story ballets vs plotless ballets
Posted 02 April 2002 - 08:37 PM
Posted 03 April 2002 - 03:42 AM
Posted 03 April 2002 - 04:14 AM
Posted 03 April 2002 - 04:53 AM
It certainly seems to me that in all the different cultures we have in our world, that each country's folk tales have a universal theme...I suppose, when you get right down to it, that all fiction stems from this same universal theme. Makes me think of my husband's comment about opera when he compared it to "big time wrestling"! It does seem to boil down to good and evil... However, I would much prefer to watch a well done story ballet than WWF Smack Down any day!!
Posted 03 April 2002 - 10:24 AM
A good choreographer can take an ordinary moment in a story—say, a young girl meeting her suitors—and turn it into a poetic essay on growing up and a brilliant classical dance number at the same time. But I can't imagine how he'd have shown a hero with a complex personality challenging his best friend to a duel and then, defying convention, killing him.
Posted 03 April 2002 - 11:57 AM
But seriously, your point about complexities of a deeper sense are well taken... I guess this is why we don't see Dostoyevsky's novels turned into ballets...yet. ;)
Thanks for your clarification!
Posted 03 April 2002 - 12:18 PM
But seriously, your point about complexities of a deeper sense are well taken... I guess this is why we don't see Dostoyevsky's novels turned into ballets...yet.
Oh BW, but we do. I believe it may have been Valery Panov that took "The Idiot" and turned it into a ballet two decades or so ago.
And therein lies some of the conflict between story ballets and plotless ballets. A story ballet gives the hapless choreographer one more thing to screw up. And it can really be screwed up big. If you have gone to see Eifman's season at City Center, I'd be curious to see your take on it. He does story works, and they've been hailed nationwide as Alexandra notes. And you'll forgive my prejudice, but to me they rise to the level of barely competent, barely coherent reinventions of the wheel (I'm amazed when people call his recyclings of Bejart or Mats Ek clever and daring). But others really love it. So there's another take on the issue.
Posted 03 April 2002 - 02:46 PM
I thought about going to see Eifman, but although I do live right outside the city it is still an effort to get there for things that don't thrill you...at least in your expectations of them, anyway... You know, I haven't even read the articles about his works - my NYT Arts and Leisure and Weekend sections await me!
So, was ballet version of The Idiot really bad? Not too uplifting, as I recall.
Posted 03 April 2002 - 05:24 PM
Posted 04 April 2002 - 03:47 AM
Thanks all for bringing your different points of view to this discussion - you've all helped me look at these two "versions" of ballet with a new eye.
Just wondering - can anyone tell me when the birth of the plotless ballet was?
Posted 04 April 2002 - 06:30 AM
Posted 04 April 2002 - 07:27 AM
Posted 04 April 2002 - 11:36 PM
But although I enjoy seeing the beautiful costumes, it would suit me a lot better if they just put them on display in the lobby. The really neat ones aren't danced in anyway.
Thats not to say all costumes are terrible to see the dancers, the ones in Union Jack, or Vienna Waltzes, or 4 Seasons or the Concert or many others are both interesting and don't seem to interfere with the dancers dancing or the viewers viewing.
On the other extreme are the what must be 50 pounds of costume that the king and queen in Sleeping Beauty wear. So they end up as window dressing.
I went to a talk by Melissa Barak, the new wonderkind choreographer/dancer at NYCB. She said whenever she hears music she thinks of steps to put to it. That is what I want to see. How the choreographer can create beautiful movement to accompany the music.
Posted 08 April 2002 - 10:48 AM
If only my French was better, I could say "To each his own"!
Posted 08 April 2002 - 04:11 PM
I am also a lover of dance., although I stoutly resist saying I am in my dotage and will do so when I am 80. I am also a costumer. I make a great variety, classical and modern, but all are danceable. Some roles, as the King and Queen in Beauty, are traditionally not dancing roles, but more for character portrayal....But you are correct in saying that a good dance costume should always have a sense of the body and the dance within it.
I happen to love story ballets, but I don't think it necessary to pan so-called plotless ballet because of it.
This is the wonderful thing about this country--no one 'forces' anything on you--Hal, your unwanted tickets for the ballets you don't enjoy would be very eagerly and gratefully received by any number of ballet students or others who cannot afford tickets. Rather than making yourself suffer any further in your life, you might call SAB (212-769-6600) and offer them your donated tickets. You might be able to get a tax writeoff, in fact. When the Paris Opera Ballet was here doing Bayadere a few years ago, my son was able to attend just because someone such as yourself who did not want to "be dragged to another costume-y ballet" gave the school their tickets and it was a most memorable experience for a young person. He is still grateful to the person who did it.
Interestingly enough, the award for the worst costuming/conception recently is not for the Slime Monster in the ABT Swan Lake, but for Eliot Feld's Organon for NYCB.....the aluminum jungle gym with Damian Woetzel in his Mowgli garb clambering across the stage , the great Twirling Parachute, the cute little black socks on the women. Vile. Plot or no plot.
The dancing is usually enough of a story for me, but like well-done illustrations for a book, the costuming is another element to augment the text.
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