Jump to content


When is a balance in 'overkill'??


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,402 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:28 AM

I saw the Cubans on Wednesday night in 'Don Q' and it was performed by Valdes (??, spelling?, I lost my program) and Joel Carreno. The ballerina was a practiced crowd pleaser. She was not content to merely hold an arabesque indefinitely, she changed the position into passe, and then developpe front :unsure: . I could almost hear Carreno saying "How do I top this?" He, by the way, is a dancer with a charming stage presence, lyric line and gorgeous feet. The male corps was impressive, especially in the toreador sequence; I was also struck by the shorter legs of the female corps---this is not to criticise---we have been conditioned over the years to the longer look.

#2 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,234 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:35 AM

It is a different aesthetic, isn't it? :unsure:

atm, you were an Alonso fan, if I remember it -- and you certainly saw her dance. Many people say that the Cuban company is made exactly in her image. Would you agree with that?

As for your question -- is anything an overkill in Don Q? I think I'd go with a "if you've got it, flaunt it" approach for that one, especially this production (they did the same thing here, too. I took it as part of their "ballet for the People" approach.)

#3 Victoria Leigh

Victoria Leigh

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:37 AM

When a lovely balance just "happens", it is joyous. When it is worked at, and obviously difficult, it is overkill and just showing off a circus trick. IMO, of course :unsure:

#4 tango49

tango49

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 07:01 AM

I agree that an unexpected balance can be quite thrilling for the performer as well as the audience. I can remember watching the 'Wild Men of ABT'...the sequence with Carreno and his cousin doing Black Swan where she hops backwards in arabesque on pointe...then she does a sort of penche to add to the affect...to me that was overkill and destroyed the moment for those few seconds. Ofcourse the audience went wild and rightfully so considering their passion for ballet in Cuba. Kind of like in the movie "Shall we Dance" with Astaire and Harriot Hoctor...the freakish backbend...uggh. Even Ginger hated that one. Jose's cousin was a beauty in all respects though and I loved her presence and attack...just that one penche I could have done without!

#5 siu

siu

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 12:22 PM

It is a trademark of the cuban dancers to show-off their virtuosity on stage and very much expected by the home audience. The performances I have seen from visiting companies to Vancouver, including ABT, the dancing is just so, going through the motions and no more than that; cuban dances incorporate a lot of showing off as well, call it a macho thing when done by the guys and blatant flirting if its done by the ladies. Alonso was a virtuoso of balances and turns, her holding an arabesque on pointe in the second act of Giselle until the lily was taken from her hands by her leaping Albretch, to her trademark six opening piruettes, 32 fouettes and closing with six more piruettes in the third act of Swan Lake will always stay in my memory, Have I seen someone else manage that? Nope. And all that was done while her vision was just a blurr. The newer dancers have picked up on that, I am sure, and will do it.

#6 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 17 October 2003 - 03:26 PM

A balance such as Alonso's in Giselle that you mentioned, Siu, can be breathtaking and artistically apt. But in my mind, few dancers have the artistry to make such things into more than mere stunts. Viengsay Valdes' Black Swan pdd last night left me with the impression of long balances in arabesque and excessive mugging, but little sense of having seen much Dancing. Can you hold a balance (and come out of it early, if necessary) without disrupting the musical or kinetic flow? If you can't, better not to try in performance.

#7 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,402 posts

Posted 18 October 2003 - 03:57 AM

Based on the 'Don Q. I saw---no way is the Cuban Company in Alonso's image. I am going again today and will try to keep an open mind :blink: There is much I want to say about Alonso, but I will put it on my Blog.

The biggest thrill of the evening was seeing Alonso's curtain call.

#8 nicoal

nicoal

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 08:29 AM

Victoria, your comment about a balance being joyous really struck a chord with me. For me, one of the greatest rushes even just in the studio is when you find yourself in a perfect balance. It reminds me of one of my favorite pictures of a dancer who displays the feeling I get in that moment - here's the link to the picture of Margot Fonteyn
For those precious moments all feels right in the world . :wub:

#9 djb

djb

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 128 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 09:59 AM

It is definitely overkill when the dancer chooses to stay in the balance so long that he/she is completely off the music coming out of the balance. This seems to be perfectly acceptable these days. In the adagio of the grand pdd in Don Quixote, dancers will take so long preparing for the first balance en attitude, and then balance for such a long time (looking fixedly at some point and doing a slight see-saw) that they reduce the choreography to only one repetition of the phrase. I prefer a short preparation and fast balance -- maybe looking at your partner or the audience rather than at the floor.

#10 Giannina

Giannina

    Gold Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 10:10 AM

There have been times when I've seen a ballerina stuck in a balance; she's up there and she can't get down. It might be an arabesque from which she's supposed to exit to her front but she's caught a balance and is leaning just a tad backwards. The ballerina's ability to come out of it gracefully speaks for her talent.

Giannina

#11 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 03:21 PM

This isn't precisely about balance, but balance is certainly involved. Some years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Vasiliev and Maximova dance the Bolshoi Don Quixote as the last season of anything held at the Old Met. (it was the American debut of a full Bolshoi Don Q) After all those unexpected one-hand lifts that made the audience gasp the first time they came 'round, they happen again, of course, in the ballabile that ends the first act. When Vasiliev straight-armed his wife this time, he held her there, and seemed to be nodding his head on the beats before he let her down. The repeat of this, he actually counted with his fingers of his free hand, while she fretted above, when it was time for her to come down. The audience loved it.

#12 djb

djb

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 128 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 05:04 PM

Speaking of the Bolshoi, I saw Plisetskaya do something tricky with a balance that was quite entertaining, but I think it was the wrong ballet to do it in. She and Fadeyechev did the Act 3 pdd from Sleeping Beauty in a highlights program. In their version, the final pose is a supported (by the waist) low arabesque, with both dancers looking out to the audience. When they broke the pose to take their bows, Fadeyechev simply stepped away, leaving Plisetskaya comfortably balancing in arabesque for a few seconds. The effect was that they had tricked us. The audience cheered. But to me it seemed out of keeping with the atmosphere of Aurora's Wedding.

#13 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 02 December 2003 - 06:17 PM

This topic is discussed quite a bit in the Fonteyn biography. Do you remember when they talked about the balance she took in the Rose Adagio, and when the last fella came forward to take her hand, she merely smiled at him instead?

Or the time she held a closing arabesque balance for so long that the accompanying prolonged applause was rather disconcerting to Nureyev as he re-entered the stage.

#14 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:05 PM

Kind of ironic that a "balance" can be taken too far, isn't it? :blushing:


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):