Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Ballet Lapse


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 SanderO

SanderO

    Silver Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 621 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:37 AM

This topic may seem odd for a site whose participants can't get enough ballet, but I would lile to discuss the experience of a lapse of attending performances for any reason and then the experience upon return.

First have any simply decided to take a break for the reason to get some perspective, or to try to return with a different or fresh view? Is this a completely nonsensical idea?

How about those whose circumstances changed and they no longer had access to regular performances as they once had, what was the desert like and what was the experience of return to regular ballet like? Did you see anything new and differently?

Being away what exactly was the most difficult part of the lapse? Did you try to read about ballet in mags, online books or resort to videos?

Once addicted to ballet, can a lapse be tolerable or is there always a constant longing to attend?

#2 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 03:10 PM

I did not take a break from ballet altogether, but in the early-mid-ish '90s, I radically cut down my attendance at NYCB for a few years. The dancing had become mechanical, and it was painful to see the ballets that had, just a few years earlier transported me, now leaving me flat. No, worse than flat. Disappointed, angry, even disgusted. I resolved to boycott my favorite ballet, Concerto Barocco, because it was barely a shadow of what it could be. The principals weren't to blame, it was the squareness of the corps' dancing.

I guess it reached a point where even the ballet masters realized that they'd drilled the life out of the Balanchine rep. I was still attending at least one or two (sometimes even three!) performances a season, and as I saw the qualities I valued returning to the dancing (and, perhaps not coincidentally, La Bouder began to emerge), I was back once or more a week.

During this period, though, I grabbed ABT and many of the visiting companies pretty much at my customary frequency.

I don't know if that answer is quite what you're looking for, but I can only offer my experience.

#3 vipa

vipa

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,093 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:24 PM

I did not take a break from ballet altogether, but in the early-mid-ish '90s, I radically cut down my attendance at NYCB for a few years. The dancing had become mechanical, and it was painful to see the ballets that had, just a few years earlier transported me, now leaving me flat. No, worse than flat. Disappointed, angry, even disgusted. I resolved to boycott my favorite ballet, Concerto Barocco, because it was barely a shadow of what it could be. The principals weren't to blame, it was the squareness of the corps' dancing.

I guess it reached a point where even the ballet masters realized that they'd drilled the life out of the Balanchine rep. I was still attending at least one or two (sometimes even three!) performances a season, and as I saw the qualities I valued returning to the dancing (and, perhaps not coincidentally, La Bouder began to emerge), I was back once or more a week.

During this period, though, I grabbed ABT and many of the visiting companies pretty much at my customary frequency.


In the mid late 1980's when my kids were small and money tight (no money for a sitter or tickets). I didn't go to the ballet. Then I went back with fresh eyes, but felt disappointed with NYCB so switched to ABT! For the past 2 years I've been able to go to both and am loving it.

Taking a break is not bad. I think you do come back with fresh eyes. You come back to some dancers that have matured and others you haven't seen before. Maybe you want a diet of some modern dance companies and/or Ailey for a while.

#4 4mrdncr

4mrdncr

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:07 PM

After dancing professionally and going to see many companies regularly when younger, I had two big "lapses" neither of which was exactly voluntary.

The first occurred when I was forced to stop dancing professionally because of injury, and more importantly, the company adjunct studio/facility I used (which was only 1hr from my home) disintegrated from lack of funding, and then the nearest professional schools/companies were over 2hrs away. This was too far, and too expensive (6 days/wk, 5-6hrs/day adds up fast) for my parents to support, so I had to stop. For two years I couldn't go to a live performance, or barely watch it on tv without crying for hours. Then I decided to go to college so I could work for PBS and do Dance in America.


In college, I discovered one other person who liked classical music, opera, and ballet and we decided to split the cab fare and go see ABT--which used to come for a 2-3wk run to Los Angeles. Every other year, it would perform even closer: Shrine Auditorium, across the street from my apartment. Every night, I was there. This was in the 80's, and my roommate was related to one of the dancers, which helped. I also would go see Joffrey. However, when I graduated, it was a recession, and PBS had a funding crises (as usual) and hiring freeze. So my peripatetic tv career began, resulting in a second "lapse" of ten years.

