Jump to content

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Casting (and typecasting)

  • Please log in to reply
67 replies to this topic

#61 Alexandra


    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,301 posts

Posted 26 February 2000 - 11:14 AM

Jane, I'm all for your "casting backwards" idea! I remember Lesley Collier's Aurora. She literally whizzed through in Act I -- couldn't slow down to do the Rose Adagio. But was never a convincing Princess, for me. I don't think I'd classify Aurora as an allegro role, any more than Odette-Odile. I think you're right: it's both.

Leigh, I think allegro/adagio may be a 20th century American classification, as heroic/lyric is a 20th century Russian one. Both leave out things, as Andrei mentioned in his post explaining why you need the noble, the demicaractere and the grotesque above. But technically, the danseur/ses noble were the adagio genre, dancing the slow, measured rhythms (saraband, pavane) and the allegro was definitely the demicaractere genre (courante). Also, an adagio (noble) needs line. I'm quite certain that Vestris's famous instruction to Perrot ("Move fast so they don't ever get a good look at you") is NOT because he was ugly, as the history books usually interpret this, but because he had no line, and you have to have line to do adagio.

Perhaps Petipa's leading roles were a different way of merging the demicaractere and the noble genres? The women's roles all seem to have bits of both.

#62 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,468 posts

Posted 26 February 2000 - 03:23 PM

Yes, Jane's respsonse about Aurora shows that there's more to adagio and allegro than just adagio or allegro. The adagio in Act II, Swan Lake (for lack of a better word at the moment, lyric) takes a different quality entirely than the Act III adagio in Sleeping Beauty (I think "expansive" as Jane puts it suits it perfectly.) Adagio or allegro isn't a good label, because in my head the "allegro" dancer I would hypothetically cast as Aurora can do Act III - just not like Act II, Swan Lake.

I don't know if Petipa was attempting to merge genres or if his ballerina at the moment had both qualities and he fashioned whatever role he was making on her. Do you think the chicken or the egg came first here?

#63 Guest_Intuviel_*

  • Unregistered / Not Logged In

Posted 26 February 2000 - 04:49 PM

I know I'm jumping in late, but I thought this might be useful to Leigh. I read somewhere that although Pierina Legnani (the original Odette/Odile) could do lots of fouettes and promenade a la seconde with a filled wineglass on her heel, she wasn't a great actress, and was criticized for her lakeside scenes. Maybe Petipa put those quick entrechats quatre and retire releves in the Act II coda as compensation for Legnani's adagio~~to give the audience something to clap about.


#64 Victoria Leigh

Victoria Leigh

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 606 posts

Posted 26 February 2000 - 06:58 PM

What an interesting theory, Intuviel! Makes sense to me Posted Image

#65 Alexandra


    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,301 posts

Posted 26 February 2000 - 07:09 PM

Intuviel, I loved the wineglass story. I'd never heard that one. You've set a new challenge for dancers Posted Image

Leigh, is it possible that the roles have changed so much, through time and a hundred bodies, that we can't really answer your question? I'm sure there are individual differences, but I also think that the fourth genre was a blending of the old noble style, which was decapitated around 1789, and the demicaractere.

I suggest that whoever responds start a second thread, Emploi 2, because even with the new multi-pages, this is getting a bit long for older computers, I think.


#66 Guest_Intuviel_*

  • Unregistered / Not Logged In

Posted 27 February 2000 - 08:44 PM

For everyone's clicking convenience Posted Image, the Emploi 2 thread is right [url="http://"http://www.balletalert.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000334.html"]here[/url].


#67 fadedhour



  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:13 PM

I'm curious about how different companies approach casting.  For companies you follow, what's their general philosophy?


For instance..


Do dancers seem to be cast according to certain "types," or do they often dance a variety of different parts?

How often do lower-ranked members of the company dance lead roles?  And how often do principals dance minor (or at least non-lead) roles?

When a ballet is announced, are you usually able to guess which dancers will be cast in which parts?  Or do the casting choices surprise you?

Have there been times when you were particularly surprised by a piece of casting - and if so, was the dancer ultimately successful in the role or not?

Do dancers continue to play the same roles in certain ballets throughout their careers or do they take on different parts over time?

Do you prefer to see the same dancers regularly or do you like seeing different interpretations from dancers new to the role?


I'm curious about this subject, having noticed some creative casting (some successful, some not) recently, and having often thought (probably like most others here) "I bet so-and-so would be great in x role."


It's funny how you can develop a certain image of a dancer and their strengths, based on the roles you've seen them play, and then they'll get the chance to do something totally different and completely destroy your preconceptions.


I'm also curious how this looks from the backstage point of view, if anyone has any insight into that.  Does the choreographer, or whoever's staging the ballet, begin with a cast in mind, or try out different people, or do dancers put themselves forward for certain roles?

#68 kfw


    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,714 posts

Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:57 PM

Great questions, fadedhour. Thanks! We’ve discussed some of them here before, so in order to take advantage of that discussion, I’ve posted your questions here in this old thread.

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. (If it doesn't appear below, your computer's or browser's adblockers may have blocked display):