Alexandra

Peter Schaufuss's "Satisfaction"

24 posts in this topic

Did anyone see this one? dirac posted a wonderful excerpt from the review of a critic who got No Satisfaction from the ballet, and I wondered what people thought. (I've copied over the link and dirac's excerpt from the Links forum.)

The Telegraph

Peter Schaufuss says he wants his new work, set to 25 songs by the Rolling Stones, to be called a "dancical", on the grounds that it is not a ballet, but much more entertaining and popular than that.

Satisfaction is likely to put people off dance for life

Yet the scandal of Satisfaction, which had its London première at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday night, is that it takes some of the most vivid and vital songs in the history of British pop and crushes them to death in a show of such plodding ineptitude that it is likely to put people off dance for life.

Swan Lake performed by amateurs would be more fun than this.

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The Telegraph

Swan Lake performed by amateurs would be more fun than this.

Why the take on lovely "Swan Lake"?...Leave it alone!..(I'm very protective on my favorite ballet.. :angry2: )

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Reminded me of Ann Reinking's 2003 B'way show 'The Look of Love', which was all dances to Burt Bacharach songs--and should have been something special, but apparently was a huge nowhere. So that's the first 'dancical' I've heard of. This sounds a little more ga-ga still.

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The Telegraph
Swan Lake performed by amateurs would be more fun than this.

Why the take on lovely "Swan Lake"?...Leave it alone!..(I'm very protective on my favorite ballet.. :crying: )

I'm sure that wasn't a suggestion!!! Just trying to come up with something so horrid that everyone owuld understand it. (As we speak, some enterprising soul is probably planning "Swan Lake for Nondancers!") But I hope not.

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A "dancical"? He can call it a "popcicle" for all I care. What was the man thinking?

He is the first [ ... ] to try to create "short stories" to so many songs, and string them together to provide a full two hours of entertainment. [ ... ]

So, in Sympathy for the Devil, you get Lucifer in a wheelchair, surrounded by fallen angels with conical metal bras, wings on their backs and elbows that flap like frightened chickens; in As Tears Go By, there's a sad man sitting on a box; in Ruby Tuesday there is a girl in - wait for it - ruby red velvet, being dragged around the stage by some bloke. In Little Red Rooster a man in skin-tight red pants makes vague poultry-style movements at a load of girls dressed as hens, who have red bows on their heads and more flapping elbows; in The Lantern the dancers carry lights.

Can't you imagine "Gimme Shelter," taking place in a realtor's office? Did Schauffaus learn nothing from all those years with Balanchine?

Please, if you were there, and are willing to admit it, tell us what you thought.

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(As we speak, some enterprising soul is probably planning "Swan Lake for Nondancers!")

OMG, noooooo!!...don't give those "enterprising souls" any ideas, Alexandra..! :crying: I have enough with Mathew Bourne and The Trocks already!

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Cristian, what an inspired idea! The Trocks doing Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake -- in drag, of course, which would turn the swans back into girls. ;) I think we may have turned a corner here!

Back to "Satisfaction", I was genuinely curious. We have a few Londoners here -- any comments?

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A brief tangent -- "dansicle" is a term that is being used to describe Matthew Bourne's work, the idea being that they strongly resemble musical theater in their structure and purpose, but use dance rather than song to communicate their ideas.

I vaguely remember the term used for Susan Stroman's "Contact," but I don't think it was coined for that.

Back to your regularly scheduled conversation...

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It's been used a lot before. I sused it in a Washington Post review about "Merry Widow" back in the early '90s (the editors had a debate amongst themselves how to spell it, and it came out dansical, I think), and was later told by several people other previous usages in print, one by Croce (but I can't remember the cause).

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It's been used a lot before. I sued it in a Washington Post review about "Merry Widow" back in the early '90s (the editors had a debate amongst themselves how to spell it, and it came out dansical, I think), and was later told by several people other previous usages in print, one by Croce (but I can't remember the cause).

I didn't know it was such a venerable term -- thanks!

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I sued it in a Washington Post review about "Merry Widow" back in the early '90s . . .

:speechless-smiley-003: Copyright/trademark infringement?

Sorry, Alexandra. I tried to resist. Honest, I did. :wink:

Steering back vaguely towards topic, did you get satisfaction?

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Bourne's Swan Lake has great music, no words, and funny swan pants. Movin' Out has choreography with a witty and non-literal relationship to Bill Joel songs performed by musicians hanging out above the stage. How about Gene Kelly's Invitation to the Dance, which has no words, but scores by Ibert, Previn and Rimsky-Korsokov? Or Susan Stroman's Contact, a 3-act format like Kelly's, but set to a mixed bag including Rogers and Hart, Tchaikosky, and Grieg?

It seems that the term "dansical" may be a very BIG tent.

I don't want to cause any trouble, but a Trocks take-off on Bourne's take-off on Swan Lake, with the male dancers playing women playing male dancers playing swans, and with completely new lyrics by Bjork, who would sing them wearing that swan dress she wore to 2001 Oscars -- why not? It could be the Dansical to End All Dansicals. :speechless-smiley-003:

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I like the idea of a ballet - dance-piece to Rolling Stones, but I have a hard time imagining something better than Christopher Bruce's "Rooster" of long-ago.

