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How far can a choreographer go in expressing ideas?


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#106 Nanarina

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:05 AM

:) I agree with kjw and in some ways with patrick posts about thr BBC's decisions concerning the De Frutos, and did make the same point myself about showing it at Christmas when the general public would be viwing.

But saying that, there is also another point to make, the BBC often broadcast a ballet at christmas, but it is usually something which would appeal to the general viewers or ballet lovers. It is broadcast in the afternoon of Christmas or Boxing day. Appart from that we do not get hardly any other programmes to enjoy. Even on BBC3 or 4 the amount of dance subjects are very limited.


I do not see them being able to put De Frutos on in the middle of the afternoon, as it's content would not be suitable, it would have to be at a later time. So it could have meant we had lost one of the valuable spaces they allocate to Dance.


When you consider the uproar and condemnation that Jonanthon Ross caused by his comments this year on his show, 0n TV , one cannot begin to imagine what this ballet would have put in motion.


Referring to the information how BBBC 4 is accessed
within a year, anyone will be able to receive this channel.in the UK. The analogue signal will be changed to digital, people will have to either obtain a new TV, or a digital box. With a freeview box you can obtain a large number of channels via the remote control, so BBC4 is not exclusive and has been available for a long time in many homes. It is as simple as changing the channel with a TV remote. Freesat, one of the many satelite systems is harder to obtain as yiou need a dish, but is on the same principal as Freeview you just buy it with a one off payment. The diffderence being with Sky, who can be connected with a subscription, or a one off payment now as well. It is very easy to use, even if you are partially sighted like I am myself.
And my grand children from 5-10 years can use my remote controls if I allow them to.

#107 kfw

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:20 AM

Simon, I understand your concerns, but in regards to the time the piece was to have been shown, I don't find images of a Pope punching a pregnant nun any more appropriate -- any less potentially damaging -- for 15 year olds than for 5 year olds. And I don't find them appropriate, period, for Christmas, which is for Christians a joyous time of celebrating Christ's birth, with all that it implies for people of Christian faith. It's not a time when we celebrate priests abusing children. It's not a time when we forget that some priests have abused children, or we're any less horrified and disgusted by the evil of their actions. In short, it's not a time when we need to be propagandized, as if our celebrations have anything to do with sick people abusing their office and authority in ways that have nothing to do with Christian teaching and run violently counter to it.

As for not having seen the piece, de frutos is not denying that it contains the offensive content noted. He has stated that he meant to offend ("annoy"). I don't need to see images of a Pope punching a pregnant to know they're offensive to me, or to judge that for some images there is no context in which I would find them acceptable.

I think you have a stronger point when you note that the piece was scheduled for BBC4. But still: let the public decide. If enough people protest the deletion, perhaps the work will be shown some other time.

#108 Simon G

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:18 AM

As for not having seen the piece, de frutos is not denying that it contains the offensive content noted. He has stated that he meant to offend ("annoy"). I don't need to see images of a Pope punching a pregnant to know they're offensive to me, or to judge that for some images there is no context in which I would find them acceptable.



But isn't that the point, exactly. Offensive to you. And I absolutely understand that and respect that. For me, it's an offensive image which I don't find offensive in the context of what I viewed - a theatre piece. Because ulitmately that's what this is, it isn't a dance work, certainly not ballet - it's dance-based theatre.

I also do accept, understand and agree with the decision to not screen it as it is pre watershed. I also think that the producers commissioned this for broadcast without actually realising what they'd bought; I can't image anyone would view the De Frutos and think it fine for pre watershed and I think that's why this story is a storm in a tea cup - a lack of research on the part of the producers and schedulers.

I also totally accept the fact that one doesn't need to view a piece of work to know that one won't like it, to not want to go and see it and to object to the content. BUT and this is a big BUT, I totally believe that one can never have the right to fully condemn anything if one doesn't take the time to see it, to make a fully informed decision based on direct knowledge. I go and see loads of things I hate, and which I have a feeling I'm going to hate/be repulsed/bored/offended by for any variety of reasons. Quite often I come away with my views completely unchanged, but sometimes I do a complete 180 and everything becomes clearer, more apparent when I see first hand what the artist/creator intended.

I suppose this is why I've gotten so irked and a bit snide by this whole thread and in my responses, because no one saw the De Frutos except Mashinka and I can't argue Mashinka's review of the piece. I thought it silly, banal and facile and a real betrayal by a choreographer of his very great talents. Though I'm sure De Frutos would disagree with me and feel that he was honouring his talents. And that's why censorship based on knee jerk moral outrage is so very, very dangerous - it stops any discourse, discussion or debate.

