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Lizbie1

Ballets you'd like programmed every season

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Thinking about my reaction of "not again!" to next season's Manon, and how the three-year rest from Romeo and Juliet has done it good in my eyes, I started wondering which ballets I think I would actively welcome every season. So far it's a very short list, just Giselle and Symphonic Variations.

 

What else is there? What do others think? It's not really a question about favourite ballets, more ones that you never feel you need a break from. For example, I love Swan Lake and given the opportunity will watch it several times in a run but - perhaps because it's so full-on - I don't want to see it (or at least the same production of it) every year.

 

(In Moscow you could rely on seeing the Bolshoi's core repertoire every year, but somehow the repertory system feels different - perhaps because it feels like permission to skip something. Or perhaps it was that I was only there two years!)

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Having seen Symphony in C recently for the first time, I would happily watch it every season.  I’d also watch Onegin over and over again, plus (and I know this one’s a bit Marmite) Marguerite and Armand which I adore.   

 

Student daughter would say Nutcracker and Fille which are still her most beloved ballets at the ripe old age of twenty. ☺️

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Symphonic Variations

The Dream

La Fille Mal Gardée

 

There are definitely other ballets I never tire of (always assuming they are performed to the requisite standard, of course), but I'd need to think about those.

 

If we extend to other forms of dance:

"V", by Mark Morris

Promethean Fire, by Paul Taylor

 

[goes and puts thinking cap on]

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Hobson's Choice!!!

Onegin

La Fille Mal Gardée

The Dream

Two Pigeons

Symphonic Variations

Scenes de Ballet

Madam Butterfly (David Nixon)

In the Upper Room

 

 

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Starting each year- Symphonic Variations- -a glorious statement of intent- and ending it -Symphony in C - it shows off the dancers and makes such a wonderful finale- the last act is like a prolonged curtain call.

 

Patineurs every Christmas.

 

I also thought 'not Manon again'.

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Posted (edited)

There are lots of ballets I love but could manage without for one season.

 

I realise that my list is inextricably linked to the music I love most. And largely comprises works that really involve a lot of dancing.

 

But if time and money were no object, and if 'my' company had enough dancers, my annual 'core' repertoire would be:

 

Swan Lake (the RB production before Anthony Dowell's)

The Sleeping Beauty (the RB production premièred in 1978)

Giselle (Peter Wright production)

Cinderella (Ashton)

The Nutcracker (Peter Wright, either RB or BRB)

Requiem (MacMillan)

Gloria (MacMillan)

Song of the Earth (MacMillan)

Scènes de Ballet (Ashton)

Symphonic Variations (Ashton)

Concerto (MacMillan)

Symphony in C (Balanchine)

Rhapsody (Ashton, in its original designs)

Les Patineurs (Ashton)

Rite of Spring (Pina Bausch)

L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (Mark Morris)

 

Then we could start on all the others (others I love, others I would like to see again, works new to me, new works, etc).

 

It would mean very long seasons... But that's fine with me.

 

 

 

Edited by bridiem
Left out Symphonic Variations!
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Bridiem, so interesting to see that you'd have four MacMillan one-acters but none of the full lengths in your core, especially as we don't get many programmed (one a year seems to be the quota).

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5 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

Bridiem, so interesting to see that you'd have four MacMillan one-acters but none of the full lengths in your core, especially as we don't get many programmed (one a year seems to be the quota).

 

Yes, I surprised myself in that! I realised I don't feel the need to see any of the 3-acters every year, though I'm very happy to see them regularly. Whereas some of the one-acters are CRUCIAL!

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Can't argue with that list bridiem.

More of the shorter Macmillans and a rest for the big 3-acters would suit me fine but no doubt it would upset a large majority!

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59 minutes ago, Mary said:

 

Starting each year- Symphonic Variations- - and ending it -Symphony in C - 

 

 

Perfect!

 

plus - first and third sections of Woolf Works, and Infa from McGregor

Then throw into the mix, Symphonic Dances, Scenes de Ballet, Within the Golden Hour, Requiem/Concerto...

 

Also, Nutcracker at Christmas, and Giselle for January

 

🙂

 

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Sorry to be corny, but I'd like Swan Lake.  Also L'Apres Midi.  Others would be once every two, three, five years or more according to my fondness for them ;)

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I feel I haven't seen as much ballet as others so not sure I can give a full answer to this, but I do love the classics so would love to see La Bayadere every year - I feel there is so much variety in how the principals could be 'played' so brings with it a lot of opportunity. Also, Swan Lake - the music is wonderful and it showcases the corps so well. Undeniably it also brings in 'more' money, I for one would prefer more regular shorter runs (2-3 weeks) compared to the very long three month run next year! Also, perhaps if we got shorter runs more frequently there would actually be more opportunity for other things in the programme due to additional funding/guaranteed revenue? I also think Symphony in C is something that could be done every year as it's shorter (and perhaps the more practice the better it'll get?) 

