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Darcey Bussell,why so little "talk" about her on Ballet Talk


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#46 Azulynn

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 12:16 PM

This is very interesting... Why is being vertical wrong for Balanchine ? As a total outsider (I'm French and the POB does little Balanchine these days), I've felt on the contrary that verticality was part of the style displayed in ballets such as Agon or Rubies (maybe not the best examples, but the first ones I thought of). Maybe we should start a new thread on that question ?

#47 volcanohunter

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 12:27 PM

I'd say that in Balanchine there's an acute awareness of the vertical axis, but the body itself is constantly being pushed off that axis. For example, in the opening sequence of Rubies, the dancers begin in a vertical position but they immediately begin to tilt forward and backward in relationship to the vertical axis: the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.

#48 Quiggin

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 10:25 AM

I saw Darcy Bussell in the whole live, real Agon, as did Leigh, not the shorter version at the centennial, and though she is not an orthodox Balanchine dancer, something about her concentration and slightly behind the beat approach made her stand out. Especially in the group of several dancers getting their various jabbing movements in. In performance, she was far more arresting than she is in on tape.

I was also fascinated with her concentration and enunciation in Symphony in C.

#49 atm711

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 05:31 AM

the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.



I have always loved this typical Balanchine movement which is most often described as 'jazzy'. But this movement, for most of us, was our entrance into this world---and it's completely involuntary on the part of the mother. Isn't this a more subtle form of Graham's 'contract and release'?

#50 volcanohunter

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:26 PM

:blushing:


the pelvis is thrust forward and the torso tilts back, then the pelvis is tilted back and the spine leans forward, and so on and so forth.

I have always loved this typical Balanchine movement which is most often described as 'jazzy'. But this movement, for most of us, was our entrance into this world---and it's completely involuntary on the part of the mother. Isn't this a more subtle form of Graham's 'contract and release'?

Ooh, I'd have to leave that answer to people who've actually danced Balanchine. Obviously contraction, release and high release are also different ways of placing the spine in relationship to the vertical axis. But I think that in Graham contraction there is an additional emphasis on contracting the upper chest that isn't present in ballet. There is a film of Donna Wood performing "Cry" during which the camera zooms in on the upper third of her body just as she begins a contraction. The first time I saw it, it took my breath away because I hadn't thought it was possible for a sternum to move that much. Her chest looked as though it would collapse on itself. Theoretically, this is what modern dancers aim for in spinal contraction, but in most people the two joints of the breastbone don't move quite as much as Wood's. (In fact, the average person has practically no mobility in those joints.) Ballet shares "high release" in common with modern dance, but while ballet dancers certainly bend forward, I'm not sure contraction of the chest is what they're after.

#51 Helene

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 09:55 AM

News on books by Bussell:
  • The paperback edition of Pilates for Life is available for pre-order on amazon.com for release on 25 April 2007
  • Darcey Bussell's Dance Body Workout, published 2007 in paperback, is available from Dance Books Ltd.


#52 richard53dog

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 10:44 AM

News on books by Bussell:

  • The paperback edition of Pilates for Life is available for pre-order on amazon.com for release on 25 April 2007
  • Darcey Bussell's Dance Body Workout, published 2007 in paperback, is available from Dance Books Ltd.



No "My Life as Aurora", huh??????

Well she seems to be moving in some different career directions that seem to give her fullfillment.

No rut for her.

I say, "good for her".

#53 artist

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:52 PM

I couldn't agree more with what leonid said about "[she] has added no depth to her performances..."
For me, I just get a cold feeling whenever I see her, esp. her pictures and live perf.

I saw her perform "Pavane for a Dead Princess" live in London's ROH in April 2005 (w/ Jonathon Cope) and was very dissappointed. I remember thinking that she was only dancing steps - not becoming part of the music. Even if she had a sorrowful face and seemed emotional, all of it seemed impassive to me, with no depth nor soul connected to it.

Perhaps it was the music she didn't connect to? (Pavane is one of my favorite pieces by my fav. composer - I would have a different expression and feeling to it since I can relate to the music, than if someone else just had to dance to it.)

