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Changing Your Mind

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Have you ever changed your mind about a ballet? Liked it at first, then decided it was not that good? Or the opposite? It's happened to me alot.

I hated RELIQUARY on first sight, then came to like it, then soured on it somewhat. KAMMERMUSIK thrilled me at the premiere, later I found it less

stimulating. TWILIGHT COURANTE seemed sleepy at first, then I fell in love with it and saw every performance. I went thru a phase of finding VIENNA WALTZES & WESTERN SYMPHONY less-than-engrossing. Now they've won me back. UNION JACK was a thrill in the first seasons, now I get restless. Hated VESPRO and kept hating it. Loved BURLESKE and kept loving it. Couldn't stand MORGEN at the premiere, later I fell for it. Sometimes GATHERING seems like a masterpiece; other times it's too long.

Do you think these shifts are due to casting, our our own state of mind during a given performance?

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Oberon, you can edit your posts -- click on the edit button/icon that's at the top right of the post window. (I made the change for you.)

Good question -- I change my mind about ballets all the time :) I didn't like "Four Temperaments" the first time I saw it, and it took me years to like "Midsummer."

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Alexandra, thanks for the edit tip...

Can you say what it was that changed your mind about 4 TEMPS and MIDSUMMER? Did you finally see casting that made your viewpoint change? Or did the change happen over a period of time?

I guess what I am trying it figure out is, how much do the dancers have to do with our enjoyment of a particular piece? Does a favorite dancer make a mediocre ballet seem better? I never liked SONNAMBULA til I saw Wendy do it. But when I tried it again, even with her (whom I adore) I loved HER but was bored with the piece.

Can indifferent dancing (if dancing is ever really indifferent) make a masterpiece seem flawed?

Or does it just happen that at certain points in our lives, certain ballets become more meaningful and others less so?

Why, for example, does BURLESKE, which most people would probably consider very minor Martins, speak to me so clearly and appealingly? I think I saw every single performance and am waiting for it again, though it may never happen.

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You ask really good questions!

The first time I saw 4 Ts I (gasp, blush) didn't like the music. The second time -- a year later -- I did. Nothing analytical about it. I think I just needed to hear that score more than once (I played it at home several times between performances). As for Midsummer, partly I first saw the ballet when it wasn't in its best shape; lots of injuries, and, as happened a lot in the late '70s and early '80s, some ballets were a mess ("Serenade," for one) They didn't look rehearsed. Also, I'd seen Ashton's "The Dream" and loved it (still do) and kept wanting Midsummer to look like Dream. I first loved Midsummer when I saw Pacific Northwest Ballet do it. It looked fresh and loved and the dancers were wonderful; they made it live for me.

I think the dancer can make a huge difference -- but I think there are some people who want to see THEIR dancers in anything, and others who want to see the ballet, and can put up with whoever is dancing it -- different way of looking at things, and perhaps at different times.

I think there's also a sorting out period, especially something that's new (or new to you). It takes awhile to see everything -- just seeing the whole stage, knowing what the principals, or whoever is center stage, well enough so that you dare sneak a peak at the corps. Where you sit can matter -- a story ballet can seem distant if you're too far away (or the dancers can seem to be mugging if you're too close).

And then there's just good, old-fashioned taste. If you don't like story ballets, seeing Karsavina and Nijinsky reborn might not do it for you.

And finally, there's Stockholm Syndrome. A captive audience grows to love its captors, feel protective of them. Some ballets, even mediocre ballets, just grow on you.

This is as good question, I think -- what about others? What opinions have changed, and why?

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"Monkey in the middle"? Does this refer to the trio who see, hear & speak no evil? and which of these might I be?

I love the expression, just don't understand it. :-/

I'll have to give this some thought. I can think of a pile of ballets I hated first time out & still do.

Oddly enough, I was thinking of dancers I changed my mind about but that's another topic.

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"Monkey in the middle" was a grammar school game -- another way of saying "you're IT". (the monkey was "it").

I think we had a thread once on dancers you've changed your opinion of, but that doesn't mean we couldn't start a new one, Zerbinetta :)

Back to Oberon's very good question -- are there others who've changed their opinions of ballets over the months/years and, if so, why?

