Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Strength of Women

I often wonder who my mentors really have been.  My heroes outside of fictional ones like Wonder Woman.  I have never really been able to identify who those specific people are in my life.   I mean, I have had wonderful friendships and have been befriended by a few very special ones along the way.  But finding a through line with any single one of them has been – well – elusive.

And so I decided to ask myself today, “does one really need a life long mentor or sponsor?”  I would have to say yes, right away.  If any young woman is lucky enough to be guided on her journey, life can most definitely follow a certain path of strength, even through difficulty. 

However, when life is a series of constant highs and lows, extreme ups and downs and you have been left to your own devices like a feather in a wind storm, it can feel awfully rough.  To whom and what do you cling?

I discovered today, that I can always have kindness.  I can always offer myself, my spirit, my joy to others.  Time and again, even at my lowest moments, and lately there have been more than a few, I can find the strength in myself by finding strength in the women I admire and am surrounded by even without having a personal relationship with any of them.  Sure I long for the comfort of being able to have someone hold my hand and insure that I pass through the opens doors.  Alas, that has mostly not been the case.  And so I have finally recognized that I am the woman I have always longed for.   And it is a good to place to be.  To inspire.  To be generous.  To give even when you feel like there is nothing left to give out.  “It’s a hard knock life” but someone’s gotta live it.

I went to my favorite ballet class today and found strength in my time with what I love to do.  I surrounded myself and dialogged with dancers and former older professionals and just made the decision to let the joy be my guide.  I left with a feeling of complete exaltation and walked into the sunlight alone and happy.

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Quote of the Day: Lucille Balle

Knowing what you can not do is more important than knowing what you can do.  In fact, that’s good taste.

The Model Critic Reviews Theatre: 7 Miles From Prison

7 MILES FROM PRISON by David L Ray 

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford The Model Critic
    The Fresh Fruit Festival presented a peach of a play this week, fittingly at the Cherry Lane Theater, in the Big Apple.
    “7 Miles From Prison,” written and acted in a solo performance by David L. Ray portends a dark, gothic tale from the rural South–forbidden sex, Southern Baptist values, prison riots, men in chains. In essence, this autobiography traces Shane’s youthful struggle with being gay in a seemingly hostile environment.  Seems like the table is set for an ominous, updated psychological lynching. 

David L. Ray in 7 Miles From Prison

 

But surprisingly, what we get is mostly hagiography, not mayhem. Dressed in prison garb, as the leitmotiv, we are introduced to fine-tuned memories of pivotal characters from Shane’s past:  Mr Timmes, a stern mentor, deacon-like character from church; Randal, his “recuperative therapist” from Savannah, who comically is gay himself and tries to seduce Shane; Bill, his grandpa, a surface racist, but as Shane insightfully sees, a man who has deeper waters of understanding.  These figures, and others, his loving mother, his sweet and supportive grandmother, his partner-in-crime brother, his father who accepts Shane as ok in his final hours, all allies.

We find Shane, for all implied fear and isolation, with friends, winning scripture reading contests, joking with the family, successful, even being voted best actor at his high school.  He copes, is well-balanced and popular.

Yes, its a story about growing up gay, and all its complexities, but it plays out to be more than that.  At heart, it’s a story mainly about love and understanding, of people confronted with change, and living with grace and compassion–sort of a small modern day version of “Our Town,” Southern style.

So, the “7 Miles From Prison” image isn’t exactly what it purports to be.  Not his father’s workplace, the real prison, but the “prison” of The Azelea Baptist Church Shane attended as a child.  But finally, this argument isn’t strong enough to believe from what we get from the play.  Although Shane courageously faces his dilemma, he is quiet and accepting.

David L. Ray writes in a subtle manner,  never overwrought or indulgent–more beautifully understated.  He loves his characters, and really has no axes to grind, which is refreshing. Although he allows his audience to read between the lines, the characters, for the most part, are portrayed with genuine respect, acceptance, and humor.

