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Name Game

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Why do all the companies seem to have the same name? I Mean, There are tons of American Ballet Theatres and Joffrey ballets. It seems to play name games in people's heads. Why do they all have the same name? Is there something I'm missing? :confused:

[ 08-19-2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]

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Is there something I'm missing? There's more than one "Joffrey Ballet"? Seriously, though, the point is well taken, as sometimes, there are "Festival Ballets" (after London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet) for which there are no accompanying festivals!

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I've heard of a Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, And a Joffrey Ballet of New York. Maybe I miss read it, But I could have sworn it said Joffrey ballet of Chicago, And I'm pretty sure it's a Joffrey ballet of New York.

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Ah, Mary, you've just become a dance historian, probably without meaning to! Yes, the Joffrey Ballet was centered in New York, and later, bicoastally, in Los Angeles, when Mr. Joffrey was still alive, but the company is now The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and continues to produce, continuing the philosophy of its founder, Robert Joffrey under the Artistic Direction of Gerald Arpino, backed by the the very excellent ballet master staff headed by Mark Goldweber. Its school, however, is still very capably managed, in NYC at 434 Avenue of the Americas, by Edith d'Addario, Mr. Joffrey's former Executive Secretary, and has some fine teachers, including Francesca Corkle, Trinette Singleton, Eleanor d'Antuono, and John Magnus.

[ 08-19-2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]

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And Mary, I do believe that there really is only ONE American Ballet Theatre!!!

Are you by any chance thinking of their different Summer Intensive programs, which they hold in 5 different places? They are all ABT programs, run by the same company, but held in 5 cities around the country. But there is only one ABT company!

[ 08-19-2001: Message edited by: Victoria Leigh ]

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This reminds me of the choral group my husband and I organise: it started out being a group put together for one performance a year (at St. John the Divine for their annual New Year's Eve Concert for Peace. The Cathedral insisted that we have a name, so we became incarnated as "The New York Festival Singers". That was to distinguish us from another (and somewhat overlapping in membership) group called: "The New York Festival Chorus," that goes down to the Bahamas to bring choral works to the islands.

In the ballet world it's easy to get confused. If one wasn't around or never happened to read up on it, one wouldn't realise that the Chicago Joffrey Ballet was a reincarnation of the Los Angeles Joffrey and the New York Joffrey. And aren't there a couple of companies still out there that parcel themselves out between cities? It's easier when the company has a definite city name in it's title: New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, Miami City Ballet. The minute someone starts a New York Festival Ballet, one cant' tell if the same director started a company in Jersey City and moved it to New York when offered rehearsal and performing space.

Then there are all those "Royal" Ballets. It is very Anglophyllic of us to all have come to a silent agreement to consider any reference to a "Royal Ballet" as referring to the one based in London. But in Denmark they refer to their company as "The Royal Ballet", as they do in Sweden and a number of other countries. We seem to have chosen to put the country name in front of all the other national ballets except the English one.

It's much easier with the English National Ballet - but then you need to know your history and know that once upon a time and not so very long ago they were called The London Festival Ballet.

Imagine a ballet lover from Mars trying to figure out who was who and where and when? :rolleyes:

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I have only heard of one ABT. Are you sure it wasn't the real American Ballet theatre on the road? They tour to different cities often, you know.

Now, this brings on a question. Why do ballet companies change their names so much? Can't they just leave it alone once they have it decided the first time? The "London Festival Ballet" sounds completly different from the "Engish National Ballet". Yet, they are indeed the same company. The Joffrey Ballet "of Chicago" or "of York"? Why should it matter? It's the "Joffrey Ballet"! I'm sure a lot of people are getting confused at this type of thing.

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If you really want to be confused, try figuring out which Ballet Russes someone is talking about!

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Only as history - but they can do a number on your head, just trying to keep them sorted out! There's the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, the de Basil Ballet Russe, the Blum Ballet Russe, the Denham Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and so on and so forth....

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Hmmm...yes, I've heard the history behind that name, but I thought from what you were saying that there were more still out there. :eek:

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While leafing through old Dance magazines, I once came across an ad for a school which called itself the "New World Ballet Russe."

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I suspect you ARE referring to the summer intensives. This summer ABT's held them in NYC, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and California. And Joffrey's got their NYC, Mid-west (don't remember which state - is it in Chicago where their company is?) and San Antonio, Texas locations. Confusing if you're just entering into the summer intensive search.

[ 08-22-2001: Message edited by: vagansmom ]

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What does Ballet Russe mean anyway? And why is it so popular? I've heard of the name(s) before...but I wonder why so many people pick it!

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I think it means Russian, justdance, and it was so popular because the Russian Ballet was considered the best and most popular. :)

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It just means "Russian ballet", but in French. In addition to having the ritzy French about it, it also expresses the Conventional Wisdom that the Russians are the very best at ballet. It also was the name of the Diaghilev company at the beginning of the last century, which organization "ballets Russes", actually, had the most profound effect on the development of ballet as an art.

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Wouldn't it be frightening if ABT sudenly changed it's name to Ballet Russe? (I don't know where that came from.) :)

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