romantic pas de deux for same-sex couples
Posted 05 December 2002 - 08:58 AM
Concerto 622 is still in Pennsylvania Ballet's active repertoire. The last time I saw it danced was February 2001, I think. The central "Gemini" duet (interestingly, I've never heard it called that before) was typically danced by Jeffrey Gribler and David Krensing. Gribler's now retired and is the company's Ballet Master, but I'm pretty sure they trained another dancer in the role so I imagine it will only be another couple of years before we'll see it again. I find it to be an extraordinarily moving piece.
Posted 05 December 2002 - 09:30 AM
It's interesting that both Jeux and Les Biches used two women as an injoke/metaphor for two men. Is that because two women dancing together strike most people as asexual? (I certainly never think of Serenade as a Lesbian gang meeting.)
Posted 05 December 2002 - 09:51 AM
Originally posted by Alexandra
Is that because two women dancing together strike most people as asexual? (I certainly never think of Serenade as a Lesbian gang meeting.)
Oh my. I'm really wondering if that's going to stick with me until the next time I see Serenade!
The comment to me about choreography as specific metaphor (dip = "kiss", serrés = "climax") is fascinating because I'd argue that it's fine, but completely unnecessary. The battements serrés can just be a series of battements serrés and you still know Odette and Siegfried are soul mates. Perhaps this is an extension of Alexandra's comments about realism, I'd even argue that "translation" of the metaphor is unnecessary. The abstraction gives me everything I need to know.
Posted 05 December 2002 - 10:18 AM
One could say the same thing about the mime speeches/gestures that indicate someone was a King. "I don't need to know what they mean. I know he's a King." But to the choreographer, I think the details matter. (And I think most choreographers would want at least some people who view their work to understand what they put into it.)
Posted 05 December 2002 - 11:13 AM
Carbro - this again is only my experience, but I found the more satisfying and solid the male/male choreography I made, the more pulled away from pure classicism (or at least, one kind of classicism) it had to get. It remained "balletic" but the most successful sort of same-sex partnering got a lot of its inspiration from Contact Improvisation, which has pretty much figured out a paradigm for same-sex work. The conundrum is that the ballet vocabulary doesn't have much place in it, which is no sin, but if one is a ballet choreographer, and finds oneself using little or nothing or one's "native tongue", it is a conundrum.
Posted 05 December 2002 - 12:36 PM
I think your comments on male-male choreography and ballet are quite apt, and it's one of the problems. Because there isn't a ballet model, people turn to the models that exist, i.e., contact improv or modern dance, which turns away from ballet. There were once models of male-male choreography, though. There are quite a few drawings in Miriam Hannah Winter's "The Pre-Romantic Ballet." I should have time to scan some and put them up on the site and linlk to them. She used one for the cover, and since it's a heavier, older, bearded man lifting a young, slim man, and they're both in "dresses" (i.e., classical dress), for years I thought it was a man and a woman -- I didn't look at it closely. We gained a lot in the 19th century, but we lost some things as well
Back to women meeting in the moonlight -- that was an image that frightened good, Churchgoing men for centuries, because it harked back to pagan times, when women had the power to keep men out of their meetings. Which may have been about quilt patterns and child rearing, but were thought of as gatherings of witches. Lots of things to think about in Serenade
But all this gets away from Paul's question -- which I'm very glad he raised. I would hope that someone would break away from the improv and modern dance models and look to classicism. Ashton did -- the danced conversation between Elgar and his friend in "Enigma Variations." The relationship among the men in "A Month in the Country." Not a gay love story, to be sure, but ways to depict men on stage beyond King or porteur -- or male soloist. (I think Ashton is woefully underestimated as an innovator in ballet narrative. He made it look so natural, people never realized that every story ballet he did was filled with new ways of telling a story and depicting character. The Tutor in "Month" is characterized completely in movement. So were the men in his "Romeo and Juliet."
Posted 05 December 2002 - 05:16 PM
This is James Harvey d'Egville as Ulysses and Andre Jean-Jacques Deshayes as Achilles disguised as a handmaiden of the Princess Deidamia. (King's Theatre, London).
Posted 05 December 2002 - 05:20 PM
Posted 05 December 2002 - 05:22 PM
Posted 05 December 2002 - 05:40 PM
sorry - i posted this before my page refreshed, to show me that the discussion has moved on...
Posted 05 December 2002 - 05:46 PM
Posted 05 December 2002 - 08:01 PM
Grace, I got out "A Ballet Called Swan Lake" but couldn't find that passage -- I'd forgoten how detailed that book is. I did notice that he sometimes says, "I think" when describing the ballerina's facial expression, but the comments on choreography are more this is what is done here, that is what is done there. I can't remember -- it's something I read 25 years ago and filed in my "Swan Lake" file. But he did discuss this with so many dancers and balletmasters of the time, so even an opinion is more than a critical comment. I think.
Back to Paul's original question -- and picking up an earlier response by Leigh that talked about models for male-male duets being taken from contact improv -- what classical models are there? Is it possible to do this in classical ballet? If so, how?
Posted 05 December 2002 - 08:45 PM
Originally posted by Alexandra
I certainly never think of Serenade as a Lesbian gang meeting.
No? Just wait until the copyright expires!
Posted 06 December 2002 - 05:52 AM
Posted 06 December 2002 - 05:59 AM
I hope this is a phase, but if it is, it's been a long one.
The other problem is lack of what we call "out of the box" thinking. It's so easy to fall into following models: a ballet must have a romantic pas de deux. It's hard to break out of that.
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