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How far can a choreographer go in expressing ideas?


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#76 Simon G

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:28 AM

Now changing the subject I want to bring up something I think you may have not appreciated, you mention Mashinka thinking the De Frutos was "rather silly". I think you need to read her post again, what she actually commernted is" What I saw was deeply, deeply unpleasant" . Which is far more serious than just being called "rather silly. "From reading what has been posted, I feel the Choreographer needs to address his anger, frustration or whatever was behind his creation. If this is truly not up to his usual standards, and disapointed his follower's, It is in his hands to move on forward to restore his reputationh.



Nanarina,

This actually proves the case against censorship. Especially in light of my misnomer - for Mashinka it was repellent, for me it was silly and that's the crux of the problem who's to say which is right? Does Mashinka have a more discerning sense of morality/sensibility or is she over-reacting, am I superficial, perverse, emotionally immature? What is the moral benchmark and does this mean that Mashinka and I could never be equally irritated, repelled, shocked, delighted? I don't think so, we both love Javier De Frutos when he's on form.

Our unique sensibilities, our ability to decide for ourselves what constitutes our moral "boiling point" is our right as human beings and short of illegal acts of depravity is our absolute right.

This is why calling for offical censorship whereby an appointed body are deemed able to lay down ethical guidelines of morality by which the whole population must adhere to or face prosecution is extremely dangerous. It denies us our basic human right of expression; I would rather a thousand bad performances and no masterpieces, if the caveat for great art is that nothing deemed "unfitting" may ever be presented.

The problem is you didn't see the De Frutos, which is fine you don't like the sound of it and there's no reason why you should, especially as you feel it would have upset and repelled you. Fine, but by that same token you have no right to demand that it not be presented, Mashinka hated the piece but I'm sure she wouldn't demand it shouldn't have been put on. We all have the power and right to leave.

#77 Nanarina

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:48 AM

That's true, except that I imagine you'd agree that conscience takes clear precedence over worrying about what history will think. In other words, with respect, the risk as such is not worth considering. To consider it might be to impute to the artist with moral superiority, to appoint him moral arbitrer, along the lines of Shelley's claim that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world"; also perhaps to presume that historical progress is always for the better. These are popular positions of course, but not everyone holds them.


I don't impute to artists any kind of moral superiority. I just think it's the better part of wisdom for the folks readying the protestations and the tar and feathers to think a bit. My two cents.

Ultimately censoring what can be seen is actually censoring thought and ideas.


I think most of us can agree on that. :lol:



Before I complete this post I wish to state I am fully in support of the freedom of thoughts and idea's However throughout time this has been both beneficial and deteremental to the Human Race. Used in a good way by a normal balanced person it is harmless, if it does not represent a danger of any kind to the population. However on the other hand what if the person is a sadistic evil,Mad? tyrant, such as Hitler, or some of the people already mentioned earlier in this thread. One could say they had freedom of speech,thoughts and ideas. But used them in the worse possible way against mankind..In fact it is not just confined to history, it is going on in our world today. When freedoms are expected and received the law should punish those who use them to persicute their fellow man. I am of course talking about the state of our world. Not about De Frutos's ballet which is inaignificant in comparison. Though I now feel I have without doubt proven that these freedoms in some situations can promote violence.

#78 kfw

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:11 PM

I just think it's the better part of wisdom for the folks readying the protestations and the tar and feathers to think a bit. My two cents.

Of course I agree. :lol: I also see no reason to think most of them don't. Protest can be kneejerk, but acceptance can be passive. Thoughtful engagement, of course, is the ideal.

#79 bart

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:46 PM

Protest can be kneejerk, but acceptance can be passive. Thoughtful engagement, of course, is the ideal.

One aspect of this discussion that I enjoy is the effort everyone is making to engage thoughtfully.

When the thread began I had my own kneejerk reactions to the story (or the portion of it I knew at the time). Reading these posts, and learning more about de Frutos, has made me appreciate anew just how complex these matters are. I thank you all for that.

Art, it seems to me, requires thoughtful engagement of the highest kind. So does being a fully aware, fully alive member of the audience.

#80 Nanarina

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:07 PM

Protest can be kneejerk, but acceptance can be passive. Thoughtful engagement, of course, is the ideal.

