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Ballet on Jeopardy

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Whenever I've watched the "Jeopardy" quiz show, I've noticed that contestants avoid the opera and ballet categories for as long as possible. This always puzzles me, because it's obvious to anyone who's seen the show that most of the questions (or answers, as their conceit has it) in these categories require no knowledge of opera or ballet. Tonight was a case in point, when the dreaded ballet category turned up on Final Jeopardy, and thus could not be avoided. The three finalists were asked to identify the 1935 ballet in which a dancer leaps toward the sun and comes crashing down on the stage. You don't need to know SAB from SAT to realize we're talking mythology here, not necessarily ballet. And all three got the correct "question" -- Icarus.

But now I'm curious about Lifar's Icare, the work referred to. I know there have been other choreographic versions of this myth as well-- including Gerald Arpino's. I haven't seen any. If you have, can you tell about it?

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I thought I'd forgotten about Arpino's "The Relativity of Icarus", but I guess this question brings the memories flooding back. This ballet was highly derivative of a MacMillan ballet, the forgettable "Triad". It had some sort of soft-porny pas de deux going on between Icarus (Russell Sultzbach) and Daedalus (Ted Nelson). Their strenuous efforts were punctuated by rather gymnastic things that can't be done by the Sun (Ann Marie deAngelo), but the idea that the men were father and son just didn't read at all! Perhaps the whole thing was sparked by the news around that time (1974) that the movements of the asteroid Icarus were demonstrating features found in Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The whole thing was done with a gigantic mirrored setpiece/sculpture, which reflected the dancers' images, and sometimes the lighting, into the audience. The score, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra was by Jose Serebrier.

The whole thing's raison d'etre seemed to be a as a platform for some "shocking" male-male partnering. Ho Hum. Next.

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All I remember of the Arpino is some acrobatics performed by the men while suspended by ropes and Ann Marie's rainbow-hued streamers.

As to Jeopardy, I think a good strategy would be to amass as much money as possible before you seek the Daily Doubles in your strong category. That's why I, if ever I had the opportunity, would not rush to the Ballet category. :wacko:

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I don't remember any ropes in "Icarus" - that was "Ropes" which had Brunie Ruiz as the woman. THAT is worth reviving!

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My mind's eye recalls two guys hanging . . . but maybe I'm thinking of something else. I'll defer to your recollection, Maj. Mel.

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I saw the Lifar Icare, and can't remember much at all. This was a version redesigned in the 1960s (Paris Opera Ballet brought it to DC about a decade ago) and the corps girls all looked like Audrey Hepburn, wearing slinky dresses and long, fuschia gloves.

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I checked with somebody who knew the ballet better than I did, and there was rope used in "Relativity of Icarus", but it was for the dancers to make large cat's- cradle designs with one another, and at one point, as a weapon, but no hangin' around. So we were both half-right. :wacko: But I'd still like to see "Ropes" revived!

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