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What are the steps in this clip?RESEARCHING FOR NOVEL - WANT TO BE ACCURATE!


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#1 Angelil

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 09:41 AM

Hi folks

Sorry if I've put this in the wrong place or anything. You seem like a nice bunch so I thought I'd ask here for some help.

I've been writing a novel that features a few bits and pieces on ballet. However, while I enjoy ballet, I can't say I know very much about the steps, and wanting to be accurate in my novel's descriptions, I thought I'd call on a few people who know a bit more about it in order to help.
I was hoping to use a few details of Balanchine's choreography in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but unfortunately these don't seem to be notated online anywhere, my knowledge of the steps is patchy, and I don't really want to have to guess.

Basically, I'd really like a few indications of what the two soloists are doing, and what the corps are doing, in this clip:


I don't need *all* the steps that they do; nor do I need any *particular* sequence; nor does the sequence have to be long. The steps just have to be in the right order. One small sample from the soloists' steps (when they are dancing together, obviously) and one sample from the corps' steps would be amazing...especially since once I've got these I've finished the novel's first draft and can start tidying up :)

Any help that anyone can give would be amazing. Many thanks!

#2 Ray

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:14 PM

Any help that anyone can give would be amazing. Many thanks!


May I make a suggestion? Why not begin by doing some research on the meaning of dance-step names--some of which are very suggestive in terms of the movement they describe--and try to develop your own sense of what the movements in the video suggest to you? I can't imagine that you're going to recite a chain of steps; I think if you're not fluent in the language of ballet, it's better to evoke than aim for an accuracy that's outside of your orbit. (Of course, you may just be looking for dialogue for dancer characters; if so, never mind!)

Just my two cents.

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:22 AM

Cyril W. Beaumont wrote The Ballet Called Giselle and The Ballet Called Swan Lake, which both contain his "choreographic scripts" for the vocabulary of the dances. Perhaps changing your objective would be a good idea. Very few companies dance Balanchine's Midsummer..., and that could prove to be a distracting feature to a narrative.

#4 richard53dog

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:18 AM

Hi folks
I was hoping to use a few details of Balanchine's choreography in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but unfortunately these don't seem to be notated online anywhere, my knowledge of the steps is patchy, and I don't really want to have to guess.

Basically, I'd really like a few indications of what the two soloists are doing, and what the corps are doing, in this clip:



Well best of luck to you with your novel, I love the idea that a novelist would be going into detail as a part of their work.

I can see why you might want to use Balanchine rather than a more vanilla ballet example and I love this clip.

Balanchine though can be pretty complex with a great number of different steps all laid out rather quickly in a sequence and this might get you bogged down a bit into a lot of detail, even if you are selective and don't try to list all the steps.

I'm not ballet trained and my knowledge of the vocabulary is sort of hit or miss so I can't be too much help with the specifics of this clip.

Here's a link that may help you a bit. The catch is that it may be in the reverse direction of what you are looking for. Once you know the name of the step,
it gives you a definition, but more wonderfully, often a short video clip of a dancer performing the step. I've filled in my own vocabulary quite a bit from it.

http://abt.org/educa...nary/index.html


All the best of luck with your work!!!!!

#5 rg

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:30 AM

while any number of the steps that make up the choreography for Titania and her cavalier included in this clip are identifiable by classroom name, and others by a combination of names, Balanchine himself has been quoted as saying, when asked on some occasions about the name of certain steps in his ballets: "Is not school; is choreography."

#6 Angelil

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:43 AM

Many thanks to all of you for your help - am just trying to be as accurate as possible and had assumed that Balanchine's version would be the one performed most often, but it would seem from what you are all saying that this is not so. In which case, which IS the most performed choreography of A Midsummer Night's Dream?!

#7 richard53dog

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 07:02 AM

Many thanks to all of you for your help - am just trying to be as accurate as possible and had assumed that Balanchine's version would be the one performed most often, but it would seem from what you are all saying that this is not so. In which case, which IS the most performed choreography of A Midsummer Night's Dream?!


Hmm.... I'm not sure that you can say the Balanchine is the most performed version or not. The other contender is another version I'm also really fond of by Ashton, titled The Dream

Here's a sample, the complete performance of this was also filmed, like the PNB Midsummer Night's Dream a number of years ago:



I love both pieces and it would be a difficult call which one is more performed. But if I had to I would guess the Balanchine.

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:02 AM

There really is no standard MSND. Balanchine's and Ashton's version are probably the most well-known worldwide, but neither is so widespread that most companies would have one or the other in rep. Then there would be the potential difficulty with the Trust or the Foundation over the very use of the name "Balanchine", possibly extending even to use in fiction.

