whetherwax

What ballets are the corps favourites?

14 posts in this topic

I have been watching the Aust. Ballet's joyous Merry Widow. The corps seem to be having SO much fun. There is heaps to do for the male dancers. The costumes are great. Which ballets really please the corps? This one certainly looks as though they would enjoy it - yet a more challenging ballet may be better ( actually I dont know whether the Merry Widow is more challenging than Swan Lake come to think of it.)

What ballets please the corps?

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I had a great time as corps member in Gaite Parisienne. I also enjoyed Paquita. The less posing, the happier the corps.

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I remember reading a long time ago that The Four Temperaments is a corps favorite. As an amateur dancer, when someone asked me what roles I fantasized about dancing, I usually mentioned 4Ts' Phlegmatic corps, as well as Odette and First Girl in Concerto Barocco. The Phlegmatic corps gets a lot of very stretchy movements, which I always loved doing.

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From personal experience, I have to say Serenade is a corps fave to dance. Concerto Barocco is so enjoyable, but so physically demanding since you don't ever go offstage. Giselle is another one....I do like Swan Lake as well. No matter how much or little dancing you get to do in the corps, beautiful music is always a plus and makes it that much more enjoyable.

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I do think, however, that Swan Lake is not exactly a favorite for corps de ballet because especially in Act II (or Act I Scene 2 in the current Russian versions) the dancers have to be very synchronized and have to be very still with great precision--it's probably among the most demanding roles for a corps de ballet.

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I agree about the Swan corps. Perhaps one of the most enthralling corps to watch is a perfectly executed, NON-moving swan corps, which is only appreciated after seeing an "anxious" group of swans; it's so obvious- and distracting- to see a less-than-motionless swan among the corps. I truly love to watch "good" swans, and always appreciate the effort they put into their posing. While I always enjoy the soloists in a performance, for me it's the corps that truly makes the ballet.

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The "corps" in Concerto Barocco almost isn't really a corps role. It's more like eight demi-soloists! Although I eventually danced the second principal more than the corps, my first experience in this wonderful ballet was in the corps with SFB in the late 70s. It is the most fun I ever had dancing in the corps. I absolutely loved dancing Concerto Barocco! I enjoyed the musicality and choreography immensely. I remember feeling at the end like I had just participated in an amazing mathematical, artistic, musical, athletic formula! Totally glorious to dance!

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Square Dance--lots to do for both corps men and corps women; fun but also complex and exposed.

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As a long time viewer but a non dancer , I find this a very interesting thread. I especially enjoy the posts by former dancers.

Keep the posts coming! :)

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Off the top of my memories:

I especially loved (NYCB):

Square Dance (hard, fast, very rewarding)

Emeralds, Diamonds (each one a diff beauty and joy to dance)

Symphony in C (corps or demis, another joy all around especially the 4th movement as it builds to a conclusion)

Brahms Schoenberg Quartet (gorgeous music and a joy to dance -- demis or corps)

Cortege (gorgeous music and choreography, tough stamina wise, the demi tutu'd girls, but rewarding)

Sym in 3 movements (corps or demis) -- fun!

Ballet Imperial (corps or demis -- difficult but gorgeous to dance and to listen to)

Suite #3 (ditto with the gorgeous music and choreography)

Stravinsky Violin concerto (ditto the above)

Valse-Fantasie (ditto the above)

Actually, most ballets were favorites except:

Concerto Barocco -- only because I was constantly afraid a toe shoe ribbon or skirt ribbon might pop out of the hidden knot tied, and I'd be stuck the entire time on stage unable to put that end of the ribbon back under the knot. In Barocco, as you know, the corps is on stage from beginning to end, all three movements. A stray ribbon never happened, but it was on my mind, often.

Coppelia -- Balanchine's - just toooooo cute - gave me toothaches.

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I enjoyed dancing in: Les Sylphides, Raymonda Variations, Stars and Stripes and Serenade. The russian section in Serenade was especially tough stamina wise. My special favorite, although not really a corps role, was in Lilac Garden. It has a very special atmosphere, unlike any other ballet I had performed in. I still feel privleged to have been cast in it.

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Actually most ballets were favorites, except:

Concerto Barocco (only because I was constantly afraid a toe shoe ribbon or skirt ribbon might pop out of the hidden knot tied, and I'd be stuck the entire time on stage unable to stick that end back under the knot. It never happened, but it was on my mind, often.)

This is fascinating!

When I watch a ballet and imagine what's going through the dancers' minds it's usually things like the pleasure of the movement, the mechanics of a difficult step, checking radar to make sure they're aligned right in relation to the other dancers. Never did I imagine ribbon misbehavior! But of course it's all part of the performance, and it makes perfect sense.

I now have a whole new level of appreciation. Thanks, sz!

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Ok, my ancient memory recalls...

Les Sylphides (1st time I got to wear romantic length, and concentrate on that precise form/style, and made mom cry) but Giselle best.

Stars & Stripes (couldn't stop smiling: because of the music, US flag backdrop in finale, and it was the Bicentennial--felt patriotic.)

Serenade (ditto most others' reasons)

Ancient Airs & Dances (because I knew the history of Respighi's music sources, and loved the costumes and choreography)

A ballet my old company did to Enigma Variations, (sorry, name escapes me, but every time I hear "Nimrod" chills still go up me)

And of course my all time favorite was Swan Lake. (All those rehearsals, I was in heaven: so proud and happy to be continuing that long line thru history of dance, adoring the music, costumes, and of course choreography; but tortured by perfectionist tendencies in 4-cygnets, and then heartbroken/crushed/forever afterwards stricken by never getting to dance it onstage because of the idiocy of the USAF.)

What I remember most is the comraderie of everyone working together towards the same perfection of image/technique, and also just as friends. Trying to keep my eyelines correct, and being a stickler for linear placement/spacing, and correct epaulement. (Wish I'd had a chance to do Bayadere, but not sure back would stand it now.) And oh yes, I too worried about those ribbon knots, and where my shoe was darned, too much rosin/not enough, and one half-sewn costume threatening to come undone.

PS. I hated doing Paquita for some reason--thought it was boring, even though music was "giddy" I wasn't.

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>Concerto Barocco...

>....When I watch a ballet and imagine what's going through the dancers' minds it's usually things like

>the pleasure of the movement, the mechanics of a difficult step, checking radar to make sure they're

>aligned right in relation to the other dancers. Never did I imagine ribbon misbehavior!

>But of course it's all part of the performance, and it makes perfect sense.

Sometimes there was sufficient time to sew the ribbons where they should be/stay, ideally, but at

other times, eg, a quick change for the following ballet was needed.... then ribbon risk had to be taken...

It's multi-tasking for sure! And as a perfectionist....as many dancers are.... one focuses on so many details constantly...

I didn't think Barocco was very difficult for the corps, just a strong focus on cleanliness, pure (not showy) joy of movement is needed for most of it.

Still, one got a bit winded by the end of the 3rd movement when the most difficult choreography was demanded. Today, the dancers don't really do the sissones to pointe (arabesque) and jump back to tendu fourth as exaggerated as Balanchine demanded of us. Other bits of Barocco are done less dangerously today as well... But it is a beautiful ballet, one of my favorites to watch....

Btw, yes, the 2nd movement is heaven listening to while on stage!

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