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In search of the next Balanchine


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Poll: The next Balanchine (31 member(s) have cast votes)

Are you waiting for the next Balanchine to come along?

  1. With bated breath (2 votes [6.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.45%

  2. No - today's ballet scene has a lot to offer (4 votes [12.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.90%

  3. We were lucky to get one in the last century, don't ask for the moon (10 votes [32.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.26%

  4. We've already got one, it's __________ (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath (15 votes [48.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 48.39%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#16 Farrell Fan

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 06:15 PM

dirac, you are the best!

#17 SandyMcKean

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 12:19 PM

I voted for "once a century" not only because that's how I "feel" about it, but also that geniuses (genii?? :clapping:) of Balanchine's calibre come along at something like that rate in essentially every field I can think of. I mentioned Newton and Einstein for physics in another thread. Kant or Hegel come to mind for philosophy. Perhaps even a Henry Ford in industry. We think nothing of looking back on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, or Wagner as somehow a head or two above the other incredibly talented composers of their eras......what's different about dance?

#18 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 12:44 PM

We think nothing of looking back on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, or Wagner as somehow a head or two above the other incredibly talented composers of their eras......what's different about dance?


Now, we do not 'think nothing of looking back on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, or Wagner as somehow a head or two above the other incredibly talented composers of their eras', unless we want to overvalue. None of these are necessarily (or they are in some areas of music, not in others) above Haydn, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Verdi, and quite a number of others in the same two centuries, plus there's some Debussy coming out at the end of the 19th, and that can't be left out as being up there with those four masters. Comparison is either 'odious' or 'odorous', according to whether you prefer Donne or Shakespeare; although I admit it has to be done sometimes, but nearlyu as often as we casually do it. This kind of categorization never has anything to do with the reality within the Arts themselves, but people find comfort in valuing artists in this way, I guess. In any case, even with the first 4, that's still 2 per century, not 1 per century. Anyone can think of these things any way they want to, so that part really is just subjective and what might be called radical fanship. If you're 'exposed enough', as vicious New Yorkers :clapping: , you're going to see there are always more than 'one per century'.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 02:32 PM

:clapping:

#20 leonid17

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

"This kind of categorization never has anything to do with the reality within the Arts themselves, but people find comfort in valuing artists in this way, I guess."

I read SandyMckean as giving a very normal conversational example and I am sure you did not mean to sound patronizing in the above sentence as I regularly witness your generosity of expression with other ballettalk posters.
How each of us respond to a work of art has as much value as any other persons whether educated to PhD level or with low educational qualifications.
When you say, "...the reality within the Arts themselves.." one has to ask whose reality?
The thought of the nebulous scientific approach to the evaluation of art works and eras that are flourishing in our acadaemia are often seen to me by persons of the type that, "... can read music but cannot hear it" or, " ...cannot see the wood for the trees" and yet want to jump on the latest analytical approach that ultimately has no value and will be rejected by most because smacks of dictatorial control of the way individuals should approach art and its history. Are we are talking about theories substantiated by persons with the self-interest of monetary reward and employment or, theories expressed by actual artists?
I vote for Balanchine as a complete kind of genius but I also vote for another complete kind of genius choreographer in the 20th century Frederick Ashton. Unless of course this is just a vote about a Russian choreographer who lived and worked for a long time in America.

#21 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

Are we are talking about theories substantiated by persons with the self-interest of monetary reward and employment or, theories expressed by actual artists?


We are talking about these things to some degree as well as a number of others. My point was about the composers. It is habitual to decide on some of these cateogories of 'greatest'. So no, I did not mean to be patronizing, but I did know something that perhaps someone else didn't. In that case, since my formal education has been musical, it hasn't anything to do with 'someone's appreciation', as that routinely people will put either Mozart or Beethoven above the other, and declare the other invalid, and they will not realize that Schumann and Haydn in many cases achieve the heights of genius as Mozart and Wagner. Simple as that.

The thought of the nebulous scientific approach to the evaluation of art works and eras that are flourishing in our acadaemia are often seen to me by persons of the type that, "... can read music but cannot hear it" or, " ...cannot see the wood for the trees" and yet want to jump on the latest analytical approach that ultimately has no value and will be rejected by most because smacks of dictatorial control of the way individuals should approach art and its history.


Well, there are useful analytical approaches, but I personally am not interested in any because they might be the 'latest'. As for being able to 'read music, but not hear it...' it's possible to read music, hear music, as well as be involved with some intellectual readings of things. I'm not always successful at the latter, but I definitely am capable of both of the former; we do the best we can in fairly informal blog-like comments.

#22 SandyMcKean

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:55 PM

papeetepatrick, I actually agree with you for the most part in your post #18 (and no offense taken BTW).

I should have chosen my words more carefully. I certainly didn't mean to imply that these composers were somehow better or greater that the others of their eras. OTOH, I do think that some creative people (Balanchine, Mozart, Wagner, and others) are more transformative than others who lived in those eras and who also had great talent (or even greater talent in the judgement of some). I picked my list off the top of my head, not as a well considered statement, but just to name a few to make the point of their rarity. As leonid said: I meant my comment as "a very normal conversational example".