 

But to be honest, I'd rather have more variety than seeing even La Bayadere every year - as this perhaps makes it less special in some ways when it does come round...

 

Actually what I would like to see every year is something like the Fonteyn Gala - an evening of short selected extracts for the ballet lover and an opportunity to test interest in new revivals, allow dancers who maybe haven't been given opportunity to 'shine' the chance to do so, and even perhaps to allow the dancers themselves to choreograph short extracts if this is something they would be interested in doing, or the chance for dancers to perform a piece which isn't usually in the RB repertoire so they can develop their breadth as well as giving the audience a chance to experience something they usually couldn't at Covent Garden. I appreciate this effort was likely a huge undertaking in terms of rehearsal time etc, but if they did more than one performance perhaps that would justify it...although perhaps it wouldn't sell as well as a 'proper' three-act or mixed bill. Maybe something for the Linbury? ENB does something akin to this with their 'emerging dancer' programme - I wouldn't want a similar competition element to RB but perhaps something between the Fonteyn Gala and that would work well as an annual showcase for the RB. 

 

I am actually one of the few looking forward to seeing Manon as it's my favourite MacMillan full length when it comes back, but even I agree it is too soon (not helped with the ENB doing it earlier this year too) and wonder if it will sell as well because of this. 

 

 

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Fille

The Dream 

Onegin

Two Pigeons 

The King Dances

Rite of Spring (Bausch)

Giselle

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If we are talking about programming every season on repeat I would have to restrict my choices to academic, theoretical works, pure dance, and eliminate narrative ballets, however much I enjoy them.

 

My daughter would say Etudes and I could go with that, along with a selection of abstract Ashton and a healthy dose of Balanchine thrown into the mix.

 

I would have to add Nutcracker for purely sentimental reasons because I adore Christmas and Nutcracker always gives me that mulled wine and mince pie feeling that says Santa is loading up his sleigh and all is well with the world.

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What interesting lists everyone has! I've only been going to the ballet over the last few years so what I have seen thus far is somewhat limited (34 so far) but I would be very happy to see these most (if not every) year 

 

Two Pigeons

Within the Golden Hour

Symphonic Variations 

Les Patineurs 

 

 

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Jewels 💎

Romeo & Juliet — love the music and it is such a showcase for outstanding debuts
Nutcracker — the only ballet I have actually seen every year; will miss it 
 

Every other year:
La Bayadère 
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the full length Balanchine)

Sylvia

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The Dream paired with Song of The Earth

Symphonic Variations

Concerto

Monotones

Winter Dreams

Rhapsody

Coppelia

Dances at a Gathering (I wonder if it's still in the RB repertoire...)

 

There isn't any official recording of Requiem available, is there? I was deeply moved upon seeing a solo performed by Viviana Durante in a South Bank documentary last week and wonder why a DVD was never released... (maybe the same reason as why Darcey's farewell performance of Song of the Earth was never released?)

 

 

 

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Neither, unfortunately.  When they had a near-ideal cast in Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta, I think that was a real missed opportunity.

 

...

Theme and Variations (RB, not BRB)

Requiem

Possibly Gloria

Apollo

...

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Posted (edited)

Symphonic Variations most definitely.

Square Dance (or some other short Balanchine work emphasising joy of which there are many - Could be done together as but one act of a triple with the above).  

[Month in the Country - and this is selfish only because I love it so - so perhaps not a realistic proposition]

If it was to be a full length (and I realise that would be difficult and crowding - perhaps every other year) I'd plumb for Jewels
From MacMillian I'd take Concerto - but would love to see this balanced with Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH - representing a 21st Century masterwork.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I'd love to see at least one ballet out of  great classics, " Swan Lake", " La Bayadere", " Giselle", " Corsaire", " Don Q"... Balanchine's " Jewels", please! And " Nutcracker" for Christmas - I see it every year! And one mixed programme of modern ballets!

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I could watch Giselle any day any time all the time!!

 

Lots of Balanchine ballets are also always interesting to watch. Particularly enjoy Symphony in C and Tarantella

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The Firebird

Nutcracker Sweeties

Apollo

Concerto Barocco (pretty much the entire Balanchine catalogue)

Far From The Madding Crowd

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Much as I love many ballets; Onegin and virtually anything by Ashton springs to mind, I don't know if I'd want to see any ballet programmed every year. it would be like having Christmas every day; if it happens too often it loses it's  magic and becomes the norm rather than a special treat to be savoured occasionally. Now having more frequent stagings of Onegin and a greater variety and frequency of Ashton is a different story!  Also, regardless of what we might like, any regular staging would be the most popular ballets like the recent long run of annual Nutcrackers. I know many people love Nutcracker (as do I) but I'm looking forward to a break from it for one year and have all those endless Christmas slots taken up with a fresh ballet. if I want to enjoy my Christmas fix of Nutcracker I can go to the repeat cinema broadcast (which I think is an excellent idea and I wish could be repeated for other ballets) or watch one of the many excellent dvds available. If our favourites were programmed every year what would we have to discuss when the annual season is announced?!

