Saturday, September 22, 2007

This Week in Dance History

This Week in Dance History

September 24, 1932-Birthday of Svetlana Beriosova -Lithuanian-born classical ballerina. She was one of the most beloved of the British ballerinas during the great days of the Royal Ballet, renowned in the classics, especially Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Read a tribute to the artist on the Magazine web page. You can also see a video clip of her on YouTube. (She dances a pas de deux with Nureyev. The clip is slightly blurry.)

September 25, 1905-Harriet Hoctor, known as "America's Most Cleverest Ballerina," was born. She was famous for her backbends and stunts like tapping up and down an escalator en pointe.

September 26, 2002- Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project premiered "The Show," a new commission by New York cabaret maverick Richard Move at PACT Zollverein in Essen Germany. The production was described by Dance Magazine as a hybrid dance melodrama that "takes us from Hollywood hyperbole and reality TV to video-game warfare."

September 27 2003- Donald O'Connor the actor and song and dance man best known for the "Make 'Em Laugh" number in the film "Singin' in the Rain" passed away at age 78. He also appeared in such '50s musicals as "Call Me Madam," "Anything Goes" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" and starred in the Francis the Talking Mule series.

September 28, 1934- "The Fountain of Bakhchisaray" debuted at the Kirov. It is considered one of the earliest and best examples of the Soviet genre "dram-ballet." ''Dramballet'' is a contraction of "dramatic ballet," and it relied heavily on gesture rather than dance steps.

And on this date in 2000, "Ballet for Life," a ballet based on the life of rock star Freddie Mercury of Queen, opened at Sadler's Wells Theater.

September 29 1964- President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill creating a National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities.

On this date in 1981- Astronomer L.V. Zhuravleva at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory charted a new asteroid and named it Maximova for the ballerina Ekaterina Maximova. (Seen below in Don Quixote)

And on this date in 2001- An animal psychologist from Exeter University in England held a "horse ballet" at her farm. She taught what she called classical ballet steps to her horses. Read more about it on the BBC's web page. (Although I haven't come up with video of the horses' classical ballet moves, there is no shortage of videos tagged "horse dancing" on Youtube.)

September 30 1961- The Kirov Ballet finished a successful run at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Dance Magazine reviewer Doris Hering wrote of the company: "The Kirov ... has used restraint as the key to its style, both in dance and in mime. But with the exception of Shostakovitch Seventh Symphony, it has not created a comparable simplicity in its staging and decorative aspects. If it is fair to judge from the repertoire of three full-length classics and two variety programs that the company brought to New York, it, too, gives dance an operatic context. The Kirov Ballet might almost be called anachronism."

Resource of the Day

Today's featured resource is Ballet-Dance Magazine. The on-line magazine features reviews and discussion forums for balletomanes everywhere. We would especially like to draw your attention to the features on the Bolshoi Ballet's recent performances in London. (The younger V.V. Lantratov-- Valery's accomplished son Vladislav-- was part of this tour.)

Quote of the Day

"If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it."-Isadora Duncan