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Cubanmiamiboy, Paris, La Fille Mal Gardee. 07/13


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#31 Mashinka

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:20 AM

Perhaps Mathilde Froustey and Raveau look like a work in progress because they are unfamiliar as partners, certainly Frousty has been dancing the role for five years now and I've seen her as Lise with both Mathias Heymann and Emmanuel Thibault. She compares more than well with dancers at the Royal Ballet in the same role.

With Ashton's Cinderella I think it was a case of knowing his audience, it was premiered I believe in 1948 and at that time audiences would have been thoroughly steeped in the traditional English pantomime tradition (probably not the case today) so there would have been no question of creating the ugly sisters as anything other than pantomime dames as the audience wouldn't have accepted anything other than two men in drag. I was taken aback at my first view of the sisters on point - it was a real culture shock! The Russians do go in for the drag concept occasionally though with Nureyev choreographing the wicked stepmother for a man in his Cinderella and Vladimir Vasiliev in the same role in his version of the ballet was a sight to behold, a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my days, let’s just say there is camp and then there is Vasiliev.

Living in London, I can just get on the train and be in Paris in a couple of hours, it still exerts its spell on me and it will always be my favourite city, it doesn't matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to discover. Glad you liked the Chagall ceiling, I remember sharing a box once with two Danish girls who were celebrating one of their birthdays by going to a performance just to see that ceiling. The original is behind it though and I've always been curious about that one too. So glad to hear the three of you had such a wonderful time and I bet your first trip to Paris won't be your last.

#32 Birdsall

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 04:51 AM

Garza is great in that clip. This makes me sad. Orlando Ballet used to do all these classic story ballets. Now they only seem to do pop culture ballets....mainly mass appeal stuff. I wonder if mass appeal stuff like "Vampire's Ball" and "Hollywood en Pointe" really sells better than "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty."

I prefer the classics interspersed with some modern stuff, but not just modern mass appeal stuff. But maybe it is how they survive in this economy. I don't know.

#33 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 06:20 AM

So glad to hear the three of you had such a wonderful time and I bet your first trip to Paris won't be your last.


Oh, YOU BET, Miss Mashinka! Posted Image

#34 Birdsall

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:33 AM

Cristian,
Maybe if you view the two different La Fille Mal Gardee as totally different ballets you will like both. I view the Gorsky one that you showed me as basically stemming directly from Petipa's influence and so even though it was created later it is basically a 19th century ballet.
In contrast I view Ashton's as a 20th century ballet. The two works are two totally different works and can be enjoyed immensely in their own ways.
It is like the different movie versions of Wuthering Heights. More recent versions of Wuthering Heights have captured the more violent aspects of the novel much better than the famous Laurence Olivier/Merle Oberon movie. The first time I saw the Olivier/Oberon movie version I hated it, b/c it glamorizes the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. I felt it was all wrong. Too 1940ish Hollywood. But over time I have come to really enjoy the movie, and I like the new contemporary versions I have seen too even if they also get aspects of this wonderful novel wrong. The new versions are not afraid to show the more violent and unsavory aspects of the story.

Anyway, my point is that you can enjoy several different versions of the same story when you understand when and how they were created and how times changed. We re-make movies all the time, and sometimes they are good re-makes, sometimes they are not. Often they are simply different.

But the key to Ashton's is that it is a contemporary ballet, not trying to copy the previous versions.

#35 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:23 PM

But the key to Ashton's is that it is a contemporary ballet, not trying to copy the previous versions.


Just as with Duato's Beauty, Nureyev' Cinderella, Morris' Hard Nut, Bourne's SL or Ek's Giselle..? No...I'm not comparing Ashton's respectful recreation with all those, but damn if i can digest any of that...

#36 Helene

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:32 PM

I think what Birdsall is trying to say is that Ashton's version was of his time and had elements that were well-known theatrical , specifically comedic, traditions to his audience The core of the ballet was classical and well within the classical tradition -- he was an artistic child of Pavlova as well, and British ballet was influenced by Vera Volkova when she taught in London -- , unlike Ek, who did a contemporary dance version of a classic

#37 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:39 PM

I think what Birdsall is trying to say is that Ashton's version was of his time and had elements that were well-known theatrical , specifically comedic, traditions to his audience The core of the ballet was classical and well within the classical tradition -- he was an artistic child of Pavlova as well, and British ballet was influenced by Vera Volkova when she taught in London -- , unlike Ek, who did a contemporary dance version of a classic


Definitely Helene, which is why I know those others are completely different animals. Just mentioning them to note my strong impossibility to expand my ballet vision of some sorts...

