MJ

Stories that should be a Ballet

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Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages! Here is your chance to be truly creative and suggest a popular story for a ballet.

Some Guidelines:

Story should have never/rarely been performed as a ballet.

Ballet companies typically have more women than men, choose accordingly.

Once you have chosen a story, give a brief description of what occurs in each act.

Bonus points for musical suggestions. (eg JP Sousa's Washington Post March)

Possible sources for ideas:

Fairy tales (Duh!)

Fiction and Non-fiction literature

American Tall Tales

Folk Tales (The "Fox and the Grapes" would involve a LOT of jumping by the Fox)

Greek Myths and Drama

Movies/Drama/Broadway Musical (NBC's "Raise the Red Lantern" was brilliant!)

Amusement park rides (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Urban legends

Historical events/figures (Napoleon and Josephine?) (The Salem Witch trials?)

Opera (your musical choice is already done)

A ballet based on a series of artist's music (Sousa, Led Zepellin, Kenny Loggins, Streisand, Snoop Dogg)

Have fun! :dunno:

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I'm still waiting for Harry Potter... one of these days its going to make a killing...

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I'm still waiting for Harry Potter... one of these days its going to make a killing...

I've already seen Harry, Hermione and Ron on the local ballet competition scene!

I want to see the Indian legend of Rama and Sita staged as a ballet (full length preferably). I haven't worked out the *details* of the acts/music, but I do know what cast I want: Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Svetlana Lunkina.

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The Wizard of Oz. Great opportunities for divertissements for the scarecrow, lion, tin man, good witch, and evil witch. Also, children's parts because of the munchkins...Maybe music could be an extended orchestration of the movie score.

I've also always wanted to choreography a Mario ballet. He would pass through all sorts of trials, only to realize that "the princess is in another castle," so ends act one. The backdrop would be slowly moving from right to left, just as it did in the old games. Again, music would HAVE to be an extended orchestration of the game's score.

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A Mario ballet is a great idea (as is Oz)! But could we try to keep the Mario theme :blink: to a necessary minimum?

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"Should" might be a strong word for these ideas:

How about Rashomon (the Kurosawa film in which a crime witnessed by four individuals is described in four mutually contradictory ways)? Four different variations, in the broader sense of the word...

Or, another film with repetition-with-a-difference, this time humorous: Groundhog Day. At the start he's pulled into the dancing, but soon he knows the steps even before the others have taken them...at the end he gets to dance a brand new dance, etc. (sounds kinda cheesy now that I've written it out!). And the "Punxsutawney Polka" has already been composed...

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Ray, I love the Groundhog Day idea.

The plot could be a simple as: "Boy meets girl, Boy dances with girl, Boy gets carried away and makes an ass of himself in front of girl, Boy loses girl."

What each section has in common is that the day gets repeated and we see the protagonist reinventing his courtship routine and trying ingeniously, and with increasing desperation, to make things turn out differently.

A classical score -- a sort of "variations on a theme by .. " would provide unity and difference. (Anyi ideas?)

At the end ... well, I am thinking of a happy ending, but don't know how this would be achieved. :blink:

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Ray, I love the Groundhog Day idea.

The plot could be a simple as: "Boy meets girl, Boy dances with girl, Boy gets carried away and makes an ass of himself in front of girl, Boy loses girl."

What each section has in common is that the day gets repeated and we see the protagonist reinventing his courtship routine and trying ingeniously, and with increasing desperation, to make things turn out differently.

A classical score -- a sort of "variations on a theme by .. " would provide unity and difference. (Anyi ideas?)

At the end ... well, I am thinking of a happy ending, but don't know how this would be achieved. :blink:

Doesn't the movie end happily? I can't remember what happens, exactly. Is that happy ending somehow untranslatable to point shoes and glissades?

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Doesn't the movie end happily? I can't remember what happens, exactly. Is that happy ending somehow untranslatable to point shoes and glissades?
It ends happily, though I can't remember what change of character occurs to break the spell.

In our ballet, the character defect is dancer-arrogance. In each episode he attempts to win the girl by dazzling her with overwhelming dancing feats. This never works. She leaves; a couple of times he's so involved with his own dancing that he doesn't even notice.

Now comes the last episode. The day starts again, but somehow he's changed. He's tired of the person he has become. We know this by the humbler, more considerate way he approaches her.

Instead of bravura, he performs a simple and sincerely felt variation. Pure and perfect. Then comes the time when he has to reach out to invite her to join him in the dance. This time she does. The spell is broken. They do a lovely pas. Lights fade. Curtain.

This could be the beginning of a Bill Murray Ballet Festival. Just imagine Caddyshack and Stripes.

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...or Osmosis Jones... :blink:

..............or Lost in Translation

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Thank you for starting an interesting topic, MJ.

I think Rashomon has possibilities, Ray.

The Wizard of Oz - interesting, but you do need those special effects......

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The Wizard of Oz. Great opportunities for divertissements for the scarecrow, lion, tin man, good witch, and evil witch. Also, children's parts because of the munchkins...Maybe music could be an extended orchestration of the movie score.

