Kennedy Center - Week 2
Posted 20 March 2003 - 04:10 PM
Ray, I noticed the lack of eye contact with the MCB dancers, too, or at least some of them. Hasn't this become the way of the [dance] world generally, though? It's all steps and counts, nothing else. It's not that one wants to see people waving and grinning in Balanchine ballets, but I think for the past 20 years, at least (and actually, for about five years before he died) the "We do not show emotion" approach was taken to extremes.
Posted 20 March 2003 - 04:21 PM
Every ballet requires something different and a different situation, of course. Balanchine needs to be cast very carefully, because (at least to me) Balanchine's casting was planned that in some ways half of his work was done after he had chosen the dancer for the role. This doesn't make him all that different from other great choreographers, but it's important.
Posted 20 March 2003 - 04:22 PM
Posted 20 March 2003 - 05:14 PM
My interpretation of "Just dance, dear," is that Balanchine was so fed up seeing insincere interactions and heavy-handed, unconvincing [ahem] Acting that he wanted the dancers to find their own meanings in his melding of steps and music, and he was willing to let them find them on their own. He did not see his role as an acting coach. This is very different from washing all emotion out of the dancing. Unfortunately, many of his dancers (and many who read this quote) took his words at face value. I think very few of Balanchine's famous quotes can be taken at face value. There's usually another level of meaning. Didn't he delight in being enigmatic?
I do think that he preferred his ice maidens to be aloof, though, for these ladies were objects of adoration.
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