#38 Birdsall

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:10 PM

I think what Birdsall is trying to say is that Ashton's version was of his time and had elements that were well-known theatrical , specifically comedic, traditions to his audience The core of the ballet was classical and well within the classical tradition -- he was an artistic child of Pavlova as well, and British ballet was influenced by Vera Volkova when she taught in London -- , unlike Ek, who did a contemporary dance version of a classic


Thanks, Helene! Yes, I didn't mean to say Ashton's recreation is comparable to Ek's Giselle. Although I have to say that I bought Ek's Giselle b/c it sounded so zany and weird (Giselle is crazy and in an asylum in Act 2 and Albrecht ends up totally nude). I thought it would be a good party dvd for a good laugh. And I actually found it sort of fascinating and enjoyed it as a modern ballet that is not really Giselle.

I understand Cristian's reluctance to want to see some modern dance. I prefer to see classical ballet, but I can enjoy modern things too. I think Ashton's La Fille has a charm all its own totally different from the wonderful Gorsky one that Cristian introduced me to. I like both for different reasons, but to each his own!

#39 Nanarina

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 12:15 PM

Ashtons La Fille mal Gardee is in essence an "English" ballet and as such features characters and a storyline that reflects this. The Clog dances, the pantomine dame, the bumbling village simpleton, and rich fat farmer. The maypole is an age old national dance used on village greens and with school children. The ribbon dances with the maypole actually also feature in the Russian ballet The Stone Flower, in the village scene. So it may be common to other countries as well.

Watching the clip of the two Lise variations I far prefer the Ashton one, as it seems to fit the character of Lise better in that version.
The other one is just a big show off of steps, with very little expression or portrayal of the person. The audiences in the UK love this ballet, not just the funny bits, but the whole thing. It was always completly sold out at The Opera House and on tour .And was rewarded by many curtain calls every time. It is still loved in it's original form today. as one of Sir Frederick Ashton's masterpieces.

I really love this ballet myself, having been there at the time it was created, by Sir Fred, I think the orchestration is really lovely and fits the storyline perfectly. From the amusing chickens dance to the final Pas de deux it is brilliant. Something you can take a child to see,or for an adult audience who can relax, and enjoy a bit of light hearted fun, albeit technically challenging.. I am so glad Paris Opera Ballet are dancing it, but whether they can achieve the overall character of it I do not know, as I have not as yet seen them dance it. So it is something to go into my plans for another trip to Paris.

#40 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:23 PM

Watching the clip of the two Lise variations I far prefer the Ashton one, as it seems to fit the character of Lise better in that version.
The other one is just a big show off of steps, with very little expression or portrayal of the person.


Petipa, Gorsky and Nijinska being guilty as charged for it..! Posted Image

I enjoy lightness for sure, and cute pantomime and maypoles-(many SL productions has them), but at one point of the soiree give me amazing, hard, solid ballet technique to go along with it-(just as with Giselle), so that dancers, both male and female, can be challenged in both, artistically and technically , ways for many more years to come. (Hi Mr. Petipa! Posted Image )

#41 Nanarina

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 02:38 PM

I too love and enjoy Petipa ballets in particular,, Niemerier(spelling),Sir. K. MM, Cranko, Vinogradov Lander, Lifar, Balanchine, Petit and others and feel there is technical quality in LFMG, albeit perhaps more simple? I just did not find the other Lise Solo, appealed to me, perhaps I am too used to the Royal Ballet production. I find the music is different as well.

#42 Alymer

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 03:22 PM

give me amazing, hard, solid ballet technique to go along with it-


Most dancers who perform the role of Ashton's Lise will tell you that it is very, very, hard and requires a really strong classical technique.

Let me add though that I doubt that Ashton would sanction the overplaying of the comic and travesty roles which one sees in his ballets today.

