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Roles and Their Interpreters


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#1 SanderO

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 04:18 AM

Question about interpretation of roles.

Reading the reviews of the various casts of Bayadere, it is obvious that the different principal dancers present their own unique "reading" of their character... this aside from the actual technical dancing. What part does the AD (or others) play in creating these various nuances and interpretation of the characters? Is this perhaps something that the principals work out amongst themselves?

Clearly the roles are not empty vessels that each dancers fills, looking identical except for their individual body type and technical skill... each one seems to have created an independent and identifiable character. Can others shed light on this? Is this a good quality... to create a slighly different character in the role?






[size=1]Moderator's note: I made this a new thread, since it deserves answers from several points of view, not necessarily related to the original thread which is dedicated to ABT's current run of LaBayadere.[/size]

Edited by carbro, 20 May 2007 - 11:53 AM.


#2 drb

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 06:01 AM

Question about interpretation of roles.

Reading the reviews of the various casts of Bayadere, it is obvious that the different principal dancers present their own unique "reading" of their character... this aside from the actual technical dancing. What part does the AD (or others) play in creating these various nuances and interpretation of the characters? Is this perhaps something that the principals work out amongst themselves?

Clearly the roles are not empty vessels that each dancers fills, looking identical except for their individual body type and technical skill... each one seems to have created an independent and identifiable character. Can others shed light on this? Is this a good quality... to create a slighly different character in the role?


Dancers may be trying to perform a role as coached, but part of the reason each has made it to Principal level is, hopefully, her/his own special uniqueness. Not all dancers are like this, Ms. Vishneva in particular, is inevitably unsatisfied with any performance of a given role and wishes to start from square one (and that includes workng with her partner on the new vision) the next time she dances it. She speaks of this constantly in interviews, and it has been obvious whenever I've been lucky enough to see her in a part twice in a season. Personally, what is even more a draw for me than her phenomenal technical gifts and her physical beauty is her mind, and the surprises she brings. Another dancer who never does the same (story) ballet twice is Ashley Bouder, my other favorite dancer, although I suspect her reasons and method are quite different to Diana Vishneva's. What you don't get from these dancers is their definitive Giselle, say, because that will be their next one, and once that next one happens, the next next one... Reviews of such dancers may not be good guides to whether you wish to see that dancer, because even if, or especially if, the critic sees with your eyes, that is not what you'll get if you go the next time.
A wonderful example of the other extreme is Amanda McKerrow, who continued to refine and enrich roles throughout her career. If you loved her Giselle you'd want to go again because you knew you'd get it again, yet somehow enhanced by new discoveries in the details, new gifts of depth and emotional nuance.

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 12:28 PM

Combine all these factors with the video effect (what's on the video is THE OFFICIAL), and some of us old ballet-goers will recognize the enhancement of the "one-that-got-away" factor, as of Inessa Korneyeva doing the cabriole variation in Shades. "Ah, but you should have seen...." :thumbsup:

(For those of you who weren't there, Korneyeva, a soloist with the Kirov in 1964, made the very most of the cabrioles ouvertes, hanging onto the last in the diagonal to an almost dangerous-looking degree, and at the same time, seeming to tell a little story within this freestanding variation, all by itself.)

#4 carbro

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 02:24 PM

Reading the reviews of the various casts of Bayadere, it is obvious that the different principal dancers present their own unique "reading" of their character... this aside from the actual technical dancing. What part does the AD (or others) play in creating these various nuances and interpretation of the characters? Is this perhaps something that the principals work out amongst themselves?

I've never danced professionally, but it seems to me that this varies according to the choreographer or stager. Some are famous for giving the dancers great leeway, and some are extremely specific.


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