Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Companies- how big are they?


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#16 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 17 January 2007 - 09:49 AM

What exactly is a "season" in ballet? I know that, for example, ABT has a Spring season, but they also travel, it seems and perform around the country and the world. Does "season" refer the performances staged at their "home" theatre for specific part of the year? For companies which don't travel, do they typically extend (or stretch out) their season through most the calendar year?

Most ballet companies in the US do not travel because of the prohibitive costs. Even national companies like National Ballet of Canada and Australian Ballet are criticized at length for their limited touring outside their home cities or regions. I don't think Paris Opera Ballet is a touring company. In general, performances outside the home theater don't count towards the season, although sometimes free performances are included in seasons listings. In the US and Canada, a season generally is defined as a series of performances to which a person can subscribe.

The huge companies in Russia have always toured, having enough dancers to support performances in the home theaters and to tour, and during the renovations have toured extensively.

There are a few companies like Miami City Ballet which do fewer programs per year because they repeat a program in multiple venues. (In MCB's, in Miami, Palm Beach, and Broward.)

Often the pieces performed on tour are different than the pieces performed at home that season, due to the logistics of touring. Sometimes triple bills are rearranged for touring.


Does weather have anything to do with when a company's season is? NYCB seems to be running their season through the winter. ABT shares the Met Opera stage with the Opera and so they can't overlap too much I would assume, but that would apply to the NYCO and NYCB. For NYers we can see lots of ballet and opera from Fall through late Spring. How does this work in other companies around the country and the world?


In the US and Canada, there are two models for venue sharing: 1. ballet and opera alternate programs, like Ballet Arizona (which performs in the same venue as the opera and the symphony) and Pacific Northwest Ballet. 2. ballet and opera alternate seasons, like New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and ABT for the summer season. But even in this model, the period between seasons is chock full of rehearsals while the opera is on stage.

On the whole, the season is when people are in town and not on vacation and traveling. Summer is usually the time for special festivals, especially in the music world, although some, like Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart, can span months. Many ballet professionals teach during summer ballet programs and summer intensives; you can see the advertisements in Dance Magazine, for example, promoting top dancers and teachers in their programs.

When a dancer guests with another company, do they take a season off, or typically perform with both companies "at once"?

Usually with both companies at once, like Sofiane Sylve with New York City Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. Suzanne Farrell Ballet uses dancers who perform in the off-season of their permanent companies. Many dancers take time off in Nutcracker season to guest, often in or near their home cities. The more reputation a dancer has, the more bargaining leeway s/he has, generally, to take periods off during a season to guest. Then there is "Gala World," where dancers are invited to guest at various gala performances.

My impression of Opera, is that the principals do more free lance work, moving from company to company as opposed to what I see in ballet. Is this correct?

There are very few opera houses in the Western world today that run on a rep company model, although there are still some in Germany, and there are local and small regional companies all over the world that use it, because almost all of the talent is local. Most of the full-season opera companies that use the rep model are in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics. Nearly every major opera house outside the Bolshoi and Mariinsky hires the leads from a worldwide talent pool, contracted for each opera, although it may rely upon a core set of local singers for comprimario roles, and singers like Yevgeny Nikitin, who was featured in the documentary Sacred Stage, will leave their base companies to guest, although their primary allegiance is to their home company.

Almost all full-time ballet companies are rep companies, and guesting is usually either by dancers who mostly freelance, like Dmitri Hvorostovsky does in opera, or who leave their base companies to guest for periods or productions, like Nikitin does with the Mariinsky.

#17 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,092 posts

Posted 17 January 2007 - 12:44 PM

Great discussion. Sometimes I find it difficult to trace a dancer's training and movement merely be checking their bios. For example, is there a dancer anywhere in the US who does not credit SAB for at least part of their training, even if it was only for a few weeks?

Gillian Murphy perhaps? You're right, those dancer bios aren't going to list every single teacher and school, though I suspect most dancers would be proud to list the SAB, even if they did spend only a couple of weeks there.

Most ballet companies in the US do not travel because of the prohitibitive costs. Even national companies like National Ballet of Canada and Australian Ballet are criticized at length for their limited touring outside their home cities or regions. I don't think Paris Opera Ballet is a touring company.

The National Ballet of Canada does tour very little, though it still maintains its biennial tour of western Canada. It used to be that the NBoC began its season (sorry for using the term imprecisely) in odd-numbered years by going west in early autumn, while Les Grands Ballets Canadiens would do the same in even-numbered years, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet would visit western Canadian cities every spring. However, tours by LGBC have now become infrequent, and complete RWB western tours usually take place every other year. The RWB still considers itself a touring company since it does 45 shows on the road versus 25 at home.

I believe the Paris Opera Ballet does break up into smaller groups to visit other French cities periodically (it took Suite en blanc and L'Arlésienne to Blagnac in November and will perform a similar program in Tours this weekend), and it's not at all unusual for small groups of POB dancers to organize performances outside Paris, something along the lines of "Étoile X & Friends." The troupe is large enough to conduct a tour and perform at home simultaneously. In June it will take Swan Lake and Jewels to Australia while presenting a new production of La Fille mal gardée in Paris. In the case of the Bolshoi, the troupe can probably split into three parts so that, say, one group goes to the United States, another goes to Spain and a third performs in Moscow. I have very fond memories of being an adolescent in New York when visiting companies filled the Met during the summer. Nowadays, the only tours you're likely to see are by the Bolshoi or Kirov. I can't help but wonder if they're able to deal with the costs because their dancers aren't paid properly.

#18 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 17 January 2007 - 01:27 PM

I can't help but wonder if they're able to deal with the costs because their dancers aren't paid properly.