#43 Birdsall

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 06:47 PM

I too love and enjoy Petipa ballets in particular,, Niemerier(spelling),Sir. K. MM, Cranko, Vinogradov Lander, Lifar, Balanchine, Petit and others and feel there is technical quality in LFMG, albeit perhaps more simple? I just did not find the other Lise Solo, appealed to me, perhaps I am too used to the Royal Ballet production. I find the music is different as well.



The key to this is that we tend to not like a different version of what we have grown up with and know well.

This is why nobody is happy when a movie comes out based on his/her favorite novel. The story we have in our heads is vivid, and nobody can put it on screen the way we think it should be created. 95% of people watching a movie version of a novel are going to be very disappointed. The new version is always going to seem like sacrilege.

It all depends on what we knew first.

I have watched both Ashton's and Gorsky's versions recently and love them both for different reasons, but that is because I am not invested emotionally in one above the other (did not grow up seeing one that touched my soul). But someone who has grown up watching one or the other is going to think the one he did not grow up with is "wrong" (for lack of a better word). It makes sense.

People like what they know and aren't usually thrilled by new versions. I'm not saying that is good or bad. It is just human nature.

#44 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:05 PM

To explain my point in a little wider form. I remember bart's words stating that for him ballet is essentially what Balanchine did with it. I remember this very well because I realize that for each of us the art form conveys different messages and shapes, and different meanings too. In my case I always remember being in total agreement with a statement I read a while ago-(I think it was either by Danilova or Nureyev or even perhaps in "Apollo's Angels")- in which there's a description of the art form comparing it to the shape of a wedding cake. The way Petipa made his ballets, perfectly incorporating layers of character dancing, pantomimes, beautiful props and costumes, all in ascending order and all gravitating toward the pinnacle...the wedding couple figurines, fully displayed in all its glory...the Grand PDD. Hence, I always expect this shape in the ballets...everything making way, gravitating and announcing the greatest moment...the Grand PDD. That's why I got so confused when I saw versions of ballets in which such venerable structure was being dismembered-(Balanchine's Nutcracker for example), where poor Prince Coqueluche not only carries the previous loose of his name and title, but even is deprived of his variation, or even when I see versions of Swan Lake in which the Love duet is presented in different order to the one I'm used to from the Cuban/Mary Skeaping staging-(Adagio, an added variation for Siegfried to the Tempo di Valse music, Odette's Variation and the coda with Odette's series of passe/entrechats). In the case of Ashton's Fille, that was one of the main reasons it left me longing for Nijinska's: the fact that I'm used to the formal, Petipa/Drigo classical PDD that makes it go along and side by side to every single classical ballet we know. Can we imagine being presented with Giselle sans Petipa/Minkus adittions...one of them the famous Act II PDD...? I don't think so. Well...the same happened to me with this other Fille. After a lifelong viewing of a product that comes in straight line from Petipa and Petipa-style, I'm faced with a completely new, more modern product that doesn't fit in my "wedding cake" notion.

And that's the reason I could never come to terms with "Dances at a Gathering" ...

Ashtons La Fille mal Gardee is in essence an "English" ballet ...


And that could also be the problem...the fact that I essentially see "Fille Mal Gardee"-(Petipa/NijinskaHertel) as a French product with a Russian gloss...

#45 JMcN

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:19 AM

Whereas most British people see Fille as the quintessential English ballet, even though it is a French story!

In general, Ashton's choreography may look simple but is fiendishly difficult to do well. Fille, IMHO, contains some of the most sublime choreography ever created. Ashton also has the ability to make you really care about the characters he has created. When you see Fille done well, you come out of the theatre on a cloud of euphoria!

As my geographic knowledge of the US is atrocious, I don't know the feasibility of you going to see Sarasota Ballet. Looking at their latest season, Iain Webb is keeping the Ashton flame alive in the US. Given his and his wife's background I am sure the productions are impeccable.

I saw POB do Fille a couple of years ago and enjoyed them very much although, in places I thought they struggled with the fiendishly fast footwork for Colas and, indeed, some of the lifts we Brits take for granted (particularly in the Fanny Essler pdd). I am sure they have sorted that now.

Christian, please don't ever review Two Pigeons!!!


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