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Slaughter on Tenth Ave.


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#1 Sonora

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Posted 18 June 2001 - 04:28 PM

I have a question or two about Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Is it currently performed by companies other than NYCB? I would love to know a bit about its history - it is an interesting anomaly of a ballet, with somewhat of a dual theatrical life.

#2 dirac

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Posted 18 June 2001 - 05:06 PM

This is all from memory and a particular or two might be off base, but "Slaughter" originated from the 1936 Broadway musical "On Your Toes" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and produced by George Abbott, which starred Ray Bolger and Mrs. Balanchine #1, Tamara Geva. (It was originally intended to be a movie property for Fred Astaire, who nixed it.) "Slaughter " was the Act II ballet, and it was one of the first (and may in fact have been the first, but I'd have to check) Broadway musical ballets to forward the musical's story line as well as provide a dance divertissement. It was revived twice on Broadway, once with Makarova, and Balanchine brought it back himself for Arthur Mitchell and Suzanne Farrell in 1968, I think it was. The choreography may have been altered somewhat -- Ray Bolger came in to coach Mitchell, but his idiosyncratic style didn't translate and Mitchell apparently adapted freely.

There's a nice anecdote in "I Remember Balanchine" about it. Rodgers asked Balanchine what kind of music he wanted for the dance, and Balanchine said, "No, you write. I do," much to Rodgers' surprise and pleasure. So Rodgers wrote and Balanchine did.

[ 06-18-2001: Message edited by: dirac ]

#3 Juliet

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Posted 18 June 2001 - 05:26 PM

Miami City Ballet just did it during their recent Washngton stint.

#4 cargill

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Posted 18 June 2001 - 05:40 PM

The Birmingham Royal Ballet does it too, they did in on their New York tour, with new designs. Though I am not wild about NYCB's designs, I liked the new ones even less. They looked hard and sharp and Cabaretish, black and white and silver.

#5 Sonora

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Posted 19 June 2001 - 02:17 AM

I am not surprised that Miami City performs Slaughter, but it's interesting that Birmingham RB also has it.

As for the new set designs - who would have authorized such a radical change? If the ballet is owned by, for example, the Balanchine Trust (and I don't know if it is), wouldn't some permutation of the original set designs be protected along with the choreography?

#6 Roma

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Posted 19 June 2001 - 07:38 AM

Suzanne Farell's group will do it in Washington this fall.

#7 bijoux

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Posted 20 June 2001 - 12:50 PM

Originally posted by Roma:
Suzanne Farell's group will do it in Washington this fall.


boston Ballet will perform it this coming season as well

#8 salzberg

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Posted 20 June 2001 - 01:13 PM

Originally posted by dirac:
"Slaughter " was the Act II ballet, and it was one of the first (and may in fact have been the first, but I'd have to check)


Agnes deMille's choreography for Oklahoma! is generally considered to have been the first.

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 June 2001 - 09:56 PM

Yes, de Mille was always fond of saying that, and if you didn't ask, she'd tell you! ;) She did such a good work of PR that the legendary ballets of Oklahoma HAVE become the first in the Conventional Wisdom, but then, there are the the exceptions...


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