A Ratmansky Ballerina? A Wheeldon Ballerina?Can it be said yet that there exists a type?
Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:52 PM
Have Ratmansky & Wheeldon been around long enough yet that we can describe the sort of dancer that they tend to like to work with? Just curious what qualities they are bringing to the fore as these may well influence the future form ballet dancers take...
Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:36 AM
Posted 21 December 2011 - 07:18 AM
Posted 21 December 2011 - 01:27 PM
Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:19 PM
I think you're correct, Stage Right, no doubt the school was essential in making the "Balanchine type" more prevalent, as the talent pool from which Balanchine could draw became larger and he could pick and choose with greater freedom. But he seems to have been working toward this type for years in his training and choreography, selecting dancers like Tallchief who was not a product of his school but had possibilities he could develop.
I haven't seen enough Ratmansky to say. I have seen more Wheeldon and I wonder from his style if perhaps Wendy Whelan (known to me only by what I have heard and read by others) is the "Wheeldon ballerina" -- so far? Can others comment?
Nice topic, Amy, thank you for starting it.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:41 PM
Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:30 PM
Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:21 AM
Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:49 AM
Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:13 AM
And htis is gonna be seculative, since I haven't seen the whole range of either, by any means.
But first, a ballerina to Balanchine was "a good dancer who has imagination" (according to Mimi Paul, on whom he created the walking pdd in "Emeralds" -- who said so in a wonderful interview in Ballet Review.) ALl his dancers had a certain look and training and musicality -- though by no means all of the good dancers he used looked as uniformly elongated as we tend to think. There were some short girls with big heads who could really move.)
Imagination has to be one of hte great characteristics a choreographer requires.
Whelan has it --
The first Ratmansky we saw in San Francisco was "Carnival of the Animals," which absolutely required imagination to make it happen. It was not till I saw the ballet a second time, with the outrageous Lorena Feijoo as the ballerina, that I realized how Gogol-level fantastic the ballet is. Maybe I should say Disney -- it was like the cartoon-ballet in Fantasia -- Feijoo was dancing an elephant who thought she was Raymonda, grand, magnificent ballerina with amazing character style; Feijoo is willing to go there and get into that, and project it. I felt like I was exploding. My hunch is that his work will benefit the most from dancers with a taste for the fantastic, even the preposterous.
Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:33 PM
Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:44 PM
I've only seen SF Ballet do it, and like most San Franciscans, I found it impenetrable. I THINK it was set by someone other than Ratmansky; my SUSPICION is, they learned the steps but not the tone and flavor.
The boys fared best.
Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:47 PM
What there is in "Russian Seasons" -- as well as in every other "abstract" Ratmansky ballet I've seen -- is a theatrically rich projection of a coherent community that gives the work the weight of drama even though it doesn't have a plot per se. Something is going on, and I think Ratmansky invites us to feel what it might be even if we can't isolate a storyline that can be put into words . Ditto "Namouna," where I think Ratmansky's ability to evoke a world and people it reached some kind of delicious, demented peak.
And Paul, I think you're really on to something in suggesting that "[Ratmansky's] work will benefit the most from dancers with a taste for the fantastic, even the preposterous."
Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:41 PM
Posted 23 December 2011 - 11:48 AM
Whelan has it --
I'm thinking also of Soto in Mercurial Manoeuvres. Wasn't the second movement created on him? With Whelan? (I've only seen Ringer.)
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