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ABT 2018 Firebird / AFTERITE

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5 hours ago, abatt said:

ABT has embraced works that are challenging. Ratmansky's Shostakovich  trilogy comes to mind.  It had overtones as well as specific overt references regarding the oppressive nature of the Soviet Union.  However, unlike the McGregor piece, it did not trivialize suffering and oppression for a grand theatrical effect.  

I didn't see the McGregor, nor will I ever see it.   Frankly I am shocked that everyone isn't offended by the sight of anyone being gassed, especially a child. 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Marta said:

I didn't see the McGregor, nor will I ever see it.   Frankly I am shocked that everyone isn't offended by the sight of anyone being gassed, especially a child. 

Art has often represented the atrocities humans commit on one another. I’m not offended, hypothetically, by a work of art that comments on these terrible things. But trivializing them, as abatt has said this ballet does? Yes, I’d be offended then.

And I completely agree with what abatt and others have said about a word of caution to families. Some performing arts organization (not in NYC for the most part) have gone overboard with assigning ratings to works and providing warnings. But this is an instance when I think a warning would be appropriate. Childhood memories of my first ballet experiences are so vivid (and positive). I can’t imagine how I’d have processed a work like this.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

Art has often represented the atrocities humans commit on one another. I’m not offended, hypothetically, by a work of art that comments on these terrible things. But trivializing them, as abatt has said this ballet does? Yes, I’d be offended then.

And I completely agree with what abatt and others have said about a word of caution to families. Some performing arts organization (not in NYC for the most part) have gone overboard with assigning ratings to works and providing warnings. But this is an instance when I think a warning would be appropriate. Childhood memories of my first ballet experiences are so vivid (and positive). I can’t imagine how I’d have processed a work like this.

I for one didn't find it trivializing so ymmv

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Let's not forget the subject of Rite of Spring...why would anyone expect a ballet related to it would be appropriate for children? Is that the standard for ballets now? PG?

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Murder is common enough on stage (especially in opera), but I’m trying to think of any other theater piece where a young child is killed in front of the audience. I remember reading about a Neil LaBute play where a baby is dropped from a window. Any others? Seems pretty unusual. 

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4 minutes ago, Anthony_NYC said:

Murder is common enough on stage (especially in opera), but I’m trying to think of any other theater piece where a young child is killed in front of the audience. I remember reading about a Neil LaBute play where a baby is dropped from a window. Any others? Seems pretty unusual. 

A baby is stoned to death in Edward Bond's Saved.

 

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3 hours ago, Drew said:

A baby is stoned to death in Edward Bond's Saved.

 

Another fact about AfteRite has emerged in a review.   Dancers appeared urgently onstage and Ferri had a hood placed over her head and was beaten :  https://www.ft.com/content/c7323370-5db1-11e8-ab47-8fd33f423c09

Scherr wrote about the woman hooded and beaten and Macauley the children killed in a gas chamber.   Tickets sold with no content notice.   This  program juxtaposition is more egregious  than the POB Balanchine's Agon with the Eurotrash roll around in the dirt gratuitous baring Rite.  Eurotrash is Eurospam when it reaches the USA like the KC's Goldberg and NDT. 

Did the gala gross or net 2 million?  For the philanthropy class at the gala [it is the season],  ABT had AfteRite, fun toe tap, and commedia dell'arte.    Same net for Harlequinade paired with toe tap + season teasers like Bayadere Grand Pas, Don Q pdd, etc.  ABT's cost for AfteRite?  Underwriting sponsors?  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bettinazilkha/2018/05/22/powerfully-creative-american-ballet-theatre-spring-gala-raises-nearly-2-million/#78b538a44499 : "After that, I need a drink," was overheard many times on the way to dinner

 

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10 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

What is the order of this program? Is Firebird first or last? Many young children will be going to see Copeland in Firebird, and I imagine a number of children will be going anyway, especially to the matinees. If Firebird is first I imagine the families could leave after that if they knew about AfterRite's content.

