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Tolkien and ballet


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#31 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 03:51 PM

Here's another heartstopper - when we first meet Aragorn, he's 87 years old!;)

Also to consider - Galadriel is Elrond's mother-in-law!:eek:

#32 SpiritIvy

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 05:24 PM

87?! Whoa... he looks like 35 to me lol. It makes sense though, from what I've read he lives I think it is 3 times what most humans did... How old did he live to be? Do you know?

~*^*ARWEN*^*~

#33 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 08:04 PM

He dies in Fourth Age 120, on his 190th birthday. They hold their ages well, these Númenoreans.

And when we first meet Arwen, she's 2,777. Doesn't look a day over 2,250.

#34 SpiritIvy

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 08:21 PM

thanks. I had figured he lived to be over 100, I already knew he died on march first (his birthday) in year 120 of the fourth age, I just didn't know how old he was :D

#35 Mel Johnson

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 04:01 AM

And from the accounts of the activities in Mirkwood, I gather that Legolas is only 8 or 900 years old, although it's never spelled out definitively in the text. He's the son of Thranduil, the Elf-king of Rhovanion, (the bad-tempered Elf-king in The Hobbit).

Gimli, on the other hand, is only 139 when we meet him; shucks, no wonder they like each other - they're both just kids in the reckonings of their races.

Back to the "groundedness" of Legolas on Caradhras - Frodo notices that he leaves footprints, but he doesn't sink in. Whereas the rest of the Fellowship are floundering about in the snow, the Elf is sure-footed and never slips. Sort of like the way I'd like to see most dancers - no matter how fast the feet move, they feel like they have "roots" when they're on the floor. One of those apparent contradictions - lightness and firmness combined.

#36 BilboBaggins

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:23 AM

What have I started???

You know ... go away for a week and what do you find when you get home ... if only my herb garden grew like this!!

There was nothing about elvish dance (please, no threads about "Elvis dance" ...) in "Making of LOTR", but in the "Visual Companion to The Two Towers", there is a brief note on elvish/human romance. Paraphrasing:

Aragorn and Arwen were not the first elf and human to fall in love; the first were Beren and Luthien. Beren saw Luthien DANCING in the forest (Now, I REALLY have to find out more about elvish dance!!) ... and in that moment, was smitten with love. Apparently Luthien did not forsake her immortality, since some (but not all) her offspring remained immortal.
Their offspring included Elrond (hence his human ancestry although he is immortal) and also Arwen, his daughter. Aragorn (human, and apparently descended from Beren!!) was raised at Rivendell by Elrond, but never met Arwen because for most of that time, she was visiting her grandmother in Lothlorien ... long visit, unless you have the life span of an elf!!

Frightening thought ... if elves are immortal, all your ancestors (unless they've been done in by an orc axe or something) are still alive ... no tales of "granny used to ..." ... because granny still does ... and so does great-granny ... and ...

Can you imagine: "...well, you may be 7,000 years old, BUT you're STILL my son and you'll do as I say ... or I WILL put you over my knee ..." ...

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#37 BilboBaggins

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:30 AM

Slightly different topic: elves and the lightness of walking on snow ... when I was learning advanced nordic technique (back in the Elder Days), one of the descriptions for preparing certain steps was to "unweigh" the uphill or downhill ski in preparation for a Telemark (or other turn) ... the mental image was that of a coiled spring, relaxing to hold your weight off the ski you were about to move ...

I guess Middle Earth didn't have skis or snowshoes, so the Fellowship was forced to walk ... surprising they didn't sink to their waists (or deeper) ...

Is there a similar mental process in dance of "unweighing" as preparation for a particular movement?

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#38 SpiritIvy

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:41 AM

BilboBaggins (love the name :D), I read something regarding this just a couple days ago. They said: "So charming was the beauty of Arwen's appearance that when Aragorn first perceived her walking in the forest of Rivendell, he even called her 'Tinúviel, Tinúviel', thinking her to be Lúthien, whose beauty and fate she shared. And although Aragorn was abashed by the age of the elf-maiden, he at once fell in love with her." the link is http://barrowdowns.c...Data=282&Thumb=

Elronds description also explains some of it: http://barrowdowns.c...ntryID&Data=137

There was more, but I have a killer headache and my sister has the TV blasting so I can't concentrate enough to find it all, let alone make sense of it right now.