One aspect of this discussion that I enjoy is the effort everyone is making to engage thoughtfully.

When the thread began I had my own kneejerk reactions to the story (or the portion of it I knew at the time). Reading these posts, and learning more about de Frutos, has made me appreciate anew just how complex these matters are. I thank you all for that.

Art, it seems to me, requires thoughtful engagement of the highest kind. So does being a fully aware, fully alive member of the audience.




Yes Bart, what is the point in going, if you are not seeing, learning, enjoying
appreciating. remembering and telling others about it later. Enjoy your Ballet.

#81 Nanarina

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:09 PM

I just think it's the better part of wisdom for the folks readying the protestations and the tar and feathers to think a bit. My two cents.

Of course I agree. :lol: I also see no reason to think most of them don't. Protest can be kneejerk, but acceptance can be passive. Thoughtful engagement, of course, is the ideal.




Kfw{ The voice of reason as ever.

#82 papeetepatrick

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:28 PM

Though I now feel I have without doubt proven that these freedoms in some situations can promote violence.


You have not proven it, Nanarina, but it is clear how you feel about it. Fact is, picking out Hitler is not the best example, because even though 'state of the world' (at least at that time) was subject to destruction by his ideas, his artistic product was pretty wimpish. What you are trying to prove is that 'normal human beings' should be geniuses, and sometimes they are, and very many times they are not. Yes, even sadists can be artistic geniuses. I am sorry you find it difficult to accept this fact, but, for what it's worth, De Frutos does not come across as that particular anomaly. There are mad geniuses of all kinds, what is such news about that?

And Simon is right about how valid it is to see something and think it's just 'silly' or 'upsetting', as he and Mashinka did, respectively. I think I would have found it silly too, and not the least bit upsetting. I don't like the idea of a pregnant woman being punched in real life at all, and don't especailly want to see it onstage; but it it's part of an artistic project, it should be left in if necessary. And how do you know it won't be valid? We were recently talking about Polancki. Quite apart from the current brouhaha, his then-pregnant wife Sharon Tate was repeatedly stabbed in 1969. That is WORSE than you or me having to see this onstage, even though seeing it onstage could, of course, still be gratuitous and even stupid. I wouldn't really mind seeing the de Frutos all that much, if I'd had a chance to see some of the works Simon listed, I would definitely have wanted to see it if I was become a fan, just to know all of his work.

The point is some people are more delicate in their sensibilities than others. Not a single one of these images would have bothered me ONE BIT in the literal sense. I see worse on the streets of New York nearly every day. But it's not a 'threat to society', these explicit sex 'n' violence things, it's that some people just can't watch it. I don't like to watch violence in movies either, although I've changed my mind about wanting to see 'Antichrist', and some of my reasons are NOT GOOD! :lol:
What I'm just saying is, you can try to stop all these things as you wish, but they are not going to--they are literally a part of the verious 'liberations' that started to be articulated in the 60s, and most of us are not interested in seeing the clock turned back. You cannot say you believe in 'freedom of thought' and then make the decision who gets this freedom of thought. And artists throughout history have gone to jail when they were determined that there work was going to be read, heard, seen, etc., and they were not going to be stifled by people whose fragile sensibilities should just have stayed home or made sure the kids went to church or what have you. What you keep doing is saying 'I believe in freedom of thought', and then immediately limiting it. And, you know, Van Gogh was mad, and Gauguin had syphilis. I think Schumann did too. There are Nazi composers, there are countless great artists even UNDER Hitler, it's just he was not one himself with his little wimpy landscapes. There were Emil Jannings, Leni Riefenstahl, Elisabeth Scharzkopf, Richard Strauss, and Arletty misbehaved with a German--she was also the great actress of 'Les Enfants du Paradis', and yes, she had to go to jail, but that's the breaks. It's just not as simple as you seem to want to make it, nor is it going to change from being complex either.

#83 Nanarina

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:15 PM

Now changing the subject I want to bring up something I think you may have not appreciated, you mention Mashinka thinking the De Frutos was "rather silly". I think you need to read her post again, what she actually commernted is" What I saw was deeply, deeply unpleasant" . Which is far more serious than just being called "rather silly. "From reading what has been posted, I feel the Choreographer needs to address his anger, frustration or whatever was behind his creation. If this is truly not up to his usual standards, and disapointed his follower's, It is in his hands to move on forward to restore his reputationh.



