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ronny

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Everything posted by ronny

  1. If we could go back in time... and if you were the one who was in charge of the decision, who would you pick to write the music for Cinderella? Sergei Prokofiev is a valid choice of course. One composer for the ballroom scene and maybe someone else for the rest of it. Or just one composer for the whole thing. One composer or more, any way you want to do it. Who would you pick to write the music for Cinderella?
  2. What are the good trends you notice in the ballet world?
  3. The group of ghosts seen in the second act of Giselle is pronounced "Willies" but is often spelled "Wilis". I always thought it was "Wilis" but I recently put both spellings in a search engine WITH the word "Giselle" and I got a greater number of results with "Willies"!! So which spelling is correct? It almost seems like nobody knows for sure. My guess is that the one version is based on the history of the word and the other is used so that the person reading the word can pronounce it correctly. That is my take on it so far. One version is "proper" and the other is "practical". How do you see it?
  4. I didn't know what to expect since I was told that the Moskow Ballet company wasn't so great. And, Panama City (Florida) is a small town and not a cultural haven. So I didn't expect much... but I went anyway. Holy Smokes! Look at the crowd! 2500 people came to the "Marina Civic Center" in a town with a population of 36,000. Many could not get tickets since they had sold out. Well, so what, its the Nutcracker, a traditional favorite. So I still wasn't convinced that I was going see anything great. I had seen a TV comercial about this production and the costumes were rather garish and it didn't look so good... but listen, this was some OLD footage. As it turned out, all the costumes had JUST been redone for this tour and they returned to a more traditional color and style. Wonderful costumes, very lovely now. A big improvement. This is not a rinky dink touring outfit. I don't know how they were in the past, but this is now a spectacular show. Everything seemed right to me... and everything seemed to be full scale (not cut down for tour). There were close to 50 talented Russians and about 40 local childred on stage. I don't know how they did it, but the local kids were very well integrated into the dance choreography. Very excellent advance work on someones part. The backdrops were changed to reflect a message (or desire) for world peace. I don't like political messages, but believe it or not, it was so well done that I hope that they keep the modification for others to see. It included a huge white butterfly with wings that extended far beyond the reach of her arms and the wings would "flit" upward with each clash of the symbol... sounds silly I know, but she was being held up very high and with the lighting it was as if she was floating. It was quite impressive and beautiful. Some of the Russian dancers had the enthusiam and skill to be down right electrifying. I really had the feeling that I was sitting in a great theater in Russia and not a civic center in Panama City. The Moscow Ballet company may have been marginal in the past, but what I saw far exceeded anything that I could have imagined. They did a wonderful job and to think that they are a "tour group", well, its down right amazing. If you saw their nutcracker in the past and didn't care for it, give it another chance. I don't think you will be dissapointed.
  5. Wonderful. This is a great help and this discussion of the title is also something that I needed to know about. Thanks again.
  6. I'm doing research on the "Dying Swan" ballet music. I am getting two different stories on this piece of music... one is that the "dying swan" was composed by Saint-Saens in response to a request from a particular dancer. In other words, it was written FOR a famous ballet dancer. The other story comes from a music web site and this said that Saint-Saens composed the series of pieces "the animals" as a sort of private joke that he first shared with his composer friends and "the Swan" just happened to be one of those compositions. So does anyone know which one of these is the more accurate account of the history of "the Swan". Can you sort it out for me? Thanks.
  7. Thanks Alexandra for that explanation of the "Giselle from Hell" post. I feel good about it now knowing that it is serving a good cause. So now "I get it". Hope you don't mind me being so blunt, but it's the way I learn about these things. And this "festival" idea is a great one. I like it a lot. This is MORE about my dream ballet: I would tell my talented group to come up with a title for the ballet that would bring in new people. Perhaps a ballet about some famous person. And if they were able to come up with a title that could bring in new people I would want to use that opportunity to "advertise" other great ballets. To give an example, let's say that there would be some way to have a dream scene in my ballet in which we see a short scene from "The Sleeping Beauty". It would be a little of Tchaikovsky's music and it would let people know that there is an ORIGINAL "Sleeping Beauty" out there that they have never seen. (I just suspect that most people have only seen the Walt Disney version) So I would want them to know that Tchaikovsky did it first. And I would take the opportunity to educate in other ways also. If we can get new people into a ballet perhaps we could have a scene in which one of the "stars" of the ballet could do some "ballet practice" and show some basic ballet steps to show how the steps are done and used in dance. I think this could be woven into the ballet story somehow. In the back of my mind I feel that if something can be produced that has an interesting title, is beautiful and also educates...then there would be a good chance to get PBS interested. If we can entertain & educate all in one package... wouldn't this be a winning combination? It should be possible, don't you think? It can be done, don't you think so?
