hildy89: (girl friday)
Thanks to Netflix, I've gone on a bit of a ballet bender. I've watched several documentaries off their Instant Watching. "The Dancer" (or "Dansaren") was about a Royal Swedish ballerina and her training from ballet school up through performing with the company. "Etoiles" showed behind the scenes at the Paris Opera Ballet. "Ballerina" showcases five ballerinas from the Mariinsky's Kirov Ballet.

Alas most of my notes on the first two are lost to the twitter archives in the sky. I do remember liking "Dancer" a lot more than "Etoiles". (Alas Dancer has been taken off Instant Watching, so I'd have to get the dvd to rewatch it.)

"Ballerina" was fascinating because of my reactions to the various dancers. In figure skating, I notice the technicians with the jumps and spins. I don't hate the ultra artistic skaters, but I sometimes feel like they're over reliant on that aspect of their skating. With ballet, I was really noticing the actresses, the ones that became their roles. They had an immediate presence on the screen. I wanted to watch them. From the minute Diana Vishneva covered her face in "Cinderella" rehearsals, I was captivated. Evgenia Obraztsova reminded me of a slimmer dancing Christina Hendricks a little with her red hair and bubbly personality. With her age and experience, Ulyana Lopatkina was more interesting to me than Alina Somova, the young star the documentary focused so heavily on. I don't know how much the competitive aspect of skating plays into this, especially for Olympic eligible skating.

The one side effect of watching all these ballet documentaries is I wind up wanting to watch full length ballets. Netflix has them available, but not instantly. One that intrigued me was George Balanchine's "Jewels".

Long winded ballet geekery on Jewels w/ caps )
hildy89: (reading glasses)
RIP James Mitchell.

You delighted and bedeviled everyone. You danced like a dream in "Oklahoma!" and "The Band Wagon". And then you became the most rascally old coot of daytime as Palmer Cortlandt on "All My Children."

You, sir, will be missed.

James Mitchell in Band Wagon caps )
hildy89: (dancing in the dark)
She Put the Move in Movies: A lovely tribute to Cyd Charisse in today's Post. I sense a weekend marathon coming. TCM has changed its schedule for Friday June 27th for a mini tribute of its own of her best movies: Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and Silk Stockings. The first two are old friends. I've seen Ninotchka, but I never saw the musical version. I'll have to remember the old dvr for that one. I'd have liked to have seen some of her more obscure movies.
hildy89: (girl hunt ballet)
Heaven now has one more great dancer...

Cyd Charisse has died at age 86.

*clings to her Band Wagon & Singin' in the Rain dvds*
hildy89: (eleanor powell)
So I'm almost done getting off the Eleanor Powell movies from the DVR. I was introduced to her dancing many years ago through Connie Willis' description of "Begin the Beguine" in Remake. Turner Classic ran five of her movies to celebrate her birthday recently: Broadway Melody of 1936, Broadway Melody of 1938, Honolulu, Born to Dance and Rosalie. The movies themselves are fairly forgettable plot wise. Like the Astaire & Rogers movies, the early ones feature some of the same character actors in lesser roles. Eleanor's character always seemed contrasted with some bitchy blonde rival. Her dancing are still the highlights of them all, both the quieter numbers and elaborate extravaganzas.

I can see why Ellie was considered the technician. But I still infinitely prefer Powell's style of dancing to Ann Miller's sexualized mannerisms.

Broadway Melody of 1938 also showcased a very young and very precocious Judy Garland ironically as the daughter of a theater family. Hard to believe she was ever used as a novelty act, but even you could tell she would be something special. What I didn't realize was the adverse effect Judy would have on Eleanor's career. Eleanor lost three roles to Judy. You can argue that Judy was a helluva lot more versatile and more mega watt star power, but still who knows what other roles or dance routines we might have seen.

There are amusing moments though. In "Born to Dance", a Navy uniformed Jimmy Stewart asks Eleanor Powell who she roots for during the Army-Navy game. "Well, Army, of course, because they always win!" (Somethings have changed) Then I cued up "Rosalie" where they're at West Point and the first scene is the Army-Navy game. *blinks*
hildy89: (dancing in the dark)
Moira Shearer dead at 80

"Why do you want to dance?"
"Why do you want to live?"
hildy89: (girl hunt ballet)
Yay! LJ is back. I can waste time again.

The Day that LJ Died: *dies laughing*

Watched a lot of skating for the last few days. I'm slowly catching up on [livejournal.com profile] mad_season with my comments on Nationals.

PBS must have been listening to my telepathic plea for Championship Ballroom Dancing. They've been showing the 20th anniversary special from a few years ago, showcasing past and present champions in solo and group routines. They did a fun latin vs. standard routine and Fred Astaire tribute. It was nice to see some old favorites again in the various tempos. The cabaret programs still feel like pairs skating on the floor with their lifts and tricks. From the last team, the girl was seriously built and reminded me of some of Moskvina style pairs teams with her ultra extended flexibility.
hildy89: (Default)
I finally got around to watching the Japanese version of "Shall We Dance?" I dvred out of curiosity. I'm glad I did. It reminded me a little of "Dance with Me" where the dance classes and social dancing were so different in style from the competitive ballroom. I haven't seen the American version yet, but I can already see where they'd be major differences, just translating Japanese to American cultures. For instance, I wanted more closure with the wife and family than there was, but I could almost see why it wasn't necessary. The movie is a very bittersweet story, definitely not a romance in the traditional sense. The lovely actress who played Mai is apparently a professional ballet dancer, which makes sense. She moved beautifully. I'm going to have the King and I stuck in my brain for awhile though. Either that or want to find "Championship Ballroom" on PBS. (Hmph, it appears PBS kicked the ballroom dancers out to the curb...) Somehow I think I will be writing a dancing scene in my Nano tonight...
hildy89: (eleanor powell)
Ann Miller dead at 81. I didn't realize she was so bitter at being relegated to the second lead in the MGM movies. I always thought she was a little too over the top for the main roles.
hildy89: (Default)
Gregory Hines died at 57 of cancer.

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