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Alexandra

Goodbye to all that...Phrases for the Dustbin

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Phrases I'd like to leave behind in 2002 and never read again:

"We are not a museum company!"

"No tutus and toe shoes for the XYZ ballet!"

"Jones has turned classical ballet on its ear!"

"The new work goes beyond ballet..."

I could think of more, but I don't want to be piggy.

Are there any phrases you'd like to confine to oblivion?

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"What better way to pay tribute to the creative legacy of Choreographer X than by continuing to commission new ballets?"

"Blends elements of contemporary and classical dance"

"We need to update our repertoire for the younger set"

No names. ;)

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"...drags ballet into the 21st Century...."

A real insult to the intelligence on the bases of both æsthetics and physics.

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"brings [insert old chestnut here] up-to-date"

"Diamond Project" (oops, that just kinda slipped out)

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someone who could take the company to the next level

embracing of our strategy for the future

move the company forward.

redefining the creative concept

move forward and get things back on track in a positive way

make the company into one of the 10 best in the world.

new level of international excellence and recognition

put it on the map

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Referring to a classical ballet as "just classroom steps."

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Edgy

(Makes me think of the Caffeine Fairy)

appealing to a younger audience

bike shorts

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bike shorts. WELL. If we're going to get into the things that really matter, like costume! I could live without seeing a pair of bare feet shoved into pointe shoes again. I really could. And footless tights, line breakers that they are, could turn up on someone's Out list without causing a pang.

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All variants on "X's work had order and formality (or purpose). A little abandon would have been welcome" (or, "but one had little sense of why.")

I've seen this review many times. I've GOTTEN this review :) I'd love to see writers start asking what about formalism is so elusive to them.

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These phrases confirm my perception that ballet is just another business (or maybe that ballet criticism is just another corporate public relations opportunity). It is a safe bet that even the Enron Annual Report had a phrase similar to "We are poised to take energy trading into the 21st century. We are not a museum company."

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It IS just another business, unfortunately.

I think I'd add: X is a WORLD CLASS company.

I've had to check a couple of company web sites in the past couple of days and I'm astounded at how many "world class" companies there are. Some of them have 20 dancers, are in small cities, dance four times a year. What possible meaning do they think the phrase has? The Dutch National Ballet describes itself this way: "World class in every sense it ranks alongside the other major international dance companies." To be sure it is absolutely clear what they mean by "other major international companies," they expand upon this inside: "Het Nationale Ballet ranks alongside other prestigious international companies such as The Royal Ballet, Le Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris, American Ballet Theatre, the Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet." Really.

By this standard, DanceView is an internationally renowned publication -- 10% of our subscribers live in Europe and all of them renown it :)

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i offer the following as a comparison, from the front pages of the souvenir program of the 1916 diaghilev ballets russes. worth noting, IMO, that apart from one page noting where the company is touring, one listing the board of directors of the metropolitan opera by name (personal, not company), and text giving the stories of the ballets, this is the only text in the entire book in which, essentially, the company is talking about itself.

*****************

"Artistic unity and harmonious cooperation are the keynotes of the Russian Ballet. It is important to remember that the supreme technical excellence of individual dancers is the least remarkable element contributing to the sensational success of M. Diaghileff's organization. The art of his famous maitre de ballet would lose half its significance in a commonplace setting, or accompanied by banal music. On the other hand, to appreciate properly the genius of a Stravinsky, we must be assisted by the interpretations of the mimes and dancers. The maquettes of the great decorators, Bakst, Roerich, Anisfeld and the rest, glow like Persian miniatures on walls, and art connoisseurs are justified in prizing them highly. But how much more thrilling their work becomes when magnified on an ample stage! A perfect performance is essential to intensify the values and originality of these various elements, and it would seem that the Diaghileff Company alone can give such performances. America is fortunate in being offered a dazzling repertoire in which every phase of their amazing versatility will be given full scope."

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Aha! Diaghilev invented marketing! (Except that really was a world-class company, and purple though the prose is, I don't think it is inaccurate!)

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i agree! and interesting too, that the text i quoted is not attributed to anyone, there is no 'vision statement' or other statement attributed to diaghilev or anyone else in the book, there are no corporations mentioned even if the individuals listed on the board were giving corporate-type donations, there are no letters of tribute or other types of text.

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this dancer is "sponsored by" Mr & Mrs. So and So

I know it's not going to change, but I still don't like it.

I second "diamond project" (or anyone else's last name for that matter)

"...not enough rehearsal time..." AAAAGGGGHHHH

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"Harvard of the dance world"

"tour jete"

"lame duck"

Those last two probably aren't quite what you had in mind, Alexandra, but I would not be sorry to see them go!

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LOL! Very good, Alexandra :) And Hans, I agree totally!!! Would love to have those terms become history, along with calling a position of the foot a "coupé", grand plié in 4th, and watching anyone put their leg on the barre and slide into that awful position :) Oh dear, I better stop now! ;)

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Congratulations, Victoria -- you've just choreographed an enchainement on line. (en line?) :) Watch for it in a ballet near you.

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"...a reinterpretation of the story focussing on an [hitherto unexplored, and clearly unintended] erotic relationship between..."

"topless"

And please, goodbye to the spreadeagled ballerina. I mean, never mind bare "feet...."

Also, goodbye to rope. No more rope. Or electrical devices on stage that require extension cords.

Happy New Year from Nana, more formal(ist) by the moment....

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If we're going to get rid of rope, I insist on getting rid of the chairs, too. No more dances with chairs. This is more a modern dance problem than a ballet one, but things have a way of spreading. There is nothing that can be done with a chair on stage that has not already been done. Several times.

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Nomination of only good use of a chair in a ballet - Flemming Flindt's The Lesson.

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