Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Dale

Poll: Ballet Time Traveler

  

  1. 1. Poll: Ballet Time Traveler

    • [b]Versailles/Fontainbleu, 1670s[/b]: court ballet of Louis XIV—Lully, Moliere's comédie-ballet Le Bourgois Gentilhomme, Psyche by Moliere, Lully, Corneille, and Quinault; Beauchamps as maître de ballet
      2
    • [b]Paris, 1840s[/b]: Coralli's Giselle and La Peri; Perrot's Esmeralda; Mazillier's Paquita and Le Diable à Quatre; Taglioni, Grisi, Petipa as dancer
      9
    • [b]Copenhagen, 1860s[/b]: Bournonville in full flower—all his works being danced except Life Guards on Amager
      7
    • [b]St. Petersburg, 1890s[/b]: Petipa in excelsis—Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Halte de Cavalrie, and (with others) Cinderella; Ivanov's Swan Lake and Nutcracker
      24
    • [b]Paris, 1910s[/b]: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes—Firebird, Petrushka, Carnaval, Scheherezade, Spectre de la Rose, Faune, Parade, etc.
      28
    • [b]Other[/b] (before 1930)
      0

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

30 posts in this topic

Okay, here's a chance to catch those performances you've always wished you'd seen. A good fairy has granted you the right to travel back in time only once, to one of places and periods listed above, in order to let you see for yourself the things you've only read about. Which would you choose, and why?

Note: I've limited this poll to the years BEFORE 1930, on the assumption that the death of Diaghilev in 1929 ushered in the modern era of ballet, the one we're still living in. If this poll attracts people's interest, we can have another one with choices ranging from 1930 to the present.

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, difficult! I want all of them, but I think I'll go for St Petersburg, because I've read more about that time than any of the others, and I want to see how much of what I've read is true.

Share this post


Link to post

Another tough choice -- I agree with Helena. I want to see all of them. (That, when pressed, I voted for Bournonville may not be a surprise.)

Aside from its difficulty, though -- very nice poll, Ari. I like the detail :(

Share this post


Link to post

I ended up voting for Paris, because the first things I read about ballet were on Diaghilev, and I have always felt deprived because I didn't see the 1909 season, but of course all of the above is much more appropriate.

Share this post


Link to post

It was between Diaghilev and Bournonville, but I picked Bournonville ... never get to see enough of his work! Given the chance I would definitely see both, just to see Spectre de la Rose as well. At this point my favorite version of that is Nureyev's.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm beginning to feel very sorry for Taglioni and Elssler, not to mention Lully and Beauchamps. How quickly they forget :(

Share this post


Link to post
Originally posted by at

I'm beginning to feel very sorry for Taglioni and Elssler, not to mention Lully and Beauchamps.  How quickly they forget :)

I just got home from work in time to put in my vote for Taglioni and Elssler! :(

Share this post


Link to post

,Very difficult indeed. I think I'll take Paris:) - and hope it won't be my only chance!

Share this post


Link to post

I ended up choosing Paris because of the music, but I would want to visit all the times and places. Second choice would be Moliere's France. (I think that if we can assume time travel, we can also assume Babel fish.)

An idea for another poll would be which single historic performance would you attend if you were handed the keys to a time machine but only allowed one trip. (I have a hunch which performance would win; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if half the audience at the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps" *were* time travelers.)

Share this post


Link to post

When you say "Paris," BW, Tancos, and cargill, do you mean Paris in the 1840s or the 1910s?

Share this post


Link to post

I think I would pick Paris in 1910 - only because I think I'd prefer the modern conveniences.;) This is really a hard one, because I would love to go to St. Petersburg as well... maybe I can use my frequent flyer miles?

Share this post


Link to post

Paris 1910--I still can't read enough about those twenty magical years.

Share this post


Link to post

I picked Paris 1910 too. I think those years marked one of the most exciting eras not just for ballet, but for many forms of art. Lots of experimentation and exploration, but with more of a direction than what we have today. It would be great to go back and see these wonderful collaboration between great artists like Fokine, Nijinski, Massine, Balanchine, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Bakst, Benois... and such a wide range of music (Satie, Ravel, Debussy, Rimsky-Korsakov, and of course Stravinsky). My second choice would be St. Petersberg. But I think Diaghilev's Ballets Russes created a more complete spectacle and was more risk-taking. Another reason I chose Paris was because a lot of the works have not survived or are not in great shape today, and it seems that a lot of Petipa is still being (relatively) well-preserved.

