MinkusPugni

Nutcracker

124 posts in this topic

Pointe work...

Just a question. Why does it have to be "pointe work" to be considered "real dancing"?

No,no...not about being real or not...(of course Duncan danced for real...)

As i see it, Pointe work=BALLET

Share this post


Link to post
I just watched a DVD of Nureyev's horrible Nutcracker for the Royal Ballet from 1968. It is very similar to his production for the Paris Opéra Ballet, which makes me wonder who decided it was a good idea for him to choreograph after 1968!

It's different. Yes. It's not traditional.Yes. Horrible. No You cannot judge any performance from a filmed record. If you had been in the Royal Opera House to see it live, you would have soon got over the shock and marvelled at the powerful performances that were given. Yes, its niot a production for all time, but then nor are most others. It is performances than define ballet history much more than productions.

Share this post


Link to post

I may not have seen it at Covent Garden, but I did see it at the Metropolitan Opera House, and I have to say that I'm in Hans' camp. I found it quite dreadful, with one of my few cherished memories being of Dame Merle Park, but then, I thought then, and still think now that she could have danced ANYthing and improved it.

Share this post


Link to post
No,no...not about being real or not...(of course Ducan danced for real...)

As i see it, Pointe work=BALLET

So you don't consider the large amounts of character/mime dancing in La Bayadere, Lavrovsky's R&J, and Balanchine's Nutcracker ballet? Just curious.

Share this post


Link to post

Anyone care to join me in the Krakoviak from Ivan Sussanin, or the Csardas from Swan Lake?

Share this post


Link to post
No,no...not about being real or not...(of course Ducan danced for real...)

As i see it, Pointe work=BALLET

So you don't consider the large amounts of character/mime dancing in La Bayadere, Lavrovsky's R&J, and Balanchine's Nutcracker ballet? Just curious.

Mime is mime. Can be a PART OF ballet and yes, it is generally associated with it, but not necessarily exclusive to it.

Anyone care to join me in the Krakoviak from Ivan Sussanin, or the Csardas from Swan Lake?

National/Folk Dances vs. Ballet...maybe...? :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post

Mime indeed can stand as its own program. Look at Marcel Marceau. But Nutcracker, among all the durable classics, has a way of integrating mime and ballet step vocabulary more than any other, more even than Giselle, where it happens a lot!

And national dances are not separate from a ballet dancer's training. They must be an integral part of it. It is less so for historical dance, but it would be nice to get that integrated, too!

Share this post


Link to post

What I took Cubanmiamiboy to mean was pointe work means ballet, not ballet means pointe work...right?.

Obviously men in classical ballet don't generally dance on pointe.

I do hope you don't think only ballet is "real" dancing. I realize this is a ballet forum, but there is a world of wonderful dance to be experienced in addition to classical ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, certainly all ballet is dance, but not all dance is ballet. There are crossovers, and hybrids, and all sorts of fusion, but the topic of this thread is Nutcracker.

Share this post


Link to post

Pause-

(:thumbsup: )...( :dry: )

Ok, let's set this right :P

From the etymological point of view:

"The etymology of the word "ballet" is related to the art form's history. The word ballet comes from the French and was borrowed into English around the 17th century. The French word in turn has its origins in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance).Ballet ultimately traces back to Latin ballare, meaning to dance."

so literally I must agree that Ballet=Dance, whereas from the way I look at it and refer to the word as per Ballettalk would be more like:

"...Ballet dance works (ballets) are choreographed, and also include mime, acting, and are set to music (usually orchestral but occasionally vocal). It is best known in the form of classical ballet, notable for its techniques, such as pointe work and turn-out of the legs, its graceful, flowing, precise movements, and its ethereal qualities"

and no...I agree that National Dances are many important things-(an esential ballet work component, a basic ballet dancer training asset, and so on)-but I still don't think of a 2009 Czarda done in character shoes, either being danced in a Swan Lake production by trained ballet dancers or in a Hungarian village by its folks, to a ballet itself, or a ballet work, so to speak.

Basically;

If it is choreographed and has pointe work i do think of it as Ballet.

If it is choreographed, doesn't include at least one pair of pointe shoes on it and it is done by female dancers, I see it as Dance. (This does NOT applies, of course, to the male components of the Ballet art form, which doesn't include pointe shoes by nature, unless they do drag a la Trocks, which I highly dislike)

Hence, Dolin's "Variations for Four" is another shade of this topic...

But back to the Nutcracker...

Share this post


Link to post

Leonid, I was commenting on Nureyev's choreography, not the performances. I found the dancing to be excellent but the choreography quite poor.

I have to say, I do not think ballet necessarily equals pointe work. Pointe is an addition to ballet technique, not a necessary component, unless a work is specifically choreographed to be danced on pointe. Thus, pointe technique must be taught, but it is not necessary for a work to be choreographed for pointe to be considered ballet.

