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Walter Gorean appreciation by John Percival


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#16 duffster

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 05:39 PM

Walter Gore, as I remember ( I'm wiping away the cobwebs ) also set the principal roles, for Eaters of Darkness for the National Ballet of Washington DC. I was not in the ballet, but I was able to watch some rehearsals. He was very quiet and quite particular about certain sections of this piece. In one rehearsal Carmen Mathe was not doing what he had wanted. So as she was dancing, he was walking behind her shaking his head! In the end, Carmen got it right and the company did a few performances of the ballet. Being very young, he frightened me a bit, until I bumped into him at the grocery store and gave me the warmest hello with a huge smile.

#17 Richka

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 04:07 PM

In all he created some eighty or so ballets.

[ ... ]

There are many of these and other creations by Gore which would have been well worth preserving as examples of his creativity, so why have they all disappeared? It isn't that they couldn't be done successfully without their original casts; that was demonstrated time and again, however much they showed of the special qualities of the creators. But because Gore's own companies died when he did, and because he moved frequently between other troupes, the works haven't been preserved. So many of the ballets by Britain's choreographers (yes, even some by Ashton and Tudor among them, and pretty well all the excellent output of Peter Darrell) have been allowed to disappear; Walter Gore's ballets are prominent among our losses an extreme example but by no means the only one.

80 ballets !!! ".... why have they disappeared ... ? This is always an interesting question in the arts. It has particular poignancy with ballets of previous generations, where so much depends on memory of the participants who are now gone. I had a similar feeling when reading the very long list of Fokine's forgotten pre-Diaghilev ballets in Lynn Garafola's book, and when thinking about Alexandra's post (on another thread) of an article she wrote about Camargo and the ephemeral quality of long lost dance performances.

There's a sadness here. Ballet has no museum buildings in which to display living, moving ballets on the wall. It's not possible to present them frozen under spotlights.

Are there any reliable sources for Gore's ballets, or other lost ballets of tihs period in Britain? Any agencies that are devoted to preserving and reconstructing them?


To answer your last question. I agree about lost ballets but Walter Gore's Eaters Of Darkness I am happy to inform you, is NOT lost. I have written elsewhere on this site about Walter Gore and his "Eaters Of Darkness", which I notated in Benesh Movement Notation while I was resident choreologist for the Harkness Ballet.
You probably don't think of notation as a "reliable source" but should tell you that ballets are reconstructed and staged all over the world through Benesh notation. I'm not pushing Benesh Notation but It's a fact that I'm surprised is not known here. All the Royal Ballet repertory is documented in Benesh by, I believe, several choreologists on staff. The same with most European companies. Perhaps less now with world economy the way it is. American companies can no longer afford the luxory of a staff choreologist. They use video, which is a marvelous tool but a notated score is much more complete in detail. (compare musicians and actors without a written score) Ideally, both should be used together.
Anyway, for what it is worth, there exists my notated score of Eaters, lodged at the Institute of Choreology and I believe also at the Dance Notation Bureau. I also have the original along with pictures of Walter rehearsing it in Barcelona, with the Harkness dancers. Look for my posting about Walter on this Ballet Talk website.

#18 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:12 PM

found this today -

http://www.youtube.c...u/2/w_bodF0LeQE

http://www.youtube.c...u/1/FXuU7tTizI4

http://www.youtube.c...u/0/tbrcqnGVfFo

#19 Richka

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:59 PM

Eaters of Darkness was presented by the Chicago Ballet in the mid 1970s and I saw it then. What I recall of it is that it was very powerful and unusual to my somewhat untrained (!) eye at the time. The only dancer I remember in it was, I think, Carmen Mathe, but I would have to check that.


You say Eaters Of Darkness was presented by the Chicago Ballet in mid 1970s. First of all, do you mean Ruth Page's company in Chicago. I am not familiar with the "Chicago Ballet". Do you recall who staged it? Was it Walter Gore himself. That seems the most logical as he had staged it for the Harkness Ballet in 1970 and it was possibly still fresh in his mind. Did his wife Paula Hinton dance the lead? You see, I am curious because I had notated it in 1970 while doing it in Spain and Portugal. See my other postings on this thread about Walter.
Perhaps you have an old program that you could find out about these questions.
The filmed version of Eaters on this thread is from Germany. They filmed it shortly after the Harkness staging, with the same cast, probably released around 1971.

