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Self-IntroOrientalism


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#1 Aaron

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 10:34 PM

Greetings from the Hudson Valley in New York!

My interest in ballet is confined to Orientalism - the use of Oriental themes in European ballet (and other performing arts) in Europe (and elsewhere) prior to WW2, and will be glad to swap thoughts with any others with similar interest.

One example of the information I am chasing is details of Ruth Page's appearance in what apparently was a ballet version of Madama Butterfly.

#2 carbro

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:55 PM

Happy to meet you, Aaron.

Just yesterday, I saw the film of the Mariinsky's Firebird and was struck by the much more eastern flavor of the designs compared to the more familiar Chagall sets and costumes. They were absolutely gorgeous! I don't know if that's as "eastern" as to fall within your area of interest -- it is, after all, still Russian.

But as you know, choreographers have turned to oriental themes for their ballets through the ages. I'm sure, as you read through some of our old threads, you'll be able to add to the discussions.

Welcome to BalletTalk!

#3 Aaron

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:13 PM

"Oriental" evolved in meaning and scope - started with North Africa as the Holy Land was to the east....My starting point was a concern solely with Japan but it led me back further into the past and I have been stuck in the 18th century for some time....

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:55 PM

:innocent:

#5 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:15 AM

Aaron - good to see you here. My suggestion is to start a topic in the "Aesthetic Issues" forum ("Welcome" is for exactly that) and you'll definitely get some takers. Have you been to Russia? When I saw La Bayadere at the Maryinsky and walked around St. Petersburg, the Orientalism of the ballet finally made some sense in context.

#6 Aaron

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:30 AM

Thanks for that. The bayaderes were a hit in Paris as I think you know; Theo Gautier was enthralled.

#7 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:32 AM

if you can go to the library at lincoln center, ruth page donated all her scrapbooks to them many years ago, and they also have a lot of recorded interviews with her and with the people who worked for her. i thought at first that what you're mentioning might either be somethng adolph bolm created for her or maybe even a number from irving berlin's music box revue? there are these 3 photos, which are in the library's digital archive on line, which look like they might be pertinent:

http://digital.nypl....e...s=3&count=3

http://digital.nypl....e...s=3&count=2

http://digital.nypl....e...s=3&count=3

The Music Box Revue of 1922 had a song called "Porcelain Maid", which may have been what she danced to, the lyrics of which included:

"How I long to cuddle and coo
'Neath a bamboo shade

I wanna design a
Home over in China
For my Porc'lain Maid".


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