Jump to content


A brief curtseyin celebration of reaching one's tenth post


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:14 AM

Hello.

My name is Shirabyoshi; and I'll be your ignorant newbie this week.

When I was three or four years old I liked to prance about the garden in a sparkly pink tutu stitched just for me by the seamstresses of an Italian lingerie company; but when at five or six I was asked if I would like to take ballet lessons, it seemed as though it would be too much like hard work, so I declined. In retrospect this may not have been one of my most brilliant decisions.

Still, I was madly in love with the Royal Ballet performance I'd just seen on television, and I was madly in love with the photographs of Dame Margot Fonteyn in a battered secondhand copy of her autobiography I'd appropriated as my own, so the seeds were sown.

They began to flower on the 9th of this month, and have been pushing up roses and lilacs (Sleeping Beauty) and daisies (Giselle) and rustic wildflowers (La fille mal gardee) and exotic hothouse blooms (La Bayadère) ever since.

So far I like:

The English style, whatever that means today. The Ashton style, whatever that used to be. Dame Margot. Marianela Nuñez. Yuhui Choe. Zenaida Yanowsky. Marie-Agnès Gillot. Alicia Alonso. Petipa. Story ballets. Pomp and circumstance. Lyrical, fluently expressive port-de-bras. Will Tuckett and his Giant Clogs of Doom.

So far I'm fairly certain I don't like:

Banana feet. Hyper-extended knees. Windmill arms. Wayne MacGregor.

So far I know:

I love ballet.

So far I don't know:

Anything else.

I hope that all of you (well, let's be realistic, some of you) in this most delightful and civilised place will kindly consent to be my teachers. :)

#2 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:25 AM

(All right, yes, "brief" only by comparison with what I can produce when I REALLY get the bit between my teeth...)

#3 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:34 AM

Spitting out right up front what you DON'T like..! He,he...Posted Image Am I having competition for the "Most Opinionated" title...? Posted Image


So welcome aboard, dear..! [size=3]Posted Image[/size]

#4 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:57 AM

Spitting out right up front what you DON'T like..! He,he...Posted Image Am I having competition for the "Most Opinionated" title...? Posted Image


Well, I'm never going to argue with you about the greatness and historical significance of Madame Alonso; so why couldn't we co-operate, rather than compete? ;) Seriously, though, at this stage I have nothing to go on but my own highly subjective aesthetic opinions -- I thought I might as well be honest about them...

So welcome aboard, dear..! [size=3]Posted Image[/size]


Thank you!

#5 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,281 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

Welcome!!! I am a newbie too despite having seen many ballets through the years (I used to go just so I had seen Swan Lake or even Spartacus so I was ballet literate but had no idea whether what I was seeing was any good). It is only recently with the loss of my career that ballet has been a solace and I have become fanatical about it and so learning a lot in a short period.

The last 20 years I was actually an opera lover and many operas have short ballets in them and so that caused me to force myself to go to actual ballets throughout the years, b/c I wanted to have some knowledge, but I never really learned about ballet the way I did about opera. Opera was my crazy meds when my sister died. Now ballet is my crazy meds for not having a career anymore!

Anyway, I bring all that up so you know that many of us come to this art form with very different paths and I don't pretend to know anything but am having great fun learning a new art form that is so incredible.

Welcome!

#6 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,324 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:53 AM

At this point, just keep watching as much as you can see and reading as much as you can get your hands on. A standard history text might be useful ("Ballet and Modern Dance," either the one by Jack Anderson or the one by Susan Au) so you can get a sense of context and timeline, and fit what you're seeing into the overall development of the artform.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:29 PM

"Apollo's Angels" by Jennifer Homans...read that too.

#8 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:23 AM

Oh, gosh, I really am terrible at keeping up a conversation, aren't I? I'm sorry. In my defense, I've had rather a lot of things that needed to be watched, some of them multiple times, some of them multiple times in the same day...

Welcome!!! I am a newbie too despite having seen many ballets through the years (I used to go just so I had seen Swan Lake or even Spartacus so I was ballet literate but had no idea whether what I was seeing was any good). It is only recently with the loss of my career that ballet has been a solace and I have become fanatical about it and so learning a lot in a short period.


Let's hear it for escaping into a world of beauty and romance! Posted Image Sometimes it's all you can do, isn't it?

... I don't pretend to know anything but am having great fun learning a new art form that is so incredible.


And let's hear it for that too. It's surprising how quickly one can start to pick up things. I'm able already to return to recordings I first saw two weeks ago and get more pleasure out of them. Even just knowing which steps are more difficult and hence more impressive when executed with lightness and verve makes a difference.

#9 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:24 AM

At this point, just keep watching as much as you can see and reading as much as you can get your hands on.


Do you know, that's exactly the programme of study I've been following? Rather fun it is too.

