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Matthew Bourne"not a ballet choreographer"


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#16 carbro

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 08:34 PM

No. :wink: :wink:

#17 Andrew73

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 12:59 AM

Just out of interest, does Bourne actually claim to be a Ballet Choreographer?

I've seen the claim made on his behalf many times, mostly by critics in print who maybe should know better - but I don't recall any direct claim by him, or suggestion by his media fans (he has many!) that their attribution originated with Bourne himself.

#18 innopac

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 04:20 AM

Speaking about his new project: the Edward Scissorhands Ballet.

Interviewer: So you're calling it a ballet?

Bourne: "I've given up trying to call it something else. People understand what a ballet is. It's a dance theater in the style of the other pieces I've done, but it's not strictly speaking ballet because I'm not a ballet choreographer, but I think for me, most people understand ballet as a narrative, but it's definitely not a musical."

Although, it looks like he has dropped the "Ballet" from the title for the final production.

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 07:21 AM

You know, Bourne has a point. Martha Graham, at the end of her career, called what she had once insisted on calling "dances" "ballets." There's a distinction between "ballet" and "a ballet," and that's the distinction Bourne is drawing. It's an accurate one.

#20 sandik

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:16 PM

Re Bourne -- context counts in language, and for Edward Scissorhands, Bourne is working in the musical theater tradition, where almost any substantial dance is called a ballet (deMille's Dream Ballet in Oklahoma includes much more vernacular movement than academic ballet, but it's a musical and musicals have ballets)

And I have fewer objections to calling his work ballet than in the other term people are tossing around -- "dansicle."

Even though he doesn't really use the grammar and vocabulary of ballet, he makes so many references to extant works that I think it's unrealistic to look at his work without considering that tradition. I understand that there have been a few times that people didn't realize, when they bought tickets to his Swan Lake, that they were not seeing the Petipa/Ivanov work, but that is the fault of the presenter, not Bourne. I haven't had the chance to see some of his earlier works, but I do like what I've seen so far.

Re parody -- don't forget Tudor's Gala Performance!

#21 dirac

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:56 PM

Yes, it's true, it's not Bourne's fault if others are careless.

#22 carbro

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 08:49 PM

There's ambiguity here. When I hear the word dance used as a noun, I think of a social event where couples pair off to jiggle, shake, twirl, etc. I don't think of choreography. The meaning of ballet depends on context. A ballet is staged for performance before an audience in any dance genre, or it can be the genre itself which employs turnout and fully pointed feet and a distinct, academic vocabulary. I get squirmy when I hear modern dance choreographers refer to their works as "dances." Graham may have finally caved, but Paul Taylor still obsessively eschews the word "ballet" applied to the things he makes.

#23 Alexandra

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 02:39 PM

Taylor is on record, many times, as "disliking ballet," and that could be part of it, but it could also be generational. For both Taylor and Cunningham, Modern Dance was a Statement. It was Not Ballet. And so saying their works are "dances," I think, should be taken in that context.

#24 sandik

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:35 PM

What Alexandra said -- there are still many people working in modern dance who feel they must define their work by what it is not -- ballet.


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