#20 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 05:15 PM

i was there but as a student; i recall seeing the ballet but not who staged it. at the time, however, ben stevenson was the director so perhaps that was the connection? alas i have no program. also there was richard and christine ellis? that is the only guess i can make. however i am fairly certain that no dancer other than a chicago ballet dancer was used. "chicago ballet" was the name of ruth page's company during that period in the 1970s.

#21 Richka

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 08:27 PM

i was there but as a student; i recall seeing the ballet but not who staged it. at the time, however, ben stevenson was the director so perhaps that was the connection? alas i have no program. also there was richard and christine ellis? that is the only guess i can make. however i am fairly certain that no dancer other than a chicago ballet dancer was used. "chicago ballet" was the name of ruth page's company during that period in the 1970s.


OK, thanx. That makes sense because Larry Long was a ballet master at Harkness during that time period and he also was Ruth Page;s right hand man. After she died he took over her company, then HE died! Sorry tale. I understand when we are young we don't usually bother to keep programs.

#22 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 01:20 AM

yes, but the timeline was longer than that; chicago ballet ended c 1979 and larry long passed away in 2009. ben stevenson was the director of the company for at least a while before he went to houston and frederic franklin the balletmaster.

#23 Richka

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 05:32 AM

thanx for the information. Wasn't too clear about time line and never knew Ben ever had anything to do with Chicago, After Harkness folded I thought he went directly to Houston. Now I don't know WHY he left that. He was here in Tucson several years ago bringing his Swan Lake. I aksed why on earth bring that as we already have it. Why not bring Dracula. He said the production was too big. Swan Lake ISN'T. Anyway, he invited me to come see his Snow Maiden he was then doing for ABT.Almost did but had to go to London instead. Told me he was thinking of retiring in Mexico. Larry Long, and is wife Doloras, were with us on European tour in 1970. Long story here. more later. Richka

#24 Sr. Lukas

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:02 AM

I am lucky enough to have seen Winter's Night, Victim, Eaters of Darkness and two other of Walter Gore's works on films held by Batsheva Rothschild. There was a friend of Batsheva's visiting that evening some 35-40 years past, and she revealed that two of Gore's works that the Bat company was to stage would be staged by someone other than Walter Gore or Paua Hinton; a Sven Norrlander who was coming from Hong Kong at the Cmtesse de Hoechst's. Now that I am trying to assemble a writing on Walter Gore I run again and again into the Sven N name. I find he had worked all over the planet and staged any number of different choreographer's works for them in ballet and modern form. Now I want to find out about this type of person who is trusted to stage others works. Is Norlander out there and willing to talk or has anyone else have anything to share about Norrlander or other artists who have enjoyed this kind of meritous trust?
Thanks in advance of hearing from you.

#25 Paul Parish

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:16 PM

THank you thank you thank you! WOw, powerful ballet. SO great to see it now.




found this today -

http://www.youtube.c...u/2/w_bodF0LeQE

http://www.youtube.c...u/1/FXuU7tTizI4

http://www.youtube.c...u/0/tbrcqnGVfFo



#26 Richka

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:49 AM

I am lucky enough to have seen Winter's Night, Victim, Eaters of Darkness and two other of Walter Gore's works on films held by Batsheva Rothschild. There was a friend of Batsheva's visiting that evening some 35-40 years past, and she revealed that two of Gore's works that the Bat company was to stage would be staged by someone other than Walter Gore or Paua Hinton; a Sven Norrlander who was coming from Hong Kong at the Cmtesse de Hoechst's. Now that I am trying to assemble a writing on Walter Gore I run again and again into the Sven N name. I find he had worked all over the planet and staged any number of different choreographer's works for them in ballet and modern form. Now I want to find out about this type of person who is trusted to stage others works. Is Norlander out there and willing to talk or has anyone else have anything to share about Norrlander or other artists who have enjoyed this kind of meritous trust?
Thanks in advance of hearing from you.


