Ballet and reverencesand courtesies and bowing...
Posted 24 January 2011 - 11:30 AM
So then Wikipedia says that…
[size="5"]"Reverence (attitude)is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of one's superior or superiors ..."…[/size]
To then redirect the reader to…
[size="5"]"Deference-(also called submission or passivity)-is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of one's superior or superiors. Deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior out of respect or reverence."[/size]
Then, in on the paragraphs of her famous epilogue, Homans writes:
[size="5"]“Ballet, moreover, is an etiquette as much as an art, layered with centuries of courtly conventions and codes of civility and politeness...” [/size]
[size="5"]"We are skeptical of elitism…...Ballet fine manners and implicitly aristocratic airs…seem woefully outmoded...…”[/size]
Not only do we find reverences in the warhorses. Many Balanchine ballets has them too-(for some reason I particularly remember the two male dancers in Divertimento No. 15, who bow to one another after their dancing…). I also remember in Danilova’s book where she declares that a ballerina should never kneel onstage while taking a bow unless there’s royalty present in the house.
On the other side, this is 2011, and many of us don’t have this type of things incorporated to our daily lives-(probably one of the few things in common I found between my homeland and US). So, perhaps people who live in places where monarchy is still active can identify themselves more with such items…? Are reverences implemented in all ballet classes…? Are they still active and expected to be performed in other places as a regular thing...? DO WE BELIEVE IN THEM, or do we see them as a mere curiosity from past times and no longer justified in our modern daily living…?
http://4.bp.blogspot...o 6 cropped.jpg
Posted 24 January 2011 - 12:51 PM
Posted 24 January 2011 - 01:18 PM
Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:24 PM
Yes, Peter Martins explained that the broken-foot curtsy is "more modest" than the pointed-foot one. Since his demonstration was so exaggerated -- the former relatively shallow and brief, the latter a very slow descent of both body and (leaning forward) torso with full port de bras. I don't know that the broken foot makes it more modest, but I suspect it makes it more difficult to indulge in a diva-worthy display.
In the discussion of the on-stage class at Saturday's Balanchine's Birthday bash, they talked about the NYCB bow, and how it differs from others.
In the upper-right corner of each post, you see a little number (in the case you cited, 29). If you click on that number, you'll get a direct link.
I don't know how to put in a link to a specific entry, but #29 on this page: http://balletalert.i...22/page__st__15 has a bit of discussion.
Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:12 PM
And I think that's what reverence refers to -- not to superiority, but the finer sense in any person , that there's a soul in here, why do you not consider my feelings? I could give many more instances, but what I think is inherently valuable about ballet is that EVERYONE deserves this reverence. When I teach a yoga class, I always turn at the end of the class and make a "Namaste" to my students, and I feel that it is exactly the same gesture as at the end of ballet class when I do reverence to the teacher -- who has in fact given me so much. Yes, they are the master/mistress, but their authority is universally acknowledged as deserved because they KNOW THEIR STUFF and can TEACH you something that you want very much to learn. And in such a case, there is no dishonor in acknowledging their superiority.
As the old Shaker hymn says, "When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed." Reverence is NOT inconceivable in a democracy; in fact, it's (as Major Mel implied) required, or the polity cannot hold.
Also, there are some ballets like Concerto Barocco, and the Preghiera from Mozartiana, which are FULL of reverences -- the Louis XIV reverence ("making a leg"), bows of all kinds, even gestures of prayer -- in Mozartiana, the ballerina actually goes from a "Namaste" into a bent-over-backwards pose in the take-my-heart position.
And almost every penchee arabesque reads to me as a reverence of some kind.
One more thing -- VRSfanatic has hit the nail on the head -- it's an expression of gratitude. at least in this country, the reverence concludes with the teacher saying out loud "Thank you very much."
Edited by Paul Parish, 26 January 2011 - 08:53 AM.
Posted 26 January 2011 - 05:02 AM
I was not at the lecture for the NYCB Balanchine celebration (I had to work), although I was at the matinee on Saturday. The reverence was glaringly different and awkward. I am glad Mr. Martins did address it. It must be one of those things that evolved over time because it was not that way in the 1960s and early 1970s. I am sure I would remember being taught to bow in this way had it been "the way" of the time or at least I would remember being taught not to bow in this way in my later involvement in ballet.
Is reverence necessary in ballet? Yes, it is our way of showing gratitude.
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