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Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour


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#331 danc1988

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:58 AM

Agreed on the Royal Ballet in that its patronage was different from the other houses.

So aside from that, what exactly are we still arguing about, i.e. which of the three assertions I made towards the end of my last post do you disagree with.

And no, not all evolution required patronage, but the "origins" did, is my point, it takes tremendous effort and imagination to invent a sophisticated dance form and codify words to describe the basic elements within the dance form (fouette', port de bras, grand jete', five positions, and so on). Influence/power also helps to make a particular form canon. Most of the earliest formal definitions I would presume came out Louis XIV's Academie Royale de Danse. It takes less effort to choreograph a new cohesive work once the basic elements have been codified and the musical score is available. It takes even less effort to imitate and re-interpret Swan Lake or Giselle. And it takes miniscule effort to do the Macarena. And so we have scores of kids wanting to become Miley Cyrus, fewer kids wanting to become the next Odette-Odile, even fewer kids wanting to become the next Petipa, and so on. Does our free-market economy or democratic government incentivize anyone who would even think to go down the road less traveled in the same way influential patrons did in the past, absolutely not. Free-market dictates that in the digital age the best and brightest, even those with tremendous artistic talent, go into technology, finance, etc., the former of which caters to the lowest common denominator (billions with smartphones, Facebook/Twitter/..., also contributing to increasingly sedentary unhealthy lifestyles) and the latter of which participates in "efficiently allocating capital to the most productive destinations" (i.e. mostly tech these days).

I saw this from personal experience when I graduated in 2009 from a "prestigious" college and a large majority of graduates irrespective of their majors or interests got shepherded into doing the same things after graduation under economic considerations. It's just a joke, really.

 

As for bringing up "household names" for the first time, I thought I was already clear when I had put "masterpiece" in quotes as meaning something that is not only widely known by the general public but also widely critically accepted as having high artistic merit, as opposed to being related to personal taste.

 

I am not arguing that the origins of ballet did not stem from court patronage.  The evolution of ballet in the 19th and 20th centuries did not require always require court patronage.  No one is arguing that classical arts are not less popular now than they were in the past.  The past, as far as the height of popularity of ballet (and other dance) in North America was the '70's, which was well into the latter half of the 20th century.   And the Royal Ballet existed as Sadler's Wells, a private company, for the first 25 years of its existence until it was granted the name "Royal Ballet" by Royal Charter.  Queen Elizabeth is the company's patron, but not remotely in the sense that the Medicis or Catherine the Great were patrons.

 

You are arguing "household names" as a criteria for the first time in your last post. It's rather difficult to follow an ever-moving argument. 



#332 danc1988

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:17 AM

And please tell me when I have derided hip hop. I can't say I respect all aspects/schools of it depending on its subject matter/content (twerking? we can agree to disagree), but there are most certainly very respectable elements in some hip-hop schools. But it's a fact that professional ballet dancers can and have been noted to transition into hip-hop but never vice versa which reflects the relative differences in complexity. Tap/jazz I never opined on except to say yes it is as complex as any other Renaissance art but hasn't as of yet had the lasting global impact the Renaissance arts have, the influence being restricted more to the states and pre-1980s. I will say I have no respect for Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, and the like, but that has nothing to do with hip-hop/tap/jazz.

 

And sure, a lot was privatized afterwards as you edited your post, but where does the initial impetus come from, unfortunately arts can rarely be separated from the politics of the time, before the Renaissance much art was dictated by the church, later on it was increasingly dictated by secular tastes among the wealthy and politically powerful and gradually the culture filtered out by osmosis into the general public, nowadays the tastes are dictated by the lowest common denominator (since we're all "equal", right?), and it shows in the ad-revenue driven media we consume today.

 

For all the merits of democracy and free markets and what these institutions have done for broad segments of people and their standards of living and acceptance in society, we must also be able to admit that it has many fallacies. We should not deride the very historical institutions that gave birth to the art form "ballet" that we all love on this forum. And it's a fact that the U.S. hasn't generated nearly as many globally known "household names" and artistic output as the European monarchies with all of its conflict over its past 300 years. And Europe has obviously also shifted to become more like the U.S. over the past 100 years.

 

I don't want this to devolve into straw man arguments -- from my perspective you seem to be unfairly and repeatedly reading my arguments differently than I intended them, so I propose we just let it go since we've both already made our points several different ways.



