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Crystal Ballet


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#1 fadedhour

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:31 PM

I wasn't really sure where to put this topic, because they appear to be a company, and the dancers listed are all UK-based, but it's all done online - so mods, please move this if this isn't the right place for this discussion.

 

What does everyone else think about Crystal Ballet, as discussed in this article?  I think it sounds interesting and will probably download their first piece at least.  I've been reading about Muntagirov lately and would really like to see him dance, especially with Klimentová.  And I'm seeing Esteban Berlanga in Songs of a Wayfarer later this month, so I'd be curious to see him, too.

 

As for the idea of "digital ballet," I have mixed feelings about that - most of the time, when I'm watching a filmed ballet, it's to recapture a performance I've been to or to watch something I'm not able to see, and I accept watching it like this for its shortcomings.  I don't think it can compare most of the time with actually being there - though, as we've noted in the various threads on audience behavior, a great performance can be ruined if the stars don't align audience-wise (with atmosphere, the way the seats are set up, the way people are sitting, people's behavior &c.).  I do definitely feel that there are good and bad ways of filming ballet and am intrigued by their idea of creating and filming something that's never (well, for now, at least) going to be performed live.

 

Here's their web site, which includes a short trailer.



#2 pherank

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:45 PM

 

Here's their web site, which includes a short trailer.

 

Timely idea, I suppose. And if all the digital videos are made available in HD (like the trailer), then the experience would not be too bad. I almost want to insist on 3D cameras for this, since no one is going to see it live, ever.  ;)

 

"The US choreographer Susan Marshall has created elegant small-scale works to be viewed on mobile phones"

Watching dance on an iPhone or iPod is simply dumb though. OK, if you're at the airport, to kill time, but it is simply a bad visual experience - give the art and your brain a chance!

 

Tremendously ugly logo. Hurts me to see such things.



#3 fadedhour

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:52 PM

Yeah, the 'watching it on all platforms' thing didn't resonate with me - I wouldn't watch it on a mobile phone, I'd watch it on my computer, or on a TV via USB or what have you.  I agree that high-quality video is a must for this.

 

I don't like the logo, either.



#4 pherank

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:08 PM

Yeah, the 'watching it on all platforms' thing didn't resonate with me - I wouldn't watch it on a mobile phone, I'd watch it on my computer, or on a TV via USB or what have you.  I agree that high-quality video is a must for this.

 

I don't like the logo, either.

 

I have to think that these online Ballet "channels" are going to be a big part of the future of the art. All the large companies, with adequate budgets (if there is such a thing) should be exploring online performances - both live and archived versions. It's seemingly the only effective way to insinuate ballet into everyday life.



#5 dirac

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 12:18 PM

Thanks for starting the topic, fadedhour. Certainly ballet companies should be looking into different media platforms, but people looking online for content tend not to expect to pay for what they find, or pay very much. The Crystal Ballet is charging £15 for its debut ballet. Will there be paying customers, and if so, how many? It's not a huge amount of money, but will someone cough up to watch an original ballet on their phone?



#6 fadedhour

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:50 PM

I would guess something like this would depend on the strength of the dancers, the strength of the choreography, and the frequency of their output.  £15 sounds OK to me for this, depending on the length of the piece, which is not stated - I'm assuming it's neither 3 minutes long nor evening-length.  As for the frequency, if there's something every week then I'd probably be less likely to pay, whereas if it's less often but really well-done and special, then sure.

 

The whole idea of filming ballets is an interesting one.  There are certainly dancers who I'd buy any recording of, whatever it was and probably whatever it costs, and to some extent certain choreographers, too.  As for these dancers, I've seen some of them, but not all, so I can't really say yet.

 

What I would really love with regards to filming ballet is if companies did something like professionally film each ballet once and then do something like have an unobtrusive camera going during the rest of the performances.  Then, you could go and see the ballet and later purchase that specific performance, kind of like bands do with concerts sometimes, and if you really liked it you could buy the proper film.  And you could buy other performances if you really liked it.  

 

I don't know, though, maybe that would ruin some memories if you noticed mistakes you hadn't seen before or something.  Or it would inevitably not live up to the live performance.

 

This is all borne out of the frustration of going to see a ballet, loving it, being devastated that no films of it exist, and then spending ages searching down 10-second clips to try to salvage something of it.

 

Anyway, as for this company.. I think the choreography will make or break it.



#7 sandik

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 11:54 AM

Choreographers have been making works for the camera since there were cameras to make them for -- some of Edison's first experiments in motion pictures used dancers from the Broadway theaters just across the river from his New Jersey lab.  And before that, Melies included dance in their early films, incorporating cinematic 'tricks' to create a work that was not really possible in real time/space.  And that, I think, is the key to what could be happening here. 

 

Without getting too anal retentive about labels, there are a wide variety of films or videos that use dance as their material.  A dance film made specifically for the screen is not the same as a documentary recording, a "live from (venue name here)" broadcast, or even an altered-for-television program (like Dance in America).  I can't really tell from the website what they're going to be presenting, but it certainly doesn't seem like they're hoping to transfer a stage experience onto a screen. 

 

Most of the "made for the screen" work I've seen uses contemporary dance rather than ballet, but there have been some notable exceptions, like Norman Maclaren's work for the Film Board of Canada and "In a Rehearsal Room" with Cynthia Gregory.

 

With a project like this, it depends on the director and editor as much as the choreographer and performers.  I don't know enough about this crew to speculate, but I think there will indeed be an audience for the work, and over time, we'll see much more of it.




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