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Do you have a personal checklist?Choreographers whose work you want to see more of


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#31 innopac

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 06:12 PM

Bart, the great thing about Oakland is that they weren't too sophisticated to appreciate the strengths of these ballets.

What a great line - I love it! That deserves a place on the "Quotable Quotes" sticky!!

#32 JohnP

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 12:54 PM

Re-reading some of the many varied recent comments, I'm reminded how little by Fokine still gets danced -- the man who led the way on from Petipa. Another thought is that the Nijinskys, brother and sister, left enough superb ballets between them to make one fantastic programme -- Biches, Faune, Noces. I don't think anyone ever did them together; any chance we could persuade a sensible management to do so?
Also, how are the mighty fallen: would you believe, from his present limited showing, that for years amny people thought him the best living choreographer? And, this is probably going to surprise you, just as it surprises me: the Massine ballet that keeps waking me up at night, remembering and wanting to see it again, is Le Beau Danube. Yes, a very light entertainment, with its picture of flirtations and rivalries in the Vienna Prater. But wonderful music (Strauss waltzes), first rate clothes (everyone really looked dressed just right), lively dances full of character. And the way they used to dance it! What you saw was real personalities on stage, and how often does that happen now?

#33 bart

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for the interesting and valuable post on Oakland, Paul.

The main reason for the success is probably that Guidi was willing, and eager, to commit time, time, time to the artists. I wasn't there, so I have to go on what Guidi has told me, and he exaggerates -- but he told me that Loring took (somthing like) 5 weeks, full days, to set Billy the Kid; that means the dancers really know what to do, they're in on like the ground floor in terms of motivation, quality of movement, weight, accent, staccato, legato, how inward, how "pushed." Same with Massine and the rest.

One result was that on a program with 3 pieces, there'd be only ONE that was really up to snuff -- but that one was often REALLY worth the wait.

This is extremely interesting. I've put part of it in bold to keep it in my memory. Maybe guidelines like this should be printed and handed out to companies set on reviving older ballets. You have to commit to exploring and conquering so many aspects of dance and theater. And you have to accept that it may not be possible to everything on a program equally well. Good advice even today.

Re-reading some of the many varied recent comments, I'm reminded how little by Fokine still gets danced -- the man who led the way on from Petipa.

There's even something humiliating in the title of the Kirov's dvd of Sheherazade, Spectre, Firebird, and the Polovtsian Dances -- it's called "The Kirov celebrates Nijinsky". :wink:

Another thought is that the Nijinskys, brother and sister, left enough superb ballets between them to make one fantastic programme -- Biches, Faune, Noces. I don't think anyone ever did them together; any chance we could persuade a sensible management to do so?

One problem would be cost, especially if the company tried to reconstruction the entire production: costumes, sets, etc. This wold be even more the case with Fokine, whose productions were pretty lavish and detail-encrusted. How would the Nijinskys' choreography or Fokine's stand up in a more stripped down (and economical) production? Is it possible even to imagine such an approach? Or are revivals dependent on bringing back the entire Diaghilev "total art work" package?

#34 Paul Parish

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 04:33 PM

Re Fokine -- I've got an interesting sidelight about how hard it is to please someone who REALLY wknows what it should be like. When HTe SFopera and hte Kirovf collaborated on reviving the FABULOUS Bakst production of Glinka'sFABULOUS opera "Ruslan und Ludmila, " which contains two ballets, both by Fokine, Mme Jakobson told me she thought the ARabian ballet just didn't have the style -- it's a scene in which Ludmila's Arabic suitor is lulled to sleep by a magic spell in which all his harem from back home dance for him (the dancers were from the Kirov, I THINK), and it should be sdeuctive -- each one of hte dancers should greet him as she goes by, with her hand across her nose as in Mr B's Arabian, she should LOOK at him pleadingly (of course, in her own personality).

I didn't recognize that dance, but hte OTHER one was basically 'Le Festin de Pierre,' sets and costumes for which are famous fromk old photographs of Diaghilev's early seasons in Paris. In it Nijinsky did hte Lezghinka, and lo, there was the set, the costume, the postures, adn hte dance -- though it was not Nijinsky, it gave me SOME perspective on what a magnificent thnig ANY production at the Maryinsky must have been, since this was just a divertissement in an opera made onthe grandest scale, with the most deliciously sparkling Rossini-esque music, and a wizard with a 10-foot-long beard who flew through the skies trailing it behind him, casting spells. Russlan had his work cut out for him, even though Ludmila DID love him.

WHAT a fabulous opera!! No wonder Balanchine loved it.

#35 JohnP

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 10:28 AM

John, I've only seen photos of Charrat, and your post jogged my memory. She had (from what I remember from photos) real glamour, which the casts of "Le Combat" in the late 70s/early 80s certainly didn't. Hightower is another ballerina I regret not seeing -- I'm sure there are films somewhere, and widh they could be released.

Alexandra: Yes, Charrat was glamorous. The only film I know of her won't help much -- she was only 13 when she appeared with Yvette Chuvire in La Mort du Cygne. Later did solo recitals, then worked with Roland Petit. Her first notable choreography was Jeu de cartes starring Babilee. Best of her later pieces were Le Massacre des Amazones and Les Algues -- in both she played tragic drama.
Rosella Hightower wasn't pretty but had a good physique and the strongest technique of any ballerina. Her Black Swan was remarkable -- instead of flashing her speed she did amazing SLOW pirouettes. She could shine in classics (e.g. Giselle, La Sylphide) but also created roles by Taras (La Piege de Lumiere), Lichine, Bejart etc. Exceptionally intelligent, she became an outstanding teacher and a good director (including a spell at the Paris Opera). She was, incidentally, one of the American indian stars together with the Tallchief sisters, Yvone Chouteau and Jocelyne Larkin.

#36 Alexandra

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:20 PM

Thank you for that, John. I knew Hightower was one of the Five, but didn't realize she was so strong a technician.

It's interesting, though frustrating, to read about so many of these ballets -- most of them are probably dead now, and the few that could be revived....won't be.

#37 atm711

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 04:25 AM

Rosella Hightower wasn't pretty but had a good physique and the strongest technique of any ballerina. Her Black Swan was remarkable -- instead of flashing her speed she did amazing SLOW pirouettes. She could shine in classics (e.g. Giselle, La Sylphide) but also created roles by Taras (La Piege de Lumiere), Lichine, Bejart etc. Exceptionally intelligent, she became an outstanding teacher and a good director (including a spell at the Paris Opera). She was, incidentally, one of the American indian stars together with the Tallchief sisters, Yvone Chouteau and Jocelyne Larkin.


To that I would add her Odette. She had a pristine classical line; it's the role I most missed her in when she went to Europe. She had full ballerina status at the time with Ballet Theatre (her name was among the top four; no alphabetising then). She was the first Myrtha I saw (with Toumanova, Markova and Alonso as her Giselle) and she stood her own as the fine ballerina she was. Also, she did a marvelous comic turn as the pig-tailed student in 'Graduation Ball'.


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