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Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California • Page 147

Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California • Page 147

Oakland Tribunei
Oakland, California
Issue Date:

friend By PAUL HERTEUNDY Tribune Done Critic to her fellow devotees: Its a holiday, lets face it! Sura it 'is! And nobody contradicts her. r. This fleet-fseted madness has been going so since 1962, when, the three veterans of the present company Joined forces in a pathetic, straggling little dance troupe: local boy Bonn Gnidl, whose Italian ancestors used to entertain King Victor Emanuel in their Lucca ssm-- mer palazzlo; Arthur Conrad, a six-foot two beanpole much too tall far ballet; and the tiny Ms. Brock, who probably would fly oat the window like a dandelion puff if any one sneered. diplomatically at a nervous run-lhrough the other day before a performance. He turned away when the music resumed and whispered, Im horrible to them at rehearsal but calm at performance time, so as to relax them. They needed it, too; the younger dancers, 15 and up, could be skittish as colts, I de-" pending. Janet Carole, wrapped in fat leggings'and sweater to help loosen up aching muscles from the night before, swung a leg a shoulder-high ledge and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. She knew that after warmup came rehearsal, dress, makeup, and then perhaps Guidis awesome Snow pas de deux, a 10-minute marathon in which her partner, David Roland, must lift her no less than 17 times. But their determination was not to be believed. Ms. Brock mastered so many roles that in "Nutcracker alone she DIANNE BROCK Just a broken neck JUDY SANDWBSS Going to bud hungry When it comes to sheer dedication to a cause, some cate-' gorics of people are in a class by themselves: Saffron-robed 1 Buddhist monks. Olympic distance Pryctioners of yoga who can turn off all pain. Cloistered nuns who take vows of isolation. And ballet dancers. Tricia Kaye, for instance, -commutes seven to eight limes a week from her Fremont home to the Oakland. Ballet. She starts classes at 10 a.m., takes breakfast at p.m., finishes dance at p.m. and devours a steak at mid-, night. Its an ageaiziag, grading regimen. No driakiag alcohd, nly a rare cigarette, no Ice cream, and ealy the most erratic sedal life in the knurs left ever. But she will -not give it up. Dancing in Oakland since 1963, she found that colleagues on a more relaxed prescription had dropped out for one reason (tr another. She still is going strong, and, as she puts it, 1 dont feel 1iri missing anything. Millions go to bed hungry every night; the statistic tails to mention that some of them are ballet dancers. Not that the dancers are totally impoverished the Oakland Ballet pays its principals about $100 per week, year round but rather that they must maintain the lean, underfed look of a stylish dance figure. through the exertion of a per-, formance. rivalries and bitterness common toother locales are iin--known here. 1 At 17 1 went as a trainee to the Darkness Ballet -in New. York, Detroiter Sandweiss recalls ruefully. ''It was a constant -fight and hassle, with incredible competition. The classes were so crowded, apd the ontyplace you'd be noticed in the floor exercises was in the middle of the front row. So after the barre exer rises, you'd- have to dash to front and the others out of the way. Thais not for me! There you chewed nails. If you werent tough enough to chew steel nails, you ended up chewing fingernails. Today Ms. Sandweiss is a great deal better adjusted living in her Berkeley apartment with her U.C. grad-student husband, commuting fo Oakland for ballet Ron Thiele, his lower back still aching, from the Grand Pas de Deux the night before, rehearsed the Snow pas de deux, and Guidi reminded him to "mark it, i.e., take it easy. But he wouldnt mark it. Dancers hath to loaf, even when ordered. -Performance time drew near, with the usual good-luck exchanges: "Break a leg "Merde (from the French), or the-Russian T-t-t-t-t, whereyou pretend -to' spit over the other's 'shout' der for good hick. Thiele danced the Snow pas de deux-that, night, and his baseball shoulders served him -well through the 17 lifts. Afterward the whole, quiet knot of dancers went out for their 'midnight dinner, relieved and more demonstrative than they had been most of the day. By 2 a.m. they had unwound enough to turn in and fall asleep. No amount of complaints by those quarrelsome leg muscle 'Could keep them And a sweet, well-earned sleep it was. TJ3US1C Dianne Brock, who could probably' maintain her imperturbable good cheer through Noah's flood, broke a bone in her neck somersaulting in the ballet "Rags. Not one to miss a performance, she repeated her role the next night. X-rays later confirmed the break, forcing three weeks in a collar. Now she is dancing The Nutcracker (which opens Wednesday at the Paramount Theatre of the Arts) as frequently as Rollie Fingers enters a baseball game and' she has yet to make a return visit to the doctor. "I hope the bone reattached properly, she assures her questioners vaguely with a smile. dances six, pineh-hitting for illness, absence, injury, or even 'what is euphemistically referred to as "the blues." Conrad monster roles like The Witch with a vengeance. Two years ago when he. broke his toe so resoundingly that the crack was heard all-over the back-stage, he never winced, or. exited or betrayed any