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Buzz, 11-14: Staking a Claim
Voices on Bujones; Less Voices at Voice; Paris isn't Burning
Copyright 2005 The Dance Insider
Funeral services are
to be held today in Miami, birthplace of Orlando Ballet artistic
director Fernando Bujones, who passed away Thursday at the age of
50 from a malignant melanoma. "Fernando Bujones's pure classical
technique and bold temperament made him one of the first American-born
male dancers to become an international ballet superstar," Anna
Kisselgoff wrote Friday in the New York Times. At American Ballet
Theatre, with whom Bujones thrilled audiences for some two decades,
artistic director Kevin McKenzie said Thursday, "Fernando will be
missed as a friend and colleague by so many people. He will be remembered
as an inspiration and an example by many more. With his stellar
career as a performer behind him, he was claiming another stellar
career as a teacher and director that he leaves behind too soon.
We are all poorer for it."
Bujones, in a studio shot by Roy Round. Photograph copyright
Roy Round and courtesy American Ballet Theatre.
Orlando Thursday, the Ballet's former board president, Tricia Earl,
recalled how Bujones "took an average local company and made it
into a world-class organization. He was an exceptional gift to the
world of dance -- not only as a performer but with the legacy he
leaves." "All of us at Orlando Ballet have lost a mentor and a friend,"
executive director Russell P. Allen added.
the impact he would have on the field early on, becoming in 1974
one of ABT's youngest principal dancers ever. That same year, he
became the first American dancer to win the gold medal at the Varna
International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria. He would go on to
receive the Dance Magazine award, the New York Times/Florida prize,
and the Hispanic Heritage award, among others. In 2002, he was inducted
into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.
But this is one dance
legend whose impact was also immediate, as we learned when we asked
dance insiders to recall him Thursday. "I remember his double cabrioles
as a cause for celebration," dance journalist Suki John said. Edward
Ellison, artistic director of the Ellison Ballet - Professional
Training Program, told us, "I just saw Bujones two years ago, teaching
at Boston Ballet's summer intensive. He was full of life, giving
very energetic, strong classes, demonstrating everything like a
man half his age." Robin Hoffman, who danced for the Joffrey and
Louisville Ballets before co-founding the Dance Insider, related,
"In my one experience working with Bujones, I found him to be a
Fernando Bujones is
survived by his wife Maria, daughter Alejandra, mother Mary Calleiro,
sister and long-time coach Zeida Cecilia Mendez, father Fernando
Bujones Sr., half-brother Manny, and half-sisters Susi and Annette.
A funeral service is scheduled for today in his native Miami. The
family has requested that support of Orlando Ballet through contributions
to the Fernando Bujones Endowment Fund be given in lieu of flowers.
Less Choices @ the Voice
As first reported Thursday
on the Dance Insider e-mail,
the Village Voice has cut its dance
section from a full page to a half page for the foreseeable future,
the Dance Insider has learned. In a decision reportedly driven by
economic factors, the Voice will also no longer be assigning dance
articles to any other writers besides longtime senior staff writer
Deborah Jowitt, sources told the DI.
In addition to being
a showcase for Jowitt, one of the deans of dance criticism, under
senior editor Elizabeth Zimmer the Voice dance pages have also become
a forum for other senior dance critics, most notably Tobi Tobias,
as well as an important vehicle for introducing new talent to the
field. Zimmer has been a veritable miracle worker, somehow squeezing
a multiplicity of critical voices into a very proscribed space.
Speaking of proscriptions,
I'm under oath not to rant this, but -- with the best of intentions
-- I'm going to interpret that promise narrowly to mean I can't
whine at the Voice brain trust for this move. And franchement,
I have no interest in doing so. When I read 'economic factors,'
however, I can't help wondering if those with the resources in our
community might influence the Voice to reconsider by plying the
paper with advertising for their concerts. Elizabeth is no doubt
cringing to hear me saying this because, like a true professional
journalist, she respects the sacred wall between advertising and
editorial. It's a noble respect and I don't want to take it away
from her, but speaking generally -- again not ranting the
Voice in particular -- we all know why even the most saccharine
of movies somehow get space in, say, the New York Times, while even
the most important of dance concerts or dance news stories have
to fight for it. (Just take a look at those full-page movie ads.)
And as someone who (unlike my colleague) is both the editor responsible
for assigning stories and the publisher responsible for bringing
in the loot that makes it possible to publish them, I can't ignore
the connection. So instead of simply whining (again) about the reduction
in dance voices, I suggest that those of us who can -- Dance Theater
Workshop, for example -- take pro-active steps like investing in
advertising. NOT as a quid pro quo to get reviews for THEIR concerts,
but, well, as a responsibility to the dance community whose general
well-being they profess to care about. (Though regarding DTW in
the post-David White era, I have my doubts. Franchement.)
Paris isn't Burning
While we're speaking
French -- if you'll forgive the digression -- enough readers have
asked me about the recent events here in France, where I live, that
I feel a brief commentary is appropriate, especially as I understand
that not all of this has been reported in the US press.
In my view, the recent
riots have been prompted by a combination of factors social, political
and, yes, criminal. Legitimate social concerns don't legitimize
wanton destruction and, indeed, killing.
The good news is the
situation seems to have calmed.
The bad news is that
I'm not sure official France gets it.
Incredibly, the curfew
law invoked last week by prime minister Dominique de Villepin was
introduced in 1955, when it was used in Algeria against the grandparents
of many of the young people rioting today. And in 1961, the Vichy
war criminal Maurice Papon -- not only not yet tried but appointed
prefect of Paris -- apparently used a curfew law selectively, against
Algerian French in the Paris region. That October a demonstration
by Algerian French resulted in the deaths of between 32 and 200
demonstrators. (The massacre was only recently acknowledged by some
French authorities.) It's even alleged that many of the demonstrators
died after being hurtled into the Seine by police. (For confirmation
of these details, I've relied on this
Villepin is throwing
some money into the 'burbs, so he's listening as far as the lack
of opportunities for young people there, but I don't know that official
France gets it about the discrimination, particularly the discrimination
that started all this -- the police focus on young men of color.
On a fundamental level, white France has a tendency to suspect black
and brown France that it can't own up to because it conflicts with
the fundamental post-war French value that "we are all French,"
a penance for an era when for Papon and his Nazi-enabling ilk, some
were not French enough to keep them from being deported to the death