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Thread: Favorite ballet?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Tristan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secretariat View Post
    I agree. I read somewhere that Tchaikovsky despised it though...is that true? And if so does anyone know why? My fave is probably Swan Lake but I really enjoy all 3 of his ballets, well the music that is...I've never seen the actual ballets.
    Tchaikovsky was very harsh on his own compositions, and I believe the Nutcracker was one in particular that he didn't care much for. I will have to completely disagree with Pyotr Ilyich, however, as I completely agree with what you all are saying about it. It is certainly in my top-10 greatest works of classical music. "Swan Lake" was his personal favorite, though.
    A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

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  3. #17
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    Interesting, I think that the Nutcracker is packed with him at his best. He really was harsh on himself, but I guess when you compose that well you can become over critical. It's brilliant work.

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  5. #18
    Senior Member Feathers's Avatar
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    Definitely Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe for me. Colourful, passionate, magical, incredible.

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    Senior Member Selby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feathers View Post
    Definitely Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe for me. Colourful, passionate, magical, incredible.
    Pretty much. If forced to choose one, which, thankfully I am not, it would be Ravel - perhaps the sexiest piece of music ever written.

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  9. #20
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    For me, absolutely Rite of Spring. I never grow tired of the extraordinary music and really enjoy a sleek, modern interpretation.

    Of course, Rite isn't technically "ballet" as much as modern dance, but this section is labeled "Ballet" which is meant to incorporate modern classical dance, not precisely "ballet" by accurate definition. Rite may in fact bridge the gap between the two genres.

    I actually find "classical" ballet a bit tiresome occasionally. Mainly because of the misuse of male dancers, I suppose. Let's consider the point... for ages, males were trained to "dance like girls" because there was simply no concept that a male should behave differently onstage. Men were therefore taught to execute arm and leg movements that are quite specific to female anatomy.

    Please understand, I'm NOT talking about gender roles or sexuality or homosexual vs heterosexual dancers, nor of societal images. I'm just talking about the physical anatomic structure of male vs female bodies. Males have wider shoulders, proportionately larger arms, thicker thighs, etc. Their height/weight ratios are also different. But for years, male dancers were essentially forced into female molds, where their movements duplicated female. And this sadly made them appear effeminate. Now I really don't give a damn whether a male dancer is gay or not. This isn't the issue. It's how the dancer appears in form and movement and how the choreography needs to be different for males vs females.

    For me, this takes half the joy away from the dance. It wasn't till the 20th century that roles were coreographed specifically for male physiques (Agnes Demille, etc) and male dancers began to take their own rightful place as equals, but different, onstage.

    Which is why I strongly prefer modern classical dance over traditional ballet. And so do the dancers, by a large margin. It's not that they don't like the gorgeous music of the 19th century, but they simply don't feel that they can express themselves as well within the constraints of traditional choreography.

    For someone who'd not a dancer (ha ha, I can't even pretend to dance!) I've been around dancers a lot, as a result of my involvement in classical music and also finding myself marrying a dancer ages ago. She was pretty good, too -- studied with a full scholarship to National Ballet of Canada under Eric Bruhn, then was in the corps of the San Francisco ballet for 4 years, not too shabby.

    While dating and then marrying her, I met plenty of dancers and learned a lot about what they wanted and what disappointed them. #1? Nutcracker. #2? Male dancers being required to dance like girls (arm movements and such). Even gay men I knew felt it was a misuse of their physique and structure.

  10. #21
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    for ages, males were trained to "dance like girls" because there was simply no concept that a male should behave differently onstage
    you are mistaken. you should go and learn more on the subject. ballet movemets have nothing to do with gender in the first place but with an artistic technique that requires to create an impression the dancers kind of 'defy the laws of gravitation' with there 'airy' movements on stage.

