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Is anything vulgar (in dancing) today?


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#16 Alexandra

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 12:59 PM

[quote]Originally posted by Leigh Witchel:
I'm going to be a wag here, but does anyone else have moments or dancers in ballet that are so brazen or vulgar that you end up loving them for it?.

But then they're not vulgar. They're outrageously adorable smile.gif

Jude, I think different countries have different rules of applause. I've seen small touring companies of Russian dancers who dance to tape where the applause-time is several minutes; embarrassing, if the audience doesn't clap that much.

Applause habits and expectations have always interested me. There's so much conflicting information. One often reads of European companies that they love to come to America because the audiences were so demonstrative -- yet Americans will complain about applause milking (and not just of Russian companies).

#17 Calliope

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 04:40 PM

The polka section of Vienna Waltzes.
I think it's even been reviewed as "vulgar"

#18 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 10:56 PM

[quote]Originally posted by Richard Jones:
"That caesura at the end of the fouettés has been there for so long, it might as well be notated into the score, it's part of the landscape now."

Perhaps the English are more restrained! I hadn't encountered that effect before seeing the Kirov. Is this caesura generally observed in the USA?


Actually, the first time I encountered it in an American company was a performance of the David Blair production of Swan Lake for ABT. Toni Lander absolutely nailed the fouettés, and there was very little the orchestra could do to pick up for Bruce Marks' tours à la seconde until they (the audience) calmed down a little.

[ November 20, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]



#19 4Ts

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 11:33 PM

I don't know if this falls under the rubric of vulgarity, but I keep getting grossed out at the absolutely anti-musical cuts that the Boston Ballet has recently been dishing out.

Now, I know the Boston Ballet has had bigger troubles than cuts and I know that if you keep the orchestra exactly one minute overtime, you may need to declare bankruptcy, BUT! there's great music in some ballets and when there is, it's kind of important, right?

Here's how they transgressed. In last season's production of Sleeping Beauty, they started the overture, and right after the opening 8 bars of Carabosse's music... they cut the rest of the overture - no Lilac Fairy music, no dramatic juxtaposition. In this season's Stanton Welch Midsummer Night's Dream, they started the overture, and right after the opening long chords in the winds, guess what? they cut the rest of the overture.

This music is not by Minkus. It is integral to the drama - in the case of the Mendelssohn, it is very grateful to dance - at least for Balanchine it was. To me, doing cuts like this suggests something of a disdain for music.

Is this defensible in anyone's view?

#20 felursus

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 12:37 AM

In response to Alexandra's query about when is it vulgar vs. when is it fun, I'd like to say that IMO it depends on the ballet and what is being done. Balances held for an excessive amount of time so that the music has to stop would be appalling in 'Giselle' but might be fun in the Don Q pdd. (I put up a question in regard to "missing princes" in the Rose Adagio which points to this issue.) In general, I think that if the music has to come to a complete halt - as opposed to a brief pause, then it's pretty vulgar. I certainly think bows in the middle of the 2nd act of Giselle are vulgar, although in the past I have seen Giselles who DID come out for one. Today they seem to run across the stage to acknowledge applause. (Hey, it may even put them on the correct side of the stage for their next entrance!)

Another pet peeve of mine is excessive extensions. Some artists - Guillem, for example - know how to control this. We all know that Sylvie can wrap her legs around her head, but she has demonstrated that she doesn't HAVE to do this all the time. It's great however in something whose whole point is vulgarity - eg. the Grand Pas Classique. rolleyes.gif

#21 cargill

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 09:46 AM

Another things I find vulgar is the current habit of cranking out many more supported pirouettes than can be done easily. It always makes me think of a rusty can opener.

#22 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 11:26 AM

I thought vulgarity reached new heights (depths) during ABT's City Center season when some nutty balletomane in the audience would repeatedly toss enormous bouquets of roses onstage in the middle of the ballet!

I mean, tossing a bouquet at Juliet Kent as soon as she finished the adagio in the second movement of Symphony in C? Let's stop the ballet dead in its tracks, shall we?

#23 jude

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 12:23 PM

alexandra
i see what you are saying about the diffrenet etiquettes etc ...some of the hamming was quite funny!
it was this particular instance when it really annoyed me as it felt like the priority of the dancers/company wasmore to milk milk their applause then to really show the pdd in the best way possible!!

