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Shostakovich Trilogy by Alexei Ratmansky


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#76 Jayne

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:51 PM

Even without notes, the theme and emotion of the dance are evident, but may not be captured on a single viewing. I think that if one listens to the music, one can understand the general themes of the ballet, and if one reads about the composer, one's understanding is enhanced. The backdrops permit even greater understanding.

this is also a good point about music in general - a first time listener won't hear everything that Shostakovich is trying to say / emote at the first go-round.

#77 Helene

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:10 PM

That can be literal and figurative in Ratmansky's case: he often has so much going on simultaneously, that it's hard to see everything at once "Don Quixote" was so beautifully layered -- the camera barely caught 25% of it -- that in the handful of times I saw it, I saw a new set of interactions in each performance. It's not a deep tale, and it helps that the story is familiar -- even so, when there was an important plot point, like Basilio pretending to be dead, it was front and center -- so that the audience fills in the blanks, perhaps some that weren't there.

I sometimes wonder if he's trying to show us the limits of being able to know/see everything. (Shostakovich is the perfect composer for this: out of necessity he made being inscrutable into an art form.) That he see's everything, though, is one of the wonders the dancers describe: in a stage rehearsal full of controlled chaos, they say he can see that the seventh person on the left behind three other dancers is standing at the wrong angle.

In a ballet with deeper content, or, especially historical/political content that's not familiar, and where we can't fill in from experience or knowledge, on the one hand, it can be harder to follow with so many layers, but, on the other hand, a choreographer like Ratmansky allows us to follow different angles and aspects. I wish I could have seen what I did see many more times.

#78 vipa

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:20 PM

Thanks for that, Sandi. i think of Tudor, and also of Massine, who certainly wanted to expand ballet. Ashton did that, too, in a different way, but there was more to his ballets than just the steps. (NOT saying that Balanchine is "just the steps," of course, just saying that the dramatic wing of ballet has been pretty quiet for awhile, and it's good to have it reborn.)


Alexandra I disagree that the dramatic wing of ballet has been quiet. Even within Balanchine - he started with Serenade and ended with Davidsbundlertanze both dramatic ballets that many if not most viewers assign a story to. He choreographed a lot of dramatic and story ballets in between. Christopher Wheeldon has also done dramatic ballets. My problem with the trilogy is that is seems very specific, but isn't clear about the references. Maybe repeated viewings are needed, unfortunately it didn't interest me enough to spend my limited ticket buying money that way.

#79 sandik

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:50 PM


... (NOT saying that Balanchine is "just the steps," of course, just saying that the dramatic wing of ballet has been pretty quiet for awhile, and it's good to have it reborn.)


Alexandra I disagree that the dramatic wing of ballet has been quiet. Even within Balanchine - he started with Serenade and ended with Davidsbundlertanze both dramatic ballets that many if not most viewers assign a story to. ...


Balanchine did make a number of works that revolved around a clear narrative, and others where he seemed to indicate a situation or a relationship, but I think the majority of his works put the kinetic patterning ahead of storytelling or character. Or perhaps it would be better to say that Balanchine lets the audience bring their stories to the work.

Alexandra -- your reference to Massine reminded me of a program I saw at the Joffrey a few years ago: Apollo (indeed, a Balanchine with a story!), The Green Table, and Les Présages. It was a thrilling evening, but I remember thinking at the time it was also pretty unusual.

#80 California

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:40 AM

ABT has a photo display of the backdrops and costumes for the Trilogy on their web site:

http://www.abt.org/g...?Gallery_ID=143

#81 sandik

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:52 AM

Oh, thank you for the link -- these are some astonishing images.


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