  8. Dear Alexandra, This is exactly the thing I was wondering about when I first started to read the posts on this ballet site. I was wondering to myself... why in the world are these people spending so much time and creative energy talking about a new kind of "Giselle from Hell"??? (this was the title of a very popular post on this site) Don't they realize that these thoughts could soon find their way on stage! Its like participating in creating the things you hate. I don't get it. So I very much appreciate your comment "why is dreaming up the awful always more fun". Its a great question in itself. But to get back to this post, I would just say to my creative crew... "I don't care what you do", "just make it beautiful and inspiring". I would tell them, OK, you can have dark characters in the production, but please, let them keep their dignity. Darkness is there for a reason... so the dark things are OK. But, if we want to be truthful in our ballet, the beauty will eventually overcome the darkness. Ballet is so good at lovely things so why not keep it lovely and inspiring. Don't we all need some inspiration in these times? If people don't want lovely things... let them watch TV. Keep the ballet for beautiful things. "Make it lovely, make it beautiful, make it fun". That would be the instructions to my creative team. Thanks Alexandra
  9. Oh boy! ICE, I remember it well! I'm in a remote area so we get outages too, about once a month... but I got lucky this time. Too bad you missed it. With reference to these silly story plots though... the thing is, they can be quite powerful, even though they may seem unbelievable on the surface. Silly plot may be just "boiliing" complex things down to the essence... so they may not be like everyday life, but sometimes they can touch some very deep cords. (this is just an opinion of mine, it's just what I see in them) It's this power in a silly plot that interests me. I would like that power to be used to "uplift" rather than to depress people. To me, the uplifting things are the spiritual things and are closer to the deepest truths in life. I really would like to see ballet plots be used to help remind people of their own true lofty dignity as human beings. We all get into dark things, and as for me, I don't need any help in that area !!... I'd rather have some inspiration on the other side, the nice side. This is what I see in the great classics, they are so wonderful in this area... They uplift people, Sleeping Beauty is wonderful, as is the Nuts and all the versions of Swan Lake I have seen show a triumph over darkness. Coppelia and La Fille Mal Gardee are happy and wonderful. Yes, I really did like this Irish troop. All they need now is an uplifting story plot and that would make the whole thing worth while. They have everything else, they have the choreography they have the talent and the energy... all they need is a nice story. Enough of this dark stuff:D
  10. Yes, it was the Irish troop. And I have to say that I liked the choreography also, especially in the first joyful 10 minutes. I was completely thrilled with the dance until the plot started to take a dark turn. But I sure did like the first few minutes, it reminded me very much of a great ballet, but after that, they just lost me. These "dark" plots... I just don't get that part. But that's probably just me. If I go to a performance, I want to leave happy and uplifted. I don't mind darkness in the plot, but when darkness dominates, it just doesn't seem right to me. Sorry this response is so late, but I have been focused on a project and haven't been "checking the mail".
  11. OK, cool. So maybe it was good to recognize something nice. So I didn't know any of this, so this information is very helpful. Actually, sounds a bit like the music has been overused. But that is exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks to everyone.
  12. Does anyone know if the music of Edvard Grieg has been used for ballet? I was listening to an album of his most popular music and it just seems like such a natural for ballet. "Morning" is very well known (alomst too well known), but there are many more that I recognized that seem to be great for dance such as "solveig's song" and "bridal procession". Anyone familiar with the application of Griegs music to dance?
  13. Lillianna, I read a description of the CPYB performance and it sounded a bit different than the choreography that I saw... in fact I don't remember seeing the Pas de Trois at all! Brom was depicted as a rough personality and I can't remember a touching scene with him in the mix. Its quite possible that we saw two entirely different versions. Now, it may also be due to my inexperience in viewing these things, but I simply don't remember it. I can't say for sure that it was not in the performance that I saw, I just don't recall it. But on the other hand, it sounds as if we both enjoyed the new ballet. I thought it was quite nice and refined for something new. Didn't you think so too?
  14. A contemporary dance presentation "Gaelforce Dance", choreographer Richard Griffin will air Sunday Nov. 17 according to my PBS schedule. Just thought I should post this... gotta be "alert", don't want to miss anything!
