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Which ballet do You think is the most boring You've ever seen?


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#91 Helene

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 07:44 PM

I can see how it would read that way, LOL! I'm afraid both of us were too near comatose to be able to quarrel if we had wanted to :wink:

It definitely was not the music, but even the music (taped) couldn't salvage this fiasco.

#92 Charming_Lise

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 11:47 AM

I do not like Forsythes Steptext I could never get in to it. I was on edge from the start.

#93 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:28 PM

I don't like "Forsythes Steptext" either... :P

#94 Helene

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 07:35 AM

This post attempts to generalize instead of being specific...I know this is treasonous (I live in the Bay Area) but 95% of Helgi Thomasson's one acters meet or exceed the boring quotient.


I saw his 7 for 8 (?) recently, and could not stay awake. What a waste of a major company's time.

I saw 7 for 8 with two different casts and was impressed that each cast could stamp its own personality on the ballet. I liked it more than most of Tomasson's one-acters, most of which I find dry as kindling and very tedious.

#95 Helene

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 11:58 AM

Apologies -- I was just looking through my programs and it was Blue Rose, not 7 for 8 that I didn't think was the most boring ballet I'd ever seen. :)

#96 papeetepatrick

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:01 PM

'Paquita', easily as boring as any full-length ballet I've ever seen. I'm sure I'd like the piece of it that people have been seeing with Vishneva at CC right now, but this POB DVD seems so perfectly done (someone can tell me if it's not).

This made me imagine that this particular ballet may separate the extreme balletomane from the rest of us. POB is one of my two favourite companies, so I'm glad the one time I'll see a full-length 'Paquita' was from them. I don't know whether traditional productions contain only Minkus music, just read that Deldevez wrote the first music for this. Whatever it is, it's loud and coarse even in the waltzes and pseudo-lyrical parts; even when it tries to be piano it's loud and raucous in its coarseness and ugliness. There was all this brilliant male dancing from Jose Martinez, and POB has gorgeous dresses for Letestu, but it's meretricious to me, not charming like 'Coppelia', and not one I could develop a taste for when I 'find the right production' like 'Giselle', which does also have some simple, sweetly affecting music and real feeling in it. The only thing I find as boring as 'Paquita' is 'Mayerling.'

#97 bart

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 07:03 AM

Papeetepatrick, I'm inclined to agree with you about an evening of this sort of music, which can be -- under certain circumstances -- rather like a preview of purgatory. The advertising for the Paris dvd mentions, variously, Edouard Deldevez and Minkus, or Deldevez with the addition of certain numbers by by Minkus.

Alistair Macaulay, in his review of the Paris production in the NY Times, writes the following:

Just as the choreography for the “Giselle” now seen around the world is the late-19th-century St. Petersburg work of Marius Petipa, some of it is set to music added to its original score by his long-term musical colleague Ludwig Minkus, so even bigger changes were made to “Paquita” by the Petipa-Minkus team. And when even the Kirov-Maryinsky Ballet dropped the complete ballet from repertory after the Bolshevik Revolution, the company kept some pure-dance Petipa-Minkus chunks glowingly alive, some of which have entered international ballet repertory since the 1970s.


It would be interesting to hear from the experts on who wrote what.

I haven't seen the POB dvd, but your post led me to Macaulay. Although he was enthusiastic about the designs, he was ambivalent about the project and makes an interesting criticism of the Paris company's approach:

My problem is with the Paris Opera dancing. No company is more elegant in presentation, and the level of technique is exceptionally efficient in academic terms. Yet I know no company that more completely illustrates the difference between academicism and classicism. The Paris dancers respond to the music without apparently finding any pleasure from, or point in, doing so. They exhibit line, placement and paulement (shouldering) as if these points of ballet style were matters for point-scoring correctness rather than individual inflection.

In the late 1980s Manuel Legris, an toile (the company’s special designation above principal dancer) who is now 43, used to transcend the company style better than anybody. On Tuesday he danced Lucien with remarkable skill and panache; no Paris dancer I have seen phrases better or shows a more serious response to music. His style is still virile and handsome, but no longer spontaneous. As for his Paquita, Dorothe Gilbert, it is awkward to say that a dancer so skillful and elegant is also bland, but in that respect she epitomizes the Paris dance manner. How can three-dimensional dancing be impressive to see and yet impossible to feel? The Parisians, going through the motions without ever demonstrating how perfection turns into real dancing, show just how.

http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin

#98 papeetepatrick

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:54 AM

Papeetepatrick, I'm inclined to agree with you about an evening of this sort of music, which can be -- under certain circumstances -- rather like a preview of purgatory. The advertising for the Paris dvd mentions, variously, Edouard Deldevez and Minkus, or Deldevez with the addition of certain numbers by by Minkus.


