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Sweet, cute and happy ballets?What ballets other then La fille mal gardee?


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35 replies to this topic

#16 Farrell Fan

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:03 PM

Must be some deMille thing as well...


That would be "Rodeo." It meets all the criteria.

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 06:40 PM

Does anybody do Christensen's "Con Amore" any more?

And "Great Galloping Gottschalk" is Lynne Taylor-Corbett's, not Sappington's.

#18 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:54 PM

Oh God! How could I do that?

#19 JMcN

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:22 AM

How about Sir Frederick Ashton's "The Dream", which is very funny and absolutely sublime. His Two Pigeons is also sublime and so happy that my friends and I all end up weeping buckets by the end. An acquaintance asked us why we were crying at a happy ballet and the answer was of course because it's so happy!

I also agree with suggestions earlier in the thread of Coppelia and Taming of the Shrew.

More recent productions that I have found to be fun are David Nixon's witty interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream - there are lots of real laugh out loud moments with the star-crossed lovers. His Three Musketeers is great, swash buckling fun and there are lots of cheery moments in his Gershwin Ballet "I got rhythm".

David Bintley's Hobson's Choice is a comic masterpiece and his more recent Cyrano is bittersweet with laugh out load moments and great tragedy (at least 3 man-sized boxes of tissues are required!).

#20 chrisk217

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:26 AM

I also have to quibble with the choice of "Bright Stream."

it does sweeten up a period of forced collectivization in the Soviet Union which resulted, directly and indirectly, in the displacement and death of millions. There will always have to be a dark sub-text to that particular ballet, as far as I am concerned.

By that measure shouldn't we perhaps quibble over Fille mal gardee too? For a ballet that was premiered 14 days before the fall of the Bastille it is uncommonly cheery and light-hearted. Where did all those happy peasants come from? Where is the famine, the ravages of numerous past wars, the social upheaval?

And how about Coppelia - premiered just days before the declaration of the 1870 war, one with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, and its young ballerina dead at 17 from cholera contracted during the siege of Paris.

I admire your sensitivity but there are dark subtexts everywhere - all you have to do is look for them. Being aware of history is essential but it should not prevent us from having our spirits lifted by works of art, especially works of art that are affirmations of happiness created in defiance of the dark realities of human existence.

The revival btw does not claim to be a realistic representation of life in a collective. That is hinted throughout the ballet and any relation to reality is abandoned when the giant vegetables roll out.

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:07 AM

By that measure shouldn't we perhaps quibble over Fille mal gardee too? For a ballet that was premiered 14 days before the fall of the Bastille it is uncommonly cheery and light-hearted. Where did all those happy peasants come from? Where is the famine, the ravages of numerous past wars, the social upheaval?


Fille was premiered in Bordeaux, not Paris.

And how about Coppelia - premiered just days before the declaration of the 1870 war, one with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, and its young ballerina dead at 17 from cholera contracted during the siege of Paris.


The key word here is "before". Before the Franco-Prussian War, Napoleon III and his whole establishment were convinced that they could win any war with anybody, anytime in maybe a couple of weeks. Sound familiar? :excl:

I admire your sensitivity but there are dark subtexts everywhere - all you have to do is look for them. Being aware of history is essential but it should not prevent us from having our spirits lifted by works of art, especially works of art that are affirmations of happiness created in defiance of the dark realities of human existence.



Very true, but in looking for "dark subtexts", we have to be careful of Presentism, where we apply what we know now to a situation that happened before the fact, or elsewhere. I have to do this all the time when lecturing on the last year of the War for American Independence: "The last major battle of the war was Yorktown, in Virginia, in 1781. Of course, at the time, nobody KNEW that it was the last Big One, but that's how it worked out!"

The revival btw does not claim to be a realistic representation of life in a collective. That is hinted throughout the ballet and any relation to reality is abandoned when the giant vegetables roll out.


Oh, I dunno, it could have something to do with the quality of the potato crop that year, and the output of the State Vodka Distillery! :P

#22 bart

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 12:07 PM

I admire your sensitivity but there are dark subtexts everywhere - all you have to do is look for them. Being aware of history is essential but it should not prevent us from having our spirits lifted by works of art, especially works of art that are affirmations of happiness created in defiance of the dark realities of human existence.

True. But the examples you give -- Fille mal gardee and Coppelia -- have to do with the period and context in which they were produced, not with the story of the ballet itself.

