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DefJef

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Some current choreographers who work primarily in the classical idiom:

Christopher Wheeldon

Yuri Possokhov

Peter Quanz

David Bintley

Michael Corder

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Some more on the West Coast:

Ib Andersen

Helgi Tomasson

Kent Stowell

Christopher Stowell

Paul Gibson

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Ok to twist this in a whole new direction: how to characterize Roland Petit? Because his ballets inevitably involve pointe shoes, and classical dancers seem to love his choreography. Yet his ballets involve very little "classical" choreography, meaning pirouettes, arabesques, attitudes, etc.

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Petit's ballets are mostly demi-caractere (as are most of the Ballets Russes-era ballets.

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There's an entire category of dramatic ballets that we're losing as time goes by. I haven't seen enough Petit or Massine to know if they have a kinship - or if there's one with Ninette de Valois, but seeing The Rake's Progress in London reminded me just how out of favor that style of choreography has become - and also made me wonder why.

What makes The Rakes Progress a dramatic ballet rather than a classical one:

There are no classical set pieces. What I jokingly call "Dance of the Walnuts". Had Ashton choreographed this, he would have found an excuse to put in a dance for the corps - and it wouldn't have been extraneous. It would have been an abstraction of the themes of the ballet.

de Valois uses classical vocabulary "in character". Each character does classical steps, but as their character. An old man does the steps feebly, a drunk person drunkenly, etc.

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So soon there will be nobody left who really knows and has the eyes, and I would say that the true tradition of classical ballet will die with them.

But of course ballet will go on superficially and most people would not even notice what has been lost.

I must respectfully disagree about this. And my reasoning? When I first started watching "vintage" videos (of Ulanova, Fonteyn, Tallchief, etc. etc.) I thought their style of dancing looked very foreign to what I was used to watching onstage. But, now, I'm struck by the similarities. Of course there are differences. There will always be differences. The way Alla Sizova danced Sleeping Beauty is I am sure not the way Mathilde Kschessinska danced Aurora. But really, when I watch old videos, and I watch current stars, I'm struck by the continuity of tradition, and not by what has been "lost." To use one example, I recently saw Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov in Giselle. I then watched the pdd of Nureyev and Fonteyn in Giselle. And I realized that they were great for the very same reasons. Their sense of line, the tenderness of feeling, the synchronization of two bodies into one. Obviously Vishneva and Malakhov are not Fonteyn/Nureyev, nor should they be. But I don't think "different" means "inferior."

That's just my two cents of course. :clapping:

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There's an entire category of dramatic ballets that we're losing as time goes by. I haven't seen enough Petit or Massine to know if they have a kinship - or if there's one with Ninette de Valois, but seeing The Rake's Progress in London reminded me just how out of favor that style of choreography has become - and also made me wonder why.

Someone somewhere recently asked the question as to why the Royal Ballet doesn't have more triple or multiple ballet programmes in their schedules instead of a full length ballets. The simple answer is they are not such an economically viable event as is a full length ballet. ie they don't sell. However in terms of developing dancers into fully rounded artists, one act ballets especially of the 'character' kind you discuss, was once and should be an essential part of a classical ballet company. I have made a list of more than fifty one act ballets from the Royal Ballet repertory that I have seen that should be a cyclical feature of their programming. I believe this to be important as a diet of the major classics does not give the same sort of broad experience that RB dancers had in the 1950.s, 1960's and 1970's performing works that require character realisations whilst still performing steps from the classical ballet tradition. The performance of ballets where strongly differentiated characters appear, did I believe contributed to dancers broadening both their stage characterisations and adding greater confidence and expression to their personality. I think such ballets were central to making the RB an important ballet company. Ballets from DeValois, Ashton, Helpmann, Cranko, MacMillan, Rodrigues, Tudor, Glen Tetley, Balanchine, Robbins, Nijinska, Massine, and Fokine should be in the RB's repertoire regularly while the flavour of the original can be recreated and knowledgeable critics and audiences are still around to comment. Some of the works by the above mentioned choreographers do creep into the edge of the grey area.

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