Bart--thanks so much for that most thoughtful response. I read the whole Macauley piece, and I see we agree only on the exquisite set design and the most luscious dresses (one of Ms. Letestu's had so many billowing dimensions to it, it seemed to dance itself). He actually found some of the music 'irresistible', whereas a Minkus 'Mazurka' is not what one tends to think of if one wants to understand the form, as it were. He also characterized the music in general as 'always agreeable.' Yes, until the ear begins to hear all the cornball as a form of noise.

And it was interesting that what he was talking about as 'POB style' did occur to me while watching it last night. But I think he is wrong--this incredible French precision is what proves whether something can transcend its exquisite drilling and become free on top of this--and I think this does happen with dancers as great as Aurelie Dupont, who to me is as great as any ballerina in the world today. When it's a silly ballet like 'Paquita', it is still not, IMO, the 'POB style', that is the problem, but rather its perfection of corps excellence actually deconstructs and exposes the tedium of it--because while you are still in the first act and not dying of the tedium, Mr. Martinez's virtuosity is perfectly thrilling. It is never less than extraordinary even when everything seems to repeat itself in the subsequent acts--but it's hard to keep caring. And even though I also recently watched Minkus/Nureyev's POB DVD of 'Don Quixote', I was not bored in the same way, however broad and popular Don Q. is.

I think this precision that one sees with POB should be one of the gold standards, against which the 'free spirits' have to prove themselves. So I do not see that as a problem, and I find that I have now got my own set of difficulties with Mr. MacAuley as do other BTers, for perhaps other reasons. But he is also right that the orchestra plays the tacky score superbly: But what this does is make you realize (or at least I hear it this way) just how worthless this score is. In the same way, when I finally saw the Bruhn/Fracci movie of 'Giselle', I was finally able to hear the music played perfectly--but in this case the excellent performance revealed the beauty in the simple Adam music that I had heretofore beeen unable to appreciate, and despite all the directorial pretentious, I was finally able to love 'Giselle.'

But my impression thus far of POB (not having seen them live but once and many years ago), as I get to know a lot of their newer performances via DVD, is they are never guilty of the sloppiness that one finds in many other companies. There has always been talk, as long as I remember, way back to the NYCB's Golden Age (from about the mid-60s to mid-80s' I guess, in any case, it definitely is no more), was the occasional or frequent sloppiness of the corps due to having to give too many performances of too many different works in too close a period. While understandable, this was said in a way that made it then seem that the sloppiness you sometimes saw also did not really exist or even served a useful purpose. But after awhile, this weird suspension of criticism of technical laxity is not greeted with sympathetic good humour unless the company remains at a high level of inspiration in the most important creative ways.

Next week I'll see my other favourite company at this point in my ballet viewing--the Kirov. NYCB was my favourite when it was still the hottest thing in the world--when Balanchine was alive. At this point, I'd always choose ABT over NYCB (which I never thought I'd live to say), even while skipping 'Swan Lake' and 'Sleeping Beauty'. I'd rather see 'Giselle' at ABT than anything in the current NYCB.

Point being: I think this fierce precision is very much the hallmark of most of the finest Gallic things, and why France has long been the most supreme example of an artistic nation. You'll notice MacAuley only concentrates on the things that back up his thesis about the 'POB style' and how LeGris 'no longer danced with spontaneity...' etc.,etc. But who else has come up with a full-length ballet like 'Wuthering Heights', which just from clips alone show a fantastic creativity that is not within what MacAuley seems to want to emphasize. Likewise, glorious and incredibly beautiful Aurelie Dupont in Don Quixote is breathtaking. One wonders if some people need to see obvious messes and mistakes in order to find something 'musical' or 'expressive.' And Parisians are not interested in messes in their various arts. Not only that, but in the Jewels DVD, Marie-Agnes Gillot dances in a way that is not at all mechanical, has a great richness and musicality to it.

