Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ballet Image of the Day

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today in Dance History: December 20

On this date in 1585: A spectacle was presented for King Phillip II of Spain. As Maurice Esses recounted in Dance and Instrumental Diferencias... "...all the associations representing the manual trades presented dances near the gates of the palace so the ladies of the court might see them. On each side of the palace a stage was constructed on which musicians played for the dancers each day... using small drums, recorders and other lowly instruments, they played together well and maintained the beat very effectively for the dancers... In short, each trade association presented something new. They danced so much that they broke down a 25-foot wall located on the bank of the river next to the palace and many people fell into the water."

On this date in 1911: Swan Lake makes its U.S. debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

On this date in 1949: John Cranko's ballet Beauty and the Beast premiered.

And on this date in 1981: Michael Bennett's Dreamgirls opens on this date on Broadway. The musical will run more than 1500 performances.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 17

December 17, 1892- The Nutcracker ballet had its premiere at the Marinski Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tchaikovsky was initially not pleased with the score. "And now it is finished, Casse-Noisette is all ugliness," he wrote.

However as time went on Tchaikovsky changed his mind about The Nutcracker, which had premiered on the same day as the opera Iolanthe. "Strange that when I was composing the ballet I kept thinking that it wasn't very goof but that I would show them [the Imperial Theaters] what I can do when I began the opera. And now it seems that the ballet is good and the opera not so good."

Dance Science

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Contracts Due!

It is December and the sounds Tchaikovsky waft from dance schools across the nation as they prepare their full scale productions and winter recitals. Meanwhile, at Double V Promotions, we're making our final preparations for a two month tour that begins the first week of January.

We understand that for many of our dance school friends this is the busiest time of the year. Getting a contract back for a master class that will be held three or four weeks down the line gets pushed further and further down the to do list after "repair Mouse King heads" and "send out order forms for DVDs" and "make my Christmas travel plans."

We understand how busy you are, but because we have only a very short time before we have to get on the road, and we need to know that our class schedule is completely firm before we book hotels and plan our route, we are asking that you take a moment and put that stamp on that envelope. It will get a pesky item off your to do list, and assure that Valery Lantratov will be coming to your studio.

If we sent you a contract more than two weeks ago, and we have not received it by the end of this week, we will release your dates to ensure we have enough time to fill them elsewhere before we leave. Happy Nutcrackers, and thank you for inviting us to your studio.

This Day in Dance History: December 16

December 16, 1937- A now famous dance step, "The Lambeth Walk" was introduced during the first performance of Noel Gay's "Me and My Girl" in London.

On this same date in 1977- the disco film Saturday Night Fever was released. John Travolta, who was also shooting the Welcome Back Kotter tv series during the filming, ran two miles a day and danced for three hours daily to get in shape for this film. The iconic opening sequence of Travolta’s feet strutting along the streets of Brooklyn was actually performed by the actor’s stand-in, Jeff Zinn.

On this date in 1987-Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a program designed to help fight the threat of the AIDS virus, was launched.

And on this date in 1993- The Red Shoes, a Broadway musical based on the 1948 film of the same name, opened at the Gershwin Theatre to unanimously unfavorable reviews. It closed after only five performances.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ballet Image of the Day

This Day in Dance History: December 15

Dec 15, 1879- Rudolf Laban, inventor of the labanotation system of dance notation, was born.

Also on this date in 1944- Ballet International performed Mad Tristan choreographed by Leonide Massine against a set painted by the surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Time magazine wrote of the performance: "When Salvador Dali's ballet, Mad Tristan, opened in Manhattan in 1944, it provided one critic with 'a 25-minute yawn.' Most other balletgoers yawned, too, if not so long-windedly, and Mad Tristan flopped."

And on this date in 1986-Serge Lifar passed away at age 81. "Universally dubbed one of ballet's greatest egocentrics (even by his admirers)," wrote Anna Kisselgoff, "he has also been recognized (even by his detractors) as the major figure in the renewal of 20th-century French ballet. Yet, perhaps in the long run he will and should be remembered for the ideas and actions that were forerunners of many of the premises we now take for granted in dance." (You can read the entire obituary by following the link above.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 14

December 14, 1844: English ballerina Clara Vestris Webster's dress caught fire during a performance of The Revolt of the Harem at the Drury Lane Theater. She died three days later.

