usually $60 or $70) and the second night, there were more little children (both boys and girls) in the audience than I've ever seen at a ballet performance that wasn't "Nutcracker." They "oohed" at all the right places, too.

http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-10/22/160l-102299-idx.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-10/23/126l-102399-idx.html


I don't have the links for it, but Edward Villella's Miami City Ballet has also been touring, with a production of Balanchine's "Jewels," that has gotten raves from everyone I know who's seen it. I thought some of you might be interested in some GOOD ballet news from America for a change.

Alexandra


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America shag 23-10-99 1
     RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America Alexandra 24-10-99 2
         RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America shag 24-10-99 3
             RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America Barbara 26-10-99 4
                 RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America Alexandra 27-10-99 5
                     RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America Barbara 27-10-99 6
                         RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America Alexandra 27-10-99 7
                             RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America John 29-10-99 8

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shag

23-10-99, 07:11 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #0
 
   Alexandra

I know you loathe when I bring up the company I am most closely affiliated with, but we (Maximum Dance) performed Baquti (boy I mangled that, but I don't have a program handy)in June 98 with former NYCB and MCB dancer Myrna Kamara in the lead and it brought the house down!

I have heard that Bejart is not a fave in the US, but I don't really understand it. Also MCB does a piece eirily similar to a 20 year old Bejart offering they bill as "new". Is there some "bigger" issue to the Bejart dislike?


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Alexandra

24-10-99, 02:32 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #1
 
   LAST EDITED ON 24-Oct-99 AT 04:39 AM (GMT)

Bejart was before my time, so I didn't have a ringside seat for that fight. I saw the company about half a dozen times, but a long time ago, and before I started thinking critically. I was not impressed with what I saw, except "Songs of a Wayfarer," which was done for Nureyev and which I liked very much, and a solo he did for Jean Babilee.

Bejart was immensely popular in the '60s and '70s for really spectacular theater pieces -- flying angels, motorcycles, day glow whatsits. He was also openly, flamboyantly gay before it was safe to be so. He was using ballet to reach for a young, mass audience. (Caveat: Europeans may have a very different view.) The people who didn't like Bejart seem to be those who want to see choreography more than theater. Bejart went in for big effects and the choreography was quite repetitive.

The comments I overheard about the Romeo and Juliet were pretty much that it seemed silly. Some people were nastier than that, but I'll go with silly. I will say that after three times, it's growing on me, but I wouldn't seek it out.

Shag, I have to say I'm a bit puzzled by the way you began your post, or why you want to carry a discussion we've had in emails about your posting of material perceived to be press releases on Ballet Alert. Sorry, Bruce. I would never have brought this up and I have no intention of pursuing this on your site. But I thought the statement, uncorrected, was rather misleading.

Alexandra


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shag

24-10-99, 11:12 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #2
 
   I think you missed the point of an attempt at a good natured poke. You really should be less serious and less sensitive. I meant no disrespect.


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Barbara

26-10-99, 06:41 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #3
 
   Alexandra

I was very interested to read your posting about the Suzanne Farrell company in Washington. I also attended the first night, and I wondered if you could "put me right" about one or two things. Firstly, I was a bit disappointed in the evening simply because from the blurb I had picked up at the Kennedy Center way back it seemed to indicate that Farrell would be on stage discussing the works on view, her role in them, their importance in the history of ballet etc etc. On the first night at any rate, she gave a very brief introduction and a very modest curtain call at the end. My second disappointment was not seeing Meditation; again the blurb did not indicate which ballets were being performed when. So my question is, do you know whether this was intended originally and "things" changed, or was the marketing material just mistaken (or was I mistaken?).

Having said that, it was wonderful (and touching) just to see her, and very interesting to see some ballets I had never seen before like Robbins' Faun and the Bejart R&J (though I don't think the latter would ever become a favourite!).

One last question, there was a very lengthy article in the Sunday Post magazine about Farrell and this company, and the piece implied that Meditation would be danced by a very young girl - Amy (whose surname I can't remember!). Do you know anything about what happened to her?

