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Question--Your List of "Essential" Ballet VideosDaughter wants to start a collection


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#1 Balletmom

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:27 AM

My 16 year old daughter (ballet student, ballet lover), would like to start a collection of ballet Dvds/videos. I believe she is primarily interested in performance videos, especially of the classics, but "contemporary classics" would be great, too. Which videos do feel are the best of the best, and why? Do you feel there is a specific performance of a well-known ballet that is remarkable for its interpretation of the choreography, its staging, or the quality of the dancing? Are there lesser known ballets that any good student should have knowledge of? Are there specific performances or documentaries by/of "ballet icons" that you would include? Thanks for your help! I plan to look for a couple of videos for Christmas, and then add to the collection as special occasions come up.

#2 koshka

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:45 AM

If she is just starting this collection, she might want to focus on DVDs, though I am not sure how many ballet dvds are out there right now...

#3 Sulan

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 10:08 AM

My favorite ballet video/documentary is the one about Suzanne Farrell... I think its called "Elusive Muse". I know it is available on both VHS and DVD.

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 10:21 AM

Good question, Balletmom. I hope everyone will post their own core collections -- that would be fun. Do you remember the Desert Island Disks shows on public radio? Let's have Desert Island DVDs. What 10 DVDs would you take with you if you knew you were going to be marooned on a desert island?

You might find Robert Greskovic's Ballet 101 useful. He has an extensive videography that answers many of your questions. The book is a few years old now and keyed to videos -- but many of the most important videos have been released on DVD.

But for now, whawt are your Desert Island DVDs? The basics for a collection?

#5 Watermill

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 10:28 AM

Great idea balletmom: My daughter's knowledge and appreciation of ballet have been increased immeasurably by the collection of 60+ videos I've put together.
Without a doubt your best guide to all this is Robert Greskovic's (BalletTalk board member rg) must-have book Ballet 101. It has an appendix video guide that separates the wheat from the chaff. Use it to start a checklist. Ebay & Half.com are excellent sources for out of print hard to find videos, but it takes a lot of diligence and patience. My daughter plays the ABT DVD's to death! Be sure to include the Royal, Kirov and Bolshoi. And of course: Balanchine.
Happy hunting!

Watermill

#6 silvy

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 11:23 AM

I think that Kirov ballet videos are a must have to begin with, as they show the classics by the company where they were created: in my opinion I could not do without:

Sleeping Beauty - Sizova/Soloviev, or Kolpakova-Berezhnov, or even Lezhnina-Ruzimatov
Swan Lake - Mezentseva - Zaklinsky (or Makhalina - Zelensky)
Paquita - Makhalina - Zelensky

These are "to begin with" tapes for me

Silvy

#7 Hans

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 11:38 AM

Wow, 60+ videos! I am incredibly envious right now...and I thought I had a large collection at 25. My 10 Desert Island videos/DVDs would be:

1. The Erik Bruhn/Nureyev Bell Telephone Hour performances
2. Swan Lake with Makhalina
3. Le Corsaire with Asylmuratova
4. Don Quixote with Terekhova
5. "Essential Ballet"
6. "Kirov Classics"
7. Sleeping Beauty with Sizova
8. Sleeping Beauty with Asylmuratova
9. Sleeping Beauty with Kolpakova
10. Sleeping Beauty with Lezhnina

Not exactly the most balanced list, but I love it :D.

#8 Balletmom

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:17 PM

Wow! Thanks for everone's input so far. I love Alexandria's suggestion of Desert Island DVDs. I intend to try and find Robert Greskovic's Ballet 101, sounds like it would be a great gift, also. Sulan, Suzanne Farrell's Elusive Muse is on my personal "want" list. I'll also keep in mind that this will probably be a collection she will want to keep for many years, so I'll make DVDs a priority. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's suggestions/lists. Hans, I'm not much of a videophile--do you know if Essential Ballet is still in print, and what can you tell me about it? The title sounds intriguing. I'm looking forward to spending many happy hours searching for all these and more on the internet.

#9 djb

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:27 PM

I like documentaries, and I think Backstage at the Kirov is a wonderful onel

#10 Farrell Fan

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 02:01 PM

Another excellent documentary is "Dancing for Mr. B: Six Balanchine Ballerinas." This is a film by the late Anne Belle, who later made "Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse." The ballerinas are Maria Tallchief, Mary Ellen Moylan, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Merrill Ashley, and Darci Kistler. The playing time is 86 minutes.

A favorite video of mine is Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze, from 1981. The dancers are Karin von Aroldingen, Suzanne Farrell, Sara Leland, Heather Watts, Jacques d'Amboise, Ib Andersen, Adam Luders, and Peter Martins. It's 43 minutes long.

#11 Balletmom

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 02:33 PM

I found Robert Greskovic's book Ballet 101 through the Amazon link above. From the description and excerpts, this book looks like it will become a well-thumbed reference in our house. Can't wait to read it, but, in the meantime keep those lists coming!

#12 Hans

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 04:27 PM

Balletmom, "Essential Ballet" is available on DVD through Amazon. It features the Kirov in a gala performance of various classics attended by Princess Diana in London and a gala of various Kirov, Bolshoi, and Paris Opéra dancers in an outdoor theater set up in Red Square, Moscow. Some very nice performances of classic excerpts, including some that are not seen that much--a bit of Aniuta, a pas de deux from Fokine's "Firebird," and Maya Plissetskaya's "Dying Swan." It also features Olga Chenchikova in "Paquita," Larissa Lezhnina in "Diana and Actaeon," and Altynai Asylmuratova in "The Leaves are Fading" pas de deux.

#13 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 07:26 PM

The NYCB production George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (to difference it from Bram Stoker's or William Shakespeare's, I suppose?) is useful as a benchmark to have for reference. This is actually what most US productions are aiming for in a Nutcracker

#14 pleiades

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:50 PM

Yet another vote for Elusive Muse and the NYCB Nutcracker. They're both on DVD. Another favorite DVD is ABT at the Met It's a mixed program which includes the version of Les Sylphides that Greskovic discusses in his book. It also includes performances from a number of terrific dancers.

#15 carbro

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:05 PM

I've scanned this list up and down, down and up, a couple of times. I simply can't believe no one has suggested the new Barbie Swan Lake! What's the matter with you people? :wink: :wub:

But on a serious note, I'd recommend Baryshnikov at Wolf Trap, if only to see rare footage of Gelsey Kirkland. At the time of this filming, she was approaching her most severe anorexic phase -- not there yet. She was far from the top of her form. Still, well, it's Gelsey. And Mischa looks pretty great there, too.

It includes his solo, Vestris, the Act III pdd from Coppelia, the Act III pdd from DonQ.


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