  15. Nanatchka, Sounds good to me! I think I'd eat the lasagna and cole slaw and put the rest in the fridge for harder times! Editing is like using the stuff that goes together and putting the rest in cold storage for possible consumption at a later time. Nice thing about classical music is that it never goes bad with age. But I may just pass on the pickles! And Mel, thanks for all the details. I don't know about Dracula, but I hear that it has been successful, so that makes the point. So its good to hear all these examples. It can be done, but it has to be done carefully... so that is encouraging. And mixing different styles of music may even be useful... for example in Swan Lake there is a scene with dancers from different countries, so naturally, it could be a place for different styles and different composers. So certain storys may even require diverse music. And Farrell Fan, glad to know that it was done by Balanchine also, that really gives the green light. Thanks again for your great replys, completely informative and fun too!
  16. The Classic Ballets each had a single composer because, of course, the composer wrote the music FOR that particular ballet, very simple. But my question doen't concern that, it has to do with the use of classical compositions for a new ballet... in other words, the music from the 19th century is adapted for use in a new production, for example... in Mayerling (composer-Franz Liszt), and in Lady of the Camellias (composer-Frederic Chopin). Now, in those cases, the music was NOT written for the ballet but was picked up much later and adapted for use in ballet. (or that is my understanding of it) So my question is this... do you know of any ballet production that uses the music from more than one composer? If so, I would be interested in knowing about that production. And if NOT, then I would want to ask... is there a kind of "taboo" against using the music from more than one composer to construct a new ballet? And if so,what is the nature of that taboo?
  17. Great review dirac. So convincing that it has me wanting to hop on a plane and see it myself! The Royal Ballet Company is truely amazing. They can pull anything off... and it seems that they are now even better than ever.
  18. Vagansmom... perhaps you can make it happen in your area. Let your regional ballet companies know about it and you can refer them to "ballet alert" to read about it. I have an extra copy of the program so if you want the extra copy, let me know. It is a wonderful ballet for kids and the title should bring in the paying customers at the holloween season to help your local ballet company, so everyone can win. The music and sound effects were recorded so maybe all that can be worked out in collaboration with the Alabama Ballet Company. They are a great group of people... why not give them a "hollar"! Alabama folks are quite friendly and helpful. And Mel, I like the idea of reguggling the story also. In this case it would have been next to impossible to have all the pleasant music and dance without reguggling. So again, the 19th century practices are not so outdated after all. I think it worked in this case and so I also think that reguggling works in the 21st century just as well as it did in the 19th. So lets all "guggle" on into the future;)
  19. The Premiere performance of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by the Alabama Ballet Company was a great hit for the people who showed up to give it a chance. (Original Choreographer Allen Hineline, resident Choreographer Roger Van Fleteren, music composed by Lanny Meyers. Artistic director, Wes Chapman) I traveled a long distance to catch it, but it was well worth the trip. Just before leaving I read the original story by Washington Irving... but forget the old story because this ballet is quite a huge departure from the original. So I'll just go ahead and describe the actual performance as I remember it. The ballet opens with a scream and some hoofbeats... another victim of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow! The curtain opens and a man lies there dead, a nearby family rushes over to find they are too late to help. The constable arrives and the body is dragged off the stage. The second curtain opens to the full stage and reveals the churchyard graveyard and a troup of "hollows" coming out of the cavity of an old tree to dance around. (the "hollows" reminded me a bit of the Wilis... but with a costume of ghostly white ribbons) The scene changes and we find Ichabod Crane (David Blumenfield) as the schoolmaster preparing for another day of class as the parents arive to deliver the children, and Katrina (Jenefer Lauren) makes her first appearance along with her mother and younger sister. Now, at this point I must tell you that the Alabama Ballet company has their own ballet school with some very talented children. In my mind, these children were really the stars of the performance since they had 3 scenes that they danced. Now, they were not just skipping and jumping around, they were quite talented dancers and actors (about 14 children, ages 9-13) Those kids were great, which speaks well for the future of the company. Well anyway, to continue, Katrina gives a gift of a pumpkin to Ichabod at the school. So this is where the story departs greatly from the original. In this stage version, Katrina likes Ichabod from day one and defends him and eventually marrys him in the last act. The scene continues on as the childred play and tease Ichabod with the pumpkin, and as the day winds down Ichabod is left alone with the pumpkin and puts it on top of a broomstick and pretends that it is Katrina as he dances with the broomstick. (by the way, I couldn't help but notice that David Blumenfeld was thrilled to have this leading role as Ichabod... he wasn't very big in