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Any all American ballets?


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There are All-American ballets, like deMille's Rodeo and Balanchine's Stars and Stripes, but, sadly, all of the regular season performances for ballet companies are over. Some companies, like Miami City Ballet, are touring (MCB in LA this weekend), others are visiting festivals, like Suzanne Farrell Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, and there may be some smaller companies that participate in Fourth of July celebrations in their areas.

Edited to add: Doh -- American Ballet Theatre's season isn't over, but they are performing Ashton's Sylvia over July 4th weekend.

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There are All-American ballets, like deMille's Rodeo and Balanchine's Stars and Stripes, but, sadly, all of the regular season performances for ballet companies are over. Some companies, like Miami City Ballet, are touring (MCB in LA this weekend), others are visiting festivals, like Suzanne Farrell Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, and there may be some smaller companies that participate in Fourth of July celebrations in their areas.

Edited to add: Doh -- American Ballet Theatre's season isn't over, but they are performing Ashton's Sylvia over July 4th weekend.

Thanks Helene.............What's Stars & Stripes like?
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Sousa Kid, your name is a tribute to this ballet! Here is a link to some info and an audio clip you can listen to.

Stars and Stripes is a rousing, feel-good, all-American ballet with exciting choreography. Balanchine wanted to choreograph to Sousa because he liked his music. (Who doesn't?!)

Stars and Stripes

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You may be able to get the "Balanchine Celebration Part Two" VHS or DVD from your local library. There's are two excerpts from Stars and Stripes on it -- the Liberty Bell/El Capitan pas de deux and the finale to "Stars and Stripes Forever."

The entire ballet consists of five movements: the first for "short" girls, the second for "tall girls," and "Thunderer and Gladiator" for male soloist and corps.

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Other "all-American" ballets that spring to mind are Agnes deMille's Texas Fourth, which I never saw, but depicted the Fourth as observed in Texas. More of deMille in her Western mode: Rodeo. Balanchine tackled cowboy mythology in Western Symphony.

All-American and all-New York are Balanchine's Who Cares?, Robbins' West Side Story Suite, and NY Export: Op. Jazz. And of course, Fancy Free.

Peter Martins' homage to Ray Charles, A Fool for You, ends with the company seated around Charles at the piano as he sings America The Beautiful.

Elliot Feld made Variations on America, which was briefly in ABT's rep, and Twyla Tharp choreographed Americans We for them.

The Feld and Tharp seem to have fallen by the wayside (although I kinda liked the Tharp :thumbsup:). The reason to watch Fool for You was Ray Charles, not the dancing, but it is (or was?) available on video, I believe. Who Cares? is excerpted on the Balanchine Celebration video, although I'm not sure whether Part I or II. I don't know about Rodeo. It's an ABT staple, so seems it should be on video, but I don't recall it.

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Let me add "Billy the Kid" to the list (It was created for Ballet Caravan, with music by Aaron Copeland, choreography by Eugene Loring, libretto by Lincoln Kirstein).

i THINK there's a video of it; the Joffrey ballet does it and does it well (The Oakland Ballet used to do it REALLY well.)

I LOVE this ballet, it is the best of them all, since it has in Billy a subject worthy of immortality, how a boy shot the man who killed his mother and in an instant became an outlaw, and then had to grow into his new status -- and Loring found ways to make the legend come to life in movement that's incredibly appropriate.

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But in a larger sense, even ballets like "Serenade" are all-American. The ballet was choreographed by a (then) soon-to-be-naturalized American, it was premiered in America, and even Tchaikovsky is part of the American experience - he conducted the opening concerts at Carnegie Hall.

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Let's not forget Lew Christensen's historic ballet "'Filling Station"...

http://pwp.value.net/~cchris/FillingStation.html

P.S. We were remembering Lew's ballet at the same time! It isn't lost. It is still being performed occasionally...Not by SFB, now, unfortunately...

P.P.S. The dancer in the photo is Dennis Marshall as "Mac". He is former soloist and principal dancer for ABT and SFB and now director of Pittsburg Ballet School. In the late seventies, "Filling Station" was completely renovated with new sets and costumes exactly like the originals. Virgil Thomson attended the rehearsals and the opening. It was filmed for a PBS documentary on the life and music of Virgil Thomson. My husband and brother were "Roy" and "Ray", the truck drivers, for the opening and documentary...

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Filling Station still performed? Thanks for setting me straight, folks. I wish NYCB would essay this one. How about a Lincoln Kirstein tribute bill?

"Lincoln who?"

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"Lincoln who?"

The same could be said," Lew who?"...It really is a shame that his work is not seen more...

And, Mel, Mr. d'Amboise would most certainly remember I would believe. He is just perfect for "Mac" and I'm sure he was great in the role.

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Mark Morris's take on Nutcracker: The Hard Nut.

60s suburbia, a dancing Barbie doll, male and female snowflakes in tutus throwing snow at each other. The wierd side of America. And the side that can make fun of itself. :wink:

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I miss Tharp's "Deuce Coupe II" to The Beach Boys music (with the grafitti artists).
Me, too, klingsor, but only when it's done well.

Then there are Paul Taylor's "decade" works -- Black Tuesday (the 1930s), Company B (1940s), and Field of Grass (1970s). Since ABT premiered Black Tuesday and Houston Ballet Company B, I guess they count as ballets.

Mark Morris's take on Nutcracker: The Hard Nut.

60s suburbia, a dancing Barbie doll, male and female snowflakes in tutus throwing snow at each other. The wierd side of America. And the side that can make fun of itself. :wink:

Which brings to mind another Taylor work, another dysfunctional American family (daddy's Hawaiian shirt) -- Big Bertha.
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And Fancy Free! As American as it gets. It may be minor, but I don't really think Stars and Stripes is an American ballet--it is a strictly classical work dressed in American costumes. There are the formal 4 symphonic movements, and the corps work wouldn't look out of place in Raymonda. Just substitute tamborines for the baton and trumpet, and it could be a Petipa ballet.

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may be minor, but I don't really think Stars and Stripes is an American ballet--it is a strictly classical work dressed in American costumes. There are the formal 4 symphonic movements, and the corps work wouldn't look out of place in Raymonda. Just substitute tamborines for the baton and trumpet, and it could be a Petipa ballet.

But on the other hand, it's about as "Fourth of July" as you're likely to get... (unless you really want a ballet about the signing of the Declaration of Independence)... hmm... who would we cast as Jefferson? Ben Franklin?... Pennsylvania Ballet should be protected from this kind of speculation :clapping:

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Let me add "Billy the Kid" to the list (It was created for Ballet Caravan, with music by Aaron Copeland, choreography by Eugene Loring, libretto by Lincoln Kirstein).

i THINK there's a video of it; the Joffrey ballet does it and does it well (The Oakland Ballet used to do it REALLY well.)

I LOVE this ballet, it is the best of them all, since it has in Billy a subject worthy of immortality, how a boy shot the man who killed his mother and in an instant became an outlaw, and then had to grow into his new status -- and Loring found ways to make the legend come to life in movement that's incredibly appropriate.

ABT did a tape early on, alongside Ashton's Patineurs, with a narration by Paul Newman. Not available commerically, but probably at the Lincoln Center Library.

Pacific Northwest Ballet did Billy in the 1990's, and (tangentially) did Fillling Station, quite briefly, in the late 70's.

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