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#2 - Influence of older ballets?


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 07:05 PM

(2) Can you see the influence of older ballets, such as The Sleeping Beauty, in this one?

#2 atm711

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:39 AM

Yes, yes, yes. :) It was precisely this influence that that bothered me about the Work. It smacks too much of "Sleeping Beauty". Earlier this year I watched the 1969 tape as I was looking for another ballet for my young grandchildren, who already love 'Peter and the Wolf" and Balanchine's Nutcracker. I decided against it because the flow of the story line was interrupted too many times with all those Divertissements, and the Ugly Sisters went on for too long. I have often thought that Ashton should have had another 'go' at it---and tightened it up, perhaps bringing it up to the level of "The Dream" (which I prefer over Balanchine's version ; it seems he also went on for too long). That said, I do admit that I enjoyed the ballet the first time I saw it during the Sadler's Wells first NY visit.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:50 AM

atm's comment above speaks to one of the Great Divides in watching dance -- and one that would have been a very active issue, I think, in 1948: do you want it tight, like the Fokine and Massine (and, for Americans, Tudor) dramatic ballets? One act, tighten the action, all of the dancing existing to further the point or the story, use the dance for expressive purposes? Or do you want to take a simple story and spin it out wiith dances, going back to Petipa? There are a lot of people who are bored to tears by Sleeping Beauty, too -- all those processions! Get it over with! (Some of my Danish friends will point to "Far From Denmark," where the entrance of the guests takes about 36 seconds, and say, "See! If it were Petipa that would take an hour!!!" To me, both Bournonville and Petipa are "right"; what each does suits the pace of his ballets.)

I see Ashton's "Cinderella" as a revolutionary work, revolutionary in its retrograde-ness. Using pointe in the way he does is a statement, too. Under Fokine Rules the costume must suit the character, the time period, the action. Putting Cinderella on pointe was really rather heroic in those days. This is the time of "Adam Zero" and "Miracle in the Gorbals." How do you create art out of the ashes of Europe post-World War II? Do you show what is, or do you show what could be? Two different approaches, each requiring a different kind of ballet, I think.

As I wrote on another post, I think Ashton also used material and ideas from older sources -- the same sources Petipa used for Beauty -- the ballet d'entree of the old court ballets (divertissements one after the other, each a sub-theme of the theme of the whole piece).


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