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17 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

Much as I love many ballets; Onegin and virtually anything by Ashton springs to mind, I don't know if I'd want to see any ballet programmed every year. it would be like having Christmas every day; if it happens too often it loses it's  magic and becomes the norm rather than a special treat to be savoured occasionally. Now having more frequent stagings of Onegin and a greater variety and frequency of Ashton is a different story!  Also, regardless of what we might like, any regular staging would be the most popular ballets like the recent long run of annual Nutcrackers. I know many people love Nutcracker (as do I) but I'm looking forward to a break from it for one year and have all those endless Christmas slots taken up with a fresh ballet. if I want to enjoy my Christmas fix of Nutcracker I can go to the repeat cinema broadcast (which I think is an excellent idea and I wish could be repeated for other ballets) or watch one of the many excellent dvds available. If our favourites were programmed every year what would we have to discuss when the annual season is announced?!

 

In spite of my (long!) list above, I do largely think you're right, jmhopton. (Though long as it is, my list still leaves out many of my favourite ballets.) If there was to be only one ballet that was scheduled every year, for me it would be Swan Lake (the production I mention above) because of the combined and transcendent power of the music, the choreography and the themes.

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I am in two minds over this, too. I’ve been thinking of the following

  • MacMillan – Song of the Earth

  • Cranko – Brouillards, Initials R.B.M.E, Concerto for Flute and Harp

  • Tetley – Voluntaries

  • Bintley – Still Life at the Penguin Cafe

  • Forsythe – The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude

  • Dawson – A Million Kisses to my Skin

  • Bejart – Songs of a Wayfarer, 9th Symphony

  • Wheeldon – DGV

  • Pite – The Season’s Canon

  • Scholz – Air

  • Goecke – Almost Blue

For some of these listed above, it’s the music, for others it’s specific memories, the choreographies or a mix of all these aspects. As for Bintley’s Still Life at the Penguin Café, this is specifically in honour of nature and species.

Thinking about it, however, that’s a pretty long list for a single season … will there be sufficient rehearsal time for all these plus time for works that are performed less frequently and/ or new works? Will I have sufficient time and funds to attend all these performances in addition to other works & other leisure interests (most likely not)? The choreographies listed above are very special to me, will they lose some of their appeal if I get to see them every year?

So maybe not every year but every second year? Alternatively, a few years in a row followed by a break of a few years?

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2 minutes ago, Duck said:

Thinking about it, however, that’s a pretty long list for a single season … will there be sufficient rehearsal time for all these plus time for works that are performed less frequently and/ or new works? Will I have sufficient time and funds to attend all these performances in addition to other works & other leisure interests (most likely not)? The choreographies listed above are very special to me, will they lose some of their appeal if I get to see them every year?

 

Duck, you’ve highlighted all the reasons why it’s still only Giselle and Symphonic Variations which make my list!

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3 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

Duck, you’ve highlighted all the reasons why it’s still only Giselle and Symphonic Variations which make my list! 

 

My initial list included 4 or 5 further works, and removing these to get to the list above was tricky, I thus admire your ability to cut it down to just two works!

 

 

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The only ballet I’d vote for being performed every year is Nutcracker.  It is so very much part of Christmas and Clara’s recognition that she has her necklace from the Sugar Plum Fairy is always a very special moment.  Whenever I see a performance I like to think that for some of the audience this is their first Nutcracker.  Whilst the Royal Ballet aren’t doing Nutcracker this year, I’m very pleased there will be a cinema encore.

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7 minutes ago, JohnS said:

The only ballet I’d vote for being performed every year is Nutcracker.  It is so very much part of Christmas and Clara’s recognition that she has her necklace from the Sugar Plum Fairy is always a very special moment.  Whenever I see a performance I like to think that for some of the audience this is their first Nutcracker.  Whilst the Royal Ballet aren’t doing Nutcracker this year, I’m very pleased there will be a cinema encore.

 

But you do have the opportunity to see Birmingham Royal Ballet's utterly fabulous Nutcracker in both Birmingham and at the Royal Albert Hall.  English National Ballet is also doing their Nutcracker and has a much longer tradition than either of the Royal companies for performing it over the Christmas period.  I think you are from "Up North" John so there is also an opportunity to see ENB's Nutcracker in Liverpool this year as well as at the Coliseum.

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Not necessarily the pieces I love most, but all with choreography of genius that will always delight me:

 

Serenade

Les Rendezvous

Konservatoriet (Bournonville)

Shades scene from La Bayadere

Airs (Paul Taylor)

 

 

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