the Golden Age
Posted 07 August 2001 - 10:20 AM
(Actually I've been wanting to use this topic title for some time so that when you add a reply the message will come up 'Sit tight...we are taking you back to the Golden Age' - well, I can dream!)
Posted 07 August 2001 - 01:11 PM
Posted 09 August 2001 - 02:02 PM
We have taken similar journeys. My first "phase" in ballet was Ballet Russe. I read everything about it I could get my hands on, and 25 years ago I would have answered this question, without hesitation, as Paris, 1908-1914. And then I must have OD'd on the Ballet Russe, because now it would be at the end of my list. (Partly this may be because I've never seen a totally convincing performance of a Ballet Russe ballet.)
I didn't get to live through the 1960s in London, and would be quite tempted to pick that one, but I think, if I could straddle decades, I'd take 1955-1965 in New York. That way, I'd get what was arguably Balanchine's most creative period, PLUS regular visits from the Royal and the Royal Danes (and a lot more, to boot).
And then you had to go and mention Copenhagen in the 19th century, so I'm going to pick one decade a century. (For the 18th, I'd pick the time when the Gardels were reigning in Paris.) I'd love to see all the grand, serious ballets of Bournonville's that were scuttled in the 1930s. I think that would be the 1860s (he retired in 1874, and probably his last four years weren't his best). An English visitor to Scandinavia, Edward Gosse, wrote of "The Lay of Thrym" that it made all other ballet in Europe look trivial in comparison.
Posted 09 August 2001 - 04:30 PM
Posted 09 August 2001 - 08:32 PM
Posted 09 August 2001 - 09:07 PM
Posted 10 August 2001 - 04:53 AM
Now, my choice would depend on whether I'm going back to become a person of the time, or whether I'm going as myself with my present knowledge and experience.
If I'm going to become a person of the time, I think I would choose the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, Paris 1909 onwards - because, even though as Alexandra so rightly says, not all of the ballets from that era stand up to scrutiny, I think at the time the explosion of colour, music and originality would have been very startling and exciting. Imagine being at the "scandalous" opening nights of L'Apres Midi d'un Faune and Sacre du Printemps, and seeing the Russian splendour of Firebird and Petrouchka for the first time. And think of the dancers...
If I were to go back in time as myself, as I am now, I think my choice would be London in the 1930s - not because I think it's the greatest ballet decade, but because for me it would be the most interesting. I'd love to see the very beginnings of English ballet, how it grew, what people like Ashton, Fonteyn, de Valois and Lambert were like then.
Posted 11 August 2001 - 07:06 AM
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