#333 yudi

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:58 PM

I just finished my 10 days of "Mad about Bolshoi" NYC trip. From July 19-27 I watched 3 S.W.s, 3 D.Q.s and 2 Spartacus. Although I can only describe very few ballet techniques and performance skills, I enjoyed all the shows so much, getting so excited that I failed to sleep some night during the trip.
I would like to post some of my impressions and thoughts, though immature, even ignorant, however, I have been benefited from your discussion all the time, I am hoping to get more educated.
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Here are some pictures I took during my Bolshoi week. To take the pictures in the David Koch Theater, I had to play guerrilla game with the service ladies, and not very successful.
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#334 Drew

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 05:33 PM

The pictures are great--I especially liked the one copied above. Would enjoy hearing your impressions of performances too...

#335 mimsyb

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:30 PM

Glad you enjoyed your Bolshoi marathon, but taking pictures during a performance is really a "no no".  I'm just saying......

#336 yudi

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:43 PM

Glad you enjoyed your Bolshoi marathon, but taking pictures during a performance is really a "no no".  I'm just saying......

 

I didn't take picture during any performance.

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#337 yudi

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:53 PM

The pictures are great--I especially liked the one copied above. Would enjoy hearing your impressions of performances too...

 

thanks.GIF

 

 

The three Swan Lakes: 
 
7/19/2014 2:00:00 PM
Anna Nikulina
Artem Ovcharenko 
 
7/19/2014 8:00:00 PM
Ekaterina Krysanova
David Hallberg 
 
7/20/2014 2:00:00 PM
Olga Smirnova
Semyon Chudin
 
Nikulina and Ovcharenko both young and tender, and in relatively petty sizes. On stage they looked like pure teenage Princess and Prince. In Act II , there was a scene that Odette and Siegfried were in the center, surrounded by 24 'bigger' swans which tutus ruffling synchronously. What a fairytale scene! 
 
I could not see the same visual effects in Smirnova and Chudin's S.W., because I was completely attracted by two of them, trying to figured out why some people say Smirnova is a ballet prodigy, and paid no attention to the corps simultaneously.
 
In Act II when Smirnova just came out to meet Chudin, I suddenly had delusion that they were dancing in the Diamonds. When Smirnova moved her head, neck, back, arms, bending her up body, she looked almost the same as in Diamonds. Moreover, Smirnova is a more sophisticated sad swan in S.W., other than a happy swan in Diamonds, she has more complex face expression for her Odette/Odile. Smirnova is a very beautiful and competent swan, though, she is not as virtuoso as Krysanova.
 
I found Smirnova is an intrinsic dancer, that I mean, when she dances, her body moves and  communicates with the music, but not audience. Probably, that is why some people think she is "cold". 
 
As I wrote earliear :
Krysanova was spectacular as Odette/Odile. Her fouette sequence with straight hight leg, multiples, wings/arms brandish, plus the straight traveling from the back to the front of the stage, all in breathtaking speed, made a very strong aggressive and forceful Odile. After her impressive fouette, the applause burst out like thunder.
 
I don;t know what was happening about Zakharova and Hallberg's S.W. during the opening night. Also, frankly speaking, I could not tell what is the chemistry between partners. When Hallberg danced with Krysanova, he was a very sweat, warm and careful Prince, he and Krysanova danced the PDD in act II very beautifully, very moving, which made me tearing and crying. Their S.W. is the best among S.W.s I saw in theaters ever.
 
Ok, for the boys. They were all very good. They all did light and high jeté, stable and beautiful Pirouettes, having handsome and graceful stage manner. Was there some difference? Chudin is more serious and earnest, Hallberg more natural and genuine, Ovcharenko more pure and boyish. 
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#338 Buddy

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 07:46 PM

Yudi, your picture of the young girls in front of the theater (#4) is so true to the ballet environment that I’ve experienced, whether it be NYC or Saint Petersburg. I love it.

 

I've been highly impressed for almost a half year by video clips of Olga Smirnova’s Diamonds, considering it her finest effort until NYC. I do have to say, having seen two Olga Smirnova NYC Swan Lakes, that I think she’s Grown Immensely since those Diamonds performances, especially as an Actrice-Expressionist ‘prima level ballerina.’

 

Please continue loving what you see, as you seem to, and don’t worry about how knowledgeable you should be or whether folks like myself agree with you. Your opinions are as worthwhile here as anyone’s.

 

 

(spelling correction made)



#339 yudi

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:11 PM

Yudi, your picture of the young girls in front of the theater (#4) is so true to the ballet environment that I’ve experienced, whether it be NYC or Saint Petersburg. I love it.

