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The Millenium Awards

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#16 Allegro



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Posted 29 December 1999 - 07:50 PM

I would vote for Balanchine b/c he revolutionized modern ballet theatre, and added so much to the betterment of dance.
I noticed something that wasn't on your "poll".....What has harmed ballet the most? My vote: Sports. Need I say more?

#17 Guest_Dancing on Sunshine_*

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Posted 29 December 1999 - 11:28 PM

I think Maria Tallchief and the other four famous Native-American ballerinas did a heck of a lot to pave the way for the present dancers. They proved that it doesn't matter what ethnic group you come from, you can still dance like anything!


[This message has been edited by Dancing on Sunshine (edited December 29, 1999).]

#18 The Bard's Ballerina

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Posted 30 December 1999 - 08:06 AM

Ballet Person of the Millenium: Petipa

Ballet Person of the Century: Balanchine

Ballet of the Century: Nutcracker, love it or hate it (yes, I know it's originally 19th century, but you have to admit that it's the one ballet that's been absolutely ubiquitous in the 20th century -- from the Kirov and NYCB to dance school recitals everywhere)

#19 Bridget


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Posted 01 January 2000 - 11:32 AM

In defense of dancersteven's
Baryshnikov's comment that has been
trashed here to some extent: Misha did
bring ballet to mainstream America, which
helped change people's perception of this
art form. Edward Vilella did to some
extent, also. Remember his appearance on
the TV show "The Odd Couple"? But
Baryshnikov took ballet's exposure to the
next level with his television specials,
and more importantly, I think, with his
movies. I'm sure alot of people came to
see a ballet performance after they saw
"The Turning Point", "White Nights" or
"Dancers" and got "hooked" on it, like
me! His charisma added to the appeal.
Ballet attendance increased not only at
performances, but also in ballet schools.
It's only a matter of time before
Baryshnikov is honored by the Kennedy
Center with one of those lifetime
achievement awards. He deserves it

#20 dancersteven



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Posted 01 January 2000 - 12:21 PM

Thank you Bridgit, that is exactly what I meant!

#21 Alexandra


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Posted 01 January 2000 - 02:13 PM

I'd agree with much of what Brigit wrote, but I think the point that others were trying to make is that Baryshnikov did this for one particular generation. He wasn't the first (nor was Villella).


#22 cargill


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Posted 03 January 2000 - 03:35 PM

On the question of what has harmed ballet the most, I suppose oddly enough, its popularity in the 1970's. Now nothing is good enough unless it attacts a huge audience, so everyone is looking for the next great superstar, and hyping promising dancers to the skies without letting them develop. Every new ballet is scrutinized, and choreographers can't develop on their own. Not to mention the salaries (yes, I know the dancers deserve them) which are reflected in ticket prices. They are so high that it is hard to develop loyal audiences; at those prices, they want to see superstars and the next Balanchine.

#23 Alymer


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Posted 03 January 2000 - 03:55 PM

A word for Empress Anna Ivanova who authorised the setting up of a school to train professional dancers in 1737. Six boys and six girls, children of court servants were housed in the old Winter Palace and trained by the ballet master Jean-Baptiste Landee. It seems to have been Anna's main claim to be remembered in a positive light.

#24 Guest_rrfan_*

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Posted 03 January 2000 - 04:39 PM

I have to disagree with sports harming ballet. Why?
I've played sports my whole life and go to the ballet. Plenty of professional athletes take ballet classes, including basketball, football and of course, figure skating.
I don't know if you can really say anything has "harmed" ballet. It's still around, it's just changed, it's different now than before and 50 years from now (God willing) it will be different still.

#25 Alexandra


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Posted 04 January 2000 - 07:27 PM

I was curious about the "sports ruining ballet" answer, too. Allegro, could you elaborate? I have heard/read several sports connections that might be relevant. I'm not saying I agree with them, just that these are points that have been raised.

The first is that in the past, ballet attracted physically active girls who today have more options; hence, sports drains the talent pool. Another is related, and that is that in the 19th century, there weren't many spectator sports. Today, audience members who enjoy athletic performance can go to skating, football, etc. I don't know if that's what Allegro was referring to.

On the other point that rrfan raised: "I don't know if you can really say anything has "harmed" ballet. It's still around, it's just changed, it's different now than before and 50 years from now (God willing) it will be different still" -- this argument will keep being raised, I suppose, as long as there is ballet. Since I'm pretty sure I agree with Mary's reasons on this, I thought I'd try one more time to explain the "it's ruined" position.

I think this is different from past generations (as always with me, unless I say differently, this is an American perspective). People who loved Fokine and Massine may well have decried Balanchine because it was "different" (i.e., no good), just as people who came to ballet during the Balanchine era found Fokine/Massine old-fashioned or "no dancing in it," etc. Fonteyn fans were reluctant to accept Makarova. Makarova fans may well be reluctant to accept Guillem.

