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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. I enjoy the music and the dancing of the ballet Le Corsaire very much, but one thing I do not like is the story. To me the story is the least important part of a ballet, but it is a part of the ballet. It seems I am not the only person who feels this way. This link goes to an article by Jennifer Stahl entitled “Why Le Corsaire is My Favorite ‘Terrible’ Ballet:” https://www.dancemagazine.com/le-corsaire-favorite-terrible-ballet-2434665976.html and this one goes to an article by Ivy Lin entitled “Wildly offensive, but wildly entertaining too: ABT’s Le Corsaire:” https://bachtrack.com/review-corsaire-american-ballet-theatre-new-york-june-2019. In addition, ABT seems to recognize that there are “. . . images that some find offensive . . .” See here for their disclaimer: https://dancetabs.com/2019/06/american-ballet-theatre-le-corsaire-new-york-3/ in an article written by Lauren Gallagher. And in this article by Lyndsey Winship, Misty Copeland, who has portrayed Gulnare, is quoted as saying “You think of Corsaire as this light thing, but it’s not really – it’s about slaves, these women chained up:” https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2019/nov/20/fu-manchu-moustaches-blackface-does-ballet-have-a-race-problem. The irony is that the story of the ballet is not like Lord Byron’s 1814 poem that is stated to have inspired this ballet. So, for my own enjoyment I thought up a new story for Le Corsaire that uses pretty much the same music and the same chorography and which, as it turns out, is closer to the story of the poem. I am not saying that the story of the ballet is wrong in anyway, just that I like this one much better. Here is the first art which corresponds to the first Canto of the poem. Act 1 patterned after the current Act 2. At the beginning of the ballet a group of female corsaires led by two corsaires named Helena and Zobeide rush onto the stage. These two would be friends and would be the leaders of the female corsaires. This could be to the to the music near the beginning of the current first act where the male corsaires, Birbanto and Conrad first enter the Bazaar. Medora, Conrad and Ali and the male corsaires are either already standing around or soon enter. The corsaires are celebrating a recent successful raid. Lanquedem and Birbanto are not involved in this as they are not in the ballet. Also, there is no attempted mutiny. Medora dances her Petit Corsaire and Medora, Ali and perhaps Conrad dance the pas de deux or pas de trois. Helena and Zobeide, engage in a friendly contest possibly involving drinking, dueling, wrestling or target shooting with pistols, depending on the music. The act ends as Conrad explains that they are to go on a new raid that night, not to rescue anyone, but in a preemptive act to destroy the Pasha’s fleet as he is planning to attack the corsaire’s stronghold the following day. During this first act, the female corsaire’s hair is let down so that it flows as they dance, representing that they are free. Tom,
  2. Nanushka, thank you for the two recent links. This is the first I have heard of these ballets. I am an amateur regarding ballet and have not formally studied it nor am I a dancer, so I am grateful for any information people give. Here is a link to what appears to be an updated version of “Sylvia” with modern costumes and with women with their hair down. The next link goes to a video of “La Petit Corsaire.” In this case the men have long hair, which are probably wigs. I like this dance although it seems to me it is not used much anymore. Also, the men are wearing skirts (kilts if preferred). One male dancer who seems to generally wear his hair long is Farukh Ruzimatov. I have DVD of “The Sleeping Beauty” in which he dances Prince Desire and in the wedding act has “sparkles” in his long dark hair. Tom,
  3. Nanushka, I watched the video you linked to and enjoyed it so thank you. When first watching it and before noting who the name of the ballerina was, I thought she looked familiar and then realized she was a young Ekaterina Maximova. I have a disk of her and her husband dancing in a Bolshoi production of the Nutcracker. It is not my favorite version, but I enjoy her dancing in it very much. The video is dated for 1987 so Ekaterina could have been as old as 48 at the time and she portrayed a 7-year-old Clara/Maria very well. She also did very well in the video you linked to. At one point I got afraid for her as one of the male dancers held her up with one arm and she looked as if she was falling backward, but that I think just shows her skill. It is my impression that the version by Lavroysky and Maximova is more in line with the original version. As I indicated one of the things, I liked about the video I posted is the women’s wild hair near the end. I would like to see more of that in ballet, both for women and men (men with long hair), although I also like it when the hair is tied up. In the version you linked to the women’s hair was let down, but not as wild as in the other. I have been looking for a recording of the ballet with Sara Mearns and I found some information, but not a recording which I would like to see. Also, Pherank thank you for your link. Tom
  4. Walpurgisnacht begins at sundown tomorrow evening (April 30th). My understanding is that it started in Germany as a pagan holiday to welcome the coming of Spring weather and that it is associated with witches or sprites of the dead. It is also called Hexennacht (Witches Night) However, the current name is not pagan, but is taken from Saint Walpurga (Walpurga Night) who was an English nun who came to Germany in the 8th century. The day coincides with Mayday and the evening is half a year from All Saints Eve (Halloween). Here is a link to a portion of the Walpurgisnacht ballet (11 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q3mTBtTOZ8. One of the things I like about this performance is when the female dancers come out (toward the end) with their hair down and flowing. It gives me the impression of witches joyfully celebrating the coming of Spring. Tom,
  5. 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,
  6. 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,
  7. 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,
  8. 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,
  9. Was Tchaikovsky’s Snow Maiden a ballet or was there a ballet in it? Tom,
  10. 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
  11. 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,
  12. 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,
  13. To All: Ballet is Magic! Moonlight and Roses (my new nom de plume)
  14. 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,
  15. 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,
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