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Heavy schedules and maintaining the choreographer's work

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#1 Guest_Barb_*

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Posted 19 March 1999 - 07:42 PM

I listened to an interesting discussion last evening: and there were two issues raised that I was curious if anyone had any input.

1) The heavy production schedules of some large companies, such as doing one hundred ballets in a season, weaken the company and its ability to maintain the level and quality of artistry of the company.

2) That this also affects those works being passed down, now that the choreographers are gone, because of the speed with which something needs to be set, and it may already be 3rd or 4th generation, and the conditions under which it is set are unknown to future people setting a piece, that what we are now seeing, is far from what was originally choreographed....a watered down, less technical version; and different versions even within the watered down part.

#2 Alexandra


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Posted 19 March 1999 - 07:56 PM

Thanks for posting this, Barb. For me, this is one of the, if not the, central issue in ballet today (artistically speaking, anyway).

From what I know, rehearsals at many companies are, let's just say, not what they once were. Partly for reasons of time -- 500 ballets in five weeks, seven casts in seven days -- and partly because one of ballet's dirty little secrets is that dancers learn the roles from videotapes (the wisdom/efficacy of which is a whole 'nother discussion) and get little or not -- or often just plain wrong -- coaching.

I'm sure there are exceptions.


#3 Guest_Barb_*

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Posted 22 March 1999 - 08:53 AM

Let's say person A makes a piece. Now, a person like Balachine was constantly changing his work, anyway, so right there you have the start of confusion and differences. Then generation B is teaching the piece to generation C. Except the lead in generation C can only jump certain jumps due to an injury. The piece is changed to manage for this. So now, generation C is ready to teach it to generation D, except the piece they are teaching is the one that was set on them...now with the altered jumps. Well, in generation D, Miss Dolly (prima ballerina star) can only turn to the left....so now all turns are done to the left. Now Miss Dolly sets it on someone, with all turns to the left, and altered jumps. Then the cast from generation B comes and sees it, and says "What the heck!?!"

Now, if you are doing 100 ballets, with 4 casts, or however many, of each piece, who has time to give the same care to researching and working with generation B and developing (or redeveloping) the movement as it came from generation A. Also, with a schedule like that, how do you get the time to make sure it has been notated, or can be, but in its original form

And, if you are a dancer, I wonder how much development you feel you get if you feel you are just cranking out the work, and only know what piece you are about to dance when you hear the music. I know for myself, I don't feel like it's art when I get in some touring or performance situations where I am cranking out piece after piece....in fact, I call it "commando-lighting". Any dancer input?

Yet how do you Weigh the benefits of performing for the dancers against this. Who is it that said the only true rehearsal is a performance in front of an audience?

#4 Natalia


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Posted 26 March 1999 - 06:30 PM

The big exception to the "too-little rehearsal time" rule is, of course, Russia, particularly in the major "State" opera & ballet theaters. At the Kirov, the season is long and the number of ballets staged in a given season is relatively small. The corps have a luxury of time in which to be "drilled" in the classics. Soloists are assigned their very own coaches-repetiteurs, to fine-tune specific roles.

I would think that the situation is similar at the paris Opera Ballet? I may be wrong, but that seems to be another big "monolith" of a state-run ballet troupe (and one of the finest). Posted Image

#5 Estelle


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Posted 29 March 1999 - 08:23 AM

I don't know about the rehearsal times at the Paris Opera,
but Delphine Baey, a soloist with whom I'm corresponding, recently
complained that they sometimes didn't feel trained enough (they were shown the videos and had to
manage to understand it alone), especially when they're dancing pieces with
a non-classic style (Graham, Bausch, etc.)

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