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Goose Bump Experience

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In the Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner play: THE SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE, Trudy the bag lady learns from her alien friends about the goose bump experience. To the aliens, the most amazing thing about humans is their capacity to experience goose bumps when in the midst of an awesome experience. The aliens had seen this in the audience. Trudy explains to the aliens that the show was soup, the audience art.

The other day, I was watching a video of a Balanchine Tribute. It was truly an awesome experience. Darci Kistler in THEME AND VARIATIONS, Isabelle Guerin as Terpsichore in APOLLO. Then there were Helene Alexopoulos and Diana White leading gorgeous Russian maidens in Stravinsky's SCHERZO A LA RUSSE. Later Kyra Nichols floated and dazzled in WALPURGIS NIGHT.

At the end of the excerpt from UNION JACK, the cast of gorgeous NYCB dancers standing in salute to the strains of Rule, Britannia and cannon fire found me experiencing goose bumps as had happened many times at State Theatre seeing that ballet live.

I started thinking about other goose bump moments.

The last movement of APOLLO and the love theme in LA FILLE MAL GARDEE. The last notes of Ashton's THE DREAM and the stage full of waltzing couples in VIENNA WALTZES. I thought of the soft music in the overture of Giselle and many more moments from other ballets.

It made me wonder about the goose bump moments of other BA posters.

Please add yours.

[ 07-04-2001: Message edited by: glebb ]

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Wow! What a chance for Remembrances of Times Past!

I suppose the first "goose bump" experience at the ballet I had was as a little kid and I saw "Opus 34" - scared the living bejeezus out of me, and I don't remember anything else from that program, except how creepy it made me feel!

For a better experience, how about Raissa Struchkova and Alexander Lapauri (still) dancing the "Moszkowski Waltz" in a Bolshoi "highlights" program.

And there was Fonteyn - so many there it's hard to select a top choice, but I just remember the first time I saw her exit in Act II of Swan Lake, and the memory still sends shivers up and down my spine.

And Merle Park, displaying the most aristocratic aplomb down the very last in the "Rose Adagio". And also in the fish dives in Act III - they weren't tricks, they were dance!

Then Patti McBride and Eddie Villella bouncing onto the stage at City Center, during the first season of "Tarantella"!

Not letting out the Adagio in Square Dance with Nicholas Magallanes and Pat Wilde. Nobody's quite done it for me in that like those two!

Then there was Toni Lander in "Grand Pas Glazounov"...when she did the "cembalom" variation, I was one big goose bump!

My first "Bayadere" with the Kirov, and Kaleria Fedicheva etching herself into the interior of my skull as the ideal Nikiya. Everyone I see now, I judge against that standard. Most don't do well! And again, not to slight the corps in the same work.

Arthur Mitchell doing "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" with Linda (Rosenthal) Merrill as the gorgeous redheaded stripper!

Lordy, this could go on and on, and get very personal. I better stop while I'm ahead!


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goose bump experience number one: the atlanta ballet's production of 'serenade' in which julianne spratlin performed the waltz girl. it was the first (and only time thus far) that i cried while watching a ballet.

goose bump experience number two: pacific northwest ballet's production of 'in the middle...somewhat elevated'. it was the only time that i've ever felt like turning cartwheels after a performance.

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My memorable goosebump moment was seeing my first performance of swan lake, I can't remember who performed or anything like that (I was 10, for goodness sakes!) but it may have been the Scottish ballet since they were frequent performers in Yorkshire. At the start of one of the acts, there was loads of dry ice or smoke shrouding what appeared to be rocks or mounds - it turned out to be the swans, who rose out of the smoke and began to dance. I didn't even realise the mounds were people until that moment! Of course to adults and seasoned ballet-goers, it wouldn't be so amazing, but for me, it was stunning. Having said that, I distinctly remember the audience gasping, so maybe it really was something special ... or maybe people from Hull are easily impressed ... :)

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Maya Plisetskaya in Dying Swan at the Old Met.

The first time I went to the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, when the orchestra came up and started the first notes of Swan Lake.

Toni Lander in Miss Julie, and also the variation Mel mentioned in Grand Pas Glazunov.

Lupe Serrano in Le Combat.

The first time, and every time, that I saw Dark Elegies.

There are more, but these are the ones that come to mind first.

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sleeping beauty at covent garden with gelsey kirkland.

the overture to sleeping beauty no matter who is dancing.

the overture to swan lake, no matter who is dancing.

the intro to the snow scene in the nutcracker, no matter which production.

makarova as giselle.

there are more but these jump to mind.

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Every time that the orchestra begins to play the final, majestic theme of 'Sleeping Beauty' (Vive, Henri IV is the tune)...but especially so during the Kirov's 1890-version of 'Beauty' with the fabulous back-tableau of fairytale characters in the clouds and the rows of garlands lowering from the ceiling.

