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ShakespeareThe Dream and the Tempest


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#31 sandik

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:51 PM

 

When I see Ratmansky's ballets I feel that ballet is alive as an art profoundly in touch with its past, while still offering new creative visions to the future. Would it be great if we had a list of more "slam dunk" Ratmansky ballets done specifically for ABT--well, sure. And he seems to maintain a superhuman schedule of staging and choreography around the world that occasionally makes one wonder if he does not 'spread himself too thin.' Let's just say he appears very driven, and I for one am delighted he is working with ABT on a regular basis. It gives them a calling card as a serious artistic enterprise that they would otherwise, in my opinion, be decidedly lacking.

 

The Tempest? Let's say I'm wrong and it's simply an unsalvageable disaster. At any rate it's not "meh" (a word that is one of the internet's best contributions to critical vocabulary)--it's trying to do something serious.

 

 

You've put your finger on something substantial here - Ratmansky does seem to both honor the past and look towards the future, and does both using ballet as his material, rather than hybridizing the art form with other dance traditions.  From what I've seen and heard, he's learning from his experiences, challenging himself and his dancers by taking them and the work seriously.  You take chances, you make a lot of stuff -- not all of it will be unalloyed successes.  But in the long run, it's good for the artist and it's good for the art form.



#32 nanushka

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 05:00 AM

I agree with Drew and sandik, and I, for one, actually really loved The Tempest.  I thought it captured perfectly the tone of Shakespearean "romance."  I can see how, without a detailed knowledge of the play, one would feel lost in the narrative, and I think that's a fault.  But having that knowledge, I could see what Ratmansky meant in aiming to create "at once a fragmented narrative as well as a meditation."  Evocations of narrative moments from the play were simultaneously precise and subtle -- the ballet seemed basically a collection of such moments conveyed in distilled essence.  This was in keeping with the form of the music: incidental music written to accompany key moments from the play in actual performance.  I found the music to be quite beautiful.  I agree that it doesn't sound as if it lends itself well to dance, but I felt that Ratmansky found inventive ways of drawing "danceability" out of it.  He created a vast range of characters and styles of movement, for a story that has distinct yet overlapping clusters of characters.  Caliban in this version does not strike one as a conventionally impressive dance role -- I can see why people were disappointed seeing Cornejo in this part -- and yet the challenges of movement and character were, I think, just as great.  Caliban is earth-bound, unlike Ariel, and so his range and style of movement needs to reflect that.  (And I'd like to imagine that Cornejo appreciated the challenge of a very different sort of part from the one in which he's usually cast, or even type-cast.  Whiteside, too, made much of this role in Monday's performance.)

 

The one part that really didn't work for me was the long portion about 2/3 through when the island spirits are tormenting the shipwrecked nobles.  In general, I found the corps spirits to be the least inspired roles in the piece.

 

But otherwise, I was quite enchanted by the work.  I'm sad that I possibly won't get a chance to see it again, given the general reception it's received.



#33 Roberto Dini

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:33 PM

 

Obviously Herman as Puck stole the show - partly that is the nature of the role, and partly it is because Herman is one of the most spectacular dancers ever, anywhere.


I want to say that I watched The Dream DVD tonight (Tuesday) and Puck is NOT supposed to overshadow Oberon as Herman did to Cory last night. When Stiefel was Oberon, he was commanding and virtuosic and Herman was considerable toned down compared to him (and last night's performance). (I also saw them live, the night ABT premiered The Dream in 2002) I just think Cory (maybe even David) is not up to doing what the role of Oberon needs in terms of both acting and dancing.

 

Are you speaking of casting or performance?  It probably has to do with comfort with returning to a role the he has danced before, but Herman has only grown in the role.  I would never want him to tone down his performance so that someone else might not be overshadowed.  Whether one performer outshines another has more to do with the totality of the production.  There are so many variables, beginning with the casting, that help decide who might dominate a performance.  Who hasn't seen a performance where a supporting player outshines the lead?  That's why they say never to fight over the order of bows.  The audience always decides whom they like best.



#34 Roberto Dini

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:50 PM

Alexei Ratmanksy’s ‘The Tempest’, however is a ballet I hope never to see again. Wednesday’s matinee is my second viewing of the piece and it still makes little sense. Ratmansky’s ‘The Tempest’ is a waste of a lot of dance talent. Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Sarah Land and Joseph Gorak all dance very well, but I see no point to any of their steps and movements. The music, by Jean Sibelius, is atonal. My only thought throughout the whole ballet is the hope that it will end soon. Obviously not every great work of literature can be made into a ballet.

 

A point of clarification:  Jean Sibelius wrote tonal music.  There's a discussion of his style here; https://en.wikipedia...us#Musical_style

 

"Despite the innovations of the Second Viennese School, he continued to write in a strictly tonal idiom." https://en.wikipedia...elius#Reception

 

I was disappointed when I first saw the Tempest, but it has grown on me with repeated viewings.



#35 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 06:39 AM

I obviously don't know musical terms. But I really did not like the music Ratmansky used for The Tempest. And even after seeing it a second time the to me the story made no sense.

#36 Roberto Dini

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 11:48 AM

No argument there.  I don't really care for the music to The Tempest either, but it is growing on me on repeated hearings.  The first time I saw the Tempest I wondered what drew Ratmansky to the music in the first place.  To my ear, the majority of the score does not cry out as music to be danced to.



#37 nanushka

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:25 PM

No argument there.  I don't really care for the music to The Tempest either, but it is growing on me on repeated hearings.  The first time I saw the Tempest I wondered what drew Ratmansky to the music in the first place.  To my ear, the majority of the score does not cry out as music to be danced to.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if it were the subject that initially interested him rather than the music.  The music may then have presented itself as a natural option for a Tempest ballet, despite its unusual style. Just a guess, though.




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