Shall we dance? It seems like just about everyone else is. The dance boom that America’s been enjoying the last few years has really caught on here, and you know once our Japanese friends pick up on something, they really run with it. I, for one, am really glad. There are few places in this old world you can see so many of the world’s best dancers (all kinds) in such a short time.
The international stars of the World Ballet Festival have left by now, and what a glorious and glamorous week of performances and parties that was. Jorge Donn-he danced “Bolero” and brought the house down-will be back again this fall with the Meurice Bejart Company. Dame Margot Fonteyn is in town and teaching at one of the local ballet schools. Alexander Godunov guested with the Asami Maki Ballet and received rave reviews for his performances here. He was here with a special lady, his special friend actress Jacqueline Bisset, and I was lucky to be able to spend a few evenings rapping with them in Roppongi… beautiful people, inside as well as out!
Lee Theodore, her staff and members of The American Dance Machine are in town, and very busy rehearsing for the original musical “Jack” which opens on Aug. 17 at the new Theater Apple (basement of the Koma Theater) in Shinjuku. From what I’ve seen and heard at rehearsals, the show’s a winner all the way. The show runs until Sept. 26. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss it. Dance-magazine Editor Bill Como flew in for the opening of the show and will be here until the 21st. Bill’s mag, THE magazine in the dance world, did a cover story on “Jack” for their August issue. Then there’s something like 47 dancers and staff members here from the States to stage the road show production of Bob Fosse’s “Dancin.” Suntory is the big sponsor, and Tokyo dates are Aug. 28 through Oct. 9. (Jim Bailey had the entire performance slate in last Friday’s great Italian ballet maestro Enrico Cecchetti in the film.
Celebrating Sir Anton Dolin’s 78th birthday
I’ve written a lot about dancing lately, but really feel I have to mention the marvelous sayonara party Tadatsugu Sasaki had in his home for the participants in the World Ballet Festival. The evening included the traditional tea ceremony in which most of the dancers took part and ally enjoyed. They also enjoyed videos of the festival and cracked up at the finale when several of the principles including Alicia Alonzo and Jorge Donn made their curtain calls in Japanese costumes ranging from a Kabuki Lion Dancer to a Geisha.
There was a superb western buffet, but sushi proved to be the favorite of the evening. Then there was another cake for Sir Anton Dolin’s 78th birthday. Issey Miyake dropped by — you know, he and Jorge Donn were really dressed alike — all in black. Issey has done costumes for the Maurice Bejart Ballet, and Bejart did a Japanese TV commercial with Issey. Jorge picked up on the fashion from Bejart and has been wearing it ever since.
The evening gave me my first opportunity to talk with Eva Evdokimova from The Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin. She was born in the USA, but brought up in Europe and was heading back to Manhattan to marry a musician. Many of the dancers were leaving Japan the next day, buy a few planned to spend a few days in Kyoto before returning home. It was a marvelous evening with a lot of beautiful people… but an evening at Sasaki’s home is always like that.
I took Sir Anton Dolin to lunch at the Hilton to help him celebrate his 78th birthday. He’s a very talented and interesting man. He also enjoys ripping off little things once in awhile… “I’ve got silver- ware from every airline in the world,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. Anyway we were having coffee in the Hilton’s Garden Cafe and the waiter saw Sir Anton take the single rose that was in a vase on our table. The waiter came over in a few minutes and replaced the rose, left and came back minutes later with two beautiful roses for Anton, “How marvelous,” he exclaimed. “I’ll have to use that in my book.”
Alexander “Sasha” Godunov, born on the island of Sakhalin, north of Japan, was in Tokyo for several guest appearances with the Asami Maki Ballet. Sasha’s quite Americanized now…and can he dance! He received standing ovations at his performances, and his good friend, actress Jacqueline Bisset, cheered along with the rest of the crowd.
The fabulous international model and screen star, 17-year-old Brooke Shields, in Tokyo to do a series of commercials and ad layouts for Kanebo cosmetics — and to introduce her very own “Brooke Shields Doll” for eager buyers among the teenyboppers (and others) here.
Israel running risk of alienating all her friends
I have written my comments on the Israel-Beirut situation several times in the recent past, but since Weekender is, of course, a weekly publication, anything I might write could easily be outdated by the time the paper is published. I will say that—like many Americans including some of my Jewish friends I’ve talked to. I’m angry, frustrated and ashamed that my government has not taken a stronger stand against Israel’s aggression in Beirut.
We’re always running here and there talking about human rights, and yet seem to shy away from really doing anything about a country we’ve made one of the mightiest military powers in the world—a country that, regardless of what’s said, is using those weapons U.S. citizens’ taxes have paid for in aggressive actions.
Israel’s leaders will always come up with a reason for what they do. They proved how able they are in getting what they want the way they want it in the press and other media, but it’s pretty obvious by demonstrations in their streets and resignations by military and government officials that many of their own people are not happy about the killing of innocent people in the action in Lebanon.
I also feel a lot of Americans are waking up—and if Israel doesn’t stop, it’s going to come back to them in the end. America has too many problems of its own to continue such strong financial and spiritual support to a country that listens to no one-and not only endangers our relationship with other friends in the Arabian Gulf area, but also endangers world peace. Perhaps we should have a Truman — or even a Nixon: men who weren’t afraid to make a strong decision if it benefited the people of America.
I’ve been to Israel twice, enjoyed the country and liked the people. I’m truly sorry about the present situation their leaders have got them into. If it doesn’t change, it may well backfire. World opinion, in general, is certainly turning against them and this really doesn’t have to be.
More and more Jewish people are starting to wonder if they have a double standard for the suffering of others. If things don’t change, Begin and Ariel Sharon, with their aggressive approaches to just about everything, may well destroy Israel from within.
Let’s hope they wake up there — and in Washington, as well-before it becomes too late—and a lot more innocent people are killed.
(Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed above are that of Bill Hersey and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of this newspaper.)