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Parade


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#1 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 03:55 AM

Has anybody here thought about "Parade" as a possessing a sort of nearly-Japanese concept of the "beauty of the missing"? The Managers hawk their attractions without words, the Chinese Conjurer produces invisible effects and objects, the acrobats perform high-wire walks on the floor, and nearly succeed in falling off of that, The Manager on Horseback is invisible, and dances to inaudible music, the Little American Girl has a costume without a sketch, and in the end, as the dancers all slump over, it becomes apparent that their show has had no audience. (Except, ironically, us)

#2 rg

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 04:11 AM

your ref. to this concept of 'beauty is missing' is fascinating (and eeire).
one footnote here, tho in no way contradicting your point, is the fact that the original creators of the ballet intended for the 3rd manager to be riding the horse we see riderless in the final version of the ballet. in fact, the floppy figure of a rider fell off the horse designed by picasso and built by whomever fell off during some rehearsal time. so the final choice was to let the horse become a riderless characer/manager.
i don't know of this concept: beauty is missing. but it is fascinating and in keeping w/ many of the things i do know of japanese aesthetics.
in all, a compelling thought.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 07:28 AM

A very compelling thought -- thank you, Mel.

I was struck, reading Cyril W. Beaumont's account of this, by the way he viewed the Acrobats -- as pathetic creatures, groping each other but without lust or love; another "absence."

I wonder if that was the first unitard pas de deux?

#4 Funny Face

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 02:03 PM

This is a good topic for me to add to the list of why my teacher needs to give another lecture dem. I recall that during that lecture, he talked about how he and other Joffrey dancers who were "in" the horse first thought of it as sort of a 'step down' (esp. if you were the rear of the horse) and came to realize it was an honor to be the horse. Also, he was amazed at how much applause the horse always got, even though it didn't seem to the dancers to be especially difficult, but when I saw the company do "Parade" just this past spring, it was like that again, with the horse clearly being an audience favorite.

#5 carbro

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 03:12 PM

It's been a dog's age since I last saw "Parade," but I, too, remember the horse as a great highlight.

Let it be a lesson to the "human" dancers -- the old actors' warning about never appearing with a child or an animal! :cat:

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 06:28 PM

Great fill-in, rg, I did not know that! Another case of a "fortunate accident"!
I just was thinking about "Parade" in the concept of Zen, and that topic suddenly popped into my head. It's almost an extended koan.

I remember meeting a friend after I had left the Joffrey, and he told me that he had been part of the horse. "The head?" asked I, all innocence and figuring his height would have made him a natural for that tall structure. "No, the other end." "Oh, type-casting!" When I woke up in the alley....

I have quite a few souvenir buttons of the Joffrey in various colors, and of different folk, but only one of the horse. It wouldn't stay in stock!

#7 Patricia

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 05:47 AM

My favorite part of PARADE is the horse, who has the silliest Picasso grin on his (?) face. It looks like he's laughing at the audience. Satie's score is important, etc., but music would have ruined the moment.

According to the Gold-Fitzdale biography of Misia Sert, Cocteau and Satie intended PARADE as a side-swipe Ballets Russe hangers-on, whom they despised. That may be true, but Massine gave it something more than subtext. PARADE is quirky, but great, in its own unique way.


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