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Tolkien and ballet

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(Moderator's Note: The following thread was springboarded off the thread "boys and ballet" and I thought it was worthy of its own thread on Other Arts. - Mel)

Cavalier,

BilboBaggins makes an important point about how demanding ballet is compared to so-called manly sports. It is one thing to be able, through brute force, to score a touchdown, or knock someone down...but it is quite another thing to do all that your sport requires with poise, balance, and grace. Football players never have to worry about a touchdown being called back because it was done in such an ugly and sloppy way. So in ballet, it is not only doing the thing, it is how one does it...this is much more difficult.

It's quite a challenge. But you can do it.

This is a little bit off the topic, but the name Bilbo reminded me of Legolas the elf/archer in "Lord of the Rings." He moves in a balletic way throughout the film...even in the heat of battle, his arrows find their mark; he is poised; none of his energy is wasted. I wonder if the actor Orlando Bloom studied dance before playing Legolas?

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Well, he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, so the opportunity was there. The syllabi for various sorts of acting diplomas and certificates all seem to require "movement and mime" in the completion standards, so I'd say, from the looks of things that he probably took advantage of an opportunity for "special study" as they put it, in stage momement, which of course, includes dance.

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Fascinating question ... and observation. I've just bought "The Making of the Lord of the Rings", so I'll have to see what biographical information is available ... and, if not there, I may check the LOTR website ...

Interestingly, if you read Tolkien, the elves are renowned for their grace and fluidity of motion (which Orlando Bloom demonstrates far better than Liv Tyler ...) ... and for their song ... I don't recall anything being said about elvish dance ...

I'll report back when I have something ...

BB :>))

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No mention of dance in his biographic notes, and his hobbies are listed as surfing and skydiving. Also this interesting piece.

"While still in school, Bloom was trying to make it onto a friend's rooftop terrace when he fell two stories and broke his back. The accident almost paralyzed the actor, but surgery let him walk out of the hospital on crutches."

Jane

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I had thought that there was some mention of Elf-dancing at Caras Galadhon, but a quick check reveals no such account. Peter Jackson did convey the lightness of the Elves in the passage of Caradhras, with Legolas running on top of the snow, and the rest of the Company sinking to their waists, and the poor hobbits to their noses. Tolkien does use dance-imagery in his diverse collected poems, but I'm still looking for Elves dancing in Lord of the Rings.

Bloom seems to have a great movement sense, as his role in Blackhawk Down revealed. As Legolas, he gave very fluid, fluent movements, and in the latter part, as a combat soldier, his movements were choppy, staccato. I been there. They are.

I think Bloom's back must be in fine shape now, at least until he gallantly hoisted a 7-year-old to the microphone at last year's Golden Globes awards, and she proceeded to give her ENTIRE pre-loaded thank-you speech, while Bloom silently suffered. As she launched into yet ANOTHER paragraph thanking everybody down to her second-grade teacher, his eyes (which discovered a mysterious tendency to cross) became the show,and the speech was lost. ;)

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I guess I'll have to rent a copy of Blackhawk Down ... I've been meaning to see it, but I would not have thought of it in the context of "fluidity of movement" ... the Navy Seals I've met certainly MOVE, but it's not a dance motion!!

I have the Silmarrilion and also the multi-volume History of Middle Earth on order, so if we don't find anything in LOTR, I'll see if the background material offers any guidance.

Interestingly, my 13 year-old daughter tells me her classmates divide into admirers or Noah or of Orlando ... adolescent romance!!

BB

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I saw Black Hawk Down for the first time on Sunday (borrowed free of charge from my gym!) - it ought to compulsory viewing - especially for all politicians - right now.

The only thing that spoilt the whole power of the film for me was my flat mate shouting "Look, it's Legolas!"

Jane

P.S. During a family Christmas outing to the cinema and on to a good restaurant, my brother went from being known as Nicholas, to Legolas, to Nearly Legless Nick!

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I feel badly, having helped hijack Cavalier's question and thread, so I'll provide this response and then stop unless I find something specific about elves and dance to report ...

If you enjoy LOTR, there is a parody, published by the Harvard Lampoon (the group responsible for the classic movies "Animal House" starring John Belushi and "Family Vacation" starring Chevy Chase), called "Bored of the Rings" ... to give you a sense of it, the hobbit is Frito (Frito-Lay is a very large maker of crisps in the U.S.), the Elf is known as Legolamb ... the wizard is GoodGulf (U.S. chain of petrol stations -- Gulf -- would advertise with that phrase ....) ... and for the rest, you'll have to get the book ...

BB

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I tell you what I'll do, if it's OK with all of you: I'll split the LotR posts off from this thread and forum and move them to Other Arts. That way we can keep the original topic clear, and also keep discussing Tolkien and dance, if we want to. What say?

And Bilbo, I have found a reference to dancing Elves, in the "Tale of Tinuviel", the song about Beren and Luthien sung by Legolas. In it, Luthien is described as "dancing-light" and "dancing", so that may be where I recall Dancing Elves. Small wonder that a couple of Tolkienophiles from the Royal Ballet choreographed their own pas de deux for it and presented it at a recent Oxonmoot!

