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Three Different Ways of Saying the Same Thing....whither ballet?


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In reading the three reviews of American Ballet Theatre's Gala (in today's links) I was struck by the fact that though the writing styles are very different the views were similar: that Gala though it was it was also an exhibition of where ballet is trending. All three reviewers didn't seem happy with these trends -

 

Which brings me to wonder.....what do we want from the ballet?

 

Does it matter what we want?

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I want ballet to make me feel something - this can be narrative emotions like sadness and joy, and empathy with characters and plots, or it can be as simple as watching something that makes me feel like I want to dance.

 

I hope it matters what we want. Without audiences, ballet companies and choreographers would soon cease to be able to produce works. But not everyone wants the same - which is what keeps it interesting and experimental, but also makes it difficult.

 

It's an interesting question though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone here wants from a ballet.

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Jane you have taken the words right out of my mouth!!

 

I want to be uplifted when I come out of a ballet (or dance) performance. As you say so eloquently, it could be because I have been reduced to uncontrollable sobbing (eg Two Pigeons) or because I have laughed so much (eg Northern Ballet's Midsummer NIght's Dream) or because I have been made to think (eg FADT).

 

For me it doesn't have to be a story ballet or abstract - I enjoy both. It doesn't have to be a particular style although I love watching Ashton.

 

I love to see new works (even if I don't like them) and I love to see new dancers getting a chance in established ballets.

 

I think most of the general public want something different from the professional reviewers. In my opinion professional reviewers tend to see performances through different eyes to the rest of us but then they have to be objective they can't just watch and enjoy like the rest of us.

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Jane you have taken the words right out of my mouth!!

 

I want to be uplifted when I come out of a ballet (or dance) performance. As you say so eloquently, it could be because I have been reduced to uncontrollable sobbing (eg Two Pigeons) or because I have laughed so much (eg Northern Ballet's Midsummer NIght's Dream) or because I have been made to think (eg FADT).

 

For me it doesn't have to be a story ballet or abstract - I enjoy both. It doesn't have to be a particular style although I love watching Ashton.

 

I love to see new works (even if I don't like them) and I love to see new dancers getting a chance in established ballets.

 

I think most of the general public want something different from the professional reviewers. In my opinion professional reviewers tend to see performances through different eyes to the rest of us but then they have to be objective they can't just watch and enjoy like the rest of us.

 

I agree with this to an extent. I've been reviewing dance since around 1999 for both hard copy (print magazines, journals, as well as online, and am a member of the Dance Critics Assn.). I've also attended many performances to which I go as a general member of the audience - no review. Do I look at things differently depending upon if I'm reviewing it or not? Well, yes - and no.

 

When I go as a reviewer, I pay special attention to who is doing what so that I will get the basics accurately - names, roles danced, etc. Since I've been watching dance since the early 1960's, I do like to think I can to whatever extent bring an historical perspective - like how a particular dancer has grown or added to - or subtracted from a role or interpretation of the music. Or how a particular production of Swan Lake fits into or brings a new perspective to history's long line of Swan Lakes.

 

But, then I sit back and let it happen; I, too, want to respond to the performance on an emotional level.

 

I don't ever do things like count fouettés. I'm more interested in how they are done and if they were integrated into the overall effect of the performance. I'm not particularly interested in how high someone jumps or how long someone balances - I'm more interested in the musicality and integration of the jump or balance and how it fits into the whole.

 

Is that so different from those who attend who are not there to critique?

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I want to be uplifted when I come out of a ballet (or dance) performance.

 

So, Janet, does that mean you don't like things like, say, Manon, Onegin, Mayerling or Romeo & Juliet? Or can you also get a strange sort of uplift from those type of ballets?

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I do get an uplift from those you mentioned - of the sobbing variety! I also got a holiday idea from Mayerling - a friend and I went to Vienna! I also think I've stated on numerous occasions that Onegin is the work through which I discovered ballet and which is still my favourite.

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