Share this post


Link to post

I chose Paris, too -- for the reasons of incredible artistic collaboration that Paquita cited. But, I would love to have a time machine to enable me to visit them all (especially the time of Bournonville and of Petipa).

Share this post


Link to post

As I mentioned elsewhere, no less an artist than Alexandra Danilova once offered this advice on comparing modern and historic performances:

"If we do not PROgress, we RETROgress."

Brava Choura! One of the unique beauties of dance is that it is ephemeral. A brilliant performance is gone forever after the curtain call. And the great dancers and choreographers understand this simple fact, even if legal eagles miss the point.

Like dedicated birding enthusiasts, we fans flock to the place where a rare species was seen, hoping that history will appear again. Sometimes it does. Unsually it doesn't. Chasing a ghost offers precious few chances for joy. But chances no dedicated enthusiast can afford to miss.

Is it any wonder that Balanchine once considered a ballet called "Birds of America"?

Share this post


Link to post

I think people here are well aware of the ephemeral nature of ballet, which was why the topic was raised in the first place. It's a bit off topic to suggest that the exercise is either futile or not particularly bright :( I certainly hope no one feels discouraged from either voting or sharing their reasons for the vote.

Tancos, in an earlier post you wrote:

An idea for another poll would be which single historic performance would you attend if you were handed the keys to a time machine but only allowed one trip. (I have a hunch which performance would win; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if half the audience at the premiere of "Le Sacre du Printemps" *were* time travelers.)

Perhaps this would be too complicated for a poll, but it would make an interesting thread -- why not start one?

Share this post


Link to post

Hard choice. But when push comes to shove (ahem!) I guess I'd choose Paris in the 1910s because of the vast array of the banquet that would be spread before me. Plus the food would be good (to continue the banquet metaphor) and the amenities somewhat better than earlier times. I'm afraid that the Versaille choice would be difficult because I'd have to go back as a courtier in order to get in to see the ballets in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post

I chose Paris, 1910s. There's several reasons, most of which have been mentioned. One is to see what all the fuss is about :( Nijinsky and Pavlova have been so hyped, that there is a feeling from my generation that it just can't be, at least not the rumors. So I'd like to see for myself. Plus, what spawned in this era was what I know of as modern ballet. I think that if I choose an earlier time, as much as I'd love to see ballet at its beginning or St. Petersburg, I'd probably have too much resistance within myself to the body types and style to really enjoy myself. And as Paquita mentioned, all those artists and composers contributing as well, it would be (as it was) very exciting.

Now, if I could chose another option, it would either the 1930s or 1940s. For the 30s, I could see the baby ballerinas, De Basil's Ballet Russe, Massine's best work, Nijinska's things and be at the premieres of Balanchine's Serenade, Cottilion, and the original Mozartiana. I could still see Danilova and Markova. Or teh 40s, I see the early perfomances of 4ts, Concerto Barocco, Ballet Imperial -- basically the birth of the NYCB, plus see the Ballet Russe and all those ballets, the beginning of ABT.

Share this post


Link to post

I would choose Paris, too. But not for the usual reasons. I would like to see what the productions of the Ballets Suedois were like, even if I knew they were choreographically inferior, I'd like to see why everybody was so carried away with Jean Borlin and his dada ballets. At least the scenery and costumes would be interesting!

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, Mel, save the ticket. The Royal Swedish Ballet brought its H&A reconstructions of the greatest hits of the Ballet Suedois. It was a thrill to see the backcloths I'd only seen in books, yes, but that lasted only a half a minute.

The rest were, well, regional. Very derivative. Even allowing for the fact that reconstructions are often rather dull, these were dull.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, if you ever get the chance, remember after the first 2.5 minutes, you can always close your eyes and listen to the music :(

Share this post


Link to post

I chose Paris and the Ballets Russes, because the period has been so imperfectly remembered. Reconstructing the ballets of the time seems to be much more problematic than is the case that with those first performed at St Petersburg. At least the Maryinsky has had a continuity of curatorship of the Petipa tradition. It also kept in memory such works as Giselle. For Paris and the Diaghilev period we are seriously lacking enough evidence.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0