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Talk, Talk, Talk

by Marian Horosko
October 19, 2008
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430

Featured Dance Companies:

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000
www.alvinailey.org

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre (office)
890 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212-477-3030
www.abt.org

The post performance talk with the choreographer is out…the pre-performance talk is in. No more extended evenings as the audience exits and the rest wait for the speaker to begin. Now, there are more introductions prior to a dance performance than ever before, and what a pleasure it is to have additional information that is not crammed into a playbill and read in the dark of the theater.

After the inevitable questions to the speaker from the audience about the origin of a chorographer's inspiration and the reason for a choice of composer, there is a personal rapport established with the audience and insights are given that enhance the performance.

To date, successful pre-performance discussions have been presented at the Alvin Alley II preview given by director Sylvia Waters and by Christopher Wheeldon of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. This latter pre-performance talk and demonstration was begun with a warm-up barre and mini-center work with the dancers. This format gives the audience a chance to view the dancers in a more informal setting. Practice clothes show the body's configuration. The attitude of each dancer is also apparent as they embrace or reject the audience viewing. The barre shows commitment to a proper warm-up, indifference or impatience. Not every dancer wants to be judged on the basis of class work. Some dancers are studio dancers; some are performers.

Coming up is a pre-performance schedule for the centennial tribute to Antony Tudor at American Ballet Theatre. Fans regard Tudor as a master of sub-text, the hidden psychological inferences in his work. The pre-performance series is structured as 30-minute, open-seating talks for same-night ticket holders, although many other companies offer line-holders a free, pre-performance ticket.

Beginning on Thursday, October 23 on the main stage at New York City Center, at 6:15; Friday, October 24 at 6:45; and Wednesday, October 29 at 6:15, speakers will include former ABT dancer, Kathleen Moore, choreographers Eliot Feld, Kirk Peterson and ABT artistic Director, Kevin McKenzie discussing Tudor's work.

Additional speakers include Anna Kisselgoff, former chief dance critic for the "New York Times," Sally Bliss, executive director of the Tudor Trust and Roslyn Anderson, rehearsal director for Nederlands Dans Theater I.

American Ballet Theatre's centennial celebration runs from October 21 through November 2. For further information consult: www.abt.org.
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