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Is the Tudor Repertory Dead?

Is the Tudor Repertory Dead?  

17 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the Tudor Repertory Dead?

    • Yes, it is dead as a doornail.
    • No, but it is on life support.
    • No, it is just experiencing a temporary lull.

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5 hours ago, miliosr said:

From a January 1972 Dance Magazine cover story on Natalia Makarova:

Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet, Natasha feels, is the most significant ballet she has danced so far [at ABT].

"Working with Tudor and being able to dance this ballet makes me feel that my decision to stay in the West was well worth it. I have learned so much by just watching Tudor in rehearsals and talking to him. I have danced three versions of Romeo and Juliet: the Lavrovsky version with music by Prokofiev, which I danced for eight years; Igor Chernyshov's, to music by Berlioz, which I never performed in public because it was considered too modern for Soviet audiences; and now Tudor's. I've had the opportunity to use totally different styles since Juliet - as choreographed for all three ballets - is portrayed differently. Tudor's version gives me enormous artistic satisfaction. I was quite amazed that the public here did not respond to this ballet with the enthusiasm it warrants. In Russia, I think the people would love it. To me, Tudor has created a masterpiece - a complete work. Each gesture becomes a painting. You see, all the poses are from the Renaissance. most of all Botticelli. When Romeo meets Juliet, they look like the archangel Gabriel and the Madonna in the Annunciation. I think, to understand this ballet, one should be more than familiar with painting. In my opinion, if an artist wants to achieve something - whether on the stage, in painting or in music - he must not stay within the limits of his own art. So I used every day to study different forms of art. To extend my horizons. The Renaissance intrigued me the most. I read a lot about it and was fascinated by the paintings of that period. For this reason I think I understood what Tudor wanted."

Thank you, I hadn't read that quote. but I did see that ballet at ABT back in the day. It's a great piece, but it never received the same audience response as a full length to the famous Prokofiev score did. The music is Delius and it's one act so it's on the program with other ballets. I remember reading that Kevin McKenzie said it would be enormously expensive to revise. They've spend a lot of money on Ratmansky ballets that didn't fair well (Tempest as one example), but I think funding is probably easier to get for a new Ratmansky than an old Tudor. Still it would be a piece well worth bringing back.

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I was fortunate to see it with both original casts--Alicia Markova and Nora Kaye, both with Hugh Laing,  For too many years I have been listening to the "too expensive to revive" mantra.  When NYCB was planning a R&J I was hoping they would do the Tudor..but we all know the mess we got.  I guess Martins forgot he was once a member of the Company and it would have been a great way to honor him. The ballet had so many beautiful subtle moments in it,  One of my favorites (which is out there somewhere on tape) is the scene where Romeo is leaving Juliet after their night together and as he walks out he looks over wistfully at the bed he shared with her.

Edited by atm711
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From an October 1971 Dance Magazine review of American Ballet Theatre's revival of Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet:

"Antony Tudor's 'Romeo and Juliet,' first performed in 1943 and revived several times since, is more literary in tone than either the MacMillan or Cranko versions. It is Shakespeare with the passion muted. The ballet is part modern, part classical, in orientation, giving us pockets of common body language as well as passages of lyrical dance. The other versions lean more on spectacle and their style is operatic. Then, there is the difference in scores. The music of Frederick Delius for the Tudor version is delicate where Prokofiev's is enraptured. it is also less urgent and sweeping than its Russian counterpart.

Tudor is concerned with the essential elements of the story, so parts of the plot are either condensed or altered. He eliminates Juliet's journey to the friar's cell and has her take the potion in her bedroom after her parents force her to marry Paris. There is little banter between Romeo and his friends. Tudor foregoes a full-blown pas de deux for the balcony scene and instead has the suspicious nurse unknowingly interrupt the tete-a-tete between the lovers. The scene thus reinforces the sense of pervasive interference and makes their triumph over unfavorable odds more cogent. He also draws on the play within a play motif by having two girls sit downstage off to the side and observe most of the action. They are disinterested parties much as the Veronese duke is in the other versions."

ABT performed at the New York State Theater from July 22-August 8, 1971. The two pairs of leads for Romeo and Juliet were Carla Fracci/Ivan Nagy and Natalia Makarova/John Prinz.

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Just watched the video of Soiree Musicale--a ballet I had never seen--thank you @sandik.  I don't understand why every smaller-sized company in the country that can't afford a live orchestra for all of its performances (cough...Atlanta Ballet...cough) doesn't have that in their repertory. (And how much credit does Tudor get for being in on the piano ballet craze decades ahead of time?)

Edited to add: after writing the above I realized that of course the Britten was not necessarily a piano score at all -- that's just how NY Ballet Theater staged it. I still think it works very well with the piano and could be staged that way by other companies that can't afford an orchestra. Don't know how it was done by Rambert...

Edited by Drew
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Just watched the New York Theatre Ballet Jardin aux Lilas which is very impressive but a very strange flavor of ballet. Everything happens when no one is looking, in the shadow of a glance away. Little revelations seem to be signaled by doubled movements. Christopher Caines wrote an appreciation of the ballet in Robert Gottlieb's Reading Dance and says that dancing seldom represents dancing in Tudor, rather it visualizes dialogue and interior monologue.

I wonder if Balanchine was somewhere thinking of Lilac Garden when he composed Liebeslieder (and the additional ending to Emeralds). And I wonder if Tudor as a young man was influenced by Balanchine's Gods Go a-Begging. He apparently programmed Gods for Jacob's Pillow with Hugh Laing and Nora Kaye (whom atm711 mentions above as being fortunate to have seen In Tudor's Romeo and Juliet). Laing first danced the part in the 1930s.

Theatre Ballet's Jardin aux Lilas, staged by Sallie Wilson, 2008:


Gods Go a-Begging with Nora Kaye and Hugh Laing, June 1951:


National Ballet of Canada, short Jardin clip, August 1953:



Edited by Quiggin
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