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The Classics, Old Fashioned or Contemporary


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 September 2002 - 05:04 AM

Ronny, don't worry - this is "Issues..." so examination of aesthetic, philosophical and literary underpinnings of narrative or non-narrative, but theme-based work (Jewels comes to mind) is fair grist for this mill.

#17 ronny

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 04:06 PM

There is a very contemporary saying "what goes around comes around"... its a reference to natural law saying that the things that we do come back to us. An old, old principle, but so contemporary because of the new saying "what goes around comes around".

What makes this so interesting to me is the relationship between Cinderella and La Sylphide in this regard. Both have an old woman in the plot. In one case, Cinderella is kind to the old woman... and you know the triumphal ending to the story. What goes around comes around.

And conversly, James in La Sylphide is unkind to an old woman... and you know what happens at the end of that story. What goes around comes around.

The very same principle, but shown from two different sides. These stories may seem old to some, but they are just as fresh today as the day they were first performed.

Its such a nice example of contemporary that I just had to add it to the thread.

#18 GWTW

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 12:35 AM

Ronny, your last post raises the question of whether a ballet can become a 'classic' merely because of its story. Cinderella is a timeless fairy tale/myth, etc. but as a ballet (with the Prokofiev score) is only about 60 years old. This is true, of course, for Romeo & Juliet too.
Perhaps those who are more familiar with a variety of productions can say whether these are 'classic' ballets.

#19 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 03:50 AM

Cinderella is kind of an odd bird among the "classics". The Ashton version seems to be the Gold Standard to which most others are compared, or other productions self-consciously imitate. What makes a classic for me, is the successful blending of music, choreography, decor(if any), and story(if any). But that's just one guy's opinion!:)

#20 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 04:10 AM

I think the problem is at this point that "classic" has several different meanings in this discussion. We've spilled much electronic ink here on the complexity of use and definitions of that word.

There's "classical" in the sense of hewing to the vocabulary and conventions of classical ballet, and the majority of productions of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet do this. There's "classical" in the sense of the sorts of ballets out there "classical", "romantic" or other genres; Cinderella's divertissements make it slightly more classical in style than R & J, but neither is classical in the way Sleeping Beauty is classical. And then, we also seem to be using "classic" in the sense of "a classic" here; canonical or the standard. Both Cinderella and R & J have competing "standard" versions depending on where you're from (for Cinderella, Ashton's version sets the Western standard - but is Ben Stevenson's more performed? - and I think there is a different version in Russia (Lavrovsky's?). Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet is the version most could claim ancestry from, but in the west, the two versions most known, Macmillan's and Cranko's are possibly equally performed. So in neither case is there a standard predominant or "classic" version.


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