The cows in Stella Gibbons's immortal 'Cold Comfort Farm' are named Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless, and that more or less is the verdict on 'Ocean's Kingdom,' the wildly hyped and wildly uninteresting collaboration between Peter Martins and Paul McCartney.
Gelsey Kirkland has had more than her share of demons, as her two distressing memoirs - and her violently checkered career - attest.
Melissa Barak, an ex-City Ballet dancer and sometime choreographer, has put together an unspeakably dopey and incompetent mess called 'Call Me Ben,' combining ultra-generic dance, terrible dialogue and disastrous storytelling, about the founding of Las Vegas by the gangster Bugsy Siegel, who insists, violently, on being addressed as 'Ben.'
What guarantees - or at least semi-guarantees - good ballets is good choreographers, and they are thin on the ground.
Nothing is harder to create than brilliant comic ballets, except maybe brilliant full-evening comic ballets.
'The Sleeping Beauty' is the greatest, most challenging and most vulnerable of classical ballets. Everything can go wrong with it, and all too often, everything does.
Yes, bad or mediocre ballets can be useful to the dancers and temporarily fun for the audience, but in the long run, the lowering of standards can only erode the art form we all love.
'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is one of George Balanchine's greatest creations - and one of the greatest of all story ballets.
Tolstoy may be right about happy and unhappy families, but in ballet, it works the opposite way: All good ballets are different from each other and all bad ones are alike, at least in one crucial respect - they're all empty.
Charles Dickens left us fifteen novels, and in an ideal world, everyone would read all of them.
The 1920s brought not only the Charleston but the flat chest.
'River of Light,' to a dense but powerful score commissioned from Charles Wuorinen and with ravishing lighting by Mark Stanley, has depth and resonance.
Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870, having produced fifteen novels, many of which can confidently be called great, as well as having accomplished outstanding work in activities into which his insatiable need to expend his vast energies - to achieve, to prevail - carried him: journalism, editing, acting, social reform.
It's a crapshoot, publishing.
We know how Merce Cunningham works and how he thinks - we've been told, over and over again, by him and by others.
For Russians, to whom Pushkin's poem 'Eugene Onegin' is sacred text, the ballet's story and personae are as familiar and filled with meaning as, for instance, 'Romeo' and 'Hamlet' are for us. Russians know whole stretches of it by heart, the way we know Shakespeare and Italians know Dante.
Raimund Hoghe is a little man with a spinal deformity who was once Pina Bausch's dramaturge.
The man Dickens, whom the world at large thought it knew, stood for all the Victorian virtues - probity, kindness, hard work, sympathy for the down-trodden, the sanctity of domestic life - even as his novels exposed the violence, hypocrisy, greed, and cruelty of the Victorian age.
There are certain historical figures of such importance that we need to know everything about them, which is why books about Napoleon, Lincoln, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, and the great religious founders continue to proliferate; these lives require constant reevaluation and interpretation.
At a certain point, you have to face the fact that you've turned into an old fart.