Mimes and Miming
Posted 01 April 2001 - 10:42 AM
Who are the great mimes you have seen? Whether in strict character roles (Coppelius) or, as I'm remembering Nureyev, in the classics?
Posted 01 April 2001 - 01:30 PM
was exquisite. She was so poetic.
Posted 01 April 2001 - 04:01 PM
Posted 01 April 2001 - 04:38 PM
Posted 01 April 2001 - 05:05 PM
To me, "bad" miming is when it's just the gestures without the feeling, when it isn't clear, when the dancer overacts and becomes cartoonlike, when you know the character has been put on like a suit.
Posted 02 April 2001 - 01:53 PM
As for the question, what is bad mime, I think a good example is ABT's Carabosse, who camps it up no end, almost winking at the audience, making a broad joke of being Bette Davis playing Queen Elizabeth I. It absolutely destroys the power and dignity of the part. ABT's Madge, too, can sometimes be very jokey.
Posted 02 April 2001 - 09:42 PM
At City Ballet, Alexander Ritter has impressed me with how he handles the mime in the role of Drosselmeyer in the Nutcracker. In watching him I discovered that there is some really nice mime in that role.
In that role Ritter is, to begin with, very elegant in his carriage and posture from the feet right up through his body, so that his entire figure, and not just his arms and hands, take part in the mime.
His gestures and hand and arm phrasing are then very clear, so that the grasp of the meaning is instantaneous for the viewer, and I think that that is so important, because the beauty of mime is, really, the instant moment that you visually understand the phrase. On top of this, Alex Ritter also uses his face and his eyes very nicely in those passages, so that you see him make eye contact with the person he's miming to and see his face take part and convey what he's conveying. I'm thinking in particular of the passage where he greets Marie, touches his head between his eyes, and gestures with respect to her size, as if to say "I see that you have grown." Or also the passage where he sets the Nutcracker Doll down after fixing it, while Marie sleeps, and while predicting the rest of the action in Act I, through sympathetic magic makes the doll grow.
Come to think of it, his nephew (the little prince) also has a nice mime passage at the beginning of the Land of the Sweets, where he recounts his own heroics in the battle against the mice or rats. Zachary Yermolenko (baby Baryshnikov)has been rather good at that for several years now.
Is there a dictionary of mime phrases?
Posted 02 April 2001 - 10:00 PM
During the high tide of Petipa in Russia, I've read that the balletomanes took classes in mime, and also that Petipa tried to make up mime gestures to express some complicated concepts. (Fokine thought this was silly, and tried to eliminate mime, making dancing itself expressive.)
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