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Pink Elephants

Circus Polka, 1942, Fifty Elephants, Balanchine and Stravinsky Team Up— "Elephants never forget", as the old saying goes. And we should never forget one of the oddest moments in the history of elephants, circuses and classical music. April 9th will mark the 75th anniversary of this unique event. In late 1941, choreographer George Balanchine was contacted in New York by John North Ringling with a unique proposition: could a "ballet" be created for his Barnum and Bailey Circus elephants? The idea was intriguing and in January, 1942, Balanchine called his friend Igor Stravinsky who was busy working in Los Angeles. The two Russians agreed on the idea and, for a healthy fee, the composer finished a piano version of what … [Read more...]

Mr. B …and the A.B.T.

ABT, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center, Los Angeles, July 11-14, 2013 Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times The American Ballet Theatre, based in New York City, mounts an eight-week season of dance performances each spring at Lincoln Center. The balance of the company’s year is largely spent touring the U.S. and the world.  Los Angeles was one of their stop-overs recently—July 11-14, 2013, at the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center. Four of ABT’s five performances featured one of the very first ballets—“Le Corsaire." This 3-act extravaganza is replete with pirates and slave girls, poisoned roses, Turkish pashas, music by Adolphe Adam, Leo Delibes and three more composers and a ship that sinks in a violent … [Read more...]

“Rites” of Passage

Celebrating A 100 Years of Le Sacre du Printemps The Joffrey Ballet "Rite of Spring", Dance at the Music Center, February 2013 4handsLA, Le Sacre du Printemps, Jacaranda: Thresholds, February 2013 — While other sixteen year olds sought summer employment behind the counter of MickeyD's or bagging at the local Safeway, I got lucky and was hired as a backstage "runner" at the Hollywood Bowl, the world famous outdoor amphitheater in the foothills of Los Angeles, where music concerts—classical, pop, jazz and rock—have brightened the night sky above since 1922.  As a “runner” and on stand-by for every show, I was assigned to the backstage area.  My close access to the dressing rooms allowed me the chance to meet some of the greatest … [Read more...]