The problem with that is that you have paid full price to see half a program.  ABT tickets aren't cheap.  They should have given a parental age warning at the time subscription sales began.  Since they failed to do that, they should offer a full refund to anyone who requests it regarding this program.   We all know there is a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.

38 minutes ago, maps said:

Another fact about AfteRite has emerged in a review.   Dancers appeared urgently onstage and Ferri had a hood placed over her head and was beaten :  https://www.ft.com/content/c7323370-5db1-11e8-ab47-8fd33f423c09

Scherr wrote about the woman hooded and beaten and Macauley the children killed in a gas chamber.   Tickets sold with no content notice.   This  program juxtaposition is more egregious  than the POB Balanchine's Agon with the Eurotrash roll around in the dirt gratuitous baring Rite.  Eurotrash is Eurospam when it reaches the USA like the KC's Goldberg and NDT. 

Did the gala gross or net 2 million?  For the philanthropy class at the gala [it is the season],  ABT had AfteRite, fun toe tap, and commedia dell'arte.    Same net for Harlequinade paired with toe tap + season teasers like Bayadere Grand Pas, Don Q pdd, etc.  ABT's cost for AfteRite?  Underwriting sponsors?  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bettinazilkha/2018/05/22/powerfully-creative-american-ballet-theatre-spring-gala-raises-nearly-2-million/#78b538a44499 : "After that, I need a drink," was overheard many times on the way to dinner

 

Yes, by becoming so incensed about the gas chamber I forgot about the hood and the other violence in this.

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Posted (edited)

I wonder how any of you would feel about Paul Taylor's works like Last Look, Death and the Damsel, Big Bertha, Banquet of Vultures, The Word, Speaking in Tongues? A lot of disturbing images in all of them. Or MacMillan ballets like Manon or Mayerling with a lot of adult themes? Even some Balanchine works have moments that aren't G-rated. Agon and Prodigal Son come to mind. Robbins' The Cage is not G-rated either.

Also if kids could handle Schindler's List (which was actually an 8th grade field trip for me) or Life is Beautiful I think they can handle AfterRite? 

Edited by canbelto

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Posted (edited)

Ummm help a ballet newbie out, I was going to take my 11 year old (will be 12) to Agon next season.  Will it not be appropriate?  I haven't seen it.

Edited by Balletwannabe

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7 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Also if kids could handle Schindler's List (which was actually an 8th grade field trip for me) or Life is Beautiful I think they can handle AfterRite? 

Schindler's List had an R rating, so I assume the school obtained the permission of parents before allowing 8th graders to see it.  Is that the case?

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

Schindler's List had an R rating, so I assume the school obtained the permission of parents before allowing 8th graders to see it.  Is that the case?

Yeah we had to get parental permission slips but the whole class did go and see it. And it wasn't easy watching it but I did think it was a very meaningful field trip. Then again I haven't seen AfterRite but I assume that the issue is that the topic isn't explored in a very rich, artistic way but comes across as a shallow cheap effect?

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17 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I wonder how any of you would feel about Paul Taylor's works like Last Look, Death and the Damsel, Big Bertha, Banquet of Vultures, The Word, Speaking in Tongues? A lot of disturbing images in all of them. Or MacMillan ballets like Manon or Mayerling with a lot of adult themes? Even some Balanchine works have moments that aren't G-rated. Agon and Prodigal Son come to mind. Robbins' The Cage is not G-rated either.

Also if kids could handle Schindler's List (which was actually an 8th grade field trip for me) or Life is Beautiful I think they can handle AfterRite? 

For me, the issue isn't the topic so much, it is the way it was treated.  Ballets like Echoing of Trumpets and Les Noces (Nijinska's version, please!) are certainly bleak and uncompromising, but the subjects weren't used gratuitously, and the choreography used form and shapes expressively.  AfterRite and certainly some of MacMillan use violence  as a decoration, and seem to revel in it.  

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19 minutes ago, Balletwannabe said:

Ummm help a ballet newbie out, I was going to take my 11 year old (will be 12) to Agon next season.  Will it not be appropriate?  I haven't seen it.

