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Excuse me for posting this here, but....


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....I hope I can be excused because it certainly wouldn't be right under 'Not Dance',  as you'll see,

 

A clue in last weekend's Polymath crossword in the FT reads:'Ballet by George Balanchine premiered in 1948' (7 letters.ending in S).  Blowed if I can think of it, and I refuse either to Google it or look it up in any of my reference books  - I regard that sort of thing as cheating.

 

The answer is  probably blindingly obvious, and no doubt nobody here will need to resort to Google etc. to find it...

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Ann you're much too honest and honourable. I've looked in my cheat book, the wonderful Choreography by George Balanchine, and it has to be Orpheus.

 

That book, which catalogues all his works dates from 1982, no author credited, is out of print but can still be picked up cheaply via AbeBooks. An essential for the balletomane's library.

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Many thanks, Janet.  If Orpheus is a Balanchine ballet (must admit I hadn't heard of it) then that's the answer, but as I haven't got any other letters to confirm this, I'll jfust pencil it in.  Any other suggestions?

 

Ann, BRB performed this seminal work 12 or more years ago and I had the misfortune to sit through it several times.  The lead dancer wears a costume that has rubber tubing wrapped around it.  The thing I most remember is the wonderful Asier Uriagereka giving a talk to Friends and saying how he had had terrible trouble keeping his rubber in place!  As you can imagine the entire room cracked up!

 

This ballet also has the lyre that subsequently became the symbol of NYCB.

 

I didn't look this up anywhere.

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Oddly enough the page on the NYCB website which talks about their use of the lyre symbol, discusses it in relation to Apollo but has a background image of the Orpheus lyre - that is unless the item shown was the original Apollo instrument, since changed.

 

Also, in the ballet Apollo plays the lute, though in mythology he favours the lyre. The Apollo lyre is a modest little thing, the Orpheus lyre is a much more macho object and looks to be in Noguchi's style.

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I have found in doing the daily crossword puzzle that the more one knows about ballet the less able one is to think of the correct answer.

 

For instance......

 

Clue:  ballet step

Puzzle answer:  plié

 

But, - plié is not a "step" - it's a movement (bending)

 

or

 

Clue: ballet step

Puzzle answer: arabesque

 

But - arabesque is not a step - it's a pose

 

 

or

 

Clue:  ballet step

Puzzle answer:  grand jeté

 

But - grand jeté is not a step - it's a jump

 

oh, well......

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John, thanks for the tip about the Balanchine book - I've spotted it before but thought I knew Balanchine well enough  not be need it, but obviously not .  I'll order it now.

 

And Janet, you say you had the 'misfortune' to sit through 'Orpheus'  several times, not something one would normally say about a Balanchine ballet - was it just the rubber-draped costumes?

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I agree with Janet, Ann, on Orpheus ... Unlike so much of Balanchine's dazzling rep of 420 ballets .... this piece (Orpheus that is) was very much of its time and now falls (at least for me) sadly flat.  For me I'd take a fine rendering of Brahms/Schoenberg or Mozartiana any day ... or oh, so many others ...   

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