Nanarina,

This actually proves the case against censorship. Especially in light of my misnomer - for Mashinka it was repellent, for me it was silly and that's the crux of the problem who's to say which is right? Does Mashinka have a more discerning sense of morality/sensibility or is she over-reacting, am I superficial, perverse, emotionally immature? What is the moral benchmark and does this mean that Mashinka and I could never be equally irritated, repelled, shocked, delighted? I don't think so, we both love Javier De Frutos when he's on form.

Our unique sensibilities, our ability to decide for ourselves what constitutes our moral "boiling point" is our right as human beings and short of illegal acts of depravity is our absolute right.

This is why calling for offical censorship whereby an appointed body are deemed able to lay down ethical guidelines of morality by which the whole population must adhere to or face prosecution is extremely dangerous. It denies us our basic human right of expression; I would rather a thousand bad performances and no masterpieces, if the caveat for great art is that nothing deemed "unfitting" may ever be presented.

The problem is you didn't see the De Frutos, which is fine you don't like the sound of it and there's no reason why you should, especially as you feel it would have upset and repelled you. Fine, but by that same token you have no right to demand that it not be presented, Mashinka hated the piece but I'm sure she wouldn't demand it shouldn't have been put on. We all have the power and right to leave.




Excuse me Simon,Get off your high horse, I never said or even thought the De Frutos, should not be presented, yet again you have not read what was said..
Neither have I compared your nature to Mashinka's I do not know you, so that is the last thing I would do To be honest and no reflection on your opinion, but I prefer to accept her view, as I could relate to what she said.. Why are you so concerned about differences in how people re-act. You are who you are, And I am not concerned. I was brought up that if you do not agree beg to differ, and move on,


We all have our own opinions, and I refuse to be bullied into changing mine. you are entitled to your own, and I have not questioned them. As far as I am
concerned you are still the free person you were before this thread started,



The Board of Censors in the Film Industry has been around for years, and has protected people rather than denying them access to the media, whether you agree or not it is there. So do you think you have the right to abolish it?


I do not think you have fully understood what I mean, I am not suggesting an official goes along to a theatre or Ballet and says "Cut this or Cut that".
What would make me feel more comfortable about what I was about see (New Works rather than ones I know ) Is more detalied information prior to the performance.. It is too late afterwards.Perhaps I should tell you I am partially sighted and cannot see to read a programme, and it is now very difficult for me to see even from the front row. But I still know what us going on, using special binoculars. I am not against free expression and idea's, but will continue to critisise if I see fit. I have designed and written ballets myself, so creativity is very inportant to me.

#84 Nanarina

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:35 PM

Though I now feel I have without doubt proven that these freedoms in some situations can promote violence.


You have not proven it, Nanarina, but it is clear how you feel about it. Fact is, picking out Hitler is not the best example, because even though 'state of the world' (at least at that time) was subject to destruction by his ideas, his artistic product was pretty wimpish. What you are trying to prove is that 'normal human beings' should be geniuses, and sometimes they are, and very many times they are not. Yes, even sadists can be artistic geniuses. I am sorry you find it difficult to accept this fact, but, for what it's worth, De Frutos does not come across as that particular anomaly. There are mad geniuses of all kinds, what is such news about that?

And Simon is right about how valid it is to see something and think it's just 'silly' or 'upsetting', as he and Mashinka did, respectively. I think I would have found it silly too, and not the least bit upsetting. I don't like the idea of a pregnant woman being punched in real life at all, and don't especailly want to see it onstage; but it it's part of an artistic project, it should be left in if necessary. And how do you know it won't be valid? We were recently talking about Polancki. Quite apart from the current brouhaha, his then-pregnant wife Sharon Tate was repeatedly stabbed in 1969. That is WORSE than you or me having to see this onstage, even though seeing it onstage could, of course, still be gratuitous and even stupid. I wouldn't really mind seeing the de Frutos all that much, if I'd had a chance to see some of the works Simon listed, I would definitely have wanted to see it if I was become a fan, just to know all of his work.