#109 papeetepatrick

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:45 AM

If one wants to do a 'subversive anti-papacy show at Christmas to really *mike a stite-ment* :) ', it's not the BBC that's the right venue, it's at an alternative space in live performance, or on special exotic cable channels.




Hi Patrick,

One thing I really want people to understand is that the piece was intended for BBC4. BBC4 is not a mainstream BBC channel - it's a specialist pay to view/cable channel that specifically shows high art and niche arts subjects.

It is an alternative space for broadcast performance. It's the equivalent of an art gallery, niche arts performance space, the content shown is more specialised than other cable channels such as the Performance Channel.

There was never any intention of showing the De Frutos sandwiched between Blue Peter and Eastenders and never any real potential for a five year old to switch on the television and be confronted with images of a Pope punching a pregnant nun. To get BBC4 you actually have to have the cable technology and actively want to scroll through the menu to find it and select it.

BBC4 is as off-the-beaten-track, non mass audience, niche market as it's possible to get.


Thanks for clarifying, Simon. I thought it might be possible that there was something I was missing about British TV (may not have read your posts closely enough sorry). And I have to say, now that you've explained it, I can't disagree with anything you're saying. As far as I'm concerned, an 'off-the-beaten-track', 'non-mass-audience' use of De Frutos's piece is fine, even on Christmas Eve or Day.

#110 Simon G

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:47 PM

:) I agree with kjw and in some ways with patrick posts about thr BBC's decisions concerning the De Frutos, and did make the same point myself about showing it at Christmas when the general public would be viwing.

But saying that, there is also another point to make, the BBC often broadcast a ballet at christmas, but it is usually something which would appeal to the general viewers or ballet lovers. It is broadcast in the afternoon of Christmas or Boxing day. Appart from that we do not get hardly any other programmes to enjoy. Even on BBC3 or 4 the amount of dance subjects are very limited.


I do not see them being able to put De Frutos on in the middle of the afternoon, as it's content would not be suitable, it would have to be at a later time. So it could have meant we had lost one of the valuable spaces they allocate to Dance.


When you consider the uproar and condemnation that Jonanthon Ross caused by his comments this year on his show, 0n TV , one cannot begin to imagine what this ballet would have put in motion.


Referring to the information how BBBC 4 is accessed
within a year, anyone will be able to receive this channel.in the UK. The analogue signal will be changed to digital, people will have to either obtain a new TV, or a digital box. With a freeview box you can obtain a large number of channels via the remote control, so BBC4 is not exclusive and has been available for a long time in many homes. It is as simple as changing the channel with a TV remote. Freesat, one of the many satelite systems is harder to obtain as yiou need a dish, but is on the same principal as Freeview you just buy it with a one off payment. The diffderence being with Sky, who can be connected with a subscription, or a one off payment now as well. It is very easy to use, even if you are partially sighted like I am myself.
And my grand children from 5-10 years can use my remote controls if I allow them to.



The ballet which is a Royal Ballet production is broadcast on BBC2 (the terrestrial channel) as part of the main line up of programmes for the festive season. It's suitable for all ages and advertised as such. The De Frutos was always intended for BBC4, there was never a question of clashing or it taking away from other slots for dance. Indeed BBC4 has so few programmes it repeats it's output several times a week. The reason that there is so little dance on is due to the views of the BBC and the hard facts that it garners such a small audience.

The Jonathan Ross affair can in no way shape or form be used as a comparable incident in this argument.

For our US chums Jonathan Ross is a popular chat show and radio host in the UK. Last year in a radio progamme which he co-hosted with Russell Brand (another popular UK comedian and broadcaster) the two men for some reason decided to make a phone call to the actor Jonathan Sachs (he who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers). Sachs was not at home so they proceeded to leave joke messages on his ansaphone. Brand had slept with Sach's granddaughter, and Ross thought it would be funny to shout out "He f**** your granddaughter". The two men then proceeded to make several more phone calls leaving abuse and stupid messages on the ansaphone.

