March 10, 2016—Professor of Musicology Marian Smith has been awarded a Resident Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts, funded in part by the Mellon Foundation.
Together with her collaborator Doug Fullington of Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Smith will be in residence in summer 2016 at New York University, where the Center for Ballet and the Arts is located. There, Smith and Fullington will continue work on their upcoming book From Manuscript to Stage: Four Nineteenth-century Ballets.
The book is based on Smith’s and Fullington’s research and practical experience staging 19th-century ballets based on archival sources. The academic partners are helping to instigate a new historical-performance movement in dance that, like the early-music movement two generations ago, will increase understanding of how the great works of previous centuries were performed in their own day.
Projects of the Smith-Fullington partnership include a re-staging of Paquita, which the pair helped reconstruct for the 2014-15 season of the Bavarian State Ballet. On that project, Smith and Fullington worked with the renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, former head of the Bolshoi Ballet and current artistic director of the American Ballet Theatre in New York City.
Smith’s work on a historically-informed staging of Giselle in Seattle (a production that was well-reviewed by top critics) was in collaboration not only with Doug Fullington, but with Lisa Arkin, a former faculty member in the UO Department of Dance.
Marian Smith joined the University of Oregon faculty in 1988. She teaches and researches various aspects of music in historical context. In Fall 2004 she was Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College, and in 2007 she was given the Thomas F. Herman award for excellence in teaching. Smith has published two books, as well as articles in both music and dance journals. She has also contributed chapters to numerous publications. Her essays on opera and ballet appear in program books of the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet in London, the Paris Opéra, and the Teatro alla Scala.
Smith was chair of Music History at the University of Oregon from 1996-2003, and has also served on the editorial board of the Society of Dance History Scholars and the Cambridge Opera Journal, and as President of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the American Musicological Society.
The Center for Ballet and the Art at NYU was launched in 2014 by former ballet dancer and prominent historian Jennifer Homans with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since its founding, the CBA has helped to incubate and advance several ballet-related academic and artistic projects, hosted and sponsored numerous performances and events related to ballet and dance scholarship, and instituted, in cooperation with the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, a scholarship supporting the work of women choreographers.
Previous Fellows of the CBA include the ballet dancers Sascha Radetsky and Heather Watts, British composer Tarik O’Regan, theater artist Basil Twist, and the actor and dancer John Selya.
Photo credits: Erin Zysett (top), Angela Sterling (bottom).