Category Archives: Dance and the other arts

Gossip’s Guide: What to see in 20 minutes?

Antonio Salemme's Paul Robeson
Antonio Salemme;s Paul Robeson

 

Conversing with a reference librarian at the Princeton Public Library, I learned that visitors sometimes ask: “What can I do in an hour before I leave for the airport?”

With my Gossip’s Guide hat on – I suggest: 

In 20 minutes, more or less

The Quick Paul Robeson Tour: Check out the Robeson bust by Antonio Salemme in the Princeton Room on the second floor of the library. Walk past the Arts Council of Princeton’s Robeson bust (this site formerly belonged to the Colored YMCA) to the Paul Robeson house and Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, where his father preached. (Both visible only from the outside).

the Norman Rockwell “Yankee Doodle” painting at the Nassau Inn Tap Room (reminding the patron that it is NOT a colonial era building!). Check out the alumni headshots. If you have time, a free place to sit is the upstairs lounge, by the fireplace.

Princeton Cemetery. Available at the entrance is a new brochure. 

Tiger Walk:  Stroll from the tiger in Palmer Square and the tigers at the entrance to Nassau Hall. Keep going and you will find more.

The Comparative Architecture Tour: Enjoy the interior of the Princeton Public Library, a Taj Mahal of libraries, designed by the Hillier firm. Diagonally across, the work of postmodern architect Michael Graves. Contemplate the differences. Then check out the interior of the Arts Council and the current exhibit.

Dohm Alley: a startling array of thoughts and objects in a small narrow space. Plus, there’s a water feature good for contemplating, and it’s right down the street from the town’s college bookstore (never miss a chance to enjoy a college bookstore.)

In 30-40 minutes

A quick Einstein tour — the Einstein museum in the back of Landau’s plus the Einstein bust at the corner of 206 and Nassau Street, great photo op. (The house is too far to walk in a hurry, but I tell people to drive and park on Edgehill.) 

Morven, now made relevant by truthful and inclusive exhibits that tell the stories of female occupants and slaves.

Prospect Gardens, always attractive in any season.

Cotsen Children’s Library inside Firestone Library

Princeton University Chapel, always open and it has a brochure about the windows

Tiffany Window Tour at Princeton United Methodist Church on Fridays and Sundays noon-2.

Quick sculpture tour 1: Circle of Animals by Ai Weiwei and Picassso’s Head of a Woman, down by the former Dinky Station.

Quick sculpture tour 2: The Plaza in front of the chapel: statue of John Witherspoon, Song of the Vowels by Lipschitz, and (just inside the University Library, and open to the public) Noguchi’s White Sun. Throw in Oval with Points if you are walking that way.

This tour works if a Princeton native can direct the visitor. Later I may have time to add the links. What would YOU recommend?

 

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Race and Protest at Princeton and in Trenton

IMGP2677Welcome to the 54th reunion for Princeton’s Class of ’64! Not the “regular” class. Instead, we’re convening at the reunion for a special summer program for disadvantaged high school kids from the city. Its most well-known graduate – Harlan Bruce Joseph. Like most at the beginning of this tour, I had no idea who he was or what his fate would be.

Today (5-31-18) Kyle Berlin (Valedictorian for the class of 2018) and Milan Eldridge (Class of 2020) led three dozen people – townies and alumni — in a  performance walk “Walking Histories: Race and Protest at Princeton and in Trenton,” one of five different tours offered by the Trenton Project.  At this writing, three performances remain, all starting at Princeton University Art Museum. If you read this in time they are – all different —

Friday, June 1 at 10 a.m. Performed by Berlin and Eldridge, written by Berlin and Anna Kimmel.

Friday, June 1 at 11 a.m. Written and performed by Ben Bollinger: “Whites turn around to see a Negro dressed in Ivy clothes and carrying a bag marked “Princeton.”

Saturday, June 2, at 10 a.m. Written and performed by Maria Jerez: A life of Javier Johnson White.”

