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Poll: Ballet Time Traveler


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Poll: Poll: Ballet Time Traveler (0 member(s) have cast votes)

Poll: Ballet Time Traveler

  1. [b]Versailles/Fontainbleu, 1670s[/b]: court ballet of Louis XIV—Lully, Moliere's comédie-ballet Le Bourgois Gentilhomme, Psyche by Moliere, Lully, Corneille, and Quinault; Beauchamps as maître de ballet (2 votes [2.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.90%

  2. [b]Paris, 1840s[/b]: Coralli's Giselle and La Peri; Perrot's Esmeralda; Mazillier's Paquita and Le Diable à Quatre; Taglioni, Grisi, Petipa as dancer (9 votes [13.04%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.04%

  3. [b]Copenhagen, 1860s[/b]: Bournonville in full flower—all his works being danced except Life Guards on Amager (7 votes [10.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.14%

  4. [b]St. Petersburg, 1890s[/b]: Petipa in excelsis—Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Halte de Cavalrie, and (with others) Cinderella; Ivanov's Swan Lake and Nutcracker (23 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  5. [b]Paris, 1910s[/b]: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes—Firebird, Petrushka, Carnaval, Scheherezade, Spectre de la Rose, Faune, Parade, etc. (28 votes [40.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.58%

  6. [b]Other[/b] (before 1930) (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

Vote

#16 casloan

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 05:54 PM

I chose Paris, too -- for the reasons of incredible artistic collaboration that Paquita cited. But, I would love to have a time machine to enable me to visit them all (especially the time of Bournonville and of Petipa).

#17 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 26 April 2002 - 10:09 PM

As I mentioned elsewhere, no less an artist than Alexandra Danilova once offered this advice on comparing modern and historic performances:

"If we do not PROgress, we RETROgress."

Brava Choura! One of the unique beauties of dance is that it is ephemeral. A brilliant performance is gone forever after the curtain call. And the great dancers and choreographers understand this simple fact, even if legal eagles miss the point.

Like dedicated birding enthusiasts, we fans flock to the place where a rare species was seen, hoping that history will appear again. Sometimes it does. Unsually it doesn't. Chasing a ghost offers precious few chances for joy. But chances no dedicated enthusiast can afford to miss.

Is it any wonder that Balanchine once considered a ballet called "Birds of America"?

#18 Alexandra

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Posted 27 April 2002 - 09:59 AM

I think people here are well aware of the ephemeral nature of ballet, which was why the topic was raised in the first place. It's a bit off topic to suggest that the exercise is either futile or not particularly bright :) I certainly hope no one feels discouraged from either voting or sharing their reasons for the vote.

Tancos, in an earlier post you wrote:

An idea for another poll would be which single historic performance would you attend if you were handed the keys to a time machine but only allowed one trip. (I have a hunch which performance would win; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if half the audience at the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps" *were* time travelers.)


Perhaps this would be too complicated for a poll, but it would make an interesting thread -- why not start one?

#19 felursus

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Posted 28 April 2002 - 07:55 PM

Hard choice. But when push comes to shove (ahem!) I guess I'd choose Paris in the 1910s because of the vast array of the banquet that would be spread before me. Plus the food would be good (to continue the banquet metaphor) and the amenities somewhat better than earlier times. I'm afraid that the Versaille choice would be difficult because I'd have to go back as a courtier in order to get in to see the ballets in the first place.

#20 Dale

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 02:39 AM

I chose Paris, 1910s. There's several reasons, most of which have been mentioned. One is to see what all the fuss is about :) Nijinsky and Pavlova have been so hyped, that there is a feeling from my generation that it just can't be, at least not the rumors. So I'd like to see for myself. Plus, what spawned in this era was what I know of as modern ballet. I think that if I choose an earlier time, as much as I'd love to see ballet at its beginning or St. Petersburg, I'd probably have too much resistance within myself to the body types and style to really enjoy myself. And as Paquita mentioned, all those artists and composers contributing as well, it would be (as it was) very exciting.