#9 Helene

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:04 PM

Although recently, Balanchine's version has been performed more frequently than Ashton's "The Dream", as I can attest from doing the Calendar. Ashton's "home" company has been doing little to maintain his legacy in general; in my opinion, performing his Neopolitan dance in The Latest Production of "Swan Lake" or a few snippets from his "The Sleeping Beauty" is not maintaining his legacy.

#10 Angelil

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:03 AM

There really is no standard MSND. Balanchine's and Ashton's version are probably the most well-known worldwide, but neither is so widespread that most companies would have one or the other in rep. Then there would be the potential difficulty with the Trust or the Foundation over the very use of the name "Balanchine", possibly extending even to use in fiction.

Wow, is that really the case?! I do indeed mention his name at least once. I *could* remove it, but it seems a little extreme of them if they are like that about it.

#11 Nanarina

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:17 PM

:P I think the others who have replied to you regarding the usage of Balanchine are certainly correct in suggesting that there is far more protection from The Balanchine Society for his works.
Whereas Sir Frederick Ashton's work does not seem to have this requirement. The only ballet which has been protected as far as I know, is La Fille mal gardee, whoes rights were left to Alexander Grant by the choreographer. Having researched the ownership of ballet scenario's in the UK recently I dfiscovered the ownership and copyright are considered as a Major right and remain with the creator. Not as in music with a copyright society. In the case of Balanchine's Midsummers Night Dream, you would have to approach the society. There is another alternative though, John Neummeier a former American Dancer,who is still working and Director of The Hamburg Ballet. createsd his own Missummers Night Drean which you can find on YouTube under Le songe d'ete nuit with Aurelie Dupont & Jean Guilluamine Bart POB. Same musical score and quite a nice version. May be this information will help you.

#12 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:28 PM

I do indeed mention his name at least once. I *could* remove it, but it seems a little extreme of them if they are like that about it.

Oh, they ARE extreme, my friend...

#13 Philip

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:39 PM

Well, there are names for some of the steps and others not. One must remember that classical ballet vocabulary is -mostly- orally transmitted while the student watches and/or listens to the teacher state them. Top this off with around 9 differing codifications of the names of steps, depending upon the era, country and method of origin. Lastly, top that off with choreographic license, kinetic syntax to drive a reference, and the grammar used when presenting the referencing. Balanchine used many. If you read Suki Shorer's "Balanchine Technique" book, you will see that he drew from the French, Cecchetti, some Bournonville and his own pre-Vaganova Maryinsky schools of balletic linguists. (I'm not going to get into the perennial argument "Is Balanchine style a technique"...not an argument that is win or losable. )

So, take for example, the sissonne at the beginning of the video of "...Dream" you posted. From my Vaganova background, I would call it a "Grande Sissonne en double attitude, failli." But others, such as French school progenitors might say "Sissonne de Chat" or an "Grande Sissonne Italienne" due to its execution with two bent legs without straightening when Pat landed. But, who knows; its Balanchine!? I agree with the posters who recommended doing research and coming with your idea.

One of my masters thesis proposals and drafts was on balletic linguistics. It is not studied because as soon as it is codified, it is reinterpreted and redefined. It is a pet topic of mine and I love to learn more as the languages we use help it to evolve.

Philip.

#14 youdancefunny

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 11:12 PM

I've been thinking about writing a novel too (a search turned up this topic) and I think you should avoid naming too many steps.

I'm looking for answers about copyrights and such too, but what I have found is that for songs, one can mention a song title, but must mention who it's by. But when you quote actual lyrics, you have a problem and that requires special permission (there is some debate as to whether you can quote a line or two, but not an entire stanza...it's complex). Apparently, it's a generally avoided practice to quote lyrics unless it's absolutely essential to the story.

If it's the same in dance, I'm guessing mentioning a ballet and who it's by is ok, but listing specific steps would be like quoting lyrics. I'm sure you can describe what the choreography is like, and insert a step or two like "she sprung into the air in a magnificent sissone," since a sissone by itself can't be copyrighted, but then listing the immediate steps afterward is probably not good.

#15 kdubzz

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 06:05 AM

Being that this is choreography and not an academic class, especially since it's Balanchine, many of the moves that you see here don't NECESSARILY have standard ballet names. But I will say that there are several sissones on to pointe, into arabesque, performed by the soloist in the middle (Patty Barker), and that the corps around her, among other things, are executing bouree's en pointe (fast shuffling movements with their feet while on their toes), as well as some pas de chat jumps.


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