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Ballets that should NOT be revived


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From yesterday's links:

Andre Prokovsky is staging his ballet "The Great Gatsby" for Tulsa Ballet:



"Andre Prokovsky doesn't mind that most people already know the stories his ballets tell.

If anything, using a story as well known as "The Great Gatsby" as the source for a ballet makes the process of telling a story through movement easier."

Caveat: my very subjective opinons, based on personal experience, follow. They are my own views and in no way represent the views of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

I was part of the first incarnation of this expensive fiasco in 1987, which Pittsuburgh Ballet Theatre premiered as part of the opening celebrations for the newly renovated Benedum Theater. Mr. Prokovsky was, in my opinon, an incompetent choreographer. The "American Dream" scene was a joke; it ended with Daisy, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, perched on Gatsby's shoulder, torch aloft. (During rehearsals for it, he once looked at the 18 of us and said, "Make a star shape." Being good do-be dancers, we did it, somehow.) Most of us had more than a dozen costume changes; in that scene, I was a tap-dancing cowboy just kind of jamming up there on stage next to the tapping Salvation Army nurse . No matter that some of us knew more tap steps than others (he did not provide any). That experience went straight into my Big Book of Bad Ballet Stories (subsection "Reasons to Retire"), providing me with countless hours of mirth in my post-dancing dotage. Too bad it cost PBT over $1 mil. Later, PBT ended up replacing Prokovsky's choreography Bruce Wells's; they found the rights to the original Gunther Schuller score to be too expensive and replaced the music too.

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Very good topic, Ray. I'm sure there are many other good suggestions out there.

Any recent ballet by Helgi Tomasson. No, they're not atrocities and you can sit through them, but they've been uninspired to the point of pain.

Kenneth MacMillan's Isadora: there was a hideous rumour a couple of years ago that it was going to be revived. Mercifully the rumours proved false.

It must have been something. (And I have difficulty seeing Merle Park in the role.) How did he deal with the fatal accident, BTW?

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The Kirov-Mariinsky's The Golden Age from summer 2006. A lot of talented people worked really hard to create a huge-scaled three-act ballet in a ridiculously short time, to meet the demands of a forceful director-conductor. By Jove, there WILL be a ballet in time for the London tour! I can't even blame the choreographer.

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Some years ago Boston Ballet did an execrable piece of something which went on forever and gave one a migraine headache and all I can remember other than terrible music, nonexistent choreography and awful sets and costumes is that it was about bees.

"Beehive" by choreographer Jim Self.

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Then there's Balanchine's "Opus 34". Schoenberg's "Music for the Cinema". There's a lost Balanchine that can STAY lost.

But I'm soooo curious!

I'm also interested in expensive failures, and what they say about the choreographers/companies that produce (or revive!) them.

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Definitely Jerome Bel's "Véronique Doisneau" sould be left into oblivion...(saw some of ir recently...Oh, God.. :pinch: )

Sorry, but I am going to disagree strongly here with what seems a universal opinion on BT. I like this piece on so many levels: formal, because it makes us pay attention to parts of the structure of a dance that occur while Le Grand Star is performing (this kind of taking apart is something music has done for years, btw); emotional, b/c it makes us consider the life of a corps dancer--who in the French system is fixed in status. I think we have more than enough opportunities to watch soloists do their thing in ways that raise our pulse; it's poignant and revealing to have a corps dancer's role--and life--explicated in a way that makes us think.

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Ray, I've also liked what I have read about this idea. of course, it is possible that it's an idea that comes across better on paper than in reality, like so many concept pieaces. One reviewer felt that it was worth doing, but possibly not on a big opera house stage.

Has anyone else seen it? Has it travelled? Does the title change depending on who is doing the dancing?

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well my vote for the Balanchine That Should Go Away is Persephone. Shudder.

. . .

I feel compelled, however, to mention that even the Best Of Them can produce clunkers, and that mentioning someone's name in connection with a Bad Ballet does not mean that this person cannot produce a Good Ballet more often than not.

I agree on both counts, Mme. Hermine. In fact, I tend to believe that it is the most successfully creative artists who, when they fail, leave the most resounding clunkers. Part of it may be due to our elevated expectations ("Can this mess be from the same man who gave us Concerto Barocco :blink: ???"), but also because these artists go further out on a limb.

I wonder whether the BTers of a hundred years hence will dig up this thread in bewilderment, recalling the ecstasy that surrounded the mounting of Balanchine's "lost" Persephone. :pinch:

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I think 'Fountain of Bakshisarai' could be 'gently laid by', as some of the New Age things say. If the mere presence of Sizova in something won't transform it, it probably is hopeless, isn't it? Oh well, some people may like that androgynous character that I haven't had the patience to figure out yet (and won't, but somebody can tell me.)

I wonder if maybe it never is done anyway.

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(But would they have to change the name to include Met Life?)

You have convinced me that they need to revive this. I used to work occasionally for United Media (Peanuts/Schultz, etc.) in the period when the PanAm Building was turning into MetLife. I so loved the logo at the top of the building, and even the building itself (which everybody else hated), that I suffered Proustian pain when they changed the PanAm sign--and for several years I would always get upset when I'd see all that early 60s-style zingy jet-set stuff having been changed into a deathful horror. I even had an argument with my boss that it was STILL the PanAm Building! I later found they'd shipped the sign to Florida, where I think it is in some sort of weirdish little museum.

But I now am the only person who wants to see PAMTGG revived, because I never saw it, and it would make the city a better place to live in again...

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