I would have though that having children would bring more depth due to experience. But it looks like it went the opposite way. It was like she was a "normal woman" than a dancer. I watched Pavane clips on her website (http://www.darceybussell.com - under 'fan club') before I saw her live, and thought she looked better in the clips. At ROH I had set the standard to see at least what I saw in those clips, and was let down. Is this due to age? to her birth?


However, I have seen her on the DVD "Ballet Favorites" in "The Prince of Pagodas - Act III PDD" w/ J. Cope and really enjoyed it. Her footwork, chaines [turns], lines were wonderful. But I think this was in 1998 (i haven't watched it in a while).

I don't know the date of her "Pavane" clips, but I have to say I liked her better on these videos than live, maybe it is her age, since P.of P. was around '98. So, I would have to disagree with Leigh's review quoted by Bart (on the first page)

But how could older age have less emotional connection? ?? Is it only the camera that loves her and not me?

#54 carbro

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 08:15 PM

Or sometimes a dancer just has an off night, can't get the body to do what she wants, a touch of flu, etc. Happens to the best of 'em.

#55 artist

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 08:18 PM

But her technique and placement seemed spot on that night. Jumps were high, turns were good. It's that emotional depth that I can't find.

#56 Geier

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:32 AM

Or sometimes a dancer just has an off night, can't get the body to do what she wants, a touch of flu, etc. Happens to the best of 'em.


It could be, but in that case I should complain to have had off nights only from her (quite a lot indeed). :off topic:
She is a good technician, with good jumps and turns, but I don't like her upper body and arms at all.
IMHO she is in no way an actress or a moving dancer, even if she could be really nice to watch in some ballets.

#57 Drew

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 11:19 AM

When I saw her in "A Month in the Country" (a little less than two years ago) I was very impressed and even surprized by the suppleness of her upper body--she really looked like an Ashton dancer. The choreography looked utterly 'alive' and filled out. I can't say she had the dramatic "depth" in the role that Guillem brought a few nights later (nor did Guillem have anything like Bussell's supple upper body) but she gave a touching account of it nonetheless. With Bussell I think, in any case, that the depth is IN the dancing. She obviously is not everyone's cup of tea, but I find her a wonderfully compelling dancer. I'm also one of those who thought her performances in Agon with NYCB were more or less the best thing I had seen at the State theater of that time since the retirement of Farrell--and the innocent-yet-erotic quality that invested her dancing was extraordinary.

I will add that clips of her in Sylvia from BBC look just terrific.

#58 drb

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:08 PM

A decade ago I saw her at the Met in the Royal's Cinderella, back when it was still the real one. Happened to be sitting next to a woman who's written extensively on NYCB. At intermission we looked at each other and said "Farrell!" Not just for her beauty and dancing. Farrell is the most moving dancer I have ever seen, so for me Darcey is very moving. At NYCB her Agon, of course, and both roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream were also very compelling.

#59 Drew

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:07 PM

drb--I saw Bussell in Cinderella at the Met as well. I loved her performance and in addition to her dancing I especially remember her very tender mime farewell to the 'nicer' of her two stepsisters. She smiled so sweetly without becoming sacharine...just lovely.

#60 drb

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:56 PM

drb--I saw Bussell in Cinderella at the Met as well...


From Jennifer Dunning's Times review of that memorable performance:

...Ms. Bussell's dancing is a rare blend of simplicity, elegance and unforced technical virtuosity....she embodies the company's unforced embrace of classical dancing as a royal birthright. The effect is both wondrous and refreshing.

Ms. Bussell is an atypical forlorn waif, so big and forthright is her dancing. But her Cinderella was utterly believable, a wise child with moments of endearing spunkiness whose quick, high extension reminded one audience member of children's eager arms shooting up to answer classroom questions.

Her airy descent of the ballroom stairs and her growing joy, captured in one of Ms. Bussell's signature big, blooming arabesques, suggested a young girl's discovery of her love not just of a handsome young prince but also of the act of dancing itself. Her third-act Cinderella was torn, though gently, between delicate hesitation and new boldness.


The schedulers-that-be at the Met stuck Cinders as a matinee ballet, probably thought it was for children.

http://query.nytimes...754C0A961958260


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