If not catch the Picturing Protest exhibition at the Art Museum, on view for the next five months. Or on first Mondays at 7 pm at Princeton Public Library, come to Not in Our Town Princeton’s Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege. On June 4, you will hear and discuss how racial literacy is taught at Princeton High School.

Alison Isenberg and Aaron Landsman  supervised this project; Landsman coached the students in the dramaturgy of how to tell this story like a play. The first stop: Spelman Apartments, named after Laura Spelman Rockefeller, a philanthropist and abolitionist whose dollars funded the first trial of the summer program for high schoolers said to have had “little hope for college.”IMGP2671

Next stop: the Lewis Center, near where Joseph would have arrived on the Dinky train, from Trenton. Contrast: the Lewis Center cost $180 million. Trenton is trying to build an arts center with $80,000. (Rich Rein quotes Berlin in his cover story in U.S. 1 this week, and here is the Berlin oped complete.

Continuing the ironic comparisons, Berlin stops at Whitman College (actually named after Meg but, for this tour, credited to poet Walt), and we learn that it cost $136 million to build, almost six times more than the city of Trenton’s annual budget. It was designed in ‘fake Gothic,” says Berlin, appropriate, he says, since eBay dotes on nostalgia.IMGP2672

At the next stop we learn, for this tour, that the building labeled Wilson College should really be named after Preston Wilcox, a social scientist and human rights activist who advocated for black history studies.IMGP2674

We leave the summer of 1964 and move to the spring of 1968 and the unrest after the King assassination. At this point Joseph is a sophomore at Lincoln University preparing to go to seminary. The police shot Joseph as a looter but all those who knew him deny that he would have done that. He was the only person who died in those riots.  We hear from the eulogy by beloved pastor G. Carter Woodson: “We are responsible for the conditions that allow riots to take place.”

More memories:

The boys of that 1964 summer were turned away from a Princeton barbershop. They wrote a letter to Town Topics in protest.

In their class they debated about that summer’s police brutality in Harlem. .

We share Joseph’s letter about his aspirations to be a minister. The letter was printed on cards, and we passed them around, reading it sentence by sentence: “I have the foundation and tools to be an effective minister, and I strive to help those who are discriminated against…Keep on trying. In every group there will be some listening to what you are saying.”

Was Harlan Bruce Joseph a looter? Or a dreamer?   We are asked to imagine that his statue has been erected “over there.”

 

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For antique-ers, crafters, sewers, quilters, re-nactors, and the just plain curious…

fall show second photo - Young button collector Elena IbanezOceans, rivers, fish and whales — see them pictured on buttons at the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) Show and Competition, set for Saturday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Button collectors will also enter competitions featuring baskets and buttons made from celluloid and black glass.

The  show will be held at the Union Fire Company fire hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560, and there is plenty of free parking. Admission is $2 for adults, free for juniors to age 17.

This  show and sale of collectible clothes buttons attracts antique enthusiasts, quilters, crafters,  re-enactors, and those seeking special buttons to wear. The day’s activities include a button raffle and a forum on how to put together a winning entry for the state competitions.

Members of the NJSBS share an interest in studying, collecting, and preserving clothing buttons, both old and new. The NJSBS was founded in 1941, at a time when a nationwide interest in button collecting was surging. Many authors of classic books on button collecting come from New Jersey.

The Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad building is located at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville, opposite the Delaware River and D&R Canal State Park (with  easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA.  Contact 732-356-4132. email, buttonsinnewjersey@gmail.com,  or visit  http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org.

Jammin’ on Palmer Square

Guest post from Colleen Miller (thank you, Colleen!) 

Princetonians taking a stroll in the warmer weather in April might notice some unusual activity on Palmer Square. A swarm of volunteers and artists have descended on an empty storefront at 19 Hulfish Street, taking a ‘blank canvas’ of a retail shop and transforming it into an amazing, eclectic art gallery filled with a myriad of life and color.

