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Printemps des Arts de Nantes

June 16….Well, it is finally arriving! We are off to Nantes to celebrate the 300th birthday of Marie Sallé at the conference in her honor organized by the Printemps des Arts de Nantes this June 19 and 20th. I will be speaking about the dance technique required to perform her dances and will be joined by Sarah Edgar. With many thanks to the Florence Gould Foundation for covering our travel expenses… we will be joining Rachel, Patricia,Glenda, Jason, Terry and Seth in Paris for the international dance conference at the CND (Centre National de la Danse) where I am lecturing (they are demonstrating!) on training today’s dancers in Baroque technique. Of course we will find time to visit Versailles and the Paris Opera, stop in a cafe on the left Bank, visit the rare book shops and get lost in a few museums. Au revoir!

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Review by MARGARET PUTNAM / Special Contributor, Dallas Morning News

If charm could be bottled, the elixir of Pygmalion would be worth its weight in gold. But alas, Jean Philippe Rameau’s 1748 opera ballet was performed only Tuesday night at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center by the Dallas Bach Society and the New York Baroque Dance Company. (The program will be repeated tonight in Houston.)

To whet our interest, Dallas Bach Society artistic director James Richman gave a breezy introduction to three other musical pieces from the baroque era. In Marin Marais’ Chaconne From Sémélé you could almost see the court dance of Louis XIV come to life with its buoyant little jumps and curlicue patterns. In contrast, Michel-Richard de Lalande’s Grand Motet: Jubilate Deo seemed set in a cathedral, with its grave tones, while Jean-Féry Rebel’s Le Cahos (Ouverture to Les Éléments) had a wild intensity more suitable to the modern era. The delicacy of the harpsichord, however, kept it from going too far astray.

Called an Acte de Ballet (the French court did not use the word opera ), Pygmalion was a delight on all fronts. True, the sets consisted of nothing more than two platforms, and there were no curtains to separate each act. But once Pygmalion (Mathias Vidal), Amour (Ava Pine) and La Statue (Rebecca Choate-Beasley) appeared onstage, the mood of playful unreality set in.

While Mr. Vidal had the lion’s share of singing, performed with rich emotional nuance, your eyes immediately fastened on Ms. Choate-Beasley, the perfect image of youthful beauty and innocence. That is not to ignore the beauty of Dianne Grabowski as Pygmalion’s scorned and annoyed lover, or that of Ms. Pine, outfitted in glamorous silver-and-diamond frock coat and enormous feathered headdress.

Music and dance existed in perfect harmony from the moment the work began, a credit to Catherine Turocy, artistic director of the New York Baroque Dance Company. La Statue takes the balletic posture of counterpoint from arm to waist, waist to knees, knees to ankle. Even Pygmalion, despairing the futility of loving an immobile object, expresses his pain with decorously curved arm gestures and a sorrowful tilt of the head.

The comic side came into play with the characters Games and Laughter, performed with exuberant confusion, but the appearance of the Three Graces (Ms. Turocy, Glenda Norcross and Valerie Shelton Tabor) lifted the ballet to a new realm. La Statue steps down from her platform confused and excited, moving like a newborn colt. Soon she matches every small jump, quick swirl and expressive arm of the Graces. In the world of Rameau, it is dance that brings La Statue fully to life.

msputnam@sbcglobal.net

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Homage to Marie Sallé

Our concert, Homage to Marie Sallé, included major choreographic works by her and was a huge artistic undertaking by the company. Partially supported by commissions from the Music Festival of Sansoucis in Potsdam, Germany , the work was praised by national and international press. All music, as usual, was played by period instrument orchestras. Excerpts from this concert will be presented at the Hillwood Museum and Garden in Washington D.C., this July 14th and 15th, in honor of Salle’s 300th birthday with music by Opera Lafayette.

Ongoing projects for the NYBDC include Battlefields and Ballrooms, which creates performance and educational dance programs for historical sites. Our first performance was for the re-opening of Federal Hall in NYC this past October and marked the beginning of an ongoing relationship with Federal Hall and the Conservancy of National Parks of New York Harbor as well as a new presence for the NYBDC in lower Manhattan.