First time that I walked into the auditorium of the Mariinsky Theater...when the Russian usherette showed me to my seat in a bel-etage box, parted the little blue-velvet curtains that separate the aisle from the seats, and my eyes first gazed on that ceiling, chandelier, gilded horseshoe of tiered boxes in that 'Temple of Ballet' - goose bumps!

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As Steve, that wonderful first image of "Serenade".

The beginning of Swan Lake act II, and also some part of a waltz in act I.

Seeing Manuel Legris appear on stage, most of the times.

Peter Boal in "Dances at a gathering" and "The Four Temperaments" in Edinburgh last summer.

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Watching Makarova and Nagy hurl themselves from a stage rock and into the wings at the end of “Swan Lake” the first time we saw it.

Bernice Coppieters as Juliet

Susan Jaffe as Giselle

Irina Dvorovenko as Myrta.

Sara Viale of Ballet Internationale in the Bachanal from “Samson and Deliliah”.

Prokofiev’s score for “Romeo and Juliet”.

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Serenade, especially when all the other girls turn and leave the Waltz Girl while her first partner strides slowly towards her.

Gelsey Kirkland flying across the front of the Met during the reel in La Sylphide.

The first time I saw Baryshnikov do those brises in Act II of Giselle.

Kyra Nichols or Suzanne Farrell in the Preghiera section of Mozartiana.

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When the singing started in "You Spotted Snakes" in The Dream. I'd never heard the music before, so it came as a complete surprise. Had chills down my spine - it was so beautiful.

Likewise, but for more sustained moments in Song of the Earth. The soprano and tenor just lifted me up.

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I got my first set of ballet goosebumps the first time I saw "Theme and Variations" and I have had many more since then. But "T & H' still does it for me every time. It never fails. God Bless Balanchine & Tchaikovsky & the dancers that have performed these last 20 years!

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I have three extreme goosebump experiences.

Beckster, my first ever goosebump was the same as yours but at the Coliseum London The moment the curtain rose on the last act of Swan Lake with the dancers arising from the swirling dry ice. It was then that I fell in love with ballet. I can easily remember the occasion, it was the Kirov in London with Olga Chechicova dancing Odette, but then I was only 60!

The moment I entered the Palaise Garnier in Paris and walked up the magnificent staircase. Even now the thoughts of it sends shivers down my spine.

The other goosebump event, and it happens every time I watch Le Bayedere, is the moment when Nikiya enters in Act one and the high priest lifts the veil. It never fails whatever company is dancing.

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Scottie, I'm with you. R&J balcony scene everytime. I think it's the music.

Also when the singers come in during Snowflakes.

The end of the Rose Adagio.

The DTH women in their "Medea" gave me bumpy skin til the curtain went down.

The ballet in "Aida". Not strictly dance, but again I think it's the music.

And I also agree with Steve: the first 5 minutes of "Serenade".

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1. The part in Melancholic from 4 Temps when the 4 corps women enter, jabbing their legs into the ground like daggers

2. Odette's entrance in Swan Lake

3.The apotheose from Sleeping Beauty

4.The polonaise from Theme & Variations, especially when everyone lines up with the principals at the front, and march across the stage.

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For some seasons, waiting for the curtain to go up!

Ballet Nut, I'm also always reduced to tatters by the entree of the "furies" in Melancholic (and by the ending of Four Ts; I think it's the music).

The Sylph's death scene in La Sylphide. The moment when it finally dawns on Viderik that he's not going to get the girl in Folk Tale. The part in Theme and Variations where the men come in -- explode onto the stage, if you're lucky.

The rest have been individual performances, too many to recount.

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I've got to agree with the 4ts section when the four women enter during Melancholic. There's just something strangly sinister about them. And in the last movement, when the four leads of other sections make a box around the Choloric woman and the strings switch to a pizzicato.

-- also, the finale of Balanchine's Swan Lake, when the music gets all shimmery and Odette bourrees out.

-- the 1st section of Union Jack, when the dancers just slowly march in, accompanied by just drummers and the low brass section.

-- Serenade, when the corps girls start circle the stage in pique turns.

And I agree with Manhattnik, the

Preghiera section of Mozartiana.

And there's probably too many more to mention. But I'm envious of Mel. What was Opus 34 like?

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Some echo others, some not.

Serenade-- I just need to hear the first few notes. Even with the curtain still down.

Balanchine's Swan Lake, after Odette exits, when the white swan prop appears on the lake. I love the poetic ending.

Vienna Waltzes, final section, when the lights go up fully and all the couples are on stage.

Stars & Stripes Men's Regiment-- pretty much the entire section. Especially when they do the turns in canon, or whatever it's called.

Theme & Variations-- what BalletNut said.

La Source- Secondary principals first piece, with the jumping side vertical attitude (Oh, I don't know what to call it!)... with Ashley Bouder doing it.

After all this time, the tree growing in Balanchine's Nutcracker.

Also, Waltz of the Flowers when they all *bloom*, from their bowed over position to upright. And, with Jennie Somogyi performing, when Dewdrop pushes through the Flowers before the final flourish.

That's enough for now...


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