GREAT PERFORMANCES: DANCE IN AMERICA: THE FELD BALLET (TV)

Summary

One in this dance series presented under the umbrella of "Great Performances." In this program, New York City's Feld Ballet Company, under the direction of namesake Eliot Feld, is examined.

The program opens with a solo from "Excursions," danced by Christine Sarry to the music of Samuel Barber. Next, narrator John Lithgow tells how the company, formed in 1974, offers free classes to NYC children from areas such as Harlem, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side. Youngsters in their second year of schooling are seen performing various dance exercises, with the most promising youths motivated at the thought of joining the troupe in the future.

Next, dances scored to Johannes Brahms's "Intermezzo" are performed by Sarry, Feld, Helen Douglas, Edmund Lafosse, Linda Miller, and Gregory Mitchell. Lithgow then tells about Feld's manner of mixing classical ballet movements with contemporary costumes, sets and lighting. Feld's reasoning for choosing certain composers' music is then explored.

Footage is seen from a rehearsal of "Danzon Cubano" as Feld explains his choreography to Aaron Copland, who wrote the score. Lafosse, Miller, Michaela Hughes, and Gwynn Taylor perform excerpts from the piece. Copland later talks about another of his compositions, "El Salon Mexico," followed by Feld's interpretation of the music. Next, selections are heard from Copland's "La Vida," danced by Taylor, Alfonso Figueroa, Kate Johnson, Mary Randolph, Kenneth Hughes, Louis Perrella, and Jeff Satinoff. "The Blues" segment from George Gershwin's "The Real McCoy" is later danced by Feld, Mitchell, Satinoff, Michaela Hughes, Kenneth Hughes, and Charles Kennedy.

Gerard Schwarz is seen conducting the orchestra, after which he discusses how he'll conduct Morton Gould's "Battle Hymn," "Formations," and "Santa Fe Saga," which is danced by Mitchell. Gould tells Feld how he's stimulated by "colloquialisms" and "vernacular" when composing. "Half Time" from "Formations" is subsequently performed, featuring the full company dancing to "March On." Douglas then dances "Twirling Tango," followed by Michaela Hughes dancing "Red, White, and Blues," Sarry, Satinoff, and Kenneth Hughes dancing "Yankee Doodle Trio," Douglas leading the company on "Old Glory," and the full company on "... And to the Republic."

As the program concludes, Lithgow tells how the abandoned Elgin Theater in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood is in the process of being renovated as a stage and auditorium to house the Feld Ballet. Upon opening, it will be known as The Joyce Theater.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: May 16, 1979 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:48
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 100357
  • GENRE: Dance
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Ballet
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1976-
  • COMMERCIALS:

Credits

  • Jac Venza … Executive Producer
  • Emile Ardolino … Coordinating Producer, Director
  • Judy Kinberg … Producer
  • Catherine A. Tatge … Associate Producer
  • Merrill Brockway … Series Producer
  • Tobi Tobias … Writer
  • Samuel Barber … Composer
  • Johannes Brahms … Composer
  • Aaron Copland … Composer
  • George Gershwin … Composer
  • Morton Gould … Composer
  • Gerard Schwarz … Conductor
  • Eliot Feld … Choreographer
  • Helen Douglas … Dancer
  • Eliot Feld … Dancer
  • Alfonso Figueroa … Dancer
  • Kenneth Hughes … Dancer
  • Michaela Hughes … Dancer
  • Kate Johnson … Dancer
  • Charles Kennedy … Dancer
  • Edmund Lafosse … Dancer
  • Linda Miller … Dancer
  • Gregory Mitchell … Dancer
  • Louis Perrella … Dancer
  • Mary Randolph … Dancer
  • Christine Sarry … Dancer
  • Jeff Satinoff … Dancer
  • Gwynn Taylor … Dancer
  • John Lithgow … Narrator