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Shostakovich Trilogy by Alexei Ratmansky


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#46 aurora

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:03 PM

Another factor is will these Ratmansky ballets have a life? Balanchine had a school and company as a laboratory. I'm not saying that Ratmansky is another Balanchine (he isn't) but will his works really live on? Will we be seeing his Firebird again any time soon? Will this trilogy have a life in ABT? It is doubtful. ABT is about the full length story ballets with guest artists and some rep thrown in here and there. The works he did at NYCB have a chance of staying in the rep more than the one's he's done at ABT.


While it was very limited run, I believe the very full house (especially considering this is a triple bill, which don't normally sell well at the Met) suggests that yes, it will, or should, have a life at ABT.

#47 Jayne

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:50 PM

(Ratmansky) work resembles the dramatic roots of Ballet Theatre, certainly more so than the classics (which can be tragic for other reasons).

Quote of the day.

#48 Ilya

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:57 PM

[size=4]

[/size]
[size=4]I actually know a lot of people who were happy and thrived in the USSR. Not everybody lived in a Gulag or worried about bugged walls...especially if there were no secrets to hide. Geez, Louise.

[/size]
[size=4]This is an astonishingly offensive remark. Many people DID live and die in a Gulag. Many millions. And most of those people WERE innocent, with no secrets to hide.[/size]

#49 Jayne

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:08 PM

Another factor is will these Ratmansky ballets have a life?

Yes, I think so, because so many other companies will gladly perform these 3 works - separately or as a trilogy. I can probably rattle off an alphabet soup list of companies all over the world that would happily rent ABT's sets and costumes, and have him come and set the trilogy. And it would sell well in London, Sydney, Berlin, etc.

Also, when Kevin McKenzie retires (he turns 60 next year) then I think Mr. Ratmansky is his likely successor. Alternatively if Mr Ratmansky doesn't want the post, I think the board will hire a new AD will continue to support more Ratmansky choreography. But perhaps that speculation is meant for another thread at another time.

At any rate, Natalia has been very clear in her reviews that she dislikes many of the artistic choices (sets, costumes and choreography) for Mr. Ratmansky's newer works. This is no surprise to any of the BA regulars. Fortunately for her pocketbook, she can rely on all of the BalletAlert reviews to "alert" her to programs that she probably won't enjoy (especially at ABT ticket prices!) Plus, she gets to see many of the visiting companies in DC - so she is not locked in to just seeing Ratmansky programs.

I disagree that Natalia's comments are necessarily offensive - she is describing a personal experience. I had a good experience as a kid in the 1980's, but other people were living in gang wars in East Compton LA. Both experiences are legitimate.

I also know people who didn't like "Rent" because they didn't pay $150 to experience a guilt trip about homelessness, disease and woe-is-me. They would have been happier at a revival of "Oklahoma". (cue the clip from Team America with the parody "Lease")

#50 Marga

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:25 PM

This is an astonishingly offensive remark. Many people DID live and die in a Gulag. Many millions. And most of those people WERE innocent, with no secrets to hide.


I agree with you, Ilya. Those of us who lost family members and whose parents lost friends and acquaintances cannot reconcile communism in any way with being happy. Of course, people rise above the circumstances of their lives in order to have a life. There is laughter and joking (often ironic jokes and clever anecdotes about the captors in order to make the captivity more livable). But the feeling deep within the heart is profound sadness.

#51 Helene

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:28 PM

I disagree that Natalia's comments are necessarily offensive - she is describing a personal experience. I had a good experience as a kid in the 1980's, but other people were living in gang wars in East Compton LA. Both experiences are legitimate.

You may not have read the original post which was quoted:


I actually know a lot of people who were happy and thrived in the USSR. Not everybody lived in a Gulag or worried about bugged walls...especially if there were no secrets to hide. Geez, Louise.


This is an astonishingly offensive remark. Many people DID live and die in a Gulag. Many millions. And most of those people WERE innocent, with no secrets to hide.


The original quote could be read to imply that if there were no secrets, there was no need to worry, and only the guilty need worry, which is, of course, belied by the fate of millions, but I read it as saying it didn't occur to Natalia's relatives to worry because they didn't have anything to hide and nothing in their experience made them feel threatened. That was serendipitous for them.

There were many people who emigrated elsewhere from the Soviet Union, and while they didn't necessarily want to return, they had a better appreciation of the trade-offs they made when they found some social safety net functions -- for example, the amount of arts television -- were no longer a given.

It would be offensive to assume that everyone had the same experience in the Soviet Union, and that the only people who were happy were connected and/or in charge. Again, Ratmansky isn't making that claim.

