Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Leigh Witchel

Heaven on Earth?

9 posts in this topic

Walking with a friend to the subway after Ballett Frankfurt tonight, I was trying to explain why I found the performance lacking. "When I see ballet, I'm looking for Heaven on Earth." I'm not a religious person, so maybe that's why I hope to find such a thing here.

What is heaven to me? A paradise of reason, order and humanity. I've caught glimpses of it onstage in ballets like Monumentum Pro Gesualdo and Divertimento No. 15. I've heard it in music too (Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium springs immediately to mind.)

So, in this season of the spirit, have you ever seen heaven on earth? Or on stage?

Share this post


Link to post

Every mother has.

On stage: Makarova, "Monotones II", to name a few.

Giannina

Share this post


Link to post
Originally posted by Leigh Witchel:

What is heaven to me? A paradise of reason, order and humanity.


"Là tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,/ Luxe, calme et volupté"... smile.gif

So, in this season of the spirit, have you ever seen heaven on earth? Or on stage?


"Concerto Barocco".

[ December 21, 2001: Message edited by: Estelle ]

Share this post


Link to post

Alas, I've never seen a heavenly performance of "Concerto Barocco" although I believe in it. (I came to CB during the Heather Watts era.)

Spiritual Heavens: Kingdom of the Shades (especially the Paris one, because it's so cold), Monotones II, finale of "Four Temperaments," first pas de deux in "Chaconne"

Happy Heavens: Symphony in C, pas de six and tarantella of Napoli smile.gif

Modern Heavens: Pond Way (Cunningham), Esplanade (Taylor)

Share this post


Link to post
Originally posted by alexandra:

Alas, I've never seen a heavenly performance of "Concerto Barocco" although I believe in it. (I came to CB during the Heather Watts era.)


Actually, the first performance of "Concerto barocco" I saw was by some students of the Lyon Conservatoire, and there hardly were two students of the same size in the corps de ballet- but I enjoyed the choreography (and the music) so much that I forgot all the little problems...

Share this post


Link to post

My first performance of Symphony in C. I don't remember who danced but my first sight of Balanchine's masterpiece will stay with me forever.

Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee and Monotones

Lucinda Childs' Available Light

Paul Taylor's Esplanade and Arden Court

As Time Goes By, my first Tharp ballet with a solo by Larry Grenier that I'll never forget. Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs (danced by the original cast)

A good performance of Swan Lake and Giselle

Farrell in Duo, Agon, Chaconne, Mozartiana and Vienna Waltzes

Four Ts

Any good performance of a Balanchine masterpiece

Share this post


Link to post

I felt like I was privy to a little preview of heaven watching my first live Nutcrackers last week -- the courtliness and courtesy of the social dancing at the end of the party scene seemed so richly civilized, and very much in contrast to the way relations between the sexes are often conducted today. If my memory of what I've read and seen on video serves, it also contrasts with the typical Forsythe work. The social dancing in Scotch Symphony this fall moved me too, even though the context and the undercurrents aren't so very innocent as they in the Nutcracker.

Funny, that sort of thing used to bore me. Sitting in the movie theater in '93 or whenever it was that The Nutcracker came out, I couldn't wait for "the real ballet" to begin. I think it was reading Kirstein on the genesis of Agon that first opened my eyes to -- or at least first made me take an interest in -- the fact that ballet evolved from court dancing.

Other than that, ballet often strikes me a heaven on earth, even though I *am* a religious person and what I'm seeing bears no resemblance to any prophecy or dramatized article of faith I can think of. Of the ballets already mentioned, Suzanne Farrell's staging of Divertimento #15 at the Terrace Theater comes to mind. And yes those final, heart tugging lifts to that gorgeous, aching music in the Four Temperaments. And, of course, Mozartiana.

Share this post


Link to post

Heavenly joy - Fonteyn in Sleeping Beauty.

Spine-tingling heaven - my first glimpse of the Bayadere Shades scene when Nureyev first brought it to Britain. All performances of this affect me, but never to quite the same level as that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0