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The Joffrey's new GiselleOct. 2007


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#16 Treefrog

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 06:43 PM

The casting is from the program insert, which only covered last weekend. I'm sorry, Jack. Wouldn't it be great if they would put the casting up on the website? I wonder if they will tell you, if you call. Which cast would you most like to see?

Paul, I agree, this is a wonderful ballet. I loved it the first time I saw it, and the second too. I hope the Joffrey keeps it in their repertoire and that I get to see it again (but not this weekend -- for those of you who remember Dolphingirl, I'm off to watch her dance in her college modern company's show :) )

#17 motwins8391

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 11:49 AM

The casting is from the program insert, which only covered last weekend.


I wonder why they went with an insert this time. Usually they print the full cast for all performances directly in the program. No dancer photos in this program either.

#18 Jack Reed

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 01:09 PM

Treefrog, I suppose I'd like to see the Wilkins-Shives cast, to judge by the comments here. Shives's Billy the Kid was notable for his taking both parts -- young and old Billy -- and aquitting himself really well, and I thought his Petrushka was all the justification the company needed for reviving it. Not that the ballet is named Albrecht, of course, but he has plenty to do.

#19 Jack Reed

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:16 PM

Thanks, Paul, for reminding me that "Balanchine's Complete Stories..." is not all first-person essays about his own ballets and synopses by Mason. That is a superb little essay, and I thought I'd copy out a few sentences to share with those who don't have this out-of-print book:

"Giselle is a classic: it is not only important historically, it also happens to be good... the work is such a good one that we always discover something in it we hadn't seen before... Giselle has come down to us because it combines innovation with drama and dancing that makes us forget all about history...

Giselle's innovation is its summing up of what we know as the romantic ballet. To be romantic about something is to see what you are and to wish for something entirely different. This requires magic... dancers attired in billowy white seemed part of the world and yet also above it... the sylph became ballet's symbol for romantic love -- the girl who is so beautiful, so light, so pure that she is unattainable: touch her, and she vanishes... Purely a creature of the imagination, too illusory a character to make us feel deeply...

What would make us care... would be to give her a basis in real life, to make her real and unreal at the same time, like the Wilis, girls who were engaged to be married yet died before their wedding days; their love was never fulfilled because of intervening powers... In the evening they rose from their graves and danced alone in the moonlight, impassioned with their anger at death; but dressed in their flowing bridal gowns and endowed with unearthly gifts of movement, their ghostly forms never seemed to touch the ground. They danced with the young men who came only to trap them: their suitors were compelled to dance until they died...

This story made the story of La Sylphide look like merely the first step in the attainment of the romantic ideal... At its first performance... Giselle ou les Wilis was proclaimed the triumphant successor to La Sylphide and the greatest ballet of its time. ..."

#20 Stage Left

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 02:39 PM

WOW . . . maybe I need to take a good long break and not see ballet for a while. I took a very good friend to see Giselle on the final Sunday performance. She loved it. Can I borrow some rose colored glass?? PLEASE . .Anybody???

The staging was cold and awkard, one corps boy fell, the final poses throughout the Peasnt Pas (all 3 of them) were unknown to me, and I think it speaks volumes that soem posters could not figure out why Giselle wanted to save Albrecht. There was very little chemistry or dramatic story telling going on.

Act II did not fair any better. Footwork was VERY sloppy and fell within the level of intermediate classroom work. Unclear entre'cha trois??? Come on! The hops across the stage in arabesque got so out of step that one Willi was actually jumping totally opposite the rest of the cast. Hilarion's part in Act II was cut to a point where I am not even sure why he was there in Act II at all. Did anyone believe that Hilarion was killed by that trip and toss off stage?

The final moments of the ballet were simply odd. No shower of lilies from Giselle to Albrecht to symbolize the redemption. No slow final circle for Albretch to walk as he drops the flowers and realizes he does not deserve a love of this power and magnitude . . either of them would have been welcomed . .but to have him . .well, wait what did he do?? Fall? Faint? Die? I am unclear. And therein lies my one sentence synoposis: I am unclear. Even the program did not help. Did anyone else notice that the program detailed that Giselle was to have killed herself with Albrecht's sword?

