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


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#91 bart

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 07:08 AM

I've been rereading this very interesting thread and wanted to respond to a couple of MJ's earlier suggestions:

Groundhog Day: Now THAT I'd love to see. So many ballets nowadays are pretty much of repetitive and interchangeable, in essence anyway if not in detail, as were Bill Murray's days. :yahoo: It would be interesting to see the ending -- the breaking of the pattern.

Napoleon and Josephine: You'd have to revise the story structure. Josephine's story is interesting in an upwardly-mobile Manon kind of way UNTIL she marries Napoleon. After that, she sits around a lot in Paris and Malmaison while he conquers much of Europe. I'd love to see the character dancing by Napoleon's grasping and very strange mother, brothers, and sisters. But Josephine?

_________________________

What about the Bluebeard story? (Or -- if modern versions need something more familiar and "accessible" -- the Wives of Henry VIII?)

#92 miliosr

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:35 PM

I'll play . . .

My dream ballet takes place in the Muslim kingdom of Granada on the night of December 31, 1491. On that night, the last ruler of the kingdom -- Muhammad XII (Boabdil) -- contemplates, with shame and sorrow, that he must turn over the kingdom and its fabled palace the Alhambra to their Catholic majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella, on the following day. Alone in the throne room of the Alhambra, he dances a dance of despair as he confronts the reality that Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula is ending after 800 years. Soon, three individuals confront him in succession:

1) The father, Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali, who he betrayed and displaced as ruler of Granada;

2) The mother, Zoraya, who encouraged his mad ambitions but now reviles him for allowing the kingdom to fall into Catholic hands; and

3) The ghost of Muhammed I, the founder of the kingdom in the 13th century, who haunts him for failing to preserve the kingdom.

Boabdil dances with each of these individuals until, left alone, he continues his mad dance of despair . . .

My title? The Last Sigh of the Moor

My Boabdil? Ed Watson (And, before the posts start rolling in that Ed Watson would make for an unlikely Moor, the founder of the Muslim Abbasid dynasty in al-Andalus (Spain) had red hair.)

#93 Philip

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 07:34 AM

BLOGO!!! The Ballet.

The story of the martyr Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his fall from grace! We'll cast Rahm Emanuel play the part of the governor...but he'll have to hold his tongue and grow his hair.

Nyuk, Nyuk, Philip.

#94 Philip

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 07:37 AM

I've been rereading this very interesting thread and wanted to respond to a couple of MJ's earlier suggestions:

Groundhog Day: Now THAT I'd love to see. So many ballets nowadays are pretty much of repetitive and interchangeable, in essence anyway if not in detail, as were Bill Murray's days. :wink: It would be interesting to see the ending -- the breaking of the pattern.


My name is Phil and I was born on Feb 2nd. (Puxatauney Phil) I'll play the part of the Groundhog. (My Mom swears up and down that mine is a family name - it is- but, naming me that on Feb 2nd was just not fair...one step under "a boy named Sue!"

#95 carbro

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:39 AM

:wink:
A happy birthday to you, Philip, one day in advance!

My parents named their son, born on Feb. 2, Charles, Chip for short. Had they chosen Chuck as a nickname, he'd have been a step away from you -- the Woodchuck! (Groundhog and woodchuck being two names for the same critter.)

#96 bart

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:56 PM

(Groundhog and woodchuck being two names for the same critter.)

It's amazing the kind of thing you can learn on Ballet Talk! Thanks, carbro and philip.

I'm sorry I missed miliosr's brilliant suggestion :wink: for "Last Sigh of the Moor." This really has possibilities.

How about setting it in the Sala de los Abencerrajes in the Alhambra?

http://www.travelswi...07/img_0564.jpg

http://www.etribes.c...bencerrajes.jpg

It's said that Boabdil invited members of a rival noble family, the Abencerrajes, to dine with him and had them massacred in this space. Another set of ghosts to haunt Boabdil as he spins towards the collapse of his world?

Edward Watson sounds great. How about Desmond Richardson? And Marcelo Gomes for the ABT production? This would also seem a natural to be picked up by Victor Ullate's company, or Angel Corella's, in Spain.

Any way to give the story a happy ending? (Just kidding. :o :) ) But, to be serious, in Petipa's day they would have done just that. There might have been a Christian princess held imprisoned, though still virginal, in the Alhambra -- a brave Crusader who risks his life to save her -- and a final triumphal scene, with divertissement, featuring the arrival of Ferdinand and Isabella and their court.

#97 miliosr

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 03:54 PM

Well, if anyone on this board knows Ed Watson, tell him I've got a neurotic character for him to play!

My Last Sigh of the Moor ballet would only work in a smaller space so a staging in one of the rooms at the Alhambra would be perfect. It seems like the Corella Ballet has played everywhere else in Spain so maybe they could debut it there. :wink:

If Angel Corella is looking for new ballets for his company, then he should consider hiring someone to stage Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra.

#98 bart

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 05:33 PM

If Angel Corella is looking for new ballets for his company, then he should consider hiring someone to stage Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra.

Maybe 4rmrdncr can pass the idea on to Corella!

Some rewriting would be necessary, however, to fit the value and sensibilities of modern Spain and its (once again) large Muslim community.

#99 Rosa

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:21 AM

I wonder if any of Rogers and Hammerstein's musicals would make good ballets. A full-length Carousel, King and I, or Oklahoma... With the famous scores or original music?