The short-term pop-up art gallery – called ArtJam 2018 –  brings together professional artists, undiscovered artists who have experienced homelessness, and the community at large.

As a volunteer, I visited this week during gallery set up, and I can sincerely say I was “blown away” by the quality and quantity of beautiful art.

But buying cool art is not all ArtJam offers. Purchases of art at the gallery support HomeFront’s ArtSpace – a innovative therapeutic art program. ArtJam provides a double-dip experience. You can feel good twice because you are buying art you love and supporting a cause you can believe in.

Now in its ninth year, ArtJam has grown to over 100 participating artists, from Princeton and beyond. Original works by highly renown artists including Judith Brodsky, Jon Sarkin, Cynthia Groya and Gordon Gund are in the exhibition. Pieces from these professional artists are displayed alongside the works of HomeFront clients who have limited means but enormous talents.

Another cool feature is the “buy from the wall” aspect – when you buy an item, you can take it home immediately. The gallery continues to display a rotating collection of art for sale and will be hosting musicians, demos and meet-and-greets with the artists through April 29.

A wide variety of mediums are included — paintings, pottery, glassworks, jewelry, sculpture, and hand-sewn items from SewingSpace, another HomeFront art program.

Since its founding years ago, HomeFront (https://www.homefrontnj.org/) has worked to end family homelessness in Central New Jersey by breaking the cycle of poverty.  HomeFront has developed a sophisticated network of supportive housing and social services for very low-income families.

ArtSpace  (https://www.homefrontnj.org/artspace) often opens doors to new ways of thinking for HomeFront clients, fostering their creativity, self-esteem, and confidence, and helping to set them on a path to achieve independence.  The artists learn to reveal their voice and feel joy in their accomplishments.  Also offered is experience in entrepreneurial skills, empowering the artists to see value in their work as it is admired and purchased by others.  ArtJam is one way for them to exhibit and sell their work.

The ArtJam opening reception on Friday, April 13 is open to the public from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 19 Hulfish Street, Palmer Square in Princeton.  For a full calendar of ArtJam events, visit:  https://www.homefrontnj.org/artjam/

 ArtJam At A Glance 

Dates: Friday, April 13- Sunday, April 29

Location: 19 Hulfish Street, Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

Opening Reception: Friday, April 13, 5-9 pm

Gallery Hours:  Monday through Wednesday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

  ArtJam, April 13 -29 will feature works of over 100 artists. Proceeds will help support the artists and ArtSpace programs.

Telling your story

 

330px-Millais_Boyhood_of_Raleigh

We all have a story to tell but sometimes we need help telling it.

I’m looking forward to a four-session workshop with Eileen Sinett  on Wednesday nights in April. If you want to take your communication skills up a couple of notches, consider joining me at the Four Points of Connection workshop starting April 4. Sinett will also offer a one-day version on May 9.

Honing my speaking skill is a theme for me this year. In January I joined a small group of women at Princeton Theological Seminary for a Women’s Voices workshop with Nancy Lammers Gross.  Half of us weren’t preachers; we all connected with each other as well as with our vocal chords. Lammers Gross repeats it on May 8 and 9.

What’s your story? How do you tell it?

(Illustration from Wikipedia: The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais, oil on canvas, 1870. A seafarer tells the young Sir Walter Raleigh and his brother the story of what happened out at sea

Nancy Drew Button Mystery: September 9

Buttons are full of mysteries, says Cynthia Bartlett, newly elected president of the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS). “I am amazed that after 30 years, I am still curious about buttons, still looking for clues to how each was made.”

The  NJSBS will present its Show and Competition on Saturday, September 9, 9 a.m. to 4 cynthia bartlett solves a button mysteryp.m. at the Union Fire Company fire hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560, and there is plenty of free parking. Admission is $2 for adults, free for juniors.