Share this post


Link to post
Basically;

If it is choreographed and has pointe work i do think of it as Ballet.

If it is choreographed, doesn't include at least one pair of pointe shoes on it and it is done by female dancers, I see it as Dance. (This does NOT applies, of course, to the male components of the Ballet art form, which doesn't include pointe shoes by nature, unless they do drag a la Trocks, which I highly dislike)

Hence, Dolin's "Variations for Four" is another shade of this topic...

But back to the Nutcracker...

So ... is your point that Balanchine's Nutcracker is not ballet because of the large amounts of mime dancing in it? Even though the first act contains children's ballet dancing, which is not on pointe?

How about Fokine's Scheherazade? Is that not a ballet?

I think the worst Nutcracker is Grigorivich's. Lots of people onstage all the time, doing nothing in particular, ugly sets, ugly costumes. Contains the usual beefy bravura dancing for the Prince which basically prevents the Prince from being danced by anyone other than the heroic dancers. Doesn't have a drop of childish imagination.

Share this post


Link to post
I think the worst Nutcracker is Grigorivich's. Lots of people onstage all the time, doing nothing in particular, ugly sets, ugly costumes. Contains the usual beefy bravura dancing for the Prince which basically prevents the Prince from being danced by anyone other than the heroic dancers. Doesn't have a drop of childish imagination.

I probably saw a different Nutcracker by different Grigorovich :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
I think the worst Nutcracker is Grigorivich's. Lots of people onstage all the time, doing nothing in particular, ugly sets, ugly costumes. Contains the usual beefy bravura dancing for the Prince which basically prevents the Prince from being danced by anyone other than the heroic dancers. Doesn't have a drop of childish imagination.

I probably saw a different Nutcracker by different Grigorovich :wub:

Hear, hear!

The combination of Maximova, Vasiliev and Levashev all extraordinary on stage, so much so, I have never wanted to watch a film of their performance.

To only talk about beefy bravura dancing is to forget the magical moment when after the battle and the prone prince is lying there and the music begins to swell and Vasiliev slowly reveals his face which was for me was a truly great and unforgettable moment in any performance no matter what you think about the production.

As I mentioned elsewhere, "The Nutcracker" is a ballet for adults not for children and it is a pity to see it being given in something like a pantomime which it most definitely is not. It was first given at the Maryinsky Theatre late in the evening when all good children should have been in bed while adults observed the softened version of the original Hoffman that the audience might have been familiar with, unlike modern audiences today.

19th century ballets were representations of the human condition seen through allegory and symbolism, yes even the comedy ballets.

Share this post


Link to post
As I mentioned elsewhere, "The Nutcracker" is a ballet for adults not for children and it is a pity to see it being given in something like a pantomime which it most definitely is not. It was first given at the Maryinsky Theatre late in the evening when all good children should have been in bed while adults observed the softened version of the original Hoffman that the audience might have been familiar with, unlike modern audiences today.

Well we'll just agree to disagree. I think the ballet should be enjoyable to adults, but it should bring back childhood memories, or at least a feeling of warmth and nostalgia. Tchaikovsky, one of the most emotional of composers, made the Nutcracker score by turns playful and gentle. Grigorivich's sledgehammer style of choreography just doesn't work, in my opinion. And memories of great individual performances are not the same as evaluating choreography.

Share this post


Link to post
So ... is your point that Balanchine's Nutcracker is not ballet because of the large amounts of mime dancing in it? Even though the first act contains children's ballet dancing, which is not on pointe?

How about Fokine's Scheherazade? Is that not a ballet?

If you read my statement above with what i think it should be included in a choreographic work to be called a Ballet work, you'll have the answer. The way your question goes, asking about "Balanchine's Nutcracker", contains itself the concept of the whole thing, including Act II with its pointwork. So there...it already falls into the requirements for a "yes".

Now, on the other side, if I am presented with an isolated 3 minuts excerpt of a chunk of a bunch of little kids running around-(doesn't matter if it's Balanchine or not, Nutcracker or not)-without the rest, meaning that it would be, let's say, the "party scene excerpt from Balanchine's Nutcracker", then I really couldn't have the same answer. What about if I'm not familiar with Balanchine's kids scene...what about if someone is not familiar with the whole Nutcracker whatsoever...? At the end, it would be just that...a bunch of kids running around-(and again...maybe even it would be impossible for me to identify it as Balanchine, if I'm not told before that it is his choreography).

I have had the same trouble with things like Villella's "Nine Sinatra's Songs". I can't understand why is it called "Ballet". For me it doesn't look different at all from what I've always seen as Ballroom Dancing.

