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Dance in America: Choreography by Balanchine DVD

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Maybe this has been discussed before, so if this is the case, please redirect me to the correct thread. Otherwise, I would like to get some clarification regarding the "Dancing in America: Choreography by Balanchine" DVD. I've been considering purchasing it, but when looking at the reviews, I found the next comment:

"Unfortunately, this long awaited DVD was transferred badly and the sound in part one is out of synch by several counts..." :blink:

The comment seems to be shared by other reviewers also. I'm very anal about this kind of stuff, so I was wondering if someone could shred some light on the subject. If the mentioned statement is true, then I would choose to buy the VHS set.

Thanks!

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Take the VHS set. The lack of synchonization on the DVDs is likely to drive you crazy. It drives me crazy. The sound on The Four Temperaments makes me particularly batty. The dancers do appear to be dancing on the beat. They're just dancing on the wrong beat.

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The sound on the VHS set, if you can get it, is more agreeable, too. Clear that there are two DVDs with that same title, but different repertory; thus four corresponding tapes? (And, while you're looking, a fifth tape with "only" 40 minutes or so on it, Robert Schumann's Davidsbuendlertaenze; never on DVD as far as I know, though I think it was on "LD", or LaserDisc.)

Edited by Jack Reed

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As an FYI, "Davidsbuendlertaenze" is a separate Nonesuch recording and is only available in VHS format. I wish they're release it to DVD.

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Thank you Helene and Jack. Now I'm a little confused, as the sound complain seems to refer only to the DVD that contains Tzigane, Four T's etc...I wonder if the same happened to the other one-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc). If not, then I would get the VHS set of the first group of ballets and the DVD of the second one.

Thanks also for the info on Davidsbuendlertaenze. See...I'm building my own Balanchine collection :tomato: .

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Clear that there are two DVDs with that same title, but different repertory; thus four corresponding tapes?

Yes.

Tzigane, Andante from Divertimento no. 15, The Four Temperaments

Ballo della Regina, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Elégie from Tchaikovsky Suite no. 3, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux

selections from Jewels, Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Chaconne, Prodigal Son

I'd like to have the Balanchine Celebration gala on DVD, too, while we're at it. Assuming, of course, the sound is synchronized properly. And everything else sitting in the "Dance in America" vaults.

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Thanks also for the info on Davidsbuendlertaenze. See...I'm building my own Balanchine collection :tomato: .

The greatest thing about it is that almost the entire original cast is in it: the only substitute was Sara Leland substituting for Kay Mazzo, who had retired by the time the recording was made. (Stephanie Saland was wonderful in that role after Leland was no longer dancing it.)

The couples are:

Karin von Aroldingen/Adam Luders (the Schumannesque couple)

Suzanne Farrell/Jacques d'Amboise (the Farrell and Balanchine couple)

Heather Watts/Peter Martins

Sara Leland/Ib Andersen

I'd like to have the Balanchine Celebration gala on DVD, too, while we're at it. Assuming, of course, the sound is synchronized properly. And everything else sitting in the "Dance in America" vaults.

Do you mean the one they did in 2003? I had that on Tivo, but then the Tivo died :( I loved the "Liebeslieder Walzer" excerpts from that.

I would love, love, love to see a commercial release of the Farrell/Andersen/Castelli "Mozartiana", the "Vienna Waltzes" with Nichols/Lavery, Watts/Tomasson, Elyse Borne/Cook, von Arolding/Martins, and Farrell/Luders, and "Who Cares?" with Lavery, McBride, Lopez, and Watts, but rights, etc. get in the way. That had an amazing array of dancers, some of whom have rarely been recorded commercially.

There was another program with "Serenade" (Kistler, Nichols, Calegari, Luders, Kozlov) and "Western Symphony" (Melinda Roy/Soto, Saland/La Fosse, Alexopoulos/Boal -- I had forgotten and assumed it was Woetzel!

Beyond Balanchine, I would love to see commercial releases of the Martins' Ballerinas program, with Ashley and David Parsons and Luders and Kate Johnson in "Barber Violin Concerto" with Elmar Oliveira's beautiful playing, McBride and Anderson in "Valse Triste", Nichols and Luder's in "Beethoven Romance", Watts and Soto in the slow movement from "Ecstatic Orange", and Farrell/Martins in "Sophisticated Lady". And the Robbins program, with "Antique Epigraphs" and "Fancy Free".

Add in the kinoscope and complete footage of the ballets in the Balanchine biography plus all of the work that CBC recorded. Not going to happen, but it's fun to dream.

If only Netflix could add in streaming on demand from NYPL for the Performance Arts archives in its $1 billion deal to stream on demand...

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Davidsbundlertanze was also released on laserdisc back in the day.

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So to make sure...would it then be safe to buy the 2nd DVD-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc...)-without the risk of having the sound problems of the first one...?

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BTW...the three clips posted by Goro have been "removed by the user"... :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:

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Thanks for that brief glimpse of heaven, goro! We don't see much dancing like that these days.

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Having watched the last video (Walpurgisnacht) some more, I thought I'd make clear I meant your devotion to the delight of our community as well as the Davidsbuendlertaenze performance were awesome, but FWIW I thought the last clip less so, although still a valuable thing to make available for people to see. Overall that last one shows me much of the tameness that came over NYCB after about 1986, Nichols still being a very interesting dancer, like the eight in "DBT" as I like affectionately to abbreviate the name, although even she seems to me a little subdued here compared to any of them there. (Granted this comparison is not between two performances of the same ballet.) Continuing -- some would say, maundering -- on in this direction, I wonder if the text of Walpurgisnacht itself has been tamed. I recall from performances by Farrell and Luders that she would begin her run at the end from all the way upstage, audience right, through an aisle in the corps, in response to Luders' entreating gestures (arms extended toward her, the left one raised) downstage, our left; at the last, he would turn away from her, and catch her in jete on his left hip, extending his right arm before him. (You can imagine the audience reaction; we thought, had they missed this, she would have landed in the pit.) But some experiences do become "burnished in memory", as kfw has said (elsewhere), and I may have this wrong.

