Monday, June 2, 2008

Audio Oddities on a Ballet Theme

Valery Lantratov has just returned from Cyprus, where he choreographed a special program for a national festival. We're preparing to embark on our most ambitious teaching tour to date and this blog is getting ready to move from its dance history and news to ballet travelogue stage.
We will be teaching roughly 100 classes this summer (the schedule is still getting tweaked even as we pack our suitcases as one class drops out and another is added.) We made the odd decision to go south for the summer. Stay tuned to see how we fare in the heat of Alabama in July.

Schools: If we sent you a contract, regardless of whether you have gotten it back to us, we are assuming you're planning on having the class. If you haven't gotten it back because you're still trying to keep your options open, please let us know so we can plan accordingly. It's hard for us to fill gaps once we're mobile.

That business done, in the calm before the storm...

I've recently discovered a new hobby, reading vintage recording audioblogs. Audioblogs are written by music-o-philes who share their auditory discovery with streaming or downloadable music files. They're self-appointed DJs and music journalists rolled into one. My favorites are those written by enthusiastic flea market vinyl buyers who snap up obscure and long out of print albums and 78s to share bits of pop culture that would never make it to CD.

This is not an advocacy of music pirating. Although there are blogs out there by people who trade current music to get out of paying for tracks, my interest is entirely in blogs dedicated to historical musical curiosities that have otherwise been abandoned as no longer profitable for big record labels to reproduce. Digitizing and sharing rescues these oddities from disappearance and is similar to getting a used record in a shop in terms of royalty issues. (Used records pay a merchant, but do not produce royalties for original artists or record labels)

So as we prepare for our journey, I will share with you a couple ballet related discoveries in my Internet wanderings.

WFMU's Beware of the Blog is one of the best. Last November they featured an odd spoken word album "Picking Up Girls Made Easy," which is full of Eric Weber's suggestions on how to charm women in the library, walking a dog or-- most interesting for us-- at the ballet. (Click on the link to listen to the track) "The girls in the audience are crazy about the dancers," our Don Juan explains, "So you have to seem interested too."

They also featured a 1972 10" single the Red Detachment of Women, a ballet performed by the Peking Opera Troupe recorded by the China record company.

As you can probably surmise by the cover, it is featured as part of "Cold War" themed article.

You can hear snippets of the vintage children's 78 Tina Ballerina at the Kiddie Record King's site. I don't know about you, but all the lovingly recorded 1940s children's stories make me want to rush out and buy a 78 player.

UbuWeb's 365 Days Project, in which people submitted their oddest thrift store record finds, turned up The Darrell Sisters Studio Arts Dance Center offering a 1980s aerobic workout over 1960s style moog music.

And finally from Stax o'Wax comes the soundtrack to the film A Night to Remember, which features an instrumental track called "ballet."

That should be enough to get you started on your vintage vinyl adventure. Try not to let it suck up too much of your time. If you discover any ballet-themed tracks in your surfing, please let us all know about it by posting in the comments section. We'd really love to see and hear your finds.