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Thread: Is This Ballet?

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Default Is This Ballet?

    The name of this forum is mystifying. Why not "Dance" instead of "Ballet"?

    I have attended a dance festival for the last few summers which has quite a variety of dance companies. But we gravitate toward a certain kind and it's not strict ballet. Among our favorite companies are Mark Morris, Pilobolus, Paul Taylor.

    Are these considered ballet, modern dance, something else?

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    Senior Member EddieRUKiddingVarese's Avatar
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    How about this ? try and dance me this
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Lenox by any chance?

    I would associate all three more with modern dance than ballet, but the line of demarcation is getting more porous. What do you call Morris' "Waltz of the Snowflakes"?



    I have read that Morris' "The Hard Nut" is the only well-known version of "The Nutcracker" to use all of Tchaikovsky's score in the order originally contemplated.

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    Lenox by any chance?

    I would associate all three more with modern dance than ballet, but the line of demarcation is getting more porous. What do you call Morris' "Waltz of the Snowflakes"?



    I have read that Morris' "The Hard Nut" is the only well-known version of "The Nutcracker" to use all of Tchaikovsky's score in the order originally contemplated.
    This is closer to real ballet than I expected from Morris. Some of the snowflakes are male and the women are not the very thin balletic types, and they are not doing perfect ballet moves. But they obviously have ballet experience. Perhaps that is how most dancers start, with ballet lessons, regardless of where they end up.

    I was curious about "The Hard Nut". Morris is a witty choreographer. Thanks for posting this.

    I wonder if this forum is titled "Ballet" instead of "Dance" because it was felt that only ballet makes use of the heart of the classical repertory of ballet music that someone wanted to specifically include in the discussions. That may be true, but modern dance employs a wide variety of music, even mixing many genres on one program. You might hear electronic music or jazz or a melange of industrial noise. But you might just as likely hear a Bach solo violin piece, part of a Handel oratorio, Vivaldi concerto, Moonlight sonata, etc. sometimes played live. In fact this music is what keeps me going to these dance recitals.

    An entire program choreographed Schubert's "Die Schoene Muellerin" ("The Wanderer", Jessica Lang Dance Company) . The music was performed live by young up-and-comer baritone and pianist as the tragic story was acted out by the dancers. Even the brook was personified by a dancer.

    If all anyone knows is classic ballet, they're missing something. Modern dance is often based on ballet but is less stiff and much more creative at its best.
    Last edited by Open Book; Jun-16-2019 at 20:05.

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Yes, jegreenwood, we've been attending Jacob's Pillow Festival, which is actually in Becket, Massachusetts. Lenox is close by.

    Actually, Mark Morris's group was in residence at Tanglewood in Lenox for the past few years, so he didn't appear at Pillow those years. His time at Tanglewood seems to have ended.
    Last edited by Open Book; Jun-17-2019 at 04:24.

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    A dance forum could be a fantastic idea - ballet has classical music very often, but not all ballets use classical music. And other forms of dance use classical as well

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    Senior Member Marsilius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    ...modern dance employs a wide variety of music, even mixing many genres on one program. You might hear electronic music or jazz or a melange of industrial noise...
    Very true. Let's, however, recall that the name of this website is Talk Classical.
    Last edited by Marsilius; Aug-23-2019 at 23:54.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsilius View Post
    Very true. Let's, however, recall that the name of this website is Talk Classical.
    Seems to me you're taking that statement out of context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    . . .

    That may be true, but modern dance employs a wide variety of music, even mixing many genres on one program. You might hear electronic music or jazz or a melange of industrial noise. But you might just as likely hear a Bach solo violin piece, part of a Handel oratorio, Vivaldi concerto, Moonlight sonata, etc. sometimes played live. In fact this music is what keeps me going to these dance recitals.

    . . .

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianowillbebach View Post
    A dance forum could be a fantastic idea - ballet has classical music very often, but not all ballets use classical music. And other forms of dance use classical as well
    I don't receive email when someone replies to me or to a thread I participated in (I used to, but it stopped for unknown reasons), so I didn't know this thread had continued.