Still, I am very interested to hear reports by people here who saw the Schaufuss production.

-d-

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Helo, Diane! It's good to read you again. I never saw Bruce's "Rooster," unfortunately, but I'm sure it's possible to do a good ballet to the Stones, or any other group (both Beatles ballets I've seen have been quite awful too, but one lives in hope :speechless-smiley-003: )

I hope all this chatter hasn't stopped anyone who saw this from posting -- if you liked it, tell us!

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National Ballet of Canada is performing Rooster next March, in a program with Soliders' Mass and 24 Preludes.

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Well, Joffrey did all right with "Deuce Coupe" (Tharp/Beach Boys), but one could argue that it's Not A Ballet, with the exception of the itinerant "ballerina".

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The British papers seem to have been extremely negative. A number of them adopted the same pun used by the review quoted in: "I didn't get no satisfaction," (Sanjoy Roy, The Guardian), who gave it 1 of 5 stars.)

Sarah Fraber, Evening Standard, tried to put her finger on the main problem:

Satisfaction is a feel-good rock dance-athon that, on paper, sounds just great. It's set to 20-or-so tunes by the Rolling Stones and simply evokes their themes rather than tells a story. It's full of unstoppable nostalgia, but West End dance shows are about nostalgia, and all you want is the chance to clap along to the songs that remind you of your youthful red roostering and not getting what you want.

The problem, and it's a problem the size of a planet, is that Satisfaction is the work of Peter Schaufuss, the one-time director of English National Ballet. As a dancer, Schaufuss charmed all. As a choreographer he veers between the loopy and the laughable.

In general, the British papers have been extremely negative. Several adopt the same pun used by the Telegraph review quoted in the first post. "I didn't get no satisfaction," says one of them, Sanjoy roy, The Guardian, who gave it 1 of 5 possible stars.

Maybe the difference between Tharp's good reviews (generally) in this kind of work, and Schaufuss's poor reviews, has to do with choreographic skill and vision.

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Tharp had her own approach to the music, creating an audiomontage of various recordings, including studio work and live concerts, and even a couple of outtakes. "If you don't know it, then just SHUT UP AND GO HOME!"

"Shut up

Shut up

Shut up

Shut up

Shut up

Go home

Shut up

Go home

etc."

But you'd think the critics would go better than to take the obvious slam-dunk. Did any of them demand satisfaction from Schaufuss (i.e. challenge him to a duel)? That would be at least novel. We haven't had a good one of those since Serge Lifar and the Marquis de Cuevas!

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Maybe the difference between Tharp's good reviews (generally) in this kind of work, and Schaufuss's poor reviews, has to do with choreographic skill and vision.

Yup. :speechless-smiley-003: I think the critics aren't quibbling about subject matter or the use of pop music, or anything but the choreography.

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to stray a bit off topic again: it's good to have the poing brought up by mel that the beach boys' 'score' for DEUCE COUPE was, as one was reminded in the recent restaging by juilliard (to be shown again on nyc's fall for dance), the cleverly put together music arranged by david horowitz.

the 'if you don't know it, then shut up and go home!' riff, as well as the 'cuddle up' reworkings, helped give the musical array a color and thearical sense of its own.

also the fact that the music wasn't all by the beach boys themselves, but as the 'soundtrack' notes, in one case by the rivingtons, etc. added to the special nature of the score.

for the record, here's the NYPL cat.entry on the ballet's credits:

Deuce coupe Chor: Twyla Tharp; mus: The Beach Boys (tape compiled & variations on "Cuddle up" by David Horowitz); scen: Backdrops painted by United Graffiti Artists; cos: Scott Barrie; lighting: Jennifer Tipton. First perf: Chicago, Auditorium Theater, Feb 8, 1973; City Center Joffrey Ballet and Twyla Tharp Dancers.//First New York perf: New York City Center, Mar 1, 1973; City Center Joffrey Ballet and Twyla Tharp Dancers.

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I think several critics commented on the subject matter, viz: the visualization of the lyrics. They didn't object to the music per se, but the choreographer's failure to "bring it all home" in a total mise en scène, with ALL of the elements of production and presentation in balance and headed toward a larger, unified theme.

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I don't want to cause any trouble, but a Trocks take-off on Bourne's take-off on Swan Lake, with the male dancers playing women playing male dancers playing swans, and with completely new lyrics by Bjork, who would sing them wearing that swan dress she wore to 2001 Oscars -- why not? It could be the Dansical to End All Dansicals. :wacko:

It could be the end of my faith in sanity, bart...OMG, i remember :off topic: Bjork wearing that...thing... :pinch:

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I haven't seen Satisfaction. I did see Schauffuss Elvis thing, "The King", at Sadler's Wells in 2000 and I thought that was absolutely rivetting. That was described as a dansical too (the first time I had seen that word).

Unfortunately his "Diana the Princess, A celebration" was truly dire and I am afraid my bad memories of that have meant that I'm not making the trek to London for Satisfaction.

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