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  12. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharik View Post
    you are mistaken. you should go and learn more on the subject. ballet movemets have nothing to do with gender in the first place but with an artistic technique that requires to create an impression the dancers kind of 'defy the laws of gravitation' with there 'airy' movements on stage.
    I've learned a lot about dance. And I fully understand the "law of gravity" onstage. I've spoken with many dancers in the past about this and they all concur. The idea isn't mine -- it's what I was told by those dancers. I've got no skill about choreography myself whatsoever. I'm essentially repeating what I learned from them and since they are the ones dancing, I'd tend to believe them.

    Besides, there is more than one way to simulate weightlessness (if this is what you want to convey). I however don't think that this is the object of choreography per se. The object is principally to convey an emotion to the audience, whatever that may be. For example, the sequence of the Rival Towns in Rite of Spring, where individuals are supposed to be contesting one another with prowess. It usually involves fake wrestling or spear throwing or whatever. None of that is weightlessness.

    I agree that the swan does want to display "flight" and that's understandable.

    My point, however, is that the arm movements (pulsing "waving" movements) are more suited for the slender female arm and not at all mechanically similar to the thicker and more muscular male arm. And for too long, choreographers refused to acknowledge this difference, making male dancers appear effeminate instead of taking "natural" advantage of the male physique and providing choreography that better suited that structure.

    Again, I don't claim any authority or expertise myself. I'm just echoing what I've been told by my many former acquaintances who were dancers. You may be an authority yourself, a composer or choreographer or dancer perhaps, or a dance teacher. And therefore you would be very well suited to "overrule" my point, which of course I'd be happy to admit being the lesser informed.

    What do I know? I'm just a writer with a fan's interest in dance and by no means anyone professionally connected to the art form, and related only by marriage, ha ha.
    Last edited by katdad; Aug-13-2013 at 16:43.

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  14. #23
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    I've spoken with many dancers in the past about this and they all concur. The idea isn't mine -- it's what I was told by those dancers
    you spoke with bad dancers who have no idea what is ballet.

    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    there is more than one way to simulate weightlessness
    nope, only one: 'feminine' movements for all.

    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    I however don't think that this is the object of choreography
    weightlessness is the very essence of choreography, unless a stage character requires otherwise -

    Last edited by sharik; Aug-13-2013 at 20:05.

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  16. #24
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    Well, apparently your expertise outshines mine, your experience in the field of dance, and so on, is easily more advanced. I admit to not having any "credentials" myself, only that I've known quite a few dancers over the years. But you are likely a professional in the field, a teacher or dancer or otherwise personally involved with dance, as you speak from a position of authority (whatever that may be, in that you haven't really told about it). I'm happy for you and I hope your career in dance continues to be a successful and productive one.

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  18. #25
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    I will however lend my shabby opinion that "feminine for all" is precisely why I cannot tolerate classical ballet and greatly prefer modern classical dance. It's an artificially engendered imposition.

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  20. #26
    Senior Member Cosmos's Avatar
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    My favorite ballets are all Russian: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Petrushka, and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella.

    Oh wait I forgot to mention Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe

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  22. #27
    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Katdad, this is an interesting critique and it's the first time I've heard it. I've heard a lot of people (especially modern dancers attached to colleges and universities) complaining that ballet is TOO gendered, though -- the guys have so much in the way of special bravura movements that the girls never do, that they take separate boys' classes in addition to regular class in order to practice them! These folks usually love modern dance because it allows for more gender ambiguity than ballet does.

    It is true that ballet emphasizes beauty and fluidity and strength all at the same time, no matter what your gender is. (But why shouldn't both men and women be beautiful, fluid and strong?)
    Last edited by hreichgott; Aug-14-2013 at 03:42.
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
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  24. #28
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    you are likely a professional in the field, a teacher or dancer or otherwise personally involved with dance
    no, i'm just a ballet fan who has eyes and common sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    "feminine for all" is precisely why I cannot tolerate classical ballet and greatly prefer modern classical dance
    try Broadway cabaret and let ballet be.

  25. #29
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    modern classical dance
    no such thing exists, other than in advertising campaigns for those dance companies unable to dance properly and whose dancers had been regected from classical ballet.

  26. #30
    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    "Le Sacre" because of the savagery of the music and,if we had a second choice, "Casse Noisette" for the opposite reason.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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