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Great Performances: Degas and the Dance on MPTDid anyone else see it?

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#16 dirac


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Posted 08 January 2004 - 02:51 PM

I generally find the "dramatic recreations" now endemic on television documentaries to be a minor and sometimes major annoyance, but for once the device served a genuine and useful purpose. (Although I still think it's silly to have, for example, a closeup of the actor's eyes when the voiceover is talking about Degas' failing eyesight. I'd rather see more photographs of the artist himself, even if they're not closeups of him blinking.)

#17 vrsfanatic


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Posted 08 January 2004 - 02:58 PM

I overheard the A.D. refer to it as an "Italian fouette". Maybe there is a more technical term for it.... 

Thank you, I was afraid that is what the response would be! :)

#18 Cliff


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Posted 11 January 2004 - 10:31 PM

I enjoyed the program and noticed a few things.

At one point the narrator was talking about how accurately Degas recreated the dancers in a studio. Then it cut from a painting of dancers in gauzy dresses and loose hair to a live scene of dancers in simple clothes and tightly bound hair. Was Degas historically accurate or was it artistic license? Later on it was mentioned that dancers began performing about age 14, so some things changed.

It was considered shocking when Degas painted from above. Yet, I wonder if high ticket prices forced him to sit in the nosebleed section where he unintentionally created some controversial paintings?

His style changed as his eyesight diminished. It looked like he stopped painting faces but continued to paint hands in detail.

#19 Hans


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Posted 12 January 2004 - 11:45 PM

Simply put, ballet attire has changed a great deal over the centuries, and what the Paris Opera dancers wear to daily class now is very different from what they wore in the 19th century.

That is a very interesting point about Degas perhaps unintentionally creating his paintings from unusual viewpoints, but he also created similar paintings even when he was re-creating a scene he'd seen in a studio. Maybe he sat high up first and found the viewpoint interesting?

Question related to the attire issue above: Does anyone know if the Paris Opéra corps de ballet always wears practice tutus, long skirts, &c for class? It seemed very unusual to me.

#20 rg


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Posted 13 January 2004 - 08:02 AM

to one and all interested in degas' work with dance:
the catalogue that accompanied the exhibit documented in the recent PBS show,
DEGAS AND THE DANCE by Jill DeVonyar and Richard Kendall [Abrams], is an excellent work. it is as much, perhaps more, a dance study as it is a discourse on the graphic and sculptural artistry of Degas. there is substantial discussion in the text about the opera houses of the time, rue peletier as well as the newer palais garnier, including digressions on the vantage points and desired locations and near-the-stage-boxes within the houses, with information on the places to which degas had access. ususally the dance aspects of such catalogues leaves much to be desired, this one is rewardingly solid and informative.
the efforts made, for example, to identify the actual ballets documented, however freely in degas's pictures, is most impressive.

#21 sylphide



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Posted 13 January 2004 - 02:54 PM

for the very little I know about the day-to-day life of the Paris Opera Dancers, is that I do not think they wear practice tutus and such for their daily classes...but this is merely a conclusion I am taking from viewing the beautiful movie "Etoiles", a documentary about the POB dancers. There is a lot of scenes with the corps de ballet and unless they were rehearsing a particular ballet like Swan Lake, when we see them in class, we see them in various (meaning non uniform) dancing gear ... Hope this helps...Maybe someone who has really been in class with them can validate this?

#22 Guest_unsoccer-mom_*

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:52 AM

It was a wonderful show. I watched with my daughter who was a ballet student for many years. She switched majors at her arts high school from ballet to visual arts about a year ago. It was fascinating to see the interplay between the arts and how they all overlap in so many ways. She will be spending the summer in Paris at a pre-college art program and I am sure this program has given her some great ideas.

#23 Rachel



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Posted 18 January 2004 - 01:43 PM

What about the room behind the stage specifically built for the dancer's to warm up in while being admired by their patrons? They said it was a unique design of the Palais Garnier and I'm assuming that round rehearsal room was as wel. I enjoyed the clip of the POB students executing the adage tremendously. What gorgeous dancers!


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