“Julie Lincoln, Répétiteur: Inhabiting the Bodies of Others” is from the Document(s) series, a library of commentary on people and issues in the dance field. This repository of essays includes interviews by writers and thinkers on dance, as well as “dance discursions,” which offer opportunities for reflection on the field of dance commissioned by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
For the dancer, learning a role is more than simply memorizing a series of steps, particularly in the realm of ballet where dances are frequently restaged long after the choreographer has died. Individual coaching and mentoring is essential to the interpretation of a role. Ballet répétiteurs work one-on-one with dance artists to articulate and find the essence of a character or particular portrayal that becomes distinctive to their physicality. This article, along with “Georgina Parkinson: A Dancer in Her Time / Making the Blueprint” and “Patricia Ruanne: A Conversation with a Ballet Répétiteur,” offers a glimpse into the life of an influential woman who inhabited this role.
From the article:
“In the last 30 years, the deaths of Anthony Tudor, George Balanchine, and Frederick Ashton—choreographers whose works are regarded as touchstones of 20th-century ballet—have prompted attention toward the methods by which bodies of choreographic work are maintained in the absence of their creators. Conventional opinion declares dance to be the ‘most ephemeral’ of the arts; that it happens only ‘in the moment’ and then ‘vanishes.’ On the one hand, these canards imply that keeping such transitory artistry alive at all may be a meaningless exercise; on the other hand, they allude to the hybrid work of artists who strive to revive and maintain ballets by deceased choreographers.
“‘Naturally we can’t keep dance in a time warp–you have to push beyond and improve,’ Lincoln acknowledges. ‘But within the framework of what has come before, of what we all learned from those earlier generations who are the foundation of the Royal Ballet, who is properly safeguarding this legacy? Where are all those people with the passion that can do these things?’”
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The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced its 2014 grants in support of Philadelphia’s arts and cultural community today. They include 12 new Pew Fellowships of $60,000 each, 35 project grants in amounts up to $300,000, and two Advancement grants of $500,000 each.