I've also always wanted to choreography a Mario ballet. He would pass through all sorts of trials, only to realize that "the princess is in another castle," so ends act one. The backdrop would be slowly moving from right to left, just as it did in the old games. Again, music would HAVE to be an extended orchestration of the game's score.

Hopefully you refer to the MGM masterpiece and not the Disney Fiasco :(

As for Mario music, it is boring and repetitive. Having barrels rolling across the stage for Mario to "leap" over may be more suited for speed skaters than ballet dancers.

You bring up other subject areas for Ideas:

Video Games

Comic Books (Marvel and DC JEALOUSLY guard their intellectual property)

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I think that "Smiles of a Summer Night" would make a great ballet. There'd be a wonderful part for an older character dancer (Fredrik Egerman) and contrast between all of the couples for quite different pas de deux: Egerman and his young wife, Anne, Egerman and the actress Desiree Armfeldt, the catty little scene between Anne and Charlotte Malcolm, several different kinds for Charlotte and the Count, the pas de trois between Egerman, Count Malcolm, and Armfeldt, comic scenes between Petra and Henrik and Petra and Frid. There are plenty of opportunities for solos of all temperament. The core cast would be 7-8, and the costumes would be divine.

For music -- no Sondheim! Maybe some songs by Sjoberg, including the ravishing "Tonerna" if vocals were used. I know Sibelius is Finnish, not Swedish, but maybe we could sneak him in. I don't know of many Swedish composers, I'm afraid.

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Thank you for starting an interesting topic, MJ.

I think Rashomon has possibilities, Ray.

The Wizard of Oz - interesting, but you do need those special effects......

Fly my pretties, FLY!!!! :(

Red Shoes! Fairies! Munchkins! Dancing! Flying Monkies! Violin Solos! A rolling bed scene! and a Happy Ending!

Of course it would make a perfect ballet.

Toto danced by a man would work.

Act I Kansas/tornado/munchkinland

Act II Woods/witches dungeon/ castle scen

Act III Emerald City Finale w/transition back to Kansas a la Nutcracker (it was all a dream!)

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I keep thinking of the movie "Legends of the Fall". You concentrate on the love triangles; great opportunities for pdds of love, partings, reunions, grief, etc. Not too many characters, however. The 3 brothers, the 2 women involved, maybe Mom and Dad. But no corps scenes unless you follow Christian on his journies. Still, those pdds. Of course Brad Pitt would play himself!!

Giannina

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I'm going to keep my own counsel here. One of my favorite ideas for a ballet has already been mentioned, so I'm not tipping my hand a millimeter.

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I'm going to keep my own counsel here. One of my favorite ideas for a ballet has already been mentioned, so I'm not tipping my hand a millimeter.

I ask other posters not to adhere to this policy. Keep suggestions coming, please. :)

Not too many characters, however.

And not a lot of pretty scenery, which was for me the major attraction of the movie, in all honesty. There is also the matter of Brad Pitt's demise a la the unfortunate Timothy Treadwell, which I suppose could be dealt with using a character dancer in a bear suit, not that many will be eager to don one after recent events at Atlanta Ballet......

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Dido & Aeneas (But with an original score, please. I don't want to listen to mutilated Purcell.)

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King Lear. A classic story and there ought to be more ballets from Shakespeare. Plus it has multiple female roles.

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Balanchine is quoted by Solomon Volkov as saying:

I'm not against story in ballet, it all depends on how it's done. Petipa took subjects that were easy to turn into dance. But what they sing in Carmen cannot be translated into dance. No one would understand anything.

As this thread shows there many interesting stories. But how many of them would actually pass what we might call the "Balanchine test." That is, something that would make direct and immediate sense in dance terms? Not relying on prior knowledge of the plot. And not requiring elaborate pre-performance explanation or program notes.

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Balanchine is quoted by Solomon Volkov as saying:
I'm not against story in ballet, it all depends on how it's done. Petipa took subjects that were easy to turn into dance. But what they sing in Carmen cannot be translated into dance. No one would understand anything.

As this thread shows there many interesting stories. But how many of them would actually pass what we might call the "Balanchine test." That is, something that would make direct and immediate sense in dance terms? Not relying on prior knowledge of the plot. And not requiring elaborate pre-performance explanation or program notes.

Hardly any. So many of the narratives we've mentioned depend on/revel in language. That's why Shakespeare's hard enough for theater companies to perform.

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I'm going to keep my own counsel here. One of my favorite ideas for a ballet has already been mentioned, so I'm not tipping my hand a millimeter.

A Ballet about bodily functions? that would be VERY um, ah, different.

Mike

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As this thread shows there many interesting stories. But how many of them would actually pass what we might call the "Balanchine test." That is, something that would make direct and immediate sense in dance terms? Not relying on prior knowledge of the plot. And not requiring elaborate pre-performance explanation or program notes.

Balanchine (or maybe another choreographer :crying: ) said something to the effect that there are no "mother's inlaw in ballet

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