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Question: Western Symphony


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#1 TATSU

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 09:28 AM

I saw "Western Symphony" performed by Japanese ballet company Star Dancers Ballet last weekend. It had all of four movement. I enjoyed the cheerful 3rd movement and I wondered why NYCB now doesn't perform it (it was omitted when I saw "Western Symphony" at the New York State Theater in 1999.)

When, why, and by whom was it omitted? By Balanchine? I want to know ...

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 10:27 AM

I can't answer your question, but I'm sure Leigh or Manhattnik can - I just wanted to say I'm jealous, because I've always been curious about that third movement and have never seen it. It's interesting to know that it's being performed.

#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 11:06 AM

TATSU -

Accordingly to "Choreography by George Balanchine" the Scherzo was eliminated around 1960. It was restored for a few performances of the Balanchine Festival in 1993 and then dropped again.

I assume Balanchine made the cut himself, there's no real hint in anything I've read as to why, but John Martin of the NY Times in a contemporary review mentioned the Scherzo as the least rewarding part. I assume it was cut because Balanchine felt it made the ballet too long, which also seems odd, as it's the shortest movement and its absence really throws the finale off (forcing the addition of "run-on" principals to dance the finale)

There's a wonderful tape of the ballet shot in the 50's in Paris with Diana Adams and Herbert Bliss, Melissa Hayden and Nicholas Magellanes, Allegra Kent and Robert Barnett, and Tanaquil LeClercq and Jacques D'Amboise that really opened by eyes even more about Allegra Kent. For all her perfume and quirky mystery, she was a jumper and a real allegro dancer. I gather that's also part of Kirkland's mystique.

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#4 cargill

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 01:17 PM

I can't remember the year, but it was in the late 80's I think, the 3rd movement was put back briefly, but I am sure it was before the Balanchine Festival. It was danced by Damian Woetzel and Nicol Hlinka and was lovely, lots of jumping and oddles of charm. I really cannot think why it was dropped again, certainly NYCB has lots of dancers who could do it very well.

#5 CygneDanois

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 08:20 PM

Do any other companies perform Western Symphony with the Scherzo?

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#6 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 08:44 PM

I believe that Houston Ballet does, CygneDanois.

#7 Steve Keeley

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 09:43 PM

NYCB included the Third Movement:Scherzo (danced by Stacey Calvert and Benjamin Bowman) when I saw them perform it in January 1997.

When they performed it at Costa Mesa in October 1998, the scherzo had disappeared again.

~Steve

#8 leibling

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 10:38 PM

Miami City Ballet leaves the scherzo in.

#9 TATSU

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 06:30 AM

Thanks for all of your reply.
The Scherzo is the hardest part of all for a leading ballerina as well as four ensemble girls because they have to jump and jump and jump through the movement. I'm sure it seems more confusing than other movements, but still it's pity Balanchine cut it off. It's worth to see if danced well.

#10 salzberg

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 09:34 AM

The Western Symphony] Scherzo may turn out to be the Flying Dutchman or Brigadoon of ballet.


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