Partnerships past present and future?
Posted 06 June 2001 - 02:36 PM
Unfortunately, given the paucity of dynamic new choreographers and the free-agent approach of some international stars and robotic training of some US dancers, we don't have new versions of these to-die-for partnerships of the past. We don't have stable, deeply developed pairings where a choroegrapher can craft a work that makes a world out of one couple. Hence those of us who can only attend ballet in the present tense, need ways to assess the qualities of what we see now -- its possibilities and its limitation and the poetry that is art within limits. No one cares if I saw the final pas de deux between Gelsey and Mikhail that brought 2,000 people to their feet, 1,000 of them weeping with joy. I can replay it in my mind even now but I can't give it to my 15-year-old or expect her to judge a current pas by those standards. My kiddo asked Villella a question recently about how he pairs couples, whether he looks for stable couples or mixes and matches by need and opportunity. At the time i thought it was a mildly interesting question and he gave a muddled answer which came down to do-what-works. He has, after all Ileana and Franklin, husband and wife who move wonderfully together)and a string of individuals some of whom partner nicely but without setting any fires (think Eric Quillare boring us to sleep last week in Duo Concertante). But now I think it's an interesting question for real critics and self-appointed mouthy fans such as myself. Where are the great couples now? Is the business side of ballet so structured now that a company cannot keep/cultivate a duo and let a choreographer (call me when the 21st century titan arrives on the scene, please!)grow with them?
Posted 06 June 2001 - 03:33 PM
I totally respect the attitude of, I only want to see what's in front of me (unless the person is writing for a newspaper or magazine ) And I also understand that someone who thinks that John X and Mary Y are THE great partnership, if they got to see Karsavina-Nijinsky, or Fonteyn-Nureyev, or Sibley-Dowell may well find the "great" pair wanting. But I've often found that this issue makes sense to people only when they finally see something they thought was perfect done imperfectly, especially if it receives a standing ovation. Like many things, if you don't experience it, it's not real to you.
On the question of great partnerships in general, as I wrote on the other thread, they happen. The companies could probably do more to encourage them -- like not shuffling dancers back and forth, but letting them develop a partnership -- but if the magic isn't there, and the repertory and atmosphere that puts a value on partnerships, it won't happen.
It's also interesting that the question of rapport -- whether or not a partnership has a sense of connection or rapport -- seems to be very much a matter of personal taste. We read differences of opinion on that issue constantly here -- one person thinks the stage is on fire and another yawns -- and I imagine many of us have been in an audience where we're either caught up in the drama and other people cough, or the audience leaps to its feet screaming at the end when the couple comes out to take a call, and you wonder, "what did I miss?" I don't think this is just a matter of comparisons, of what database you have to draw on, but simply chemistry.
[ 06-06-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]
Posted 06 June 2001 - 11:02 PM
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