Thank you for the welcome!

#10 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:24 AM

"Apollo's Angels" by Jennifer Homans...read that too.


Ordered! Thank you for the recommendation. :)

#11 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,281 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 12:30 PM

Oh, gosh, I really am terrible at keeping up a conversation, aren't I? I'm sorry. In my defense, I've had rather a lot of things that needed to be watched, some of them multiple times, some of them multiple times in the same day...


Welcome!!! I am a newbie too despite having seen many ballets through the years (I used to go just so I had seen Swan Lake or even Spartacus so I was ballet literate but had no idea whether what I was seeing was any good). It is only recently with the loss of my career that ballet has been a solace and I have become fanatical about it and so learning a lot in a short period.


Let's hear it for escaping into a world of beauty and romance! Posted Image Sometimes it's all you can do, isn't it?

... I don't pretend to know anything but am having great fun learning a new art form that is so incredible.


And let's hear it for that too. It's surprising how quickly one can start to pick up things. I'm able already to return to recordings I first saw two weeks ago and get more pleasure out of them. Even just knowing which steps are more difficult and hence more impressive when executed with lightness and verve makes a difference.




Yes, returning to the same ballet over and over and seeing different dancers dance the same ballet really teaches a lot. I was an opera lover for 20 years and never tired of seeing different singers interpret La Traviata or Norma or Rusalka, etc. Even movies are like this. You can re-watch the same movie over and over and see things you missed the first time.

#12 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 01:15 PM


Oh, gosh, I really am terrible at keeping up a conversation, aren't I? I'm sorry. In my defense, I've had rather a lot of things that needed to be watched, some of them multiple times, some of them multiple times in the same day...


Welcome!!! I am a newbie too despite having seen many ballets through the years (I used to go just so I had seen Swan Lake or even Spartacus so I was ballet literate but had no idea whether what I was seeing was any good). It is only recently with the loss of my career that ballet has been a solace and I have become fanatical about it and so learning a lot in a short period.


Let's hear it for escaping into a world of beauty and romance! Posted Image Sometimes it's all you can do, isn't it?

... I don't pretend to know anything but am having great fun learning a new art form that is so incredible.


And let's hear it for that too. It's surprising how quickly one can start to pick up things. I'm able already to return to recordings I first saw two weeks ago and get more pleasure out of them. Even just knowing which steps are more difficult and hence more impressive when executed with lightness and verve makes a difference.




Yes, returning to the same ballet over and over and seeing different dancers dance the same ballet really teaches a lot. I was an opera lover for 20 years and never tired of seeing different singers interpret La Traviata or Norma or Rusalka, etc. Even movies are like this. You can re-watch the same movie over and over and see things you missed the first time.


There's an interesting point to consider about watching a certain loved ballet over and over if at one point in our viewing history one feels like there was a definitive performer who gave all you wanted and expected. Usually it is at a live performance. The point being...what are we really looking after that...? Aren't we all internally comparing everything after-(or even before)-with that particular performance, usually thinking that it didn't come close to it...? atm711 made a remarkable comment on how she thought that she had seen the ultimate performance of the female leading of Diamonds by Farrell...until she came across Lopatkina's. Still, wasn't Lopatkina's being compared to THE performance..? And then...is it possible that a latter performance can surpass one that is deeply rooted down in memory lane due to many different reasons...?-(not only great technique, but many other sentimental things). There's a famous theory on drug addiction that makes an addict first hit as the very point of comparison for subsequent-(and never again achieved)-tries. I'm sorry if this is such a crude example, but the pathos is somehow related. In my case, I have ultimate performances-(probably some of them of in lesser levels of technique/artistry than subsequent ones)-that are so rooted that I',not afraid to confess they are almost impossible to surpass. I certainly enjoy ballet, and never get tired of watching, let's say, Giselle over and over and over, but that I reached a certain point extremely hard to be surpassed, that is also true.

#13 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,281 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 01:25 PM



Oh, gosh, I really am terrible at keeping up a conversation, aren't I? I'm sorry. In my defense, I've had rather a lot of things that needed to be watched, some of them multiple times, some of them multiple times in the same day...


Welcome!!! I am a newbie too despite having seen many ballets through the years (I used to go just so I had seen Swan Lake or even Spartacus so I was ballet literate but had no idea whether what I was seeing was any good). It is only recently with the loss of my career that ballet has been a solace and I have become fanatical about it and so learning a lot in a short period.


Let's hear it for escaping into a world of beauty and romance! Posted Image Sometimes it's all you can do, isn't it?

... I don't pretend to know anything but am having great fun learning a new art form that is so incredible.


And let's hear it for that too. It's surprising how quickly one can start to pick up things. I'm able already to return to recordings I first saw two weeks ago and get more pleasure out of them. Even just knowing which steps are more difficult and hence more impressive when executed with lightness and verve makes a difference.




