Favorite Ballets Russes Choreographer?
Posted 04 May 2002 - 07:02 AM
I wondered which choreographer of that era was your favorite? Fokine, Massine, Nijinsky, Nijinska, Balanchine (the 1920s Balanchine ONLY) for these purposes. Please answer this any way you like -- the one you're most curious about, the one you think was the greatest, the one you like the best, or think you would like the best.
Posted 04 May 2002 - 07:20 AM
'Les Sylphides' was the first ballet I ever saw, so part of me thinks Fokine has to be the greatest. But then there's 'Apollo' and 'Prodigal Son'. Those are amazing too!
I have seen and even learned three Nijinsky ballets (or at least what we think they might have been).
I've been a part of Massine ballets, and they are quite fun to do.
I'll be learning Nijinska's 'Les Noces' next year, so I am most curious about her.
But I guess it's a Fokine/Balanchine tie, for me.
Posted 04 May 2002 - 12:48 PM
Posted 04 May 2002 - 09:55 PM
Having seen several different versions of Petroushka, I'd have to say the BIG difference between them was how organic the crowd movement seemed in Oakland Ballet's version..... the episodes each had their shape, their natural growth and subsiding, like waves -- like in Debussy's La Mer, the vagueness ("vague" is french for "wave") of it was what was wonderful, it wasn't fixed but it was FAR FROM being a mess.... like in Mahler's music, too, or Wagner's, there was a whole aesthetic built on this oceanic "flooding" movement, they were trying to imitate a complex natural phenomenon, and Fokine was far-gone in it -- Art Nouveau was very much about that --I wish I'd experienced it when the practitioners were in their prime.......
Posted 06 May 2002 - 01:37 PM
Posted 06 May 2002 - 02:19 PM
I'd also like to see Choreartium -- any of his early symphonic ballets. The Paris Opera's revival of Symphonie Fantastique was very interesting -- dated costumes, and we're not used to animals bounding about on stage, but still interesting.
Posted 06 May 2002 - 02:59 PM
Posted 07 May 2002 - 02:00 AM
Posted 07 May 2002 - 03:29 AM
Posted 08 May 2002 - 03:26 AM
Posted 08 May 2002 - 07:31 AM
Posted 08 May 2002 - 09:25 AM
So far as I remember, the RB's revival of The Good Humoured Ladies was absolutely slated by the critics, who thought that most of the dancers hadn't a clue about the style and that the ballet had lost almost all of its charm - so if today we think it looks good, how much better must the original have been?
Good point, Jane. I often think of this with Bournonville ballets. I've seen several generations now, either live or on video, and there's something about the structure that holds, and the fact that the dancers, even when they're clowning or hamming or ill coached, are so alive on stage, and so practiced in making something out of nothing that they'll give a performance -- and people who haven't seen a better version find something to like in it. I can chart the ups and downs of the Bournonville rep since the 1950s, but not before that -- I'm sure even what I think of as fine performances are quite different from the originals.
The same thing is happening -- has almost completely happened -- with Ashton. I once agreed with the school of though that Balanchine was "dancer proof" but I've seen a few performances (NOT by NYCB) that proved that even something with a rock solid structure built to withstand problematic interpretations can become frayed.
What DID Fokine and Massine ballets look like? (Or, since she's the same time frame, Isadora's dances? I've just been reading some firsthand accounts of her early performances where the writer catches the breathlessness of what it must have been like to watch her.)
Should we even bother? (In pessimistic mode). I was struck a few years ago to hear a comment by a Ballets Russes ballerina who said, considering the state of the ballet world today, and how ballets that she knew now looked, she was glad Massine's ballets were dead. She'd rather remember them as they were.
There's a very good case that can be made that ballet is only great when it is new and fresh and lived in -- alas, that wouldn't leave us very much to look at, would it?
Posted 09 May 2002 - 08:13 PM
I remember being really struck in reading Kchessinska's autobiography, her response to Isadora DUncan --
Kchessinska's book is most ly about all the applause she got and the dinners she ate and hte wine she drank, BUT she says when she first saw Isadora, she got so excited she jumped up on her chair and cheered...... and that made me really wish I'd seen HER
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