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"Bringing Ballet to Everyman"


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#1 BW

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Posted 16 March 2002 - 08:01 AM

In this April's issue of Dance Magazine there's a nice article about Septime Webre's "user -friendly approach to directing the Washington Ballet".

It reminded me of a number of discussions that have gone on in these cyber halls about encouraging the "unlearned" to attend dance programs, ballet in particular. This article makes it seem as though Mr. Webre's learned how to do it and do it well.

I'm very impressed at his energy and creativity - in the way the article describes his approach to running the company and making it a "vital part of D.C. culture".

I guess it's time to plan a trip down Washington way. smile.gif

#2 Miss

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Posted 16 March 2002 - 08:40 AM

We are lucky enough to have the Washington Ballet come to our doorstep! They are touring and presenting "Sweet Honey in the Rock" at Penn State University in April. We are also hoping they do master classes for students in the area. I would love for my son to take a class and see if he may want to audition for their SI.

Miss

#3 Guest_sparky_*

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Posted 16 March 2002 - 01:06 PM

I read the article. Who's Everyman? The article said Septime Webre "struggled to figure out the connection between his love of social dancing and classical ballet." Looks like he's still struggling. In one ballet they did a couple of years ago (Carmina Burana) whenever he ran out of an idea he used some "everyday movement," like pushing a broom. It's like he learned in company management school that "ordinary people" like "ordinary movements."

The article also quotes Septime saying "Classical ballet is my roots, it's my introduction to dance. But in our modern life, beyond King Louis XIV, we like to get funky." Oh, please. Like there's nothing between Louix XIV and last night at the club?

The company did do a really good "Pillar of Fire" last year. Some of the dancers are good, but some look like ballet dancers and some look like modern dancers. It's schizoid. Especially in "Nutcracker." It's hard to take that production seriously now. The Washington School of Ballet is a real ballet school but what are they training the kids for? To roll around on the floor in their underwear?

If Septime thinks ballet is dumb and not funky enough for him that's okay, he's got a right. But then call the company "Septime Webre's Funky Moves." I wonder how many donors he'd get? Washington Ballet sounds so much more classy.

[ March 16, 2002, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: sparky ]

#4 LMCtech

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Posted 16 March 2002 - 06:19 PM

Sparky, I think you are being too hard on Washington Ballet.

Although I haven't seen them recently, I was living in New Jersey when Mr. Webre was at American Repertory Ballet. I found his choreography to be a breath of fresh air. You may not like his integration of pedestrian movement, but that is a time honored device, though used more in modern than ballet.

As for the dancer's bodies, not every company can have a uniformly skinny company like NYCB, and it seems to me from postings on this board and reviews I've read, that this company may be more interested in the quality of movement of the dancer than the body type, which I commend.

#5 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 16 March 2002 - 07:49 PM

While the Washington Ballet does have an interesting array of types, they are all classically trained, and there is not in any way anything funky in their Nutcracker. Their production of Nutcracker is purely classical and traditional. The production is Mary Day's Nutcracker, and it uses the dancers from the school as well as the company. The company dancers who dance the principal roles are beautiful classical dancers. Some of the other ballets they do are more funky and modern, but not all. Their repertoire includes Balanchine and Tudor, and several other choreographers as well as Septime's ballets. His works are actually a rather small portion of the total repertoire. Just thought I should clear that up! smile.gif I'm not sure what you are referring to in terms of rolling around on the floor in their underwear, but NO, this is certainly not what the school of the Washington Ballet is training it's dancers for.

[ March 16, 2002, 07:52 PM: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]


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