He wears his prison garb, as we all wear ours, but for Shane, luckily he is freed by those around him.  We now know he is ok, and will always be ok.

 

Quote of the day: Theodore Roosevelt

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
Theodore Roosevelt

Dancers! Dance with IGaF – NYC

Hey All, I wanted to invite my Dance friends at large to participate in SHARE with Isabel Gotzkowsky and Friends.  Years ago, I participated on their board in order to move the company forward.

Isabel is a dedicated modern choreographer whose work is incredibly athletic.  She is currently based in New York City.

Good Luck!

This fall: SHARE: Chapter 2

Once again, IGaF will invite dancers to join the company for performances in an informal setting. During a 6-7 week project we will set company repertory on dancers looking for the opportunity to work with us. JP 3In addition, IGaF will perform new and old work and IGaf company members will contribute to the program as well.

More information will be send soon, but we are aiming to start the project in the 3rd week of September with tentative performance dates on November 12 & 13. Mark your calendars!

For now I am signing off, wishing you a wonderful rest of summer. I will send the occasional update for your information.

Be well and warmest regards, Isabel.

 

 
Contact Information

phone:917.721.0282    email: isabel@isabelgo.org    website: http://www.isabelgo.org

How Not To Be A Promoter

1.  Allow the front door staff to snap gum in your guests’ faces while they tell them they are not on the VIP list and ask for donation money for the event.

2.  Ignore the gorgeous, fashionably dressed power female who is graciously and patiently waiting to speak with you

3.  Walk away from the gorgeous, fashionably dressed power female after ignoring her completely when you are finished speaking with your friends

4.  Not knowing who your VIP private list guests are especially when one of them is the gorgeous, fashionably dressed power female, who may be in public relations, a famous actress, influential, just worked and donated to the charity you are trying to work with, all of the above

5.  Saying to a VIP guest, “are you sure that’s not the Patron speaking?” when he quietly and without raising his voice, complains about the bad treatment at the door

6.  Asking for a charitable donation for placement on the VIP list, accepting the money, confirming with the guests and then not having the guests on the list when they arrive

7.  Allowing your support staff to do more “macking” on the women at the party rather than their job at the door

8.  Blaming everything on the venue whose staff you are using and not having your own private support staff at the door to monitor guest arrival or anything else

9.  Being the horrifically dressed person at the party – and you are the promoter.

10.  And the grand-daddy of them all – not sending out a thank you to everyone on the list, who attended your event and perhaps going one step further adding, “hope to see you at our next event.”

WELCOME TO LA!

Quote of the Day: the Eagles

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.
Lyrics from Already Gone, peformed by the Eagles for their 1974 On the Border album

Ballet Lessons: En L’Air

Pronounced [ahn lehr].   In the air.  Indicates: (1) that a movement is to be made in the air;  for example, rond de jaime en l’air (see video below); (2) that the working leg, after being opened to the second or fourth position à terre, is to be raised to a horizontal position with the toe on the level of the hip.

Ballet Review: ABT – Lady of the Camellias

American Ballet Theater  

Lady of the Camellias

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

    American Ballet Theater is currently celebrating its 70th year anniversary with the company’s premiere of John Neumeier’s ambitious “Lady of the Camellias,” first performed in Stuttgart, Germany in 1978, danced by Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun.

Julie Kent and Roberto Bolle in American Ballet Theatre's, "Lady of the Camillias"

 
    This is the familiar tale of the opera, “La Traviata”; the classic movie with Greta Garbo; and a romantic chamber dance piece, “Marguerite and Armand,” by Frederick Ashton for Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. All based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, tell of the passionate love story between Marguerite Gautier, a famous Parisian courtesan, and Armand Duval, her wealthy pursuer. In this offering, Neumeier faithfully follows the original narrative by Dumas, and presents the story of love, jealousy, sacrifice, and death.
 
