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Basic ballet collection


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#1 Tancos

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Posted 20 January 2000 - 01:58 PM

Most major ballets are not likely ever to be performed in Wichita. Most of the dancers discussed in these forums will probably never point their feet on stage here. And I really hate travel. Therefore, after a ferocious inner struggle, I have this month, for the first time in my life, purchased a TV/VCR. Now I need to find some good ballet videos. Has anybody compiled a basic ballet library? (I've checked the videos archive here, but there is technical problem with it.)



What I'm looking for is a list of about ten videos that meets the following criteria:



1. The videos are of significant works performed well.



2. There are examples of all the most important choreographers, not just Petipa and Balanchine.



3. Most of the outstanding companies and most accomplished dancers are represented.



4. The performances cover as broad a chronological and stylistic range as possible.



5. The videos are all reasonably easy to obtain. Ideally, they should all be in stock at amazon.com .



6. The videos are of dancers dancing, not heads talking about dancing. Also, the camera work and editing should not get in the way of the dancing. (I remember many years ago watching a video of "Serenade" and losing my temper at the editor who constantly jumped from closeup to closeup and thus lost all sense of the geometry of the dance.)



7. None of the videos are of "The Nutcracker."



This is a tall order, I know, but any guidance would be appreciated.

[This message has been edited by Tancos (edited January 31, 2000).]

#2 Guest_Figure8s_*

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Posted 20 January 2000 - 06:24 PM

Okay, here goes with my recommendations for videos:
Baryshnkiov at Wolf Trap - the bonus for me is Kirkland and Baryshkikov dancing Coppelia and Don Q pas.

Sorry but, Nutcracker with Baryshnikov and Kirkland. I don't care for this version of Nut, but their dancing is wonderful and the Battle with the Mice is great.

Swan Lake with Makarova/Dowell-Royal Ballet Co.

Giselle with Makarova/Baryshnikov-ABT

The Balanchine series- The tape with the Four Temperaments is my favorite.

The Balanchine Gala- a little bit of everything and a lot of great dancers.

I think Balanchine's Ballerina's is on commercial video now. Great insights into the mind of a genius and some fun footage too.

Giselle with Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn. Filmed wierdly- but Bruhn was amazing and beautiful. Tony Lander is wonderful as Myrtha.

I have hundreds of videos. I'll list more soon.
Have fun!
Fig

#3 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 21 January 2000 - 12:04 AM

Tancos, Robert Greskovic's "Ballet 101" has a very large videography section. You will find this book in your local Barnes & Noble or Border's, or on Amazon.com!

#4 Estelle

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Posted 21 January 2000 - 05:12 AM

Tacos, that's an interesting question (but unfortunately, in my opinion, there aren't as many good videos as there should be...)

I don't know if it's available in the USA, but the tape "Paris dances Diaghilev" is among my favorite videos. It includes four ballets:
Fokine's "Petrouchka" and "Le Spectre de la Rose", Nijinska's "Les Noces" and Nijinski's "Afternoon of a faun", filmed at the Paris Opera around 1990, with many of the best dancers of the company then (Manuel Legris, Charles Jude,
Elisabeth Platel...)
There are several other available tapes of the Paris Opera Ballet ("Romeo and Juliet", "Cinderella", "The Nutcracker", "Swan Lake"...) but I don't like much the choreographies of much of them (I'm not a fan of Nureyev's works in general). The best one is, in my opinion,
"La Bayadere", because it's an opportunity to see three of the brightest dancers of the company (Elisabeth Platel, Isabelle Guerin
and Laurent Hilaire) and also a very good corps de ballet.

#5 Ed Waffle

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Posted 21 January 2000 - 06:50 AM

Victoria mentioned "Ballet 101", which I think is the perfect starting place in building a video collection (in addition to the recommendations you will get here, of course).

The best way to buy it is by clicking the "amazon.com" banner at the top of this page so that a very small part of your purchase price will be paid to Balletalert.

#6 dancersteven

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Posted 21 January 2000 - 01:43 PM

I think that the "Footnotes" series of ballet videos are a very useful supplement to the actual ballet videos themselves. Each video focuses on one 19th century ballet and contains excerpts of a variety of productions along with principal dancers' insightful commentary on the ballet and their roles. They cover a variety of topics, everything from Odette vs Odile, to the construction of point shoes to how tired Frank was during Act 2 Giselle. It is a very Canadian production, narrated by Frank Augustine (sp?, sorry Frank), and most of the interviews are with Canadian stars (Karen Kain, Evelyn Hart, Veronica Tennant ect.). I am not sure if this is still available in the US, it was at one point, and it was/is broadcast on Bravo from time to time. Usually I have seen them broadcast right before Bravo shows the ballet in its entirety.

#7 Guest_tgrey_*

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Posted 21 January 2000 - 03:42 PM

"Essential Ballet" with the Kirov is good, as is "ABT Now." Both videos show a range of classical works. I also recommend the entire Balanchine library (if you can afford it!). The Paris Opera Ballet has a "Seven Ballets" tape out; these are more modern works, however. Viviana Durante in "The Sleeping Beauty" and Altynai Asylmuratova in "La Bayadere," both with the Royal Ballet show good dancers in mediocre productions, but if you don't mind the choreography so much, both have good dancing. I think there is a tape of "Le Corsaire" by the Kirov, but I don't know if it is any good or not.

tgrey

#8 Tancos

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Posted 31 January 2000 - 02:49 PM

I'd like to thank everyone who offered suggestions. I have some idea where to start now. If anyone has further suggestions, I would be happy to hear them.

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 03 February 2000 - 08:56 AM

I have a caveat on the "Footnotes" series. The performances may be good, but the history is terrible. This series cannot be trusted for basic historical information. I can't go into detail from memory, but I've been meaning to put up Robert Greskovic's review of "Footnotes" which does go into detail. Many people are worried that teachers will use this series in dance history and appreciation courses, even though there are so many errors and omissions.

#10 Juliet

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Posted 03 February 2000 - 08:12 PM

I agree with Alexandra on the Footnotes series. If one simply wants to look at snippets of diffrent productions, they are useful, but that's about it.

I would also recommend the Paris Dances Diaghilev, POB Seven Ballets (I prefer this over the Six Ballets offering), any Kirov Swan Lake ( although many hate the Vinogradov production, I maintain that the dancing is lovely), the Margot Fonteyn video (commemorative one which she oversaw)...

And, I am very sorry to vehemently disagree, but the Royal Ballet Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty productions are NOT mediocre! (my shrieks of outrage can be heard echoing through the ice and snow along the eastern seaboard...)

Back to my sewing, but I simply could not let this pass...

What a delightful way to spend the winter: looking for new ballet videos to arrive in the mail!

#11 Steve Keeley

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Posted 03 February 2000 - 08:43 PM

Juliet sez:

And, I am very sorry to vehemently disagree, but the Royal Ballet Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty productions are NOT mediocre! (my shrieks of outrage can be heard echoing through the ice and snow along the eastern seaboard...)


You tell 'em! The RB "Bayadere" is my favorite video (tied with the "Balanchine Celebration" I & II). I'm also quite fond of their "Sleeping Beauty," mainly due to Viviana Durante's performance.

~Steve

#12 Francis Timlin

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Posted 04 February 2000 - 01:54 PM

I'm pleased to hear positive reports about the RB Bayadere, since it just arrived in the mail from Amazon (with royalties payable to Ballet Alert). I'm looking forward to an unstructured evening of viewing it at home tonight. Any comments on the Balanchine videos ($25+ each) would be welcome. Cheers.


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