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Stories that should be a BalletHere is your chance to be creative!


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#136 2dds

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 03:25 PM

I hope this hasn't been mentioned before. But ... how about a ballet based on Virginia Woolf's strange, rather surrealistic novel, Orlando? The title role requires someone who can dance as a man(boy) and also as a woman, in the course of a single work.

My thought was that this could be danced on one evening by a woman (Tilda Swinton performed the part in the film) and on the next evening by a man.

Something like this would seem to be right up the alley of the Paris Opera Ballet (home of such works as Caligula, Clavigo, and the Proust ballet, les Intermittences du Coeur.

P.S. This came up in another thread devoted to the Trocks, but I thought it might be intresting to repeat it here.


Interesting as usual Bart. Glad to see you still fighting the good fight! I am also gratified to see how the idea of "appropriate" topics for a contemporary story ballet has also been freed up from where it was stuck a few years ago

#137 lmspear

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

I've been having fantasies of ABT doing Philadelphia Story as a ballet with Marcelo Gomes in the Cary Grant role, Gillian Murphy in the Katherine Hepburn and Sascha Radetsky as the Jimmy Stewart character. I'd like to see Ratmansky try something with an "all-American" setting.

#138 Birdsall

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 05:58 PM

I would love a ballet version of Bellini's opera Norma. It is my favorite opera next to Wagner's Ring. 4 major principals (Norma, Adalgisa, Pollione, Oroveso), a love triangle, Druids including priestesses and Romans (for the corps). The scene in which Norma learns her friend and junior priestess Adalgisa is her rival would make a GREAT moment. One of the most thrilling scenes in all of opera, in my opinion, and I bet it would make a great ballet scene too.

Bellini has operas that are very rarely played, so music could be taken from his other operas along with some music from the actual opera. Or a whole new score could be created.

#139 Shirabyoshi

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:59 AM

Birdsall, I love the idea of Norma becoming a ballet!

And I'd like to add a hearty +1 for style to any and all suggestions derived from Jacques Demy films or set in the precincts of the Alhambra.

My own imaginary ballet hasn't quite come together yet in my mind; but it involves elaborate sets, extravagant costumes, a simple sentimental story (I think a novel would be too much to convey in dance), and all the other hallmarks of my rather unsophisticated taste.

There are three acts, each set in a different time period, and perhaps each the work of a different choreographer. The score should be by the same composer, though, to give it a bit of stylistic unity, and so that themes can be developed in the first two acts which will come into full flower in the third, i.e. people will know when to start sniffling.

The love story is a little bit inspired by Ivor Novello's Perchance to Dream. The characters are essentially the same all the way through, and are portrayed by the same dancers -- they're either ancestors and descendants, or reincarnations, it's never made clear. The audience can pick their own interpretation, according to taste.

In the first two acts, the lovers take turns sacrificing love for the sake of duty or a greater good (I think this is the best way to have the audience rooting for them), and -- this is important -- for reasons easily portrayable in mime. Perhaps in one act the lady finds out that her gentleman friend's previous lady friend is expecting, and turns away from him so that he can marry the mother of his child. Perhaps in the other act the gentleman is of lower birth and/or a frightful roué and just can't let the lady throw herself away on him (distaff Marguerite and Armand).

Then, in the third act, you can imagine. They meet in a time and place in which, at last, the barriers to their love are surmountable. Cue extended wedding pas de deux.

There would also be lots of Fred Stepping.

/end fantasy

#140 Moonlily

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 02:37 PM

This is definitely an interesting thread! Since I have been ballet, I have often caught myself thinking "now how would this story be as a ballet?" when reading a novel, listening to a song that tells a story or even when hearing about a legend.
I really like bart's idea on this page regarding 'Orlando'! I think it would be rather interesting not only with regards to what the novel has to offer in content but also regarding bart's suggestion of it being danced by a woman one evening and a man next.
Because I am quite new to this place, I will have to read a bit more through the pages in order to know what has been suggested so that I do not repeat myself.

#141 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:25 AM

This is a fun topic! Lots of fun suggestions. Ok, here are two ideas I've had for a long time.

1. A ballet set to Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. Not sure if it would be plotless or tell a story or be a loose sketch, I'd have to listen to them again, but whenever I hear them on the radio, I immediately hear the dancing and start visualizing how a ballet with that music would look . 2. A ballet called Ballet for Youth set to the recorded music of Cat Stevens. It would be danced by ballet students and would celebrate teenagers, their energies, fresh outlooks, etc., but also express the challenges 21st c. teens face.
Also, choreography to Eric Satie's gymnopedie and other pieces of his. And Mozart's 3rd violin concerto.

#142 Helene

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:59 AM

Also, choreography to Eric Satie's gymnopedie and other pieces of his.


Have you ever seen the Ashton ballets, Monotones I and II?

Here are some YouTube links:
http://m.youtube.com...h?v=SXKPglqs3B8
http://m.youtube.com...h?v=C1iFPJdnFSo

The Metropolitan Opera did a triple bill in the '80's: the ballet was Eric Satie's "Parade.". It wasn't very good, but the original was written for and produced by Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes, with choreography by Massine and sets by Picasso.

