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George Balanchine's SerenadeAlberta Ballet


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#16 Stecyk

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:29 AM

Stecyk, I think Serenade has probably had as much impact on balletgoers as Swan Lake; it's plotless, of course, so this is a different discussion, but the beauty and sculptural nobility of the images, the endless opportunities for ravishing dancing, the tableaux (the opening one alone!), the divine score, the imagination of a young genius which is so apparent here--all these have spoken eloquently for years.

<snip>

It's been mentioned before in this thread that you should enjoy the ballet on YOUR own terms, as something you experience individually and personally, and I think that is essential. It's even okay if you don't think it's a 'masterpiece', lol, or if you 'don't go for splendor'--but I certainly hope you will.

jsmu, thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent post. I will be watching the imagery, not trying to determine any plot or storyline.

I am looking forward to the experience, for I know it's going to be a great introduction to a new art form. Again, thank you for your post.

#17 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 08:02 PM

Stecyk, sorry, I should have explained more clearly that the women in my little story were doing the New York deadpan. Translated to ordinary speech, the exchange would probably be something like: "Wasn't that wonderful?" "My god, it was glorious!"

Lucky you! My suggestion would be just to relax and soak it in. As those two old women show, Serenade is one of those beautiful works of art that, once experienced, are with you for the rest of your life.

#18 carbro

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 08:07 PM

You've gotten a lot of advice, Stecyk, and all I can add is the suggestion that you take a deep breath and not try too hard. Just let it wash over you. The greater your ability to see the dancers as units of an organic whole, the better, at least for now.

One of my most revelatory Serenades was a televised performance that gave me even more distance than my usual nosebleed seat. The relationship between the floor patterns (so well described as kaleidoscopic by volcanohunter) and the music became inevitable.

#19 Stecyk

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 06:12 AM

@ Anthony_NYC: Thank you for clarifying the New York deadpan humor. It escaped me, so I am glad you added your comment.

@ carbro: I am positive that I will enjoy the performance. I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and understanding.

Thank you everyone for your sharing your enthusiasm and comments.

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:11 AM

... as a newcomer, how can I derive the most benefit from this performance?


Stecyk...with such glorious score it will hard not to enjoy your attendance even if the dancing doesn't do it for you-(which I'm quite positive won't be the case...and hey...take this from THE neophyte in Balanchinean repertoire). :thumbsup:

The opening tableaux/music bars are just so painfully beautiful...

Edited to add: Please, report back if you spot Hayna Gutierrez in any of the leads... :wink:

#21 Stecyk

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:27 AM

Please, report back if you spot Hayna Gutierrez in any of the leads... :wink:

I will be pleased to comment. I am sure to enjoy the ballet. In fact, there are two ballets that evening.

Serenade & Vigil of Angels

Two encore presentations grace the Alberta Ballet stage in what Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître is calling "an evening of personal favourites". This program will feature one of ballet's greatest 20th century masterpieces, George Balanchine’s exquisite Serenade, the legendary choreographer's deeply moving hommage to his most beloved composer, Tchaikovsky and Jean Grand-Maître’s meditative explorations on life and death, Vigil of Angels. Join us for this soothing and spiritual journey filled with soaring angels of beauty. Our olympian dancers' poetic athleticism will inspire us to remember all that is good in life.



#22 Helene

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 09:33 AM

The caveat about the music is that Balanchine switched the third and fourth movements for the ballet. If you're used to the music in the order of the score, you may get a jolt when the fourth movement starts before the third. Since I didn't know the music before I saw the ballet, I get a jolt in the concert hall when they start the (real) third movement "too early".

#23 TenduTV

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 04:52 AM

Speaking of the overhead experience, here's a great short clip that DNB produced as part of their promotion for their A La Russe performances:

From Mr. B's Point of View

#24 Stecyk

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:12 AM

Here's my blog article after having seen the two ballets: Alberta Ballet: Serenade & Vigil of Angels.

Through the discussions of Grand-Maître, Borne and Vallone, my most important learning was just to enjoy the beauty of the ballet. Grand-Maître encouraged the audience to superimpose our own life experiences onto the ballet because there was no definitive or correct interpretation. He further commented that these ballets are meant to soothe the soul, especially in these turbulent and troubling times. And Jean made one last remark where he quoted Balanchine's comment, "See the music, hear the dance."

I loved Serenade. There is so much to appreciate with the dance patterns and technical pointe work. The cool blues dresses together with the dancers' light movement created stunning imagery. I was amazed at watching how effortless the dancers moved through their dance. Of course, the easier it looks likely implies that it is extraordinarily difficult to achieve.

And to respond to cubanmiamiboy, Hayna Gutierrez played a pivotal role in Vigil of Angels, the second ballet that evening.

#25 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:20 PM

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, it is a beautiful ballet. Over the years of watching Balanchine's work, one of the things I find most interesting about Serenade is that it is both typical and atypical of his work at the same time in both subject and construction.

Serenade is one of the most enduring of the ballets and the most changed from its first performances in the 30s. There were no men. Only three movements were performed (I think the fourth was added in '41 - but I'm not near my references) The soloist sections have been divided in several different ways.

Structurally it's freer than some later works, which are more "gridded." Balanchine uses more circles and irregular shapes when moving the corps around.

It's more openly allusive than a work like Agon or The Four Temperaments. Balanchine had a romantic streak in him - this is perhaps the most clear example.

It will be interesting to see if Serenade comports with your idea of a "Balanchine" ballet, or if that shifts over time.

#26 Stecyk

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 02:04 PM

Leigh, thank you for your warm comments.

I am looking forward to when I observe and appreciate both the technical aspects as well as the more macro, general movements. As I mentioned in my blog article, I would love the see Serenade several more times. I am sure I would appreciate each successive viewing more than the last.

These two ballets, Serenade & Vigil of Angels, served as a great introduction to ballet. As I see more ballets, I am sure that my enjoyment will only increase.

#27 balletmom311

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:49 AM

DD is guesting with Alberta Ballet for Serenade. After the first show she called to tell me it was magical. She said dancing the ballet made her feel so pretty and that she had never felt so free on stage. DD said the ballet it not difficult technically (she is dancing in the corps) but musically it is beautiful. I can't wait to see them perform in Edmonton on the weekend.

#28 Helene

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:55 AM

Congratulations to your DD (dancing daughter), balletmom311 and thank you for sharing her experience of the ballet.

#29 Stecyk

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:10 PM

balletmom311, I echo Helene's congratulations. As I indicated in my blog article, I thoroughly loved Serenada. Please pass my appreciation along to your dancing daughter.


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