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alison

Dance on terrestrial TV

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So pleased to see Woolf Works again, as often happens the picture quality was better on my TV than the cinema, and I could hear Virginia Woolf's words properly for the first time too!  The first ballet is still my favourite, love the music, makes me want to dance!

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Caught the first act of this yesterday at 1.30 am just as I was about to go to bed after a pretty exhausting weekend my partner called me back with " Hey theres ballet on the tv!!" 

I went back and Wolf works had just started I'd forgotten it was on 

I stayed to watch the first Act and loved it all over again enjoying some of the closer shots too.....in fact I think I enjoyed it even more and saw more lovely detail I'd missed before etc. Lovely surprise. 

Will have to catch up with the other two acts on I-player though.

 

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Just a few minutes ago the programme on Witness "The Rudolf Nureyev Phenomenon" has ended - Victor Hochhauser was describing Nureyev's defection. The podcast is available now - 9 minutes:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p057s98z

Edited by Amelia
the podcast link added
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On 27/03/2017 at 17:27, Jane S said:

On Sunday April 2nd at 8 pm BBC4 is showing a 1-hour programme called Giselle: Belle of the Ballet, in which Tamara Rojo uses ENB's two productions as a basis for an examination of "the cultural and social background to the ballet's genesis in 1840s Paris, and the spiritual themes that have fuelled its success over the last 175 years."

 

There's a clip showing the first 3 minutes of the programme here

 

This is about to be repeated on BBC2.

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Ed Watson has posted to say he is appearing on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 this morning. I can't find the running order to work out when during the programme his 'segment' is (or whether it was during the first hour of broadcast before I knew to turn it on although the programme's twitter feed hasn't mentioned him yet so assume not). Fingers crossed we haven't missed it! If not will have to catch up online. 

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Bummer think he must have been on already, will have to watch it on catch up. 

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Drat.  Do let us know if you find out when it was, Riva.

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I managed to watch it on the 'All 4' app, Ed's appearance is at approx 20mins 45secs. It's promo for the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland cinema relay but he talks about his career and what the future might hold too. 

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BBC4  10.40pm on Sunday 5th November. A reworking of Parade by the National Dance Company of Wales.

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On 04/11/2017 at 16:37, RMM1 said:

BBC4  10.40pm on Sunday 5th November. A reworking of Parade by the National Dance Company of Wales.

Anyone else watch this? It was really weird. In the introduction they said Satie went to prison after the first performance  - for punching a critic. Hmm!

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55 minutes ago, MargaretN7 said:

Anyone else watch this? It was really weird. In the introduction they said Satie went to prison after the first performance  - for punching a critic. Hmm!

 

I tried to watch this but after about 10 minutes felt as baffled as I do when watching works by McGregor without programme notes (though sometimes I don't follow the notes either).  According to the BBC, it is a 're-imagined' work but with a new choreographer and designs only the music seems to be original. 

 

It's part of the celebrations (?) for the centenary of the Russian Revolution so I assume it's some sort of celebration of freedom from oppression.  The setting appeared to be in an Amazon distribution centre where the workers were being strangled in packing tape.  To add to their misery, the aircon must have been acting up making some of them strip to their underwear while others had donned woolly hats. Very symbolic but of what?

 

Perhaps it's a protest against the power of the internet giants taking over modern life?  I'd love to know what others made of it.

 

Linda

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I forgot it was on until about halfway through, so you can imagine how bemused I was!  Plus I misread/interpreted "reworking" :(

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loveclassics - I think that you are correct in that only the music was original. Robery Joffrey worked with Massine in the early 1970s to recreate the original. Massine was able to contact some of the original dancers, who had moved to the USA, for their memories.  This new version draws heavily on Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The robot costume was a direct copy, as the image with the heart at the end.  The shoppers in that brief shot where referred to in the credits as Stepford Wives - another story about robot.

 

I liked the robot, liked the music but I thought overall it was pretty dull. Perhaps you had to be there.

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Just opened my tv guide to find out that this evening on BBC2 at 10 pm there's a programme "Darcey Bussell: Dance Beyond Boundaries" featuring Canadian "ice dancing" (which I gather doesn't begin to describe it!) collective Le Patin Libre and street dance group Boy Blue Entertainment.  Apologies for the late notice.

