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About Tom47

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Amy I came across your comment when I was looking for the premiere date for Diana and Acteon. I found what you wrote to be very interesting first because after I saw Diana and Acteon and then looked up the myth I felt they didn't fit, but thought that there are other ballets that didn't fit well with the story that inspired them, for example La Corsaire. However, your explanation that it is really the story of Luna/Selene and Endymion makes much more sense. Also the story of Luna/Selene and Endymion is one of my favorite myths. I particularly like it because it switches the gender roles with the female character being the more active and assertive and the one doing the viewing and the male character being the passive one that is being looked at. There is a painting by the artist Angelica Kauffmann born in 1741 illustrating this myth. In the background of the painting is, what was to me a mysterious figure, which I now understand, due to your comment as being a satyr. See here As with the story of the myth this painting switches gender roles with the female painter depicting a nude male, while the female figure, who is kissing Endymion, is clothed. My favorite painting of this myth is The Sleep of Endymion by Girodet. See here https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Endymion-asleep/66FD10B9F348F729. As in both of these cases Endymion is many times depicted nude, which might explain why in the ballet the male dancer wears little and in some cases very little. See here An even better ballet for the Selene and Endymion story would something like Le Spectre de la rose, but would start with Endymion asleep on a small hill. A light (the moonlight) would shine on Endymion and then as the stage brightens Selene would dance in. Eventually she dances with Endymion who is "sleep dancing." I would add other dancers, Cupid or Eros and some nymphs, but no satyr. Tom,
  2. Pherank, thank you for the links, particularly the two of Tchaikovsky’s music. I haven’t yet had time to listen to them, but I am looking forward to that. Tom,
  3. This information is from a website entitled “Kostroma: The home of Russia’s Snegurochka, the snow maiden”: https://www.rbth.com/travel/2014/11/12/kostroma_the_home_of_russias_snegurochka. In the article it is stated that “Ostrovsky finished the play “The Snow Maiden” in 1873 (featuring music composed by Tchaikovsky), which was later adapted into a four-act opera by composer Rimsky-Korsakov premiering in St. Petersburg in 1882. A ballet version was also staged in 1878.” Since, this ballet was staged after the play, but before the opera indicates the possibility that the ballet contained music by Tchaikovsky used in the play. This link http://en.tchaikovsky-research.net/pages/The_Snow_Maiden gives the movements of the 1873 piece. It shows “2. Dances and Chorus of Birds,” “12. Round Dance,” “13. Dance of the Tumblers” and “17b. Spring’s Monologue, Chorus and Dances, so there are dancing as well as singing and speaking. Also at that link it is stated that “At the beginning of 1873 . . . all three companies – drama, opera and ballet – performed on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. The management committee of the Moscow Imperial Theatres . . . decided to make the most of this opportunity to unite for a single fairy-tale production.” So it appears that Tchaikovsky wrote ballet music for “The Snow Maiden” and it is possible that the ballet staged in1878 could be Tchaikovsky’s fourth ballet. RG thank you for the picture. Tom,
  4. RG and Lynette, thank you for your help. I remembered reading years ago that Tchaikovsky wrote music for a section of ballet within a non-ballet “The Snow Maiden,” a ballet within an opera or play, but I couldn’t find that again. Recently I found that ABT has “The Snow Maiden” ballet with music by Tchaikovsky, since I have always read that Tchaikovsky did only three full length ballets this confused me. It now appears from what you both wrote and from the link Lynette provided that the ballet “The Snow Maiden” was choreographed in 1961, with Tchaikovsky’s music and according to the article linked to it included music from the play “The Snow Maiden.” Could this be considered Tchaikovsky’s fourth ballet? Now I’m going to try and find out more about Aleander Ostrovsky’s Play “The Snow Maiden” and in particular any ballet parts with music by Tchaikovsky. Thank you both, Tom,
  5. Was Tchaikovsky’s Snow Maiden a ballet or was there a ballet in it? Tom,
  6. As I stated I like the magical, mysterious or enchanted beings from ballet. Also I sometimes think up stories or scenarios and here is one for an enchanted ballet. It would start with “Le Spectre de la Rose.” That would be done as it normally is except at the end after the Spectre leaves and the young woman wakes she will look out of the window and decide to follow him. She immediately finds herself in a dense forest, in winter as shown by the Waltz of the “Snowflakes” from the “Nutcracker.” She dances with the snowflakes and at the end spies the Spectre going off into the distance. Again following him she travels through a number of scenes, some lively and happy – Felix Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo and Don Quixote’s Dream. Others are more serious – The Entry of the Shades from Bayadere and the Wilis from Giselle. She could also meet up with some enchanted Swans and a Firebird. At the end, when she is exhausted from her journeys she lays down and falls asleep to Mendelssohn’s Nocturne. Then mysteriously it is morning and she is back in her chair when the Spectre in the form of a “real” young man comes in and wakes her. Moonlight and Roses (Tom), PS, I want to take this opportunity to mention that yesterday’s Goggle Doodle by 15 years old Sarah Harrison is great!!! The theme was “What I See For The Future.” I also see that for the future. See here: http://www.refinery29.com/2017/03/148053/doodle-4-google-2017-contest-winner