Alas, this is probably correct. :( A lot of dancers seem to find themselves having to subsidise their own job opportunities.

#19 Amy Reusch

Amy Reusch

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,794 posts

Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:09 PM

Thanks Helene, that helped. And now, I need some further info... could you name some current (successful) choreographers who are not considered neoclassical? Would that be Eifmann? (By "successful", I'm only looking for a name I might have heard of). (You see, to me, I have trouble throwing some of those choreographers into the same group... perhaps because I don't have someone current to contrast them with).

#20 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:22 AM

Thanks Helene, that helped. And now, I need some further info... could you name some current (successful) choreographers who are not considered neoclassical? Would that be Eifmann? (By "successful", I'm only looking for a name I might have heard of). (You see, to me, I have trouble throwing some of those choreographers into the same group... perhaps because I don't have someone current to contrast them with).

I think there are two main groups of non-neoclassical choreographers: modern and other non-ballet choregraphers, like Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Victor Quijado (who did a work for PNB last year). Morris and Tharp have choreographed some pieces for ballet companies in what I would call primarily neoclassical style, like Waterbaby Bagatelles, Push Comes to Shove, Sylvia, and the piece Morris did to the Beethoven Ghost Sonata -- I think it was called Maelstrom, which at least sits on the fence -- but others, like Nine Sinatra Songs are not, although they have been performed by many ballet companies. While Taylor has choreographed for ballet companies, I haven't seen anything of his I would call neoclassical style. Ulysses Dove has certainly attempted the style in Red Angels.

The second group are what we've called contemporary choreographers, and the most successful of these are Bejart, Duato, Kylian, Ailey.

I'm not sure what Eifman is, to be honest. Some of Red Giselle looked to me very much in the neoclassical style, but it was dramatically over-the-top, in my opinion, and that I'm not quite sure how to classify.

#21 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,092 posts

Posted 18 January 2007 - 12:35 PM

And now, I need some further info... could you name some current (successful) choreographers who are not considered neoclassical?

I'm not sure whether this is what you're after, but John Neumeier is an example of a choreograher who specializes in evening-length narrative ballets rather than one-act plotless works. I don't know how unusual he is in producing narrative works, but there aren't that many choreographers who produce evening-length works on an annual basis. Consider his output of evening-length ballets over the last 10 years:

1997 - Sylvia
1998 - Bernstein Dances; Images of Bartok (3 ballets)
1999 - Messiah
2000 - Nijinsky
2001 - Winterreise
2002 - The Seagull
2003 - Preludes CV; Death in Venice
2004 -
2005 - The Little Mermaid; Songs of the Night (2 ballets)
2006 - Parzival - Episodes and Echo

Not all of these are strictly narrative, but a majority are. If you look at the repertoire of the Hamburg Ballet during any given season, narrative works definitely outweigh repertory programs.

As for his choreographic style, that's harder to define. Though I have seen only a portion of his ballets, his style strikes me as eclectic, with some ballets more neo-classical and others closer to modern dance.

Which reminds me...

Well... there are principal dancers who perform with small companies in order to work with living choreographers...

Elizabeth Loscavio left her post as principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet to join the Hamburg Ballet as a soloist because she wanted to dance dramatic ballets. She subsequently became a principal in Hamburg.

#22 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:08 PM

Seems to me that Eifman's choreography descends from the Soviet dramballets and also choreographers like Grigorovich and Vinogradov with some Bejart thrown in. It's definitely ballet, and definitely not neoclassical.

#23 2dds

2dds

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 52 posts

Posted 06 February 2007 - 06:57 AM

I was wondering how you would classify San Francisco Ballet's Yuri Possokhov (newly retired as a dancer, becoming quite accomplished as a ????? style choreographer)?

#24 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 06 February 2007 - 11:27 AM

I was wondering how you would classify San Francisco Ballet's Yuri Possokhov (newly retired as a dancer, becoming quite accomplished as a ????? style choreographer)?

I'd like to know about this too. I'd also like to know how his work compares in style, etc., with the Lubovitch rep that San Francisco also is developing. (Should there be another thread for this?)

#25 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 06 February 2007 - 12:34 PM

I've seen one ballet by Possokhov, the revision of Firebird that San Francisco Ballet danced this weekend. (The original version was made for Oregon Ballet Theatre.)

There was nothing uber-dramatic about it. He has a unique sensibility and approach, and a wonderful sense of humor and theatricality. His response to the music and drama was different than Folkine's, and in a fundamental way, heretical: in the Berceuse, not only does the Prince have to decide between the Princess and Firebird -- he has a wonderfully compact quick mime, first hands to heard, but then a gesture to say, "which one?" tha sums it up quickly and without melodrama -- but the Firebird is sad to lose him. That the Princess and her retinue are on pointe diminishes the supernatural quality of Firebird as well. But nonetheless I still found the entire scene touching, however inauthentic to the story.

Apart from the long orchestral passage in which the monsters stomp about, I thought his general approach to them as an organic mass was as fantastic and convincing as I've ever seen. My favorite part of the ballet though, is the ending, in which instead of a grand pagent, the entire stage is filled with a wonderfully energetic Russian folk-like dance that is a vortex of joy.

While I didn't look at the Prince's role, for example, and think that he was choreographing for himself, I think there is a lot of Possokhov's overall dance sensibility in the piece. I loved his dancing, and I was very happy to see this generalized in his choreography.

There's an imagination in Possokhov's work that is beyond anything I've seen from Lubovitch, with the possible exception of his Sleeping Beauty for ice skating, which stretched him.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):