#100 EvilNinjaX

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:37 PM

A few Japanese fables that immediately come to mind:

TAKETORI MONOGATARI

http://en.wikipedia....e_Bamboo_Cutter

"There have been suggestions that The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is related to the tale of Swan Lake[citation needed]. This probably is due to Kaguya-hime wearing the hagoromo (羽衣 "feather robe") when she ascends to her homeland. But the hagoromo figures more famously in a group of tales known as the hagoromo densetsu (in one example recorded in the Ohmi-no-kuni Fudo ki tells of a man who instructs his dog to steal the hagoromo of eight heavenly maidens while they were bathing, forcing one of them to become his bride). And the latter is remarkably similar to the tale of how Völundr the Smith and his brothers wedded the swan-maidens."

MOMOTARO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momotaro

"Momotarō left his parents for an island called Onigashima to destroy the marauding oni (demons or ogres) that dwelt there. En route, Momotarō met and befriended a talking dog, monkey, and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest. At the island, Momotarō and his animal friends penetrated the demons' fort and beat the demons' leader, Ura, as well as his army, into surrendering. Momotarō returned home with his new friends, and his family lived comfortably from then on."


KINTARO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintarō

"His animal friends served him as messengers and mounts, and some legends say that he even learned to speak their language. Several tales tell of Kintarō's adventures, fighting monsters and demons, beating bears in sumo wrestling, and helping the local woodcutters fell trees"


also,
THE LITTLE MERMAID or the latest incarnation: GAKE NO UE NO PONYO

a few Ghibli films:
TOTORO and MAJO NO TAKYUBIN (KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE)

-goro-

#101 bart

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 02:56 PM

I've been thinking about Rosa's suggestion about the R&H musicals. I have just seen several performances of a ballet that made a mess of trying to include and explicate all the plot lines of Midsummer Night's Dream, I wonder how much editing would be needed to turn those Broadway musicals into a wordless ballet.

Maybe we should just be grateful to have the already-existing ballets within Carousel, King and I, and Oklahoma. How can you do better than those?

EvilNinjaX, I love the visual possibilities uses that could be made of that "Feather Robe."

Momotaro made me think of the Prince's adventures in Firebird. But there's no Princess to save and marry! That -- in ballet -- is a serious problem. :huh: Any suggestions?

#102 bart

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:24 PM

There's a new book out from Yale Univ. Press: Douglas Smith's The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia.

The "Pearl" is Praskovya Kovalyova, a young woman born into serfdom who rose to become the star of a nobleman's private serf theater, singing leads in operas and performing in a variety of theatrical works.

Count Nicholas Sheremetv, her owner, had on his estate what was certainly the largest private theater in Russia. It was designed by one of the men responsible for the Royal Opera at Versailles, so you can get an idea of the scale of "private theaters" at that time.

Sheremetev was unmarried but known for his many mistresses and his willingness to exercise droit de seigneur with his prettier serfs. He fell in love with Praskovya, freed her, and wed her secretly. When she became pregnant he confessed the marriage to the Tsar. She died in childbirth, but her child -- a son -- was legitimized. The Count spent the rest of his life worshipping her memory.

The review I read has this to say about her place in history:

Praskovya's story and piety were the stuff of 19th-century folk legend and song, and in the Soviet period her halo as the embodiment of popular genius was burnished.


Maybe this story HAS been made into a ballet. If not, someone should consider it. Turning the Pearl into a ballet dancer would seem to be a necessity.

#103 EricMontreal22

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:11 PM

I wonder if any of Rogers and Hammerstein's musicals would make good ballets. A full-length Carousel, King and I, or Oklahoma... With the famous scores or original music?


As a huge musical theatre fan, and a fan of R&H in particular, I think the problem is both that there's too much plot to convey more than a feeling for these pieces, and that the music would be hard to use. If they didn't use the songs in some way, audiences would be alienated, but using the music of the songs for a dance piece feels redundant to me. Plus of course many R&H works (especially the early ones) had major dance piece sin them already.

I'm a bit of a Stephen Sondheim nut and was thinking recently how his musicals have such strong rhythms in them. While I'd never suggest, say a ballet of Company or Sweeney Todd (although I think Passion, his most operatic and lyrical score COULD work actually--story and music wise), I've been listening to his one movie score, the incidental (non sung) music for the French film Stavisky from the 70s. It's an absolute gem of a score, with so much music--dark and driving at times, soft and lyrical and melancholy at others, that both suggest a story to me and seem ideal for ballet and dance. It's such a little known score too--by Sondheim standards (the soundtrack is available as a bonus on the Follies in Concert CD) that I don't think even Sondheim fanatics would bring a preconceived story to it. The actual story of the film--a bio pic about famous French embezzler Stavisky, is way too complicated for a ballet, but I think another story could easily be adapted to it--or maybe just abstract dances. Anyway, now that I've had that thought I can't listen to the music *without* imagining dance.

#104 miliosr

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 03:03 PM

Some ideas that have been percolating around in my mind:

1) In honor of the 50th anniversary of its release in 2010, create a dance set to all or part of Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain.

2) Similarly, use the music from Paul Weston's 1957 Crescent City to make a suite of dances about New Orleans.

3) "Borrow" the title of the 1958 George Melachrino LP Lisbon at Twilight and make a suite of dances about Portugal using Portugese fado music.

4) In the vein of Martha Graham's Episodes, make a dance about the Dowager Empress Marie of Russia and the Empress Alexandra of Russia. (And, please, spare me the famous quote about mother-in-laws and the dance.)

#105 dirac

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for reviving this thread, miliosr. I like your Sketches of Spain idea. Who to choreograph?


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