altongrimes

La Valse

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In my ongoing journey of ballet discovery, I have recently discovered a description of George Balanchine's La Valse. So expertly did the writer illuminate the theme of this glorious ballet that I felt compelled to proclaim the gist to the members of Ballet Alert ! 

"Replacing the waltzers of our historical imaginations - perpetually in joyous motion,  buoyant, graceful and secure - LaValse's characters are restless modern sophisticates and naifs, who stepping to Ravel's shattered forms and cacophonous harmonies, pursue pleasure that is both futile and diseased". How delicious is this magnificent prose ! How I now yearn to experience this ballet !

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, altongrimes said:

In my ongoing journey of ballet discovery, I have recently discovered a description of George Balanchine's La Valse. So expertly did the writer illuminate the theme of this glorious ballet that I felt compelled to proclaim the gist to the members of Ballet Alert ! 

"Replacing the waltzers of our historical imaginations - perpetually in joyous motion,  buoyant, graceful and secure - LaValse's characters are restless modern sophisticates and naifs, who stepping to Ravel's shattered forms and cacophonous harmonies, pursue pleasure that is both futile and diseased". How delicious is this magnificent prose ! How I now yearn to experience this ballet !

 

Nancy Goldner's More Balanchine Variations (the followup to Balanchine Variations) has a nice write-up about La Valse. I recommend both of those books if you don't already know them: they are both inexpensive, and first rate, and you can use the Ballet Alert Amazon search box to find the books.

NYCB will soon release their Paris performances on DVD, and La Valse is one of the ballets that was performed.

John Clifford has posted a couple of 1970s TV broadcasts of La Valse - the image and audio are terrible, but that's what we have.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQx7egjInhU


Short of Le Clercq and Magallanes PDD
https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/tanaquil-leclercq-nicholas-magallanes/la-valse/

Edited by pherank

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I saw La Valse once many years ago.....I was probably in my mid-teens, and on a trip to NYC with my mother. I remember loving it; there seemed to be a darkness to its beauty that appealed to me at that age (and might still, who knows). I wish I could say something more definitive about it, but I was young, drinking in whatever I saw of ballet, without much ability to discriminate or analyze. Just remember that I loved it and it stayed in my mind. I think Mimi Paul was one of the leads.

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Although Balanchine choreographed La Valse in 1951, the music harkens to the ominous mood in Europe before each of the two world wars. In the classic biography of Balanchine, the narrator mentions the dark mood in Europe.

https://www.amazon.com/Balanchine-George/dp/B00019G8BA/ref=sr_1_9?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1492703784&sr=1-9&keywords=balanchine

 

Fascinating history on the Balanchine Trust site:

http://balanchine.com/la-valse/

 

Seems scarily appropriate for our times!

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Thanks everyone for thease "golden" replies. I am continually grateful for the great substance and experience reflected to me by your dilligence. 

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