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Guilty pleasures?

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#1 Farrell Fan

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 04:18 PM

When Balanchine's "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" came to NYCB in 1968, Clive Barnes called it "an oddly puerile work to put into a ballet repertory." Though I can't quote specific reviews, the prevailing opinion on Robbins' "I'm Old Fashioned" was (and perhaps still is) that the NYCB dancers were no match for Astaire and Hayworth on the screen. Morton Gould's score was also panned. And Martins' "Barber Violin Concerto" was lambasted for presenting a supposedly stereotyped view of the differences between ballet and modern dance. All three were instant audience favorites, and remain popular. I confess I love them all.

How do you feel about them? And what are some other critically unworthy, even "puerile" works you admit to liking a lot?

#2 E Johnson

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 04:59 PM

Huh. Barber Violin Concerto is about the only Martins work I can abide. Other guilty pleasures? Robbins' The Four Seasons. And, in a vague way (the guilt, not the pleasure, is vague), Symphony in Three Movements.

#3 dirac


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Posted 14 February 2002 - 05:01 PM

I haven't seen "I'm Old Fashioned," but I'd argue that the other two don't qualify as guilty pleasures. Barber Violin Concerto, which I saw on television, I thought was facile but a showcase for Merrill Ashley and enjoyable. "Slaughter" is certainly not great, but it's perfectly all right to include it as part of the Balanchine repertory as representative of his stint on Broadway, and I suppose you could justify "West Side Story Suite" similarly for Robbins (and the dancers get to wear more comfortable shoes).

No, for a real guilty pleasure (I think we had a thread with this title, awhile back), I think it has to be something you really know is bad, but you just can't help yourself. It doesn't sound as if any of those three qualify.

I kinda liked "The Merry Widow."

#4 Hal



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Posted 14 February 2002 - 05:22 PM

I don't consider liking any of them as guilty pleasures, I love them all and don't think I have to appologize for that.

When I was a child a cousin of mine would play
Slaughter on the piano and I fell in love with the music. I recall the opening night of the ballet which was at a gala. I couldn't afford the $200 for good tickets so we bought fourth ring tickets for next to nothing (all we could ge by the time we bough them). I wanted to put on my tux but my wife said I would look stupid in the 4th ring in a tux. When we got to the theater we saw some guy trying to buy tickets and when he was able to get better seats he sold his crummy seats. We followed suit trading up as we went along. We eventually ended up in the $100 orchestra seats but only paid the $5.95 base ticket price for them. Someone even offered us tickets to the dinner/dance after but we didn't go as we weren't properly dressed. Then I felt stupid sitting in the orchestra not wearing a tux. I remember we bought one of the tickets from an elderly gentleman who said his wife was ill. He was all dressed up and was wearing diamond studs that each must have been 2 or 3 carats. Amazing that I can recall this 1/3 of a century later. smile.gif

Loved the ballet then, love it still but nobody has come closs to Farrell/Mitchel in it. The closest I recall was Kozlov with LoFosse. I would love to see Maria Kowroski in it. It is perfect for her.

[ February 14, 2002: Message edited by: hal ]

#5 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 10:46 PM

My guiltiest of pleasures?

Irina Dvorovenko in anything. I feel like Olga Bracely and her secret society of Luciaphils from E.F. Benson's Lucia novels, all breathless to see what La Lucia could possibly do next!

#6 cargill


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Posted 15 February 2002 - 05:06 PM

Leigh, I am just in the middle of rereading the Lucia books! They might make an interesting ballet for aging divas, and Dvorovenko would be perfect at Lucia. Von Aroldigen possible as Mapp? For guilty pleasures, I think it means something you know is really not first rate, but enjoy anyway, which for me definitely includes Slaughter--I love the music so much. But I have seen Kowroski and was a bit disappointed-it was just high kicks and no heart. For other guilty pleasures, I loved the first year ABT did Le Corsaire, before they started camping it up so much. Actually, I really love Minkus, too.

#7 Manhattnik


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Posted 15 February 2002 - 05:35 PM

I hesitate to mention Dvorovenko simply because Leigh beat me to it. At this point, I've decided she's a force of nature like a hurricane or typhoon, above, or rather oblivious to normal standards of taste and propriety. I am still in awe of her decision to have Giselle bid farewell to Albrecht while diving into a 6-o'clock penchee -- the same with her dazzlingly misguided First Movement ballerina in Symphony in C. I had actually come to the theater hoping I might see a wildly inappropriate, over-the-top spectacle, and, as a friend said, "she did not dissapoint." Yes, I would've been disappointed if she'd approached the role as a garden-variety ballerina instead of the Diva I've come to adore.

Although I broach this subject with a bit of trepidation -- I don't want to start a war -- I also put Eifman, or at least his Tchaikovsky and Red Giselle, in the guilty pleasures category. Yes, I find many of his decisions appallingly wrong-headed (who can forget Tchaikovsky waking the "Sleeping Prince" with a kiss on the lips?), but sometimes they're so spectacularly misguided that I'm left in awe. And the fact of the matter is, while I consider Tchaikovsky perhaps the Worst Ballet Ever (well, until Edward II arrived), it is one of the ballets I love to talk about the most, and I long ago bought tickets (full-price orchestra!) for Tchaikovsky at Eifman's run at City Center next month.

[ February 15, 2002: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

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