#39 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:50 AM

I tried to go through a line of kindred to figure out what relation Aragorn and Arwen are to one another, and I came out to something like 28th cousins. (All those Dunedain generations in the way). A subplot of LotR is the waning of the Elves and the Rise of the Age of Man.

And yes, the entire process of the "warmup" before class or performance is to "unweigh" the dancers, and make them as ready for the air as possible. Much of modern dance makes use of a weightedness, but some techniques are more airborne than others.

Even onstage, a proper buildup to a particular jump or pose can be as important as, if not more important than, the end. Every step or combination has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Short any part of that, and the thing is spoiled.

If you reread FotR, or watch the film again, you find that they hadn't intended to go through the Redhorn Pass, but were forced to change their route when they were discovered by the crebain (crows) - from Isengard or Mordor, who knows, but they hadn't wanted to go over Caradhras. A side note on the film - a brief glimpse is seen of Sam wearing sort of buskins (crude boots) when ploughing through the snow. This seemed to me to be in direct response to a passage in the book, where a reader took the Professor to task for talking about the Hobbits' "boots" at Bree, and he had to respond that they could wear shoes and other footwear if they wanted to. Hmmm - Rosie Fairbairn in "La Hobbite Mal Gardée"?

#40 BilboBaggins

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 11:00 AM

Hi SpiritIvy:

Thanks for the references ... looks like I have some reading to do tonight ...

Reading the Making of LOTR, you get a fascinating and very impressive picture of Viggo Mortensen. He did his own horse riding scenes (minimal use of a double) and not only learned the swordsmanship needed for the film, he did all of his own swordsmanship (no stunt doubles) AND wore his sword at all times "on set" ... he said the nature of Aragorn, in all its complexity, and all his warrior skills, had to become a subconscious part of him if he was to do justice to the role!!

He's becoming a hero of mine as well ... just because of his depth of involvement .... What other films has he done?

BTW, if anyone is doing a lot of Tokien reading, especially of History of Middle Earth or the other non-LOTR books, you may want to get Karen Forstad's "Atlas of Middle Earth" (personally, I never leave home without it!!). Mel Johnson is correct -- the geography of Middle Earth changes age to age, so a compendium is useful. Beware, though -- Forstad also did an "Atlas of the Land", for the 6 volume fantasy by Stephen Donaldson, and it has NOTHING to do with Tolkien or Middle Earth.

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#41 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 11:18 AM

Now completely off the subject of ballet: Bilbo, did you read the part of the shooting where on the Amon Sul set, Viggo took a header, and knocked out his two front teeth? He got up and called for Super Glue to put them back in, so he could continue the shoot! Superactor!

#42 BilboBaggins

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 11:34 AM

Truly, Mel, you are a fount of knowledge ... no, I had no idea!! Given the technical ingenuity of the set design team, I would have thought they'd come up with something far more sophisticated!!

Seriously, the other amazing thing about the films is the technical advancements made by the NZ based digital company and design team. They came up with new materials for costumes, masks, body suits, as well as ways of crafting multiple models for all the sets used, often having to provide the same set in multiple scales ...

I wonder if any of it has application to dance? For example, can they now make a better, longer lasting pointe shoe?

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#43 SpiritIvy

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 12:22 PM

you're welcome :D

I was about to post about Viggo getting his teeth knocked out and asking for superglue, I was beaten to it lol. However, on the subject of ballet, he MUST have some ballet experience, every dancer knows super glue is a cure all :D lol

#44 BilboBaggins

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 01:06 PM

Super glue and duct tape are universal objects of admiration ... very little they can't fix!!

So, let me get back to "light footedness" ... is unweighting dependent on the spring of the floor? In nordic skiing, you start to unweigh by pressing down and letting the snow "spring" you up ... how dependent is a dancer on his/her medium for that help?

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#45 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 02:11 PM

Actually, the "unweighting" is the quality of the plié and the full use of the foot whether on the ground or in the air. It gets you there, and pushes and pulls in the ways that normal feet just don't!:D


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