An account of the ballet in Paris since the war can only bear the simple label of chaos. But in a good sense of variety and ceaseless activity. The inexhaustible Académie Nationale de Musique et de Danse has stood firm amidst a welter of dance companies, smaller troupes and so forth, which have organized, some to dazzle briefly and disappear, perhaps to disband, perhaps to reappear under a different name. New designers have made their mark (one thinks of Antoni Clavé and Jean Malclès), new choreographers have appeared—including an interesting feminine one: Janine Charrat, who has created a striking Massacre des Amazones as well as other works for her own company. Endless successions of visiting dancers have flitted across the boards, predominantly Spanish and American, but including elements English, African, Yugoslav and Javanese. International, above all, and chaotic like all things international.
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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