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The Buzz, 2-22: Buzz-O-Rama
Meet Jill Johnston; Siegel Watches the Dance; Tudor Teaches the PDD; Merce goes Public; the 5,000 Dance Jobs of Mr. T

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2008 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Dance Insider FlashBlast e-mail club members got these items earlier this week by e-mail. To receive the Dance Insider's free daily FlashBlast, click here then press send.)

Church with Johnston

If you're in New York Sunday, you'll have a rare opportunity to meet legendary dance and culture critic, memoirist, New Journalism co-founder, Judson chronicler and Dance Insider columnist Jill Johnston when she celebrates the release of "England's Child: the Carillon and the Casting of Big Bells." The book is at once a biography of Johnston's father Cyril Johnston, the bellfounder who introduced the carillon to North America via his British foundry, Gillett & Johnston; a treatise on the origin and development of the instrument, and woven into all this, Johnston's story as the engine for writing this book. The party starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Cloister Lounge of Riverside Church, 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, entrance on Claremont Avenue.

And to check The Johnston Letter on the Dance Insider, go: here.

Marcia B. Siegel watches the dance and herself

Speaking of legendary dance critics, here's La Siegel from her January 22 Boston Phoenix review of "Bytes," a program at the Institute for Contemporary Arts where choreographers were limited to ten minutes:

"The traditional approach to choreography, which seeks to explore the possibilities of a limited number of phrases and moves, is still satisfying to me. I can see why a modern sensibility, with access to instantaneous, unlimited image-producing media, can read as hyperactive and intellectually lightweight."

Read the whole review here.

A Tudor who tutored the two

Staying in Boston, through Sunday at the Boston Conservatory Theater, the Boston Conservatory Dance Theater and orchestra will perform Antony Tudor's "Continuo," "Little Improvisations," and "Dark Elegies," and Jose Limon's opus "Missa Brevis." Indeed it is the little things that count, as our late Muriel Topaz reminds us in relating, in her Tudor bio "Undimmed Lustre," (Scarecrow Press, 2002) this account by Ballet Rambert ballet master Cecil Bates about the day in 1952 when Tudor demonstrated the pas de deux on Bates and Rambert principal Noreen Insop for the Cecchetti Society: ".... He demonstrated the placing of the body for balance doing a lot with fingertip control, placing of the ballerina so she maintained the balance without putting any weight on her partner. The partner was just a source of reference with a very light touch. In fact, you could let go of her and walk away. He placed Noreen's hips and upper back in position. And, suddenly she would be on balance. She didn't need me. That was an eye-opening experience, revolutionary at that time." Ticket info in Boston: 617-912-9222.

Public Merce

Merce Cunningham will be making the choreography for his signature solo "Loops" available to the public under what the Cunningham Foundation calls a 'copyleft' intellectual property licence that, according to the foundation, "will permit anyone to perform, reproduce, and adapt this work for non-commercial purposes."

To read more about earlier examples of Merce's public and posterity-minded generosity, go here; for images of Merce and Merce notations, check here .

The 5,000 Jobs of Mr. T.

Jon Teeuwissen, who's held just about every position in dance, from Capezio franchiser to Pilobolus manager to New Orleans Ballet Association E.D. to American Ballet Theatre general manager -- whew, I don't know about you dance insider, but I'm exhausted! -- tells the Dance Insider exclusively why he's leaving his most recent position, executive director of the Joffrey Ballet:

"I always planned to leave when I got my major objectives accomplished: retired all debt, got the company stable financially, a new facility up and ready to move into this summer, and artistic succession completed and Mr. A (company co-founder Gerald Arpino) taken care of. I thought this would have all happened by the end of the 50th (last summer) -- it just took a year longer for me to get to the finish line.

"Given we have a new A.D. (Ashley Wheater) in place and I will have been with him a full season for transition, it is right that he should put together his own team. Had I met him five years ago, I would have been up for it. But my six years at the Joffrey have been exhausting, and I am ready to do something else."

Explaining that he hopes to go to business school before returning to Chicago, Mr. T. pledged, "If I stay in dance, it will never be with a single dance company again, as I would want to do something on a much larger scale that could have greater impact -- both in terms of helping to build the dance audience, and also helping companies to achieve more access to resources through efficiencies, better structure and board education/motivation. We'll see what opportunities reveal themselves."

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