Sorry to pick your brains so, but there has been a lot of coverage of this in the Washington Post, USA Today etc and I am just curious.

Barbara Corbett


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Alexandra

27-10-99, 05:24 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #4
 
   Barbara, I'll be glad to answer what I can.

I don't know what material you read from the Kennedy Center, so I can't comment specifically, but they may have been referring to the last program she did, with The Washington Ballet two years ago, where the first half of the program was a rehearsal of the solos and pas de deux from "Diverimento No. 15" and the second half was a performance of same, followed by a brief Q and A. I don't know why they didn't include this. Some cities on the tour are listed as having Q and A sessions.

An aside: Best questions from that Q and A session. (These are paraphrases from memory.)

#1
Q: Who are your favorite living choreographers?
Farrell: I don't know. I don't go to the ballet very often these days.
Q: (same person) What are your favorite TV programs?
Farrell: (Pause) Why did you ask me that?
Q: Well, I wondered what you did with your free time.
Farrell: I do go the theater frequently.

#2 (asked by a very little girl, sitting on her father's knee in the first row and straining forward to see better)
Q: Did you ever dance in "Swan Lake?"
Farrell: Yes.

Q: What was your very most favorite part?
Farrell: The Swan Queen.
Q: Mine too.

Back to YOUR questions. I do know that the program was not settled until very near the opening. Apparently there were some last minute changes with dancers' availability. (I know this because I had to hold Ballet Alert! for two weeks waiting for the changes and still didn't get them!) But I don't think all the works were ever intended to be danced on one program. There were always to be two or three different programs. Perhaps you read the list of ballets and assumed they'd all be on one program? I couldn't say. They did do "Meditation," but not until the second program.

Amy Watson is the young dancer, I believe. She has been in Farrell's summer program for three years. Perhaps she will dance it "on the road" in the New Jersey and New York towns before it gets to New York City? I can't say for sure. I had heard that three people were learning it; two (Christina Fagundes and Veronica Lynn, danced it in D.C.; Watson is the third). She was probably one of the young women who did a walk on in the Bejart, but I don't know which one.

At least you did get to see Farrell give a pre-curtain speech. She did that at the first two performances, but not the third; those were all I attended.

I learned afterwards, by the way, that she did all of the rehearsals herself, without an assistant and they really did only have three weeks, so it's rather amazing.

Thanks for your questions. Sorry I can't be more specific, but I think this is at least relatively informed speculation.

Alexandra


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Barbara

27-10-99, 02:24 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #5
 
   Alexandra

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions so fully - it is all quite fascinating, and, as you say, really quite amazing to think that those recent performances arose out of three weeks' rehearsal time.

I think my personal misunderstanding came from thinking that excerpts from all the ballets advertised would be performed and therefore that the programmes would be the same every night, allowing a first night viewer to see Meditation. Well, it's just one of those things, but I am genuinely sorry to have missed it.

Thanks again for the information.

Barbara Corbett


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Alexandra

27-10-99, 05:01 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #6
 
   Thank you, Barbara. I can understand your disappointment; I would have shared it. But on the bright side, there's a very good chance you'll have another opportunity to see it in the future. "Meditation" was a ballet that Farrell had said in interviews previously that she didn't expect to ever stage it, but now she has.

Alexandra


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John

29-10-99, 06:28 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Suzanne Farrell program; good news from America"
In response to message #7
 
   My wife and I had the pleasure of attending both performances of Miss Farrell's Co. here in Richmond, Va. this week. There was a great deal of (well deserved) favorable publicity in the local papers. Both performances were sold out. It was particularly thrilling to see Meditation, which was danced by Fagundes, and performed only on the second evening. We also particularly enjoyed Miss Farrell's presentation and the dancing of Apollo. After the first performance there was a Q&A during which she had responses from several of the junior and senior members of the Co. to Audience questions. Top price for tickets here was $18.00. All in all, an evening (or two) to die for.

John


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