size but he sure held his own with great enthusiasm and very great skill) Ichabod wanders on to the church graveyard and falls asleep and there is a dream scene where the "Hollows" reveal some secrets to Ichabod. At this point I have to say that the stage set was really spectacular. They had a schoolhouse front that opened to reveal the inner classroom and closed to show the front of the school... and they used a long simple arch with railings to represent the famous "bridge" of sleepy hollow. This bridge was on wheels and in one very great scene the "Hollows" spun the bridge around in the dark with Brom Bones on it to punish him as the strobe lights flashed. It was a great scene, very well done. This bridge was also used as a ramp to give the dancers passage on and off stage. It was a clever prop. At this point, Brom and his rough friends tease and abuse Ichabod as Katrina defends him. She moves Brom and his friends off stage and this is where Katrina and Ichabod dance and fall in love. Another schoolhouse scene comes here where the invitation from Katrina is given to Ichabod for a party at the family house. The party celebration is the big scene where all the players get to show off and dance including the children. Katrina favors Ichabod and it makes Broms very angry. Broms sneaks away and puts a Jack O Lantern on his head and comes back to pretent that he is the Headless horseman and ends up abducting Katrina at the end of the party scene... and end of act 1. The second and final act is quite simple. Ichabod frantically searches for Katrina and has a confrontation with Brom Bones and ends up with the victory... as Brom Bones is revealed under the pumpkin head and is banished from the county. The final scene is the celebration and wedding of Ichabod and Katrina. Everyone gets into this part including the father of the bride who is quite old with white hair and a cane and of course falls a couple of times for laughs. The biggest laugh came when Ichabod beggs the parents for Katrina's hand and the father refused... the mother promptly stomped her foot just oncen and dad had an immediate change of heart! So all in all, the ballet was very well done with sound effects and great music (all recorded). Music was quite good, sounding a bit classical in places and a bit more complex and modern in other places. I got the distinct impression that this ballet is going to be a regular annual event here in Birmingham... but that is just a guess. It definitely was a FAMILY ballet, designed to please even the youngest kids in the audience... it was a fast moving 2 hours and had a lot in it for everyone. It seemed to be a great hit. The ballet production and the ballet company were both quite impressive as they carried the whole thing off without any obvious errors. It was a great time, hope you all get a chance to see it someday. I think it is good enough to be a standard thing for holloween... but only time will tell if anyone else will actually pick up on it.
  20. OK, great. I think I am starting to get the picture. This is how I learn, one question at a time. Guess I have to start thinking about choreographers in a different light, maybe more like great composers. There is only one Tchaikovsky, I understand that. And it sounds like there is only one Ashton as well.
  21. Now, here is the part I don't get:confused: Why is there all this talk of Ashton and trusts and all that, when Ashton didn't write the music for Sylvia and Ashton didn't create the storyline for Sylvia... So why can't some big company like the Royal Ballet company just pick out a talented choreographer (who has NEVER seen Ashton's choreography) and say... "here is the music for Sylvia and here is the story of Sylvia". "Now, make something beautiful out of it!"
  22. Dear Leigh, that one really hit home!!! I had to laugh out loud! Here is mine: Thrills, Chills and Goose Bumps... enjoy the Ballet. Embarrass your children... go to the Ballet. They did it to you first!!
  23. Have to admit, I'm a but confused about the talk of the Ashton estate and trust! I thought Delibes wrote music for a ballet called Sylvia... that was a long time ago... what would any estate have to do with that?? Are you talking about some attempt at a reconstruction of a ballet that was lost?? or what is this estate thing about?:confused: And Mel, you have a life, you are a great teacher! You give life to everyone with your knowledge. I can't think of a greater profession than that. Congratulations on your 6001 !!
  24. Sylvia, I'm just now listening to the CD and music of Delibes from the ballet called "Sylvia". Wouldn't it be great to see the Royal Ballet do a revival of Sylvia. I'll bet that they could do it better than anyone and make it work as never before. Maybe you can talk them into it... and surely they would give you some free tickets:D
  25. There is a very contemporary saying "what goes around comes around"... its a reference to natural law saying that the things that we do come back to us. An old, old principle, but so contemporary because of the new saying "what goes around comes around". What makes this so interesting to me is the relationship between Cinderella and La Sylphide in this regard. Both have an old woman in the plot. In one case, Cinderella is kind to the old woman... and you know the triumphal ending to the story. What goes around comes around. And conversly, James in La Sylphide is unkind to an old woman... and you know what happens at the end of that story. What goes around comes around. The very same principle, but shown from two different sides. These stories may seem old to some, but they are just as fresh today as the day they were first performed. Its such a nice example of contemporary that I just had to add it to the thread.
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