#52 canbelto

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:13 AM

I'd make the argument that ABT will never be a high quality company as long as it eschews new choreography and dances watered down, shortened versions of the "classics." The Ratmansky trilogy was a step in the right direction.

#53 Natalia

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:32 AM

Go see Ma Cong's positive and bright 'take' on a gloomy subject, Ershter Vals. Hope and positiveness beat gloom and doom, even in the toughest of circumstances.

Different strokes for different folks. Posted Image

That said, as mentioned above -- but conveniently clipped by 'quoters' -- I look forward to the opportunity of seeing the two newest Ratmansky works in the Trilogy. I'll be sure to walk-in during the 1st intermission.

#54 canbelto

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:34 AM

Speaking of gloom and doom I would love a ballet based on Battleship Potemkin.

#55 Natalia

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:36 AM

Speaking of gloom and doom I would love a ballet based on Battleship Potemkin.


There was a good one by Oleg Vinogradov a few years ago ('86/87), although it received mixed reviews on tours.

#56 puppytreats

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:03 AM

How does one "rise above" not being able to practice his religion, or express his identity?
How does one "rise above" having his property and livelihood being taken away?
How does one "rise above" being accused of crimes one did not commit?
How does one "rise above" the deaths of 20 million?
How does one "rise above' the criminalization of things that have nothing to do with safety or the government's interest?
How does one "rise above" the abuse of power?
Who does not have "secrets" or anything to hide? Even your parents hid things from you that you were not able to understand or had no right to know.
Maybe one is hiding an innocent, or refuses to participate in victimizing an innocent, and therefore "has secrets to hide" and becomes a transgressor of unjust laws.
Why should someone who experienced, observed, or wants to describe such things be accused of ignoring the positive aspects of a society? One does not cancel out the other.
I am not saying anyone has to attend a ballet or play or read a book describing painful situations and raising difficult questions.
At the same time, even though "Corsaire" is considered light, I think the subject matter - slavery - is a heavy matter.

#57 Helene

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:26 AM

Marga clearly described how people can rise above many tragic circumstances, and her family experienced this directly. Billions of people survive in camps, under military dictatorships and other oppressive regimes, in ecological disaster zones, in war zones, and through plagues, and they all don't commit mass suicide in despair. That doesn't dismiss the trauma they experienced or those who never recovered: different people have different experiences. One of the most consistent things I've read about Soviet life or life under Soviet rule is how getting around the table for long nights of eating, drinking, and conversation with friends was especially nuturing.

The Russian Orthodox Church is extemely powerful in Russia today, taking very conservative political stances, despite having been targeted during Soviet times. It certainly rose above its circumstances.

"Secrets" in this case are specific to an action or ideology that would get people arrested, killed, sent to camps, etc. As history has shown, the same things happened to people who were ideologically pure, but the official propaganda said otherwise.

A secret in this context would be one described in the book "Holy Days," how in Soviet Russia a few secretly practicing Jewish families hoarded small amounts of building supplies for years to eventually built a collective mikvah in one apartment building, complete with a halachically required constantly renewing water source, diverted from the buildings pipes. They acknowledged their lives were at risk, but that's how they rose against their circumstances.

#58 puppytreats

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:43 AM

I interpreted the demand to "rise above" artistic expressions about oppression, in light of the (unequally) positive experiences of some, to mean "get over it" and "don't complain" or raise the issue.

To endure or physically survive does not equate with "rising above" torture, abuse, or imprisonment.

#59 Helene

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:08 AM

That said, as mentioned above -- but conveniently clipped by 'quoters' -- I look forward to the opportunity of seeing the two newest Ratmansky works in the Trilogy. I'll be sure to walk-in during the 1st intermission.

The "quoters" were addressing a different point. One risk with editing posts is that the original post can be quoted before it is changed, and other posters aren't obligated to return to the original to look for additional info or context.

You might want to read Michael Popkin's detailed descriptions of the other ballets in Back in the USSR for danceviewtimes before you make any assumptions about the other two ballets.

I interpreted the demand to "rise above" artistic expressions about oppression, in light of the (unequally) positive experiences of some, to mean "get over it" and "don't complain" or raise the issue.

I think it's silly to ask an artist to do any such thing.

To endure or physically survive does not equate with "rising above" torture, abuse, or imprisonment.

That people survive unspeakable horrors physically and psychologically doesn't make the horrors any less heinous.

#60 kfw

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:25 AM

Hope and positiveness beat gloom and doom, even in the toughest of circumstances.


"Gloom and doom" trivializes the matter, as someone were taking an unnecessarily poor attitude. Shostakovich lived through great personal and national tragedy, and his music reflects it, and by all reports Ratmansky's choreography reflects both.

Different strokes for different folks. Posted Image


Yes, historical realism for Ratmansky.


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