So what is an American ballet?
Posted 04 July 2002 - 03:23 PM
Would "Fall River Legend" qualify as typically American too? At least because of its plot...
Posted 03 July 2002 - 02:59 AM
Posted 04 July 2002 - 03:48 PM
Posted 03 July 2002 - 08:05 AM
I think Juliet's point about realism is a good one. (As an aside that may not be uninteresting, our first gothic novel, the name of which I forget, had to have scientific underpinnings. No statues with bloody noses here -- a la Walpole -- but spontaneous combustion, with a footnote as to its possibility. We don't do fantasy well.)
I think any ballet by an American will have some American footprint in it (any modern dance, too; I don't think Morris's works would be mistaken for Russian or French).
Balanchine's works, even the jazzy ones, remain European, to me. An outsider's view of a culture he knew well, although I think Who Cares? is 95% American Tudor remained an Englishman. I don't think you can change your background. And DeMille is an American even when her subject matter is not -- Three Virgins and a Devil. (Cheekiness, a slangy quality to the movement.)
Stars and Stripes
Since Balanchine programmed "Stars and Stripes" on the 4th of July, or other patriotic moments (when the hostages were freed, I believe), even during the decade when patriotism was Absolutely Out, I'd have to let it be on a National Fourth program, but I still think it's Russian, an idealization of America
Posted 03 July 2002 - 08:24 AM
I think time has shown who knew better.
So Balanchine wasn't born here. So what? America's culture has always been built on assimilating "foreign" influences -- or at least it has been in some places. It wasn't for nothing that Balanchine's company is the New York City Ballet, which is not quite the same as the American National Ballet, is it?
Posted 04 July 2002 - 02:52 PM
Posted 03 July 2002 - 06:12 AM
one of the hallmarks of "American" for me is also realism........sylphs, fantastical beings , folklore, et al. figure more prominently in other cultural depictions than they do in American ballet....with the exception of a good deal of Alvin Ailey's work.....
Interestingly, I don't think of Mark Morris as particularly "American" in his body of work....
(I'm trying to stick to ballet as a focus...)
Posted 03 July 2002 - 09:56 AM
Posted 02 July 2002 - 03:42 PM
Ninette de Valois's formula for a National Ballet company prescribes 1/4 works of a national character among the mix of repertory. Some choices (like Rodeo) are obvious, but I'd argue that Agon is as American (or at least as New York) as Rodeo is American.
What makes a ballet American to you? Non-Americans welcome in the discussion!
Posted 03 July 2002 - 11:03 AM
Posted 05 July 2002 - 06:28 PM
Posted 03 July 2002 - 02:26 PM
Posted 03 July 2002 - 05:36 AM
And pretty much all of Robbins I find to be very American (especially The Concert)
I think most of Balanchine's pieces were created during very political years in American history, and I think that's subtly underlined in his pieces (like Agon and 4 T's)
I think in order to see the American you have to look at pieces that are very un-American (like Bayadere or even Theme) to appreciate it.
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