For those of you who have an abiding interest in ballet, and, of course the gifted Merrill Ashley and her search, as with many women, for a second act, we are working on a book. Based on our film, “The Dance Goodbye,” the book will have in it the material, interviews, photos and other images we could not fit into our film. We will let you know when we have a publisher. Meanwhile, the DVD of the film is still available on Amazon.
For those of you who have an abiding interest in ballet, and, of course, the gifted Merrill Ashley and her search, as with many women, for a second act, we are working on a book. Based on our film, “The Dance Goodbye,” the book will have in it the material, interviews, photos and other images we could not fit into our film. We will let you know when we have a publisher. Meanwhile, the DVD of the film is still available on Amazon.
From: Wolf Entertainment Guide by William Wolf. With permission.
“Dance Goodbye” honors and spotlights great ballerina Merrill Ashley after she retired and moves on to new vistas.
The inspired career of Merrill Ashley, a great ballerina under the mentorship and direction of the late George Balanchine, is spotlighted in “The Dance Goodbye,” directed by Ron Steinman, which takes a look in on Ashley upon her retirement and follows her life afterward as she moves on to a new phase as a teacher of Balanchine’s legacy.
The film was among the 20 features and 16 shorts shown at the 44th Dance on Camera Festival (February 12-16, 2016), co-curated by Joanna Ney and Liz Wolf and presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Film Association which was celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding.
One need only see clips of Ashley in her full ballet glory to appreciate what a great star she was with here exquisite form and movement and the intense feeling she could convey with each step and gesture. After 30 years with the New York City Ballet, and a plethora of injuries, she faced the fact that it was time to retire.
How painful the decision was is reflected in the film through her comments candidly expressing her conflicted feelings. The night of her final performance in 1997 and the accolades she received is movingly shown. Throughout the film Ashley reflected on her work, the problems with her injuries and her great admiration for Balanchine.
But although her performing career ended, Ashley has found nee challenges as a teacher with the mission to further the work of Balanchine and provide inspiration to would be ballerinas the world over. She travels extensively and the film shows her in action in many countries,imparting her knowledge from her own experience and from what the master taught her. It becomes clear that Ashley still has so much to give, as well as gaining fresh pleasure from what she accomplishes. We also learn much about her personality and her insights about the art form.
The film shows the problems she had to endure through injuries, and she makes the point that every ballerina faces injuries sooner or later. For her walking was affected as well as performing. Surgery was required, but she has come through that period with courage and determination.
Director Steinman has packed the film with clips and comments from those admiring her work.But at heart is a moving portrait of a ballet great, which gives the film historical impact and makes it a fascinating document as well as a moving experience.
Over the years the Dance on Camera Festival has provided many such treats. C0-curator Ney has said,”Celebrating dance in all its many shapes and colors is this festival’s mantra. Diversity, passion and commitment are, as ever, the watchwords of the Dance on Camera Festival.
C0-curator Liz Wolf asserted,”Dance on Camera allows for a legacy in dance to be honored and preserved,” pointing out that this years’s event highlighted “some of the great males dancers and pioneers.”
My latest book on the Vietnam War, “The Soldiers’ Story: An Illustrated Edition” is now in its second printing. With more than 400 photos, maps and illustrations, and stories from veterans in their own words, the large format book is available in bookstores, through Amazon and Barnes&Noble and all other platforms.Take a look. Get a copy. Thanks. Ron Steinman
“Survival Manual” is back on sale at Smashwords.com and other platforms, if you can find it, for only $1.99. If you are willing to gamble, enjoy a unique work. Thanks. Ron Steinman
Infinite Jest: Infinit Joke on Us by Ron Steinman
Ten years ago on its 10th anniversary, I opened “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace with the good intention of reading it. After many weeks of trying, I quit at one hundred pages. I found the book an impossible reading experience. Now ten years later, I reopened the book on its 20th anniversary in the hope that I would read it in full. No such luck. I quit after 277 pages, leaving more than 600 pages unread. I know there are those who believe the book is the work of genius, groundbreaking as no other book before it. Though it echoes Joyce, even Melville, maybe Gaddis, Pynchon and a host of other bloated, dense books, it is baggy and over-written as if the words had landed against an empty page with a thud to spread without a net to reel them in. Worse, not one character has any redeeming qualities. Though 20 years old, it is probably still textbook perfect in its description of drugs, the taking of drugs, drug addicts and its details about the world of junior tennis and how drugs and tennis intersect. All that aside,I cared nothing about anything in the book. I closed it and placed it on a bottom shelf where it will sit undisturbed and collect time guaranteed dust.
I am offering free for a limited time a download of my latest work, “Survival Manual: A Memoir of Near Death, Illness and Survival.” Available from “Smashwords.com,” It is about the rigors of a life in broadcasting as a journalist, a writer, producer, bureau chief, husband and father. Soon it will go back on sale at $2.99.