    Is conservative ballet choreography ever applied to modern music, music that is not from the time when ballet originated? I always thought traditional ballet stuck with the classical music that was in vogue at the time it was in vogue, that they developed together.

    Modern dance may be based on ballet but it is freer and has developed new moves, let's call them. It evolves continually. It employs all kinds of music. It can be set to classical music of all eras, Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, modern, usually in interesting and unexpected ways, often pieced together. What it almost never set to is a work of traditional ballet. Ballet music is used only for traditional ballet choreography, for which it was written.

    My original point was, why limit talk to ballet when there is all kinds of interesting dance?
    Last edited by Open Book; Oct-08-2019 at 15:49.
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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Ballet choreographers use all kinds of music. They often commission music for new works. Or they'll use modern music - classical or otherwise. Balanchine commissioned Hindemith and Stravinsky (including the twelve tone "Agon"). He also created a ballet using music by Webern. And one to Gershwin's songs. Christopher Wheeldon created one with music by Ligeti and another with music by Part. Robbins had a big hit with Glass Pieces. Current favorite, Justin Peck, has used music by Sufjan Stevens several times including one commission. These are the ones that pop into my head based upon a subscription to New York City Ballet. But there are many others.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Oct-08-2019 at 19:08.

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    Ballet choreographers use all kinds of music. They often commission music for new works. Or they'll use modern music - classical or otherwise. Balanchine commissioned Hindemith and Stravinsky (including the twelve tone "Agon"). He also created a ballet using music by Webern. And one to Gershwin's songs. Christopher Wheeldon created one with music by Ligeti and another with music by Part. Robbins had a big hit with Glass Pieces. Current favorite, Justin Peck, has used music by Sufjan Stevens several times including one commission. These are the ones that pop into my head based upon a subscription to New York City Ballet. But there are many others.
    Would you say ballet choreography has advanced after the 19th century? It looks like it has a little bit. But not a lot.

    The dance companies I like best incorporate some ballet but are not bound to it. These performances you have posted, even though they are set to newer music and show some modern humor in the choreography, don't stray too far from traditional ballet. In my humble opinion as a non-expert.

    I don't mean to demean ballet, it's marvelous. The dancers are impressive. I love a good "Nutcracker". But I'm not usually surprised by any novelty in a ballet performance as I am in some of the companies I attend. I have also been plenty disappointed in some of the things I attend. Have walked out of a couple. It's a gamble.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Watching this last night = art in the highest form .
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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    ballet choreography has advanced after the 19th century? It looks like it has a little bit. But not a lot.
    a lot, in fact, quite a lot.

    Spartacus, The Stone Flower, Ivan The Terrible - choreographic masterpieces all (chor. Grigorovich).

    and lest we forget Diaghilev ballets and there seasons in Paris too.

    a huge advance, specifically Grigorovich's that took ballet to completely another level:

    he employed the Stanislavsky System in those stagings, which made them lots more spectacular.

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Would you say ballet choreography has advanced after the 19th century? It looks like it has a little bit. But not a lot.

    The dance companies I like best incorporate some ballet but are not bound to it. These performances you have posted, even though they are set to newer music and show some modern humor in the choreography, don't stray too far from traditional ballet. In my humble opinion as a non-expert.

    I don't mean to demean ballet, it's marvelous. The dancers are impressive. I love a good "Nutcracker". But I'm not usually surprised by any novelty in a ballet performance as I am in some of the companies I attend. I have also been plenty disappointed in some of the things I attend. Have walked out of a couple. It's a gamble.
    One example. This is among the most popular works at New York City Ballet. Unfortunately, NYCB has very little high quality video available (in any format). This performance is by the Paris Ballet.



    Edit: Here's part of Concerto DSCH choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky for NYCB.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Oct-20-2019 at 12:02.

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    "Is this ballet?" Ohh, I love it!

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