Which is America's top company?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 05:45 PM
Nevertheless, I've been surprised that I haven't seen much comment about its self-promotion as our national company, even in the New York area.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:03 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:09 PM
I don't think of the Kirov, the Bolshoi and Paris as representing the cultures of their countries, but they represent their respective countries' idea of what BALLET is. Or is this idea outmoded?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:35 PM
I find it irritating because it is an example of ABT seizing on the word American in its name to merchandise itself. I find it a bit self-aggrandizing. But because of its name, and the fact that it has bestowed the title on itself in advertising, the casual balletgoer would likely accept the moniker as fact.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 06:58 PM
Justafan, I remember reading in the early 1980s a review by Clive Barnes in which he took ABT to task for having publicity material for a London engagement that explained "ABT is, like the Royal Ballet," words to the effect that it was the top company. And Barnes said, actually, ABT is more akin to the [then] London Festival Ballet, while NYCB is analogous to the Royal." There would have been those who would have agreed with Barnes then -- based largely on quality of indigenous repertory -- but there were undoubtedly those who felt that ABT's assertions were accurate. So that debate is still raging, at least here , 20 years later!
Posted 01 July 2003 - 06:45 AM
Alexandra, I like this paragraph:
That makes perfect sense to me, though presumably a country's culture will influence its idea of what ballet is.
I don't think of the Kirov, the Bolshoi and Paris as representing the cultures of their countries, but they represent their respective countries' idea of what BALLET is.
Also, in terms of being either the best or the most representative, I think the Kirov and Bolshoi might provide an example of this. The Kirov is usually regarded as the best Russian company, but it could perhaps be said that the Bolshoi is more representative--less aristocratic, &c--geared more toward "the people." Can the same be said of companies in other countries--say, the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet? I hope Russia knows how lucky it is to be the only nation in the world with TWO world-class ballet institutions! This is not to say that the best company cannot be the most representative, or vice versa, of course, and some companies do a very good job of combining the two.
Posted 01 July 2003 - 08:22 AM
Posted 01 July 2003 - 12:13 PM
Even historical events don't have to be unerstandable only to the people of the nation in which they occurred. In Excelsior, though it's set in Italy, with Italian historical figures, it wasn't difficult to understand the discovery of electricity, the steam engine, &c.
Posted 01 July 2003 - 02:59 PM
It is no longer possible to think of the "Swan Lakes," "Sleeping Beauties" or "Giselles" (a mixed-parentage ballet for sure) as the provenance of any one nationality. They are the basis for World Ballet. Perhaps the same could be said for some of the Balanchine works.
The content of a company's rep will change with the times. During the Romantic age (which continued through ballet's high Classical period), the creative artists explored exoticism and fantasy. In the 1940's, during wartime, national themes were prominent in American ballet. The Joffrey was riding the crest of the Youth Movement in the '60s and '70s, as boomers came of age.
When we talk about the "top" company, do we necessarily mean the most influential? Or do we mean the one that gives the most satisfying result on a consistent basis? If we are discussing the most influential, that would have to be NYCB. Most American students, where ever they are trained, are prepared to dance Balanchine who gave a definite signature to American ballet. ABT is an amalgam of what's around, with special reliance on the classics. It is a follower, while (by tradition at least), NYCB has been an innovator.
Posted 15 July 2003 - 03:03 PM
Using the same analogy, New York Stock Exchange is just a regional exchange where people from Brooklyn or Queens come to buy and sell stocks; Chase Manhattan (now JP Morgan Chase) is just a local Manhattan bank; New York Times is just a local newspaper...
Terry, is NYCB really our 'national' company? Its name certainly makes it sound regional
Posted 15 July 2003 - 04:05 PM
So if you ask me now "Which is Americal's top company?", I will say NYCB. It is truly American in spirit and I am guessing that there are more American dancers in this company than ABT by far.
If you want to talk international, then I would include ABT, but it would not be #1. That's just me.
Posted 06 March 2004 - 08:10 PM
Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:54 PM
ABT USED to be arguably the national company because they toured widely, and it was possible for people all over hte country to see them, at least once a year, in the flesh, in 3D, across the footlights. Since the late 80s they've toured a lot less, though recently they've been making their presence felt again across the country.
New York City Ballet stayed in New York City, almost exclusively, and built up a fantastic relationship with people in reach of the theater. Mr Balanchine's ballets were being danced all over the country by the regional compmanies, so there was THAT kind of presence -- the choreography was alive and growing all over the country, but not as danced "in the way Mr Balanchine liked," by his own dancers.
Posted 01 October 2007 - 12:30 PM
Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:00 PM
ABT USED to be arguably the national company because they toured widely
I think also of the great success of The Turning Point, in which the fictional company was based on ABT and the movie was in essence an ABT project although dancers from other companies appeared in it.
I don't think it's possible for the U.S. to have a national ballet company in the sense that European countries can (we can't really have a national theatre company either, the place is just too big and too diverse).
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