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Costume disasters-- another topic for the silly season.


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 05:19 AM

I think of those as hakama, the traditional Japanese pants worn in kendo. They can be effective if your ballet is set in Asia, or has a Asian design concept, but even there, they don't always work.

#17 dirac

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 10:39 PM

dirac:

I think the costumes look striking in still photographs, but it is hard to see the dancers' bodies.


Yes, the costumes are gone but they are to some degree written into the bodies and into the movements of the bodies – as are the stylish deco ones for Concerto Barocco that PeggyR posted. Remember the Claudia Roth Pierpont comment that at some point Balanchine "becomes his own Kochno, his own Bérard" and "suffuses all the props and the tricks into the surface of the ballet itself."

The problem with Modernism is that as it abstracts and "snip snips", it tosses out its sources, and erases its bibliography as well. It says it's about nothing and from nowhere in particular - but it isn't. Mondrian's pure modernist grids are water surfaces and forests in his earlier sketches.


I like the old Concerto Barocco costumes by Berman, although those headdresses look like a major potential distraction in that choreography. But I don't see the Seligmann outfits as being part of the ballet in the sense you describe, although I follow you in priniciple. The costumes are striking in a sense, but they look awful for ballet, especially in a ballet, and contemporary reports do indicate that they hid the steps - you really couldn't see Mary Ellen or Todd for the bunchy clots of material and strips of whatnot.

#18 bart

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 06:12 AM

The problem with Modernism is that as it abstracts and "snip snips", it tosses out its sources, and erases its bibliography as well. It says it's about nothing and from nowhere in particular - but it isn't. Mondrian's pure modernist grids are water surfaces and forests in his earlier sketches.

Quiggan, I thank you for that insight. I've always been partial to the stripped down Modernist look, for Balanchine anyway. You make me see the need to ask myself some questions about that long-time (and often UN-questioned) preference. And to think more about what has sacrificed when certain works are performed in simple practice dress. I'm thinking especially of works like Barocco, which are tributes to an older classical tradition.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:05 AM

You make me see the need to ask myself some questions about that long-time (and often UN-questioned) preference. And to think more about what has sacrificed when certain works are performed in simple practice dress. I'm thinking especially of works like Barocco, which are tributes to an older classical tradition.


I'm convinced that the un-questioned issue-(in Balanchines' ballets at least)- happens simply because of the source where the substitutions/eliminations come from. "Don't ask don't tell" seems to fit in. "If he did so, so it should be fine". I wonder if the world-(aside from the legalities from The Powers That Be)- would react the same to see, let's say, Peter Martins stripping down Theme and Variations to practise clothes...
I can hear it... "Oh, blasphemy!!"

#20 volcanohunter

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 08:00 AM

I'm thinking especially of works like Barocco, which are tributes to an older classical tradition.

The choreography in Barocco doesn't much resemble the steps I learned in my Baroque dance classes, so I don't see why its costuming would have to reflect the period. Theme and Variations is different. It is an evocation of Petipa, so using classical tutus is entirely logical.

#21 GWTW

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 08:24 AM

I think of Barocco as a tribute to the Ancient Greek classic tradition, so the white tunics fit that perfectly. Then again, the audience who saw Barocco with the original costumes may have seen Barocco in a completely different way.

I haven't seen that many Balanchine leotard ballets, but I certainly prefer the simplicity of black leotards and pale tights (in Four Ts, for example) to some of the multicoloured unitards / tunics one often sees in 'modern' ballets.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:45 AM


I'm thinking especially of works like Barocco, which are tributes to an older classical tradition.

The choreography in Barocco doesn't much resemble the steps I learned in my Baroque dance classes, so I don't see why its costuming would have to reflect the period. Theme and Variations is different. It is an evocation of Petipa, so using classical tutus is entirely logical.


Good point...so let me rephrase my question with "Ballet Imperial" vs. TPC#2.

[font="Comic Sans MS"][size="4"]"Set in the grandeur of a palace and with a scenic backdrop suggesting the splendors of the Imperial capital of Russia, this ballet is a tribute to St. Petersburg, Petipa, and Tschaikovsky".[/size][/font]

http://balanchine.co...imperial[1].jpg

What I'm basically trying to express is that many times I, personally, don't see the end result-(the stripping off of beautiful costumes/tutus)- as a winning situation, but rather quite the opposite...that of a total loss; not even if the idea came from Balanchine himself.

#23 Quiggin

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:18 PM

cubanmiamiboy:
[quote...]not even it the idea came from Balanchine himself.[/quote]

But Balanchine has only stripped down - or essentialized - his own ballets (of which the intact Theme and Variations is one, despite Octavio Roca's existential doubts). Many of them - Western Symphony, Scotch Symphony, Somnabula, Stars and Stripes - are heavily costumed. Others were bare boned from the get go, such Agon and Violin Concerto. Concerto Barocco and Apollo costumes were slimmed down, but so was the choreography. My point about Four Temperaments is that the original costumes were a part of the "original draft" and may have shared the same sources as the choreography and may throw some light on its origins. They were at another point - shortly after the first performances - felt to be no longer needed and as dirac suggests only muddled the lines of the movements.

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 05:55 PM

...of which the intact Theme and Variations is one,...

Thank God!! :smilie_mondieu:
I wish I could had seen Ballet Imperial, instead of TPC#2... :(

#25 richard53dog

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 06:23 PM


...of which the intact Theme and Variations is one,...

Thank God!! :smilie_mondieu:
I wish I could had seen Ballet Imperial, instead of TPC#2... :(



Up until a few years ago, ABT was still doing Ballet Imperial with the classical tutus and the "Imperial" backdrop. I don't recall if they included the mime though. I saw it a few times, once with Gillian Murphy (sensational) and then a bit later with Vishneva and a rather shaky Malakhov.

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 06:50 PM



...of which the intact Theme and Variations is one,...

Thank God!! :smilie_mondieu:
I wish I could had seen Ballet Imperial, instead of TPC#2... :(



Up until a few years ago, ABT was still doing Ballet Imperial with the classical tutus and the "Imperial" backdrop. I don't recall if they included the mime though. I saw it a few times, once with Gillian Murphy (sensational) and then a bit later with Vishneva and a rather shaky Malakhov.


I'm almost positive that this is a silly question for an obviously negative answer, but still...Could BI exist out there in video format...?


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