Balanchine ballets by any other name
Posted 27 January 2002 - 04:28 PM
"Davidsbundlertanze," and so on.
In contrast, there are the ballet titles of Antony Tudor -- Jardin aux Lilas, Dark Elegies, Dim Lustre, The Leaves are Fading, etc., and some of Jerome Robbins's -- Dances at a Gathering, Antique Epigraphs, Interplay, The Cage, etc.
I'm not saying the Balanchine works need other titles -- clearly they don't -- but it might be amusing to think up alternate titles for those listed above (or any others) ala Tudor, Robbins, or even William Forsythe.
Posted 27 January 2002 - 06:50 PM
Presumably deleting picturesque names for his ballets was, for Balanchine, comparable to reducing costumes to leotard and tights, not just an appeal to the centrality of music but a way of asking people to look as directly as possible at the dancing...(?)
Posted 27 January 2002 - 09:16 PM
Posted 27 January 2002 - 11:13 PM
Titling a ballet is indeed a difficult thing, because people reasonably expect the title to reflect the content of the ballet. And often, one simply doesn't want to be pinned down that way - one of dance's great virtues is the ability to mean many things all at once. Titling the work by its music is one way out.
Posted 27 January 2002 - 11:47 PM
Posted 28 January 2002 - 02:32 PM
In my more suspicious moments I think naming the ballet after the music can be a cop-out for some, inoculating the choreographer against charges of "Well, he called the ballet Such-and-such, but nothing we see on stage expresses Such-and-such....."
Posted 28 January 2002 - 04:01 PM
In one of those ballet novels from the 1970s, the author combined what were, in the popular imagination, the worst characteristics of Tudor and Balanchine into its principal choreographer. The wittiest part of the book was that he named the ballets "Koechle listing 549" (Sorry -- I'm sure that's misspelled, blowing the joke, but it's the man who catalogued Mozart's music, giving that "K. number" to each composition.)
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