How is power used? Who has power? How do you get power? Does oppresion
truly end with women's liberation or does the concept remain the same while the
oppressed group changes?
These and other questions will be considered in Women and Power: A Workshop
on New Definitions of Power on Saturday, March 4. Sponsered by The Women's
Group of The First Unitarian Church, an organization devoted to awakening consciousness of women's position in society, the workshop will benefit the new Houston
Area Women's Center. Registration is $10 and proceeds will benefit the planned Houston Area Women's Center.
Leadership for this event will be provided by a distinguished group of local
women, plus special guest, Zillah R. Eisenstein, faculty member at Ithaca College,
I thaca, New York. Her book on the subject of women and power will be published in
Participants include Theolo Petteway, past president of Black Women for Social
Change; Nikki Van Hightower, former Women's Advocate and President of the Board
of the new Women's Center; Cilia Teresa, businesswoman and feminist philosopher;
Helen Copitka, psychologist and Commissioner of the Texas Board of Pardons and
Paroles; and Hilary Karp, clinical psychologist and faculty member, The University at
Clear Lake City.
These women offer a broad range of ethnic backgrounds, professional achievements and personal lifestyles. All are activists in the women's movement.
The First Unitarian Church is located at 5210 Fannin. Workshop hours are
8:30 to 5:30. Daycare will be provided at $2 per child. Lunch can be purchased at
the workshop and an hour of relaxation and sharing will end the day. For further
information, call 664-2915, 524-8898 or 668-8919.
by Victoria Hodge Lightman
If Saturday Night Fever made you
want to get up and dance, The Turning
Point will seduce you into rushing right
out and buying a season ticket to your
local ballet troupe. The industry seems to
have found the secret of making musicals
with the realism we insist on having in
our entertainment. So even if we're not
singing yet, we are dancing and loving
every minute of it. Or as the gangster's
moll in the Marx brothers',4 Night at the
Opera exclaims, "I want to live! I want to
dance! I want to ha-cha-cha-cha!"
The Turning Point is more choreographed than directed by Herbert Ross
(The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Sunshine Boys). Ross' career began as a choreographer in the ballet and then he went into
Broadway and films. Ballet seems to be his
special love, and the dance sequences in
The Turning Point are exquisite. His wife,
Nora Kaye, is the executive producer for
the film. She was billed as America's "foremost dramatic ballerina" until her retirement from the American Ballet Theatre
(ABT) in 1960. It is odd then to see a parallel character to Ross in the film. Rosie,
played by Anthony Zerbe, is a man who
gave up conducting ballet for Broadway
and is reproached as being "a man without
The best reason to see The Turning
Point is to watch MikhailBaryshnikov and
Leslie Browne of the ABT. Baryshnikov
is the first ballet superstar and the first to
be so well documented on film while he is
still in his prime. His movements are powerful and magnificent; he reduces the audience to involuntary ooh's and ah's. He is
the quintessence of physical perfection. It's
ironic that after all the years of persecution
and ridicule that male dancers have had to
contend with, our next male sex symbol
could be a ballet star.
Leslie Browne, who plays opposite
Baryshnikov in the somewhat hokey (almost Ken Russellish) love story, is also a
lovely dancer. Though not as inspiring as
Baryshnikov, she is graceful and energetic.
She has all the enthusiasm of the young
dancer who has been given her first chance
to show her stuff. There is no real acting
necessary here as Browne's life is an almost perfect parallel to that of the character Emilia.
There are two stories in this film,
and Ross' strength obviously lies with the
ballet sequences. The story going on behind
all this is a fairly simple one that deals with
the classic "road not taken" and "What
curious memories we all have." The actresses, luckily for Ross, require little direction. Anne Bancroft plays Emma, an
aging prima ballerina; and Shirley MacLaine
plays Deedee, her long-time friend who
gave up a similar career for marriage and a
Emma and Deedee are involved in a
complex relationship where they love, hate,
admire, despise, envy, respect, support and
abuse each other. When they were younger
they competed for the role in Anna
Karenina (a fictional ballet created for the
plot). At the same time, each chose the life
she wanted: "...and you got pregnant,"
"...and you got 19 curtain calls." Twenty
years later they find themselves in competition again, each envying the other's life.
Was it really what they wanted; how different might it have been? Or, as Deedee
puts it, "What's it like to be you now?"
They influenced each other during
that first turning point, ana* it is only logical that they should seek each other out
now. They are struggling to redefine their
egos. They need a reassurance that will
only be satisfied when it comes from each
to the other.
Deedee mistrusts the admiration
that her daughter Emilia, played by
Browne, has for Emma. Her children confront her with the true source of her dilemma—was she as good as Emma? "I was
Emma, for her part, is more than
aware of all the young ballerinas who are
anxious for her to retire so that they can
step into her place. Emma encourages
tisements. They promise us a film about
two women "at the crossroads of their
lives," with the ballet as merely a landscape
against which they play out their doubts,
fears and jealousies. It appears that the co-
producers, director Ross and writer Arthur
Laurents (West Side Story, Gypsy), have
attempted to cover too much ground. Perhaps they sensed that Mikhail Baryshnikov
and Leslie Browne would not draw as di-
"...and you got pregnant.'
"and you got 19 curtain calls."
Page 6 February 1978 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH
Emilia's admiration and tries to become
her mentor, usurping Deedee's position.
Emma wants to choose her own successor.
Emilia is the likeliest candidate for this
The resentment and frustration between the two mount to a final showdown
at the ballet's gala opening in New York.
It begins in the bar where Deedee hisses
bitterly, "Dearest friend, you're one thing
that Emilia will never be. You're a.killer."
Emma throws a drink in her face and they
challenge each other to "step outside."
Here we see two women who have been
tutored a life-time in the art of discipline
and self-control finally let loose. They
stand on the deserted concrete expanse of
Lincoln Center shoving each other a-
round. They push, kick and tear at each
other, hurling bitter truths that scrape the
nerve endings like fingernails across a
blackboard. The wrestling soon becomes
an embrace, the yelling subsides into
laughter. Deedee points out to Emma, "If
there had been a photographer here,
you'd have had a whole new career." And
Emma finally concedes to Deedee that
she did encourage her to leave the ballet
for a very good reason, "You were good,
you could have hurt me."
The major disappointment about
this film is the result of misleading adver-
versified an audience as established stars
like Bancroft and MacLaine—especially at
$4 a head.
Both Ross and Laurents claim that
they are fully satisfied that they have made
a "woman's film." They haven't. They have
made a fine musical, but a lousy woman's
film. Unlike Julia, One Sings the Other
Doesn 't, and Wives, all the women in this
film are involved in competition with each
other, just like women are supposed to be,
right? We don't have to settle for this. And
worst of all, the name Deedee scrapes my
nerve endings like fingernails across a
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