cubanmiamiboy

"When Things Go Wrooong"

43 posts in this topic

Just finished a touring run of Sleeping Beauty. The company we were working with had probably one of the first CD players ever made. The music started skipping during the show, the next tracks would start in the middle of the track, leaving us dancers to make up/catch up choreography. There was also a lot of CD switching- poor Red Riding Hood did the entire piece (sans Wolf) 3 times in complete silence waiting for the music to come on. Probably one of the worst shows I have ever been a part of...

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...this last story is just going on top of the list...wow

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And then there was the NYCB performance of Ballo in which Robert Weiss snapped his Achilles tendon and hobbled off stage leaving Merrill Ashely to finish the ballet alone. Happily he was able to dance again. But later that same evening in Fancy Free, one of the beer mugs broke and the dancer playing the bartender went off stage, got a real broom and dustpan and cleaned it up. It was a lively evening.

I was there, too. It was frightening, as was the Scotch Symphony in which Jean-Pierre Bonnefous fell and was unable to finish the performance.

The last movement proceeded with the corps framing, at times, nothing. McBride performed her unpartnered entrances and may have improvised a little (I wasn't familiar enough with the ballet then to have known for sure), never hinting the anxiety she must have been feeling. The audience, aware that it was her her husband who had just injured himself rather seriously, gave her an extra appreciative ovation.

Bonnefous, too, eventually returned to dance, but like Weiss, a reduced repertoire and schedule.

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This one is pretty minor compared to some of the disasters recounted here, but it made me laugh.

SFB's new production of Swan Lake uses a projection of a huge moon as part of the scenery for acts 2, 3, and 4. Saturday night, when the curtain went up on act 3 -- no moon! After about 10 seconds it appeared, and probably anyone who hadn't seen the production before even noticed.

I could just imagine backstage someone frantically miming, 'Quick, somebody turn on the moon!', and on stage, the dancers wondering, 'What time is the next moon?'

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I know there is at least one video of ballet bloopers out there—does anyone know of it? It may be a Russian video. I remember it had lots of uninteresting falls and such, but also things like a dancer doing a circle of jete en tournant and getting wound up in a curtain and having to stop to move backward and unwind himself before continuing on.

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In 2003 the premiere of Makarova's The Sleeping Beauty performed by the Royal Ballet with Bussell/Bolle was not a total success: sets got stuck or did not appear, and Bussell pulled out with an injury after the grand PDD. I believe Marianela Nuñez finished the performance.

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I know there is at least one video of ballet bloopers out there—does anyone know of it? It may be a Russian video. I remember it had lots of uninteresting falls and such, but also things like a dancer doing a circle of jete en tournant and getting wound up in a curtain and having to stop to move backward and unwind himself before continuing on.

This is not the video you're thinking of, but it features Dmitri Gudanov of the Bolshoi in a series of minor accidents. I love the first one (Giselle).

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Performance outdoor in Monte Carlo by Monte Carlo Ballet a piece by J.Ch.Maillot Vers une Peysage the stage became wet cause of the humidity and after about 15 dancers fell in about 5min they had to stop the performance. Well lucky that nobody got hurt!!!

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Zurich Ballet Performance the fixed wings on the side stage became loose and fell like a domino the last one broke the back prospect and was falling on one of the dancers on stage. He jumped sideways like spiderman without changing his position. It was really spectacular. Again nobody got hurt! The show continued in 10min.

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In a Harkness Ballet performance of Firebird, the huge egg that Koschei was holding fell out of his arms and rolled straight into the orchestra pit.They stopped playing for about a half a minute but resumed the Stravinsky score with no problems.

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A couple of years ago at Pacific Northwest Ballet, in their production of Sleeping Beauty. After the vision scene, the Lilac Fairy and the prince get into the little boat to "go and find her!," but alas, no going occurs for several uncomfortable moments. They stand there valiantly, the LF holding her wand in the "I say go!" position, until finally the boat starts with a lurch, and they almost fall over.

I know this particular glitch has occurred in almost every theater where they have some kind of transport other than your feet -- boats, carts, carriages -- whatever.

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I'm glad that most of these reports end happily. I wouldn't want to count the times when dancers are injured onstage, that's more sad than funny.

