LINCOLN KIRSTEIN was born in 1907 to a newly prosperous Jewish couple—his father Louis had risen to a top executive post in Filene’s, the famed department store. As a young man, Kirstein was precocity personified.
Issue Categories Archives: Dance
BIOGRAPHER Judith Chazin-Bennahum, former ballet dancer and distinguished professor emerita of theatre and dance at the University of New Mexico, has taken on the task of recovering from obscurity the extraordinary life of René Blum (1878-1942). Youngest brother of Leon Blum, the first Jewish prime minister of France (1936-37), René devoted his life to the arts and ballet, and to the Ballets Russes above all.
THE RESTROOMS at Bulgaria’s National Palace of Culture had just one use—and it wasn’t to relieve oneself. So when the American teacher descended the stairs and was captured by a hushed voice, he knew full well what was going to happen. The young man was tall and thin with a “close-cropped military cut of hair so popular among young men … a hyper-masculine style” and he seemed a little bad-boy dangerous. He couldn’t speak English well and the American could only grasp a few words of Bulgarian …
Mitko was the man’s name …
IN APRIL 1962, Rudolf Nureyev was convicted under Soviet article N43 of treason against the state. Traitor number 50,888 was not present to defend himself against the charges, which had resulted from his dramatic defection to the West at Le Bourget airport, Paris, the year before.
Chance and Circumstance is a fascinating document of an American dance company and two gay artists and their times, each occupying a singular place in American culture. Brown doesn’t miss a beat or a gesture of the New York art world. She gives us the minutiae of squabbles, jealousies, and wardrobe malformations, along with the company’s triumphs and setbacks.
JOAN ACOCELLA writes beautifully on every topic she covers, and this collection of her biographical essays over the last two decades shimmers with droll observations, vivid images, and wise insights about important artists.
THE DANCE FESTIVAL known as Jacob’s Pillow began as the summer home of Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers in 1933. With that as its lineage, Shawn’s enterprise would seem to be entitled to a gay back-story. Surprisingly, that story has yet to be fully told, and many of the Pillow’s 70,000 annual visitors to Becket, Massachusetts, are probably unaware of this aspect of Pillow history.
CHOREOGRAPHERS in the U.S. have repeatedly drawn men and metaphors from the world of sports to give their work a sense of authenticity on the concert dance stage. What’s more, the presence of male athletes and athleticism has worked to counter long-held anxieties about the supposed effeminacy of male dancers. To illustrate what I think is a heretofore unexamined use of male athletes in dance, I wish to discuss four dances …
WHEN I TELL those outside the dance world about my interest in same-sex ballroom, their first question is always the same: “but who leads?” This query never ceases to amaze me-how and why has ballroom become primarily about leading and following, about dominance and submission?
Following is an excerpt from the author’s keynote address at the annual meeting of the Tides Foundation in San Francisco on April 28, 2006.