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Readers' Forum.

FAIRY GODMOTHERS `R' US

I just wanted to send a letter of thanks to whomever was responsible for choosing the cover picture for the December 2000 issue. I have read Dance Magazine since I was a little girl, and never did I think I would actually be on the cover some day! I feel truly honored to have been chosen ... thank you!!!

Julie Gumbinner, via email

Editor's note: Gumbinner, a Houston Ballet dancer, was our Nutcracker cover girl.

BRANAGH'S LABORS LOST

I read Heather Wisner's article in the current Dance Magazine on recent films that use dance. I was dismayed that she failed to mention Kenneth Branagh's summer release of Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost, which was done in the style of old Hollywood musicals. Mr. Branagh has stated that Stanley Donen, among others, was one of his inspirations. It is true that with the exception of Adrian Lester, the actors in the film are not trained dancers, but as Derek Elley wrote in his rave review in Variety, "The overall effect is knowing and joyful at the same time, aided by performances from the whole cast that are free of pretentiousness and have a superior stock-company glee. Stuart Hopps's choreography artfully disguises the tact that only Lester can really dance." Matt Zoller Seitz, in another excellent review from New York Press, said, "The musical numbers--retro stagings of numbers by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern--are glorious. Branagh and his cinematographer, the great Alex Thomson, put the wide-screen frame to superb use, capturing most of the routines in one or two takes, shooting the performers head-to-toe so you can appreciate the choreography, and cutting by shifting camera position rather than by dicing up the film. This is how musicals are supposed to look, like back when audiences had enough imagination to appreciate real musicals and Hollywood had the talent pool and financial impetus to justify cranking them out in large numbers."

I regret that Mr. Branagh's sweet-spirited gem was overlooked by Heather Wisner and has been ignored by Dance Magazine. This film is the director's riskiest Shakespeare adaptation for the screen, and film critics and scholars alike have responded well to his daring approach.

Virginia Wilhelm via email

Editor's note: We also enjoyed Love's Labours Lost but note that (a) it opened in June, well before the other films in the article, and (b) dance was much less central to Branagh's film than to Bootmen and the rest.

A VOICE FOR FREEDOM

In her survey of New York City dance resources (Dance Magazine, December 2000), Darrah Carr states that the Village Voice is available free in Manhattan. For the past year the Voice has been free in all five of the city's boroughs, and is, of course, available free on the Web (www.villagevoice.com) with new reviews, housing ads and listings posted every Tuesday, and years' worth of useful information archived and easily searchable from anywhere in the world.

Elizabeth Zimmer Dance Editor The Village Voice

Send your letters to Reader's Forum, Dance Magazine, 111 Myrtle St. #203, Oakland, CA 94607, or email us at editorial@dancemagazine.com Letters must be signed with name, city, state, and include a weekday telephone or fax number for confirmation. Letters become the property of Dance Magazine, which reserves the right to edit them.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Dance Magazine, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Words:551
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