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SABRA

Best of Balanchine

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Does anyone have knowledge of this set of 5 tapes? Is Serenade on it?What is your opinion of it in general?

Many thanks,

Sabra

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i'm not sure what's included in this 'set' but i suspect these are the nonesuch/balanchine-library cassettes, or at least 5 of them. SERENADE has NOT been put, to the best of knowledge, on the commercial market. it was shown, on public television on a 'dance in america' program called 'balanchine in america' that presented SEREANDE and WESTERN SYMPHONY. the 'dance in america' programs that the nonesuch/library markets are those that were originially aired,during balanchine's lifetime, as 'choreography by balanchine' (made in 4 parts). the later program, w/ SERENADE was made and aired after balanchine died.

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The tapes in the five-piece set include the "Dance in America" segments rg mentions, which were made in the late seventies and feature Baryshnikov, Farrell, Martins, McBride, von Aroldingen, Ashley, and the rest of the usual suspects. The other two tapes are, I think, the tapes from The Balanchine Celebration from the nineties. They're all worth having, especially the earlier items.

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Thank you so much for the very useful information. My next question is, did anyone out there tape that broadcast with SERENADE and WESTERN SYMPHONY? Since it is not commercially available, could anyone send me a copy? I will be happy to reciprocate if I have anything someone else would like. You can email me at (mmballet@juno.com) to work out particulars.

Many thanks again,

Melba

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I have it! I don't know the order the tapes are supposed to go in, but the set includes:

The Nutcracker w/ Kistler and Woetzel

Chaconne w/ Farrell and Martins; Prodigal Son w/ Baryshnikov and Karin von Aroldingen

Tzigane w/ Farrell and Martins; Divertimento No. 15 w/ Merrill Ashley and others; The Four Temperaments w/ Bart Cook, Adam Luders, Colleen Neary, Ashley, and Danielle Duell

Ballo della Regina w/ Ashley and Robert Weiss; Steadfast Tin Soldier w/ Baryshnikov and Pat McBride; Elegie w/ Sean Lavery and Karin; Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux w/ McBride and Baryshnikov

Emeralds w/ Ashley and Aroldingen and others; Diamonds Pas with Farrell and Martins; Stravinsky Violin Concerto w/ Karin, Peter, Kay Mazzo (freakishly skinny!), and Cook

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Is that the same Nutcracker that was in movie theaters and had Macaulay Culkin and that obnoxious narrator, or is it a different video? If it's the latter, I am very interested...

Ditto SABRA on the Serenade/Western videotape...I'd be willing to pay for a copy...;) [if possible, send me a PM]

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Same. Ugh. Macaulay Culkin is totally not a ballet boy.

I have a question- everyone makes such a big deal about Balanchine's Nutcracker, but I didn't think it was all that great. The choreography was a bit simplistic coming from Mr. B. I have never seen it live, so I don't know if there's a really huge difference between the stage experience and screen experience. Somebody please explain.

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Old-Fashioned, I've only watched parts of the movie, but Balanchine's Nutcracker was conceived for the stage - there's a magic of stage transformation (a tree grows, windows fall away, a bedroom because a snow filled outdoors) that seems somehow more expected on film. Also for me, some of the greatest parts of Balanchine's version of the Nutcracker aren't in Act II, but Act I, in the party scene. I think that part of the story of Balanchine's Nutcracker is how a young girl becomes a young lady - her introduction into society.

As for the choreography itself, I'd say it's more simple than simplistic, though there are individual sections from other versions I like as much or better. But it's the sort of work whose magic you appreciate more in a theater with more than 2000 children watching their first ballet in awe.

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Beating a dead horse ;) , I was thinking about this response walking home last night - Nutcracker is one of Balanchine's ballets that grew on me over time, rather than winning me over immediately. Part of the reason I don't think I was immediately attracted to it was that it was so simple. Like I said, I don't like Balanchine's version to the exclusion of others, but on the whole I like it the best of the versions I have seen so far. I hope you get to see it in a theater (and better yet, over a period of a few Christmases!)

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