The Woods Hole Public Library is bringing in off-Cape talent as it continues its series of dance lectures this summer, thanks in large part to a grant from Nancy Lasalle, Director Emerita of the New York City Ballet and life-long summer resident of Woods Hole. The series will include lectures and videos of dances of many types. The series will be held on the first four Wednesdays in July, all starting at 7:30 PM.
The first presentation will feature Iris Fanger, one of America’s leading dance and theater critics, scholars, and educators, and a graduate of the drama Ph.D. program at Tufts. She is a contributing writer to the Boston Phoenix, the Christian Science Monitor, Dance Magazine, Dancing Times (London), and the Patriot Ledger.
In Woods Hole, she is known to the environmental science community as a member of the board of directors of the Woods Hole Research Center. Fanger was director of the Harvard Summer Dance Center from 1977-1995 and an associate professor in the Tufts drama department from 1982-1984. In 2005, Fanger received the Dance Champion Award from the Boston Dance Alliance.
At the Woods Hole Library on July 2, Ms. Fanger will speak on “Ballet in America, the Russian Connection”. In a synopsis of her talk, she says “Ballet was born and nurtured in the courts of Europe and brought to America in the 18th century by French performers escaping their country’s revolution. They were followed by Italian ballerinas in the 19th century, to be firmly planted on our shores by Russian artists who began to arrive before World War I. For more than 100 years, the story of ballet as a national pastime has been shaped by Russian and Soviet dancers, choreographers and teachers, many of whom remained to train successive generations of our home-bred students.
This lecture with film excerpts will trace the lithe footsteps of personalities like Anna Pavlova who arrived in New York in 1910 and repeatedly toured the nation until 1925, the members of the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, and George Balanchine. We will continue with the careers of the defectors—Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov—ending in a look at the repertory created by contemporary choreographer, Alex Ratmansky, in residence at American Ballet Theatre”.
The second presentation, on July 9, will introduce Joseph Houseal a scholar, dancer, and preservationist of dance of the Himalayan Rim. He will speak about Ladakh, especially the culture and dance of the monasteries.
The third event in the series will be an Oral History evening, featuring Ms. Fanger interviewing Ms Lasalle about her years of involvement with the New York City Ballet, highlighting her experiences with Balanchine and Lincoln Kerstein. The pair will take questions at the end of the interview.
The fourth and final week, July 23, will be a presentation of Balanchine films. Ms. Fanger will make introductory remarks, stressing the highlights of many of the ballets that she has described earlier in the month.
These events are all free and open to the public, thanks to Nancy Lasalle’s generosity, For more information call the Library at 508-548-8961.