Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Alexandra

Do you like mime in ballet?

  

  1. 1. Do you like mime in ballet?

    • Yes!
      8
    • Yes, if it's done well.
      14
    • It depends.
      4
    • No!
      0

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

33 posts in this topic

Since I didn't see this current Bayadere, I can't comment on their mime, however when I did see The Bolshoi 's version about two years ago - I loved it and can't recall ever being annoyed or bored.:confused: Was this version completely different? It seems that people found much of it incomprehensible or peculiar - especially the "wildlife".

Share this post


Link to post

I think if one goes in with a postmodern mindset and expects to see what one is used to seeing, one will be disappointed.

I talked to a modern dancer friend during an intermission of the Bayadere (Bolshoi) here in DC last month -- and yes, it is different, BW; shorter, for one thing, and the dances were put on pointe and the fourth act excised. She was laughing at it -- not too nastily -- and kept saying, "Now I understand those ballet audiences. They just want spectacle. This is pure Cecil B. DeMille."

Well, she's right -- but where did Cecil B. DeMille come from? This is what he grew up seeing! Those grand old Hollywood spectaculars -- DeMille and Griffith -- came out of this age. (All mime, too :) )

Share this post


Link to post

Loved Erik Bruhn's 32 entrachat six in 'Giselle'. They can be viewed if you find a video copy of the ABT film starring Carla Fracci.

The mime in 'La Sylphide' is charming. What the Lilac Fairy does in 'Sleeping Beauty" is dreamy.

Ananiashvili's 2nd Act Swan mime was wonderful. Do you think Freddy Franklin helped Kevin McKenzie with that? Everything old is new again!

Charlie Chaplin's movies, recently released on DVD are mesmerizing (and often heart breaking). Though I'm not quite sure if he was a mime, they are stories without words. He was quite a dancer and one can tell he was fond of ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

The trend, over the century, has been to hyper-specialisation and technicity. Dancers can only dance. Actors can only act. Singers can only sing. And pantomime artists evolve in sullen silence, while classical musicians will, as a rule, look down upon all the above.

Without going whole-hog the other way and subscribing to Wagner's Total Theatre theories, it may not be otiose to recall that classical dance is supposed to be a THEATRICAL art form. It would accordingly be more profitable, at least from the audience's standpoint (!), for a classical dancer to be a skilled actor and mime as well, than to be able to turn that ningth pirouette.

I cannot comment on what the Maryinski people are up to in New York with their Bayadère, not having seen it. Could it be that the Russian style of mime is clumsy ? Are there people out there reading the site who have seen both the Bournonville mime, and the current Maryinski/Bolshoi mime, who might enlighten us ?

Share this post


Link to post

I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in '97, a school that has a dance department with a very strong modern dance bias (ugh!). Time and time again I had to defend to students that ballet was as visceral and intellectual as modern dance. I think mime is the link. I absolutely love abstract ballets but somehow I always find them a little superficial when compared with the richness and depth of feeling that mime brings to ballet. I think a lot of the people (and, believe me, they're out there) that insist that ballet is a minor art form vastly inferior to opera or drama wouldn't think so if they understood the role that mime can play in ballet. It puts the classical dancing into a dramatic framework and brings subtexts to ballet that, quite frankly, I don't believe are present in neoclassical ballet. Take LA BAYADERE. Nikiya is a bit of a static character but Solor and Gamzatti are very complex characters that allow a tour de force for a dancer that can mime as well as dance well. I think that were mime to become again a mainstay of ballet (not to say that plotless ballets don't have artistic integrity or should be banned) in America it wouldn't be considered a poor cousin that can't compare to the sublimity of opera.

Share this post


Link to post

Welcome, John-Michael. I see you're a Noverre man :) (He tried very hard to make ballet be seen as the "equal" to opera by developing the dramatic side.)

I'm glad to hear you stood up to those who think ballet is devoid of intellectual interest. I hope you weren't too bruised in those battles :)

Share this post


Link to post

Going way up to a post by Leigh Witchel in re "Mime needs interpretation." With great respect, I differ. I think what mime needs is translation. It has specific meaning, literal meaning. It isn't subject to alternate interpretations. The danger is that an audience won't have a clue what is going onProgram notes are a really great help, provided people read them. (Bayadere could have used supertitles.)They should be called "libretti." Opera goers read libretti to see what the singers are singing--okay, you don't have too, sometimes the music just carries the day, but the acutal meaning certainly enhances the experience. It was never the maker's intent (mime ballet passages or opera) for the audience to intuit meaning. To me, interpretation comes more into play with so-called abstract dances. Or with the overall "reading" of a story.

Share this post


Link to post

what a marvelous discussion.:( Alexandra's observations about "Amager" , the unfamiliarity of mime, Noverre; Katharine Kanter's on specialization and the (non-imitative)nature of danced mime; Manhattnik's on Anianashvili's exquisite mime in Swan Lake... To pursue a bit further Katharine Kanter's observations (and Kirsten Ralov's quote)....

I myself was a gymnast and see a parallel in the abolition of figures in figure skating (!!!!!!!!) and compulsory exercises in gymnastics. it's the dreadful "jumping up and down" view of any "athletic" endeavor-- okay, enough of this, where's the good stuff? LOL. I watched the compulsories from the Barcelona Olympics on a cable special, the "triplecast", and saw every competitor's exercises. it was astounding. every strength and weakness, everything the gymnasts strenuously eschewed in their optional routines becauses it wasn't their favorite thing to do, was transparently obvious. amplitude, fluidity, flexibility (or lack of same) were under Klieg lights. Perhaps that's why compulsories and figures had to go? I sincerely hope mime never suffers a similarly ludicrous fate.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0