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Computer animation as the new artistic standard?

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In his review of Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Sid Smith of the Chicago Tribune has this to say:

Expert technical stylists are hard to find in ballet, unless you're Ballet Nacional de Cuba, where they seem to proliferate like magic.

Take Laura Hormigon, whose exquisite portrayal of Odette in Act II of "Swan Lake" leads to a floating exit where her willowy, watery arms undulate with such unreal beauty that you could swear you were watching computer animation.

"Computer animation"? Is this a compliment?

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I'm sure he meant it as a compliment, but it's not. It's ignorance. Mr. Smith has a right to his opinion of course, but it sounds like they assigned their second string film reviewer to the ballet by mistake. Either that or Sid needs to cut back on his X Cube hours.

Oh well, just another misunderstanding of ballet's unique essence. I guess it's all of a piece with Nutcracker Barbie's assault on Swan Lake.

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Thanks, Treefrog...I had only read the excerpt you posted and assumed the worst from it . But now having read the entire review, I see that it was just one of those strange out of context musings that critics are prone to. Apologies to Mr. Smith who seems to be most competent and fairly knowledgeable after all. I'll try not to shoot from the hip/lip quite so quickly again. I think I'm a bit trigger happy from all this Pop Ballet garbage.

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Struck me as "weird" too, but on reflection perhaps he was trying to give an impression of the almost disorienting effect that computer generation animation has (on me anyway). Now, sadly, I can't think of any concrete examples, but when I see it, it almost always makes me feel dizzy. I can picture that being very effective for Odette's arms.

Just a thought.

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I've been mulling over the evolution of film special effects for awhile, so this comment is particularly interesting. I think we all know the moment in the ballet he refers to -- where it becomes clear that Odette transforms from woman to swan. (purely by dumb luck, I saw Cynthia Gregory's final performance with ABT of SL act II and years later am still astonished by her interpretation of that moment) I don't know if I would have used this comparison in writing about it, but I can imagine that, writing for a general readership newspaper and for an audience that is increasing film literate, this analogy might be a powerful one.

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