First, I just copied this from the Winger website. I’m sure Kristin won’t mind 🙂 (By the way, in the top pic on the post that I just linked to, Danny Tidwell (trying to be incognito in hat) and the girl who I think is Jamie from SYTYCD are in the forefront.) This picture (that I copied here) is the Cedar Lake Ballet pre-party blogger get-together I have been going on about for some time now. From left to right: Counter Critic Ryan Kelly, Ariel, Philip / Oberon, goofus me, David!!!!! (who doesn’t look that terrified at all to be standing next to me, right?!), Taylor Gordon, Evan, Doug Fox, and of course, the mother of all dance bloggers, Kristin Sloan 😀
Second, last night was another Works & Process event at the Guggenheim. This one was in celebration of Frederic Franklin, a delightfully sweet 93-year-old man who’s enjoyed a wonderously long career in dance. He started out in a tap dance ensemble in Paris in 1931, performing with the likes of Josephine Baker, was quickly snatched up by the Markova-Dolin Ballet in England, and eventually ended up with the famous Ballet Russes. After retiring from dancing, he joined ABT both performing non-dance roles in the big story ballets and helping to re-stage classics. In between an interview with Mr. Franklin by moderator Wes Chapman, they showed film clips of him dancing and speaking about his life (which I figured out afterward, while talking with Barbara, a reader of this blog and the Winger, were likely culled from the great documentary Les Ballet Russes), and excerpts of ballets that Mr. Franklin has staged. Two excerpts were from Coppelia, one performed by very good young dancers from ABT II (ABT’s studio company), the other by students at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (ABT’s ballet school). The program only listed the students’ names in alphabetical order, but I was blown away by the ballerina who performed the lead in that excerpt. I can’t give her proper credit because I don’t know which name belongs to her; but Barbara and I agreed that she was brilliant.
And two of the other excerpts — a pas de deux from Leonide Massine’s “Gaite Parisienne” and one from Balanchine’s “Mozartiana” — were performed by ABT principals Julie Kent and Mr. Beautiful (center, in pic above, as well). Julie, as always, was lovely and she really is such a beautiful ballerina, so light and feathery, she just floats around the floor. But Marcelo is the consummate partner for her. Marcelo is the consummate partner period. Oh, I haven’t seen Marcelo in months now and I miss him 🙁 … But David just steals every smidgeon of attention whenever he is onstage, wherever he is actually — passing by a damn window… On a stage, he becomes the stage. And it’s not in any way his fault; he doesn’t try to do it at all. He really tries very very hard to highlight the ballerina; he showers all of his attention onto her, whether he’s partnering her or standing off to the side simply watching her, as he did last night in “Mozartiana.” How do I know this? Because the entire time Julie was dancing, I was looking at him. I’m too tired to try to look it up right now, but I just read an article where the writer was saying that Baryshnikov was a great dancer and brought new steps into to the canon and all, but that’s not even the half of what he meant for Ballet; he could stand completely still on a stage and you couldn’t stop looking at him. That’s exactly how I feel about David. It goes without saying he’s a sublime dancer, but that’s not even the half of it; not even ten percent.
In “Mozartiana” Julie and David wore workout clothes — typical for Works & Process, but in the “Gaite Parisienne” pdd, oh my oh my, costumes! Gorgeous, fascinating, jaw-droppingly breathtaking Christian Lacroix costumes. Normally, I’m not that into designer clothes, but Lacroix is on a whole different level; the man is so clearly an artist to me. If only more ballet companies would hire him to re-design all the classics… David’s costume consisted of this bright celebration-red velvet tux, gorgeously loud varicolored striped tights, and black shoes. Julie’s was less colorful — simple beige and black — but stylistically stunning in a sweetly sexy little girl / china doll kind of way, suiting Julie to a tee. And the choreography — I haven’t even checked to see if ABT is doing this during their spring season (a quick internet search reveals they last put it on all the way back in 1988?), but it was the most sweetly sexy waltz-ballet I have ever seen. I really want to see the whole.
Anyway, it was a fun people-watching night. Sir Alastair was there wearing this very interesting red Mexican-y pancho-esque jacket and a gold scarf tossed spiffily around his neck. I saw him talking to Wendy Perron, EIC of Dance Magazine, at one point. And it was nice seeing Barbara again at the cocktail thingy afterward 🙂 Always a fun night at the Guggenheim. The only negative, the museum was apparently remodeling or something and they had half the lobby roped off; very hard to negotiate the large crowd without spilling your wine!