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 12:41 PM

4Ts, I agree. Only Merce Cunningham can cut music like that! (I think even Minkus must be respected. After all, he larded his scores with dozens of repeats just so this wouldn't happen.)

Manhattnik, I'm almost speechless. I've never heard of throwing flowers on stage and I think the ushers should run down the aisle and drag the offenders out of the theater!!! On the other hand, outrageous audience behavior does not occur in a vacuum. (Donning schoolmarm glasses) If a company encourages a circus atmosphere, it can't blame the audience if it behaves as though it's at a circus.

I remember when Bujones was young and in the Great International Star sweepstakes, a small group of fans ran down the aisle at the Kennedy Center at the end of a ballet, YELLING at the top of their lungs stuff like "Go Nando!", waving banners and wearing Nando T-shirts. They only did it once. (And it wasn't the ushers who stopped them.)

As for flower throwers, there was a very nasty, vulgar habit during the Rudi Days when people aimed the bouquets at the dancer's crotch and cheered when they hit bulls-eye.

We could have another interesting discussion about what is it about ballet that invites this? But let's get all the Favorite Vulgarities out in the open first smile.gif

#25 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 12:46 PM

i don't recall ever hearing carabosse's theme in the sleeping beauty overture, and having seen boston's sleeping beauty a number of times, don't recall any cuts being made in the overture. also took out tapes of a number of other productions to check. in addition, i thought the midsummer night's dream the boston ballet did was that of bruce wells, not stanton welch. whether or not it was rearranged further i don't know as i did not see it this year.

#26 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 01:06 PM

Alexandra, since this happened on much more than one night (with always an identical-appearing bouquet of roses), I suspect it had to have happened with either the active or passive cooperation of ABT's managment.

#27 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 01:11 PM

Oh, yeah, speaking of ABT: Tricking up one's choreography where it does not belong!

All those guys in the 3rd Mvt. of Symphony in C tossing in double sautes de basque. The first night, Corella did them (and the ensuing vortex seemed to totally discommode poor Ashley Tuttle), then De Luz had to prove he could do them, and Cornejo, and Steifel, who REALLY should've known better.

Even the women had to get into the act, with spunky Xiomara Reyes tossing in doubles (well 1 1/2s) to "match" De Luz's. I didn't know whether to admire her gumption or deplore her taste. Of course, I often feel that way when looking at ABT in general.

#28 4Ts

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 11:51 PM

Mme. Hermine:
You are of course right about Boston Ballet's Midsummer Night's Dream choreographer. Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly will be later in the season. I mixed up the leading "Wel"s.

It's impossible to hum a tune over Bulletin Board, but what I call Carabosse's music is the tune we first hear in the overture. It's played again at Carabosse's appearance in the intro and little bits of it show up again in the 1st and 2nd acts, either when she actually appears or when we're supposed to feel her influence.

As to the cuts, maybe it's the fact that I go to Sunday matinees and the company wants to finish early. But there's just no question that in both Midsummer Night's Dream and Sleeping Beauty, the overtures were more than merely cut - they were hacked to death. Practices like this (IMHO) put in question of the musical integrity of the company.

#29 dragonfly

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Posted 22 November 2001 - 02:51 AM

[quote]Originally posted by Mashinka:
Leigh, if its vulgar you like, just wait till you see Anastasia Volochkova, she takes vulgarity to heights you never knew existed !!!!!!!!! eek.gif

I totally agree with Mashinka.

Last September I was at "Le Gala des Etoiles" in Montreal, and Anastasia Volochkova opened the evening with a solo called "Adiemus" with music by Karl Jenkins and choreography (?) by Renato Zanella (does anyone know this choreographer?)

When I came back home I wrote a critic for a friend who could not attend and I remember telling her that this could have probably passed as a 5$ dance (refering to the club dancers who dance at the client's table for 5$ or 10$ depending on... whatever!)

I could not understand how she was allowed to present this on stage. Vulgar and completely tasteless.

Dragonfly

#30 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 22 November 2001 - 06:59 AM

4ts:
yes you are right, and yet i always considered the music's echoing when carabosse enters to be a perversion of the original use of the music to introduce the ballet, since when it is first used it is so glorious and when it is echoed it is so sinister. anyone care to comment?
as for the company's musical integrity, i'll say only that it must be a hard thing to fight for in any case!


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