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Is the Tudor Repertory Dead?


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Poll: Is the Tudor Repertory Dead? (13 member(s) have cast votes)

Is the Tudor Repertory Dead?

  1. Yes, it is dead as a doornail. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. No, but it is on life support. (5 votes [38.46%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.46%

  3. No, it is just experiencing a temporary lull. (8 votes [61.54%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.54%

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#1 miliosr

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:36 AM

After reviewing various sources (including the Antony Tudor Trust site and the Dance Europe overview of 2012-13 performances in Europe), I noticed that companies are barely performing Tudor works this season. ABT is performing The Leaves Are Fading, the Ballet Am Rhein is performing Jardin aux Lilas and a pas de deux from The Leaves Are Fading, and New York Theatre Ballet is performing Little Improvisations. And that's it.

Update: Oklahoma City Ballet will be performing Jardin aux Lilas. (Hattip to Levi!)

Update: Sarasota Ballet will be performing Jardin aux Lilas. (Hattip to Birdsall!)

Update: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will be performing Jardin aux Lilas. (Hattip to kbarber!)


So, the question I would pose to Ballet Talkers is this: Is the Tudor Repertory dead???

(Feel free to share the reason(s) for your vote.)

#2 Natalia

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:01 AM

It seems that way, sadly. I was happy to see Soirees Musicales last May at the JKO School's graduation performance. Maybe the JKO School will resurrect another Tudor rarity this year? We can always count on NY Theatre Ballet to remember Tudor, too.

I wish that ABT or some other major troupe would resurrect Gala Performance. Imagine if ABT would perform it with, say, Osipova, Vishneva and Semenova as the three ballerinas (although only one of them could play 'the Russian')...or a mix the Americans and Russians, e.g., Vishneva, Murphy and Boylston?

Tudor and Arpino seem to be the most ignored choreographers-of-the-recent-past nowadays.

#3 Levi

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:09 AM

I am pleased to say that the Oklahoma City Ballet will be performing Anthony Tudor's Lilac Garden later this month.

Additionally, they performed Gerald Arpino's Light Rain last season.

#4 Birdsall

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

Sarasota Ballet is doing Lilac Garden this season. I think it is at the beginning of March.

#5 Helene

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:12 AM

One of the issues with Tudor is that he was so specific about his ballets, and if his intent isn't passed down, the way that phrases are connected and the dancers interact and tell the emotional story are lost.

I don't see the same technical issues in performing Tudor that I see in performing Ashton, whose ballets without the right technical virtues and training crumble more visibly. Dramatically, though, sometimes it's hard to see the Tudor.

#6 kbarber

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

Pittsburgh is doing Lilac Garden in March.

#7 California

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:32 PM

One of the issues with Tudor is that he was so specific about his ballets, and if his intent isn't passed down, the way that phrases are connected and the dancers interact and tell the emotional story are lost.


The Dance Notation Bureau received a major grant in 1981 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to notate Dim Lustre, Dark Elegies, Pillar of Fire, Undertow, and Jardin aux Lilas, complementing earlier work by Tudor already in notation. Tudor was actively involved in the project, preparing accompanying statements of his intentions for the works and other insights of value to scholars in reconstructing and analyzing the choreography. Tudor reportedly became convinced of the value of notation in 1961, when he and Muriel Topaz, later executive director of the Dance Notation Bureau, were both on the faculty of the Julliard School and four of his early works were notated. Many small companies around the company were able to restage his work without the considerable expense of bringing Tudor or one of his assistants to teach the choreography.

In spring 2010, Colorado Ballet presented his Echoing of Trumpets:
http://www.coloradob...t-news/3motions
The Tudor Trust, set up along the lines of the Balanchine Trust and the Robbins Trust, does list several recent and upcoming performances, although mainly in smaller companies:
http://www.antonytudor.org/index1.html

I wonder if a shortage of Tudor "disciples" to assist in reconstructing these works from the notation (as well as to promote his work) has something to do with it.

#8 Helene

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

While every great choreographer is more than the steps and the video, and it's important to capture the steps and patterns so that they're not lost, Tudor's sensibility can't be notated, and we lost one of the great stagers when Sallie Wilson died.

