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#1 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 01:10 PM

I'm sure this has been done before, but I found myself discussing this with a friend and thought it might make an interesting subject.

If you had to choose a top ten for a choreographer like Balanchine, and could only keep those ten ballets, which ones would you choose, for him and for others?

Off the top of my head, I'd pick:

1. Symphony in C
2. Agon
3. Serenade
4. Concerto Barocco
5. The Nutcracker
6. Jewels
7. Prodigal Son
8. A Midsummer Night's Dream
9. Stars and Stripes
10. Theme and Variations

Okay, so it's sort of what's your top ten favorites, but what would it be? (lists are usually fun!)

#2 Calliope

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 01:28 PM

I had to do something similar for a paper in college. We had to create a list of what music we send into space as a representative of the art. It's hard to pick just a top ten so:


For Balanchine:
1. Square Dance
2. Concerto Barrocco
3. Tchai. Suite 3
4. Divert #15
5. Emeralds (not all of Jewels)
6. La Valse
7. Midsummer's
8. Coppelia
9. Tarantella
10. Serenade


I'd have to pick some Robbins too
1. In The Night
2. Interplay
3. The Concert
4. 2 & 3 Part Inventions
5. Fancy Free
6. Four Seasons
7. West Side Story
8. Afternoon of a Faun

and I'd throw in La Fille Mal Gardee and Romeo and Juliet too (but I'm not sure yet who's)

[ January 16, 2002: Message edited by: Calliope ]



#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 01:58 PM

Only 10??? biggrin.gif

The sad part is in 1900 someone was probably asking that about Bournonville's repertory, and now we have less than 10.

If I had to chose 10, in chronological order:

1. Serenade
2. Concerto Barocco
3. The Four Temperaments
4. Symphony in C
5. Divertimento No. 15
6. Agon
7. Liebeslieder Walzer
8. Monumentum/Movements
9. A Midsummer Night's Dream
10. Mozartiana

I'd argue for the following works, not because they are in the pantheon, but because added to it, they give a more complete picture of Balanchine.

La Valse
Duo Concertant
Kammermusik No. 2

And if I could sneak Ballo della Regina past in my luggage, I would.

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 02:23 PM

Nope, Leigh. Those airport security people would never let you sneak in Ballo smile.gif

Only 10. Sad to think, in 50 years or so this may be what's left. Bournonville left 16 well-rehearsed and ready for rep (not including La Sylphide, which makes 17) and by 1930, all the serious ones were gone -- they say it was the mood of the day, but I think it's because they could no longer do them. Now, they really, deep in their hearts, would like to get rid of the three comedies because they're "too silly". (And they don't know how to do them.) The same thing is happening to Ashton -- the difficult ones have fallen away and we're going to be down to "Les Patineurs" and "Les Rendezvous" and, on a good day in a good year, "Symphonic Variations."

As for Balanchine...it's hard; the most performed works (judbed by looking at regional company's reps) keep changing. The two most popular ones this season have been "Divertimento No. 15" and "Slaughter". 15 years ago, it was "Barocco" and "Serenade," 10 years ago, "Agon" and "Four Ts."

Into the space capsule (not necessarily my favorites, or all of my favorites) would go:

1. Serenade
2. Four Temperaments
3. Apollo
4. Symphony in C
5. Theme and Variations
6. Liebslieder Walzer
7. Stars and Stripes
8. Chaconne
9. Davidsbundlertanz
10. Symphony in 3 Movements

#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 02:45 PM

well now, on reflection, realizing that i had not included apollo, and though i had included the nutcracker because of what it's meant to the myriads of children/adults/board members, i will have to therefore drop it and add apollo.

however i will also add the codicil that i certainly hope more than that survive! (i just like lists, but it could just as easily be a top 100 as far as i'm concerned).

#6 Melissa

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 02:51 PM

Here's mine, in no particular order:

1) Nutcracker
2) Jewels (Emeralds & Diamonds only)
3) Vienna Waltzes (Der Rosenkavalier only)
4) La Valse
5) Symphony in C
6) Theme & Variations
7) Liebeslieder Waltzes
8) Apollo
9) Serenade
10) Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 02:55 PM

pmeja, it's a very good idea for a thread, I think, and limiting it to ten keeps us disciplined. (And, from what history tells us, accurate.)

We could also do a What If "top ten" -- What if all that were left of Balanchine was:

1. The Steadfast Tin Soldier
2. The Costermonger pas de deux from Union Jack
3. The Explosion Polka from Vienna Waltzes
4. Slaughter
5. Harlequinade
6. Meditation
7. A Door and a Smile
8. Stars and Stripes
9. Serenade
10. Nutcracker.

History would see him quite differently than we see him now, if that list were the remains, c. 2050.

#8 cargill

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 03:18 PM

I love Liebeslieder, but I really don't think it will survive, the nuances are just too difficult, even now to get a really good performance of, and once those legs start shooting up all the time, the graciousness of those costumes and the differences between the lst and 2nd halves will be lost. But I will include it anyway.

1. Liebeslieder
2. 4T's
3. Concerto Barocco
4. Serenade
5. Western Symphony (because I think it is practically dancer-proof.)
6. Divertimento no. 15
7. Emeralds
8. Theme and Variations
9. Ballet Imperial (with proper costumes and the mime restored!)
10. Syliva pas de deux, because there should be a pas de deux and the music is so goregous.

#9 Estelle

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 06:19 PM

Eh, it's a bit unfair, because there are a lot of unlucky people who haven't seen 10 different ballets by Balanchine...

It's a bit difficult for me to make a list as there are many that I've seen only once.

My own list would be something like:

1- Concerto Barocco
2- Palais de Cristal/ Symphony in C
3- The Four temperaments
4- Agon
5- Emeralds
6- Theme and Variations
7- Apollo
8- Sonatine
9- Prodigal Son
10- Who Cares

(But there'd also be the list of the 10 works I'd like to see the most:

1- Mozartiana
2- Liebeslieder Walzer
3- Divertimento n. 15
4- Chaconne
5- Le Tombeau de Couperin
6- Scotch Symphony
7- A Midsummer night's dream
8- La Source
9- Tchaikovsky suite n. 3
10- La Valse ).

#10 Manhattnik

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Posted 16 January 2002 - 06:29 PM

Why are we only saving parts of certain ballets? It seems to me that according to the rules we could save all of Jewels. So it's a three-fer.

1. Serenade
2. Mozartiana
3. Apollo
4. Liebeslieder
5. 4Ts
6. Bizet
7. Midsummer
8. Div #15
9. Jewels (of course!)
10. Suite No. 3 (gotta save at least 1 polonaise)

Dang. I left out Barocco. Back to the drawing board. I guess I'd ditch Jewels for it. Maybe.

[ January 16, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]



#11 felursus

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Posted 18 January 2002 - 05:53 PM

1) Apollo
2) Serenade
3) Concerto Barocco
4) 4 Ts
5) Agon
6) Ballet Imperial (restored)
7) Symphony in C
8) Theme and Variations
9) Prodigal Son
10) Western Symphony

I chose them to demonstrate the wide range of Balanchine's talent and the styles in which he choreographed.

#12 Roma

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Posted 18 January 2002 - 08:22 PM

Alexandra, your last post sent chills down my spine.

in no particular order
1. Mozartiana
2. Liebeslieder
3. Agon
4. Monumentum/Movements
5. Theme and Variations
6. Four Temperaments
7. Divertimento 15
8. Serenade
9. Midsummer
10. Concerto Barocco

Couldn't we expand the list to at least 15? This is too hard!!!


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