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Bugaku: questions and more questions...Input needed...!!


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#31 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:21 PM



#32 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:45 PM

Thanks for the links, Cristian. Snapshots sometimes leave out part of the story, but, that said, I don't see any of that fearsome/fearful aspect in this one of Paul and Mitchell, none of that emotional weight.

And thanks, bart; now we know a little bit more about why they dance on a "pool table" (sometimes, anyway).

I wonder if the set was elaborated when the company moved to the State Theatre? The undated picture in Reynolds of Kent and Villella is what I remember from my days there, and what I have seen since.

Haggin's description about Kent's dancing helped to bring back the remark of someone near me in the audience one evening, as she and Villella were taking their applause: "That woman has been filleted."

#33 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:52 PM

It was even greener - a whole order of color temperatures different. And the reds were the vivid cinnabar red that Clive Barnes used to like to call "cyclamen red". The vibration they set up against one another was dazzling, which was perhaps the whole point! Take one element, focus on it entirely, and leave all else out. That is the "beauty of the missing" which is part of Zen. That it made such a strong impression which has lasted so long in ballet years* leads me to believe that it was an intentional act of creation. Another feature, which seems now mellower was that the chrysantemum tutus seemed stiffer, more sticky-out than the ones I'm seeing in the videos. I guess you had to see them in motion, as the photos don't adequately capture this quality.

I know that these are not the choreography, but I'm still a diehard believer in the old dictum that said that ballet was a fusion of dance, costume, music**, and stage setting. Don't get me wrong! - these are still very good examples of "Bugaku" on the videos. They're just a little updated from what I recall. And that's a good thing! (Gee, I must have liked the thing better than I knew at the time!)

*like dog years, only worse.

**I can talk about this too at some length and with some passion. I had played some Mayuzumi chamber works by the time I first saw "Bugaku".

#34 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 01:16 PM

That is the "beauty of the missing" which is part of Zen. ...

Another feature, which seems now mellower...

They're just a little updated from what I recall. And that's a good thing!


I don't understand how this mellowing updating, which seems like a diminution of the beauty, in your account, is a good thing.

#35 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 01:29 PM

Ballet is organic. It cannot live in a glass bowl, hermetically sealed. As long as the choreography and the music, which are intact, to my memory, survive, and the updates to the costumes and decor capture the spirit of the original, the work is alive.
I did rather prefer the spikier tutus, but then that's a de gustibus matter, and can't be recaptured short of having a time machine. Karinska was more than just a designer. Her construction has not been matched, in my opinion.

Perhaps we have here another example of the Japanese spirit reserved in "Bugaku". I should retire to the beach of my koi pond, and contemplate these matters.

#36 bart

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 03:47 PM

Fascinating discussion. Thanks, all. Mel, I apprciate your comment about the chysanthemum imagery in the original tutus.

Like Kathleen, I much prefer the sleek, embroidered bikini which Kent wears for the pas de deux.

The undated picture in Reynolds of Kent and Villella is what I remember from my days there, and what I have seen since.

There is a definite architectural look to the set. Notice the angled and curved "wall" to the left of the photo. The photos in Haggin's book make it clear that this element is carried through on all three stage walls. Only the "invisible" wall separating dancers from audience lacks this barrier. There is a flight of stairs at the center of the backstage wall.

Mel, your memory of color (which I lack) is giving me a sense of what this must have looked like. The feeling is of a state room in an imperial palace (the simplicity and purity of Kyoto, not the vibrant decoration of Edo). The colors, as you describe them, would have an imperial richness that the Miami set does not attempt.


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