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Other arts in connection with ballet

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#1 Alexandra


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Posted 13 August 2002 - 11:59 AM

A very interesting question, Stuttgart. There are certainly bits of paintings in famous ballets (Apollo and Terpsichore touching fingers in Balanchine's "Apollo" is one example.) I read an article by Frederick Ashton on choreography once where he said in certain early works he had tried to imitate groupings he found in paintings (I think to teach himself composition) but later "rather despised that method of working" (no further explanation, and I wish he'd given one!)
Diaghilev and his friends -- and Lincoln Kirstein and his, later on, in America -- were very much influenced by art.

I'd be interested in reading posts from viewers (as well as choreographers and dancers, of course) to see if anyone thinks of paintings when watching ballets, or if painting and sculpture have a relationship to dance in your life.

I'll offer one example. The Bolshoi's most recent production of Don Quixote has a tavern scenethat looks very much like John Singer Sargent's Spanish paintings. The colors, the composition, the way the dancers sat on chairs against the wall, arranged just so. I couldn't help but wonder if the designer had been influenced by the paintings, or if both designer and Sargent had seen the same thing (and the design was inspired by an early production)

#2 Paquita


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Posted 14 August 2002 - 09:54 AM

I think this question applies most to choreographers and there are some on the board so I hope they'll chime in.
The arts do feed off each other, and the influence of other art forms in ballet is often very evident and makes it more interesting too by connecting different interpretations of the same essential things. Balanchine was quite successful at this, I forget which ballet it was that he was inspired by Byzantine idols (read about it in Vilella's "Prodigal Son"). He had a rich understanding not just of ballet but of other forms of dance and the other arts. I think it is really important for all artists to have a broad knowledge of art and to seek inspiration from outside a singular realm.
As a dance student, when I perform I do get inspiration from things like theatre, sculpture, or even film. I don't really know how to describe the way I translate the feeling into movement though. I think I try and find the essence of the image, what draws me to it, and once that is identified I will decide what it means in dance terms and go from there. It's not really a concious process however, mostly just instinct.
Sorry my response is so vague!

#3 Ari


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Posted 13 August 2002 - 06:21 PM

Wasn't the attitude position taken (by Carlo Blasis) from Giovanni da Bologna's statute of Mercury?

And the pose in Serenade in which one ballerina is lying on the floor looking up at her partner, whose arms try to encircle her, while the "Dark Angel" hovers threateningly above them, was taken from a sculpture of Canova.

I've always thought that that moment in Serenade looks dated; Balanchine very seldom worked with poses, preferring motion. The attitude, however, has always struck me as being echt ballet, the epitome of the noble ideal.

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 August 2002 - 04:56 PM

Hi Stuttgart -

I think you'll get at least a few comments from dancers here (there are several Ballet Alertniks who were or are dancers, and even more in the Special Forums area), but just so there isn't confusion, I think you'll find many people you'll be talking to here are looking at ballet from the audience.

#5 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 14 August 2002 - 10:35 AM

Stuttgart, there is a link in the Tuesday, Aug. 13 Links section (in the News forum) to an article about a new ballet by Christopher Flemming which is based on a painting. The link is about the 7th or 8th post down on that page I think.

#6 Stuttgart



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Posted 13 August 2002 - 09:57 AM


I wonder what other people think about the influence of other Arts, for instance sculpture, painting, have on ballet.
Did other arts apply something to ballet in history. Does for instance a sculpture give you inspiration for a ballet, or for a performance?
And how do you translate it from the art of painting, which is not moving, to the art of ballet( moving)?

I hope I get some answers.

Thanks in advance!!:mad:

#7 Stuttgart



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Posted 13 August 2002 - 12:06 PM

Thanks for your answer.

What I am most intersted at is:

if you see something beautifull in a painting or sculpture, and you got inspiration from it.
How do you deal with it when you have to dance a role. How do you translate the feeling what you have from the painting or sculpture into your dancing?

#8 Stuttgart



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Posted 14 August 2002 - 12:02 PM

Thank you very much, Paquita,

your comment was were I was hoping for!!

Thanks again!!:mad:

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