Where to Sit at the Met
Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:21 AM
Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:42 AM
Thank you, Marga. mimsyb, Marga's explanation is exactly what I mean about going to see dancers rather than ballets. From what you write, mimsyb, it would appear that you go to see ballets rather than dancers. There is no right or wrong. These are preferences that one cannot argue--neither side will convince the other. To take the distinction to the extreme, I would rather see Veronika Part do a single arabesque penche than see an entire performance of Firebird. Realistically, I will go to every ballet in which Veronika is dancing the leading role, whereas I will avoid my favorite ballets if they are cast with certain dancers (no point in naming them here, I'm told that many dancers read this forum and I don't want to hurt feelings).
I think I understand what angelica means by going to see the dancers, not the ballet. I always search for a ticket that I can afford that is as close to the stage as possible (without losing the feet), too. I LOVE to watch a dancer intensely. Of course, I love the music of the ballet, especially if it's Minkus or any of my other favourites, but I care little whether I see the "tableau" at all - not if I have to sacrifice seeing a dancer's every movement and expression up close. The decor and costumes also take a back seat to seeing the dancer - for me. I'm sorry, mimsyb, that you can't conceive of this, but there are a lot of us who go just for the dancer!
I put this question out to the forum: Do you think it has anything to do with whether you're a dancer or not? I'm a would-be dancer, although I never pursued a professional career because of parental objections. I stopped dancing for 37 years and have been back at it for six, so I'm acutely aware of every detail in a dancer's performance, e.g., whether the dancer "wings" in arabesque, whether she does glissade by pushing off the standing leg, how she uses her upper body. I do prefer the full-length ballets to the one-acts because the development of the characterization is also important to me. But whether the borzois cross the stage obediently or, as I've seen in a dress rehearsal, refuse to follow their master, is completely immaterial to my particular sensibility.
Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:48 AM
SimonA, I apologize for not responding to your post last May (!), which I came across just now reading back through this thread. My favorite side parterre seats are boxes 5 and 6 (first row only), although in a pinch boxes 3 and 4 will do. I try to avoid boxes 1 and 2. These days, I've opted for the Orchestra, as I wrote on March 19th (of this year!)
Thanks, again, Angelica, for your thoughts. Is the view substantially better one box over (3 and 4), or do I need to go further back in the side parterre?
Note to posters: If you ask a question, it helps to quote the post that prompts the question, because then I get a notice in my email that someone has quoted a post I've made.
Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:50 AM
Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:46 PM
mymsib, you make a good case. Nevertheless, I think this is something that is a matter of personal aesthetics and neither position is right or wrong. For example, one of the most magnificent performances I have ever seen of OdettelOdile--and I have been attending ballet performances for more decades than I care to admit--is on the DVD of Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev dancing with the State Ballet of Perm. She is magnificent; he is a cipher. And yet I could watch her over and over (and in fact, I do). Using your reference to Don Q as another example, for me the performance depends on who is dancing Kitri and Basilio. Yes, the costumes, the corps, the scenery--all of this makes the production marvelous--but the bottom line for me is who are dancing the leading roles. And I want to see them close up.
Angelica, while I can certainly agree about your preference of seeing Part in penche' arabesque vs "Firebird", still the totality of a ballet is for me the most pleasing and satisfying aspect of going to "ballet". As an ex dancer and now a choreographer, I look at how a ballet is put together. What makes it interesting? Would a costume of a different color work better? What about the use (or not) of scenery? Did the choreography suit the music or the music suit the theme? Was there any coherent structure to the work? Was it just about the main dancer? And the dancer's ego? Was it just about that arabesque penche'? Does the choreography reveal anything I don't already know and appreciate about a given dancer? How does this particular ballet (be it "Don Q" or "Manon") suit or not suit a particular dancer. And does the dancer relate in any way to whatever else is happening on stage? Or is it just about them? Few dancers would attempt to just dance solos all their career. (unless you're Isadora!) They become a part of a whole when they step into a role. They become the character with the help and assistance of costume, scenery, music and everyone and everything around them. They are good, not so good, great or breathtaking because of whatever else is going on around them. Some of the most beautiful penches' have been destroyed by a poor partner. Imagine if the corps dancers in"Don Q" never related to Osipova dancing Kitri. If they never snapped their fingers at her or raised their arms in celebration at her triumphs in winning Basilio! Osipova could be out there dancing incredibly well, but if the rest of the ballet (the dancers, etc) was not a part of what's happening, she looks foolish. In order to excel and be great, one must "become the ballet". Be in the ballet. This is also true with a more abstract ballet. One can't just "dance" "Symphony in C". Trust me, I've danced this ballet and there is nothing more exciting than being a part of the totality of this work . The final spiral fall of the lead dancer in the 2nd Movement is a glorious moment, not only for the ballerina dancing it, but for the corps dancing in support of that final moment. To see just the ballerina do this movement wouldn't have the same impact it has without other dancers there to complete the picture. Any truly great dancer relies on and respects every aspect of the ballet they are performing. It is in the end about the work. The whole work. and for me, it's simply more interesting to see that "whole work"
As a choreographer, you will be more attentive than I to the totality of a ballet. And I agree that the costumes can make or break a ballet. But to me, most of all, ballet is about "line," it is moving sculpture, a presentation of the human body in all its magnificence. Without that ballet "line," I am bored, no matter what else may be going on onstage.
But this is merely something that we have different "takes" on. All I'm saying is that some people like to sit up close because they want to see every detail of the dancers' bodies; some people like to sit further back for the entire panorama before them. It's a matter of opinion, of taste, of interest. I think we need people of all stripes because all opinions regarding the merits of either position can be respected. And anyway, otherwise we'd never fill the house.
Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:39 PM
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