It is with a mixture of pride and sorrow that we present the final issue of Ballet Review, the culmination of our work over the past fifty-five years. We began small. This issue, Spring-Summer 2020, is 195 pages. It contains what we would like to think is the best in news, analysis, criticism, reviews, photographs, and art from the world of dance.
For the past forty years, Ballet Review has been designed by Marvin Hoshino. The story goes that Marvin, a subscriber, asked to meet the editor at the time, Francis Mason. Marvin noted how poorly he thought the magazine looked and complained about the lack of photos, the simple typefaces used, and gave, as was his wont, a frank assessment. Francis listened to it all and replied, “Great, you must design it.” The rest is history.
In 2009, Marvin was appointed as Editor, adding to his ongoing responsibilities as Designer. Four years later, Marvin transformed the magazine by introducing color photography. The result is the Ballet Review you know, filled with photos that pop off the page, a combination of Marvin’s technical knowledge, astute eye, and masterful manipulation of color and tone.
Marvin completed the editing and design of this issue in the Spring and supervised the printing, which was delayed due to the current pandemic. He reviewed an advance hard copy of the magazine in June and was very pleased. Sadly, and quite unexpectedly, Marvin died on June 23, age 73, of natural causes.
Our dear friend and colleague was a polymath whose brilliance spanned graphic arts to engineering, photography to ballet, typography to food. Marvin was raised in the Bronx, New York by parents who, as United States citizens, had been interned in a camp in Colorado during World War II. He attended New York City public schools and graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1967 with a degree in chemical engineering.
But the arts beckoned: Marvin studied photography under Henry Holmes Smith at the University of Indiana, where he earned an MFA. He taught photography at Pratt Institute, design at Parsons School of Design, and then became a professor at Queens College, City University of New York, where he launched the graphic arts program and was a chair of the Art Department. His background in photography and graphic arts is reflected in his work as the designer of numerous books, including those by his close friend, Helen Levitt, for whom he was curatorial assistant.
With keen intellect, Marvin delighted in expressing his informed views and unique perspectives on the arts and their institutions, always given in their proper context, both artistic and historical, enlightening all of us with deep insights.
We mourn Marvin Hoshino, our dear friend and colleague. His loss is irreparable. But we know that we will all be the wiser for reading this final issue of Ballet Review, Marvin’s last work. We dedicate this issue to his memory.
We thank you for your loyal support over these many years. And wish you well.
As I wrote in the letter accompanying the Spring-Summer issue, we on the board of the Dance Research Foundation have decided to suspend publication of our beloved magazine. The immediate reasons were explained a few months ago and, unfortunately, the situation has not changed since then. Ballet Review has always been a labor of love, dependent, for more than fifty years, on the work of a volunteer staff. Since I last wrote to you we have still not been able to find a satisfactory way of transitioning to a paid staff, even a part-time one. It simply isn’t financially practical.
This, however, will not be the last issue of the magazine. When I assembled the Fall-Winter 2019 issue there were almost 350 pages of material, clearly impossible to contemplate. I held some of it back and those articles and features will appear in a Spring-Summer 2020 issue, which should appear in March or April of next year. And that will indeed be our final hurrah. All current subscribers will receive a copy, even though your subscriptions may have lapsed.
To our loyal supporters over these many years, I thank you. And wish you well.
With warmest regards, Marvin Hoshino Editor, Ballet Review
Since its founding fifty-four years ago, Ballet Review has evolved into the premier dance journal. For the past decades we have published four issues each year of 100 or more pages with what we would like to think is the best in news, analysis, criticism, reviews, photographs, and art from the world of dance.
Still, we are a small enterprise, supported by contributions to our not-for-profit foundation. Our subscribers pay a majority of the costs of printing and mailing the magazine, as well as for our writers’ fees. However, from its inception, the actual work of running Ballet Review has been borne by volunteers. That is, the staff of our magazine – who edit, design, and produce the magazine, who manage the subscriptions, and who administer our web presence – are all unpaid.
Ballet Review has been a labor of love. However, the staff are older now and are not in a position to continue their volunteer work. Unfortunately, to date, finding a replacement staff has not been possible. And we have determined that transitioning to a paid staff, even a part-time one, simply isn’t financially practical.
Therefore, at the end of 2019, Ballet Review will suspend publication and go on hiatus.
We are still exploring options for continuing Ballet Review, and we will report to you after the summer when we have more, and we hope, better news. Ballet Review began as a six-times-a-year magazine. In our early years, publication was sometimes erratic – as evidenced by the fact that after fifty-four years in existence we are only up to Volume 47. We have had to halt publication temporarily in the past but we were able to restart, and therefore we continue to have hope about the future.
Thank you for your loyal support over these many years.