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November 12, 2005


This has been a hard week as a dance writer. I saw two performances and loathed both of them. Really loathed. Performances that were completely not my aesthetic, that I'd rather not have seen and that in both cases had I not been reviewing I would have walked out of.

I now have to try to fashion two comparatively objective reviews for the same publication that don't sound alike.

I need to see something I love next, because Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (it ain't ballet, I don't care if they jam their women into pointe shoes) made me feel bitter, twisted and old.

On a happier note, I also saw Ballets Russes today, which is a sweet little treasure. If you haven't seen it already, it's worth it if only to see Mia Slavenska tarted up with red lipstick in her wheelchair swearing that Balanchine would have fallen in love with her for her looks. Natalia Krassovska is as I recall her from 1991, when she was setting Les Sylphides on Lexington Ballet. There's only the single man in that ballet, so I did not work with her, but I was assigned to take her out to lunch, which was a rather pleasant duty. She loved being around younger men, and she loved to talk about the Ballets Russes. I recall asking her about the double saut de basques that Marie-Jeanne purportedly did in Ballet Imperial, but although Krassovska also danced the lead, she didn't recall them.

The film dwells more on the personalities of the dancers than it does on the dances themselves, which probably makes it more interesting for the general public, if a lost opportunity. But maybe Ballets Russes will make people want to know more about Massine's choreography or see more than the fleeting glimpse we got of Nijinska's Etude.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at November 12, 2005 11:03 PM

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