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Dancers/Performances that hold up over time


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39 replies to this topic

#16 Kerry1968

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:19 PM

I love when contemporary dancers are asked in interviews to name their influences etc. Usually, they'll mention dancers from the immediately preceding generation. For a seasoned principal today, that might mean Sylvie Guillem or Nina Ananiashvili. But occasionally, a young dancer (for instance, Maria Kochetkova) will name someone she can't possibly have seen on stage (for instance, Maximova), and those are the ones that really register in my brain as being sort of timeless.

#17 canbelto

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:51 PM

This definitely holds up over time. Soloviev's entrechats, Komleva's speed and precision, both just breathtaking.



In terms of elevation, height, speed, and dynamic dancing, Plisetskaya's Kitri:



And this is still the most moving rendition I've ever seen:



#18 MakarovaFan

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

Maximova is a dancer who has stood the test of time.


Indeed, Maximova does stand the test of time. And so does her husband, Vladimir Vasiliev. Technically, he was a dancer from another planet. Just watch his Basil, Spartacus and Mejnun for proof of that. But he was also an exceptionally gifted artist. Very musical, great stage presence, marvelous partner and lived his roles. A truly timeless dancer.

#19 duffster

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:19 PM

I agree totally Makarova Fan with you about Maximova and Vasiliev. As a very young ballet student my mother took me to see them both performing Don Q . It was a performance that today I can still remember. The highlight for me was the pas de deux and coda- Maximova with her charm and brillance and Vasiliev with his astounding elevation and stage presence. The audience was so impressed that the performance stopped for about 5 minutes, giving them a standing ovation after the coda. I don't believe we had ever seen dancing of that standard before. I think that day I made up my mind to become a professional dancer. I feel very fortunate to have seen them both perform live- to see them on video( and lucky for us to have them) does not compare with what I saw that day in the theatre.

#20 canbelto

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:00 PM

I think if anyone attempted this Spessivtseva solo the way Alonso did in this video it'd certainly be applauded to the rafters:



As for ballet that does NOT hold up well, I think all those dram-ballet films made in the 1950's by the Soviets look funny today. All that melodramatic stomping, the poor turnout, the exaggerated acting, the hammer-and-sickel storylines ...

#21 leonid17

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:52 AM

I think if anyone attempted this Spessivtseva solo the way Alonso did in this video it'd certainly be applauded to the rafters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMyYsjm278Y

As for ballet that does NOT hold up well, I think all those dram-ballet films made in the 1950's by the Soviets look funny today. All that melodramatic stomping, the poor turnout, the exaggerated acting, the hammer-and-sickel storylines ...


[size=4][font=Verdana]I concur with your view on Alicia Alonso, however I think there are lots of events where we have to adjust our appreciation and make a journey towards experiencing other dancer’s realities and particularly their historical context. [/font]

[font=Verdana]I am always happy to take a broad view of many things that touch on the arts, as I find that if I adopt the narrow view, I am liable to miss and experience what others have readily found.[/font]

[font=Verdana]For some, I would think the only way to approach the 1950’s Soviet films is to adapt ones critical faculties to contextualise the genre in the manner that we would when approaching a early silent movie or seeing a Noh Drama for the first time. That is to say to measure it by its own standards.[/font]

[font=Verdana]The emergence of dram ballet and your perceived exaggeration of the acting contained in the films of this genre, can be approached in crossing the divide by relaxing ones held opinions of how ballet should be presented and to consider how other cultures chose at a point in history, to present their style of ballet for a particular audience. Being different to my mind makes it neither right or wrong.[/font][/size]

[size=4][font=Verdana]The films in question were made to reach audiences that were outside the sophistication of a high cultural elite and of course politics was always the bottom line in the reality that was the USSR.[/font]

[font=Verdana]I particularly admire “The Fountains of Bakhchiserai,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Flames of Paris” and the sincerity and power of the performances are to my mind remarkable in any context.[/font]

[font=Verdana]I have sat in cinemas and in homes of seriously knowledgeable ballet friends watching such films for the first time and we were enthralled by the ability of the dancers to capture both the romanticism and the drama in such a vibrant full blooded manner, that their performances become thrilling.[/font]

[font=Verdana]Turn out is a product of mechanics and if a turned in line was expressive, I would not be too concerned. After all in dram ballets, we are not dealing with Petipa classicism.[/font][/size]

#22 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:26 AM

I remember being in the Ballet Shop years ago at the same time as a pair of very young ballet students, who were looking at a poster of Maya Plisetskaya in Swan Lake and laughing at it, and the little devil on one of my shoulders kicked in - I said to them "Just think, someday if you're lucky, someone will be laughing at you."

I know the larger point isn't addressed in that little story, but I have to admit everyone in the shop but the two girls was hysterical. Posted Image

#23 GianninaM

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:06 AM

And just think ... we're still laughing at it!! (Well, I am.)