 

Thanks!  flowers.gif

 

 

About swan's arms.
 
Every time when I saw Krysanova dancing, either on stage or in YouTube, I would think of that Maya Plisetskaya had said: I have bigger hands, so I dance not only using my arms, but also my hands.
 
Krysanova has very beautiful arms and long hands. She dances with expressive and fluid arm and hand movements. 
 
When I watched Smirnova dancing in S.W. I also paid attention to her "swan arms". She certainly has different style of arm movements, pretty much like some of other Mariinsky swans, e.g., Lopatkina. But, her arms are too  boney, elbow joints are too big. Sometimes I feel very funny and uncomfortable to look at them that swan wings are not supposed to be so skeletal. I truely hope that ballerinas should not be getting too skinny. 
 
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#340 Mathilde K

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:53 PM

But, her arms are too  boney, elbow joints are too big. Sometimes I feel very funny and uncomfortable to look at them that swan wings are not supposed to be so skeletal. I truely hope that ballerinas should not be getting too skinny. 

 

 

That indeed is one of Smirnova's main problems and is going to be even a bigger problem for her in the future: her heavy bones and big joints are so distinct that they inevitably affect the purity of lines. This is particularly visible in the upper body (her arms, her neck) yet it also applies to her legs.



#341 Birdsall

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 04:49 AM

Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic. 



#342 California

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:13 AM

Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic.


I saw flashes going off around the theater at virtually every performance during the curtain calls. Down in the front of the orchestra during curtain calls, it seemed that at least a dozen people were taking pictures with smartphones, many with flash. Perhaps because there were so many, the ushers didn't try to intervene.

At one Swan Lake, a young girl (9, as she proudly told everybody) pulled out her iPad during the performance and started snapping pictures. I scowled at the mother and shook my head, to no avail. A retired teacher (I later learned) reached over and pulled it out of her hands, saying "no"! At the first intermission, an usher came to talk with the mother, who was incredibly rude about it. "She's only taking pictures!" Add this to the list of rude audience behavior.

I did see a lot of late arrivals being seated during the overture, but not later.

#343 kbarber

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:28 AM

Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic.


I was reprimanded quite severely (and rudely, I would say) by an usher at the Kennedy Center for taking a picture of my group sitting in the auditorium during an intermission! "Didn't you hear the announcement?" she snarled at me, and when I said "Oh sorry, I thought that meant not to take pictures of the performance", she snarled again "Didn't you hear the announcement? [you blithering idiot, implied]". Seriously, it's outrageous that people who pay good money for tickets are treated in this way.
The Sydney Opera House is also strict about no pix ever.

#344 Birdsall

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:52 AM

The ushers at David Koch and KC would probably faint and die if they worked at the Mariinsky. Tourists AND Russians alike are snapping pictures of the theatre like crazy before a performance, and quite a few DURING the performances (and even iPads held up), and many, many snap pics during curtain calls. 

 

Kbarber, it is bizarre they don't let people take a group pic during intermission with nothing happening on stage. Very strange. It is like they are stuck on a rule and not thinking logically anymore. The whole point of forbidding picture taking is so the performance is not interrupted or disrupted and everyone can enjoy the performance. What on earth is the reason for no pics before, after and during intermissions????? How does that hurt anyone????

 

The irony is that the places that are that strict are actually not very beautiful theaters, so it is like, "Fine, I won't take a pic of your ugly theatre!" LOL 



#345 yudi

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:58 AM

Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. 

 

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Actually, I saw iPhone-camera, DC flashing, ..., all over the theater from Orchestra to the Fourth Ring during the curtain calls after every show. 
 
Logically and lawfully, I don't see the reason not to allow the audiences to take pictures before and after the performances. Maybe, the costume designs are copyrighted?
 
The ushers at David Koch treat people differently. When I took the pictures after Krysanova & Hallberg's S.W., I tried different settings on my camera to get good results. Had few trying, an usher behind me told me FRIENDLY: no more. ... OK, I put my camera in my bag. 
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For Smirnova & Chudin's S.W., I observed that the usher lady standing nearby door looked very harsh and intolerant. I didn't bother to take my camera out at all. When I walked out the theater, I saw and heard that usher and a big man, tall and fat, yelling and fighting loudly for shooting during the curtain calls. 
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After the performance of Krysanova and Chudin's D.Q., I run to a location in the front so that no usher could reach me easily and I took quite few pictures. 
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