The pas de deux (if danced well) has a sexual energy, but it's in no way explicit or overt. I think it'd sail WAY over a kid's head.

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Part of the problem with this new ABT ballet is that nobody got a warning beforehand or had any idea what to expect. Manon, Mayerling, and others mentioned here are so well-known, with so much advance information (and YouTube clips), parents can decide. I've been trying to think of other ballets with parental warnings. The only one I can recall is Dracula, which Colorado Ballet (and many regional companies) perform; advance publicity said it was not suitable for young children. Children were not banned (as you would see at certain movies), but parents were warned. I can recall some art museum exhibits with warning signs before people enter (e.g., some of the Mapplethorpe photos). That's plenty, in my opinion.

Compare this situation with the care with which many theaters post warning signs in the lobby that flashing lights, explosions, etc. are included, presumably because those can trigger health problems for people with certain conditions. 

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Just now, mille-feuille said:

The pas de deux (if danced well) has a sexual energy, but it's in no way explicit or overt. I think it'd sail WAY over a kid's head.

1 minute ago, mille-feuille said:

The pas de deux (if danced well) has a sexual energy, but it's in no way explicit or overt. I think it'd sail WAY over a kid's head.

Ok good!  Thanks.  Sounds like it will be ok.

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7 hours ago, aurora said:

Let's not forget the subject of Rite of Spring...why would anyone expect a ballet related to it would be appropriate for children? Is that the standard for ballets now? PG?

I remember watching "The Lottery" in 9th grade and realizing how dangerous herd mentality can be.  Val Caniparoli turned it into a ballet, which I have never had the opportunity to view, but I imagine it would evoke the same feelings I felt last night.  Parents allow their children to read "The Hunger Games" and watch the movies.  My son read "Lord of the Flies" in 6th grade.  Not sure if this ballet is any worse than those.

 

7 hours ago, aurora said:

I for one didn't find it trivializing so ymmv

Neither did I.

The ballet gave me much about which to think.  I am going back to see it on Friday.  The dancers were committed to the work and several were real standouts.  It was evident this was some sort of post-apocalyptic, dystopian-type setting.  The playbill article makes that clear.  I am not sure what people expect when they hear "Rite of Spring" or a take-off of Rite.  I expected fully some sort of sacrifice.  I had already read the spoilers so I knew what was going to happen, but, to be perfectly honest, as soon as one sees the young girls enter the chamber, it becomes evident something will probably occur.  My one complaint is I felt that pas at the end was too long.  It was apparent (at least to me) that Ferri was tiring.  About the "beating," I felt that it ended with her triumph when she pushed Cornejo to the ground and the curtain came down.

Euro-trash?  Why do we refer to choreography this way?  Additionally, this choreographer's bio reads like a dream.  Aside from his work with ballet companies, "He served as Movement Director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Legend of Tarzan and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He has choreographed music videos for Radiohead ("Lotus Flower"), Atoms for Peace ("Ingenue"), and The Chemical Brothers featuring Beck ("Wide Open"). "  His award list is unbelievable.  From Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_McGregor  I ran into a dancer I know in the audience and she said, "How lucky are the ABT dancers to have worked with Wayne for more than five weeks!  I am so jealous."  

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

The problem with that is that you have paid full price to see half a program.  ABT tickets aren't cheap.  They should have given a parental age warning at the time subscription sales began.  Since they failed to do that, they should offer a full refund to anyone who requests it regarding this program.   We all know there is a snowball's chance in hell of that happening.

Of course. But, I'm guessing some of Copeland's fans would still want to see her in Firebird and would still consider it a win-win, even if they only stayed for that one ballet (and the little girls holding the Copeland Barbie doll would be thrilled). But, I'm sure some of them would want to see an entire program. Without any warning (and at this point, it's after the fact, after they've purchased tickets) folks aren't given a chance to decide. There are people, including yourself according to some of your postings, that leave a program early or come late for whatever reason (whether that's at ABT, NYCB, or wherever). It's an option. A great option? Maybe for some, maybe not for others. But, at this point, and I just checked their website, I'd put the chance of them issuing a warning right up there with them re-hiring Veronica Part.

