Earlier this week, Darci Kistler swung by Studio 360 on her way home from rehearsal. A beloved soloist with the New York City Ballet, Kistler was the last principal chosen by ballet giant George Balanchine, before his death in 1983. After a laudable 30-year career, she’ll dance her final performance on June 27th.
Kistler was just fifteen when she joined the NYCB. By seventeen, she was a principal dancer – and she found her meteoric rise exciting. But with colleagues that were many years her senior, Kistler admitted to Kurt that she was often lonely in those early years. She ultimately found love at the NYCB – she told Kurt the story of how Mr. B played matchmaker for her and (now husband) Ballet Master Peter Martins:
We’ll broadcast more of Kurt’s conversation with Darci Kistler in the coming weeks.
— Becky Sullivan
UPDATE: Kurt’s interview with Darci Kistler aired the weekend of June 26th – listen to it here:
The prize for best booty-shakin’ performance of SXSW in Austin last week goes to Chicago rapper Kid Sister. Her first single, “Pro Nails” (featuring Kanye West), is just the tip of iceberg. Ultraviolet takes the best of high-energy 80s dance hip-hop and shoots it through a 21st century indie-electro filter: tight, fast beats, crazy synths, rapid-fire lyrics and irresistible hooks. If the opener, “Right Hand Hi,” doesn’t get you off your ass and dancing, I don’t know what will.
It’s Friday night, and I’m sweating on the dance floor. Am I at some chic nightclub? Not exactly. Instead of a techno beat, the sounds of fiddles, guitars, recorder, dulcimer, and banjo hang in the air.
Okay, I confess: I love Contra dancing. It’s a rowdy mix of square and line dancing. The constant swapping of partners means you get to meet everyone. The swinging reminds me of the controlled (and uncontrolled) spinning I did as a kid. And nothing else can put a spring in your step like a good jig.
And recently, I’ve upped the ante, getting into English Country Dance — think Netherfield Ball in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Back then, everyone knew the steps to each dance by just hearing the names of the songs or the first few bars of music. These days, a caller gives you instructions as you’re dancing.
In Austen’s time, these dances reinforced rigid hierarchical structure. The top couple was usually the most prominent and richest in the town, and a woman had to wait demurely for a gentleman to ask her to the dance floor. Today, not only do women ask women and men to dance, women can freely dance the male roles. The modern Lizzie Bennet never has to sit one out.
If you’re in New York, Country Dance New York hosts an American Contra Dance this Saturday at 8 pm and an English Country Dance on Tuesday at 7 pm. And maybe I’ll see you on the dance floor!
George Plimpton famously combined letters and football when he took a break from his day job as editor-in-chief of The Paris Review to try out for the Detroit Lions – as a 36-year-old rookie quarterback. He documented the sobering experience in his classic book, Paper Lion. He was a great success at the art part… but as Plimpton readily admits, pretty bad at football.
And it seems many of the artists were inspired by football:
Doug Aitken reimagined the Cowboys’ blue and silver star logo in new horizon (2009).
Mel Bochner seems to have had the crowd in mind for Win! (2009).
I wonder if fans even notice Daniel Buren’s Unexpected Variable Configurations: A Work in Situ (1998) as they get refills on their beer?
I think Cowboy fans and art fans have plenty in common: they are dedicated to their sport and its craft, connoisseurs of its stars, and passionate about great work – on the field, or on the wall. And in a sense, the Cowboys have taken on art before … Check out three-time Superbowl champ Emmitt Smith master the intricacies of ballroom dance:
We were saddened by the news this morning that Merce Cunningham has died. Cunningham was a giant of American modern dance and choreography – and an astoundingly talented dancer, who started his career dancing for Martha Graham, and appeared in his own company’s performances into his 70s.
We had the good fortune at Studio 360 to interview Cunningham in 2002 about his interest in chance as a principle of composition, and his embrace of computer-aided choreography:
My experience with it is that it is mostly visual–we look. And I thought, “That’s what you do with dance. You look at it.” So it seemed to me they were mated, so to speak. They haven’t gotten along very well yet. But I think there’s a really remarkable future, not immediate by any means, but future for dance with technology. I’m sure of it.
Merce has freed himself from music, he’s freed himself from storyline, from psychological motivation. Modern dance tried to establish long ago that it was nobody’s sleeping beauty, that it was nobody’s divertimento–for instance, in the opera world, when you want to show the inner life of the characters, you’ll suddenly cut away and have a dance sequence. Well, modern dancers said, “No, no, no, we don’t illustrate some other form. We are a primary form.”
This video of Filipino inmates performing a mass-ensemble dance to “Thriller” was circulating around the web a year or so ago. Given today’s news, we thought it was worth another look. Jackson’s death adds a dose of poignancy to the bizarre spectacle.
Yale Graphic design grad student Ely Kim conducts a 1-man dance off to his 100 fave songs. You won’t hear more than a few bars of each, but you will want watch all 100 (and marvel at all the great art school interiors from printshops to bathroom stalls). Best of all, guests at your future dance parties will thank you for his playlist. (M.I.A. , Technotronic, Yaz, Lil Mama) Watch. Smile. Repeat. BOOMBOX from Ely Kim on Vimeo.