Ostrich, on Jan 18 2007, 01:06 PM, said:
That's exactly what I think - we may complain about the new, "tinkered" productions, but would we truly be happier with the originals? Not that I think this is an excuse to make changes to the classics, but it goes to show what difficulties present-day choreographers and dancers face.
These difficulties certainly must exist. But the thing is, sometimes I can't understand why people don't just do things straightforwardly. Basically, I'm thinking of the new/old RB Sleeping Beauty, whose major selling point was that it was a reconstruction of an historic production. But it was quite a free reconstruction. Messel's iconic designs were 'reimagined' or something by Peter Farmer, who may be a talented designer but seemed to feel obliged to assert himself artistically, updating for the 21st century. Result: designs that have been criticised for their insipid, pastel palette. Also, small choreographic details were changed, such as the pas de chats onto pointe by Violente. This must have been due to personal preference. I can identify with this: I would have changed the series of travelling developpe lifts in the Act III Wedding pd2 that replace the supported penchees. This desire to personalise productions must account for many changes in text.
Another constraint appears to have been running time. Some of the court dances in Act II were cut. This may have been due to either theatre union rules regarding running time, or perhaps an assumption that the audience would be bored. Now that ballet is no longer the best entertainment available, I think that there is pressure to maintain the pace of a ballet's narrative, cutting non-essential episodes. Hence Swan Lakes minus pas de trois, Giselles minus Peasant pd2.