And on this date in 1954: Danish ballet dancer Ib Anderson was born. The former New York City Ballet dancer and choreographer with the Royal Danish Ballet is now artistic director of Ballet Arizona in Phoenix.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 13

December 13 1826-Carolina Rosati, ballerina with the Paris Opera, was born. "Mile Carolina Rosati is a dancer of the very first order," wrote Sir Bernard Burke in 1847, "her style is intellectual and varied her grace and agility of motion are most striking She enacted to the life the charming creation of Fouque so closely indeed did she copy the original that the very words of the romance itself describe exactly her appearance on her first coming on her performance and the wonderful effect it produced."

Dec 13 1998-Charles Laskey, performer with the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Ballet passed away.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today in Dance History: December 12

Dec 12, 1882- The Bijou Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, became the first theatre to be lighted by electricity.

On this date in 1995- Tap dance instructor Mary Bruce passed away at age 95. Her students included Josephine Premice, Ruby Dee, Martina Arroyo and Marlon Brando.

And on this date in 2000- Costumes and other memrobilia belonging to Dame Margot Fonteyn, one of Britain's best loved dancers, brought in ₤640,000, six times more than expected, at Christie’s auction house.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Today in Dance History: December 11

Dec 11, 1901-Choreographer Lev Ivanov passed away. Ivanov was best remembered for his work on two of the world’s most popular ballets, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The Nutcracker became Ivanov’s project when Marius Petipa fell ill. An early version of Swan Lake created by choreographer Julius Reisinger was a failure. After Tchaikovsky’s death in 1893, Ivanov staged a one act version in honor of the composer. The success of Ivanov's choreography for Act II led the company to stage a complete new production in 1895, under Petipa's artistic direction, in which Ivanov created the choreography for Acts II and IV and Petipa for Acts I and III. It is now the most popular ballet in the world, providing the most iconic images of classical ballet.

And on this date in 1916- "The Mambo King" PĂ©rez Prado was born. One of the most influential pop orchestra leaders of the early 1950s, was the first to market his compositions under the name "mambo," and his "Mambo No. 5" took Latin America and the U.S. by storm.

And on this date in 1923-George Balanchine, still known by his Georgian name, Balanchivadze, as the ballet master of the Maly Opera Theater, staged the dances for the company’s production of Le Coq d’Or, which debuted today.

And on this date in 1929-Sir Kenneth MacMillan was born in Scotland. He was artistic director of the Royal Ballet from 1970 until 1977, but continued to choreograph works for them until his death backstage at the Royal Opera House in 1992.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 10

Dec 10, 1958- Ekaterina Maximova made her first solo appearance in the Peasant pas de deux in the first act of Giselle. The English ballet critic A.V. Coton called her “a happy and lovely girl, who moves like a wondrous bird… she has the most appealing smile I have ever seen in a dancer in performance.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Day in Dance History: December 9

Dec 9, 1963-The Joffrey Ballet returned from a tour of Russia consisting of thirteen sold out performances. Russian critics were generally more favorable to the company than they had been to a visit by George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet the previous year. The Soviets felt that Balanchine’s abstract style, which stressed motion over story telling, diluted the classical legacy. Tass, the official Soviet news agency wrote that the tour was “the greatest success of all the American companies that have danced in Leningrad.”

And on this date in 1990- Boris Kochno passed away at age 86. Kochno’s artistic direction in major companies and scenarios for Serge Diaghilev, George Balanchine and Roland Petit. One of his most enduring contributions to ballet was the Balanchine ballet "Prodigal Son" on which he collaborated.

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents The Prodigal Son from Grand Rapids Ballet on Vimeo.

And on this date in 1997-Tamara Geva, the Russian-born dancer and actress passed away at age 91. Born Tamara Gevergeyev in St. Petersburg in 1906, she studied ballet at the Marinski Ballet School. There she met George Balanchine and the couple married in 1923. They left Russia the following year and were separated soon after. Geva found a new career in Broadway musicals and authored an autobiography Split Seconds in 1972.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kultura Feature on The Bolshoi's Bright Stream

Featuring Vladislav Lantratov and Ekaterina Krisanova

Vladislav Lantratov: Soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet on the Russian cultural program "Who's There?"

Vladislav Lantratov, soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet, (and son of Valery Lantratov) is interviewed on the Russian program Kto Tam? (Who's There?) to promote the performance "The Bright Stream." The interview is in Russian, but it also shows some nice performance clips.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Funky Futuristic Ballet Image of the Day

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ballet Too the Electric Boogaloo

If you are one of our dance school friends-- if we have visited your school or will be coming this winter or summer--check the list of schools on our blog to be sure we have your URL listed. If your school is on Twitter, follow @lantratov so we can follow you back and hear your latest news.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ballet Image of the Day