Posted 06 June 2002 - 11:36 AM
From conversations with dancers, I think the company DOES have a stylistic position on some issues of technique. But I kept thinking, watching Verdy coach dancers in the Violette et Mr. B film, and listening to her stories, that the notion that Balanchine didn't care about silly things like head, hands, arms, emotions, etc. is a pile of .....
Posted 06 June 2002 - 02:56 PM
Back to the style issue. I hope Leigh or Manhattnik, or Juliet, or Farrell Fan, or one of the other numerous NYCB aficionados will comment further upon this. Granted, many dancers do end up in NYCB from other schools, however doesn't there have to be a certain commitment to a way of doing things? Or is this the wave of the future? I believe this was commented upon on another thread - the idea that many of our companies here in the US are filled with dancers not only from different styles of schools but, also, from different countries as well!
Unless one is schooled in a certain method, how can one hope to have the uniformity as in, say, the corps of the Kirov, etc.? And if this is so, should we expect an "academic" style within the confines of SAB or any other program such as this? SAB cannot be alone in this - can it?:confused:
Posted 06 June 2002 - 06:25 PM
Posted 06 June 2002 - 08:30 PM
From what I have seen on video and in performance, over decades the phrasing of the company has changed, it's more accented to the finish of the phrase than it once was, and there is more emphasis on the final pose, and steps that make pictures and positions (tendus, arabesques) than transitions. It seems to me that not merely repertory and schooling have determined style, but also the fortune of the company with the Ford Foundation. With the scholarships in the 60s, the company began to have its pick of dancers with thoroughbred facility from the entire nation. And that has set the company down the road to the present day dancer and style, with its emphasis on sculpture because the dancers' bodies are so sculptural.
Posted 07 June 2002 - 02:42 AM
Thank you both for your responses. In reading both of them, I've come away with a much better understanding. Michael, your points about "streaky" periods, as well as good nights and bad nights are well taken. And, Leigh I do like your theory of "continental drift" - great analogy!
Perhaps, part of the problem many have with things not staying the same, is that change is inevitable and memory does tend to smooth over inconsistencies.
Back to the recent SAB workshop performances: I'm still sorry we missed them this year. In the past, the energy and excitement was palpable and well worth seeing.
For quite a few of these young dancers the workshop performances function as their "graduation" ceremony - and so, I offer my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a long, exciting, adventurous and successful career in ever changing world of ballet!
Posted 07 June 2002 - 05:38 AM
I remember back in the mid-80s, right after Balanchine died, I began hearing complaints from friends in New York about how the company's style had changed. Back then, what I heard the most often was that Stanley Williams was teaching company class and he was "softening" the style. (But Williams had always been one of the prime teachers of company class, so that couldn't have been the only reason.)
The company came to DC that season, and at first I couldn't see that much of a difference. And then Patty McBride danced Raymonda Variations and good lord, it was as though she was a guest star in her own company. The contrast was stark -- she was much more stretched, very wild arms, etc.
There's a letter in Copenhagen's Royal Library that I would love to see and be able to read. I've only heard about it. It's one of Bournonville's daughters who went to study in Paris, probably in the 1850s. "Oh, Papa, Papa. How the style has changed!" she wrote him.
Posted 07 June 2002 - 11:42 AM
Posted 07 June 2002 - 11:51 AM
The difference between McBride and the company was something much talked about here -- the difference between watching dancing every night, so one gets a bit used to a change, and not seeing something for two years, or after a change in staff, choreographer, whatever, and so seeing the change as very stark.
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