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While an interesting range of programmes (especially the Kenneth Macmillan doc) it once again seems to highlight the BBCs current obsession with screening ballet docs rather than ballets themselves. After showing an in-depth doc about the Nutcracker without showing the Nutcracker itself they now seem to be showing a doc. about Kenneth Macmillan without either one of his full length ballets or one of last years special Macmillan ballet programmes (which would have been potentially more interesting given the range of companies and dancers involved). Of course they might still be doing this and just not mentioned it as it wouldn't have been commissioned specially by their Arts Dept. but I have my doubts. They seem to think the 2 or 3 minute clips shown in these sort of docs (which often have commentators talking over them) are an adequate substitute for the real thing. It is as if they think modern audiences can't sit through a full length ballet and can only cope with short extracts which to me seems patronising in the extreme. I know they showed Matthew Bourne's Cinderella (which I fell asleep during!) and the other year they showed his Sleeping Beauty but it is as if they think the ballets produced by their 'partner' the ROH somehow aren't suitable; very strange.

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I very much agree with jmhompton.  

 

In light of the suggestions from the Forum that 1 February Giselle would have been ideal for the BBC and ROH to have worked as partners and broadcast the performance, I was trying to think when was the last such occasion.  Was it Darcey Bussell's final performance in June 2007?  And wouldn't a repeat broadcast of 'Song of the Earth' complement the documentary?

 

I'm sure others with much better memories will correct me.

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But you need to remember that dancers have unionised rights over the showing of their performances on broadcast media. I've been involved in talking through actors' contracts with Equity around recordings of their performances (although not for broadcast media) and there are rights to be protected. It may be that the broadcasters haven't wanted to pay for the broadcasting of performances, or the ballet companies don't wish to "sell" their productions in this way.

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I wonder whether it is BBC reluctance to broadcast ballet performances or the ROH's decision to stream some of its performances which is the reason why the only ballet we get on the box is in the form of dance documentaries ? I can see that the company might be concerned that televising ballets might  reduce the audience for its streamed ballets but I am not convinced that it would and the company could always stipulate that the ballets shown on terrestrial television either had to be specially filmed for television broadcast or had to be recordings of performances which had been streamed four or five years ago. Of course it could be that any BBC filmed performance might show up the quality of Mr Dowson's efforts both as far as camera work and lighting are concerned. As far as arrangements with other companies such as Sky or Medici are concerned, Sky is not exactly active in the field at the moment and Medici is not available here.

 

As far as the BBC is concerned its charter may require it to inform,educate and entertain but "entertainment" does not seem to extend to screening ballet performances. Perhaps the BBC worries about its audience's attention span or perhaps it fears being accused of foisting elitist entertainment on its unsuspecting and trusting viewers .I don't know. A documentary shown on the BBC a couple of Christmases ago about televised ballet in the 1950's, when it was not sneering at the very idea of watching ballet on television, made it pretty clear that those televised performances did not materialize out of thin air. It suggested that de Valois pushed for them and stated that she took some control over how performances were shown to the viewer. Interestingly some of the company's televised performances during the 1960's and 70's were undertaken in the context of the development in television technology. The Sibley, Dowell Cinderella shown in 1968 was, I believe, one of the BBC's first, if not the first, televised outside broadcast in colour while a programme of ballets shown under the title ""The Royal Ballet Salutes the USA" was the first to be televised direct to the US via satellite.

 

Now I know that many can remember the days when the BBC had Dance Months but an awful lot of that output, like the Diaghilev documentaries was attributable to the enthusiasm of individuals like John Drummond who was an "unapologetic elitist" who thought that other people might have an interest in the arts, if they knew about them, and that they had the right to access them. It was far from being a corporate interest at the time. It would now seem that many in a position to make decisions about content and programming at the BBC see the average audience member as someone who only wants brain deadening entertainment.

 

 As to performing rights and repeat fees I am pretty sure that the RB's dancers gave up their rights to additional payment for filmed performances and repeat fees in the 1990's at the time when the company was threatened with closure. In the talk Morera gave to Ballet Association in 2007 she referred to the company being given new contracts at the time it was out of the House and that losing their rights to payments for broadcasts was part of the price the dancers paid for their continued employment. If I recall correctly it was suggested by the powers that be that the simplest solution to the company being out of the House would be to disband it during the theatre's closure and establish a new one operating on seasonal contracts similar to those which American companies have. Anthony Russell Roberts said that at the point that it was being proposed that the company should be disbanded and  reestablished as a part time one when the House reopened was the point at which Dowell and he began to investigate whether the company's royal charter required them to be resident at the ROH. As he said neither Dowell nor he wanted to be responsible and remembered for destroying de Valois' creation, Britain's first full time ballet company.

 

So it seems to me that the reason that there is little ballet on television other than documentary is not additional costs but a lack of imagination and will on both sides but that the BBC probably should take more of the blame because it has already decided what its audience wants and what it does not want and it has decided that unlike endless repeats of the Old Grey Whistle Test their audience does not want ballet. But the really stupid thing about it is that the BBC actually needs reasonably priced product much as it did in the 1950's and the RB could do with more carefully managed exposure to the general public who contribute to its costs through their taxation.

