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Ballets that should be done!!


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#1 Premierdanseur

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:48 AM

Since there is a topic about ballets that should not be revieved, I thought I should start a topic about ballet's that hasn't been made that you guys think should be done. A full-lenght ballet that should be made; classical, romantic, neo, or modern!

I have one that I would like to see. That's Anna Karenina. Imagine dramatic pas de deuxs, beautiful ball scenes, gorgeus costumes, and music by....hhhm...why not Tchaikovsky? :wink: Any thoughts!!

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 03:24 AM

That's been done, actually. A couple of times. Plisetskaya choreographed one(1971).

We've tried to do this a couple of times in board history, and every time it comes up, no matter what the libretto, somebody's already done it.

#3 papeetepatrick

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:00 AM

I think E.M. Forster's 'The Machine Stops', his futuristic story with the wormlike 'mending apparatus' of the mechanized society, would be a marvelous ballet, but no Philip Glass, please. There's probably some music of Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett that would be just right to keep it in its period but still be about future sterile hell.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:10 AM

The problem with many libretti in ballet is that the story needs to be "common coin" of the culture to which it is presented. Unless you have a choreographer of unusual talent for drama, most stories won't support a treatment as ballet.

Forster is good, but too many mothers-in-law. I recall watching a production of Ramayana in Thailand. The local audience knew what was supposed to be going on. I didn't. It was a very uneasy ten hours. And leaving to go to the bathroom was considered an insult to the King.

#5 Ray

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 09:23 AM

I think E.M. Forster's 'The Machine Stops', his futuristic story with the wormlike 'mending apparatus' of the mechanized society, would be a marvelous ballet, but no Philip Glass, please. There's probably some music of Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett that would be just right to keep it in its period but still be about future sterile hell.


I've been imagining this story as a movie for a long time now, and it seems esp. trenchant now b/c it seems to anticipate many important features of the Internet--i.e., the proliferation of second, third, fourth-hand (etc.) knowledge at the expense of direct experience. Can you say why, though, you imagine it as a ballet? What sort of dance scenes are you imagining? (lots of solos, haha).

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:11 AM

Think what you could make out of Moby-Dick, especially the "Catalogue of the Whales" divertissement! Only trouble, nobody would want to dance it. Oop, too late, somebody's done it!

#7 bart

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:58 AM

It was a very uneasy ten hours.

I have the feeling I've been to a few of those in the early days of "dance theater" in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. :wink:

Has anyone ever done Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"? Gregor's metamorphosis into a gigantic, repellant insect and the reactions of those around him, especially his mother, father, and sister, could all be danced a la Tudor. There's a bravura role for Gregor, of cousre. But Grete, the sister, would also be an especially interesting character. She becomes his caretaker and is made to sacrifice her dreams for a better life. As time passes, and the burdens and disgust pile on, everyone changes.

At the end, and after Gregor's awful death, the family's -- more relieved than saddened -- makes an excursion into the countryside. This could be absolutely chilling in the right hands. Here are the final sentences:

The tram, in which they were the only passengers, was filled with warm sunlight. Leaning comfortably back in their seats they canvassed their prospects for the future, and it appeared on closer inspection that theese were not at all bad [...] And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and excellent intentions that at the end of their journey their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body.



#8 papeetepatrick

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 11:16 AM

I think E.M. Forster's 'The Machine Stops', his futuristic story with the wormlike 'mending apparatus' of the mechanized society, would be a marvelous ballet, but no Philip Glass, please. There's probably some music of Benjamin Britten or Michael Tippett that would be just right to keep it in its period but still be about future sterile hell.


I've been imagining this story as a movie for a long time now, and it seems esp. trenchant now b/c it seems to anticipate many important features of the Internet--i.e., the proliferation of second, third, fourth-hand (etc.) knowledge at the expense of direct experience. Can you say why, though, you imagine it as a ballet? What sort of dance scenes are you imagining? (lots of solos, haha).


Oh yes, the elastic Mending Apparatus for Suzanne Farrell (that's when I imagined it back in the 80s) and someone mature and retired and tired of doing Aurora's mother and/or Carabosse for Fat Vashti...really then only needs the Male Soloist in a good bit of agony as Vasht's son (no Damien Woetzel, please, I agree with somebody else this is a dancer I don't get...), I could imagine Mathiu Ganoi, since Villella isn't up for this sort of thing by now. Aurelie Dupont as the Mending Apparatus more than Ashley Bouder by now. Vashti would just have to sit there and talk on the telephone and look at monitors about the Brisbane School of what-have-you (I don't have a copy available) and just generally become the Fabulous Sedentary.

I have just been getting familiar with Tippett's Piano Concerto, and that is a bloody knockout, not necessarily for the Machine Stops but for something that is a little like Ballet Imperial a la Moderne or something. Tippett's orchestrations are as elegant as any I've ever heard, and even more than in this Piano Concerto, you can hear the perfected and well-tempered orchestra in his symphonies. I wonder if anybody has ever seen Tippett's work danced to, because along with Britten, these are probably the masters of 20th Century English Music.

