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« Two Poems [by Mitch Sisskind] | Main | Growing a Book [by Lera Auerbach] »

February 11, 2022


Thank you so much, Dana Gioia and Stacey Lehman, for this wonderful conversation on dance. The photos are glorious and bring back such memories. Suzanne!

I agree with Dana. I'd pick Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Chaconne, Stravinsky Violin Concerto for newcomers to Balanchine. Well, I think I could keep listing ballets, as they are all great places to start: Symphony in C, Square Dance, Allegro Brillante, Vienna Waltzes, Davidsbundlertanze, Mozartiana, Agon, Apollo, et. al.

When I would attend performances, I would always see a rapt Susan Sontag in the audience. It was as if she lived there! Those were astonishing evenings at the New York City Ballet.

Stacey, you open the world for us wider and wider. I always enjoyed ballet as a spectacle but you hone in and let us see the intricacies. A beautifully written and felt piece. Also, Dana needs applause for keeping my radio program alive through a special grant when he was at NEA. Or we would not be celebrating 45 years 2022.

Stacey, thank you so much for this. It's lovely to hear you and Dana talking. Another piece please about Moscow in 07!

In her memoir "Holding on to the Air" Suzanne Farrell writes that the role of the stripper in "Slaughter" took her way out of her comfort zone. "C'mon Suzanne," said Mitchell, "sex it up!" So she did cut loose, and wow!
I loved having this conversation with Dana. It sparked so many memories. I am deeply moved by his answer to the NEA question. We were so lucky to have someone so committed to the arts at the helm of the beleaguered agency.
By the way, my ideal program would also include "Slaughter" and "Serenade" but I would add "Symphony in C" for its exuberance and Jerome Robbins' hilarious "The Concert" which I first saw as girl. Who knew that serious ballet could make you laugh out loud?

This treat of terpsichorean truth from Stacey Lehman and Dana Gioia reminded me of the many pleasures of dance in its myriad forms. I cannot recall the name of the wag who once said, "Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire." Oscar Levant perhaps? Anyway, there is something ensorceling, if not subliminally sexual, about beautiful figures executing beautiful figures of precision, fluidity, and overall grace. I, too, have become a balletomane, initially resisting because of rigid labels and finally submitting because resisting obvious beauty is just plain stupid. I hope I'm on pointe.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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