#23 papeetepatrick

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:00 PM

Thanks, Sandy, appreciate it. With this medium, we don't nearly always know the dimensions of what someone else is thinking, so we do the best we can--and it's true, none of us can be 'polished' in this kind of rather informal writing; a lot of it is instinctive, or just guesswork.

Edited to 'also add that it may not be always that the arts all parallel each other in terms of number of geniuses per century, etc., i.e., dance may not follow music may not follow painting, just because they all share in certain other period characteristics.

#24 Ray

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:20 AM

Are we are talking about theories substantiated by persons with the self-interest of monetary reward and employment or, theories expressed by actual artists?

We are talking about these things to some degree as well as a number of others. My point was about the composers. It is habitual to decide on some of these cateogories of 'greatest'. So no, I did not mean to be patronizing, but I did know something that perhaps someone else didn't. In that case, since my formal education has been musical, it hasn't anything to do with 'someone's appreciation', as that routinely people will put either Mozart or Beethoven above the other, and declare the other invalid, and they will not realize that Schumann and Haydn in many cases achieve the heights of genius as Mozart and Wagner. Simple as that.

The thought of the nebulous scientific approach to the evaluation of art works and eras that are flourishing in our acadaemia are often seen to me by persons of the type that, "... can read music but cannot hear it" or, " ...cannot see the wood for the trees" and yet want to jump on the latest analytical approach that ultimately has no value and will be rejected by most because smacks of dictatorial control of the way individuals should approach art and its history.

Well, there are useful analytical approaches, but I personally am not interested in any because they might be the 'latest'. As for being able to 'read music, but not hear it...' it's possible to read music, hear music, as well as be involved with some intellectual readings of things. I'm not always successful at the latter, but I definitely am capable of both of the former; we do the best we can in fairly informal blog-like comments.

First: I'm going to put my 2 cents in here with papeetepatrick to defend analysis practiced by non-artists. I'm not sure any one scholarly approach to aesthetics/arts is "flourishing" in academia over any other, and not sure why putting forth a particular interpretation is tantamount to mind control. Do you have a particular one in mind? Also, most scholars feel deeply passionate about the objects of their studies--that's usually why they study them. (I will admit that there are--as in ANY endeavor--obnoxious, overbearing, and ambitious pedants.) And I can't think of anyone in academia who's in it for the money!
OK, on to what I really want to ask: Has BT ever polled people's interest in new choreographers? I mean, is it OK not to care about "the next Balanchine"? What's lost by not caring? How does it serve the art to care or not? Do we favor a nurturing approach--support choreographers through successes and through failures--or more of a "Darwinian" one--let posterity decide who floats to the top?

#25 dirac

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:59 AM

Ray, you'll note that the present poll gives voters a number of options, and if you think the current ballet scene has much to offer and you're not looking for another Balanchine, you're free to vote and say so. :tiphat:

The subject of where new choreographers might come from and how they develop has also arisen from time to time on the board, although I can't recall a specific thread offhand, but that could also come under the purview of this topic if you'd like to talk about it.

#26 Ray

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:06 AM

Ray, you'll note that the present poll gives voters a number of options, and if you think the current ballet scene has much to offer and you're not looking for another Balanchine, you're free to vote and say so. :tiphat:

The subject of where new choreographers might come from and how they develop has also arisen from time to time on the board, although I can't recall a specific thread offhand, but that could also come under the purview of this topic if you'd like to talk about it.

Thanks, dirac, and I didn't mean to point out any problems with the current poll. I just wonder the extent to which ballet watchers (both BTers and others) are interested in new choreographers at all--beyond, perhaps, providing vehicles for their favorite dancers. And I am genuinely curious as to how others feel about nurturing new choreographic talent--i.e., is it essential for the continuation of ballet?

#27 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:40 AM

I just wonder the extent to which ballet watchers (both BTers and others) are interested in new choreographers at all--

To be honest, I would be more interested in getting to see more of the old choreographers works. (C'mon, when was the last time I was able to see Giselle...7, 8 years ago...?) I mean, the repertoire is so extensive-(and technically difficult)-so, why not starting with that first...?
Eg. Did MCB really NEED to put on that brand new Tharp's abomination-(AKA "Nightspot" :tiphat: )-if Miamians don't even know "Chopiniana"?

#28 dirac

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:03 AM

Got it, Ray. I thought it would be a good independent topic after all, so I started a new thread. :tiphat:

Re: the new Tharp piece. Tharp is a famous contemporary choreographer with proven high/low appeal, so I can understand why MCB would welcome a new piece from her. I have the impression that regional companies everywhere are doing her Sinatra pieces. 'Chopiniana' would probably be better for the dancers and the audience, though.

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 01:17 PM

'Chopiniana' would probably be better for the dancers and the audience, though.

Exactly. So if audience and dancers are both satisfied...what's left...? The choreographer's ego?

#30 dirac

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 03:02 PM

My point was that it was a high profile commission, which gets more attention from press and public. (And you could argue also that it's a boost for the dancers to have the experience of working directly with Tharp and have her make a new work on them.)


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