First contact with ballet
Posted 05 September 2001 - 01:14 AM
Posted 05 September 2001 - 08:24 AM
Posted 05 September 2001 - 10:46 AM
I became interested in dance years later, when I was about 16-17, when I saw a TV program about Nijinsky, which included a video of his "Afternoon of a faun". Then I read again "Beauté de la danse", started browsing all the dance-related books I could find in libraries (my high school had only two, the most recent being from the early 1960s) and bookstores and thought that something which looked to fascinating and beautiful on photographs could only look better on stage. I finally saw my first ballet performance in september 1992- but actually, bizarrely I was already hooked before seeing it!
Posted 05 September 2001 - 11:00 AM
When I was in college, I started to go to a lot of modern dance. Indeed, I thought of myself as liking dance, not necessarily ballet. So I went to all sorts of dance performances. After a few years of this, however, I started to get a little cynical. So much of modern dance is of uneven quality -- both in performance and choreography.
Readers of this board might be horrified to learn of what turned me into a ballet fanatic. It was NYCB's American Music Festival in the 80s, which was a critical disaster. Seeing that Ray Charles was performing with the ballet, I saw an opportunity to take my then boyfriend to a dance performance that he might enjoy. I don't remember much of the performance, other Charles, and that it was mobbed. But I do remember thinking "these people can really dance -- they are far better than what I have been seeing."
So I decided to get a subscription to the ballet. I didn't fall passionately in love with the ballet until some time later, when I was transported by Darci Kistler in Duo Concertant. Since that time, I not only have retained my subscription to NYCB, but I now have a new appreciation for Giselle and full length ballets.
Martins has really been criticized for things like the American Music Festival by traditonal balletomanes, and I can understand why. Nevertheless, when I go to a performance of something like NYCB with Wynton Marsalis, and see an entirely different audience than is normal, I am heartened by the fact that the audience for ballet is being broadened -- and maybe not for just one night.
[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: justafan ]
Posted 09 September 2001 - 11:20 AM
In the years since then I have seen many performances and many dancers and companies. One memorable occasion was a performance of Marguerite and Armand in 1965 with Fonteyn and Nureyev which was wonderful. Only this year I was lucky enough to see a superb debut - Alina Cojocaru in Giselle. I am now looking forward to seeing her in other roles.
Posted 10 September 2001 - 03:48 PM
What converted me to watching ballet was MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, which I drifted along to watch when I was a student. I knew the play and the music; I was amazed at how ballet could convey the detail of Shakespeare's drama. Juliet was Antoinette Sibley (gorgeous!) and Romeo Anthony Dowell - but the star for me that evening was David Blair, for whom the part of Mercutio was made. I didn't think that a guy would look so virile on the ballet stage!
From then on I had to see more, but only 20th century ballet. It was years before I wanted to see Swan Lake and the other 19th century classics.
[ 09-10-2001: Message edited by: Richard Jones ]
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