Cubans prevented from dancing Sylphides
Posted 11 October 2003 - 06:09 AM
Posted 11 October 2003 - 09:21 AM
Forget Perrault -- how about Hans Andersen?
It just crossed my mind as I was reading through this thread after listening to the news -- do you suppose any of this has to do with the fact that it's the Cuban company that was going to perform LS? In light of Pres. Bush's latest attempt to crack down on tourism/travel to that country, is this just a part of a general chilling of relations?
I hope not, but I'm not optomistic.
Posted 11 October 2003 - 09:29 AM
Frankly, if copyright law exists to nurture creativity, I never did see how the passage of copyright to heirs and other false entities does anything but discourage creativity by encouraging the bequeathed to rest on their big, fat endowments.
Posted 11 October 2003 - 11:46 AM
The public outcry against the FCC's new relaxation of media consolidation rules shows that the public may be learning to exert its will against the Powerful. And at the risk of entering into the forbidden political realm , I'll leave it at that.
Posted 11 October 2003 - 02:15 PM
Posted 11 October 2003 - 08:31 PM
But that's just moi.
Posted 12 October 2003 - 02:28 AM
Owing to recent court decisions on copyright, it would appear that parody and satire are entirely protected by free speech provisions in the Constitution and the copyright laws themselves.
Does this apply to the Trocks? Will they need dear Isabel's permission to do their parody of Les S? Or would that fall under the realm of legitimate commentary. I think not.
The Margaret Mitchell Estate tried to sue over a parody of Gone With the Wind and lost big time. So, I guess Henry Fielding's Shamela(1741) is safe from suits by Samuel Richardson (Pamela) at least in the US.
IMHO, the best thing ABT could have done would have been to say, "Well, we have exclusivity, but in this PARTICULAR case...yadda, yadda, yadda...distinguished alumna...yadda, yadda, yadda...learned from the choreographer himself...yadda, yadda, yadda...fine company...breaking through to international amity...yadda...we won't enforce our privilege for these specific and highly unusual circumstances. I bet Legal told them not to do it, but then the role of The Enforcer would fall directly back on the Estate, and the onus would be on them. As it is, ABT has done itself a world of damage.
Posted 12 October 2003 - 06:38 AM
Another more legal issue is that the contract between ABT and the Fokine Estate seems to disadvantage, not to say discriminate against, those companies that perform a 'traditional' version of Les Sylphides whereas companies that perform individual interpretations are able to continue doing so. Does any one know whether the Fokine Estate approved NYCB's Chopiniana at any time? To be more precise, the ABT agreement disadvantages the 'weaker' companies - those who are not the Kirov, not NYCB, and like the Cubans do not have the financial ability to contend with ABT. In less legal terms, ABT has taken on the role of the schoolyard bullly.
Oh, and since when is SwanLake Act 2 a natural substitute for Les Sylphides. I think someone at ABT needs a history lesson...
Posted 12 October 2003 - 01:36 PM
That's a quote from the Kirov program booklet --
Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:01 PM
In less legal terms, ABT has taken on the role of the schoolyard bullly.
It's sad, but in the computer industry schoolyard bully has become de rigeur over the past few years. As with Les Sylphides, it has also resulted in a general degradation for everyone. I can cite dozens of recent cases that are just as hideous --- and probably have a more direct influence on our lives as well. Intellectual property laws in the United States really, REALLY need to change --- and this ABT case is just one example of why.
I think my point here is that ballet is a microcosm of the rest of society.
I created Les Sylphides in 3 days.
Wow! But I'd believe it, too. Wouldn't it be neat if ABT instead spent all that money on getting new choreographers to make something great in 3 days?
Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:07 PM
Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:15 PM
I'm prompted to think this by reading "MRs. Stahlbaum's" report on the "SFB in LA" thread. SFB might have made a mistake taking Don Q to Los Angeles so soon after ABT appeared there with THEIR Don Q -- the house was so empty they invited the cheap seats to come downstairs and sit in the orchestra, and it still wasn't full
Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:21 PM
William Faulkner used to enjoy lying to interviewers, and artists still do it, much more than most journalists seem to think, i'm convinced. I'm inclined to believe that Fokine deceived himself.... but I'm sympathetic, I do that myself sometimes.
Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:30 PM
Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:38 PM
I do think that the general public often likes to see a range of repertory and is not as concerned with comparing and contrasting performances as your average poster to "ballet talk." ABT has a right to be concerned with these issues in general. I do think, for example, that it was a kick in the teeth for ABT when NYCB started dancing Fancy Free at a time when ABT was performing it regularly and very well; of course, Robbins had the right to make that decision...it was HIS ballet, but it certainly didn't help ABT's cause. I also remember one season when the Metropolitan imported the Kirov's Sleeping Beauty right on the heels of ABT's production. That may have been a ballet fan's dream but (in my opinion) ABT had something of a legitimate gripe with the programmers at the Met. who were responsible for presenting BOTH companies, and I heard rumors at the time that the company felt that their ticket sales were hurt, not helped, by the conjunction. I have to add, though, that the Cubans are dancing at City Center and City Center now draws on a different audience than Lincoln Center -- especially the Met. (I know NYCB and New York City Opera have a history at City Center...the audiences are still, partly, different audiences.)
However, even if I accept that there are legitimate concerns about how to preserve and market the company's repertory and distinctive profile, I do not understand the decision to make Les Sylphides the ballet on which to spend the company's money and make a stand...For one thing, like GWTW, I think the money would be much better spent on getting the best coaching for their dancers in the ballet (oh...say...someone as good as Alonso...). But, in any case, Les Sylphides has long been one of the most frequently performed ballets throughout the world -- I first saw it with students! -- and it has been a long, long time since it could remotely be considered an ABT signature piece. It's also one of the great classics of the ballet repertory, so that treating it like some sort of specialty work does it (and ballet itself) a disservice...
One might counter, considering the situation in the abstract, that some sort of limitation on performances helps with quality control. (In this particular case, of course, that would not be an issue...one thing that probably irritates a lot of fans is, indeed, the suspicion that the Cubans might well give a deeper, richer, more thoughtful account of the ballet than ABT.) Certainly 'quality control' is what the Balanchine trust is, presently, trying to achieve...One interesting question to consider is how fans would feel if Alonso wanted to stage Theme and Variations in 'her' version and the trust said "No"? Of course, something like that is happening at the Paris Opera Ballet with Symphony in C/Palais de Crystal...and fans are not altogether happy about it. However, my mind keeps returning to the fact that we are discussing Les Sylphides -- it's been danced by, let's say, dozens of companies professional and amateur. As far as quality control is concerned, that can hardly be what the Fokine trust or family (or whatever it is) is really concerned with...This seems to be an economic and legal transaction plain and simple. (For myself, by far and away the best performances of the ballet I have ever seen have been with the Kirov NOT ABT.)
In a way, I hate to see ABT take such a hit publicity-wise (at least among fans), but I also feel they deserve it.
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