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POLL: Should NYCB do "Swan Lake"


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Poll: POLL: Should NYCB do "Swan Lake" (2 member(s) have cast votes)

POLL: Should NYCB do "Swan Lake"

  1. Yes (30 votes [62.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.50%

  2. No (18 votes [37.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.50%

Vote

#1 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 10:37 AM

I thought it would be interesting to ask the reverse question of the point that Robert Gottlieb makes in his article on the French where he suggests they ought to do more Balanchine.

Now that it's a part of permanent repertory, do you think it's good for New York City Ballet to do "Swan Lake"? What do they gain, what do they lose? Do you think the production is improving? Do you think it's good for the dancers? For the audience? Vote yes or no in the poll, but please feel free to explain further below.

#2 Dale

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 10:48 AM

Do you mean Balanchine's one-act version as well? Or just the full-length ballet?

#3 Calliope

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 11:00 AM

I voted yes, just so the dancers have the opportunity to do some of those roles.
now, who's version it is, well...that's another poll.
But it's a good opportunity for them to emotionally grow in a role, I wish they spaced them out a bit more though.

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 11:03 AM

Sorry that isn't clear, I hope the poll question itself clarifies that. I'm not discussing Balanchine's version, only the full length. (But if someone wants to comment on the Balanchine version, go ahead.)

#5 Manhattnik

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 11:27 AM

Yes, they should, and I really look forward to the day when it happens.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 11:30 AM

So it's ANY full-length Swan Lake, not this particular one (the Martins production?) (I'm not trying to be mean, honest. Just precise...)

#7 cargill

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 12:07 PM

I guess I took the question to mean "IS NYCB doing Swan Lake?" and so I voted no. I think they would be much better off doing a rigorous and exacting version of Sleeping Beauty, because it would give them more roles to develop. Swan Lake really only takes a few classical dancers to be effective, and can be done with only 1, while Sleeping Beauty takes a company. I remember being struck by NYCB's Raymonda Variations after the first year they did Sleeping Beauty--it seemed like they really understood what the variations were. If they did a real Swan Lake, with the mime, yes, I think it would be good, because it would make them focus on the eyes and the face, but the present version is just so much aimless flapping.

#8 Hans

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 12:36 PM

It might perhaps be helpful for NYCB to perform a good full-length Swan Lake every now and then, but that ballet is really the domain of other companies. I think NYCB should focus on performing its own repertoire well, though the occasional reminder of a really good, solid version of Sleeping Beauty and/or Swan Lake might help them remember where their style comes from.

I voted "no" because I thought the question referred to Martins' Swan Lake. It puzzles me that his production is still being performed. However, I'd still vote "no" except to the Balanchine version, even though it isn't to my taste.

As for your other questions, I can't say whether or not Martins' production is improving, but I don't think dancing it is good for either the dancers or the audience.

Then there's the question of whether or not it would be enjoyable for the audience to watch NYCB perform a real Swan Lake. I imagine it would probably just look like an unfortunate rendering of a good production done better by other companies. I guess you could say the same thing about Balanchine being done by companies not trained in his style, but there would be some historical interest in watching the Maryinsky perform "Diamonds" and "Ballet Imperial" and Paris Opéra dancing "Palais de Cristal," whereas seeing NYCB dance Petipa is sort of like watching Svetlana Zakharova dance the reconstructed "Sleeping Beauty."

#9 Calliope

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 12:57 PM

I've always been puzzled as to why NYCB does Swan Lake opposite ABT, I suppose it's after a month of doing Nutcracker, they don't want to do any full lengths, but I prefer ABT.

#10 carbro

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 01:42 PM

Calliope, NYCB's houses are much less full during the summer months. Instead of presenting something of interest that contrasts with what's across the plaza (clever marketing, in my opinion), they seem to want to go head-to-head this year, with many full-lengths. There was a time when the companies agreed that one or the other would do a Beauty or a Swan and not step into each others' rep of that season.

Maybe whipping the Balanchine rep into shape would do the trick. Or maybe that's just too much effort. (Sorry. Couldn't resist the cattiness. They do seem to be working on that, and I remain hopeful that the Centennial will be a great artistic high point of the [ahem] Martins Years.)

Should NYCB do a traditional Swan Lake? Voted yes. Thinking here that Balanchine style has influenced everyone's dancing -- more aggressive attack, greater lower body emphasis, etc. Martins' keeps pushing them to sharpen the attack yet more, and more, and more. Enough, already! :o A dose of classical restraint would be good for this crew.

#11 LMCtech

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 04:00 PM

I say no, because I saw Martins Sleeping Beauty which was the worst I've ever seen and I would not want to see his botching of another classic.

Besides the classics are not what NYCB does best. The neo-classics are.

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 04:03 PM

There's always the problem, too, with a less than ideal production, that the audience will think that this is the standard "Swan Lake."

#13 Michael

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 05:03 PM

I would have been very sorry to have missed seeing either Somogyi or Weese this year in the extended dramatic role this provided for each of them. It will be one of my finest memories of each of them, one of my best memories of the ballet in general, and a bench mark against the further and the prior development of each dancer, as well as a way of measuring and appreciating each of them in comparison with dancers in other companies and in the past and in the future who have performed, or will perform this role. (I am sorry that I missed Maria in it, this year). I find the Martins' production, despite its weaknesses, emotionally moving. I am happy the company performs it. Better this than Diamond Project or Fearful Symmetries Redux.

#14 Farrell Fan

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Posted 15 May 2003 - 06:18 PM

Perhaps unfairly, I interpreted Leigh's question to mean, "Should the Peter Martins Swan Lake remain in the repertory?" That's why I voted no.

#15 Ari

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Posted 16 May 2003 - 06:00 AM

Originally posted by Alexandra

There's always the problem, too, with a less than ideal production, that the audience will think that this is the standard "Swan Lake."

Which of today's major companies performs the "standard" Swan Lake? For that matter, is there anything such as a "standard SL?"


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