Jump to content


Quotable Quotes


  • Please log in to reply
209 replies to this topic

#166 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 20 June 2012 - 02:55 PM

When Balanchine had dancers with personalities, he had no desire to change them. After all, different generations of dancers gave Balanchine different qualities. With me, Balanchine never told me what to do about the repertory pieces because he knew I would get the idenetity. What he had to do was tone me down a little bit. I had a little too much garlic. He had to keep me quiet and busy, so I wouldn't make a commentary but dance the text.


VIOLETTE VERDY, in I Remember Balanchine: Recollections of the Ballet Master by Those Who Knew Him. (ed. Francis Mason, 1991).

#167 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:25 PM

Without dancers I cannot do anything. Some choreographers work out all their ballets by dancing themselves in front of a mirror. Then they write it all down. I don't do that. To me ballet exists only when people are performing, otherwise it doesn't exist. When I use dancers, I want to make things for their bodies to do; their bodies are going to entertain, not mine. My ideas don't exist until their muscles are shown to these people. If I didn't have dancers I like to be with - because I like to look at them and show how they look and move -- then I would never think of dance.


The people who are dancing count more than my choreography. [Ballet] is fleeting. It is movement. It is above all the people.


GEORGE BALANCHINE, quoted in Nancy Goldner, ed., The Stravinsky Festival of the New York City Ballet, 1973.

#168 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:13 AM

MARGOT FONTEYN was asked to explain one of her performances:

I explained it when I danced it.


Source: George Balanchine Foundation QUOTE OF THE WEEK.

#169 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:49 AM

Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius nisi forte insanit. -- Cicero.

("No one Dances sober unless he is completely insane.")

Most of us on B.A. will prefer the more contemporary -- and more positive -- Veni. Vidi. Saltari. ("I came. I saw. I danced.")

#170 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:44 PM

Have just discovered this thread and read through it with great pleasure. I have nothing to add but this warning against the hypercritical tendency (please nobody shoot me):

"I should say that a knowledge of technique is essential to the full understanding of the ballet but not necessary for its appreciation; for the latter I think that emotional or intellectual reaction to the music, movement and decor is quite enough. For my own part, the less I knew of ballet the greater was my enjoyment; too carping an attitude is a great hindrance to enjoyment and a little knowledge can mar a lot of pleasure." (Sir Frederick Ashton, 1947)

#171 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

Thank you, Shirabyoshi, and welcome. I remember reading that quote and liking it. I agree with Ashton (I usually do). I think the "carping" is sometimes needed when companies are trying to pass off something as The Official Version of a work when it isn't, or a when a choreographer claims to be The Greatest Choreographer Working Today (because real great choreographers never have to say that). However, as far as technical carping, I don't find it interesting or helpful and I think if one is watching a ballet waiting for someone to make an error, one will miss everything Ashton mentions. Of course, today, so many dancers and companies are mostly focused on technique, so there often isn't anything else to watch :)

#172 Shirabyoshi

Shirabyoshi

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 31 December 2012 - 08:19 AM

Thank you, Shirabyoshi, and welcome. I remember reading that quote and liking it. I agree with Ashton (I usually do).


Thank you for this kind response; I was worried I'd come across as the Devil's Advocate. ;) I do find criticism and technical discussions interesting, but usually I come to Ballet Alert to read that kind of thing *after* I've seen and enjoyed something. I don't like my first impressions to be clouded by, ah, carping. I'd rather have my simple fun first!

And to make this post on-topic...

My nomination for Most Quotable Ballerina (sorry, Cristian) is Maria Alexandrova of the Bolshoi. Herewith some favourites from my Masha File, collected from various interviews found online.

"I've never wanted to be Number One, but I have always wanted to excel. As I see it, those are two very different things. To be the first, is to be a hero for a day, while the next moment someone else takes one's place. To excel, has to do with duration; it is a long-term process."

"I do not care to be typecast in the heroico-dramatic genre, and refuse to accept that I am incapable of doing so many other things. I revolt, I will not have someone tell me beforehand that I can or cannot do a certain thing, or that it would be wrong to attempt it. The artist learns so much from error. One is entitled to err, provided one be prepared to acknowledge one's own errors, prepared to go beyond oneself to put them right."

