This post is dedicated to all my friends in the dance world.
In 1905 Mikhail Fokine, choreographer for the Ballets Russes, created the choreography for Le Cynge, composed by Camille Saint-Saens for cello and two pianos, specifically for the great Russian dancer Anna Pavlova, also of the Ballet Russes. It depicts a swan’s struggle with death, inspired by the Greek myth of the Mute Swan (an actual species) who could not utter a sound until just before it died (the myth, but like all myths tells an archetypal story; this one a parable about what is inside).
The work of Fokine, Pavlova, and the Ballets Russes marks historically and artistically one of the greatest turning points in dance (also for art and music), but that’s an interesting topic for another moment. What I want to write about today is how my appreciation for the art of dance has been tutored by watching how great dancers interpret a work. More »
“I’m young. My ears hear promise, my eyes see dreams …”
Another Pina Bausch masterpiece. This excerpt from Vollmond (Full Moon) is a “procession of scenes of ritualized courtship and conflict depicting the subtle ways we control and are controlled” (Claudia La Rocco, New York Times; Judith Mackrell, The Guardian).
Sonny Rollins is 80 years old. So glad he’s still thriving and playing.
No one sings with a saxophone like Sonny Rollins. His sound is infinite and rich. His musical language is a Shakespeare soliloquy. When I was a student in Boston I would go to the Jazz Workshop on Boylston Street whenever one of the jazz greats came to town. One night, one ticket, one drink I’d self-consciously sip hoping the wait staff wouldn’t bug me to buy more. But when Sonny came to town, I went every single night. I got there early and sat right next to the stage and just basked in that sound and those solos. He was playing with Matsuo on guitar and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the other musicians’ names. He played St. Thomas and Doxy and so many beautiful ballads – A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square, his own version of Debussy’s Reverie.
Those days are gone for good. Today I can’t imagine hearing him in a big theater. It just wouldn’t be the same.