The point is some people are more delicate in their sensibilities than others. Not a single one of these images would have bothered me ONE BIT in the literal sense. I see worse on the streets of New York nearly every day. But it's not a 'threat to society', these explicit sex 'n' violence things, it's that some people just can't watch it. I don't like to watch violence in movies either, although I've changed my mind about wanting to see 'Antichrist', and some of my reasons are NOT GOOD! :lol:
What I'm just saying is, you can try to stop all these things as you wish, but they are not going to--they are literally a part of the verious 'liberations' that started to be articulated in the 60s, and most of us are not interested in seeing the clock turned back. You cannot say you believe in 'freedom of thought' and then make the decision who gets this freedom of thought. And artists throughout history have gone to jail when they were determined that there work was going to be read, heard, seen, etc., and they were not going to be stifled by people whose fragile sensibilities should just have stayed home or made sure the kids went to church or what have you. What you keep doing is saying 'I believe in freedom of thought', and then immediately limiting it. And, you know, Van Gogh was mad, and Gauguin had syphilis. I think Schumann did too. There are Nazi composers, there are countless great artists even UNDER Hitler, it's just he was not one himself with his little wimpy landscapes. There were Emil Jannings, Leni Riefenstahl, Elisabeth Scharzkopf, Richard Strauss, and Arletty misbehaved with a German--she was also the great actress of 'Les Enfants du Paradis', and yes, she had to go to jail, but that's the breaks. It's just not as simple as you seem to want to make it, nor is it going to change from being complex either.



Papettepatruck. I do not think you have got it at all, perhaps it is my fault in how I have excplained myself. You are making far more of my post than I ever intended. I repeat Freedom of Thoughts and speech can in some circumstances create violence. You only have to look around you to witness that. I am not suggesting it should not exist only re-iterating my point.

#85 Alexandra

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:44 PM

Moderator check in:

Yet another reminder that we are here to discuss classical ballet, not to attack each other nor to dscuss the discussion. Any further posts that do discuss the discussion or insult people by name will be moved to hold without notification. Posters who continually have to be reminded of this rule and continually break it will be moved to Moderated status.

Alexandra

#86 Simon G

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:13 PM

Excuse me Simon,Get off your high horse, I never said or even thought the De Frutos, should not be presented, yet again you have not read what was said..
Neither have I compared your nature to Mashinka's I do not know you, so that is the last thing I would do To be honest and no reflection on your opinion, but I prefer to accept her view, as I could relate to what she said.. Why are you so concerned about differences in how people re-act. You are who you are, And I am not concerned. I was brought up that if you do not agree beg to differ, and move on,


We all have our own opinions, and I refuse to be bullied into changing mine. you are entitled to your own, and I have not questioned them. As far as I am
concerned you are still the free person you were before this thread started,



The Board of Censors in the Film Industry has been around for years, and has protected people rather than denying them access to the media, whether you agree or not it is there. So do you think you have the right to abolish it?


I do not think you have fully understood what I mean, I am not suggesting an official goes along to a theatre or Ballet and says "Cut this or Cut that".
What would make me feel more comfortable about what I was about see (New Works rather than ones I know ) Is more detalied information prior to the performance.. It is too late afterwards.Perhaps I should tell you I am partially sighted and cannot see to read a programme, and it is now very difficult for me to see even from the front row. But I still know what us going on, using special binoculars. I am not against free expression and idea's, but will continue to critisise if I see fit. I have designed and written ballets myself, so creativity is very inportant to me.



Nanarina,

I'm actually more than just a bit annoyed by your attacking me, I was not condemning you at all and I think you're taking this far too personally. I was merely using the repellent/silly example to illustrate how personal classifications and moral censure and censorship is - I wasn't attacking you at all. And yes, of course you don't have to see a piece based on the description of the content, but you can't judge or condemn it if you haven't seen it on anything more than heresay and personal moral code. And the problem with detailed synopsis is how unworkable it would be, should De Frutos have written a graphic breakdown of the drama in the piece? Yes, there were depictions of appalling acts, and taken out of context they are untenable, De Frutos would then have had to have written a contextualised essay of why those acts were depicted - indeed must one then do that for everything? Scenes of an adult nature is sufficient and if you or any other audience member wants to know more, all you have to do is ring up the venue and ask. Or just google something before making a choice as to whether or not you see it.


