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Amy Reusch

The Green Table

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After Sep 11, my mother was complaining to me that none of the ballet companies were performing The Green Table, wondering if they were afraid to make such an anti-war statement.

I didn't think too much of her comments at the time, but I must say I'm glad to see that Milwaukee Ballet is presenting it. Milwaukee Ballet website

The Milwaukee Ballet will perform Kurt Joos's The Green Table this week. Tom Strini of the Journal Sentinel offers a preview..

I guess, looking at Joffrey's website that it's no longer in their repertoire?

Kurt Jooss' "The Green Table" is to dance what Picasso's "Guernica" is to painting: The most famous anti-war statement in the medium.
[Tom Strini; Milwaukee's Journal Sentinal]

Do others agree?

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It is a GREAT ballet!!!

I live in hte BAy Area, where GT is in the rep of Oakland Ballet -- they haven't performed it for at least 5 years -- and both the fee and hte cost of bringing someone from the estate to make sure it's done right are both considerable, I believe, so they may not be doing it again right away-- but I don't think they're abandoning it. But i'm not in on their counsels.

Perhaps someone directly concerned with the Joffrey could say about them. I doubt that they'd drop it, since they are adding Nijinska ballets to their "historical" wing....

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I love Green Table and am in the process of wearing out my videotape. Your mother is right, it doesn't seem to be in any active repertory in the states right now, though I think the Joffrey still claims it in theirs. (in the lovely old days, they used to do an all-Jooss program, GT with Big City and Pavane on the Death of an Infanta) A colleague investigated setting it on her company, and Paul is correct -- the family still holds the rights very closely, insisting that someone personally supervises all aspects of the staging.

Interestingly, it is fully notated, and the dance program at Ohio State (where they have an excellent notation program) reconstructed the work from the score several years ago, in part to prove to Anna Markard (Jooss' daughter and the keeper of the keys, so to speak) that it was a viable way to stage the ballet. Markard was impressed with the results, but has not licensed any other reconstructions from notation that I'm aware of.

I had one of those dance historical moments a number of years ago when I realized that Herman (?) Markard, who designed the costumes and masks for GT, was also the designer for The Red Shoes.

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Sandik, and all,

I watched Mrs Markard rehearse the Oakland ballet the last time they presented he ballet, and it was a fantastic experience. Not many of htem had been in it before -- the earlier cast, with Richard Chen See (now at Paul Taylor) as hte speculator and Ron THiele as Death and Erin Leedom (or ws it Joy Gim?) as the mother was EXTREMELY powerful, they were naturals for those roles (Chen See was brilliant, preening, nasty, fantastic in hte role, and Thiele had weight and silhouette enough to frighten you.

The new cast were lighter, harder to draw the right energy out of. Joral schmalle had the muscles for Death and could do coldness, but he wasn't tall enough to be overwhelming, and temperamentally he couldn't do ugly, he was fastidious that way. She worked them very hard, asking for very particular qualities in the movement, some of which (though they always made sense artistically) went against the dancer's natural grain and were hard for them to achieve -- and I must say, they worked very hard to give her the qualities she wanted. I doubt that even a THOUROUGHLY annotated score could have gotten the phrasing as carved as she wanted it....

SO I'm not suggesting it's an UNNECESSARY expense --

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in the lovely old days, they used to do an all-Jooss program, GT with Big City and Pavane on the Death of an Infanta

The Ballet du Rhin used to have those works in its repertory (and perhaps also a fourth one? I am not sure...), one of the first ballet performances I saw (around 1993 or 1994) included "The Green Table" and "Pavane" (along with "Lilac Garden" and "The Moor's Pavane"). Unfortunately, since Jean-Paul Gravier left the direction of the company, most of the repertory was forgotten, and so now it's impossible to see anything by Jooss in France. :(

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Joffrey still has Green Table in rep, it's just not "up" now. The other famous Jooss work was Vienna 1815. Maybe that's what Ballet du Rhin had?

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I've always wanted to see this ballet, from my understanding (gleaned entirely from books and photographs) the Green Table hasn't dated itself very much or at all.

Sandik, is that a commercially available videotape? At least something I could find at the library or something like that?

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I would love to know where to get that tape. I have only seen Les Grans Ballets Canadiens (spelling?) do this ballet, probably about five years ago. I was a new ballet-goer, and found it so impressive.

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Amy, your mother is not alone -- years ago I took my mother to the Stuttgart and we picked the program based on her love for The Green Table. Recently she too lamented that none of the companies we have access to were performing the ballet.

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THE GREEN TABLE is one of the most fulfilling ballets I have viewed, rehearsed, performed and taken care of. I believe that any role in the cast brings maximum satisfaction to the artist. The choreography is very pure and simple to the eye. There is nothing fussy, nothing extra.

