When is it "not right"?
Posted 08 May 2001 - 12:31 AM
When do you think that those knee-in-armpit extensions add or take away from the ballet? Overused, under-used.. which ballets? Neo-classical, classical, I don't know, this is an abstract-ish question. I'm looking forward to feedback.
[ 05-08-2001: Message edited by: Lukayev ]
Posted 08 May 2001 - 09:31 AM
Posted 08 May 2001 - 10:25 AM
As for the rest of the question, I'd love to hear what the experts think....
(Thanks, Luka! I'd been curious about this for a while and just didn't think to post on it. You always have such great questions!)
Posted 08 May 2001 - 04:19 PM
Posted 08 May 2001 - 10:01 PM
When Sylvie Guillem uses a
super high extension as, say, Odile it looks "natural" -- in the performance I saw, at least, she didn't
strain or distort her upper body, her placement/line (other than the height of the leg) was classical,
she danced securely and musically.
Absolutely agree. If the extension doesn't distort the position of upper body, let's her do with legs whatever she wants. Don't you think, it's ridiculus, that 135 degree is O.K., but 145 is not or may be 155? Tutus was invenented to show ballerina legs in full length, Petipa specially made the first combination in Rose Adagio with ecarte as close to the public as possible. If ballerina will lift her leg only on 90 degree, her skirt will go up and, excuse me, but we can see her groin anyway. But this movement is not about the groin but about a pointed toe to the sky, which make it incredibly powerful.
In Romantic balets with the long tutu we have a different story. Here we can't distort not just the body position, but the costume as well. It's mean that the skirt shouldn't cover ballerina's head and, what more important, the cavalier shouldn't touch ballerina legs over her dress, which happened sometimes in contemporary staging of "Giselle" or "Les Sylphides".
Posted 09 May 2001 - 01:24 AM
From a dancer's point of view, everyone (that I know, anyway) secretly desires to get that 6 o'clock extension that has made Guillem, among other ultraflexible dancers, a living example to strive for. After all, the people I know (and there are probably many more) are self-critical during class; always comparing this to that, dancer to other dancer. We may heed to words describing those kick the head developpes as uncharming, not-in-the-era, and so on.. but in this time, this world of Americanization, of Balanchine's leotard ballets.. we try to be reasonable. I am against contemporizing such classics as Giselle, but in this time, most likely a company would hire a Wendy Whelan body rather than, say, a Romantic era, Fokine-time (I'm not good with numbers) body that we find is getting to be a rarity except for on videotape.
Look at the Kirov. Vishneva, Lopatkina, Zakharova, etc.. such young principals, their extensions could scrape dust off the stage lights, and so on. While the Kirov's repertoire is sticking to balletic ballets, their dancers are striving for hypersplits, bang-head-on-ceiling jumps, and let's-tickle-my-ear-with-my-knee legs. I know it's not just the Kirov, but this is the company of such die-hard classical dancers and ballets, that I would be overwhelmed by the clash of styles.
So what do we dancers do? Whether or not I admit it, I am envious of high extensions and would use them to my advantage to wow the company director, and then the audience. It's old reasoning, at least for me - if you can be the best, be it. If you aren't.. then, try anyway.
I'd like to correct myself a little.. a Wendy Whelan body could still learn the era's technique and pull something very past-timeish, like Pas de Quatre, beautifully. But when stylized hyperextensions and purely classical Odette bang headlong into eachother, I believe the result wouldn't be leagues close to 'the era image'.
P.S. While I do believe if someone like Guillem can make hyperextensions seem fitting and within the proper musical timing of the ballet, then that would only enhance the beauty. But that's just me.
[ 05-09-2001: Message edited by: Lukayev ]
Posted 09 May 2001 - 07:26 PM
An added thought.. I associate superhuman extension with exactly that- something not quite human, something more exotic- Swan Lake for instance- here the extensions come from a bird/woman- for Odette, at least. Black Swan IS a human woman- albeit an evil one, but human, just the same, and limited to a "human"body- therfore maybe not so extended, but exotic in the angularity of her movements. (Odile is completely human, right?) For something like Sleeping Beauty, you have a pristinely groomed young princess on the road to maturity. She is human, so by the same reasoning as above, perhaps a 180 degree extension, especially to the side, is not necessary to convey the character.
Posted 09 May 2001 - 07:42 PM
Posted 10 May 2001 - 12:36 PM
Posted 10 May 2001 - 03:21 PM
In the Black Swan PDD--when the prince takes Odile's hand and supports her in a developpe at la seconde (10 to 6 simply won't do here)
Also, in the second movement of "Symphony in C"--a slow developpe reaching into infinity can be quite beautiful here.
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