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Jacques D'Amboise: Portrait of a Great American Dancer


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Jacques D'Amboise: Portrait of a Great American Dancer + Balanchine: New York City Ballet in Montreal 2
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Editorial Reviews

VAI 4377 First release on DVD of the complete ballets "Apollo" (Balanchine choreography, Stravinsky music), "Filling Station" (Christensen choreography, Thomson music), "Afternoon of a Faun" (Robbins choreography, Debussy music). First DVD release of excerpts of "The Still Point" (Bolender choreography, Debussy music), "Stars and Stripes" (Balanchine choreography, Sousa music). Also "Black Swan" Pas de Deux & "Snow" Pas de Deux. Bonus: 2006 interview with D’Amboise. 132 min., B&W/Color, All regions.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Classical, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H8SFAW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,285 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ballet Boy on February 15, 2007
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Finally, some wonderful films have been released from Radio Canada. There are many films of the New York City Ballet that were done in Canada and until now, they wouldn't even let you look at them at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Although these are usually badly filmed and poor quality like the film of Divertimento #15, they are still worth cleaning up and seeing as this quality of dancer does not exist anymore. I was thrilled to see how well Apollo looked. I have a copy of this particular tape myself but this one has been cleaned and made to look like new. It is also wonderful to see the great Tanaquil LeClercq in Afternoon of a Faun. I would have thought that the Robbins Trust would do everything possible to block this from being seen. They hold the Robbins films, of which there are vast numbers, tighter than a drum. For some reason the NYCB has always felt that everything that is on film is meant to be locked away for eternity. Sadly, they are blocking people from seeing some of the greatest dancers America ever produced dancing wonderful ballet they way they should be danced.

Filing Station is an interesting bore but the Snow Pas is beautiful with lovely choreography by Jaques. It is the best choreography I have ever seen to this beautiful music and Melissa is wonderful. Stars, although truncated, is marvelous! I want to see more!!!!

Jacques is a funny and very talented man. When I was teaching at Broadway Dance Center years ago, he walked in to take the class wearing some kind of funny looking sneakers. I was very surprised and yet thrilled. I announced to the class that we had one of America's great dancers in class. He got a kick out of that. Afterwards, he told me that it was a great class. A very nice guy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Dussault on March 26, 2008
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It is a very interesting document specialy those from Radio-Canada's archives of 1955 and 1960. As I was in the studio when this Apollon-Musagette was recorded (Pierre Mercure and François Bernier, réalisateurs, beeing personnal friends, who invited me to share with them this recording of a great danser(I was recording a piano concert in another studio)) I looked at this document with special interest and touching reminiscence! The interview is extremely touching and interesting, specialy knowing how energicaly and courageously his "french canadian" mother looked upon her sons and daughter. Thanks so much for those marvelous moments of pure art!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By drkhimxz on March 27, 2011
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I don't usually watch "bonus" interviews. The one on this disc from 2005, long after the dances were performed, is an exception. It features an interviewer who knows how to let the interviewee talk while he listens and D'Amboise who seems still, at 69, to have retained the same vigor of expression, idealism and down-to-earth qualities he manifested when I heard him. in his dancing days, on NYC radio, extolling the virtues of dance for enhancing the individual's quality of life (as it would be called today).
The dances, in black and white or early color, are classics which are sufficiently captured by primitive technology to give us an idea of what they looked like not long after their creation or re-creation for live ballets. Listen to D'Amboise's explanation of how most were filmed, to understand just how difficult were the conditions for dancers in these settings. To evaluate them, as seen on a stage meant for ballet, one must add a multiplier to discount the problems.
All-in-all, this is another debt we incur to VAI (with Kultur and some few others), issuers of DVD's which do their best to preserve something of the perishable performances of the past.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By nesral on June 4, 2011
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This DVD, which costs twice as much (or more) than most, should come with an advisory.

The quality of ALL the dances (from 1954 to 1965) is execrable. The sound is terrible. "Faun" is unwatchable. Surely, there are other DVDs out there of D'Amboise that are better than this assortment of selections.

As to the interview (2006) with D'Amboise: the first 15 or so minutes, recapping the dancer's beginnings and his is experiences with Balanchine and Stravinsky, is fine, but most of the interview is given over to his present preoccupation, with fund-raising activities. Lots and lots of talk about money. Nothing (or virtually, nothing) about his teaching, his engaging lots of kids in the dance. His enthusiasm for his good works is not infectious, at least for this viewer, who was looking forward to much more time and talk spent about his career, and perhaps reflections on the present dance scene.

The title of the DVD is "portrait" and that is certainly NOT what this film is: it's scarcely complete, looks cheap, and feels like a cheat.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ernest L. Sparks on March 3, 2008
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A good thing about it is that it includes the Naissance d'Apollon dance, which Balanchine later cut out. I disagree with with his decision that it made the male dancer look bad. I agree with another reviewer that Peter Martins looked more like a greek god than Jacques d'Amboise. Also, Balanchine's decision to forgo full costuming makes Apollo's cloth looks like an old knotted dishtowel. But I'm just being picky. I love love love the dances. Now if someone would just come out with an Orpheus film and an Agon film. {SIGH}
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