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My dancer teen daughter is in love with Legolas while my other non-dancing teen daughter is in love with Aragorn...is it because she sees that beautiful movement of a dancer in Legolas?

In Bored with the Rings Legolas is Leg o'Lamb by the way!

Can you tell our family is obsessed with LOTR?

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Dear old Tim Benzedrine. ("Melts in your brain, not in your hands!") And let us not forget the lands of Twodor and Fordor, as well as Sorhed and his "loathsome squeeze play."

At the risk of being pedantic, the Lampoon spelled it Legolam.

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I do those things too. I've found that if I do them right after work, though, that I keep coming out Morgoth, so I leave them alone, now.

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...please excuse me while I get all kinds of excited about the Tolkien thread, my true geekdom shines through on this topic...

Indeed, as Major Mel was pointing out...the Tale of Luthien and Beren has so much dance in it. I was thrilled out of my mind when Butler Ballet was going to do it this year, then...alas, it had to be changed. I think I shed a few tears over that one.

But on the subject or Orlando Bloom. I think I am the only person in the world who didn't enjoy his physicality in the role. He reminded me of the classical ballet dancers who cannot succed in the more contemporary roles because they aren't grounded and they have no sense of weight. I know, I know...he's an elf, they are light on their feet. But I always imagined that because of hundreds of years that they live, that they would be more grounded into the earth and more in tune with it with their physicality...instead of just floating above it. Ahhh, finally...my two cents worth on that topic. All of my fellow geek friends look at me with blank stares when I start talking about that.

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I think that there is a confusion between the ways of Elves and Ents. Elves are "in this world, but not of it". They seem not to be connected to Middle-Earth, even if they dwell in it. They are "first-born", and seem to have a yearning to go into the Uttermost West, to Elvenhome. Ents, on the other hand, are definitely connected to the ground, appearing to be like trees, and even the Elves call Treebeard "Eldest", conveniently leaving out Tom Bombadil, who may be a Maia "gone native".

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It also seems that the Elfin rulers (Galadriel and Agent Smith from the Matrix (:D pleae don't shoot me, I don't remember his name in LOTR) are weightier than the other Elves. They do have this deep connection with Middle Earth, this responsibility towards Middle Earth. The other Elves (inc. Legolas) don't seem to have this primal connection except by extension from their leaders.

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There are reasons for a difference in motion vocabulary for these characters: Elrond (Hugo Weaving) is only half-Elven and had to make a choice as to whether to live as an Elf or as a Man. He chose the former, his brother, who died ages ago, the latter. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) is one of the Noldor, the Deep-Elves, who were among the first to populate Middle-Earth. She stays in the land because she is banished from passing into the West for her leadership of a rebellion against the Powers (Valar) who were empowered to run Middle-Earth by God (Il├╣vatar). That's the reason for the importance of the scene where she refuses the Ring, and says, "I have passed the test; I shall pass into the West and remain Galadriel."

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Mel, and all of you other folks who've posted so eloquently, I must ask - where do you get all your information? Granted, I haven't read the trilogy in many, many years, but still! Is there an annotated text?

All right, that was obviously a dumb question! I just clicked on the Tolkien Scocitey link!:eek: Do they offer a PHD in Tolkien? Oddly, the text on parts of the site is rather unclear - sort of like a double exposure. :D

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Apart from the trilogy, and its predecessor The Hobbit, Tolkien was writing all the way from 1915 until his death about the doings of Arda and the Shaping of Middle-Earth. Now there are twelve volumes of his various drafts for the entire story. Some of his writings were collected and cobbled together by his son Christopher under the title The Silmarillion and published, but the reading is not as graceful as JRRT's. The whole story of the World from Creation to the beginning of the Fourth Age has been published and is currently available. There have also been numerous commentaries and analyses, including the Professor's letters dealing with Middle-Earth.

I don't have any trouble reading the text on the Tolkien Society site. Maybe if you tried it on MSIE or Netscape instead of the aol version of IE, it would be clearer.

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You know, I think I may have read The Silmarillion along time ago, as well. I'll give the site a look through a non AOL source, thanks Mel.

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I liked the comment that made about legolas being so light on his feet. I understand it, because my ballet teacher is constantly telling me to stay grounded because I am NOT a faery, yet :D I have no sense of my weight, truthfully. rather comparable to Legolas I suppose- my ears are even slightly pointed :D I am a much bigger Aragorn fan. He's SOOOOOOOOOOO cute. *sighs* Viggo Mortensen is also 4 years older than my dad (as well as married, I believe) so it's totally unrealistic haha. Legolas was my former favorite, but as I watched more and more of the movies and started reading the books, I realized Aragorn is more my type ;) I've actually been raiding the comic book stores around here trying to find an Aragorn standee... I could order online but I dont want to pay for shipping. It's quite sad, really.

I am dying to read the Simarillion though, but I am only halfway through the Two Towers. I plan to read that after I am finished with the trilogy.

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The Silmarillion is a much tougher read than the Trilogy or The Hobbit. It's very disjointed and tells a series of stories widely separated in time during the First and Second Ages of the World.

Also you have to get used to a different geography. Middle-Earth was different in the Third Age.

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