nuance of his ferocious part. Carol Rheluer is down with mononucleosis, money Is tight, there's no security why do yon think so many 'older dancers tan alcoholic? But dance Is crises, class, rehearsal, per-, forming. Dance is long bus rides to -rickety theaters that havent had a real show since' Lola Monica. It is a cooperative striking of sets and packing of glittery costumes. It is sewing up a. thin costume during a quick break where, as Judy Sandweiss perceptively quips, "As ye sew, so shall ye rip, with near-Biblical Dance is competition. Dance is the directors patching up dancers love affairs frayed by long absences and odd hours (Marriages suffer greatly, and often dissolve). Dance is a dancer muttering "Shoot, or something similar, almost inaudibly upon a tenuous landing. And dance is love. There is love in this company is a reiterated tbeme, and the calm, good-natured rapport underlines it Cliques, 9 9 I (Jl 1 1 i- k. Blood, toil, tears and sweat. Why do they do it? -Partner Roland, a muscular 22-year-old Adonis, had one answer as he reminisced on an earlier The most fantastic jno-inept I can remember was a curtain call in front of the curtain at the Paramount last year. The audience was so responsive, I felt that I had really given them something, and their applause was giving me something in return. It was not Just 17 lifts. It was 17 lifts, plus that elusive factor, when. dancer' and audience know immediately that he is "on. i I j-h I'. i The doe-eyed leading lady Judy Sandweiss loves rich desserts but she kmy playing the Sugar Plum Fairy even more. So she picks at' her breakfast, leaving sausage, butter and rolls, and fasts until her midnight post-performance dinner. The performances are an added strain. Even Janet Carole, who is so fragile and petite as to be almost shadow-less, loses two to three pounds Guidi, saw OB artistic director, exemplifies the sage of the family crest, still inlaid in the floor of the palaz-zio: a lion carrying an olive tree, with three loves above. Interpretation: outwardly peaceful, bat tenacious if The Oakland Ballet is touring intensively this month: two countries, 15 cities, some 28 performances- in 26 days. Some days, a dancer has to do two rehearsals and two performances. Grind? Listen to Trici Kaye explain it as she exults Dancing is a life style, explains Gnidl. "There are crises ail the time. Now Rule good, Guidi lied 7 BOOKS FOLLOWING THE ADDICT HONE FROM VIET HAN By CLAY ROBERTS Tribune Book Critic The Vlrtnes of Hell, a novel by Pierre Boolle. Translated from the French by Patricia Wolf. Vanguard Press, Iuc. f6.9S. The revelation that John Batter. was Introduced to drugs in Vietnam Is almost' incidental. We. witness his cowardly behavior In battle, his hatred and fear of. his sergeant, his total sense of insecurity. He was a natural tor the escape offered by the dream merchants of Asia where the staff is cheap and plentiful. But with his acquired personality baits, any pusher on a New York street would have bund him a willing customer. even be-Jn the world of crime, a scene with which our addict is already brushing shoulders. He simply stumbled on a captivating occupation. Some people spend their lives ser: aching for one; others lack the courage to search and die in disgust. But he (John Butler) was lucky enough to discover an occupation that suited him, as a member of that organ iza-v tion (a criminal outfit) The author goes on to say; "It makes no difference. As a member, of the ring, he suddenly became a conscientious worker as that, it explains rehabilitation, his -1 moral regeneration. The government agent, concerned only with getting to the soqrceof the heroin, is not interested. While the opposite points of view and purposes are pursued, readers witness' the drug being purified at the source, caravaned out of Asia' and shipped to New York. -This book deals with (he greatest crime problem' In' today. The government seared a treaty, Involving subsidisation for lost crops, with Turkey, hr'ages the biggest 'producer of the poppy. What good did that do? plowed 'miUlpas a year over to Tnrhish farmers tor' not growing popples but It then became profitable hr other Asian Castries to move into the vacuum. Its a big world and Where poppies will grow theyll be a lucrative crop, indeed. Meanwhile, America, with New York on top, is: forever the illegal customer. Boulle writes a sad com-' mentary oh an increasingly large segment of American life. Often the truth revealed in fiction hammers facts home with more success than any He was a heroin addict Now on Jhe darker streets of New York, a gun (empty but lethal looking) in his shaking hand, he was dose to the point of no return. A doctor, head of a drug clinic, and a government agent are both interested in poor man, but for different reasons. The doctor has a theory about a new approach -to rehabilitation -for such a victim. The government man hopes to find a lead to the big pushers. In their exchange of information, the story of John -Butler, desperate addict, is constructed. Pierre Boulle, author of "The Bridge Over the River Kwai and "Planet of the knows bow to weave broad panoramic pictures. Hi characterizations here are i i i i an occupation. 'which' wholly absorbs him, no nine-to-five, Umeardloutlne. This might The doctors theory is that to effect a cure, the patient must And or directed into I- Ui JJ if -f 5i 1 1 1 1 iut ai aiiiXiVd S' SN

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