Echoing through the studios of American Ballet Theater are the words ‘tell’ and ‘say.’ The dancers are performing these actions with their bodies; not their voices. Alexei Ratmansky’s highly conversational ballet premiering on June 4th is giving us a new way to think about ballet.

Harlequinade inspired by an 18th Century theatrical form has the dancers speaking to one another in legible gestures and glances that fit the music as words fit in a song. The dances are full of details and add character to each of the scenes. These ‘gesture dances’ tell the story.

One of the characters, Cassandra Trenary, says the characters really put on a show. Their gestures talk to the audience as the ballet continues. Ratmansky did not invent this ballet, but he did restage a comedy by Marius Petipa that was initially known as Les Millions dArlequin. The original show performed for three decades during the 1900s in St. Petersburg.

Ratmansky is said to have lost his interest in classical ballets as he thought something was missing from them. He wanted to put together a performance created from the vision he thought should be a ballet. He didn’t want to patch together Harlequinade based on his own dreams, so he turned to dance notations kept at Harvard.

At Harvard, he found the notes made by Vladimir Ivanovich which were detailed scores called the Stepanov Notation. These were notations taken by hand as real-time dancers rehearsed. Ratmansky and his wife sat down five years ago with these notes and figured out what exactly they meant. He was delighted and surprised at what he discovered.

The style he saw through these notes inspired his own work. As you watch his Harlequinade, you can see a structured Petipa ballet containing changes in mood, a diverse approach to each scene and stage pictures.

Ratmansky describes the process of reconstructing Harlequinade as putting little bits of dust together to create a picture. It is an act of imagination, not science.

Last week the Bistro Pierre Lapin was opened by Harold Moore in New York’s Greenwich Village. He experienced the greatest successes of his life in this area. His new venture is a French cafe but it is much more casual than the famous New York restaurants. Harold Moore does not understand why the French chefs have allowed French food to be comprised of oysters, steak tartar and steak fritters. He stated that in France these are all specializations not located in any one restaurant. The spirit of Bistro Pierre Lapin is a balance of a classic spirit mixed with creativity.

Harold Moore missed creating French cuisine and made the decision to go back to what was missing in his life. His decision to depart from traditional and elite French cuisine was not entirely personal. He saw the bottom dropping out of the marketplace. He realized the current French restaurants were from another era and not bringing in any new customers. The customers they already had only came a couple times each month. The restaurants were simply not keeping up. For additional details please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauriewerner/2018/05/29/this-is-a-new-downtown-new-york-bistro-that-you-should-know/#4cee898448f3.

Once Harold Moore decided to make the change to new American cuisine he changed the approach to fine dining he had always used in the past. He made his restaurant less expensive and much more approachable. His goal was to create better food that was more easily accessible in New York. He believes this approach will work much better for the average person. He appreciates the West Village but also understands every single customer does not have billions of dollars. This may have been true for the clientele of the more luxurious establishments but he believes the customers will be happier with his concepts.

Harold Moore discovered the cooking of the south in downtown Hudson Square in New York when he opened his restaurant. He found a traditional southern dinner available at Harold’s Meat + Three. The recipes embrace generations of southern cooking yet have a unique twist. It was when he was immersed in this concept he was drawn back to French food. He appreciates the richness of the history and it takes him back in time. He believes history is always present in both Italian and French food.

New York City apartments are notoriously pricey. In fact, small units regularly rent for several thousand dollars a month. However, an actress managed to rent a two-bedroom apartment in trendy Greenwich Village for less than $30 a month for over 60 years, according to CNN.

In 1955, Patricia O’Grady moved into the apartment with three friends. The landlord told them that they could rent the place for the bargain price of $16 a month if they also swept the hallways and did some light cleaning.

While her friends eventually moved out, O’Grady stayed in the apartment, pursuing her dream of becoming an actress. Over a five-decade career, she appeared in several Off-Broadway plays and had a few small parts on TV soap operas. She also had an uncredited role in “Taxi Driver.”

O’Grady never made it big, but she made enough to keep her little rent-controlled apartment. In March, she was tragically struck and killed by a car at the age of 84. At the time of her death, her rent was $28.43, not even double what she originally started paying 63 years ago.

O’Grady apparently lucked into the low rent through a likable personality and New York City’s rent-stabilization laws. The previous owner of the building that houses her apartment became such good friends with her that he barely raised her rent over the years. When the current owner of the building, Adam Pomerantz, bought it in 2002, he learned that she was only paying $26.45 a month. Because of New York City’s rent-stabilization laws, he could only raise it to $1.98 per month. However, he also became good friends with her, so he didn’t mind.

Now that O’Grady has passed away, Pomerantz intends to refurbish the apartment, which friends called a “dump with character” in her obituary. The rent will also be raised to around $5,000 a month.

Drivers in New York City are always encountering various problems on the roads. There is the obvious high volume of traffic. This can cause massive delays at the bridges and tunnels that people use to get in and out of the city. There is also the issue of trucks double parking in the middle of busy streets so they will be able to make deliveries. This can block traffic and create chaos in the area. Construction is yet another regular headache for drivers in the city.

There is no question that driving in Manhattan on a regular basis can be very stressful. However, the stress level of drivers in the city went up a lot last Saturday morning at 5am. This is when the traffic lights at roughly 600 intersections stopped working as they should. Some of them turned off completely. Other lights began flashing. The problem was the result of a software upgrade that usually takes place on weekends when traffic in New York City is at its lightest. Drivers were warned on local radio stations to stay off the roads until the traffic lights were fixed. There were no accidents reported as a direct result of the traffic lights not working properly.

Police officers were dispatched to the busiest intersections to direct traffic until the software problem could be repaired. The city was very lucky. Local politicians said there could have been dozens of accidents and even fatalities if the traffic lights stopped working during a regular work day. There will be a full review of the software in order to determine exactly what went wrong and prevent it from happening in the future. People who live in some of the areas that had traffic lights malfunctioning said they were very concerned for the safety of motorists.

The problem with the traffic lights was eventually corrected at around 9pm on Saturday. Some of the police officers who were directing traffic said it was a minor miracle that there were no accidents during this crisis. Police will monitor the traffic lights at busy intersections in future weeks while the software upgrade is taking place. This will allow them to immediately start directing traffic if the traffic lights should have more problems. There will be also additional precautions taken by local authorities so that the city can be better prepared for a problem like this if it should happen again.