You use of film classification and censorship in the UK is again a very fluid and inaccurate example as film classification and censorship is one of the most inexact example of moral censorship there is, changing depending on country and culture which the same film is shown. And indeed in the case of the UK there have been huge changes in what can and cannot be shown.

The most famous example is perhaps the case of Pasolini's Salo or The Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom and Oshima's In The Realm of the Senses both released in the mid 70s. At that time the UK had some of the strictest classification in the world with the criteria for banning a film being in the words of the British Board of Film Censors "'anything which an ordinary decent man or woman would find to be shocking, disgusting and revolting', or, which 'offended against recognised standards of propriety'"

Both films have the most graphic and in the case of Realm, non simulated scenes of sex, sexual depravity and torture, and no way could they be anything but banned at that time. But both films aren't pornography and neither are they gratuitous, they're vastly important films. Realising this one of the head censors of the BBFC at that time, James Ferman, felt that these were films which had to be seen, and he exploited a loophole in British censorship law, whereby private cinema clubs could show non-classified films. At that time in the early 70s the only private film clubs with large enough auditoriums to make a screening financially valid and guaranteed to reach a big enough audience were Soho sex cinemas - so feeling that the message of these films was so vitally important that it merited the risk, that's what Ferman covertly helped promote.

Yes, the films are obscene, but obscenity and art are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and obsene acts have been the basis of all art forms for centuries.

The draconian UK film censorship laws have indeed been abolished. Indeed even at the time Ferman realised how constraining they were and how censorship his very job was stifling the right of people to make informed choices to view material which while challenging, obscene and deeply disturbing had an emotional, intellectual and artistic validity and importance.

Now every film from Lars Von Triers Antichrist, Vergenie Despentes, Baise Moi, Salo, In the Realm of the Senses, the entire film works of Catherine Breillat etc can all be seen at cinemas, and they all carry the 18 certificate. Films that until the early 90s were illegal in the UK, or would have been under the old censorship laws. Because the BBFC has decided that we as a nation are grown up enough to police ourselves and decide what we are capable of viewing.

#87 dirac

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:19 PM

Just stepping in to repeat what Alexandra said. I realize that some of you may feel that you were addressed directly and wish to respond accordingly, and that's understandable, but at this point in the thread I think that many who have already posted have made their respective positions clear enough and at some point we must lay down the cudgels. I don't mean that there should be no further posts, but the beating of dead horses should be avoided, to mix my cliched metaphors.

#88 Helene

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:57 PM

While I don't agree with censorship of much beyond preventing non-consenting beings from being abused in the process of creating or performing art, I do agree with wanting to know what I'm getting into before I buy/get a ticket and walk into the theater.

This isn't always possible -- one time events, venues that aren't reviewed by anyone in print or on the Internet -- but many times it is, especially if the work is being presented by a known entity. For example, I have a fairly good idea of the range that an organization like On the Boards will present. While Lane Czaplinski tries to challenge his audience and expand our horizons, I would be truly shocked if OtB presented something two-three standard deviations (in either direction) from what I've seen so far, especially without warning.

I assume, though, that it is my responsibility to check something out ahead of time or understand that I take my chances.

#89 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:27 PM

Discussions like this one via the net serve a useful purpose by acquainting readers with information regarding the content of a given ballet. From what-all has been said here regarding this particular de Frutos work, I don't think I would go out of my way to see it, but maybe I would be aware of his track record if one of his works appeared on a program I was seeing for some other reason. I don't think that I would be shocked, but I probably wouldn't much enjoy a work with a similar organizing idea. We've been on a really positive exercise in "word-of-mouth", which will probably result in some readers either going or not going to see ED for S & S.

#90 dirac

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 01:32 PM

I just think it's the better part of wisdom for the folks readying the protestations and the tar and feathers to think a bit. My two cents.

Of course I agree. :) I also see no reason to think most of them don't. Protest can be kneejerk, but acceptance can be passive. Thoughtful engagement, of course, is the ideal.


Im afraid well have to agree to disagree to some extent. I think there are instances of such protests that were, shall we say, ill advised and did not show the protesters in the best possible light. Acceptance can be characterized as passivity, or as an acknowledgment that its a big world with a lot of different views out there. On the subject of thoughtful engagement I'm sure we can all agree. :)


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