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LaScala Midsummer Night's Dream (Balanchine)

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When I went out to check the DVD of Doubrovksa (Brioche's recommendation :thumbsup: ), Amazon showed me -->this as a suggestion.

Has anyone seen it? Comments?


Yes. I bought it (I also have the Pacific Northwest production). All I can say is that I now use it as an object lesson in not quite getting Balanchine. "Clueless in the Woods" might be a better title. Bolle, among many others, fudges or ignores uncomfortable steps (like Oberon's kicks jumping backwards), Ferri keeps trying to Act, while the quartet of lovers seem to believe that acting and dancing are separate entities, and the couple in that glorious act two divertissement dance as if doing some standard showpiece, which misses the point completely; no one understands about the function of preparations and connecting steps in Balanchine, and the entire company, including the orchestra, seems hopelessly unable to build sequences to their natural dance and dramatic climaxes (which should be more or less the same thing). Russell's PN version is a good corrective, or, if you are in NYC and can convince the people at the Lincoln Center library that their Balanchine performance films are not classified and permanently secret, to remain unsullied by human eyes, either the 1967 (I think) film or one of the tapes of an actual NYCB performance.

It is wonderful that Balanchine is now performed around the world, but how his ballets are danced is another, and often disturbing, question. La Scala's MND is a good example of how a ballet can get pulled all off kilter and flattened out of shape, like the painful performance of "The Man I Love" pas de deux from Who Cares that turns up on a Prague ballet gala DVD called Divine Dancers. In both cases, watching Balanchine done this way is like listening to Mozart or Tchaikovsky recordings played at the wrong speed. Or under water. It's just going to take time and experience and many watchful eyes.

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Thank you for your frank and clear post, popular.

It's a shame, because at its best this is such an enchanting ballet. I'm surprised it wasn't better, since the credited stagers are Pat Neary, Sara Leland and Nanette Glushak. This could have been a great opportunity for the dancers, but it sounds like they weren't ready to leave their comfort zone.

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