About Sheherezade, I can't really speak about, having never seen it, nor would I dare to go as far as questioning Fokine. That really goes beyond my knowledge, which, of course, is extremely limited. I'm not an expert, nor did a came with the "official" denominations of what a Ballet is vs. a Choreographic Work. In Spanish we never use the word "dancer" within the Ballet domains-(there's not even a translation for it)-so i guess that makes it simpler for us, whereas i see that sometimes here in US people talk about "Ballet Dancer" or "Ballerina" with the same meaning at times. In Cuba we call the women who dance on her toes "Bailarina", and the male who dances in a Classical Ballet Company "Bailarin". They don't belong to the same category as those who dance in other companies-(folk/contemp./modern...etc, even it they can point their toes the same)

But now I'm intrigued with Sheherezade. I will try to find Youtube clips of it-(I know there is a reconstruction in DVd done by Liepa)-to see what's going on.

Share this post


Link to post
I think the ballet should be enjoyable to adults, but it should bring back childhood memories, or at least a feeling of warmth and nostalgia. Tchaikovsky, one of the most emotional of composers, made the Nutcracker score by turns playful and gentle. Grigorivich's sledgehammer style of choreography just doesn't work, in my opinion. And memories of great individual performances are not the same as evaluating choreography.

Grigorovich's Nutcracker bring back bring back a plenty of wonderful childhood memories to me. I watched many different artists dancing in it - and I feel that Grigorovich's choreography is both deep and magical. :wub:

I was just wondering - how long ago and where did you see this performance?

Share this post


Link to post

In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial. Would the latter show have been good with Elliott portrayed by a 32-year-old? (Oh, wait, wasn't that Close Encounters of the Third Kind?) Could it, and other shows with juvenile protagonists survive the proposed "3-minute excerpt" test? I really doubt it.

And I must agree with canbelto. I get no kick from Grigorivich's version, but that's another De Gustibus statment, and hence, not really arguable.

Share this post


Link to post
As I mentioned elsewhere, "The Nutcracker" is a ballet for adults not for children and it is a pity to see it being given in something like a pantomime which it most definitely is not.

I absolutely agree. In my opinion, Nutcracker is much deeper then just children's Christmas story.

Of couse, it does not mean that children can not injoy it. :wub:

Share this post


Link to post
In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial. Would the latter show have been good with Elliott portrayed by a 32-year-old? (Oh, wait, wasn't that Close Encounters of the Third Kind?) Could it, and other shows with juvenile protagonists survive the proposed "3-minute excerpt" test? I really doubt it.

:wub:

Share this post


Link to post
In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial.

The original ETA Hoffmann story--actually a warren of stories--could also be a sort of a reverse "Wizard of Oz," with Marie more or less wanting to stay on rather than wanting to get home. (The question then being, of course, how old should Judy Garland/Marie/Clara be played.)

In Hoffmann there is no big party, no extraneous children, just a visit from Godfather Drosselmeier, something of a Dr. Coppelius, who brings wonderful mechanical toys and toy tableaus, which perhaps tease out the idea of free will. According to the Dumas version, unlike doctors who make live things dead, Drosselmeyer makes dead things come to life. And Drosselmeier doesn't bring Nutcracker, Marie finds him on the tree--his double in the "live" scenes is Drosselmeier's nephew. Nutcracker gets broken not out of Fritz's jealousy, but by being forced to break more nuts than he can "chew."

Anyway it's not all talk and mime and there is indeed in the original Nutcracker "a very pretty ballet" done by shepherds and shepherdesses.

"Forgive me, said the Nutcracker, dearest Demoiselle Stahlbaum, for doing such a miserable dance. You see the dancers all came from our marionette ballet, which is controlled by wires, and which can only do the same things over and over again. There are also good reasons why the hunters were so drowsy and feeble in their blowing..."

Except for the poetry of Balanchine's version--the mysterious tree coming into its own--I would think the pristine Fedorova (/Alonso?) version would do it for me these days...Except if the Nutcracker were too pure, what means would be left for all the students of ballet all over the world make their stage debuts?

Share this post


Link to post
Except for the poetry of Balanchine's version--the mysterious tree coming into its own--I would think the pristine Fedorova (/Alonso?) version would do it for me these days...

Amen.

Share this post


Link to post
Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKvVpKHfvtM

Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts — and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)

Here...a glimpse.

Share this post


Link to post
Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKvVpKHfvtM

Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts — and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)

Here...a glimpse.

Hmmmmm......I think I'll pass. Not sure why that one clip is called a "mime" scene. A lot of sword swishing, not much else.

Share this post


Link to post
Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKvVpKHfvtM

Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts — and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)

Here...a glimpse.

Hmmmmm......I think I'll pass. Not sure why that one clip is called a "mime" scene. A lot of sword swishing, not much else.

True. That's why I used the quotation marks-("mime")-...I guess there's the intention to "tell" something, but giving the most weight to the dancing...Yes, it is not the Nut's extended mime used by Balanchine which is so familiar by American audiences.

Share this post


Link to post