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Traditional Ballets... where to see them?

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OK, I've seen the classics on Video Tape. Now, I've heard that videos are not a substitute for seeing the real live performance.

So the question is: If I want to see Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, and La Fille Mal Gardee and so on, do I have to move to Russia and wait for them to be performed, or do I have to become a world traveler and go where I can find them, or can these performances be seen without leaving my home state of Florida? (I know of course that the last is very unlikely)

Where in the world do you find fine quality live performances of the great classic ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Giselle. Is there such a place on earth or is this just a thing of the past?

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I don't know about Florida, but I do know that the big famous ballet companies tour the major cities of the world so for instance, you would definitely not have to go all the way to Russia to see the Kirov or all the way to London to see the Royal Ballet. The tours are usually on the websites or you can look up your nearest theatre that has dance companies visiting and ask them who to expect in the new year.

I've seen Swan Lake done by the Scottish Ballet, the Kirov, and the Royal Ballet - all in the UK - and I'd say that the Russians do it best!

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ronny, if that is what you mean then you can certainly visit NYC and attend some of ABT's performances! :) There has been quite a lot written about their season at the Metropolitan Opera House(Spring). I suggest you go to their website and see what their schedule is for NYC and where else they tour - although, I fear Florida is not one of them. :( Boston Ballet also does these types of ballets... And I know SFB and others do them from time to time too - not all ballet companies approach them in the same manner, however, but to me, it's all the more interesting to compare them.

My suggestion is to read the threads about the ballet companies and also just go to their websites to see what is coming up this fall or spring and plan a little trip! :)

I know there are some other Floridian posters around here - maybe they can offer some more local tips. The Harid in Bocca Raton is a highly regarded Vaganova ballet school and may very well put on their own versions of some of these ballets you've mentioned and since much of their training is Russian based, with an American flavor ;), I can guarantee you'll not be disappointed. Seeing well done excerpts from Sleeping Beauty, et al, can be very wonderful as well as seeing the full length versions!

Hope this helps you as a spring board!

Just wondering, ronny, have you ever attended any Miami City or Florida Ballet performances? They may not perform the classic story ballets, but I bet you'd enjoy them. :)

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ronny, perhaps you could have a look at the web site of the Miami City Ballet (which is considered as a very good company):


Story ballet are not very important in their

repertory, but it includes at least "The Nutcracker" (George Balanchine's version), "Giselle", "Coppelia", and the 2nd act of "Swan Lake".

For example, they will perform "Coppelia" in February and March 2003 in several places (Miami Beach, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach).

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These are wonderful responses. Thanks so much.

Kate B, we do have a Russian company visit our small city (Panama City) during the Christmas season (Nutcracker) but I'll bet that these are students or some small company... but I will look into it anyway since I like the Russian performances just like you. Checking with the theaters is a good shortcut, thanks for that idea.

BW, thanks for the lowdown on the New York scene... and I will look for the "harid" company. Maybe they tour other parts Florida. I do favor the Russian influence, so I will be on the lookout for them. To answer your question, no, I have not seen the Miami or Florida Ballet company. I have just been enjoying the tapes and I have never been to a live performance.

Thanks Estelle, Miami is a bit far from me but I should have expained my exact location in my question. But the things you say may cause me to look into it anyway. I am in Northern Florida, so I will also look into Atlanta... I'll bet they get a lot of big companies there. So thanks again for these tips, very helpful.

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Ronny - Great ballet is like the pursuit of the Grail, even for people who live in major dance areas. For instance, I don't think I have ever seen a production of Swan Lake which was blessed with both great dancing and a great production (scenario, choreography) and I've seen a few. I think I have come closest with productions of Giselle. My advice? See everything you can, supplement it with videos and reading and live in hope!

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Yes Leigh, that is the impression I have been getting ever since I started scanning this ballet web site. Really outstanding performances are hard to find.

I have been quite thrilled with the videos I have been able to see and sometimes I feel that since I enjoy them so much, why not just enjoy the videos and let everyone else chase around looking for something great on the live stage!

I love the over the top Russian productions (like Sleeping Beauty-Kirov) and I am quite certain that no US company is going do anything like that or that a touring company can pull that kind of thing off on the road. I just did a little research and found that we have the Northwest Florida Ballet company right here in my own back yard. But the website has a few cobwebs on it (the most recent news article on the site is over one year old)

But for sure I will have to take in at least one live performance just to get the feel of it. I'll either wait for the Nutcracker in the winter (Moscow Ballet visits Panama City), or maybe I'll check out Atlanta for something. Who knows, I might get lucky and see something great.

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And Leigh, I know exactly what you are talking about when you speak of Swan Lake and that perfect performance. I have only watched two performances (on tape) and I do notice that one has excellent dancing performances (Bolshhoi Ballet Company in the "ultimate swan lake") but the choreography in act 1 is weak... and the other tape has not so perfect dance in Acts 2 and 3, but superior choreography especially in Act 1 (by Kirov Company). So even with my short exposure to ballet, I know exactly what you are saying.

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Ronny, I don't know how close Panama City is to Orlando, but the Orlando Ballet (formerly Southern Ballet Theater) does a lot of 19th century classics. Its director is Fernando Bujones, who was a star with ABT in the 1970s and 1980s who specialized in that area. Next season, they will be doing Giselle and The Nutcracker. You can take a look at their web site:


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Great suggestion about Orlando Ballet!

ronny, be careful with the "Moscow Ballet" - if it's the same one I saw last year up in the NY metro area, it was anything but good.

And let's be frank here, there is nothing like a live performance - I don't think a tape exists that is good enough to match the real thing!

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I'd like to add something here... The more you see, from small companies to the big famous ones, the better the idea you get of what's good. And 'good' is a pretty subjective term too!

Just see as much as you can, you'll love it!:)

(I too, would recommend seeing contemporary companies as well. For example, I found the Cullberg's witty versions of 19th century classics AMAZING despite the fact that I am a staunch traditionalist!)

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OK, you all have convinced me... I have to see something live. I will look into Orlando and Atlanta. Thanks for the tip on the Moscow company... doesn't surprise me a bit since Panama City is not known for cultural events, I guess they just went for whatever they could get. I'm not too interested in the Nutcracker anyway, I'd rather see Giselle or Swan Lake.

Hey y'all, hope this live stuff doesn't spoil me, I'm having so much fun with these videos!

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Actually, I saw Moscow Ballet's performance of THE NUTCRACKER last Christmas. I found them to be superior to the average Russian touring company and the dancers that played "Masha" and the prince to be comparable to dancers at ABT and NYCB. Gorgeous sets and costumes as well. The only problem with the production was the choreopgraphy that was mediocre at best. The pas de deux, I should add, was quite beautiful and patterned after the Ivanov version. All in all I would highly recommend their NUTCRACKER and I plan to attend when they return to my area this year.

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Thanks John, I think I will look into it since the Nutcracker will be performed here close to my home.

Now that I have had both a good and a cautious review of the Moscow Ballet Co., that will make it all the more interesting.

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