elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Carld Jorel Jonassaint (1962 - February 28, 1997)

A dancer with American Ballet Theatre (1987-93) and Dance Theatre of Harlem (1980-87), Carld Jonassaint (c. 1962, Port-de-Paix, Haiti - 28 February 1997, New York City, age 35) was also a choreographer who, in the last few years of his life, produced several promising works. Three of these were performed by Ballet Inc., a company directed by Charles David Anderson, a former member of New York City Ballet. Jack Anderson's review in the New York Times includes several paragraphs on Jonaissant's work: "The most effective creation was Mr. Jonassaint's audacious 'Serenade for Dead Men,' to the same Tchaikovsky score that accompanies 'Serenade,' George Balanchine's bittersweet masterpiece of 1934," Anderson wrote. "As in the older work, groups crystallized and dissolved and soloists darted in and out. But whereas Balanchine emphasized women, this was a ballet for an all-male cast. Its mood was elegiac, its patterns were attractive and its only heavy-handed moment came when an allegorical Christ figure welcomed men who supposedly represented the spirits of great choreographers and dancers. (Picture: Photo: Marbeth, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)

"In Mr. Jonassaint's mysterious 'Inner Voice,' Peter Lentz, of Ballet Theater, portrayed a brooding model in a painter's studio. This character encountered Melissa Lentz, the dancer's sister, who wore an elegant gown that made her resemble a goddess in one of Jean Cocteau's chic updatings of Greek mythology. As she moved, Ms. Lentz, a mezzo-soprano with the Metropolitan Opera Company, sang Villa-Lobos's haunting 'Bachiana Brasileira No. 5,' to the ugitar accompaniment of Derek Kudrow, and she seemed to be an artist's muse.

"Mr. Jonassaint also contributed 'Full Moon Over Central Park,' a not entirely convincing study of sexual violence, to a new score by Robert Ruggieri."

Bringing together his work as a choreographer, poet, composer and costume designer, Jonassaint created a multimedia dance/theater piece, Poetry in the Life of A.I.D.S. (1995), featuring thirty dancers, actors, singers and musicians. According to the press release, the piece focussed on "the spiritual and positive effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis, especially as is effects [sic] the gay and lesbian community, as well as other minority groups." The piece was performed at the Triangle Theater, on the campus of Long Island University. At the time of his death, according to dance critic and editor Elizabeth Zimmer, Jonassaint was attempting to have the work produced on film. Jonassaint died from AIDS-related causes.

Source: http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/dance/catalogue/jonassaint.html

Further Readings:

Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080707957X
ISBN-13: 978-0807079577
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality

The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.

Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.

More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics


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Tags: dancer: carld jorel jonassaint, gay classics
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