But back to the funny ones, I know that the little donkey in "Union Jack" has left deposits onstage at various times. And once, in "Mozartiana" with Suzanne Farrell and Ib Anderson in the leads, in the final section of the coda where the children are dancing with the principals, one girl's slipper came untied. She just kept up the the choreography.... I forget if she kicked it off at the end, but she never stopped smiling or dancing. A real trouper!

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The most wrong thing I ever witnessed was when I was still dancing, and during a performance of "Romeo and Juliet".

In this version, there is a huge bed in the center of the stage for that big pas de deux -which is managed around and over and on top of said bed.

Immediately afterwards is a "black out", and when the lights come back up,

the stage is empty, and everyone for the next scene are all standing around the sides, in position.

Except it wasn't.

Empty, I mean. :o

When the lights came back up, the bed was _still there_.

We all looked at each other, made a few fervent nods and eye-brow raisings, and then we started the dance, just going around this humongous bed for the entire scene.

I wonder if anyone in the audience even noticed; perhaps they thought it was an interesting twist to the story. ;)

-d-

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Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone - this thread made me laugh. It also reminded me of a performance of Swan Lake I saw a few years ago. (Please excuse my lack of knowledge of step names here.)


The first incident was during one of the Act III character dances. There were four couples dancing, and I had started paying attention to one of the men in particular who stood out as being quite good. Not soon after, all the men went into this big dramatic ending pose on the ground, on one knee and with an arm extended, but this same dancer sort of swooped into it very dramatically and started struggling to maintain his balance. They stayed in that pose for a few seconds and the audience applauded - and it was just too much time and he eventually sort of slide-fell to the ground. I felt awful because he looked pretty embarrassed (and he was so wonderful in that dance!).


Then, later in Act III: after Odile's fouettes, Siegfried does a couple of turns and then the mime for "love." But he did the movement for it so dramatically that he started to lose his balance and stumble - he caught himself before he fell outright, fortunately!


The performance as a whole was great, though, and both the dancers involved were wonderful throughout. I ended up defending poor Siegfried to the woman sitting next to me, who kept complaining about the mistakes. I really enjoyed that night (although looking back on it now, the mistakes are pretty amusing).

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In Act 1 of San Francisco Ballets production of Giselle, Bathilde enters leading two Russian wolf hounds. On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, they behaved perfectly: walked calmly across the stage, quietly walked off. No problem.

And then we have Tuesday. Country matters being in the air, the gentleman hound found himself unable to resist the beauteous lady hound. The ballet came to a dead stop while the hounds, undeterred in their amorous pursuits, were dragged (and I mean actually dragged) off the stage and the audience attempted to recover itself. I havent laughed so much since the last time I watched a Marx Brothers marathon.

Update: Just back from the Saturday matinee - we're down to one Russian wolf hound. Maybe they got a divorce.

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I'm glad that most of these reports end happily. I wouldn't want to count the times when dancers are injured onstage, that's more sad than funny.

But back to the funny ones, I know that the little donkey in "Union Jack" has left deposits onstage at various times. ...

I witnessed one of those times: Balanchine's Union Jack has a central pas de deux titled "Costermonger", built on music-hall music and traditions, originally led by Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefous. The coda brings on two children, "and a real donkey and a cart and anything that may ensue from donkeys on the stage," as Arlene Croce delicately put it in her review of the premiere.

One of the nights I was there soon after the premiere in May 1976, the donkey did rather disgrace itself, to the apparent consternation of Bonnefous and the embarrassment and disgust of McBride. In the uproar, we wondered, how would they handle this? (In ordinary circumstances, we would see a loose slipper or part of a costume kicked to the back and then off, momentarily giving whatever ballet was being performed some of the air of a soccer game, to scattered applause sometimes.)

Enter, audience right, not a stage hand, but Peter Martins, already in nautical white costume for Royal Navy, to follow after intermission, bearing a broom and a scoop, approaching the mess at downstage center with all resolute pace and apparent attitude of a sailor about to mop the deck. His mission accomplished, he exited to the side he came in from, while the cart, bearing McBride and the kids, drawn by a dubious donkey by now distracted by the gesticulating Bonnefous, made its way off the other side, everyone waving to our applause.

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