bart

Ballet cliches: what are the ballet ideas and images

51 posts in this topic

Maybe you had to live through the 60s and 70s to appreciate the point, but I had a lot of empathy with Arlene Croce when I read the following (dated 1977) from her collection Going to the Dance:
Is it because so many boring ballets have been set to his music that I have come to dislike Mahler? The Mahler ballet: someone sings lugubriously from the side of the stage while dancers toil up Angst Hill and down Weltschmerz Dale for hours on end. Sexuallity, if not repressed, is ambiguous; a Death Figure is bound to turn up somewhere. Mahler is the favorite composer of the deep-think choreographers -- the one they all rely on to dye their musings the rich dark brown of significance.

Few choreographers today seem to want to make significant points about the Meaning of Life. But there are still plenty of ballet cliches around (uses of music, uses of choreography, ways of presenting dancers or "characters", attempts to manipulate the audience). :pinch::dunno::crying:

It would be great to hear about the cliches that you yourself have observed and found grating. Who knows, we might help a few would-be choreographers to avoid them in the future. :)

For all the reasons Croce says, I dislike Mahler too. However... the one ballet I love that is set to Mahler is Arpino's "Round of Angels" to the Adagietto. I saw it live almost 25 years ago, and never forgot it. I think it was the setting (that beautiful velvety starfield), lighting that limned the silvery unitards and made them almost glow, and some of the choreographic images. I don't remember it having a point at all; it was simply beautiful images and dancing to a beautiful piece of music. (Am I being cliche now?) Too bad the music has been overused since then (or was it the movies that did that?). But as for M's "heavy" darker music or vocal music--sorry, I'd prefer not.

re bart's topic: I'll think of some the hateful cliches later, but after reading BT'ers views, I can only nod my head and ruefully smile.

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