Members of  the 76-year-old society like to study, collect, and preserve clothing buttons, both old and new. Eager to share their knowledge with those just beginning to collect, they will present a 1 p.m. program entitled “Nancy Drew Button Mystery: clues to materials and histories.“For details contact Cynthia Bartlett at 1-732-356-4132 or buttonsinnewjersey@gmail.com, or  visit  http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org.

The show attracts antique enthusiasts, quilters, crafters,  reenactors, and those seeking special buttons to wear. Anyone who pays the $10 membership fee may enter the NJSBS competitions, which are judged by popular vote. The button artwork category will appeal to quilters, and crafters might choose button wearables or button jewelry. One  competition category honors the memory of the late John Sagi; another honors the late button author Anne Flood. Featured will be buttons that show animals, Santa Claus images, and even carrots.

The Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad building is located at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville, opposite the Delaware River and D&R Canal State Park (with  easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA.

Bali on $300 a day: Insider Tour

Now edited — I have removed the itinerary from Princeton Comment as of 8-28-17

THIS JUST IN –  last minute chance to go to Bali on an insider tour led by Kathleen Winn.  A friend who went on this tour last year is “wildly enthusiastic” and she lives in Princeton, hence my excuse for putting it up on Princeton Comment.  It’s a last minute chance, if interested contact KathyWin1@verizon.net 

balis below: 
From my friend: I’m sure you recall how wildly enthusiastic I was about my trip last August/September.  A very similar trip is going this year, again with Indonesia expert / private guide ( with no personal profit -only a love of the the country). Several people just had to drop out for medical reasons, opening up their spaces. The trip costs ~$2,700 including local flights (Bali-Flores round trip), the boat trip – all but airfare , which is about $1,100 right now. Most such trips are double or more, without the personal home visits and connections that are part of Kathy Winn’s trip.
What I found most meaningful were Buddhist Hindi and other ceremonies/visits. It brought far greater understanding of people with different traditions, cultures and religions.

Leni Morante: Turning the Page

leni
Leni Morante at work

Looking back can be so much fun, especially when your past can encourage someone else’s future. Léni Paquet-Morante,  an artist who has kept touch with me over several decades, called with her latest news. I took vicarious joy in what she is doing now.

Morante had been busy with raising three children, volunteering in their schools, rehabbing an historic house, and supporting the successful career of her sculptor husband, G. Frederick Morante. In 1984 they met at the Johnson Atelier,  where she did bronze, copper, and clay sculpture. I wrote about her husband’s work for U.S. 1 Newspaper in the late ’80s. His Daedulus remains one of my favorite pieces, and his ‘Relative’  is one of the large bronzes that J. Seward Johnson commissioned for Grounds for Sculpture.

Thirty years later (can it really be that long ago?) I am retired, Fred is on the staff at the Digital Atelier, and Leni has turned the page in her career. With her children grown, she carved out a space next to the kitchen for her studio and declared independence from cooking dinner.

morante Untitled-Rosemont-061017-30x30-for-website580
Leni Morante: June 11, 2017 In 2017, acrylic on linen, Untitled: Rosemont – 30 x 30

Leni has a solo show opening Wednesday, July 5, at Princeton University’s 113 Dickinson Hall, called “Atmosphere, Place an Time,” described as “paintings that represent familiar local landscapes but which also hint at something more complex.” Best of all, she has an artist residency award at the Lacawac Field Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA, and will have two weeks of focused studio and plein-air work next October.

I smiled and smiled when Leni spoke of being recognized with a two-week residency because in 1980 — at almost exactly the same point in my career, I had had a similar opportunity. I landed an NEA Fellowship to a dance critics workshop at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Along with a dozen journalist from around the country, I took movement classes, saw concerts, wrote reviews, and was totally immersed in dance.

