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"Louder, wilder cutting edge ballets!"


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 10:19 AM

This prescription from Reid Andersen of the Stuttgart Ballet is his recipe (admittedly, very possibly taken out of context by the reporter) for ballet's survival.

I could go into an oration, but let's let others have their say first.

Since the general editorial outlook of this site makes it pretty obvious we're not going to agree with Mr. Andersen's prescription, I think I'll ask first for people to defend any aspect of it (or all, if they choose).

The article itself is posted on the links forum here: http://www.balletale...41976#post41976

What do people think?

#2 Nanatchka

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 11:07 AM

Give a shout when you get to "ask second." What we need are ballets in which it is possible to be wild, but that's another story, and we already have them. We just don't see them performed that way.

#3 dirac

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 12:35 PM

It sounds as if the remark is taken out of context somewhat, and after all, this is a conference discussion, not a deposition. If Anderson is saying that ballet can't rely on generic Tchaikovsky-and-chiffon pieces forever, that in itself would be hard to dispute. And if by "louder" he means looking to, say, rock music for something new, that isn't a bad idea if it's done right (a large qualification).

However, if his own audience prefers Ashton's chickens to Anderson's cutting edge, maybe that should tell him something.

#4 cargill

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:01 PM

No surprizingly, I think Anderson has it wrong. What we need are good ballets, which can be either chiffon or cutting edge or anything in between. And I hope he realizes that his audience probably liked the dancing chickens because they were doing musical, witty, and impressive choreography, not because they were dressed like chickens.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 28 May 2002 - 02:07 PM

I'd love to see a ballet about wild, loud chickens :) Great idea, Mr. A!

#6 Saveta

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Posted 29 May 2002 - 07:46 PM

I attended PPF summit on that Saturday, and Iím not defending any opinions, but Anderson's words are really taken out of context in this article.
I believe that he was elaborating on this issue as an answer to one of questions from the audience. The subject of it were differences between European and North American audiences and critics. It was stated that Atlantic seems to be getting wider and wider, and that (for contemporary ballets) North Americans seems to like more neoclassical works (or "chiffon ballets" as it was simplified). On the other hand audiences in Europe canít seem to generally take seriously any new ballets that are not based on postmodern or minimalist styles (very intellectual, certainly no pretty costumes or elaborate set designs etc). Of course I'm paraphrasing and oversimplifying (sorry for my not so eloquent English) but as an example for this it was noted that few years ago Kudelka's lyrical ballet Desir was not well received in Germany at all.
Anyway, I believe that Mr. Anderson was just agreeing with above statements and said that whenever he sees ballet that fits in "chiffon ballet" category, although he may really like it, feels that it would never be successful in let's say, Stuttgart. Therefore he was very nervous about staging La Fille Mal Gardee, especially because of that "chicken part". But as you heard - audiences loved chickens!
Sorry for posting realy late (again).:eek:

#7 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 29 May 2002 - 07:51 PM

Saveta -

Thank you so much for posting that. It helps make a lot clearer what Anderson was trying to get at. And please don't worry about your eloquence. You write quite clearly!

#8 Saveta

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Posted 29 May 2002 - 08:17 PM

Thank you for the encouragement Leigh:)

-saveta

#9 katharine kanter

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Posted 31 May 2002 - 01:00 AM

The answer to our problem is staring us in the face. Classical ballet does not, at the present, cut the mustard. It is not good enough. This is Atylnai Assylmuratova speaking:

"When you watch a video tape of dancers of the old generations, for instance Galina Ulanova, Marina Semyonova, or a bit later Natalia Dudinskaya, you can see a certain coordination of body and arms, a musicality - you might call it Ďsinging with the bodyí - and above all an emotional depth to the dancing which no longer seem to exist today. The technique was present alright, but it was never there just for the sake of technique. The accent was first and foremost on emotion. However, now itís all about high legs. I consider that a serious problem. All we seem to think about today is how high the legs can go, but there is hardly any concern anymore about form, plastique, harmony, and about whatís coming from inside, about soul."


The problem with a lot of these Artistic Director people, apart, I s'pose, from Monica Mason who really was, and is, a TERRIFIC dancer and mime, is that most were middling sorts of dancers when they danced, and they are now, essentially, businessmen. Neither singly, nor collectively, are they the Oracle of Delphi.

If I had my d'ruthers, I'd rather incline to the view of Atylnai. What that boils down to, is that the weight is now on the shoulders of professors, and people who are less involved with PR than Artistic Directors, to get us out of this rut.

One goes to the theatre, and one is never, ever moved, not for a moment. And we are people who have been involved in this our entire lives ! How can one expect a casual punter, who pays 50 pound or dollars for a ticket to sit through an ice-cold performance, to go out and fight for an art form that is not delivering the goods !

There are budget cuts in every town, city and State at the present time, all over the world. We may not be able to do without pointe shoes, but the splendid costumes, the "chiffon" as Reid would say, the scenery, the unwieldy staging - if we've got to forget all that, fine, all that's not hard-core. When Bournonville first took over, he was using old curtains to cut the costumes. The heart of the issue, is the quality of the dancing we are putting out.

May I be allowed to suggest that everyone take a look at the ballet.co thread on the demise of Frankfurt Ballett ? The discussion is important, in terms of the precise issue being discusssed on this thread.

#10 Estelle

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Posted 31 May 2002 - 01:23 AM

katharine, the discussion on ballet.co.uk is interesting indeed, but there's also a discussion on the same topic on this forum, at:

http://www.balletale...=&threadid=5332

#11 stan

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Posted 31 May 2002 - 05:18 AM

" most were middling sorts of dancers when they danced, "

Peter Martins? Anthony Dowell?

#12 Nanatchka

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Posted 31 May 2002 - 07:49 AM

Kevin MacKenzie was pretty wonderful, too....Not to mention Helgi, and for heaven's sake, Eddie Villella. And so forth. Whether being a fabulous dancer makes you a great artistic director is another question.


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