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Everything posted by Melody

  1. Any system that makes me a mentor about something other than British royalty and Christmas traditions is a very deficient system. I hope nobody's taking these things seriously.
  2. I'm always afraid, with this stuff about "relevant," that what's being suggested is that classical ballet is a thing of the past and that neoclassical ballet and contemporary dance are the only acceptable art forms going forward. I've seen suggestions from bureaucrats over the years about making theatre more "relevant" by having a ten-year moratorium on performing Shakespeare so that modern playwrights can get a chance to be seen, that music from before the 20th century should be dropped from orchestra repertoires, and that GCSE curricula should drop the 19th century classics and concentrate on contemporary authors. I'm seeing Facebook groups going on about how the "knee-in-ear" elevations are the only thing people want to watch and everything else is too old fashioned, and that people are just squeamish if they don't want to see crotches every time dancers raise their legs, because ballet shouldn't be afraid to be sexy. As a lover of history, I'm always afraid that if you remove art forms from their roots, everyone is poorer for it. IMO, fiction like Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels and JK Rowling's Harry Potter series owe part of their staying power to the fact that they're solidly based in folk tales and connect the reader to something more universal than just the author's imagination. Same with ballet, where the formal structure provides a framework that audiences understand, which isn't always the case for contemporary dance, with the performers writhing on the ground in their underwear under dark green lights and strobe effects to the sound of cats being strangled. Not that there isn't a place for writhing dancers and strangled cats, but it isn't ballet. I'm just afraid, when I see all this stuff about "old fashioned," that we're going to lose what makes British ballet British, part of which is the way (as Ninette de Valois once said in an interview) it's based on the older folk dance tradition, in an attempt to homogenise dance across the world so that tourists from America and Japan can see pretty much exactly what they see at home. I'm still, after all these years, unhappy at the way San Francisco Ballet has been removed from its west-coast roots by the current director and turned into a clone of NYCB, and I don't want to see the British companies being turned into neoclassical clone companies either. We've been through the "Ashton is old-fashioned, time to ditch his rep in favour of something more relevant" stuff before, and I'm not sure it was successful then and I'm not sure it'll be successful now. It bothers me that ENB has basically no Ashton in the repertoire, and I wouldn't like to see BRB go the same way. I know this isn't going to be a popular thing to say, but it worries me when so many of the major British companies are being run by non-British directors. I seem to remember Ross Stretton wanting to ignore the RB's heritage ballets, and I'm worried that the same thing is happening at ENB and BRB.
  3. Well, the funeral was hard to watch, with the Queen sitting alone like that. They did their best, given the covid restrictions, and I'm glad they didn't try to make an exception and fill the church, but my goodness that was a heartbreaking occasion in a way that the Queen Mother's funeral really wasn't.
  4. We're losing a lot of great people, and this loss is particularly sad because she was comparatively young. She's the sort of actor who would have been a joy to watch in roles as she aged, and now we'll never get the chance. And here's me thinking that 2021 was going to be an improvement on the horrors of last year.
  5. Terrible news, hard to believe. I'm not a great fan of many modern choreographers, but some of his work was stunning.
  6. The Queen is really going to miss him, among the continuing problems with Harry and Andrew. As she said years ago, he's been her strength and stay for decades. We've been fortunate to have him there to give her so much support. Looks as though he's going to have a very scaled-back funeral. https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news-grants/news/item/187-hrh-the-duke-of-edinburgh On another note, this article confirms that Prince Philip's titles have been inherited by the Prince of Wales. When Charles becomes king and the titles revert to the crown, they'll be available for regranting. Since it was stated at the time of Edward and Sophie's marriage that he would eventually be given the dukedom, that's how it's going to happen. He was never going to inherit it directly, although a lot of people seem to think otherwise.
  7. Interesting long interview with Zenaida Yanowsky.
  8. Melody