For most of that time, I lived/worked too far from any cities large enough to support a ballet company. My viewing (no way to attend) was VERY infrequent. Since most of the stations I worked at did not show all the GP or Live from LC programs---(Surprise! Not every PBS station buys the national schedule, and if they do, arts get shown at 3am)--I used to haunt "master control" trying to catch a satellite feed on a 2" monitor. (I couldn't record it because open-reel 1" tape is not a vcr).

Finally, I returned to the East Coast, within 2hrs of Boston, (or closer when I live/work there) or 4hrs from NYC. I subscribed 5yrs to BB, then finally got the nerve to go alone to NYC and see what ABT and City Ballet were doing. The surprise was that Susan Jaffe, Amanda McKerrow, Julio Bocca, and Alessandra Ferri, all of whom I first saw at the beginning of their ABT careers, were now retiring. But then I discovered that ABT's latest claim to fame was its male dancers. So I decided to see why, by analysing how; ie. what made them special AND different from each other. Six years later, I've come to know them, and the Company. I also try to attend NYCB, (since they didn't tour, I had only seen them on PBS). I discovered new works, and new choreographers, and after attending classes and rehearsals (sorry I can't particapte anymore), was glad to discover I still remembered my training & technique.

Sorry this is such a saga, but you did ask.

#5 emilienne

emilienne

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 185 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:43 PM

Like all aspiring college somethings I lived in New York for a while, and as I was casting about for a hobby, I decided to fall into the habit of watching ballet. 2004 was a good year - there was the Ashton festival and the bulk of my preferred programming consisted of story ballets. After graduating, I moved around internationally to do fieldwork and such. I tried to catch some ballet wherever I go - it was a good way to keep connected with something familiar from home, and I got to see quite a few fun and inexplicable things - Aurelie Dupont taken to China just to do Bolero being one of them. The frequency of my ballet-watching at that time, however, went from once a week to about once every six months.

Now that I'm doing whatever it is I do to stay out of the thriving economy, it takes quite a lot of planning to go anywhere to see a live performance from where I live (it's three hours to Chicago on a good day). However, I think that relative deprivation has made me appreciate the performances and really everything _more_. I am overjoyed when I find an opportunity to see ballet - so much that it's probably unnatural and I have to fight the urge to burble unintelligibly in my reviews. In between performances, I'll find myself breaking my memories into pieces - look at the dancers, listen to the music, put them together every which way - and consequently the enforced hiatus has taught me to think more critically about choreography.

The intervening lull has certainly taught me to appreciate Balanchine more. When I first began to go I subscribed to ABT. I watched the NYCB grudgingly but in the meantime I needed some semblance of a story. With enough time, maturation, overdose on statistics, whatever, I've discovered that reliving the umpteenth White Act isn't so interesting anymore - now I plan my trips around Balanchines that I missed the first time around. In fact I found myself so mesmerized by the floor patterns in Serenade that I can't consciously recall parts of it. Set a story, set _several_ stories or perhaps none at all - there's always something to look for.

(Already planning to see the October Assault of MCB upon fair Chicago)

emi

#6 duffster

duffster

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 130 posts

Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:40 PM

After stopping dancing professionally, I did not see a live performance for fifteen years. Changing careers is not easy, so I think the reason for the lapse was my total involvement in my new job. I still would watch ballet videos and read all of the magazines on dance. What brought me back, was an invite to an anniversary reunion of my former company which included a performance of a robbins ballet. I now try to go to performances when I can. I think I enjoy watching dance with a less critical eye after such a long time. Even some of the ballets in which I performed. I do get annoyed sometimes, that I can't go to see the companies during their seasons because of my job commitments. I wonder if this qualifies me as being a sort of balletomane.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):