The problem with Bright Stream is quite different. It "brightens" -- in the sense of sanitizing and trivializing -- a monumental political and economic catastrophe (many consider it a "crime") on the part of the Soviet regime, one which involved the desctruction and dislocation of a huge number of human lives.

It hs to be said that Stalin did not like the ballet, that the director of the Bolshoi was eventually fired, and that the librettist was later sent to a gulag. These are all mitigating circumstances, of course. Some even go further argue that the ballet was intended as -- and taken by the audience in 1935 to be -- a social criticism of the collectivization movement. I find that argument implausible, or naive.

I'm not calling for a boycott. People today should enjoy the ballet, certainly. But they should also be aware of the tragic historical circumstances in and around which it was created.

I should add that I have not myself seen this revival. However, I've read quite a few reviews, articles and letters debating its significance -- both to Stalinism in the 1930s and to the very different social and political environment in Russia today.

#23 SpanCox

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 12:36 PM

And welcome to BalletTalk, SpanCox. I'd like to invite you to tell us a bit more about yourself in our Welcome Page.


Thank you for that, I just posted my presentation.

Bright stream seems interesting, I can see that Bolshoi gives it this spring, though it is slightly expensive in Russia.

Thank you all for the great and quick response to my call.

Best regards


Thomas Koos

#24 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:24 PM

Perhaps it would be interesting, from an academic point of view, to see a restoration of the original Stalin-era Gayane, with Gayane's counter-revolutionary husband Giko, and Captain of glorious Red Army as hero. I've always wanted to find out if the final curtain actually came as the entire company danced for joy around a tractor.

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:12 PM

... as the entire company danced for joy around a tractor.

:clapping:

#26 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:36 PM

And SpanCox, since you're in Sweden, you stand a better chance of running into a production of the sweet, cute, happy "Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master", which from 1786, is the oldest ballet still known to today's audiences and companies. The Royal Danish Ballet has had it since then and somebody still must remember it. Funny, the tragedies like Giselle and Swan Lake have proven staying power, but the oldest ballet of all is a comedy!

#27 SpanCox

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:21 PM

And SpanCox, since you're in Sweden, you stand a better chance of running into a production of the sweet, cute, happy "Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master", which from 1786, is the oldest ballet still known to today's audiences and companies.


Thank you, I will look up that one immediately!
It is very nice, not only to have the suggestions but the background info and facts as well.

Best regards

Thomas Koos

#28 volcanohunter

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:32 PM

And how about Coppelia - premiered just days before the declaration of the 1870 war, one with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, and its young ballerina dead at 17 from cholera contracted during the siege of Paris.

Not to belabour this point, but what has Saint-Léon's generalized east-central Europe to do with the Franco-Prussian War?

The revival btw does not claim to be a realistic representation of life in a collective. That is hinted throughout the ballet and any relation to reality is abandoned when the giant vegetables roll out.

Which, under the historical circumstances, seems to be in bad taste.

#29 JMcN

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 12:28 AM

How could I forget to mention one of the most joyous ballet experiences known to mankind - August Bournonville's Napoli, especially as performed by the Royal Danish Ballet. We saw the most glorious performance in Copenhagen last November.

Also by Bournonville, I particularly enjoyed The Kermesse in Bruges when I saw it during the Bournonville Festival in 2005.

#30 chrisk217

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 03:18 PM

Mel thank you for your gentle reply - I am aware that Fille premiered in Bordeaux.

Not to belabour this point, but what has Saint-Léon's generalized east-central Europe to do with the Franco-Prussian War?

It is hard to think of the history of Coppelia and not think of the turbulent times when it first came to life or the unlucky fate of its young protagonist. The point being that you can associate grim realities to happy works of the imagination if you only try (and indulge in some Presentism ;) )

Which, under the historical circumstances, seems to be in bad taste.

I hadn't expected people would feel so strongly on this matter. Having family that was stripped of belongings, persecuted and variously dislocated, most to arid lands in Kazakhstan, some to perish in Vladivostok, I had no qualms about enjoying the ballet. I saw the revival as a fitting hommage to the spirit and imagination of the artists who created it and then paid dearly for their political naïveté. I also saw unfolding in front of me, a happy romp taking place in what, despite what that old libretto claims, clearly was balletland and not an actual place in time - so for the space of 90 minutes I left the world's dark history aside and enjoyed.

Evidently not everyone thinks this is the proper response - we live in a free world thankfully :)


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