  7. Michaela DePrince was born in Sierra Leone. She was ostracized by the people in her community because of a skin disease – vitiligo – so this is when she first became an “other.” At a young age she became an orphan and was placed in an orphanage. She found photograph of a ballerina standing en pointe and decided to become a ballerina and was able to pursue this goal after being adopted. Michaela is now with the Dutch National Ballet’s main company as a Grand Sujet. Here is a website featuring Michaela http://www.michaeladeprince.com/ and here is Michaela De Prince dancing the pas de deux from Don Quixote (just over 11 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znoG4XnCv_E. Tom,
  8. Lawrence, thank you for posting this link. I just viewed the video in the article and found it interesting and thought provoking. I see there being at least two parts of this issue. First, is there is a problem with dancers who don’t look European being in a ballet set in Europe? This is the easiest to answer and I would say emphatically not for me. To me ballet is fantasy and fantasy does not have to be accurate. In fact for me not being accurate adds to the fantasy. But, if one only wanted European looking dancers in a ballet set in Europe and I don’t, then what about “La Bayadere” or “Le Corsaire” or the Chinese Dance and the Arab Dance in the “Nutcracker” and there are others. Second is the aesthetic issue. Is white skin more suited to ballet than dark skin? Again I would say no and since I enjoy variety I would prefer dancers with different shades of complexion. Another part of this has to do with uniformity. Is it more aesthetically pleasing for all of the swans or all of the snowflakes to have light complexions? I feel aesthetically pleasing is like beauty and I feel beauty as well as aesthetically pleasing is in the eye of the beholder. To my eye it would not be more aesthetically pleasing to have all of the swans and all of the snowflakes have light skin. But even here it seems to me that only casting light skinned dancers for those parts would limit the number of dancers to choose from and therefore it is possible that a not as accomplished light skinned dancer might get the part over a more accomplished dark skinned dancer. But even then uniformity does not applied to all dancers in a ballet. I see no problem with a dark skinned Odette/Odile, a dark skinned Prince Siegfried or dark skinned dancers in act one or act three. Lastly any aesthetic pleasure I may get from viewing only light skinned dancers and it is actually the opposite for me as I would prefer to see dancers of different complexions, would be more than negated by knowing that a dancer was rejected simply because she/he had a dark complexion. Tom,
  9. To All: Ballet is Magic! Moonlight and Roses (my new nom de plume)
  10. I like to examine the status quo – that is I like to try and discover how things got to be as they are and what could happen if things change. While watching my copy of the Mariinsky Ballet’s “Don Quixote” I noticed that two of the female dancers, the flower-sellers, weren’t wearing white tights. They weren’t really dressed in tutus, more like short skirts or dresses down to their knees. I assumed they were wearing sheer tights, but their legs could have been bare. As far as I remember all of the women whose costumes consisted of classic tutus wore white tights, but this set me thinking. What would a ballet and even a traditional ballet be like if female dancers wore sheer tights or even went bare legged when wear classical tutus. I guess one objection to that would be that it is traditional to wear non-sheer tights with tutus and that it would not have the same traditional look, but then things even in ballet change. I did see a movie “Center Stage” (2000) where female dancers danced in very short skirts, technically not tutus with sheer tights and with toe shoes. Tom,
  11. I found the following quote at a website that hopefully can be found here: http://www.russianballethistory.com/nijinskythelegend.htm. “Then [after 1909], Nijinsky went back to the Mariinsky Theatre, but was dismissed for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht in Giselle wearing tights without the modesty trunks, obligatory for male dancers in the company. The Dowager Empress, Maria Feodorovna, complained that his appearance was obscene, and he was dismissed. It is probable that the scandal was arranged by Diaghilev, in order that Nijinsky could be free to appear with his company in the west, where many of his projects now centered around him.” I wonder about the history of men wearing tights without any modesty covering over their mid-section. It just seems to me so counter to the general practice in the current culture. Could this be the start of that practice? ABT Fan I realize I neglected to comment on your statement regarding the showing of man’s lower body outline being “. . . identical to the conundrum of full-frontal female nudity vs. full-frontal male nudity.” First I never saw “Games of Thrones.” Second, I wanted to be careful in answering as I see this topic as being about male beauty and not necessarily being about nudity, but nudity is part of the issue when talking about visual