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I'd like to have the Balanchine Celebration gala on DVD, too, while we're at it. Assuming, of course, the sound is synchronized properly. And everything else sitting in the "Dance in America" vaults.

Do you mean the one they did in 2003? I had that on Tivo, but then the Tivo died :( I loved the "Liebeslieder Walzer" excerpts from that.

The Balanchine Celebration, Parts I and II, was shown on PBS in 1993, on the 10th anniversary of his death. According to the Balanchine site, it was released commercially by Nonesuch.

http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/videography.jsp

I don't know if it's still for sale, but perhaps used copies will show up on e-Bay

From the Balanchine.org site:

The Balanchine Celebration, Part One

The Balanchine Library. Nonesuch, 1996.

Selections from live performances (1993) at the New York State Theater. With members of the New York City Ballet and guest artists. Includes Scherzo à la Russe and excerpts from Apollo, Square Dance, Theme and Variations, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet.

The Balanchine Celebration, Part Two

The Balanchine Library. Nonesuch, 1996.

Selections from live performances (1993) at the New York State Theater. With members of the New York City Ballet and guest artists. Includes excerpts from Agon, Stars and Stripes, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?

Part 2 ended with the vodka toast with Martins, Kirstein, and Robbins served vodka by Baryshnikov.

An entirely different release is still available on DVD, the two-part Balanchine documentary first aired on PBS in 1984. From the Balanchine site:

Balanchine

Kultur, 2004.

A two-part documentary film telecast on the Dance in America series on May 28 and June 4, 1984. Includes excerpts from more than thirty Balanchine ballets, including appearances by him as a Tartar Nomad in Jealousy, in the film Dark Red Roses, in 1929 and as Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker in 1958.

The two programs have very different selections, although nothing is complete. For the Balanchine Celebration, everything is in excerpts, usually the last movement or two.

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Thank you Helene and Jack. Now I'm a little confused, as the sound complain seems to refer only to the DVD that contains Tzigane, Four T's etc...I wonder if the same happened to the other one-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc). If not, then I would get the VHS set of the first group of ballets and the DVD of the second one.

Thanks also for the info on Davidsbuendlertaenze. See...I'm building my own Balanchine collection tomato.GIF .

So to make sure...would it then be safe to buy the 2nd DVD-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc...)-without the risk of having the sound problems of the first one...?

Apologies for bumping this thread, but I don't think this question was clearly answered here: does the sound synchronization problem affect both Balanchine Nonesuch DVDs, or just the first volume (with Tzigane, Four T's, etc.). Thanks so much!

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I've just played Chaconne from the DVD, Nonesuch 79839, and the synchronization looks exact to me. Conceivably, the other ballets might be different, and I'll try to get to them over the next few days and report back, but the effect of this Chaconne is such that I just can't go on right now, I'm too gobsmacked with the beauty of it. Beautiful to the point of exciting! Overwhelming!

I haven't had this experience for too long, I guess, even though the DVDs are right here. Ballet of this quality, both choreography and performance, are not to be seen onstage these days, as far as I am concerned, and for my money, you'd be getting a good deal, SimonA, even if the rest of the disc happened to be unwatchable, especially considering the relative prices of DVDs and tickets these days. I think this one ballet is worth "the price of admission" (unless, of course, like a friend of mine, you cannot abide Gluck).

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Jack,

Thanks so much for taking the time to re-watch Chaconne and report back. So generous. You've almost convinced me that I should just go ahead and order the DVD ... though if you do have the time to watch the rest of the DVD, I'd, of course, love to get your thoughts.

I recently had the chance to watch several NYCB videos from Balanchine's day at NYPL, and, you're right -- there's nothing like it to be seen onstage these days.

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Jack,

Thanks so much for taking the time to re-watch Chaconne and report back. So generous. ...

No, SimonA, thank you for prodding me to watch that video! Experiences like that do my spirit good! POB is here this week, though, so I expect to continue my "Balanchine's Balanchine" festival next week.

In the meantime, though, thinking about the synchronization problems of some of these videos, I wonder whether it might now be possible for computer-adept fans to correct a copy for themselves. I've read of using video-editing software where exactly this problem may occur and be corrected. Keeping legality in mind, I'm no intellectual-property lawyer, but I think someone who obtains this kind of material legally is entitled to make a copy of it for their own use. (If they distribute it to others, questions come up.)

Are there any amateur video restorers lurking out there who will chime in here?

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Are you after a temporary fix or a more permanent one for non-computer playback devices, Jack?

It can be done very easily. The process goes as follows:rip the original video segments from DVD, separate the audio and video tracks in an editor, resync them by the correct time offset and finally burn the corrected files to a DVD for your musical enjoyment. I've tried to do this with a Rubies recording that I have (off the air from Dance in America), but I shuddered once or twice at the thought of dictating where on the beat is to Patricia McBride.

It's probably less musically dangerous with the Choreography by Balanchine DVDs, as we could use the original, correctly synchronized, video tapes as a quality check.

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Next week I will audition as a super for POB Giselle at the Kennedy Center. Wish me luck.

Merde , cantdance. What an opportunity! You may have to change your BA name to CANdance after that. I hope you'll report to us about the experience.

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emilienne, your outline is just what I was thinking, for a permanent fix; what I lack are the names of Mac-compatible software. For example, Handbrake for the first step? iMovie '06 for the second? iDVD '0x for the third? The second step seems the most complex of the three, conceptually anyway.

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