    Erdem fashion

    Not that fashion is my thing, but why base a collection on ballet and put the models on platforms that look more like what you'd see on Japanese oiran? That sort of heavy footwear is the antithesis of what you'd expect from ballet. Some lovely outfits apart from that, though. Glad to see the taller dancers coming into their own! BTW, I think this was the 2021/2022 show, not 2020/2021.
  9. I just found this film on YouTube. What a fascinating and also infuriating piece of work. I suppose it's too much to hope that it'll herald the turning point in the way ballet has been morphing into soulless "artistic" gymnastics and destroying dancers' bodies in the process, but sooner or later something will have to or ballet will pretty much disappear. As she said, if Anna Pavlova turned up at an audition at a leading ballet school today, she'd be rejected out of hand - I have a feeling Margot Fonteyn wouldn't make the cut either. I suppose the companies have to cater to what audiences want, but do they really just want empty spectacle based on flashy production values and degree of difficulty? Do any of the major schools even attempt to teach the Cecchetti method any more?
  10. Extreme radical mums? Okay then...
  11. David Mitchell in The Observer has a hilarious response to what he calls, among other things, "a spectacularly bad mistake." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/18/the-cyber-jobs-ad-is-a-laughing-matter
  12. Not living in the UK I didn't realise this was an old ad that's been resurrected so I'm a bit less furious than I was when I saw it, but even so, it seems to be very tone deaf. It's just sad when someone who's been training for a vocation for years and years is blithely told to go and do "something" in cyber. When we were in Florida two or three years ago, a golf pro was telling us that he's having to give up his job to go and be a computer repairman because Florida was overpopulated with golf courses; it seemed like such a waste.
  13. Introducing the Joey Cam. Joey is a young sea otter whose mother died when he was a few days old and was rescued and being rehabilitated. He's very cute when he's awake.
  14. Here's a wonderfully uplifting Twitter account. https://twitter.com/daily__hedgehog Here's Tuesday's entry, which is particularly cute. https://twitter.com/daily__hedgehog/status/1293286636051193856?s=20
  15. The Earl of Wessex has been chatting with some of the Northern Ballet dancers and administrators. Nice to see their Patron keeping in touch.
  16. Melody

    Marble racing

    In the absence of live sporting events over the last few months, an online substitute is becoming quite popular - marble racing, specifically the YouTube channel Jelle's Marble Runs. John Oliver gave it some publicity about a month ago when his programme decided to sponsor the 2020 Marble League, and in the meantime there's been a shorter event sponsored by Arla Cravendale, which is a British milk manufacturer (which didn't exist when I lived over there but seems to be quite a thing nowadays). These events are quite addictive in their way. If anyone is starved of sporting excitement, here's a link to the YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYJdpnjuSWVOLgGT9fIzL0g/featured
  17. You'd think, with the lockdown and social distancing and whatnot, that littering wouldn't be so much of a thing these days, but I suppose that would be optimistic. In the meantime, with the lockdown we're getting stuff delivered from Amazon rather than going over to the garden centre - I can only imagine what the Amazon drivers think of having to deliver great heavy bags of bird seed and boxes of suet, but we didn't want to deprive the birds just because of coronavirus.
  18. The shortage of domestic packaging is also the reason for the lack of toilet paper according to reports over here. I'm wondering what else isn't available because of a lack of packaging for domestic use. Yeast also seems to be impossible to find, even though I assume it isn't being used as much commercially as usual. We have enough yeast and flour to make two more loaves of bread.
  19. I've been finding this YouTube channel very relaxing. I wish I could paint like that! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZutxI1UnH9N3Fh_TeQ4Kw
  20. We've been self-isolating for a couple of weeks - going a bit stir-crazy, but everyone around here seems to be paying attention, unlike those idiot kids in Florida over Spring Break. Then again, this is a community with a lot of older people, so a lot of us are in high-risk groups. We've been getting groceries delivered, which has saved us the risk of going shopping. I saw this PSA video on YouTube with some tips on safe handling of groceries and whatnot - we're trying to follow them, although it's hard to break old habits.
  21. I hope this article isn't behind a paywall, I'm not sure what their policy is regarding free articles per month. I'm adding a couple of paragraphs as well as the link in case that's all people can see. "WASHINGTON — In the summer of 2017, when one of the country’s premier dance schools was looking to hire a comptroller, it just so happened that someone with experience in the role was looking for a job. Sophia Kim had been the treasurer at the Kirov Academy of Ballet here two decades earlier, when the school was affiliated with the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. But Ms. Kim also had a gambling habit and had recently spent almost two years in prison for embezzling $800,000 from another nonprofit affiliated with the church. So it was more than a bit surprising when the Kirov Academy, for reasons that remain tremendously opaque, hired Ms. Kim back, put her in charge of the books, gave her a Branch Banking & Trust debit card and access to the school’s accounts..." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/arts/dance/kirov-ballet-academy-embezzlement-moonies.html?action=click&module=Editors Picks&pgtype=Homepage
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