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Ballet Videos; niche market


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#1 Guest_Old Board_*

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 09:28 PM

It would be a wonderful thing if someone were to resurrect materials that were broadcast on national television in 50s and 60s, the borning days of the Ballet Boom. Agnes de Mille talking about dance in general, and showing some of her choreography (I still remember excerpts from the Civil War ballet _The Harvest According_); I still haven't seen the complete clip of Erik Bruhn and Carla Fracci dancing excerpts from _La Syphide_ - it aired on the night of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and news kept breaking in on it. Ballet video buffs may recall Fonteyn and Nureyev performing "Black Swan" on Ed Sullivan's show, but do they remember their return the following week to dance the pas de deux from _Gayne_? How about Nureyev partnering Ulli Wuhrer in Don Q? And what of the "Dance in America" and "Great Performances" or "Live from Wolf Trap/Artpark/wherever" that aired in the days before VCRs were in general use? Those performances, aired years ago, are no longer available from PBS sources. If this material survives, it would be a shame for it simply to degrade into stray electrons on the tape, or be damaged by poor storage, which is the rule for most film. I'd like to see things like these preserved and copies disseminated to an audience more than eager to see them.
Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 09:29 PM

Mel's post about clips from the 50's/60's brought up some wonderful memories, but also the thought of how sad if all of those things are lost. (I was in the La Sylphide clip with Erik Bruhn and Carla Fracci, which was on the Bell Telephone Hour in the early 60's, and I have never seen it either!) I have a wonderful video entitled "Classic Kirov",which is a treasure of clips from very early dance films. It not only shows rare views of stars like Ulanova, Dudinskaya and Chabukiani, but in looking at many of the ballets and the dancers, one is instantly aware of how far the technique of ballet has progressed in the later half of this century, not to mention production, filming, and choreography!
Victoria

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 09:30 PM

I would love to see some "old" ballet videos. There are several tapes of Russians dancing in the '40s, '50s and '60s (and some earlier), and there is one American video of clips from the Firestone Hour. I would like to take issue with something Victoria wrote (which is often said) about how technique has "improved." I have never seen a dancer turn as fast as Chabukiani; Dudinskaya tosses off five pirouettes in a Bayadere performance as if it were nothing. I've never seen anyone with as rigorously perfect a technique as Erik Bruhn. There are others. I've seen a lot of private films of Danish ballet in the '50s and '60s (mostly of Henning Kronstam with Kirsten Simone; a few other Danes, such as Bruhn, Kirsten Bundgaard, Toni Lander) in connection with a project I'm working on, and had the occasion to see many of the same excerpts (pas de deux, short scenes) danced at a special performance two years ago in Copenhagen, by some excellent young dancers, and no one came close to their elders. There are some dancers (Fonteyn is one) whose technique is simply not flashy. The Paris Opera style is like this (the only one at present that I've seen) and I think that's why so many Americans, when they first see POB, think it's not "exciting." They don't grin at you, or wipe away the sweat, or look like they're working like dogs. They don't think that's what dancing is. I'm sure technique has improved in the sense that members of the corps de ballet are stronger. But I can't see it in the stars -- and I think of it again every time I watch a Bournonville ballet, and see dancers struggle with steps made in 1840.

Alexandra

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 09:31 PM

In speaking of improved technique, I was really thinking of dancers who go back a bit further than Bruhn and Lander! Erik Bruhn has always been my favorite male dancer, and Toni Lander was my role model in ABT!

Victoria

#5 Giannina

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Posted 07 November 1998 - 10:07 AM

I'd like to see Cynthia Gregory in PBS's "Sleeping Beauty". I have a fuzzy tape of it but would like a clear one as I think it's Gregory at her best.

Giannina

#6 Dale

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Posted 08 November 1998 - 07:37 AM

It irks me that all those "Great Performances" and "Dance in America" shows aren't available. Nonsuch bought the rights from PBS and is slowly issuing some of them out. In addition, they've taken parts out, such as Rubies from Jewels and Allegro Brilliant. I heard that the Balanchine Foundation didn't think they were up to snuff. In addition, I desperately covet ABT in San Francisco. Now it's only available on laser disc. Also Don Q with Baryshnikov and Cynthia Harvey. And Theme and Variations with Baryshnikov and Kirkland.

#7 Giannina

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Posted 08 November 1998 - 01:11 PM

There's a commercial TV broadcast of Royal Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty" starring Merle Park. I was never much of a fan of hers but she danced like nobody's business in this one: terrific. I'd love a tape of that one.

Giannina Mooney

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 November 1998 - 11:23 PM

Park was a sort of cult figure of the later 60s and 70s - those who liked her tended to love her as an undercelebrated gem. Of course, her pleasant personality offstage didn't hurt. I always felt sentimental about her because she danced the very first Aurora I ever saw. She must have been very "on" for that one, because other entirely wonderful dancers have suffered in my mind's eye from the comparison.

#9 paul

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 10:50 AM

Can someone help me please?
I would like to know what ballets the BBC accutally showed on TV during the 50s 60s and early 70s.
Lots of what they showed the apparently erased. But a number of ballets they must have still in their archive.

#10 Guest_2totango_*

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 08:21 PM

:) :grinning: :D
Wonderful idea. I have tried several times over the years to find info about a French-Canadian video of the Miraculous Mandarin by Todd Bolender that was broadcast in the late '60s on PBS. I was nearly struck dumb by the female lead's sensational presence.

#11 djb

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Posted 24 November 2003 - 08:57 PM

A couple of years ago, I came across a website that listed all sorts of rare ballet videos, among which was one of the TV appearance of the Bolshoi on its first US tour. I couldn't let that one go by, so I inquired about it. The person who advertised it lives in Montreal, and he said he'd have check his sources for it. I wrote back every now and then for about a year, and he never found it. I hadn't sent any money, so there was no problem, but it certainly was disappointing to think I was going to have that treasure and then not get it.

#12 Guest_2totango_*

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 01:13 PM

:grinning:
djb

Thank you for your reply. Do you happen to still have his address. I've tried phone, snail mail as well as email and also never seem to find anyone interested in answering.


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