My goodness Ashley has his work cut out for him!

And for the record . . I adore the Joffrey Ballet. I just wish I could find them!

#21 Paul Parish

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 11:22 PM

WELl, Ashley Wheater is a fine ballet master -- a decent human being, and also someone hwo loves ballet so much he will be tough love for the company.

But Stage Left, I want to know why your friend loved it. What did s/he say? it may not have mattered that those things happened if s/he was following some through-line that WAS clearly expressed.

#22 bart

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 05:05 AM

Thanks, Stage Left, for your thoughtful (and obviously carefully observed) comments. And welcome to Ballet Talk!

Reading your post made me think of my own responses to Giselle as performed by my own regional company: one which, like the Joffrey, is not really experienced in the romantic style. I wonder: do we sometimes overpraise these efforts because we are so grateful that they are being made at all? :D

And for the record . . I adore the Joffrey Ballet. I just wish I could find them!

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about what the real "Joffrey Ballet" means to you in terms of style, technique, rep, etc. Does Giselle fit into that picture? If so, what can they do to create a production closer to what you were expecting?

#23 Stage Left

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 07:04 PM

Thanks, Stage Left, for your thoughtful (and obviously carefully observed) comments. And welcome to Ballet Talk!

Reading your post made me think of my own responses to Giselle as performed by my own regional company: one which, like the Joffrey, is not really experienced in the romantic style. I wonder: do we sometimes overpraise these efforts because we are so grateful that they are being made at all? :speechless-smiley-003:

And for the record . . I adore the Joffrey Ballet. I just wish I could find them!

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about what the real "Joffrey Ballet" means to you in terms of style, technique, rep, etc. Does Giselle fit into that picture? If so, what can they do to create a production closer to what you were expecting?


Thanks for your welcome! And I appreciate the opportunity to continue dialogue . .

To Paul - My friend is so enamored with the formalness of classical ballet in general, that she wanted to arrive at intermission because she really doesn't like Act I . .so . .she does not even expect a dramatic through line and it is not necessary for her to have one to enjoy classical ballet. A stage full of lovely women dancing in unison dressed in romantic tu-tus is her idea of bliss and I was gald to give that to her. When I reminded her of the Peasant Pas and the friend's dance, she remembered that she did like those parts, so we were able to experience the entire production.

To Bart -The time has come for the Joffrey to evolve into what it will become. Time marches on. And time will reveal the direction the Joffrey company will take under the new and possibly other directors the company will have.

The rep of the company has become much more middle of the road in the past few seasons. If there was a single word that clearly defines what drew me to Joffrey . .it would be PASSION. Can you imagine a Giselle with dramatic continuity and passion?? Now that would be something. . but I did not find dramatic continuity or passion. The way they used to do Cranko's Romeo and Juliet . . you could hear the gasps and sobs from the audience. But . .that was more than 20 years ago . .the audience is differnet . .the city is different and let's face it . .I am different. . perhaps I do own rose colored glasses and I wear them to view the past.

I also believe that Bob Joffrey knew that the pasionate dancers that he employed would not be able to pull off a Giselle or a Swan Lake or Bayadere . .the classics with the tell tale, expose the weaknesses, white act. But they would devour a performance of La Fille Mal Gardee and the audience would be howling! And when was the last time a Joffrey premiere had the audience cheering (Pretty sure it was Paul Christiano's Ballet. And the Auditorium audience WAS cheering .. and gasping) And they dropped it after one season.

I did not mention any of these observations to my blissful companion. What was the point? She was sooo happy. When I came to Ballet Talk, I think I expected to read a few like minded responces. But now, with the open ended posting of Paul and Bart . .I may have found something better . . . communication! And cheers to that!

#24 bart

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 07:13 PM

perhaps I do own rose colored glasses and I wear them to view the past.

I think this is somethine a number of us share and have to deal with. :speechless-smiley-003:

We're lucky to have had those times, and wonderful to recall them. But sometimes it's difficult to conceive of a vision for an alternative future. One thing I like about the posters here is that they encourage me to remain loyal to the past, while learning more about the options that ballet has for the future. I need constant help with both.


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