Posted 28 September 2003 - 08:44 AM
Posted 28 September 2003 - 11:33 AM
In answer to the subsidiary questions, the ballet training standard in America in 1866 was very, very low. There had been three phenomenal American dancers produced by the Paul Hazard School in Philadelphia, George Washington Smith, Augusta Maywood, and Mary Ann Lee, but good dancers were hard to come by. Some were students of John and Charles Durang, a father-son team, the former of whom had danced for George Washington. Charles specialized mostly in ballroom, but did teach a sort of ballet. Sort of.
Edward Ferrero was also a teacher in Victorian America, and his success was such that he was appointed dancing-master to the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. During the Civil War, he ranked as a Brigadier-General, and was only relieved of duty for being drunk in combat at the siege of Petersburg, VA. Little discouraged, he went on to run a chain of franchise dancing schools sort of like a Victorian Arthur Murray. Some of these schools offered ballet, too.
Posted 29 September 2003 - 10:26 AM
Posted 29 September 2003 - 10:47 AM
Posted 29 September 2003 - 02:15 PM
Posted 29 September 2003 - 02:42 PM
The difference is that they began with a play that the theater owned and had to produce (a bad one, all cliches) and added songs and (lots of) classical dancing to it. So there was no pantomime -- spoken dialogue instead -- but otherwise, what Barker lays out sounds remarkable similar to Petipa ballets. (a grand pas classique here or there, lots of processionals, transformation scenes, etc. So I've begun to think of it as Sleeping Beauty without Petipa or Tchaikovsky
Re the size of the dancers -- Barker has photos of them, too. the fat ones were chors girls. The coryphees were ballet girls from La Scala and were tiny.
There were a lot of these kinds of ballets around -- one choreographer (a Hungarian) staged Excelsior here, and then created his own American version -- America. Shame they didn't stay in repertory!
Posted 29 September 2003 - 06:02 PM
Posted 29 September 2003 - 07:42 PM
There were fountains, lots of stage magic -- it was THE hit show for tourists. Its successor, "The White Fawn" was so extravaganza that even its audience thought that, well, it was maybe -- just maybe! -- a bit too much.
Posted 30 September 2003 - 03:43 AM
Well, if you don't count the department heads.
the Old Executive Office building, a minimalist version (no gargoyles....)
Posted 30 September 2003 - 07:22 AM
Posted 30 September 2003 - 07:27 AM
The "Black Crook" type of spectacle lasted until the Depression -- "The Black Crook" itself went across country -- to places like Denver, which back then, was not easy to get to -- and was in theaters in one form or another for 70 years. And today, not a step remains. Not a step. Maria Bonfanti was its ballerina -- she did the Demon Dance (it was a plug in your favorite variation type of show) -- and she taught in New York through the 20s. Some of Balanchine's first dancers were her pupils.
Posted 30 September 2003 - 02:29 PM
Posted 01 October 2003 - 08:14 PM
Posted 02 October 2003 - 03:39 AM
Kitsch? Sure! Sincere? You bet! My only problem is that I can't figure out how to make it work for a modern audience with fewer than 137 people and one lion.
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