    The dance begins as flashback:  Marguerite’s worldly possessions are being sold at auction.  The mood is dark, morose, and silent. People are milling about as someone  breaks the silence by plinking on a grand piano, testing it for sound. Marguerite has died.  Armand rushes in late, as all the lots have been sold, and manages to snatch a dress from someone’s hand.  Nanina, Marguerite’s maid, hands Armand Marguerite’s diary.  Armand’s father is present, and Armand quietly begins to recount his tragic story.
 
    All comes to life as we see an audience of Parisian society taking their seats to view a ballet–we are watching a ballet within a ballet. The piece is “Manon Lescaut,”  danced by Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg; the story of a courtesan who flirts unashamedly, and her lover Des Grieux, and their eventual, harried and tragic end.  As a plot device, the dance serves as a signal, or ironic foreshadowing, for the ensuing events.
 
    Afterwards, Marguerite invites admirers to her room, Armand among them. She is annoyed at one of her rude guests, has a coughing attack, for she is ill, and retires to her room.  Armand follows, and at her daybed they tenderly caress; he falls at her feet, and declares his love. Both Julie Kent and Roberto Bolle are well cast in their respective roles–Bolle, as Armand, a classic figure, tall, dark, courtly with noble lines, and Kent, as Marguerite, airy, limpid, and ethereal. When they dance, he gives of himself totally in burning love and adoration.  In beautiful, spiraling lifts, effortless carries, and melts to the floor, the dancers become one. The music by Chopin, Sonata in B minor, is lyrical, meditative, and filled with longing as it builds to their dance of love, measure to measure.  When Armand finally departs, Marguerite pins a rose to his lapel.
 
    But all is not well.  Marguerite is pressured on all sides by suitors, and ill, absconds to the countryside, to an estate owned by an admiring Duke. Armand follows, confronts the Duke, and Marguerite finally, publicly declares her love for Armand. Here, Neumeier has created a beautiful dance piece for the ensemble.  Aptly, and charmingly outfitted in period costumes, the dancers joyfully celebrate in wonderful, circular waltzes while the stage is bathed in warm afternoon light.
 
    The pivotal point of the story develops when Monsieur Duval arrives at the country estate to have a private talk with Marguerite. He demands that she quit her scandalous affair with his son.  In a poignant moment she resists, but then eventually promises to comply.  She then rushes back to Paris; Armand follows, but finds her in the arms of the Duke.  Infuriated, he seduces Marguerite’s friend, Olympia, in a bodice ripping scene of frustration and anger. Marguerite, stunned enters and begs Armand to stop.  They reconcile, and again pledge their love.
 
    With the stage empty, except for golden circles of light, they dance a pas de duex of ecstasy and joy.  Armand lifts her in adoration, carries her high above, offers her as a prayer.  Manon again appears as Marguerite’s alter-ego, as a warning once more, and together they dance as a trio– all is open-hearted,  with wild abandonment. But finally, in the end, she leaves him remembering her promise to his father. 
 
    John Neumeier, no doubt invested his artistic soul choreographing this piece, and rigorously followed the story line. But for the dances of passion he created, all becomes too much of a good thing.  The heightened emotions, the repetitive mood and tone of Chopin’s music, becomes overwhelming.  One must turn away and take a breath even though, no doubt, for lovers, time does stands still. That he investigates all aspects of new found love in a rich variety cannot be disputed. Finally though, in the end, it all becomes a bit cloying and overwrought.
 
    Later, at a ball, the women dressed in sumptuous gowns cut in a variety of styles in purples, dusty blues, sea greens, and pinks, and the men in dignified, black mourning suits dance. The costumes by Jurgen Rose are a delight. Armand then approaches Marguerite and humiliates her by throwing money at her feet for past services. Marguerite collapses, is taken to her room weak and ill.  She manages to write her last entry into her diary, hands it to Nanina, and dies.
 
    At the dramatic final scene, Marguerite, as a diaphanous vision from her daybed beckons Armand to her side in a final gesture of love. Standing before her, frozen, looking forward, he clutches her diary.
 
 
 

Quote of the Day: W.B. Yeats

I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Quote of the Day: Thomas Jefferson

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

- Thomas Jefferson.

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton