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Abstract Ballet


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#16 Hal

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Posted 07 October 2002 - 11:31 PM

I think that ballet stories just get in the way. They are at best trite, at worst insulting in their simplicity and stupidity. What is the "story" of Beethoven's 5th symphony? I presume you think that great music can stand on its own. Why not dance. :) The wonder of ballet is not the telling of a simplistic story but the beautiful, evocotive, enthralling, captivating, exhilarating, athletic, mesmerizing, movement of the human body to great music. I list Agon as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of mankind. I can't imagine a story ballet that has anywhere near its power. It is the essence of ballet. It is just magnificent. Words cannot describe it. It has to be seen in person with great dancers, good musicians, and rapt attention to comprehend its power.

If you go to see a ballet performance to enjoy a story, you are mostly missing the point of it all IMHO. Most comic books have better stories and are a lot cheaper and are faster to read. By removing the simplistic story from the ballet, it is not lessened but greatly enhanced if done well. There is nothing to distract from the power of the dancing and the music.

If I thought I would never ever see Swan Lake, Giselle, et.al. again in my lifetime it would not phase me in the least. But if I thought I would never ever see Agon again it would break my hear. Fortunately, I have tickets for it this coming season.

My most humble opinion.

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 03:30 AM

However, music, like ballet, can be either "programmatic" i.e. representational, or "pure" i.e. presentational. "Agon" is a wonderful work, it does not have an overt story, except maybe the story of the progress of classicism from the seventeenth century to the twentieth and then on into the future. The variety of choices in what to view gives a richness to the balletgoing experience, and the contrast between and among works gives depth to the art as a whole. After all, what would a "plotless" ballet be if all ballet were plotless? Just another of more of the same! Having a variety to choose from is part of what makes ballet enjoyable as a performing art.

#18 Hal

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:20 PM

After all, what would a "plotless" ballet be if all ballet were plotless? Just another of more of the same! Having a variety to choose from is part of what makes ballet enjoyable as a performing art.


I personally find enough variety in plotless/abstract works that I almost think of the story ballets as another less interesting artform. There are more than enough plotless/abstract works to keep me going to the ballet for more than the rest of my life. And I don't plan on dying soon. :(

#19 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 03:38 AM

Fine, there are loads of people who get a large charge out of a steady diet of Bach. There are even those who find charms in Czerny!:eek: Me, a little goes a long way, and we're now into a De Gustibus discussion where it's all a matter of individual taste, and everybody's right. :)


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