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42 minutes ago, California said:

Part of the problem with this new ABT ballet is that nobody got a warning beforehand or had any idea what to expect. Manon, Mayerling, and others mentioned here are so well-known, with so much advance information (and YouTube clips), parents can decide. I've been trying to think of other ballets with parental warnings. The only one I can recall is Dracula, which Colorado Ballet (and many regional companies) perform; advance publicity said it was not suitable for young children. Children were not banned (as you would see at certain movies), but parents were warned. I can recall some art museum exhibits with warning signs before people enter (e.g., some of the Mapplethorpe photos). That's plenty, in my opinion.

Compare this situation with the care with which many theaters post warning signs in the lobby that flashing lights, explosions, etc. are included, presumably because those can trigger health problems for people with certain conditions. 

I'd think the original Rite of Spring might count as a warning beforehand...

Would someone expect rainbows and ponies with that music?

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Canbelto said:

I wonder how any of you would feel about Paul Taylor's works like Last Look, Death and the Damsel, Big Bertha, Banquet of Vultures, The Word, Speaking in Tongues? A lot of disturbing images in all of them. Or MacMillan ballets like Manon or Mayerling with a lot of adult themes? Even some Balanchine works have moments that aren't G-rated. Agon and Prodigal Son come to mind. Robbins' The Cage is not G-rated either.

I've seen all those Taylor works and I don't think their disturbing images are analogous to the gassing image in Afterite.  As I said earlier, I didn't see it, but the image itself is repellent.  I don't think ballets like Agon and Prodigal or other works that are sensual, sexual or erotic can be compared.  Just want to declare myself as completely against censorship, but alerts like "parental warning"  are optional.

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4 minutes ago, maps said:

 

Mariinsky Rite was pagan, tribal, elaborate costumes, and the ritual sacrifice obscured by action.   Age12+  https://www.mariinsky.ru/playbill/repertoire/ballet/le_sacre_du_printemps   Le Parc is age 16+.  

 

If one found the image of a terrified young woman, trapped in the middle of a circle, about to be killed "obscured" the dancers weren't doing it right.

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23 hours ago, abatt said:

My objection to this work relates to the gas chamber element of it.  Absent that aspect, it would just be another piece of choreography I didn't much care for but had no particular reaction to one way or another.

Ask yourselves this question.  If McGregor had decided to raise his survival of the fittest theme by showing a slave beating on stage,  do you think McKenzie would have allowed that to proceed?  NO WAY.  It would have been shut down at the first rehearsal.  ABT is led by a tone deaf  hypocrite.  Allowing an instrumentality  used to murder a race of people as a ballet gimmick crossed the line in a big way and trivialized the suffering endured by people who were and are victims of gassing.

I completely agree, Abatt. As a lifelong sympathizer to the Jewish race cause to merely exist in this world, I am completely appalled by your report. But it has been widely documented that, lately, political correctness doesn't go in every way. It is selected. I am going tonight, and just as I started the Happy Birthday on Natasha and David from the top of my lungs, I might be inclined to boo said section. I don't care. Won't be the first or last time .

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, aurora said:

If one found the image of a terrified young woman, trapped in the middle of a circle, about to be killed "obscured" the dancers weren't doing it right.

Have you seen the Mariinsky's Rite?  I saw it multiple times.  The Chosen One dances to death.  12+ in St Petersburg. Pavlenko as the Chosen One and Gergiev conducting.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvVKWapctX4

 

 

Edited by maps

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Watching an adult woman dance herself to death by jumping around and up and down seems far less terrifying for a child than watching an actual little girl be placed in a gas chamber and gassed to death. 

Also, people have been referring to kids who read Lord of the Flies and the Lottery.  When you read a book you use your imagination.  That's a completely different experience from a child sitting in a theater and seeing a little girl on stage placed into a sealed box and gassed.

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