Yes, returning to the same ballet over and over and seeing different dancers dance the same ballet really teaches a lot. I was an opera lover for 20 years and never tired of seeing different singers interpret La Traviata or Norma or Rusalka, etc. Even movies are like this. You can re-watch the same movie over and over and see things you missed the first time.


There's an interesting point to consider about watching a certain loved ballet over and over if at one point in our viewing history one feels like there was a definitive performer who gave all you wanted and expected. Usually it is at a live performance. The point being...what are we really looking after that...? Aren't we all internally comparing everything after-(or even before)-with that particular performance, usually thinking that it didn't come close to it...? atm711 made a remarkable comment on how she thought that she had seen the ultimate performance of the female leading of Diamonds by Farrell...until she came across Lopatkina's. Still, wasn't Lopatkina's being compared to THE performance..? And then...is it possible that a latter performance can surpass one that is deeply rooted down in memory lane due to many different reasons...?-(not only great technique, but many other sentimental things). There's a famous theory on drug addiction that makes an addict first hit as the very point of comparison for subsequent-(and never again achieved)-tries. I'm sorry if this is such a crude example, but the pathos is somehow related. In my case, I have ultimate performances-(probably some of them of in lesser levels of technique/artistry than subsequent ones)-that are so rooted that I',not afraid to confess they are almost impossible to surpass. I certainly enjoy ballet, and never get tired of watching, let's say, Giselle over and over and over, but that I reached a certain point extremely hard to be surpassed, that is also true.



I think you are absolutely correct.

For example, I love Bellini's Norma (opera), but nobody pleases me in the role. Many are "decent" in it. But when I watch it, I am looking for the dramatic intensity of Maria Callas, the excellent coloratura technique of Joan Sutherland, and Montserrat Caballe's pianissimi during Casta Diva. This is absolute madness to expect a soprano to have all of that plus other qualities that would make me feel like it is the Norma of a lifetime. But our viewing is not a rational thing. We want what we want in the roles that we love so much. So in some ways we are setting up new performers to fail in our minds. I know that my immediate thought when I hear some soprano is planning to take on the role of Norma is: "Who does she think she is????" or "Well, that is going to be a disaster!" instead of saying, "I hope she is good!"

But I think this is human nature. For me I am less jaded and more excited about ballet and I will try to keep it that way.

Occasionally, however, something surprises me. I have mentioned this before. I flew to SF to see SF's Ring Cycle in Summer 2011, and I experienced what I consider to be a Brünnhilde of a lifetime by Nina Stemme. I don't think I'll ever hear that role sung as well as she sang it. Brünnhildes do not grow on trees. It is a crying shame that the Met didn't hire her for its big flop of a Ring Cycle.

#14 AlbanyGirl

AlbanyGirl

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 231 posts

Posted 12 August 2012 - 11:49 AM

[size=4]
To Birdsall, responding to this comment: At this point, just keep watching as much as you can see and reading as much as you can get your hands on. A standard history text might be useful ("Ballet and Modern Dance," either the one by Jack Anderson or the one by Susan Au) so you can get a sense of context and timeline, and fit what you're seeing into the overall development of the artform. [/size]

[size=4]
I love Jack Anderson's book and would also suggest Grescovic's Ballet 101 (fun!) and the Cambridge Companion to Ballet. Also Apollo's Angels as previously suggested. [/size]

[size=4]
Dancers are like singers and musicians - each has his or her own particular qualities that make them special, that's why it's so exciting to see and hear different performers. I marvel at the subtle differences in each of these soprano's vocal qualities, for example. Elly Ameling, Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Kathleen Battle - each holds a very special place in my heart because I love, love, love the qualities of each singer's voice, but how different their voices sound from each other! [/size]


#15 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,281 posts

Posted 12 August 2012 - 12:09 PM

To Birdsall, responding to this comment: At this point, just keep watching as much as you can see and reading as much as you can get your hands on. A standard history text might be useful ("Ballet and Modern Dance," either the one by Jack Anderson or the one by Susan Au) so you can get a sense of context and timeline, and fit what you're seeing into the overall development of the artform.

I love Jack Anderson's book and would also suggest Grescovic's Ballet 101 (fun!) and the Cambridge Companion to Ballet. Also Apollo's Angels as previously suggested.

Dancers are like singers and musicians - each has his or her own particular qualities that make them special, that's why it's so exciting to see and hear different performers. I marvel at the subtle differences in each of these soprano's vocal qualities, for example. Elly Ameling, Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Kathleen Battle - each holds a very special place in my heart because I love, love, love the qualities of each singer's voice, but how different their voices sound from each other!




Yes, each is an incredible individual......I agree with that!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):