Giannina

#24 Mashinka

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

Two long a list in my case, beginning with Markova there a a lot I have vivid memories of. However too many of those dancing today have no chance of their performances holding up over time.

#25 diane

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 02:20 AM

Just wanted to thank all of you for putting up your examples and explaining your points of view. :)
It has been very educational for me, and I am so sorry that I never got to see many of these performers live. It is so wonderful that we have the opportunity to have a tiny glimpse of what it must have been like through the snippets of film and video and of course the written memories.

I was lucky enough to have seen Nureyev and Fonteyn when I was a child/young teen, even being allowed to go backstage and meet them once (due to my father having once "known" Nureyev) and I was absolutely enthralled! What magic!

Leonid, I like your comments on the cultural and historical context when viewing these bits of performances; and of course so much is also a matter of "taste". :)
When I choreograph/direct for youths (not all ballet students, and most have never seen a dance peformance) I also tend to be quite dramatic in a rather "overdone" sense, as that is what the "non-initiated" to the art will likely understand and even be moved by.
It is perhaps as with very young babies; they must be exposed to light in order for their eyes to react and recognise light - same goes for sounds and soon after the different tones and inflections, making it easier or more difficult for the person to learn languages /dialects, etc. later.
(just musing here... ;) )

-d-

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:11 AM

I think the ultimate prove that some dancer's careers-(rather than what we perceive as "proper technique" based on current aesthetics, which are continuously subjected to all types of trends)-are still holding over time is how they are kept in such vivid form in writing, video and, most importat, in collective memory. The list, if one looks at it from that point, gets extremely narrow...

#27 Paul Parish

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

Thanks, Christian, for making the case so clearly -- esp about Struchkova --and also about hte neeed to keep Kitri different, essentially different, from Raymonda and all the rest of those girls who do lots of passes..... its in the asdverbs, thespeed,elan, attack, and posture. Kitri and Paquita, for example, are both Spanish girls, but they're VERY different and should not take the same pose the same way.....

#28 aurora

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:14 PM

Thanks, Christian, for making the case so clearly -- esp about Struchkova --and also about hte neeed to keep Kitri different, essentially different, from Raymonda and all the rest of those girls who do lots of passes..... its in the asdverbs, thespeed,elan, attack, and posture. Kitri and Paquita, for example, are both Spanish girls, but they're VERY different and should not take the same pose the same way.....


I really thought pointed feet in passe was pretty standard to ballet. I guess I was wrong (as were all my teachers at the Joffrey and SAB)

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:59 AM


Thanks, Christian, for making the case so clearly -- esp about Struchkova --and also about hte neeed to keep Kitri different, essentially different, from Raymonda and all the rest of those girls who do lots of passes..... its in the asdverbs, thespeed,elan, attack, and posture. Kitri and Paquita, for example, are both Spanish girls, but they're VERY different and should not take the same pose the same way.....


I really thought pointed feet in passe was pretty standard to ballet. I guess I was wrong (as were all my teachers at the Joffrey and SAB)


Definitely NOT wrong...(and please, allow me to take the liberty to say so, even if I know nothing about what life in a ballet studio is and feels like). Yes, it is standard to ballet technique, but not enough to make a female ballet dancer a ballerina...

#30 aurora

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:03 AM



Thanks, Christian, for making the case so clearly -- esp about Struchkova --and also about hte neeed to keep Kitri different, essentially different, from Raymonda and all the rest of those girls who do lots of passes..... its in the asdverbs, thespeed,elan, attack, and posture. Kitri and Paquita, for example, are both Spanish girls, but they're VERY different and should not take the same pose the same way.....


I really thought pointed feet in passe was pretty standard to ballet. I guess I was wrong (as were all my teachers at the Joffrey and SAB)


Definitely NOT wrong...(and please, allow me to take the liberty to say so, even if I know nothing about what life in a ballet studio is and feels like). Yes, it is standard to ballet technique, but not enough to make a female ballet dancer a ballerina...


I never said it did.

I am in favor of artistry, and I do like many older dancers, including your darling Alonso.
I'm also not opposed to taking some liberties and believe in some personal expression. But when that expression makes your technique so blurred that it is completely beyond correct technique as in that clip (i was taken to task before for basing my opinion on a single clip, but that was being discussed, that clip as the quintessential version of this variation), I'm sorry but it looks bad to me.

I have absorbed what i guess are modern aesthetics enough that to me its just aesthetically displeasing. But really I don't think that is the issue because I *never* have an issue with Alonso's technique, for example.

If you lose all ability to do it properly just to do it that fast, you shouldn't be doing it that fast in my opinion. It doesn't have to be so slow that each passe is exact and sustained, there is something that is neither sloppy nor slow and boring or however you characterized the "modern way" (though watching say Osipova do it, I don't think that would be a fair assessment of her approach)

I much prefer Maximova in the second half of this clip:




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