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#1 Alexandra


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 10:23 AM

I was surprised to notice how few
English born and trained principals there were with the Royal these days. (I know in the Glory Days half the principals came from Commonwealth countries, but they had RAD training and the style was uniform.) Of course, the Royal hasn't been RAD for awhile now, and it sure shows :)

How is this viewed in England? Or elsewhere, for that matter. To me, it's not a matter of keeping other nationalities out, but of stylistic uniformity. (If you're born in Turkey or Norway or Uganda or China, that's fine, if you grow up in a company's school, or have a teacher who grew up in the school.)

If you go to see Paris Opera Ballet, do you expect to see French dancers? Do we want to see New Yorkers dancing with the Kirov or Bolshoi?

I got a press release from Cincinnati Ballet that said 46% of their 34 dancers were non-American. That, too, was a surprise. This isn't as much a matter of style, of course, as of jobs. They can't find 34 American dancers in Cincinnati???

What do others think about these, and other, ramifications of the current hot internationalization trend?

#2 Diana L

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Posted 13 June 2001 - 10:53 AM

I believe Colorado Ballet has a big international contingency as well.
Whenever a company brings in a guest artist, I always wonder why. Is it for the dancer to do a style they've never done before or to add a little "spice" to the company's performance. Sometimes it works (Darci Bussell's 4T's performances at NYCB) and I'm sure there are times it doesn't (but I can't think of any).
I think that the lending of ballets must have an impact too. The Kirov doing Balanchine, NYCB attempting Bourniville, etc...
Jury is still out for me as to whether it's good or not, for myself a guest artist might peak my interest in going to see the company they're from, especially if they're good. I have to see if everyone else is as good as them too ;)

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 11:20 AM

The guest artist as competition and measuring stick point you raise is a good one, I think. IMO, it's generally a good idea. Perks things up. With the Royal, though, these aren't guests. They're permanent. Some, like Stiefel, dance with several companies, but for the others, this is home now.

#4 mbjerk


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 12:05 PM

This closely follows the globalization arguements of the economy. The French fear losing a language and cuisine, the English the Pound and so forth.

It is a shame for me that this cross pollination is occuring in companies such as Royal and the Kirov. But, for the dancers (especially principals) the artistic and performance opportunities are incredible. Also for choreographers (who would not want to do a ballet for Guillem?). This benefits dance and audiences, but does decrease the stylistic variety for balletomanes.

#5 Alexandra


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 12:25 PM

Why can't the Stars hop from company to company, pleasing audiences and choreographers, but leaving the rain forests alone? :) (I wonder if choreographers really are that eager to work with Guillem? Often they don't want to work with Stars. Too difficult, too fully formed, too much themselves.)

[ 06-13-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#6 ~A.C~



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Posted 13 June 2001 - 04:02 PM

I think it is a matter of appeal. Foriegn names are much more appealing than local ones. We see Russian names in the Washington Ballet Programs. There are Japanese dancers performing at the SFB. The only places things like this occur is with companies that have had a strong history. Kirov, and Bolshoi have remained, for the most part, Russian.

[ 06-13-2001: Message edited by: ~A.C~ ]

#7 LMCtech


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Posted 13 June 2001 - 08:43 PM

And NYCB has remained mostly American. I think it is the personal preferences of the artistic directors that drive this trend.

I think guest artists are usually brought in to please boards.

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 14 June 2001 - 12:24 AM

And honestly, with NYCB where the style is so distiinct, I can think of precious few times I thought a guest artist was succesful - I think Silja Schandorff in Martins' Swan Lake, who was one of the original dancers in the production when it was first set on the Danes, is the most succesful I could mention and I am thinking of Bussell's appearances and Isabel Guerin's as well.

#9 Steve Keeley

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Posted 14 June 2001 - 01:17 AM

Originally posted by Leigh Witchel:
And honestly, with NYCB where the style is so distinct, I can think of precious few times I thought a guest artist was succesful...

...and I am thinking of Bussell's appearances and Isabel Guerin's as well.

I happened to be thinking along these lines myself, having just watched 2 videos of "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux," one with Patricia McBride and one with Darcey Bussell. The steps were the same, but the effect was so different.

Darcey has an almost incomparable sense of classical line and placement in everything she does. While she looked beautiful in this work, it didn't work for me. She gave it a serenity that took away it's edge. McBride's spikier performance was not as pretty but much more alive.

Still, I'd love to see what Darcey would do with "Ballo della Regina." (Just out of curiousity.) She has the speed, jump, and precision for it, but would her natural poise blunt its excitement?


#10 Alexandra


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Posted 14 June 2001 - 09:06 AM

I agree with the posts above about NYCB, and think it speaks to a conscious decision on the part of the company to keep its own style and NOT internationalize. (One can argue how much they're keeping the style. I remember one of McBride's last performances in "Raymonda Variations," and she was seemed so extreme compared to everyone else, I thought she looked like a guest in her own company. But they have a definition of what is acceptable and what is not, and they look for dancers who fit it.) European-trained dancers don't fit in. Few are sought, and fewer last. The Royal Ballet, the first of the big companies to consciously internationalize its style, jettisoned much of its tradition in favor of what "everyone else" (i.e., ABT, I think) was doing, changed what was taught in the school (!! Think of SAB suddenly going RAD), and started bringing in people from all over the map. The Royal Danish has done the same thing, only they did it almost overnight. I'm sorry economic conditions in Russia are so harsh, but it may be the only thing saving the Kirov and Bolshoi. Paris is Paris :)

#11 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 14 June 2001 - 01:23 PM

Good point, Alexandra. It's not because companies refrain from internationalizing that they preserve their style. The Kirov Ballet is a case in point: they don't accept foreigners (unless one considers non-Vaganova-trained dancers foreigners, of course), yet they loose their style, simply because they don't care for it.

I'm also thinking of this review from Igor Stupnkikov about Diana Vishneva's Mariinsky debut as Nikiya: "Vishneva seemed to be a guest star, very aloof and arrogant as if she did not belong to this ballet brotherhood but came from some celestial sphere to surprise, to conquer, to enrapture." And this girl is considered to be the "face of the Mariinsky Ballet". Yet I doubt very much that they are the ones who will save the company.

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