Violette Verdy On What Makes A Great Dancer


A musical dancer helps you to see and feel the music in your own body; a dancer with a superior musicality goes even further, playing against the music, entering into a conversation with it, bending it to her own wishes. This is the kind of dancer Verdy was. Such musicality is innate.

Music So Intense You Get “Skin Orgasms”?


“We normally only respond like this to experiences that might ensure or endanger our survival – food, reproduction, or the terrifying plummet of a rollercoaster. How can music – hardly a life-or-death pursuit – move the mind and the body as powerfully as sex?”

Disabled Characters And The Theatre – Some Considerations

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“Why is one considered a beacon of acting talent for playing a disabled character convincingly? Why is it a common expectation that these actors will transform into characters whose experiences they can never truly understand? And, perhaps the most important question: if able-bodied actors continue to be cast in these roles, what opportunities are left for disabled actors?”

Stage Fright – What Exactly Is It, And What’s Behind It?

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“Stage fright has been aptly described as ‘self-poisoning by adrenaline'” – the fight-or-flight response. “But what Cro-Magnon man needed upon finding a bear in his cave is not what a modern person needs in order to play King Lear. Without the release of abrupt action, the hyperactivation becomes, basically, a panic attack.”

Dramatizing Egypt’s Political And Social Issues With A Bedroom Farce


Threesome, by Yussef El Guindi, “begins as a bawdy bedroom comedy whose main characters, a heterosexual Egyptian-American couple, invite a white American man into their bed. Over two acts it transforms into something darker, as all three grapple with the fallout of sexual assault, infidelity, war and the pain of lost hope, both political and personal.”

Can Arabic Literature Ever Be Fully Understood In English?

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“In some ways, reading all this Arabic literature in English has been like listening in on a foreign-language recording when one understands the words’ meanings, but not the allusions, nor the jokes, nor the underlying rhythms. Some of this woodenness can be blamed on inadequate translations. But some of it falls to our historical blind spots.”

‘I Would Have Jumped Off A Roof For Mao': Li Cunxin, ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’, From The Cultural Revolution To The 21st-Century West


“Forced into ballet as a child in Mao’s China, Li Cunxin defected to the US and had to work as a stockbroker to support his family back home. But he never quit dancing. As he brings the Queensland Ballet to Britain, he talks about his traumas and triumphs – and shock at seeing people take their privileged lives for granted.”

Harper Lee’s Attorney Takes Over Another Piece Of The ‘Mockingbird’ Brand: The Annual Play In Monroeville


Tonja Carter, who rediscovered the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman and sued the local museum over its gift shop’s Mockingbird-themed merchandise, has formed a company to produce the stage adaptation of the novel in the town’s historic courthouse – taking the rights away from the museum, which had presented the play for years.

Shigeko Kubota, Pioneering Video Artist And Fluxus Member, Dead At 77


“Today, Kubota … [is] better remembered for her 1965 performance Vagina Painting, in which Kubota attached a paintbrush to her skirt, squatted, and moved around over a canvas.” More notable was her work, by herself and with husband Nam June Paik, developing the genre of video art in general and combining video and sculpture in particular.

Philadelphia’s Other Opera Company Reinvents Itself (Again)


After a two-year hiatus, the erstwhile Center City Opera has re-emerged with a new name (that doesn’t include the word opera) and mission, a four-shows-in-18-days summer festival format, a new home (the Prince Music Theater, itself recently brought back from the dead), a world premiere, two local premieres, and the musical version of Heathers.

Vic Firth, 85, The ‘Stradivari Of Drumsticks’

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Besides spending four decades as the Boston Symphony’s principal tympanist (Seiji Ozawa called him “the single greatest percussionist anywhere in the world”), he decided in the 1960s to design and build his own sticks, feeling that what was on the market was inadequate for the subtleties of serious symphonic and ensemble music. Little did he know then that he was setting the gold standard for percussionists in all genres all over the world.

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Stunning Reversal: Cincinnati Piano Competition Reinstates Its Fired Artistic Director


“Awadagin Pratt, who was dismissed by executive director and CEO Mark Ernster on July 8, will continue in the role of artistic director. The competition also announced on Wednesday that Ernster resigned from his position on July 20. Board chair Jack Rouse, who had resigned on July 8, returned as chairman on July 26.”

Tate Britain Names New Director


Alex Farquharson is the choice. “The 45-year-old founded the £20m Nottingham Contemporary in 2009 with an exhibition of David Hockney’s work from the 1960s. That same year he was on the selection committee for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, where the UK was represented by 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. In its first five years, Nottingham Contemporary has attracted more than a million visitors.”

Is Silicon Valley’s Creativity In Danger Of Stunting Itself?


“The enormous, disruptive creativity of Silicon Valley is unlike anything since the genius of the great 19th-century inventors. Its triumph is to be celebrated. But the accumulation of so much wealth so fast comes with risks. The 1990s saw a financial bubble that ended in a spectacular bust. This time the danger is insularity. The geeks live in a bubble that seals off their empire from the world they are doing so much to change.”

Netflix Will Soon Be The Largest “Network” Producer Of Original Programming


“Netflix next year is poised to expand its lineup to more than two dozen series, blowing past both HBO and TV’s most prolific basic-cable programmer, FX/FXX. A service until recently known mostly for repurposing other people’s movies and TV shows will thus achieve a major milestone: It will boast the biggest collection of first-run scripted content of any other subscription-based network in America, cable or streaming.”

The Profound Effect Funding Cuts Will Have On Regional UK Theatre


“The subsidised sector is without doubt the research and development arm of the commercial sector, where new productions, new work and new talent are developed. Ultimately, cuts of this magnitude would see the demise of the West End and regional touring as we know it, with far-reaching social, reputational, tourism and economic consequences.”