NYBDC at Federal Hall Opening, Photo by Julie Lemberger

The Monteverdi to Mozart Project, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, has documented Invisible Dances and Mozart’s only ballet, Les Petits Riens. The ballets are to be promoted as historical repertoire for mainstream dance companies in the professional and university fields with the aim to include these works in their own repertoire much as a symphony orchestra season includes works of Bach and Mozart alongside later and contemporary composers.

Future plans include the Historical Dance Summer Workshop to be held annually at Goucher College . This workshop consists of a weekend intensive exploration of ball and country dances from Shakespeare’s time to Jane Austen’s, as well as a professional studies week for choreographers, dancers and teachers.

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The New York Baroque Dance Company, guest artist with the Anchorage Symphony
by Anne Herman

…”New York Baroque Dance Company Artistic Director Catherine Turocy re-choreographed the work (Les Petits Riens) to Mozart’s music, using ideas steps and poses from late 18th century dance. The result Saturday was a delightfully silly and beautifully rendered interpretation of Baroque dance. (more…)

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Federal Hall performance

Contributed by Rachel

Caroline and Catherine have been hard at work on this project and on Oct. 6, eight dancers and three musicians presented “An Entertaining Assembly for George Washington” as part of the re-opening celebration of Federal Hall in lower Manhattan. Federal Hall is a beautiful 18th century building that was the site of George Washington’s inauguration. Dances presented in the beautifully restored Rotunda included a Fancy Minuet, La Bretagne, The Louver (L’Aimable Vainqueur), La Nouvelle Yorck, and George Washington’s Favourite Cotillion. The presentation ended with a lively game of Blind Man’s Buff performed to the tune and lyrics of Yankee Doodle sung by our “master of ceremonies” Paul Shipper.

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Anchorage, Alaska

Rachel List, Catherine Turocy and Sarah Edgar

On Sept. 26, six NYBDC members left New York on quite an adventure. We were to travel to Anchorage, Alaska to perform Catherine Turocy’s ballet “Les Petits Riens” with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. (more…)

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Terpsicore vacations in Maine

 Contributed by Rachel

After Armide had such a good time at the Bates Dance Festival last summer, Terpsicore decided to try it out, too. I was able to introduce her to the BDF community when I performed an excerpt from Catherine Turocy’s version of the Handel opera Terpsicore during the Faculty Gala on August 5.

The audience gasped audibly (don’t you just love that?) when the curtain went up revealing my beautiful new costume made by Deirdre McGuire and Lisa Marzolf. (Of course, it’s not too hard to make a splash when the rest of the concert is being performed in more pedestrian, modern dance attire…) Audience members who had seen Armide last year said they were pleased to see an “unmasked” dance this year, for contrast. (more…)

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Photos

Hello all, here are some pictures from our show several months back at Indiana University. Enjoy.

(more…)

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Sarah in Germany

Contributed by: Sarah

Hello, friends of baroque dance! As you may have heard, I have recently moved to Cologne, Germany for a few years. From this European vantage point, I will be searching for new Feulliet notations to reconstruct, paintings by Boucher to contemplate, as well as reading those treatises we all know and love.   I am so happy that I will also continue to perform with the company on occasion, and I will be back in NYC to perform with the NYBDC in the fall performances at Florence Gould Hall.

However, first things first – one must take class! (more…)

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Oberlin – June 2006

Contributed by Rachel

This photo was taken backstage at Oberlin College and shows Terpsicore (Caroline Copeland) instructing her Graces (Patricia Beaman, Sarah Edgar, and Rachel List) in the proper ways of incorporating the elements into one’s dancing to properly describe various states of love, as per Apollo’s command. AIR and WATER had already been discussed, and now Terpsicore had moved on to the more advanced concept of FIRE. Our happy group was completed by the lovely Jennifer Lane in the role of Apollo and the equally lovely Kendra Colton who sang Erato and took this historic photograph.

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