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Leigh Witchel

Apollo: Demi-caractere or classical?

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We've seen several debuts and notable performances in Apollo during the week at NYCB, but please, everyone who loves the ballet join in.

I don't think there's a "correct" emploi for Apollo - Balanchine's cast it two different ways for most of the ballet's existence from Lifar to Christensen, D'Amboise and Villella, Martins and Baryshnikov.

Neither of them is entirely one or the other but I'd say that Boal approaches the role classically and Hubbe demi-caractere, at least in temperment. He makes his Apollo tempestuous.

So what do you recall and what do you prefer in the role? And how do the muses fit into the equation?

Talk amongst yourselves. :thumbsup:

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I suppose I think of Apollo as both demi-caractere and classical.

In the beginning after he frees himself from the swaddling he's a bit of an awkward man-child interacting with the world. Imagine being a teenager and realizing your also a God ("I'm a God! This so totally rocks!) This would be demi-caractere. After he is given his lute and the Muses make their appearance, it must dawn on him that a highter purpose is required of him. He begins to grow up. The Muses help to change him from boy to God. As this happens he becomes less demi-caractere and more classical. He reaches nobility through art.

I've always wondered how the original Apollo, Lifar danced it. I remember reading somewhere a quote from Balanchine where he stated that he thought that Lifar was beautiful, like a woman and that's how he choreographed for him. Interesting.

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