"Modern ballet? There are wonderful artists, and ideas that start out well, but somehow, one ends up spinning round in a vicious circle. Both in the literal, and in the figurative sense, I see in modern ballet a kind of over-simplification, despite an apparent complexity. Classical technique is hard perhaps, to grasp straightaway, but it is nonetheless simple and logical in its execution. It has amplitude, it moves through several dimensions of space. Modern ballets strike one as flat."

Which modern choreographers would she like to work with? "I have not danced all classical ballets yet. When it happens I would like to be asked this question again. And the answer will be different. But at the moment I am still thinking about classics."

Who amongst the dancers of the past does she consider an ideal ballerina? "The list is long. Shall I start with Taglioni or even earlier? They all were imperfect, because they were human. And this is what makes them wonderful."

"Through expression, through one's soul, one can make up for certain flaws, whereas the other way round is harder: technique alone will never convey in an instant the lightness, the enthusiasm and then, in the next instant, sadness. One cannot enrich an idea with technique."

"I spend most of my time with ballet -- this beautiful, but very difficult, profession. And it is a wonderful profession: today, I may be a slave in ancient Egypt, tomorrow, an 18th century queen, and the day after tomorrow, Balanchine's ballerina in the 20th century, and then again an innkeeper's daughter, or the head of a Roman Legion. What other girl in the 21st century can afford all that, and be so different? This is my game, and I play it with pleasure."

"The incentive for my art is neither praise, nor critics, but only my interest. I am in ballet because I am deeply in love."

#173 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 31 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

Clearly an articulate and passionate artist. Posted Image

#174 trieste

trieste

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 80 posts

Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:00 PM

I love learning that the dancers I admire are also intelligent and articulate!

#175 LiLing

LiLing

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 205 posts

Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

"Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion."
Martha Graham

#176 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

Diahilev had the cunning ... to combine the excellent with the chic, and revolutionary art with the atmosphere of the old regime.


-- Lydia Lopokova

#177 AlbanyGirl

AlbanyGirl

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 231 posts

Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:40 AM

I didn't see this as I scanned through the thread and it's one of my favorites:

[font=georgia, serif]“The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.” [/font]
[font=georgia, serif]― [/font]Margot Fonteyn

#178 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 10 March 2013 - 05:20 PM

This one is for cubanmiamiboy:

From the Balanchine Foundation:

Ballet is a dance executed by the human soul.

-- Alexander Pushkin



#179 jsmu

jsmu

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:38 AM

Martha Graham:
My dancers fall that they may rise.

#180 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,200 posts

Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:29 PM

From YouTube commentary on The Nutcracker ballet:
"By far my favorite part of the entire ballet. I would kill to be a snowflake."


“The beautiful always retains the freshness of novelty, while the astonishing soon grows tiresome”
--August Bournonville


"My first real collaboration with Stravinsky began in 1928 when I worked on Apollon. I consider this the turning point of my life. This score, with its discipline and restraint, with its sustained oneness of tone and feeling, was a great revelation to me. It was then that I began to realize that to create means, first of all, to eliminate. Not a single fragment of any choreographic score should ever be replaceable by any other fragment; each piece must be unique in itself, the 'inevitable' movement. I began to see how I could clarify by limiting and by reducing what seemed previously to have multiple possibilities."
--George Balanchine

Wording as used by Lincoln Kirsten in "Thirty Years":
"I began to see how I could clarify, by limiting, by reducing what seemed to be myriad possibilities to the one possibility that is inevitable."
--Balanchine


Final stanzas from Frank O'Hara's "Ode to Tanaquil Le Clercq"
[Dated June 7, 1960 in MS 102, first published posthumously in Paris Review 49, 1970]

you were always changing into something else
and always will be
always plumage, perfection's broken heart, wings

and wide eyes in which everything you do
repeats yourself simultaneously and simply
as a window "gives" on something

it seems sometimes as if you were only breathing
and everything happened around you

because when you disappeared in the wings nothing was there
but the motion of some extraordinary happening I hadn't understood
the superb arc of a question, of a decision about death

because you are beautiful you are hunted
and with the courage of a vase
you refuse to become a deer or a tree
and the world holds its breath
to see if you are there, and safe

are you?


-------------------------------------
And, a favorite general quote about life -

"Life is life, and fun is fun, but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die."
- Baron Bror Blixen quoting from ancient Coptic


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):