But what we Chicken Littles are complaining about now is not the same thing. The problems, which did begin in the 1970s, at least this time, is a decay of the craft of artistic direction and balletmastering. The difference between dancing differently and dancing ballets "wrong" is hard to understand, I think, unless you've seen the ballets danced "right." Yes, there are changes in style. But when the steps are smudged, when the musical accents are betrayed, when a delicate ballet is danced as low comedy, when one constantly sees good ballets danced poorly -- underrehearsed, badly cast, misunderstood by the dancers -- and one still has a clear picture of what the ballet looked like in its prime, then one uses words like "ruin."

"Giselle" is very very different from when Grisi danced it, but if you've seen dozens of different interpretations from different companies over a number of years, I think you begin to have a sense of what is simply a different interpretation, and what could be called "Clueless in Silesia."

Audiences will probably always be generally happy with what they see, because, if you're paying for a ticket and you have to look at stuff you don't want to see, you'll stop buying tickets. So the Chicken Littles will never be believed, perhaps, except by other Chicken Littles. There were undoubtedly people in the Paris Opera Ballet audience during the 1880s and '90s who were quite happy with what they saw, and groused about those old guys who complained that so-and-so was no Taglioni, Grisi, Elssler, etc. Or who thought ballet was much better without male dancers at an equal level to the ballerina.

So yes, dance does change, but there are the high periods and the low periods, and I don't think that now is "just different."

#26 Allegro



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Posted 05 January 2000 - 03:53 PM

I should have worded myself better on my last post. I don't believe sports have 'ruined' ballet, but I think there could be much better ballet programs in the USA, and the world, if sports hadn't turned the public's attention. Imagine a world where instead of Monday night football, there was Monday night at the ballet. Not to say that I don't like sports, because I do. All the girls in my family dance, while all of the boys play baseball or football.
Also, sports may have increased the virtuosity level in dance. I think in the past 50 years, dance has been raised to a level that would have been unheard of before. Pavlova, and all the other famous dancers of her time, were known for their grace and artistic ability. I think I even heard somewhere that Margot Fontyn didn't believe it was nesscessary for an extention to be above 90 degrees.Now, it is the age of higher jumps, more turns, and greater strength.
I hope I clarified myseld somewhat!


#27 Guest_rrfan_*

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Posted 05 January 2000 - 06:12 PM

I still am not swayed on the topic of sports vs. ballet. You can still have Monday Night Football and Monday night at the ballet, just on different channels. Ballet is not for everyone and I don't think you can say sports really raised the technical level of ballet. I think the dancer's and their teachers did that. You can't say that one dancer is better than another in terms of one may be able to turn and the other is more musical, that depends on individual taste. Balanchine has choreographed some beautiful pieces that I've seen dancers through whirlybirds in to showboat. That's ego. The competition aspect of ballet has always been there. It's human nature to be competitive.
Besides, sports have been around for a long time. Olympic events have more attendance than the Super Bowl.
It could be argued that ballet took away from sports, since the Greek Olympics were going on way before Louis XIV came around.
It's like saying the Internet took away from reading books or something. Ballet is not for everyone. As much as we would like for it to be. It's art and it's subjective. i don't particularly care for Monet, but millions of others love him. But I can't say that Shakespeare ruined Monet, because I prefer to read a book than go to the museum. Am I making sense, it's been a long day!

#28 Guest_gkimbrough_*

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Posted 10 January 2000 - 12:32 AM

Sports harm Ballet? Not even a little bit. The money poured into sports medicine and kineseology(hey, where's the spellchecker?) have been an unalloyed blessing to dancers. For example, the career-ending injury I suffered 18 years ago would have been routine a year ago. Make no mistake: Arthroscopic surgery was developed to save major-league pitchers elbows and linebacker's knees. We are just the lucky beneficiaries. Meanwhile. sports are certainly not costing us any audience, since we are not known for drinking beer. 8^)

#29 Andrei


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Posted 10 January 2000 - 03:07 PM

I don't know, I'd like some beer after show ...

#30 Paul W

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Posted 10 January 2000 - 08:28 PM

I'm with Andrei!! A beer wouldn't be all that undesirable, especially for those of us just watching. But I imagine it could produce some negative consequences for the dancers (then again, perhaps that's what Wendy W needs)! Beer and football, now there is a cultural milieu which could have a rather stiltifying influence on artistic taste!! (IMO!!) But, definitely beer companies wouldn't give much consideration to sponsoring ballet, ... would they!? By the way, I'll just assume, gkimbrough, that you are male, especially since beer was mentioned in connection with sports. But even with just 2 posts to judge by, (I noted the interest in woodworking!), so, I'm going out on a limb. I hope I don't get burned a third time!!? Posted Image (again, apologies to Dale and Ari Posted Image , it would presumably be easier if we had pictures ).

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