#143 bart

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:49 AM

Thank you, AlbanyGirl, for your suggestion of Satie. And thank you, thank you, thank you, Helene, for those links to Ashton's Monotones. (Unfortunately I could link only to Monotones II, not Monotones I. Posted Image )

It's always interesting to recall that Monotones II (to Trois Gymnopedies) was created written before Monotones I. (to Trois Gnossiennes). Would love to have the chance to see the Gnossiennes from the same staging as your Monotones II. The black background and black, light-reflecting floor are marvelous.

When I was a student, I had an lp recording of original piano settings of both the Gymnopedies and the Gnossiennes. (Debussy, I believe, did the orchestrations later on.) I listened to this recording obsessively. It was impossible not to imagine dancers as I listened. I saw planets moving through space -- strange sea creatures pulsing through the water.

It was a gift from the ballet gods when I found, a few years later, that the Royal Ballet was performing just such a work on its New York City program. The imagery was similar, but the steps of course were infinitely more eery and precise than my imaginings. A decade or so later, the Joffrey revived both parts of Monotones a part of a triple bill. What a time it was to be watching ballet in New York City.

#144 sandik

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:50 AM

The Metropolitan Opera did a triple bill in the '80's: the ballet was Eric Satie's "Parade.". It wasn't very good, but the original was written for and produced by Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes, with choreography by Massine and sets by Picasso.


I was always sorry I missed the Met's production, just to have seen what Veredon did with it. Robert Joffrey got Massine to restage Parade for the company in the 1970s, and it was one of the first worked broadcast on the Dance in America series. I don't know how close to the original it was, but the version I saw was great fun. Moses Pendleton (of Pilobolus) made a new version of Relache for the company in the 80s, but I don't know if he made much use of the earlier production by Jean Borlin.

#145 sandik

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:51 AM

Thank you, AlbanyGirl, for your suggestion of Satie. And thank you, thank you, thank you, Helene, for those links to Ashton's Monotones.


Yes -- I love them both!

#146 ascballerina

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:11 PM

Reading through this thread, I had two immediate thoughts: Little Women and Oliver Twist. (although I liked the Harry Potter and Star Wars ideas mentioned earlier. Posted Image )

For a long time, though, I've had a fantasy about doing a ballet loosely based on the creation of the universe and solar system (or perhaps just a tour of the solar system) to Holst's The Planets and (at the beginning) Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathrusta. I can see a corps of dancers recreating the idea of orbits and chaos; the sun and Saturn's rings.....along with some comet and meteor solos!

#147 Ray

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:59 PM

I wonder, though, what dancer would want to portray a massive round object.

Reading through this thread, I had two immediate thoughts: Little Women and Oliver Twist. (although I liked the Harry Potter and Star Wars ideas mentioned earlier. Posted Image )

For a long time, though, I've had a fantasy about doing a ballet loosely based on the creation of the universe and solar system (or perhaps just a tour of the solar system) to Holst's The Planets and (at the beginning) Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathrusta. I can see a corps of dancers recreating the idea of orbits and chaos; the sun and Saturn's rings.....along with some comet and meteor solos!



#148 sandik

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:06 PM

I wonder, though, what dancer would want to portray a massive round object.


Reading through this thread, I had two immediate thoughts: Little Women and Oliver Twist. (although I liked the Harry Potter and Star Wars ideas mentioned earlier. Posted Image )

For a long time, though, I've had a fantasy about doing a ballet loosely based on the creation of the universe and solar system (or perhaps just a tour of the solar system) to Holst's The Planets and (at the beginning) Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathrusta. I can see a corps of dancers recreating the idea of orbits and chaos; the sun and Saturn's rings.....along with some comet and meteor solos!


It sounds like it would make a fabulous court ballet, though!

#149 bart

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:56 PM


I wonder, though, what dancer would want to portray a massive round object.


Reading through this thread, I had two immediate thoughts: Little Women and Oliver Twist. (although I liked the Harry Potter and Star Wars ideas mentioned earlier. Posted Image )

For a long time, though, I've had a fantasy about doing a ballet loosely based on the creation of the universe and solar system (or perhaps just a tour of the solar system) to Holst's The Planets and (at the beginning) Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathrusta. I can see a corps of dancers recreating the idea of orbits and chaos; the sun and Saturn's rings.....along with some comet and meteor solos!


It sounds like it would make a fabulous court ballet, though!

Yes! And quite the antithesis of Monotones.

#150 Helene

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:14 PM

Thank you, AlbanyGirl, for your suggestion of Satie. And thank you, thank you, thank you, Helene, for those links to Ashton's Monotones. (Unfortunately I could link only to Monotones II, not Monotones I.)

The second link is coming up for me, but it's mis-labelled. It's actually another, poorer quality video of "Monotones II" with a different cast.

I've always loved the Gnoissiennes more than the Gymnopedies.

When I was a student, I had an lp recording of original piano settings of both the Gymnopedies and the Gnossiennes.

I think I wore out the same LP.
http://plade-klassik...4cc1677a5788ef1

I wonder, though, what dancer would want to portray a massive round object.


From the exuberance with which these characters embraced Thomas Lund the other night, I think there would be takers:


Lucien Postlewaite talked about being careful about his diet before dancing "Apollo": he described the costume as "floss.". Playing a planet would be more forgiving :)


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