Sorry about length of this. Of course, I don't think POB took on Paquita to deconstruct it and show how basically ridiculous it is, but in dancing it and playing the vulgar music to near-perfection, they do this anyway. And their 'Coppelia' DVD is just marvelous, so much better-looking in every way than the Royal Ballet's that I had only memories of McBride to compare it to. I mean--'Paquita' is so slight a piece of material, at least when POB dances it you can rouse yourself from nodding off because they dance it so perfectly. And even though there are problems with the Jewels DVD, I can easily imagine that performances of 'Jewels' will come, and may have already, with dancers able to go beyond anything NYCB ever did with 'Emeralds' and maybe even equal 'Rubies' and 'Diamonds'.

Okay, so I'm a FAN of 'POB style. Macauley says this: 'The Paris dancers respond to the music without apparently finding any pleasure from, or point in, doing so. They exhibit line, placement and paulement (shouldering) as if these points of ballet style were matters for point-scoring correctness rather than individual inflection.' One could as easily say he is trying to score points for something himself, but it's also true that this French coolness is not something everyone has a taste for.

#99 bart

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 10:11 AM

I share your thoughts on this, papeetepatrick. Like you, I've only seen POB on dvd in recent years (if you except a contemporary mixed bill a few years ago in Paris). I saw them on and off in the 60s 70s and early 80s and have the impression that they are a substantially different company -- more technically proficient and pure, but perhaps less successful in terms of affect -- than they were in those days.

I'm wondering whether we shouldn't start another thread -- perhaps copying parts of what you've posted here, papeetepatrick -- to discuss the Paris Paquita and posssibly the larger issues of Macaulay's criticisms in general. We have a number of French ballet experts who could give us some insights here, but who may not have been reading this particular thread. I would hate to start a new thread an lose papeetepatrick's comments on this one!

Helene, carbro -- would this be desirable? possible?

#100 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:55 PM

[size="6"]Baker's Dozen[/size]

#101 Natalia

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 07:25 AM

The Concert. Thank goodness that NYCB usually programs it at the end of a triple bill. I just leave at the 2nd intermission.

#102 lmspear

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:01 AM

Graduation Ball. I only saw it once at an ABT performance in the late 70's. I can't say if it was the performance or the ballet; I'd be willing to give it another chance. As I was watching it I was overwhelmed by the cutesy hammy performances and had the strongest negative reaction I have ever had to a ballet. I was grateful that I had not brought along a newcomer to ballet thinking that this was the type of thing that caused people to really hate ballet.

#103 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:30 AM

The Concert. Thank goodness that NYCB usually programs it at the end of a triple bill. I just leave at the 2nd intermission.


Good thing that they do that so those who know it are not forced to stay 'till the end of the night waiting for a third favored one. I think they suspected this practice down here at MCB and now they are presenting the contemporary piece right in the middle. I used to do the same as you, but I couldn't in this program... :mad: BUT when time comes to the Broward performances, I'm DEFINITELY getting out on the lobby with a book to wait out there for the third ballet.

#104 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:49 PM

I agree about The Concert. Actually, it might be wrong to say it is boring, it it worse, its downright puerile. Then of course, I wouldnt put my hard-earned cash on anything by Ek. The works are not only boring, they are also unaestechic (sp?).
Which is worse is hard to tell, simply boring sends me to sleep or my mind wonders and I withdraw into myself, whereas ugly works puts me in a rage. Then of course, it all depends, a ballet can be very boring with one company and much less so with another.

#105 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:02 PM


The Concert. Thank goodness that NYCB usually programs it at the end of a triple bill. I just leave at the 2nd intermission.


Good thing that they do that so those who know it are not forced to stay 'till the end of the night waiting for a third favored one. I think they suspected this practice down here at MCB and now they are presenting the contemporary piece right in the middle. I used to do the same as you, but I couldn't in this program... :mad: BUT when time comes to the Broward performances, I'm DEFINITELY getting out on the lobby with a book to wait out there for the third ballet.


I don't know, Christian, you might enjoy it! I've seen it many times and always find it funny and delightful. I'm not the only one, either, The times when I saw it sitting in the first ring, theater left, it would be crowded with company members who weren't in it, and they would be howling with laughter!!!


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