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Silliness: So what do people DO in those ballet villages?


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31 replies to this topic

#16 cargill

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Posted 05 November 2001 - 01:28 PM

As for working, the peasants in La Fille Mal Gardee certainly spend some time scything, though they spend a lot of their lunch hour dancing and drinking heaps of wine. I suspect they take long afternoon naps.

#17 Alymer

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Posted 06 November 2001 - 03:03 PM

I've often thought those happy harvesters in Fille were a bit underpriviledged. Only the two bottles provided by Colas and he's already taken a swig of one.
In Alicia Alonso's production of Giselle for the Paris Opera, Giselle's mother ran some kind of a dressmaking establishment. And to judge by the number of girls who went into her cottage and the size of the building, it was clearly a sweatshop!

#18 Nanatchka

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Posted 06 November 2001 - 06:31 PM

Asks Alexandra:
"Another, related query: why is the population of ballet peasant villages 98% in the 17-24 year age bracket?"

Because that is the age of the actual dancers?

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 06 November 2001 - 06:48 PM

Well, yes, of course it's the age of the actual dancers, but in these productions that try so hard to look realistic, it is rather silly.

#20 Richard Jones

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Posted 10 November 2001 - 07:29 PM

All those merry peasants are continually celebrating harvests of some kind or other (especially in the Rhineland villages where many of them seem to live). So, the harvest never fails? And why is it that we never see them sowing what they will reap? The hardships of winter don't seem to strike them (they would probably have to wear too many clothes - challenge for the designer, to make them look well wrapped up, but still able to move! N.B. Les Patineurs). Winter in ballet-land is full of snow fairies. (But has anyone seen The Seasons - music by Glazunov? I guess this is more abstract, especially in the Cranko choreography, so it doesn't really count as peasant Ballet-land).

A point about Coppelia, set in a village in Eastern Europe - it includes a Call to Arms for the men in Act 3 (during the Festival of the Bell). The premiere was in Paris on 25th May 1870. On 15th July 1870 the Franco-Prussian War began, which led to revolution in Paris, the end of the Second Empire, and the proclamation of the 3rd Republic....

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 10 November 2001 - 09:21 PM

Anybody who's ever farmed even a little farm will know the answer to the first question: Why are they always harvesting? If you've timed your crops correctly, you should be harvesting all the way from June (early peas and asparagus), to November (late wheat). And harvesting takes a LOT of people. Sowing seed or setting plants takes only one or two for every thousand square feet or so. Harvesting takes a crowd!

Re: the Glazunov Seasons- I've seen photos (only a couple) from the original production, and it looked to me like Petipa had returned to the ballets of his youth, or even of his teacher's day, with much allegory going on, but in nice academically correct fashion.

And also a big yes to the Call to Arms in Coppélia. The Franco-Prussian War led to the Siege of Paris and the demise of many of the original personnel from the original production of the ballet. I've often wondered if some of the disjointedness in the Act III divertissement wasn't at least partially attributable to that fact.

(ps. Radishes come in both early and late, so you can start and end the garden with them. Just avoid hot weather - makes 'em bolt to seed too fast, and the radishes are too sharp to eat if it's too hot!)

[ November 10, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]



#22 beckster

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 09:44 AM

I would like to know how, in the days before telephones, these peasant women manage to coordinate their outfits. Peasant girls seem to meet their friends in the village square quite by chance - and they are wearing the same dress! Fashion faux-pas, or a simple lack of pattern variety at the village dressmakers?

#23 felursus

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 12:15 AM

Well, if you go to Southern Germany or to Austria a lot of women wear dirndles. There seems to be only a couple of patterns for them - and even that may depend on the locale. Of course they make them up in lots of different material patterns and different bodice colors. I have seen productions where the girls each had a slightly different shade - say, 3 shades of green, 3 of brown, 3 of rusty orange, 3 yellows, etc. I guess my vote is that the village dressmakers don't have much imagination, a great variety of materials and only 1 pattern. It's always a shock to view a village where the dressmakers have been allowed to let their imaginations run wild. eek.gif

#24 BW

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 08:26 AM

Fashion is one thing - but what are they talking about???

#25 Manhattnik

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 11:10 AM

I'm rather fond of the wandering Hungarians who pop up out of nowhere in Kermesse in Bruges to dance a feisty mazurka, perhaps in exchange for directions to the Danube. Even in a ballet set in Belgium, gotta have that mazurka!

Obviously itinerant mazurka-dancer is a venerable profession in ballet-dom.

#26 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 21 November 2001 - 11:19 AM

second only, i suppose, to royal czardas-keeper!

#27 felursus

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Posted 26 November 2001 - 02:41 AM

Excuse me: the Czardas is a dance from Hungary. The mazurka is a dance from Poland, and Hungarians (except in ballet companies) wouldn't be caught dead doing it.


I would like to know how the Poles, or Hungarians, or both got into Bruges.

#28 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 November 2001 - 07:05 AM

Maybe the EEC has been around longer than we thought? wink.gif

#29 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 26 November 2001 - 07:34 AM

but if we're in a ballet with a royal court, then it wouldn't be so unlikely to have visitors from other kingdoms and if they're royal visitors, then maybe they've brought a retinue, and any retinue worth its salt should have a few dancers, right? maybe bringing dancers for entertainment is the royal-ballet-guest-guide's equivalent of bringing a bottle of champagne to a party?

[ November 26, 2001: Message edited by: Mme. Hermine ]



#30 cargill

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Posted 26 November 2001 - 01:31 PM

I thought the Hungarians were wandering Gypsies, who roam from ballet to ballet stomping and twirling their hair. I once suggested a Soceity for the Prevention of Gypsies in Ballet, which I think is badly needed, especially in ABT's Don Quixote. Does anyone remember ABT's The Red Shoes--I think that had the most absurd gypsy dance I ever saw.


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