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Announcing the First BA "Virtual View"

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With summertime here and performances petering out until the start of the 2004-05 season, we're going to need something to talk about on BA. :) Of course, there are always interesting issues that can be discussed at any time, but in the absence of live performances, we thought we'd go to the videotape (or DVD).

In a couple of weeks -- whenever enough people have watched the video -- we'll be discussing the 1968 recording of Ashton's Cinderella by the Royal Ballet. We thought this would be an appropriate choice for two reasons: this is the start of the Ashton Centennial year (his birthday is in September), and the Royal is touring with its new production of the ballet, and those in the Los Angeles and New York areas (and, of course, London, where it was performed this past season) will have a chance to see it live. Comparing the two productions, and the dancing in 1968 and 2004, will be two of the topics we can discuss.

The 1968 recording is available on both videotape and DVD. See these links:

Videotape at Amazon

DVD at Deep Discount DVD

Or you might be able to find a rental copy at a video store. This video seems to be available virtually everywhere, so those outside the U.S. will be able to join in the fun, too.

This is an opportunity for all of us, wherever we are located, to watch the same performance and talk about it. I thought I'd let people know in advance so they can arrange to get a copy of the video, and then post some suggested topics for discussion. I'd like to wait a couple of weeks to allow people to get the video and, if possible, see the live performances in LA and NY.

Anyone interested?

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Ari, thank you! This is a wonderful idea, and a perfect choice, for all of the reasons you've stated.

Your punishment for having such a brilliant idea is, of course, that you will have to lead the discussion!!! Would you be willing to do that?

This could be a "book of the month" type idea.

Thank you!!!!

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Forgot....I had another question. Can someone describe "Fred's step" and where does it appear in Cinderella? I think I read a description in one of his biography's, using the name of ballet steps, but I didn't quite get it.


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Up till 1991, Cinderella had also been danced by the Australian Ballet, PACT Ballet (South Africa), the Dutch National Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet.

Fred Step: David Vaughan defines it as 'pose en arabesque, coupe dessous, small developpe a la seconde, pas de bourree dessous, pas de chat'.

Quoting from an article by Adrian Grater from 'Following Sir Fred's Steps' -

"In Cinderella...Ashton uses the step... for a small mise-en-scene in which the Dancing Master is attempting to prepare the Ugly Sisters for the ball, first demonstrating the basic version with absolute precision to a dreamily delighted Ashton... It is also danced by Cinderella herself, when she performs it in the kitchen to her imaginary Prince" [though this is a slightly adapted version]

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And ABT's version is by Ben Stevenson.

Could I suggest we wait awhile to start the discussion, as many people won't have the video handy and may have to order it? I spoke to Ari about this, and the thought was to post topics for discussion -- as well as open-ended discussion, with people giving opinions, of course. Ari had posted: "I'd like to wait a couple of weeks to allow people to get the video and, if possible, see the live performances in LA and NY."

I don't mean to suggest that Giannina's question was inappropriate, but wanted to refer to Ari's original plan because often people just read the last comment on a thread, and don't start at the beginning. Questions now are fine, of course, but I didn't want to get too deeply into it before everyone was ready. Thanks!!

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Just a reminder that we will soon be discussing this video. I was thinking of starting the "Virtual View" next Monday, the 19th, when the Royal will have performed the ballet in New York. Not that that's a requirement for participating -- not at all! I just think it will be interesting to hear the opinions of those who have seen the ballet live in 2004. But it's the 1968 video we'll be discussing.

Is next Monday good for everyone?

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