It was triply sweet.

b at adf cropped
Barbara Figge at ADF 1960
  • I could leave family cares behind for three weeks.
  • It was my second visit to ADF: 20 years before I had gone to ADF when it was at Connecticut College. That summer persuaded me not to a pursue a dance career. Now, three children later, struggling to make my mark as a journalist, I could go back to ADF as a working dance critic.
  • I returned to my ‘stomping ground.” ADF had moved to my alma mater, Duke University.
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American Dance Festival 1980, Duke University. Student learning how to do a “Slow Walk” with choreograher Kei Takei

So, yes, I can truly rejoice with Leni Morante. She is using every available minute to paint. Right now she has a day job, so she paints on weekends, but in October — I smile and encourage her painting sabbatical. Meanwhile, with vicarious joy, I will admire her work.

 “Atmosphere, Place, and Time,” paintings by Léni Paquet-Morante, will be on view starting Wednesday, July 5, at 113 Dickinson Hall. This gallery, curated by Dana Lichtstrahl, is sponsored by Princeton University’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A “meet the artist” reception is Friday, July 14, noon to 2 p.m. Her home-based studio is in Hamilton, NJ. Her portfolio since 1984 includes painting, bronze,copper, and clay sculpture, some of which is represented in NJ corporate collections, private collections locally and internationally, and as public art. A full CV and other works can be seen on her website http://www.lenimorante.com. Requests to meet the artist and/or for additional image files can be made through lenimorante@yahoo.com or cell 609-610- 3631.

Ask the button experts on Saturday

 

fall show second photo - Young button collector Elena IbanezSomething fun to do on Saturday — bring your grandmother’s button box to the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) show and sale on Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s at the Union Fire Company hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560, where there is plenty of free parking.  All are welcome; admission is $2 for adults, free for juniors to age 17.

Here’s another Princeton Comment post about buttons

The Union Fire Company, is at  1396 River Road (at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville), opposite the Delaware River and D&R Canal State Park (with easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA. There is plenty of free parking. http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org.

In this article in the Hopewell Express,  Carol Meszaros checks out a novice collector’s button jar. What treasures do you have in yours?

 

meszaros

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Pride and Prejudice review, illustrated

Here is my review of Douglas Martin’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 26, but with the addition of the excellent photos by Leighton Chen.  

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From left: Bingley, Elizabeth, Darcy, Collins, Lady Catherine, Caroline

Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice” is set in 1813 Regency England, where passions smolder under the veneer of a determinedly genteel society. As choreographer/librettist Douglas Martin and his team translate that novel, they hit ballet’s sweet spot. Gentility is, after all, basic to classical ballet.

This ground-breaking American Repertory Ballet production, premiered to a packed McCarter Theater on April 21, is a Douglas Martin triumph. No longer do I want to see the movie. Each character portrayed by the dancers is etched in my mind.

Every element of dance theater — character-based movement, mime, juxtapositions, props, exquisitely beautiful designs by A. Christina Gianinni, music played by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, even a surround-sound score of horses’ hooves and birds singing — helps to tell the story.

With no program synopsis, it helps to know the novel that chronicles the unfolding romance involving the witty and judgmental Elizabeth Bennet and the rich and aloof Fitzwilliam Darcy, though some characters are easy to pick out on stage.

Ballet mistress Mary Barton, wonderful as Elizabeth’s mother, Mrs. Bennet, points to the ring finger of any single man in sight and inserts her dithery head-shaking everywhere she shouldn’t.angry mrs b

Kathleen Moore Tovar, formerly a principal with American Ballet Theater, also shows the young’uns how. As Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine, she cuts a skirt-swishing officious swathe, punctuating her snobbish opinions by up-jerking her knee.

best lady c

Aldeir Montero, new to the company, is obviously Bingley, Darcy’s genial friend. With his every lunge and leap, opening himself to the audience, he exudes friendliness, in contrast to Mattia Pallozzi, who plays Darcy.

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from left: Bingham, Elizabeth, Darcy, Collins, Lady Catherine, Caroline 

At the ball, contemptuously looking over his shoulder, Darcy clings to himself, with one Napoleonic arm in front, the other in back.

