Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Ballet cliches: what are the ballet ideas and imagesthat make you wince?


  • Please log in to reply
50 replies to this topic

#31 printscess

printscess

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 296 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 08:50 AM

Modern dancers as strong, powerful and independent thinkers and ballerinas as the complete opposite. Enough already!!!

#32 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 10:25 AM

Modern dancers as strong, powerful and independent thinkers and ballerinas as the complete opposite. Enough already!!!

Now that's a really good addition to our list. Important, too. Especially since this is a stereotype generally wielded against ballet people by those on the outside.

I rcertainly remember hearing this in the old days. Is this stereotype still widely encountered? If so, where does it come from, do you think?

#33 Davidsbündlertänze

Davidsbündlertänze

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 07:01 PM

Well, I think we have all seen a bunch of pas de deux's where the man throws the woman around, hoists her over his head, drags her on the floor and twists her around in pretzel shapes to show that love is war


ROFL. I just watched MacMillan's TRIAD for the umpteenth time on dvd. I like the ballet (love Prokofiev's 1st violin concerto), but your description fits! Every time I see it, I feel so bad for La Fosse in the PDD - he looks like he's about to collapse. I'd rather be the person being twisted into a pretzel. I think that would be lots of fun!!!

#34 Mme. Hermine

Mme. Hermine

    Emeralds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,776 posts

Posted 29 June 2008 - 03:25 AM

Beginning a dance (and/or ending one) writhing on the floor.

#35 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 29 June 2008 - 06:45 AM

Beginning a dance (and/or ending one) writhing on the floor.

Yes! And isn't it obligatory at some point for the dancer to stretch his/her arm upward (possibly pleading for help) before slumping back into the writhing position? (A choreographer with time to kill will often repeat this stretching gesture throughout the piece.)

On the other hand, there's a marvellous photo in the Spring 2008 Dance Now that gives writhing a new twist. The choreographer is Maresa von Stockert. The piece is called Glacier. Here's a description written by the reviewer, Lyndsey Winship:

... [T]he stage ... has turned into an oil slick and the dancers end up like poor beached birds gunked in tarry black goo. There is definitely bold imagery here, and the show itself is a bold understaing from von Stockert, who may have found her calling in tackling real world themes -- it's certainly something not many choreographers do.

The photo shows a super-thin woman, body contorted, one arm raised, stuck to the floor and covered by a gooey black substance. It is, somehow, heartbreaking.

#36 Katharyn

Katharyn

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 28 September 2008 - 02:25 AM

If the curtain lifts to a lone chair on stage, you know you're in for a long night...

#37 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,272 posts

Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:23 AM

Modern dancers as strong, powerful and independent thinkers and ballerinas as the complete opposite. Enough already!!!

Now, THAT' s a cliche. (What about just trying to mask the lack of skills to do strong, powerful and independent pointework...?)

#38 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 28 September 2008 - 01:19 PM

Silly use of props in ballets such as La Bayadère. I remember Universal Ballet's version from about 8 years ago at the State Theater (Lincoln Center). The sets and decorations were the finest money could buy, but what I remember best is the long row of seated parrot girls before (or after?) their dance, each with an identical plastic parrot sewn to the right shoulder of their costumes. They sat there motionless, like their parrots, feet crossed at the ankles, stretched to maximum arched point, seemingly oblivious to the feathered friends perched just inches from their heads. It looked ridiculous.

#39 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2008 - 06:58 PM

If the curtain lifts to a lone chair on stage, you know you're in for a long night...

But if the chair starts to tap-dance, then you've really got something!

#40 Sacto1654

Sacto1654

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 201 posts

Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:39 PM

One more: Spanish dances where the corps hammers on noiseless tambourines.


Which was the reason why I was REALLY surprised that in the Teatro alla Scala production of Swan Lake (2004 DVD release) during Act III, during the Neopolitan dance sequence the dancers were hitting tambourines that were the real thing. Even in the 2006 Mariinsky Ballet performance of the same ballet in that same exact dance sequence, the dancers didn't use real tambourines.

#41 Rackon

Rackon

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts

Posted 16 October 2008 - 02:02 PM

One more: Spanish dances where the corps hammers on noiseless tambourines.


Which was the reason why I was REALLY surprised that in the Teatro alla Scala production of Swan Lake (2004 DVD release) during Act III, during the Neopolitan dance sequence the dancers were hitting tambourines that were the real thing. Even in the 2006 Mariinsky Ballet performance of the same ballet in that same exact dance sequence, the dancers didn't use real tambourines.


Someone quick, it's been too long since I've seen it live, but didn't the NYCB dancers in Tarantella have real tambourines? I thought I remembered McBride and Villella and then McBride and ??? banging tambourines, real ones.

This has been an incredibly entertaining thread and I must thank you all for making my day.

PS, I am on board with the cliches so far mentioned, and will add that courtiers faking conversations with each other between variations tries my already short patience for 19th century story ballets. It would be fun to know what they're *really* saying, although if my cousin, a former dancer with Chicago City Ballet and Hamburg is to be trusted, I might not really want to know.

#42 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 16 October 2008 - 03:38 PM

Yes, "Tarantella" has real tambourines in it, sometimes following where they are in Hershy Kay's orchestration of the original "Grande Tarantelle for Violin and Orchestra" (RO 259/Op. 67), and sometimes they are where they SHOULD be in the orchestration! Baryshnikov danced the boy's part sometimes. I also think that I can recall Bart Cook dancing it, also Gen Horiuchi.

#43 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 16 October 2008 - 04:09 PM

Rackon, if the courtiers are doing their jobs correctly (and they usually aren't because they don't have the training) their conversations should be mimed, thus allowing you to know what they are saying. :blushing: What usually happens is that the dancers just chatter to each other under their breaths, giving the effect that you're watching a silent film. I agree, it's annoying.

#44 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 17 October 2008 - 04:44 AM

PS, I am on board with the cliches so far mentioned, and will add that courtiers faking conversations with each other between variations tries my already short patience for 19th century story ballets. It would be fun to know what they're *really* saying, although if my cousin, a former dancer with Chicago City Ballet and Hamburg is to be trusted, I might not really want to know.

Many of those I've seen -- especially in European productions -- actually do seem to be "miming" in a wierd sort of way: "I'm bored." "I deserve a bigger part than this." "God, this pas de deux is endless." :o

Hans, your comment raises some interesting questions. Decisions about miming must be very difficult to make in these situations. For example, if everyone reacts to Carabosse's curse, you have an enormous amount of visual distration. On the other hand, if only a few respond, those who don't will appear to be drugged or even dead.

What sort of miming gestures are you thinking of? For instance, what should a trained courtier do in response to one of the major scenes in Sleeping Beauty, Carabosse's curse, for example, or Aurora's fascination with the knitting needles? And how should they be responding to the divertissements, long stretches of stage time which would seem to be a great challenge for those not actually dancing?

#45 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,404 posts

Posted 17 October 2008 - 07:28 AM

Many of those I've seen -- especially in European productions -- actually do seem to be "miming" in a wierd sort of way: "I'm bored." "I deserve a bigger part than this." "God, this pas de deux is endless." :o

:rofl: (That made my morning!)


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):