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Different styles at Royal Ballet


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I'm sorry if these are really stupid questions, or they have been asked before. I'm relatively new to ballet, and enjoy it just for the spectacle. I don't understand many of the technical aspects of ballet, I don't know the name of all the moves the dancers do, and I don't know whether the way a particular dancer is doing something is the correct way or not. I just go to the ballet, and some ballets I love and am moved by, and others i'm not moved by at all. Similarly, some dancers I seem to like and others not so much.

 

I only ever go to the royal ballet as it's the nearest, and i've heard people refer to some dancers being good at a particular style of repertore and others not. Someone referred to Mara Galeazzi as being a good Macmillan dancer. What does that mean? How is a good Macmillan dancer different from a good Ashton dancer? Is it just that Macmillan's roles tend to be very dramatic, more dramatic than Ashton's ballets? I've also heard people being described as a good Belanchine interpreter, but I don't have a clue what the Belanchine style is. To be honest, I don't know who the choreographers of most of the ballets i've seen have been. I can tell when something is clearly modern, but I don't know the differences between styles of the same era.

 

I would be grateful if someone could explain.

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Each choreographer has an individual style just as the author of a book has.

 

And, just as each reader of  a book feels differently about the book, so each of us views the dance differently.  There are no hard and fast rules about anything in art.  That's why its called art  - not science.

 

One could say that Balanchine ballets tend not to have a plot - storyline - but then some do.  And, even for those that do not - the observer can make up a storyline - or see a story line in his/her imagination.

 

And so it goes for each choreographer and dancer.  If someone says dancer A is wonderful at dancing Ashton ballets there will surely be someone else with a differing opinion. 

 

It's all opinion - subjective opinion.

 

As for technique - if the "moves" are being done correctly - who cares?  The most important thing is to go - see - observe - enjoy. 

 

Just as one goes to a concert of a violin concerto - you don't have to know anything - just if YOU - YOU - YOU - enjoyed it.  That's all that counts.  That's the most important thing.

 

Frankly, there are some of us with long experience who actually wish we knew less - we might enjoy it more - coming to it with a fresh eye and mind.  You have that fresh eye and mind - take advantage of it and just relish the experience of enjoying the ballet.

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Each choreographer has an individual style just as the author of a book has.

 

And, just as each reader of  a book feels differently about the book, so each of us views the dance differently.  There are no hard and fast rules about anything in art.  That's why its called art  - not science.

 

One could say that Balanchine ballets tend not to have a plot - storyline - but then some do.  And, even for those that do not - the observer can make up a storyline - or see a story line in his/her imagination.

 

And so it goes for each choreographer and dancer.  If someone says dancer A is wonderful at dancing Ashton ballets there will surely be someone else with a differing opinion. 

 

It's all opinion - subjective opinion.

 

As for technique - if the "moves" are being done correctly - who cares?  The most important thing is to go - see - observe - enjoy. 

 

Just as one goes to a concert of a violin concerto - you don't have to know anything - just if YOU - YOU - YOU - enjoyed it.  That's all that counts.  That's the most important thing.

 

Frankly, there are some of us with long experience who actually wish we knew less - we might enjoy it more - coming to it with a fresh eye and mind.  You have that fresh eye and mind - take advantage of it and just relish the experience of enjoying the ballet.

 

Thanks. It was more that I was curious about how an Ashton piece differs from a Macmillan piece etc. Is the choreography very obviously different etc.

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Their styles are very different even to my inexpert eyes.  Ashton's ballets have lots of little steps requiring a deftness of foot and (to my eyes) particularly beautiful upper body work and not huge amounts of flashy lifts.  To me, Macmillan's style is "bigger", more expansive.  In the story ballets, for me, Macmillan's crowd scenes are more crowded and frenetic and his duets more overtly sexy whereas I personally find Ashton's more romantic and emotional. 

 

I think, in essence, Anjuli's first sentence says it all.

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