The show was pre-recorded and a producer actually rang Sachs and asked if they could broadcast the pre-recorded Radio (not television) show. Sachs asked that it not be broadcast and the producer went ahead and said it could be broadcast anyway. There was huge public outcry, not least because at the time Ross was on a salary of 6million a year. Heads rolled, and unfortunately because of the actions of three very silly, infantile men (including the producer) draconian measures of what could and could not be broadcast were introduced across the entire spectrum of BBC ouput. The stupidity of this could be seen most clearly in the radio broadcast of a new version of Oliver Twist, when legal counsel had to be sought and an inquiry lauched internally about the fittingness of broadcasting content with significant child abuse issues.

Yes, children do indeed have access to cable. However, at any time cable channels include X rated, adult rated, porn channels, nudity channels, channels where the news is read nakedd, sex advice channels, bizarre channels, violent blood sport channels, violent movie channels, channels specialising in every kind of excess and sexual more imaginable. Do you really think that an underage viewer with a hankering to watch some forbidden fruit and their grubby little hands on the remote, is really going to sit through two hours of turgid contemporary dance on BBC4, when a whole cornucopia of filth is readily and immediatly available?

#111 kfw

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:54 PM

Simon, I've appreciated reading your views, and I admire your adventurous spirit when it comes to the work you go see. I too have had the experience of esteeming work I had expected to think poorly of. But when the critics describe a work as something I find offensive, and the artist says he meant it to offend, I don't think my objection to it is knee jerk moral outrage. Still, you've expressed your views very clearly and challenged my own, and I thank you for it.

#112 Nanarina

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:32 AM

If one wants to do a 'subversive anti-papacy show at Christmas to really *mike a stite-ment* :speechless-smiley-003: ', it's not the BBC that's the right venue, it's at an alternative space in live performance, or on special exotic cable channels.




Hi Patrick,

One thing I really want people to understand is that the piece was intended for BBC4. BBC4 is not a mainstream BBC channel - it's a specialist pay to view/cable channel that specifically shows high art and niche arts subjects.

It is an alternative space for broadcast performance. It's the equivalent of an art gallery, niche arts performance space, the content shown is more specialised than other cable channels such as the Performance Channel.

There was never any intention of showing the De Frutos sandwiched between Blue Peter and Eastenders and never any real potential for a five year old to switch on the television and be confronted with images of a Pope punching a pregnant nun. To get BBC4 you actually have to have the cable technology and actively want to scroll through the menu to find it and select it.

BBC4 is as off-the-beaten-track, non mass audience, niche market as it's possible to get.


Thanks for clarifying, Simon. I thought it might be possible that there was something I was missing about British TV (may not have read your posts closely enough sorry). And I have to say, now that you've explained it, I can't disagree with anything you're saying. As far as I'm concerned, an 'off-the-beaten-track', 'non-mass-audience' use of De Frutos's piece is fine, even on Christmas Eve or Day.



The clarificartion that has been ptovided is rather exaggerated, I was talking about Freeserve which is not satelite, and Freesat, which is, but both are with restricted channels, and have a 9pm watershed,so do not show things like Sexcetra until very late at night at least 11pm.I still maintain that anyone can watch BBC4 with ease. They are not pay to view or subscription services, such as full satelite, with numerous channels showing a broad spectrum of subjects..

#113 Simon G

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 06:56 AM

The clarificartion that has been ptovided is rather exaggerated, I was talking about Freeserve which is not satelite, and Freesat, which is, but both are with restricted channels, and have a 9pm watershed,so do not show things like Sexcetra until very late at night at least 11pm.I still maintain that anyone can watch BBC4 with ease. They are not pay to view or subscription services, such as full satelite, with numerous channels showing a broad spectrum of subjects..



Nanarina,

For someone who blanches at the mere mention or notion of anything remotely salacious or outre, you seem to have a rather specific knowledge, of times, channels, programming and ease of access.

Oh, another thing, BBC4 is lucky if its viewing figures cracks double digits. Perhaps a succes de scandale is just what they need.

#114 Helene

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 09:08 AM

For someone who blanches at the mere mention or notion of anything remotely salacious or outre, you seem to have a rather specific knowledge, of times, channels, programming and ease of access.

How can one be sure to avoid what one doesn't want to see, if when, what, and where are not known?

I think you are quite right about the competition. If I were a child or teenager, I'd be drawn by the straightforward stuff, not a dance piece I had to watch carefully and put in context. The latter doesn't appeal very easily to channel-surfing.

#115 Simon G

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 09:56 AM

For someone who blanches at the mere mention or notion of anything remotely salacious or outre, you seem to have a rather specific knowledge, of times, channels, programming and ease of access.