Edited by FLOSS
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On ‎27‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 20:07, alison said:

Just opened my tv guide to find out that this evening on BBC2 at 10 pm there's a programme "Darcey Bussell: Dance Beyond Boundaries" featuring Canadian "ice dancing" (which I gather doesn't begin to describe it!) collective Le Patin Libre and street dance group Boy Blue Entertainment.  Apologies for the late notice.

 

Did anyone watch it? :)

 

Josephine, thank you for that link.  I'm particularly pleased to see the Michael Clark being televised, since the Barbican (once again) didn't bother to inform me that it was on and I missed out again.

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All the recent ROH ballets televised on the BBC such as Woolf Works, Frankenstein, Carmen and beyond are new productions. Whether this is because it is easier to convince BBC Arts editors that new is more arty or the ROH is keener to show off its newer works I don't know. However Floss is certainly right to raise the factor of live streaming. With The Nutcracker in particular, the annual live screening in cinemas will certainly be a factor in not having a television screening as well to potentially reduce the cinema audience.

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I am not clear why the only options for showing ballet on the BBC seem to revolve around either a live broadcast of a complete performance, or some sort of documentary with occasional 30 second segments of dance being shown before a talking head breaks in and obscures the view.  

 

What is wrong with a programme that allows various artists to perform in one of the television studios?  A short, 30 minute programme, maybe an arts based programme similar in style to the Jules Holland programmes.  Pre recorded, but in front of a small audience.  Perhaps based around certain themes: love, hate, jealousy or whatever.    With an opera singer performing an aria specific to the theme, followed by perhaps two classical ballet dancers performing a complete pdd, and then a classical musician playing something relevant.  With a compere who is both knowledgeable and interesting, saying something about the historical background of each piece, and perhaps a little about the technical aspects when performing? The performers don't have to be top stars or household names (which would presumably keep the costs down.)  Personally, I can think of several current soloists and even corps members of the RB whom I would love to see doing stuff normally reserved for those of higher rank.  And it would give ballet fans a chance to see dancers they might not normally see - which for me would be those from BRB, NB, etc.  No need for fancy scenery, elaborate stage settings, or a full orchestra.  The dancers could perform to a piano accompaniment.  

 

I am warming to this theme.  Anybody else up for this sort of programme?  And if the criticism is that nobody wants to watch it....well, how do they know if they haven't tried it? I personally would find that fascinating.  And I don't care if it does go out on BBC4, which as far as I am concerned does some of the most interesting programmes on television, and is the first channel I scan at the start of the week.  

 

 

Edited by Fonty
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12 hours ago, alison said:

 

Did anyone watch it? :)

 

Josephine, thank you for that link.  I'm particularly pleased to see the Michael Clark being televised, since the Barbican (once again) didn't bother to inform me that it was on and I missed out again.

 

I did. I thought both pieces were very dull. In the prologue to the ice skating, the speaker said they had placed a camera at the end of the ice and decided that should be the view point of the audience, except the broadcast showed many different angles. It seemed to be the usual "let's use a different camera every three seconds" rule.

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3 hours ago, trog said:

 

I did. I thought both pieces were very dull. In the prologue to the ice skating, the speaker said they had placed a camera at the end of the ice and decided that should be the view point of the audience, except the broadcast showed many different angles. It seemed to be the usual "let's use a different camera every three seconds" rule.

Agree with you about the hip-hop/contemporary/whateveritwas piece, we thought it was rather dull and (to my eyes) didn't offer anything new, but both DD and I really liked the ice skating piece, totally original and we'd never seen anything quite like it before.

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7 hours ago, trog said:

 

I did. I thought both pieces were very dull. In the prologue to the ice skating, the speaker said they had placed a camera at the end of the ice and decided that should be the view point of the audience, except the broadcast showed many different angles. It seemed to be the usual "let's use a different camera every three seconds" rule.

 

The Patin Libre video was made at Alexandra Palace where they performed in 2015. The live performance was a lot longer and in two parts. In the first the audience was seated on one side of the rink, in the second we were all moved to the end and, as I recall, the skating reflected this change in perspective. As one might expect it was much more engaging and aesthetically interesting when seen live.

 

There's another version of the video on the Dance Umbrella website which is slightly longer than the one on the BBC though I haven't run them side by side to see what the differences are.

 

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Apologies for starting a new thread on this subject but I searched and couldn't find the previous one. As well as Northern Ballet's Casanova which is on Sky Arts tonight at 18.00 (this came up as Digital Theatre on my Virgin listing which had me confused at first), there is a repeat of Dancing in the Blitz: How World War Two Made British Ballet on BBC4 tonight at 00.30.

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