Suspension of belief
Posted 01 February 2002 - 02:30 PM
When I read Leigh's question, the first images I had were of a black modern dance company that did a story ballet here about 15 years ago -- it was a small company that's changed names and personalities several times, and I don't remember the name of the work. But it had a monster. He was evil, totally without redeeming social value. The protagonists were children (grown dancers pretending to be children, and very well, I might add). The audience, which was 99% African American, loved it -- booed the villain, reacted with fear, although it was a theatrical fear, if that makes sense -- I don't think any of them went home to nightmares, but they were appreciative of what was going on stage. When the children triumphed at the end, they cheered. I've never felt so much an outsider a dance concert; I could not enter into this world. To me, what was on stage was very amateur. But by the end of it, I realized that the people sitting around me knew that. They didn't believe the villain was really going to eat the children, of course. But they could pretend they did. I was quite jealous! I would love to do what they did -- to recreate its own innocence.
Is it possible, in a post-post-modern world, to reclaim innocence? Would Eifman, or other choreographers who might seem outrageous (to those who find them outrageous) seem less so if we entered their world?
We draw distinctions with words, of course. "Camp" has a good connotation now -- it means that the artist who's put something on stage that's outre' knows what he's doing, and so we can laugh at the joke. This is cool. Isadora coming back and dancing her Marxist dreams would probably be uncool -- unless it's done by the Trockadero's Isadora, and then it's camp. In some ballets where we need a villain, like "Sleeping Beauty" we avoid the issue, just "seeing" the dancing. The mime characters could be doing the mime from a completely different ballet and most of us wouldn't know or care.
What will it take to make us see drama? Is suspension of disbelief possible?
Posted 01 February 2002 - 03:04 PM
At least for me, the ballet is so beautiful. Even the monsters are beautiful.
But I'm not sure I've seen a ballet where there's almost a tangible evil. I may be forgetting something, but I can't think of any "bad guy" roles that have as much stage time as their antithesis. As I'm typing, I just thought of Dracula, but I haven't seen any and no one mentioned him...
Yet I "believe" in the fairies, in the hopeless romance that goes on (a woman, trapped in a Swan body). So I think the suspension of disbelief is entirely possible, but I think we live in a society where you turn on the tv and visually we're bombarded with "scary" all the time.
I have a feeling I missed the point of your question though, apologies if I did.
Posted 01 February 2002 - 04:31 PM
Posted 02 February 2002 - 01:15 PM
Posted 02 February 2002 - 06:39 PM
So, for me it was no big transition to the ballet, which features much the same, except to music.
Posted 11 February 2002 - 12:53 PM
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