#9 Jane Simpson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 11:47 AM

Has anyone ever done Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"?


Yes - David Bintley did it in his early days, for the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. It was rather good. You never saw Gregor after his change, so the ballet was actually about his sister, Leanne Benjamin in her first created role, and his parents. I don't think it's been seen in twenty years or so but I remember it with - not pleasure, but some admiration. The music was by Peter McGowan, who at the time was a violinist in the SWRB orchestra.

#10 bart

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 12:15 PM

Thank you, Jane, for that information. The idea of keeping Gregor invisible after becoming an insect is a wonderful one. Only after a couple of readings over the decade did I come to realize that the centrality of Grete to this story.

Do you happen to remember how Bintley's ballet ended? Was there light, lightness, and possibly even a metamorphsis for Grete herself ... into a kind of dancing butterfly? Was her new freedom handled joyfully? Or ironically?

#11 Jane Simpson

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:15 PM

Do you happen to remember how Bintley's ballet ended? Was there light, lightness, and possibly even a metamorphsis for Grete herself ... into a kind of dancing butterfly? Was her new freedom handled joyfully? Or ironically?



None of those. I don't actually remember the ending but looking at the reviews it seems that Bintley deliberately left it open to question and interpretation. Jann Parry wrote in Dance & Dancers:

'[Grete's final solo] is heavy with the responsibility she accepts for getting rid of the creature she can no longer consider her brother. The burden is lifted from her family and the room floods with light. As the music comes to a close, Grete puts the flat in order and arranges the perplexing ending.

Apparently, on the first night, Gregor's reappearance as himself was a surprise for most of the cast... I think it is his way of showing that his story is different from Kafka's; or perhaps he means that the beetle's death allows the family to remember Gregor as he really was... Or maybe it's just a good idea for a curtain call.'

On the other hand, Mary Clarke in the Dancing Times thought that perhaps Grete's love had redeemed Gregor and returned him to normal life.

(It's relevant that apparently Bintley said to his cast at the the first rehearsal 'You've read the book - well, forget it'. Maybe the Kafka ballet is still to be made!)

#12 bart

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:47 AM

'[Grete's final solo] is heavy with the responsibility she accepts for getting rid of the creature she can no longer consider her brother. The burden is lifted from her family and the room floods with light. As the music comes to a close, Grete puts the flat in order and arranges the perplexing ending.

Apparently, on the first night, Gregor's reappearance as himself was a surprise for most of the cast... I think it is his way of showing that his story is different from Kafka's; or perhaps he means that the beetle's death allows the family to remember Gregor as he really was... Or maybe it's just a good idea for a curtain call.'

On the other hand, Mary Clarke in the Dancing Times thought that perhaps Grete's love had redeemed Gregor and returned him to normal life.

(It's relevant that apparently Bintley said to his cast at the the first rehearsal 'You've read the book - well, forget it'. Maybe the Kafka ballet is still to be made!)

"\
Thanks, Jane.

"You've read the book -- well, forget it." That sounds like the instructions given to the adaptors of literature for a great deal of ballet, and opera and musical theater too . In other words: "Borrow the parts of the plot that I like and forget the rest." Instrusions of sentimentality -- a happy, unambiguously redemptive ending for Grete and her family -- miss the mark. On the other hand, this kind of thing is easier to do on the stage than either ambiguity or irony. So ... the Bintley Kafka is better than no Kafka at all. I guess. :o

#13 dirac

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 10:06 AM

I have one that I would like to see. That's Anna Karenina. Imagine dramatic pas de deuxs, beautiful ball scenes, gorgeus costumes, and music by....hhhm...why not Tchaikovsky? Any thoughts!!


Thank you for starting the topic, premierdanseur. It's true that this subject is a recurrent one on the board, but it's worth reviving from time to time even at the risk of a little repetition. The Eifman Ballet did an Anna recently, which wasn't great but it was watchable, and certainly the audience at the performance I saw enjoyed it hugely. I haven't checked but I think it was a Tchaikovsky score.

#14 Ann_hphg

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 12:48 AM

I have just posted this in another thread, but I have a very deep desire to see a ballet to Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient. It is such an epic love story, that is so screaming to be turned into a ballet.
The love story, by itself, presents amazing possibilities; but all the portions of the book when Almazy describes the desert and the winds... those could so easily translate into those abstract moments of glory like that of the shadows in La Bayadere.

Visually, it could be inspired in Anthony Minghella's adaptation to film, and it could use the so very fantastic music that Gabriel Yared composed for it. Gabriel Yared is a fantastic musician, and I have no doubt he could very much make a fabulous arrangement and epic suites to dance to...

#15 puppytreats

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:01 AM

Mr. PT wants to know if there is a "goth ballet."


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