beauty of the human form. I did find a clip from the Late Show with James Corden (April 2016) where he interviewed Emila Clarke, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacohson. I guess Emila plays one of the characters on Game of Thrones. Corden asked Emila “how she feels about the levels of nudity on the show. . .” Her answer was “Well, I mean I feel some things about it” and then added “so I feel like there’s a little bit of inequality between the amount of nudity that happens with women, this woman in particular, and that happens with the other guys.” The host indicated that he felt a certain part of the male body is “. . . so disgusting” and Abbi Jacobson said “you guys need to come terms with your own body image.” I feel that statement fits with the idea that there is prejudice regarding men wearing tights, as well as with the idea of male beauty in ballet since of all live performance arts ballet is probably the one that most consistently show the form of the male body. Tom,
  12. The last act of The Sleeping Beauty ballet shows the marriage of Aurora and Prince Desire. Present at the wedding are a number of guests including Little Red Riding Hood and the Grey Wolf, Puss in Boots and the White Cat, the Bluebird and Princess Florine, as well as Cinderella and Prince Charming. It is fitting that Little Red Riding Hood, the Grey Wolf, Puss in Boots and Cinderella would be guests as their stories, along with the story of The Sleeping Beauty, could be found in the 1697 Charles Perrault book “Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye” (Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose). However, the stories of The Bluebird and Princess Florine and the one of The White Cat were not in Perrault’s book, but in a book of Fairytales by Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville Comtesse d’Aulnoy, born c. 1650. The Baroness d’Aulnoy wrote at least two books about fairytales the first called “Contes de Fees” c. 1697 and the second called “Contes nouveaux ou les fées a la mode” c. 1698. She is credited with originating the name “Fairy Tales” (Contes de Fees). Thus while Puss in Boots and The White Cat dance together they are not from the same story or even in the same book. However, there is a similarity in their tales as both felines help the youngest of three brothers. The story “The Blue Bird” is somewhat long and complex. Princess Florine (named after Flora) and King Charming fall in love with each other after which the King is turned into a bluebird. Following a number of trials including a long trip that Princess Florine goes on the lovers are married. It maybe that Charles Perrault published stories that already existed in some form. For example a version of The Sleeping Beauty story was published in 1634, while it appears that the Baroness d’Aulnoy wrote her own stories. It is my understanding that in some, perhaps earlier, versions of the ballet Cinderella and Prince Charming dance their own pas de deux. Tom,
  13. ABT Fan, again thank you for your comment, particularly your statement “. . . as that was the fashion of the day.” Even in my lifetime I have seen changes. I was born in 1947 and growing up I wore tight short bathing suits and I was not alone in that. During the late 60’s and the 70’s I wore short cut off jeans, as short as women wore, but it seems that during the 1970’s men began to wear longer and baggier bathing suits and shorts, until I had trouble even finding tight short bathing suits. It seems to me that men became more uncomfortable with the lower part of their bodies. What do others think? To all, as a man I like seeing male ballet dancers in tights as it shows me that the male body is not ugly just because it is male. I also like that these men look comfortable with their bodies and I look for such pictures and videos on the internet, which is how I found the site that I quoted from earlier. It seems to me that the presentation of males in ballet, in regard to their dress and actions, is much different than the male stereotypes as they are generally presented in our culture (at least in the United States). This is not only in regard to tights, but also in regard to the colors and forms of other male dress and in regard to men’s showing of expression. To me this makes ballet unconventional and I like that. What do others think? Tom,
  14. What is most interesting to me about the quote I posted above is the sentence “Just because they're in tights [male dancers], doesn't mean they're feminine.” Now why would tights make a man feminine? Why would tights be considered more a garment for women then for men? After all tights could be seen as a form of pants and at one time pants were considered exclusively a male garment. Well my thinking goes like this. In the culture I live in (primarily early 21st century USA) there seems to me to be a discomfort with men showing not only the lower part of their body (between just below their waist and their knees), but also showing the outline of that part of their body, while there is little or no such discomfort with women showing the outline of that same portion of their bodies. It also seems to me that there is a stereotype that the only people who would want to see the outline of the lower part of the male body are homosexual men and that no one else would want to see that. I don’t believe that discomfort with seeing the outline of the lower part of the male body is something that is natural to humans, but instead is an outcome of our culture. What do people think? Tom,
  15. ABT Fan, thank you for your comment. Tom,
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