How can one be sure to avoid what one doesn't want to see, if when, what, and where are not known?

I think you are quite right about the competition. If I were a child or teenager, I'd be drawn by the straightforward stuff, not a dance piece I had to watch carefully and put in context. The latter doesn't appeal very easily to channel-surfing.



Helene,

I was only having a laugh, I promise, I was actually rather impressed with Nanarina's ability to name programmes. The thing is though, all you have to do, all any kid has to do is log on and instantly a whole world of nastiness is at their fingertips.

And in terms of protecting kids from that, I am in agreement with nanarina, it's relentless and anyone with kids or with kids in their care is right to feel worried.

But I do promise anyone who hasn't seen the De Frutos, it really isn't that bad (in terms of obscenity, artistically it really is that bad, if not worse.) And while I can see the point of omitting it from a pre watershed slot, on BBC4 post watershed, on such a niche channel, which struggles to get audiences and really is of no interest whatsoever to anyone without a vested interest in the product, transmitting the piece isn't that big a deal: no matter what time of year. Sadly, despite BBC4's best efforts to create interesting, arts programming viewers rarely do go above the few thousands.

#116 Alexandra

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:10 AM

I hope, then, that this dance was cut because it's not only in poor taste -- which any presenter has the right to do, and yes, my idea of poor taste is likely to be different from someone else's -- but because it's banal. The number of dance and theater pieces of limited to no artistic value that have gotten attention because someone in them is nude, or the piece pokes fun at an institution, is dispiriting.

#117 Simon G

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 12:14 PM

I hope, then, that this dance was cut because it's not only in poor taste -- which any presenter has the right to do, and yes, my idea of poor taste is likely to be different from someone else's -- but because it's banal. The number of dance and theater pieces of limited to no artistic value that have gotten attention because someone in them is nude, or the piece pokes fun at an institution, is dispiriting.



Alexandra,

My gosh, having been to see the whole programme at Sadlers Wells, four choreographers, four pieces - all equally inane (though to be fair the Russell Maliphant piece was very pretty to look at) I swear on a stack of bibles the bigger question is why the BBC chose to buy the rights to broadcast that entire evening altogether. Especially when there really is no shortage of really great modern dance taking place throughout London all year round.

Banal, really was the buzz word for the entire enterprise, what wasn't quite so banal was the 40 a ticket cost, I know I said one should go and see stuff one has an inkling one might not like, but next time I'm going to buy a cheap seat in the gods.

#118 Alexandra

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 12:50 PM

It won't be any less banal up there, though.

#119 dirac

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:31 PM

I also totally accept the fact that one doesn't need to view a piece of work to know that one won't like it, to not want to go and see it and to object to the content. BUT and this is a big BUT, I totally believe that one can never have the right to fully condemn anything if one doesn't take the time to see it, to make a fully informed decision based on direct knowledge. I go and see loads of things I hate, and which I have a feeling I'm going to hate/be repulsed/bored/offended by for any variety of reasons. Quite often I come away with my views completely unchanged, but sometimes I do a complete 180 and everything becomes clearer, more apparent when I see first hand what the artist/creator intended.

I suppose this is why I've gotten so irked and a bit snide by this whole thread and in my responses, because no one saw the De Frutos except Mashinka and I can't argue Mashinka's review of the piece. I thought it silly, banal and facile and a real betrayal by a choreographer of his very great talents. Though I'm sure De Frutos would disagree with me and feel that he was honouring his talents. And that's why censorship based on knee jerk moral outrage is so very, very dangerous - it stops any discourse, discussion or debate.


Important points, I think. No, you don't have to go to the Sahara to know what it's like, and it's possible to decide on the basis of reports that such-and-such a piece is something you won't care for or might find offensive, and choose not to see it. But you can't pass an informed judgment on something you haven't seen - an educated guess is not the same.

#120 Simon G

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 06:03 PM

You know what I was thinking and decided it'd be a far better World if there was indeed any real danger and possibility that an impressionable young person would ever be inclined to switch on a specialist arts channel and be confronted with troubling, thought provoking, challenging and even downright disturbing material with intellectual weight and power, than the reality that that same young person is 100% certain to opt for switching onto American Idol, Hannah Montana, X Factor or any other lobotomising crap that makes up the majority of modern media.

This whole argument of complete censorship for the few remaining outlets in the mass media where content comes above popularity is deeply dangerous, it's asking to silence the few places where challenging and dissenting artistic voices can actually still be heard.


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