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Written record of Ballet


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#16 grace

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Posted 30 March 2003 - 12:56 AM

OK...(hoisting up my sleeves, and searching for a spade)....

i'm really sorry i didn't see this earlier, however "better late than never".

as a trained bensesh notator, here are some of my 'answers' to bilbo's original questions:-

1. yes, bilbo, there are written scores to almost all works done by major world companies

2. they can only be read by people trained to read them, so they would be no use to you

3. however, they CAN be read by people trained to read them, so, in that sense, all these things CAN be considered 'safely' recorded, and able to be passed on

4. there certainly ARE scores which tell you "where to breathe" - i seem to recall there is even a (rarely needed and therefore rarely used) benesh symbol for 'breathe'

5. these written scores are stored safely (i.e. ideally in lockable fireproof cabinets) in score libraries - the major companies have their own libraries, and ALSO send duplicate copies to the benseh institute library, in london. for labanotation, i am unaware of the specifics of their storage arrangements, but i am quite confident it would be similar (i.e. multiple copies in different locations, at least one of which protected by archival storage conditions)

6. choreographic copyright could be breached IF anyone and everyone had access to these scores AND could read them - so even if the notation method was simple enough for anyone to pivk up easily, the scores would not be made readily available.

7. what else was there?... ;)

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 30 March 2003 - 04:30 AM

As to point #6, Grace, I don't believe that reading a notation score would in any way undermine copyright or patent rights to the material recorded. Those who can are free to read whatever they can. It is only when the material so written is plagiarized that the creator's rights come into play. Notation is a kind of specific symbolic language peculiar to dance, and those who can read it are free to do so, saving only contractual restrictions on access rights negotiated at the time of recording, usually with the choreographer. As Benesh was only developed ca. 1955, we are still quite a way from most of the material passing into public domain, but at some time in the future it will. We will have to see then what becomes of the material. The possibility of automobile accidents and jaywalking has not restricted the opening of roads and streets.

#18 BilboBaggins

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 02:52 AM

Hmmm ... let me take one step back ... I am fully in support of the dancers having and needing far more detail (best learned in person and via oral tradition) ... and notation, whether Benesh or Laban, seems to have far more detail than a audience member would need ... but how about the poor audience member, who has never been a dancer, and wants to be able to describe and discuss a particularly moving movement/moment ... he's read one or two books on classic ballet steps, but needs a guide to the particular ballet he's seen ... because he can relate the movement to a particular moment in the story.

... is there perhaps an annotated syllabus or libretto, so that not only is the plot line described (that's in most program guides), but the key dance movements are identified? What is the ballet equivalent of the Opera Lover's Guide to Operas, providing a syllabus and interposed a gude to the major arias?

BB

#19 Mel Johnson

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 03:57 AM

I smell NICHE MARKET!:)

There are the several Balanchine/Mason Great Ballets books, and Cyril Beaumont's Complete Ballets and its supplement, both of which comment on vocabulary occasionally, but I don't know of anything which discusses steps and mimetic content in great detail for ballets which are around now.

#20 BilboBaggins

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 06:26 AM

Well ... when I go to the Royal Opera or Royal Ballet, the Program Guides (at GBP 6 each -- about USD 9.50) are flying off the shelves ... they include a syllabus as well as some fascinating historical information on the work, the author, early productions, illuminating critical analysis, social commentary, etc.

And the gift shops of the NYCB or the Royal Ballet sell all kinds of operatic guides and books on ballet ... seems there is an audience starved for knowledge ...

As for niche market :) , I'd consider it a wonderful market for Ballet Alert ... if "we" could write the descriptions, we could probably combine them as a book (for the Gift Shop set) or make the text available to ballet companies to insert into their "Program Guide", to be sold at individual performances ... and it seems we have a wonderful collection of dance experts, who also have marvellous descriptive and writing skills ... and perhaps even a publishing connection?:)

Have I just done a business plan???:D :eek:

Do you think there would be interest in a small BA group putting this together? I know at least one willing customer :D :D ... and potential participant ... we might even be able to "pre-publish" them here on the site, for feedback ...

BB

#21 Alexandra

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 07:50 AM

Thanks for the idea, but the scope of such a project far exceeds the capabilities of this site.

#22 BilboBaggins

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 08:58 AM

Oh, well ... just a thought ...

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#23 Alexandra

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 09:18 AM

All thoughts welcome. But trust me on this one, Bilbo B -- the market is infinitesimal. :D

#24 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 09:27 AM

Put it this way, BB. It's probably not a business plan, but it might be a grant proposal :D

#25 BilboBaggins

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 09:32 AM

I could probably write the grant, but my qualifications to really deliver the goods would be very limited compared to others on this site. ... if I were sitting on the grant review committee, I wouldn't fund me, even though I like the idea, purely on that basis .... :D :)

So, sorry for having taken us on a tangent ...

BB

#26 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 03:10 PM

Or did you mean a slightly more beefed-up model of this?

http://www.balletale...ke/swanlake.htm

;)

#27 BilboBaggins

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 02:20 AM

Beefed up? Major Mel (you really should be promoted to Major General for this!!), what you've done is far more than what I was asking for ... actually your section "The Dances" really addresses my question, especially when combined with "The Story" (syllabus).

Is there anything that contains either those two elements, or just "The Dances", for a significant part of the current ballet repertoire?

Thanks and regards,

BB

#28 Mel Johnson

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 03:11 AM

We're building them here, slowly, slowly - I gotta get back to Giselle. I've been researching and drafting, but I really should get that ball rolling again. If you like what you see, you're free to print it for your own use, and take them to any ballet that we will cover (Then tell people where they can find them;) ). Some, of course, will be different from the most usual productions that we find about, although the Giselle we most often see has passed through a Petipa filter. Directors love to fiddle with the basic documents, though, and so finding a "plain-vanilla" version of Swan Lake, say, is getting harder and harder to do.

#29 grace

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Posted 02 April 2003 - 11:56 PM

re Bilbo's last post on page 1:
BilboBaggins, in your first para, where you say 'syllabus', i assume you mean 'libretto'?
:confused:

sorry that when i wrote this post, i hadn't seen that there was a page 2. from page 2, i'd like to underline alexandra's comment:

"trust me on this one, Bilbo B -- the market is infinitesimal."
:(

#30 BilboBaggins

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Posted 03 April 2003 - 05:17 AM

Originally posted by BilboBaggins


... is there perhaps an annotated syllabus or libretto, so that not only is the plot line described (that's in most program guides), but the key dance movements are identified? What is the ballet equivalent of the Opera Lover's Guide to Operas, providing a syllabus and interposed a gude to the major arias?

BB



Hi Grace:

Yes, I guess I was thinking of a libretto as the full and complete translation of the text [e.g., of an opera], whereas by syllabus I meant an outline or overview of the story, and when I talked about an "annotated syllabus" I was imagining an overview that included the names of particular dance movements associated with given points in the story ....

... and I certainly accept Alexandra's point, which is a commercial reality, although it is sad to think that people who appreciate ballet are unwilling to support more knowledge of such beauty and art ...

and Mel, I will be more than happy to use whatever educational material is available on BA ... and try to add whatever I can to the stream of knowledge, or support those who do ...

As for variations, for me, without a sense of what the "plain" original version was, I may not be able to recognize the variations that subsequent choreographers have added ... gotta start somewhere!

Regards,

BB


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