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polyphonyfan

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About polyphonyfan

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    adult ballet student, ballet fan, dance fan, classical music fan
  • City**
    Birmingham
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    Alabama
  1. ksk, I went back and looked at the Royal Ballet swan tutus again, and I think you make a good point about the "molting" look. The tapered way the "feathers" are cut does kind of give that impression. On the other hand, cutting "feathers" from tulle without giving them a tapered edge might look cartoonish, so maybe it would be better just to add faux feathers as accents or forego the suggestion of feathers on the skirts. I think that the ABT Swan Lake from the 1970s with Natalia Makarova had the corps in long plain white tutus.
  2. Sorry you didn't care for La Source Birdsall. I just got back from seeing it this afternoon. I really liked it for the most part. I though that the scenery and darker lighting gave a tastefully modern feel and kept it from seeming like a “museum piece”. It contrasted very well with the rich storybook-like costumes, most of which were stunning- with a couple of exceptions- the bright pink veils on the Khan’s wives inevitably brought to mind “I Dream of Jeannie” (although it probably didn’t have that effect on the Parisian audience!) and the Jolly Green Giant and his quartet of Space Aliens looked a little out of place. It was hilarious though when Jolly Green and the Aliens showed up in the Khan’s court dressed in those Friar Laurence robes with their green and blue faces poking out! Although my opinion on choreography is subject to change without notice, my first impression of the choreography for La Source was very favorable. I love how it blended folk/character dance with classical ballet in way that didn’t seem static or overly stylized and the classical choreography was wonderful as well, smooth transitions and accents, with a non-bravura bent which helped it feel more natural, which is quality that it always desirable in ballet, although often challenging to achieve within the strict confines of academic steps. I was afraid that the music would bland, but it actually turned out to be very nice for the most part, I think might have been arranged a little bit, some parts seemed to emphasis the violin (I think) in a way that seemed more modern. The story was a little hard to follow, the synopsis was provided, but without knowing exactly which character was which, it was a bit confusing. At intermission, I heard an elderly couple conversing, the lady said with some frustration, “But what is the story?” the man replied, “I don’t know…it’s usually someone is in love with someone…” LOL. Oh well, maybe that is all a good ballet story needs to be anyway! Hope they release this on DVD.
  3. Sometimes particular steps or movements unavoidably make the audience reflexively cringe and think "that's gotta hurt" in spite of the fact that they may at the same time find the movement impressive and/ or beautiful. Is that a problem? Sometimes an abundance of jumps on pointe can produce this reaction, same too with contemporary works when dancers are stepping on top of each other or violently hurdling themselves around the stage. Is a kinesthetic "ouch factor" okay if pain or violence is the theme or intended effect of the piece? Is it only a problem when goes against the spirit of the work? Is it a problem at all? I look forward to hearing your opinions!
  4. Lidewij, That is interesting. I might just be me, but I kind of think that today's Mariinsky dancers are not quite as supremely graceful as they used to be (although I still think that they are probably the most graceful company in the world), I think that most of the principal dancers still have that supreme grace, especially of course, Lopatkina and Vishneva, and no doubt others that I haven't seen videos of. What aspects of decline do you notice?
  5. I do think that the emphasis on extreme flexibility and thinness will prevail but I think that it is possible that body types other than “tall and willowy” will be more accepted so long they are still very flexible and very thin. For better or worse, I think that by 2062, there will have been a complete backlash against certain aspects of what we now consider classical ballet and classical ballet choreography. I think that the fluidity of movement that you see in certain contemporary dance choreography (like Lar Lubovitch) will eventually come to be regarded as more in a keeping with the spirit and progression of classical dance than the more static, sometimes pose-heavy, classical choreography of ballets like Paquita and Swan Lake. So I think that the now-familiar versions of story ballets will be performed far less, and there will be an increasing push to redo them with new choreography when they are performed. I think too that the increasing concern over the physical damage that can result from 180 degree turnout in standing positions and pointe work will come to a head and eventually mean that these aesthetics will no longer have the prominence that they do now. If classical ballet in 2012 looks like a more-or-less traditional performance of a Petipa work, I think by 2062 it will look more like Paul Taylor’s “Airs”, still classical-based technique, still performed to classical music, but less academic steps in actual performances, more fluidity of movement and costumes, and without pointe shoes.
  6. Thank you all for your opinions! This has been very interesting. So far, the shorter tutu appears to the prefered costume. Cubanmiamiboy, thanks for all of the pictures! They were very helpful and informative. Kathleen O'Connell and ksk48 "feather earmuffs" "Royal Ballet ones always look like they are molting to me" LOL!