The Joffrey Ballet presented a Jooss evening at City Center in the late 70s. The program consisted of: THE BIG CITY, A BALL IN OLD VIENNA, PAVANE ON THE DEATH OF AN INFANTA, and THE GREEN TABLE. All of the works were mounted by Anna Markard, (though THE GREEN TABLE still had many cast members whom had worked with Jooss himself).

The Joffrey has filmed THE GREEN TABLE three times. Kurt Jooss was involved the first time in which only the first peace table and the farewell scenes were performed. In the mid 1980s Anna Markard supervised a Joffrey filming of the complete ballet, and Ms Markard also supervised a Joffrey filming done in Chicago in the late 90s.

Davis Robertson who danced the role of Death in the JBC production is the guest Death with Milwaukee Ballet for this series of performances.

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ummm.... this looks calculated, coming from me... but shouldn't someone be shooting Markard setting Jooss works, the way the Balanchine Foundation has been doing for his work. Speaking of which, why isn't the Tudor estate doing the same?

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ummm....  this looks calculated, coming from me... but shouldn't someone be shooting Markard setting Jooss works, the way the Balanchine Foundation has been doing for his work.  Speaking of which, why isn't the Tudor estate doing the same?

PBS ran a Great Performances of the Joffrey GT, which included some juicy archival images of Jooss and Laban -- this is the tape I have and I don't think it's commercially available.

And of course, someone should be filming all these coaching sessions. And when I win the lottery, I will donate all my money for just that thing...!

Paul, I'm not quibbling about the value of direct contact with generative artists, or, in this case, next-to-the-generative artist. But since Markard herself liked what she saw in Ohio, I'm sad that she doesn't want to continue that process.

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Sandik, I hear you.

By the way, there's a brief clip of young Pina Bausch as the grieving Mother in the Green Table that is NOT TO BE BELIEVED, she will take your breath away, somewhere in htat Dance of hte Century series -- it's worth combing through to find it, one of hte greatest performances of anything I've ever seen -- just a few seconds really, but visionary........ and it makes you understand a GREAT deal about Pina Bausch......

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Oh yes, the fourth work that the Ballet du Rhin had performed was "A bal in old Vienna" (so the quadruple bill was the same as the one performed by the Joffrey Ballet in the 1970s), that was in the mid-1990s. I really regret not having seen it... :) But thanks to a google search, I found that they performed "The Green Table" again in 2002.

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I stand corrected, Ball in Old Vienna is the final title of an antiwar work that had a working title of Vienna 1815. At the final moment, everything breaks up with people rushing off in panic, as (we have to learn from the program notes) the news that Napoleon has escaped from Elba - the "Old Vienna" is the Vienna of the Congress.

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By the way, there's a brief clip of young Pina Bausch as the grieving Mother in the Green Table that is NOT TO BE BELIEVED, she will take your breath away, somewhere in htat Dance of hte Century series -- it's worth combing through to find it, one of hte greatest performances of anything I've ever seen -- just a few seconds really, but visionary........ and it makes you understand a GREAT deal about Pina Bausch......

If this is the one I'm thinking of, there's a tape of the whole piece in the NYPL dance collection. Old, black and white stuff from when Bausch was a student of Jooss at the Folkwang Schule. Despite the image quality, it is indeed a fabulous tape.

I just wish someone would do it live, so we could see it and stop thinking for a minute about videotape!

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maybe mel remembers this? i remember seeing joffrey on a tour, in chicago years ago, seeing the green table and seeing kurt jooss take a bow, my mind tells me it had something to do with something like a 90th birthday?

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That was before my time with the company, say 1967(?), but I recall Mr. Jooss being "about" in the Joffrey studios about that time. He never made it to ninety; I think he died in 1979 at 78.

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shouldn't someone be shooting Markard setting Jooss works, the way the Balanchine Foundation has been doing for his work.  Speaking of which, why isn't the Tudor estate doing the same?

Well, if you can point out one legitimate offspring of either Balanchine or Tudor, you might have an equivalent situation there....

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Would you draw parallels to Fokine?

(By the way, I'm not saying the tapes would need to be released -- presumably that would be Markard's control -- just that they should be made while it's still possible).

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The Fokine Estate is a far more complex situation, as it was not Vitale Fokine who had the choreography made copyright, but his widow, and their two children. Jooss was enforcing his own copyright during his own lifetime.

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Great news for the French audience (and for those who can get the French-German TV channel ARTE): they will show three works by Kurt Joos on Sunday March 28, at 8:15 PM!!

:D :grinning: :wink:

Unfortunately it won't include "The Green Table", but there will be "Pavane for a dead infant", and "The Great City", performed by the Ballet du Rhin in Mulhouse (staged by Anna Markard) and "A ball in old Vienna" filmed in 1935.

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