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Kammermusik is a ballet that's grown on me. When I first saw it, with the original cast, I thought it was interesting, but did not love it. In the late 80s and early 90s, it wasn't cast unevenly and would even try to avoid it. Recently, with Korowski with either Meunier and then Sofane, I've come to really enjoy it.

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Haven't thought of Kammermusik in years -- I didn't love that one first time out, but I'd like to see it again.

I hope we'll continue to discuss Oberon's question with the NYCB context, but dirac has also put up a similar topic more for the repertory in general in Discovering Ballet. So if this topc makes you remember how you used to like or dislike something in another rep that you've changed your mind about, you can talk about that here:


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With some ballets I know I've changed (either grown in my taste, or just in my mood) and with others, I think its the dancers.

I too have changed my mind about Kammermusik -- but I think it has more to do with the dancers than with me. The first couple of times I saw it, I hated it. I avoided it for a while, and then I saw it with Maria K. and Sofane last year and loved it. I know it was due to the incredible electricity of the performance. As mentioned, La Sonnambula is something that needs to be danced by a true ballerina.

On the other hand, I used to love Who Cares. The dancing is so varied and romance and has so much energy. But the last time I saw it, I couldn't wait for it to end. And I think it was danced beautifully. But I brought someone to the ballet who I thought would really enjoy it, but I quickly saw that they weren't as interested in feet as I was. So it went on forever!

And then there are ballets you change your mind about and back again. As a child, I loved the Nutcracker -- especially for the tree that grows. But as a young adult I hated the first half . I just didn't like watching all the mime and the story exposition. I couldn't wait until after intermission when you got to see all the magnificent dancing! Something has changed for me now, as I really enjoy the Nutcracker as never before. I don't know why. Maybe because I go often enough that I'm not hungry for dancing at its most elemental. I just know it's due to me, and not the performance.

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I never warmed up to DIVERTIMENTO #15...until I saw Suzanne Farrell's company dance it at the Kennedy Center. Even with Merrill Ashley frequently cast, DIVERTIMENTO always looked sloppy @ NYCB; the arms in the finale looked like the hula. Besides, the costumes are about the ugliest Karinska ever made.

Perhaps because Suzanne's company was better rehearsed - or for the reason she staged it :rolleyes: - the ballet had coherence. I could also appreciate how fiendishly difficult it is.

Another one I didn't like was LA VALSE. I know we're supposed to be polite, etc., but this had EVERYTHING to do with the NYCB company pet (circa 1980's-mid 1990's) who always danced the doomed heroine when I was there! After seeing it with more appropriate ballerinas, it's now one of my favorites.

In reference to the gala thread: did Helene A. ever dance BUGAKU?

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I am still awaiting the day where I warm up to Davidsbundlertanz.

Generally, the second go-round for me is always better, even if I loved it (or hated it) the first time. I also have a habit of loving it if I know anyone who is dancing.

I have noticed some hostility toward Vespro (which, I will rant and rave about at the drop of a hat) and was hoping that all of the nay-sayers might give me a few words about why :wub:

I don't think I have ever watched what happens downstage in Glass Pieces, as I am mesmerized by the corps and their silhouette line in the back. But those costumes, eep. I suppose now that the 80's are back in that it would be a prime time to have it in the rep.

Fell in love with Red Angels for many many reasons, including but not limited to the music, casting and choreography.

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VESPRO had ugly costumes...I hate seeing the girls in bare legs. There were passages of interest in the music. I did not think Bigonzetti had much to say, and Kowroski & Ansanelli were wasted. I do not need to see Benjamin Millepied or any other dancer jumping on or off a piano. The dancers seemed somewhat ill-at-ease.

I like "beautiful" ballets and "edgy" ones. VESPRO was neither. It seemed junky and too self-conciously "different".

Now something like STRAVAGANZA, which really IS different, made a far more vivid impression.

Aspirant remarked on the shadowy corps crossing the rear of the stage during the adagio of GLASS PIECES...I love that, too...I makes me think of...BAYADERE!

Frohlich was a fun dancer to watch and now as a stager is a major asset to NYCB.

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