  7. The first ballet piece I really fell in love with was the Arabian dance from the Bolshoi Ballet's 1989 (I think) production of the Nutcracker, the one that they show on Ovation Tv. I realize now how different and subtle and somewhat folk-inspired that interpretation of the Arabian dance ( or the "Dance of the Indian Dolls" as they style it) is compared to the showy Balanchine-influenced ones you see in the U.S. There isn't anything showy about the Bolshoi version, it is the little things like smoothness of the choreography and the beauty of the sculptured poses that are entrancing.
  8. "anything longer makes me look for my scissors" LOL! You and Alexandra make a good point that the tutus originally used in Swan Lake were probably closer to knee-length or maybe a little longer. There are some pictures from revival productions of 1895 on the Royal Ballet Swan Lake page, the one with Pierina Legnani features tutus just above the knee and the one with Olga Preobrazhenskaya has tutus a few inches below the knee: http://www.rohedswan...story.asp?id=13 After looking at the latter, I think that these might be the length that the current Royal Ballet production based there costumes on, it is not quite Romantic-length like I thought, but it is still below the knee, maybe it needs its own classification!
  9. I found this article and video about a company of mature dancers called "Paradigm": http://www.pbs.org/wttw/retirementrevolution/2009/08/04/paradigm-dancers/ "“I know that my energies are going to change,” de Lavallade says. “But I never wanted to dwell on that. I feel there are always things you can do. Every age has their own story to tell, and I can tell it with my body.” ... "“But there’s always something you can do. And that could make life exciting. You just don’t give up because you say, ‘I’m getting old,’” she adds. “There’s no such thing as old. The Sphinx is old. The pyramids are old. We’re just beginning.” "
  10. I was wondering, do you prefer Classical or Romantic length tutus for Swan Lake Act 2 and 4? I think that I actually like the longer ones like the Royal Ballet uses, the flow of the fabric and the illusion it creates seems more in keeping with the spirit of the lakeside scenes, I almost wish that Odette's dances could be modified so that she could where a long tutu also. On the hand, the shorter tutu does allow us to see the lines of the choreography better, so I can understand why people would prefer this look. I would love to hear your opinions on this!
  11. Innopac, Thank you for the article! I thought that this was fascinating: "It's not just that these veterans of the profession have vivid recollections of ballets that are now lost to the stage, it's also that they can conjure up a whole different world of personalities, working practices, and eccentricities." I recently saw an interesting article in Dance Magazine about dancing at different ages called "Listening to Your Body" by Kathleen McQuire: http://www.dancemaga...ng-to-your-body In the section "The 50s & Beyond" it relates this: “Technique to me is about intelligent dancing now,” says Pat Catterson, who at 66 continues to dance and tour with Yvonne Rainer. “It’s not about virtuosity. It’s about helping me to produce consistent results and keep my body in balance.” Catterson continues to take class five to six days a week. When she stretches, she finds she needs to cushion her joints against the floor to feel comfortable since they are less padded than when she was younger. She sometimes has to refresh parts of her warm up several times in one rehearsal when the choreographic process is stop-and-go. For Catterson, the joy of dancing has not left her. She is realistic about her limitations, but refuses to allow the skepticism of others to infect her passion. “I’ve learned that you cannot let fear overtake you,” she says. “Yes you have to be sensible, but if you let fear cripple you, then you just move correctly and you don’t dance anymore. Dancing is a combination of control and abandon, and you have to have that abandon to feel like you’re dancing.”
  12. Paul Parish, Now come to think of it, the swans use voyages /chugs in the finale of act 2 of Swan Lake, don't they?
  13. sandik, Thanks for the clarification about Giselle's steps. Just curious, are en de hors ronde de jambes in the Four Temperaments just ronde de jambes like a dancer would do in center practice? I haven't seen the ballet, unfortunately.
  14. bart, Excellent insight about the Willis port de bras and "swan arms"! I will have to check out the La Scala Swan Lake. The creative arm movements in these ballets do seem to stray outside of the academic arm positions. I guess that the movements of the arms were the where choreographers had a greater degree of artistic freedom in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
  15. Several come to mind in Giselle: - The use of ballotte in Act One - The crossed-arms port de bras of Willis. -The sort of sliding/hopping arabesques(don’t know the technical name!)which the Willis use to “slide” past each other in rows. I think Myrtha also uses the step in her solo. - Giselle’s breakneck-speed attitude promenade (not sure if that is the right term either!) which she performs after being turned into a Willi. -And finally - the best for last- the tender moment in Giselle and Albrecht’s final dance together when Albrecht gently lifts Giselle in his arms as if she were a child, almost as if he was trying to give her rest from her sorrow and/or desperately trying to keep her with him. *Sigh* so lovely!!!! I don’t know how much of the choreography in our modern Giselle is original and how much has been changed or adapted over the years, but, regardless, the composite result contains a unique vocabulary which indissolubly defines the work.
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