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Darcy stands at the side. Center: Jane and Bingham. 

 

Austap Kymko, as the black-clad unctuous clergyman Collins, oozes himself from one hilarious misstep to another

e and collins but smooths out some of the clumsiness after he marries Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte (Shaye Firer).

e visit collins and laugh while caroline horrified
Austap Kymko with, from left, Charlotte (Shaye Firer) and Elizabeth (Monica Giragosian)

Gentility does not always prevail. When giddy youngest sister Lydia Bennet (Nanako Yamamoto) runs off with handsome seducer Wickham (Jacopo Jannelli) their bawdy sex scene rips off the veil of decorum and suddenly we seem to be looking at contemporary dance.

lydia and w
Wickham (Jacopo Jannelli) and Lydia Bennet (Nanako Yamamoto)

When Elizabeth (evocatively danced by Monica Giragosian) refuses Collins, the pragmatic Charlotte literally jumps on his back to claim him.

Mime? Throughout, and often extended into dance. When Elizabeth questions Charlotte about marrying Collins, the friends circle and touch their hands to the brows, then extend their arms out straight, question, answer, question, answer.

Juxtapositions enable insights.

e vision of wickham
A vision juxtaposition: Elizabeth reads a letter from Darcy about how he paid off Wickham before, and this scene is visioned in the background.

Charlotte, in a not-so-good marriage, parallels the movement of the eldest Bennet sister, Jane (Lily Saito), who has been moping in a house on the other side of the stage, waiting for a suitor who does not arrive.

lady teapot
Kathleen Moore Tovar, as Lady Catherine, attempts to kick away any attempts to pour her tea.

And an incident with a prop, a teapot, shrinks a storyline when Elizabeth outwits Lady Catherine, who has determined that Elizabeth will not be the one to pour her tea.

Scenic projections and costumes were beyond splendid. One that helped the story line was the headpiece of Caroline Bingley, which made a tall dancer (newcomer Erikka Reenstierna-Cates) an even taller and more formidable opponent to the success of the Bennet women.

caroline bingley and darcy.jpg
Erikka Reenstierna-Cates as Caroline Bingley, has designs on Darcy (Mattia Pallozzi).

There is much excellent dancing in this 140-minute ballet — lots of women on stage at one time, and many chances for men to do double turns and land on one knee.

Music was by composers that were Austen’s favorites (U.S. 1, April 19). Each worked well for that particular dance and was vibrantly played by the PSO, directed by John Devlin. They did not build to the kind of climax that comes with Tchaikovsky ballets, but at moments of high emotion Martin inserted duets by Schubert or Mendelssohn, played by pianist Jonathan Benjamin with either cellist Michael Katz or violinist Grace Park.

The dramatic climax comes, of course, when Jane and Elizabeth get their men. Jane’s longed-for pas de deux with Bingley is simple joy — quick quivering beats with gentle lifts and expansive arabesques.jane dance caption

Elizabeth, in contrast, has spent most of the evening rejecting Darcy. Conflicted, he rarely offers open gestures and his first proposal is, literally, backhanded. With his back to the audience he twists himself into saying, in tightly gripped movement, that he loves her in spite of himself. She flounces off. Then, when she is devastated by the Wickham scandal, Darcy signals his desire to help with an expressive leg movement — an open rond de jambe — and sets out to fix the situation.

e and himUpon his return, as she stretches arms-wide in longing, he catches her in mid air, and she curls her head on his shoulder in delight. Again, she stretches to the nth, and curls around him. best end.jpg

The once haughty Darcy lies down behind her, his head by her knee, in an act of obeisance, and the audience erupts in applause.

(Addendum: In this video of a rehearsal, the first bit is Elizabeth dancing with the dastardly but charming Wickham. In the second, she dances with Darcy after she loves him. In the fourth scene Caroline obnoxiously separates Elizabeth from Darcy.)

 

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