Apollo -- which approach? which dancers?
Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:50 AM
Posted 17 May 2006 - 09:15 AM
Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:42 AM
I just saw that ABT will have several Apollos in June. I've never seen it anywhere but NYCB actually, so don't know how different it might or might not be; and as my ballet-going budget is a bit more restricted this year, I'm wondering if I should try to see Veronika Part, whom I haven't ever, or just go ahead and see 'The Firebird' and 'Fancy Free' since I'm sure not to be disappointed, especially after seeing Bouder in the former in 2004. I saw 'Fancy Free' at Saratoga in 1980 and have never seen it again.
Posted 18 May 2006 - 09:36 AM
However, Part is Terpsichore to Hallberg's Apollo, and there's no way I'm going to miss that!
Posted 18 May 2006 - 09:42 PM
I much prefer the full Apollo. It shows his development more clearly, which makes the final scene more powerful and meaningful. I also think the "sunrise" image is more moving when it's just another passing moment in a chain of extraordinary metaphorical events. Also, I just adore the moment before the blackout, with arms aloft and lyre-like, undulating to the sound Apollo's lute. What a great ballet! And Balanchine was what, 25 when he made it? It boggles the mind.
Posted 19 May 2006 - 04:12 AM
For me, also, the most effective Apollos have tended to be those who brought a dramatic concept and the nuance of an actor to the movements contained in the role. It's not just "do the steps," as Balanchine is alleged to have instructed a group of dancers.
While reading Anthony NYC's post about the effect created by Nureyev, my mind went to something in Barbara Newman's "Grace Under Pressure: Passing Dance Through Time." She quotes an example of the wisdom of a Kabuki master, passed on to Peter Brook by the actor Yoshi Oida: "
"I can teach a young actor the movement of how to point to the moon. But from his finger-tip to the moon, that's the actor's responsibility."
A great sense of the music, and the ability to phrase, don't hurt, either.
Posted 22 May 2006 - 05:06 PM
'What do you mean?; I said. 'Those are the steps and the counts.'
'Those are the steps and the counts, but it's not Apollo because you don't understand that dancers are poets of gesture. ... Dear, I will show you Apollol'
"What followed was extraordinary. Sixty years old at the time, Balanchine stood in the studio in a double-breasted gray suit and a green-and-white-strip cowboy shirt, a string tie, and loafers, and he danced this big variation from Apollo for me. It was astonishing. I could see the music emanating from his body.
Posted 22 May 2006 - 07:26 PM
I'd almost want to change your "though" in
Posted 23 May 2006 - 04:15 AM
Posted 04 June 2006 - 02:54 PM
But ... did you LIKE it ???
Posted 01 April 2007 - 12:03 PM
I just saw Nilas Martin in the (mid-90s) Balanchine Celebration video. "Hey man, I know I'm supposed to be a God, but, like, it's pretty early in the morning to have to do these steps. And you want them fast, sharp and strong?"
Posted 02 April 2007 - 07:10 AM
Posted 02 April 2007 - 08:30 AM
Peter Boal was much the best Apollo of recent times, both with NYCB and with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet (although for reasons of sheer prejudice, I thought the Farrell performances more luminous. But I also liked Peter Martins's Apollo. I didn't understand those who thought him too much the stolid, corporate god.
Posted 02 April 2007 - 09:45 AM
This leads to frequent examples of the phenomenon you point out: one in which ideas like "Balanchine" and "Stravinsky" -- or, indeed, the "ballet Apollo" -- serve mainly as props or excuses for expressing some new insight or experience in the inner life of Mr. Garis.
Indeed, this is possibly the most solipcistic book about the arts that I've ever read.
Posted 02 April 2007 - 02:14 PM
For me, that was part of the value of the book. Garis’ subject is Balanchine, but he comes to his conclusions from a continuous process of examining his own reactions and trying to account for them. I thought him particularly interesting on the Balanchine-Stravinsky relationship and he writes most thoughtfully about the style of Violette Verdy and on Farrell. I can understand seeing his approach as “me-me-me” but this preoccupation doesn’t necessarily detract from his critical acumen and in addition I think it made him exceptionally honest in his reporting of his reactions, not always the case. It led him in some odd directions (he’ll say of a ballet, “I hadn’t worked on it with Balanchine” and things like that) and I wouldn’t want to hear this stuff from every critic, no, but from Garis I don’t mind.
I haven’t picked up the book in awhile, but as I recall, the context of that quote is Garis discussing the cuts that Balanchine made to the ballet, which Garis regretted, and he is suggesting that eliminating the original ending also eliminates the tragic note present in the uncut ballet and the score.
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