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Choreography as Couture?

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This topic is inspired by some posts in the "Fonteyn-Nureyev" thread on the "Dancers" forum. I was saying that choreography is for me like couture, invidually fit to the dancer.

Well, that's one school of working, and then there's an entirely different approach, where the choreographer has a very specific style and vision and makes the dancer adapt to it.

I don't think any choreographer works entirely one way or the other, but Ashton strikes me immediately as a couturier - one of the main reasons he didn't like to revive his works. From what I've read, Tudor was the opposite, you did it his way, and he could (and did) spend 45 minutes rehearsing a single gesture to get you to do it his way.

Interestingly, for all the talk of Balanchine producing little bunhead robots, interviews with his dancers have a common theme "His work makes me feel like myself on stage." I'd say Balanchine had more than a little of the couturier in him too.

Can anyone think of "couture ballets" - which looked like they were made right on that dancer? Did you ever see it with a different cast - did it survive the transfer? Who do you think is a "couture choreographer" and who isn't?

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Andrei -

I wish Jakobson's work was more well known in the west, but I don't think I've seen a single ballet. I'd be very curious.

I've always wondered why Tudor's ballets, which seem like they should have fallen apart by now, have not. I wonder if some of it was because Tudor wasn't a couturier; he insisted on them being done a certain way, and the insistence was detailed and singular enough that a ballet master could rely on recollections rather than interpretation. And it's been said here before that Ashton, like Jakobson, rarely envisioned a ballet beyond the original cast.

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I think it depends more on the ballet than the choreographer.

Some ballets will never be the same without the originator of the role. Others will.

SFB has a new ballet called "Chi-Lin" choreographed by Helgi Tomasson. The role was created on Yuan-Yuan Tan, and I wonder if anyone but her will be able to do it with the right East/West nuances essential for the role.

Conversely, all the roles in "Prism", which is also quite new, could be done by anyone in the company.

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