#9 miliosr

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:22 PM

The Tudor Trust, set up along the lines of the Balanchine Trust and the Robbins Trust, does list several recent and upcoming performances, although mainly in smaller companies:
http://www.antonytudor.org/index1.html

This board is doing a better job of listing upcoming performances of Tudor works than the Tudor Trust site is doing.

I wonder if a shortage of Tudor "disciples" to assist in reconstructing these works from the notation (as well as to promote his work) has something to do with it.

While every great choreographer is more than the steps and the video, and it's important to capture the steps and patterns so that they're not lost, Tudor's sensibility can't be notated, and we lost one of the great stagers when Sallie Wilson died.

One of the complaints I've read the most about the Tudor legacy is that the surviving stagers are staging them indifferently so that "Tudor's sensibility" is not coming through in performance with enough clarity. The great exception, of course, was Sallie Wilson but she, as Helene notes, is lost to us now.

#10 miliosr

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:27 PM

Here is an updated summary of Tudor performances in 2012-13:

Four companies will be performing Jardin aux Lilas a.k.a. Lilac Garden.

Two companies will be performing The Leaves Are Fading (in part or in full).

One company will be performing Little Improvisations.


That still seems like awfully thin gruel to me, especially when you consider how many stagings occur every year of works by Tudor's direct A-list contemporaries -- Ashton, Balanchine and Robbins.

#11 angelica

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:05 PM

This past week I saw a dress rehearsal of three of the pas de deux from The Leaves Are Fading, each with a different cast, and they were all beautiful. This took place at the ABT studios. If you can, try to catch the performances of Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes. Rapturous. Stylistically eloquent. I'm going to see Veronika Part and Roberto Bolle, whom I didn't see in rehearsal.

#12 Amy Reusch

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:43 PM

I'm not sure the technical groundwork is still there... Emphasis is subtlely elsewhere... Takes away from the choreography's voice if the technique doesn't flow as naturally as the motivation...

#13 bart

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:45 PM

I voted for "it's on life support," which doesn't mean that this can't be reversed.

Tudor performances seem to be dwindling down to (mostly) Lilac Garden and Leaves are Fading.

It happens, these are only Tudor works I've seen a number of times over the past decade. Leaves are Fading is a lovely work, set in no specific time or place, which appears to have fared best. When I saw it at ABT back in the 80s, it made me think of Fokine more than Tudor.

The Lilac Gardens I've seen in recent years have been weak tea for the most part. I'm afraid I have to agree with Helene:

I don't see the same technical issues in performing Tudor that I see in performing Ashton [ ... ] Dramatically, though, sometimes it's hard to see the Tudor.


Lilac Garden is remembered for its story, of course, but what grabs the audience is the style in which the story is told. I've heard it described as a tragedy of manners. Only two MCB dancers -- Deanna Seay and Callie Manning, each dancing The Woman in His Past -- conveyed the tension between social constraint and almost unbearable passion, and created a compelling Tudor character.

What about Pillar of Fire? Are there dancers today capable of doing justice to that?

#14 Helene

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:28 PM

I love "Pillar of Fire.". When I saw it on PBS as a kid, my parents weren't sure it was appropriate, especially when I was transfixed by it.

I've seen it live, too, and I cast it regularly in my head for PNB.

#15 Natalia

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:12 AM

I am pleased to say that the Oklahoma City Ballet will be performing Anthony Tudor's Lilac Garden later this month.

Additionally, they performed Gerald Arpino's Light Rain last season.


Speaking of Arpino, American Repertory Ballet Theatre of Princeton, NJ, is performing Viva Vivaldi! tomorrow night.

Back to Tudor, yes it's nice to see so many Lilac Gardens on the horizon. How about something rarer, such as Dim Lustre, Gala Performance or Echoing of Trumpets? Lilac and Leaves, and to a lesser extent, Dark Elegies, seem to be the 'Big Three Tudors' that come up but Tudor choreographed so much more, even of high quality, that is never performed today. Lilac and Leaves aren't on my 'Tudor Life Support' list...hardly rarities.

Pillar is a semi-rarity today but ABT revives it every now and then. It afforded Michele Wiles one of her greatest roles at ABT (Hagar), especially with Marcelo Gomes as the Man from House Opposite. ABT performed it at the Kennecy Center 3-4 yrs ago.


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