Library of the Performing Arts – Jerome Robbins Movie

This was one of those things I love. As I try to learn all about dance and the history and the major artists involved I am lucky to have found the Library of the Performing Arts.  There are weekly programs with guest speakers, and archival film, and even sing alongs.


Its possible I am at something  called the Dance Rewind Series.  If today isn’t part of it then I need to find out what is. 


Today I will see these movie excerpts and be guided through by a member of staff, Julia Foulkes.  This is still part of the celebration of Jerome Robbins 100th anniversary I think. 

I am not familiar with a lot of these pieces and I won’t really go into much detail here.  This post is mainly for me to refer back to.  I keep this blog because i can’t remember all that goes on and sometimes I want to make a connection so I stick in a name or a term or a place in the search and I can refer back to something I wrote that might shake my memory.  That is what this post is about.

There was one amazing thing that happened.   the first piece a 1945 silent recording of Robbins dancing Fancy Free was put next to a sounded recording from the 90’s.. so you could see the two side by side, see Robbins dancing to the music, the two dancers synced across time.   It seems that Fancy free launched Robbins and Bernstein’s careers. 

There was a 1951 recording of Spiders. Where the work was inspired b the idea that Women dominate the stage. He worked with Stravinsky on this piece.

The theme of the day was collaborations and she made a big deal about the collaboration with the lighting designer and how that might play into the success of Robbns and his ballets. 

Next we saw from West Side Story the movie “America”. She talked a lot about how Robbins saw, learned, viewed how to show dance on film. How to make it believable.

Apparently one dance scene was staged by another director, name of Wise. It was the gym scene. Notice how that is flat compared to the rest. This was after Robbins was fired as director

“Makes conflict thru movement and draws the viewer in to it.”

Then a 1984 collaboration with Twyla Tharp.  Interesting, but my mind wandered.  I hear the commentator talking about how much of his choreography someone is watching. He learns from Twyla to challenge himself and try things.

He is looking for ideas and to break from Balanchine. Working with NYCB. Robbins in blue. Tharp in Green. So we see Abraham’s/Handel

She choreographs in a different way. She knows where she is going. Walks in and sets the piece whereas he goes into the studio. Creates. Goes back. creates again

He was a philanthropist and in the 80’s he put on a benefit for life. Focused on hiv/AIDS. he ends the program with Balanchines symphony in C.  Uses varied and different dancers. It contained no work of his own. Many famous and the best dancers from the top companies vied for a place soon stage.. it was 1987.

Most of the films today were archival footage taken full stage with a stationary camera.  It’s funy because I go to the ballet on film and always want a full shot. I think my mind is changed

On my way out I see this…. 

I will be back to try it out. 

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