Sunday, October 21, 2007

New York news at the weekend

New York, New York

Last night's James Sewell Ballet performance was one for the books. From beginning to end, one could hear a pin drop in the audience, so rapt was the attention. To my eye and ear, it was the best performance so far, and it was a gift to be among the spectators. Schoenberg even sounded like real music to me.

The usual physical pains aside, everyone remains in good health and spirits.

We continue to wait for the NY Times to retract the reviewer's statement that Emily lip-synched her song in "Opera Moves." The waiting has hung like a cloud in everyone's mind.

B (formerly with Ballet Arts Minnesota) was down from Boston Ballet and taught company class before Friday night's show. We also have seen many former JSB dancers, plus many friends and colleagues of long-standing.

One of many benefits of performing at the Joyce Theater is the infrequent opportunity to work with an organization that has determined what it takes to do things right, and then secures the capital to make it happen. Unlike so many of the venues with which we deal, this one expects excellence of itself and its people in every department. It is simply refreshing to deal with folks who do not accept mediocrity as good enough.

Except for rains that finally visited us all day on Friday, the weather this week has been great -- with this weekend the most glorious of all!

Did you know that a modest asking price for a modest 650 sq. foot studio apartment anywhere in Manhattan is $425,000?

From Minnesota we have seen W, H, F, and G, and (via Dusseldorf) M and M. Members of dancers' families have come in from Minnesota and Maryland.

We have 7th and 8th performances today, and will be home tomorrow.

See you in St. Paul next weekend! (Bring friends.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At the Joyce Theater with James Sewell Ballet

New York, New York

After two glorious New York fall days of sunshine, light warm breezes, and only a few clouds, it seems we may enjoy today some of the rain and dark clouds that the midwest has had since the weekend.

Everyone is healthy and well. We arrived in Manhattan about 11pm Sunday night. Monday was taken up with technical load-in and spacing rehearsal, followed by a dancers' worklight rehearsal from 5-7pm.

Kevin Jones could teach lighting design and efficient theatrical and dance production. He is so well organized. The crew here had lights placed, color installed, lights focused, and cues run without dancers before 2pm on Monday. Quite an accomplishment compared to some of the disorganized companies we hear about.

Yesterday's dress rehearsal worked out all of the sound, light, and movement bugs.

The photo shoot progressed well with a number of movements and poses from the three ballets on the program. This photo call drew only three photogs, down from past years, and a sign of the changing times in the print press business -- plus, it's a very busy week in New York for dance and other things.

Our publicists, Ellen Jacobs Associates, are on the ball. From Paris (where she was several days last week) to Chicago (Monday this week) to New York, no one does it better than Ellen, in spite of all the changes in the p.r. business. JSB has worked with her since 2001, in spite of the journalistic changes, on the premise that you dance with those what brung ya.

Last night's opening house of 326 received the performance with lots of enthusiasm. We papered last night and tonight, after which we should be rolling for the rest of the run. I might add some papering for the Sunday matinee to maintain the audience energy level.

Former JSB dancers, M & B, took the train in from New Jersey and joined us briefly afterward. C, formerly of Jazzdance by Danny Buraczeski and now a professor in Pennsylvania, also made the scene.

Life at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church ( is relatively quiet, save for the morning jack-hammers for street construction outside. We do not lack for spiritual opportunities: morning and evening prayer daily at 8am and 5:30pm, plus mid-day sacramental services.

I understand we will get the A-List, with photo, in City Pages next Wednesday for our O'Shaughnessy season in St. Paul.