Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

What are the most "creepy" ballets,


Recommended Posts

Does anyone remember Piege de Lumiere (sorry I can't reproduce the accents), a ballet by John Taras? I saw it a couple of times in the sixties and I can't remember whether it was creepy or not, but it would seem to me a ballet involving a massacre of butterflies (which is not The Concert) would have to be. I never saw the originators of the lead roles in it -- Arthur Mitchell and Maria Tallchief, but have vivid memories of Paul Mejia, Mitchell's successor.

Link to comment

How about Firebird? all of the creatures are pretty creepy; its been 2 years since I've seen it/danced in it, so I can't remember what they're called but they try to keep the prince away from the czarina maybe? and they all dance in a circle with the princesses near the end?

Also The Haunted Ballroom and Night on Bald Mountain. 'Ballroom' has ghosts in it and 'Night' has a devil and witches. 'Night' was performed by now defunct New Orleans, LA ballet company, so I have no idea whether others would call it a ballet or not.

Link to comment

Kenneth MacMillan's "The Judas Tree" - only Irek Mukhamedhov in a ripped T-shirt and tight jeans saved it from utter worthlessness. Very creepy attitudes towards women and male/female relations.

I heard of an interesting ballet the Royal Ballet did in 1960 called "The Invitation" with choreography by MacMillan with Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable. It evidently was quite sexually explicit and shocking for the time. I believe it is about an innocent young couple taken in by a rich and decadent older couple and duped into sexual betrayal and possibly rape. I've think it might be ripe for revival.

Link to comment

SF Ballet has, fairly recently, performed The Invitation. It is indeed a creepy ballet, involving not one but two statutory rapes and classic, MacMillan-esque, suggestive pas de deux. I don't know which rape is worse, the one between the older man and the young girl, or the one with his wife and the girl's male cousin. The score is also "creepy" in its own right.

Link to comment

I have dim memories of Balanchine's Gaspard de la Nuit (for the Ravel festival) as a ballet that would qualify as "creepy"--it had a sort of gothic theatrical quality and I vaguely recall images of hanging.

Oddly, I do remember the hanging, but more as in one of those circus acts with people hanging the rope and moving as in one of those circus acts. I remember lots of death symbolism, murk and shadows, slightly s & m costuming, and a very confused and negative audience response of the "Is this Balanchine !!!" kind. :blink::yahoo::)

This was NOT the Ravel of Mother Goose. Or of Pavane for a Dead Princess -- which, when you think of it, is a rather creepy concept, though lovely music. I know Joos did a ballet to that long ago. Any others? And are they "creepy"?

According to a NY Times article a couple days ago, this may be revived.

Link to comment

GASP!

But seriously, folks, I believe that regardless of its success or appeal (and Gaspard was not much for either), every Balanchine work that can be revived should be revived at least once per generation. Forgive the cliche, but I wish the resources we have today had been available for the great choreographers -- and dancers -- of earlier eras. As the article points out, even thirty years can be make-or-break, technologically.

Link to comment
GASP!

But seriously, folks, I believe that regardless of its success or appeal (and Gaspard was not much for either), every Balanchine work that can be revived should be revived at least once per generation. Forgive the cliche, but I wish the resources we have today had been available for the great choreographers -- and dancers -- of earlier eras. As the article points out, even thirty years can be make-or-break, technologically.

The dance historian in me is clapping her hands, though I wish we could extend that mandate more broadly. When you think of how many historic novels we assume that everyone has read, or is at least familiar with, how many pieces of classical music or works of visual art that are a part of our general knowledge (the 80s phrase 'cultural literacy' would apply here) and then look at the poverty of our general dance knowledge, it could be very dispiriting.

Link to comment

Quite a while ago, canbelto mentioned a ballet I had never heard of: Clavigo, by Roland Petit, based on a work of Goethe.

I've just had a chance to look at a bit of this on Classical Arts Showcase: "Marie's dream." And I definitely concur with canbelto.

It's strange (in fact, eerie), sexy (and oddly romantic). The episode has a "Spectre de la Rose" plot line, and a set that seems inspired by a chic Parisian version of di Chirico. Nicolas LeRiche descends spiderlike (and upside down) from above. Claire-Marie Osta, dancing on point, is alternately manipulated by him and responsive to him as they move across the floor. After a while, he departs. She returns to bed and a kind of restless sleep. Quite wonderful in its way.

I ownder if the rest of this ballet is similarly "creepy."

Link to comment

Thanks, Dale. Marie-Agnes Gillot, too! :thanks: I'm definitely ordering it.

Another thought: the slowness and extreme control of the LeRiche's movement enhance the sense of creepiness in this pas de deux. Can something be quick and truly creepy?

Link to comment

Macmillan has come up quite a bit, he seems to have had Issues. Another that I haven't seen but have read about and seen pictures of is My Brother, My Sisters. Creepy, CREEPY stuff.

I find Petrushka a bit unsettling. Everyone in it is so grotesque. And the decor for the dolls' cells is nightmare-ish (appropriately so, not in a bad way!).

Link to comment

You mention Petrushka -- Donald Byrd has made a new version of the work set in an S&M environment that is most certainly designed to unsettle the audience. He showed it this last autumn on a bill with a new production of Miraculous Mandarin, another sexually violent work, and they were both quite disturbing. (interestingly, though, programming them back to back seemed to take a bit of the sting out of them)

Link to comment

This is a creepy ballet that never actually happened. The story is in Barbara Milberg Fisher's "In Balanchine's Company."

Knowing that Milberg wanted to try her hand at choreography, Balanchine suggested the story of Dracula.

Nobody had done a real horror ballet since Giselle. I'd set it to Bartok's "Music for Percussion, Celeste, and Strings," very spooky. Mr. B. thought not. So I changed over to the Bartok "Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion." Spooky and dramataic. No place to put two pianos, said Mr. B. I was considering Bartok's fifth string quartete when somebody had the kindness to tell me that Balanchine disliked Bartok. However, Lincoln was interested in a young Hawaiian composer, D. K. Lee, who had written a score using "Waltzing Mathilda" as its thematic base. He and Mr. B persaded me to "at least try it."

[ ... ] Unhappily for me, and the dancers who'd given time and energy to the project, Count Dracula and Waltzing Mathilda refused to be joined in unholy matrimony. The horror ballet was scrapped."

But, as the 90s showed us, the idea remains "undead". Pennsylvania Ballet is doing Ben Stevenson's version next season, with Lizst replacing both Bartok and D.K. Lee..
Link to comment

Petrouska's always been one of my favorites, and I happily found Clavigo available through Netflix. I'm adding it to my queue immediately.

Thanks for all the tips. I'm sorry I'm too much a lurker on these boards:)

In my own little corner of the ballet world, I'd add Jose Mateo's House of Ballet (1993), set to Alfred Schnittke's Gogol Suite. I try to avoid shamelessly plugging work I've danced in...but this one is truly creepy and very good. Vaguely about a crazed balletomane's world :)

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...