Now, if I could chose another option, it would either the 1930s or 1940s. For the 30s, I could see the baby ballerinas, De Basil's Ballet Russe, Massine's best work, Nijinska's things and be at the premieres of Balanchine's Serenade, Cottilion, and the original Mozartiana. I could still see Danilova and Markova. Or teh 40s, I see the early perfomances of 4ts, Concerto Barocco, Ballet Imperial -- basically the birth of the NYCB, plus see the Ballet Russe and all those ballets, the beginning of ABT.

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 05:19 PM

I would choose Paris, too. But not for the usual reasons. I would like to see what the productions of the Ballets Suedois were like, even if I knew they were choreographically inferior, I'd like to see why everybody was so carried away with Jean Borlin and his dada ballets. At least the scenery and costumes would be interesting!

#22 Alexandra

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 06:21 PM

Oh, Mel, save the ticket. The Royal Swedish Ballet brought its H&A reconstructions of the greatest hits of the Ballet Suedois. It was a thrill to see the backcloths I'd only seen in books, yes, but that lasted only a half a minute.

The rest were, well, regional. Very derivative. Even allowing for the fact that reconstructions are often rather dull, these were dull.

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 29 April 2002 - 06:44 PM

I still want to see "La Création du Monde"!;)

#24 Alexandra

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Posted 30 April 2002 - 10:40 AM

Well, if you ever get the chance, remember after the first 2.5 minutes, you can always close your eyes and listen to the music :P

#25 Brendan McCarthy

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Posted 02 May 2002 - 01:06 PM

I chose Paris and the Ballets Russes, because the period has been so imperfectly remembered. Reconstructing the ballets of the time seems to be much more problematic than is the case that with those first performed at St Petersburg. At least the Maryinsky has had a continuity of curatorship of the Petipa tradition. It also kept in memory such works as Giselle. For Paris and the Diaghilev period we are seriously lacking enough evidence.

#26 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 07 May 2002 - 04:10 PM

The more I read this thread, the more I appreciate the historical interests of its participants. We have, perhaps, become too comfortable with the institutionalization of ballet -- home theatres, home studios, video records, illuminating books -- to appreciate the amazingly evanescent nature of dance in the '30s and '40s.

My own mother, who studied ballet with Edvard Caton, was offered an apprenticeship with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo -- the only possible route to a professional career in that pre-war era. But neither she nor her parents could accept the idea of a 15-year-old girl joining the gypsy life of what was then the world's leading classical dance company. So she would later become a housewife, and much of the company's history would be lost.

Thank heaven for The Red Shoes, which at least preserves cameos of the great dancers of the '40s.

#27 Sonora

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 09:05 PM

"An idea for another poll would be which single historic performance would you attend if you were handed the keys to a time machine but only allowed one trip. (I have a hunch which performance would win; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if half the audience at the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps" *were* time travelers.)"


I also chose Paris and the Ballets Russes. I"m still thinking about which single historic performance I would attend. To see that fateful opening night of "Sacre", or for that matter, of "Faune"! It would be fascinating to be able to experience the impact of ballets such as these within the climate of their own time. I think they must have been so startling, so evocative, tumultuous in a way that is difficult for us to imagine nearly 100 years later.

I guess I should stop, as someone may want to turn this suggestion into a thread.

#28 Brendan McCarthy

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 10:57 PM

Absolutely Sacre - and in the company of Millicent Hodson, and Kenneth Archer, who so impressively reconstructed it for Joffrey Ballet.

#29 pumukau

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Posted 24 May 2002 - 08:10 PM

I chose Ballets Russes too. But this got me thinking. Yes, dance is ephemeral and many ballets have disappeared. But how exciting it is to live in 2002 and have ***some*** information about ***all*** these eras to call upon when we're making our dances! What better time machine exists than the music steps and costumes of a 200-year-old ballet?

#30 Alexandra

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Posted 24 May 2002 - 09:22 PM

Thank you for that, Keith -- what a lovely thought! :D


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