I also have never heard of Sven Norriander but that doesn't mean he doesn't exist or is not legit.. He no doubt is a re-constructor of other choreographer's works, either those living or dead. As a rule, the re-constructor is a notator or has a close relationship with the choreographer in question and is familiar with the work and is named in the choreographer's will or trust as inheritor of his works.. Dance notators, or "Choreologists" go all over the world staging from the written scores that they have done or those notated by another choreologist. They have the rights to do this and the rights come along with the notation of the score. This has been proven the most accurate and reliable way rather than relying on memory.becasue every detail is documented in the score. Staging from a video is a tremendous help but not as accurate as a written score; the same way you wouldn't want to stage an opera from just listening to a recording of a particular performance.
My guess is that Mr. Norriander performed in these works or assisted in their re-staging as a ballet master, etc. and so the choreographer gave him the rights to re-construct the work. Or perhaps he is a qualified notator and has notated the works. You could check with the Institute of Choreology in London or the Dance Notation Bureau in NY and find out if they are registered there. Just going around and staging another's works, unless you have this kind of permission or legal rights would be an infringement of copyright and is illegal. It is basically theft. Agnes de Mille always had quite a time dealing with that.
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#27 Sr. Lukas

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:17 AM

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Thank You, Richka

I will now try these leads that you have shared. The charge that Norrlander was a master criminal secret ballet-stager is a major hoot, and worth writing up on its own. These charges should cause him to stand up from wherever he is now hiding to respond, and then i will interview him. Another responder has shared that Sven Norlander appears exceptionally in at least three dance films, one of which is Danses Concertantes, suggest another lead, rather more difficult to search out.

That you have and share so willingly such deep love for and understanding of dance and dancers is deeply heartening and a treasure.

#28 Richka

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:48 AM


Thank You, Richka

I will now try these leads that you have shared. The charge that Norrlander was a master criminal secret ballet-stager is a major hoot, and worth writing up on its own. These charges should cause him to stand up from wherever he is now hiding to respond, and then i will interview him. Another responder has shared that Sven Norlander appears exceptionally in at least three dance films, one of which is Danses Concertantes, suggest another lead, rather more difficult to search out.

That you have and share so willingly such deep love for and understanding of dance and dancers is deeply heartening and a treasure.


Welcome to Ballet Alert and thanx for the compliment. I see you reside in Santa Barbara, CA. Are you familiar with State Street Ballet and its Director, Rodney Gustavson?

#29 Sr. Lukas

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:59 PM

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Thank you for the welcome greeting.

While Santa B is the county, my home is up in tiny Montecito's hill country. I rarely go to Santa Barbara or see ballet anymore, and the last I remember of Ballet in Santa Barbara was one of those please donate thingy's where I was introduced to someone named Tamara, the family name escapes me now, who was directing something and a fellow who was introduced as her then visiting choreographer but who intimated oddly that he was committed to making sandwiches commercially. I remain hopeful this was an in-joke that still escapes me but is remembered. His name was, I seem to believe, a Mark Wild. This was a bit ago.

#30 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:33 PM

"....who intimated oddly that he was committed to making sandwiches commercially. I remain hopeful this was an in-joke that still escapes me but is remembered. His name was, I seem to believe, a Mark Wild. This was a bit ago."

Bay Area balletomanes will be familiar with the work of Mark Wilde, who was associated with the Pacific Ballet of San Francisco and with Oakland Ballet. He choreographed a sensationally successful version of Ravel's "Bolero" which Oakland Ballet danced frequently as the finale to an evening's dances.

Bolero (1974)is kind of post-mod Etudes/Grand Pas Classique designed to display the classical technique of the whole company. It's set on a bare stage with barres in place, with the back walls showing, a step-ladder that reaches into the flies, and trees of lights in plain view. The ballet proceeds like Etudes from academic exercises to moves of increasing complexity and difficulty, with the rising excitement of Ravel's music to rachet-up the levels of challenge to the truly formidable. Beautifully constructed, clear, honest, wonderful ballet. The dancers used to perform it in practice clothes, which let the accuracy of their placement, their finesse in transitions, and the musicality of their dancing create the transformation of them from Oaklanders (black, white, Asian, and of all body-types) into noble, god-like ballet-stars. It was a sensationally effective piece for the company -- it made the whole city proud of them, and it was easy to tour in both senses, since audiences everywhere loved it and them, and all the costumes could go into a suitcase or two. It was re-costumed later in bright-colored unitards, which also worked.

WIlliam Huck's "Oakland Ballet: the first 25 years" lists 8 ballets in Oakland's rep, ranging from Concerto Grosso #1 in G to Brahms Intermezzi, La Valse, Afternoon of a Faun, Jazziana, The Sirens, and Concert Waltzes (with Raoul Pause).


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