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Subject: "Which ballets make you laugh?" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1232
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Jim

16-01-01, 10:42 AM (GMT)
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"Which ballets make you laugh?"
 
   I was discussing lately which ballets (or scenes in ballets) are funny enough to make you laugh. We couldn't think of very many. Can you?

I suggest the following scale:

* Makes you smile

** Big grin or chuckle

*** Laugh out loud (LOL)

To get going, I suggest:

** Manon throwing herself onto the bed as des Grieux goes out to post a letter to his father.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Which ballets make you laugh? alison 16-01-01 1
     RE: Which ballets make you laugh? james 16-01-01 2
         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Jane S 16-01-01 3
             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Pete 16-01-01 4
                 RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Fuzzyface 16-01-01 5
         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Anneliese 16-01-01 6
             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Richard J 16-01-01 7
                 RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Ann Williams 16-01-01 8
  RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Caz 17-01-01 9
     RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Ainsley 17-01-01 10
         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Helen 17-01-01 11
  RE: Which ballets make you laugh? robert 17-01-01 12
  RE: Which ballets make you laugh? robert 17-01-01 13
     RE: Which ballets make you laugh? timpow 17-01-01 14
         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Paul A 17-01-01 15
             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Richard J 17-01-01 16
                 RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Karen R 17-01-01 17
                     RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Trog Woolley 22-01-01 18
                         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Chris Hampson 23-01-01 19
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Chris Hampson 23-01-01 20
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? eugene merrett 23-01-01 21
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Jim 23-01-01 22
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Jane S 23-01-01 23
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Jim 23-01-01 24
                             RE: Which ballets make you laugh? eugene merrett 23-01-01 25
         RE: Which ballets make you laugh? Robert 23-01-01 26

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alison

16-01-01, 01:02 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #0
 
   Well, as I've said before on these pages, a good performance of La Fille Mal Gardée usually sends me out of the theatre with a big grin on my face. I won't mention the funny bits, since it's about to start at the ROH and I don't want to spoil the fun for any first-timers.


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james

16-01-01, 02:07 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #1
 
   Apart from the obvious candidates such as the step-sisters in Ashton's Cinderella, and Dr Coppelius (Luke Heydon did a wonderful pratfall last year - worth a guffaw), there is a ballet which includes a pas de deux danced by a tall long-legged girl paired with a far shorter man. I saw it years ago, in the 60s, done by the then London Festival Ballet - Irina Borowska was the ballerina, and (I think) Dudley von Loggenburg was her partner. Trouble is, although I can remember it being very funny, I can't recall the name of the piece. It is something like Bourree Fantastique (not la boutique fantastique, which is, of course, another ballet altogether). Does anyone else remember it?


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Jane S

16-01-01, 02:32 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #2
 
   It was Bourree Fantasque, I think: choreography by - bet you wouldn't guess from the description - Balanchine, music by Chabrier.


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Pete

16-01-01, 03:42 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #3
 
   An obvious *** has to be The Concert (or 'The Perils of Everybody') by Jerome Robbins. Total farce I know, but side splitting stuff!


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Fuzzyface

16-01-01, 04:15 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #4
 
   The last thing that made me really laugh was the Universal Ballet's production of "Giselle". That was bloody hilarious!!!!!!


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Anneliese

16-01-01, 04:26 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #2
 
   Sounds like you're describing one of the Elite Syncopations (forgotten the title of this number), originally danced (I think) by Vergie Derman and Wayne Sleep - but you're clearly not describing it cos it's (a) too new and (b) not got the right music! The giant walnut in the 70s Festival Ballet Nutcracker made my dad and sister LOL.


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Richard J

16-01-01, 10:25 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #6
 
   Those who saw Wayne Sleep and Vergie Derman in Elite Sync. will remember that it was a good laugh at the time, but more recent performances don't have a man quite as short as our Wayne (so the effect is not quite so strong), and I found the whole thing a bit dated when I saw it again a few years ago. On the other hand, 'Still Life at the Penguin Cafe' has some nice moments; the great auk is just a charmer, and Humboldt's Hog-nosed Skunk Flea annoying the morris dancers is good for a giggle (especially as done by Sandra Madgwick).

Talking of a giggle, I must admit that I found the model swan in the Kirov's Swan Lake (swimming across the back-cloth in Act 2) a bit too much like a fairground shooting gallery, but I guess that some liked it.

I did see a genuinely funny ballet about 20 years ago (at least); London Festival Ballet perhaps. I can't remember its title, but seem to remember that it was a satire on totalitarian governments, and included a fine send-up of the goose-step. Does this ring any bells with anyone?

Two other pieces that raise a smile (without intending to be funny in the same way as 'The Concert') are the ending of 'Stars and Stripes' (with its pastiche on showgirl high kicks), and 'Who Cares?' (neat Gershwin numbers), showing that Geoge B. was not always seriously abstract.


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Ann Williams

16-01-01, 10:42 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #7
 
   Lots of Ashton makes me laugh. There's a wonderful moment in 'Les Patineurs' where a male skater falls over on his bottom, peeks around slyly to see if anyone has seen him and then, observing that the coast is clear, picks himself up and skates off with a snooty expression on his face. Someone else has mentioned the ugly sisters in 'Cinderella' and I treasure the moment when Ashton himself, as one of the sisters, bends his head and simply shakes the hat off his head directly into the open hatbox. Its just droll, and reminds me of Jacques Tati.


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Caz

17-01-01, 01:33 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #0
 
   Well four LOLs for me have to be:

*** The drunk pdd in Manon - especially as danced by Irek Mukhamedov and Deborah Bull

*** Lots of things in AMP's Swan Lake

*** Clara beating the Mouse King over the head with a pointe shoe in BRB's Nutcracker

*** One of the Prince's friends imitating the dancing girl at the party in NBT's Swan Lake

Grins... hmmm... too many to list methinks )


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Ainsley

17-01-01, 07:07 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #9
 
   Most ballets by Mats Ek make me laugh, especially his versions of the great classics Giselle, Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Beauty. They are either ridiculous or disgusting, but in fact they always make me roar with laughter. Don't know whether that was intentional, though.


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Helen

17-01-01, 10:02 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #10
 
   The dance of the cygnets in Act 2 of Swan Lake always makes me laugh. I've never been sure if it's meant to be funny or not, but I find it funny. If it's not meant to be a joke, then I don't think it's brilliant choreography.


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robert

17-01-01, 01:45 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #0
 
   Macmillan did a ballet on Sherlock Holmes(and danced Holmes). I remember it as being funny. Macmillan was so big and had a cloak and magnifying glass which he used to great comic affect. Facade was certainly amusing as was Pineapple Pol. I thought the Matt Eck ballet that Rambert toured last year very funny. Matthew Bourne has done some amusing ballets and I liked and found very amusing Scottish Ballet and Robert North's Offenbachia (despite the critics!)


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robert

17-01-01, 01:46 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #0
 
   Macmillan did a ballet on Sherlock Holmes(and danced Holmes). I remember it as being funny. Macmillan was so big and had a cloak and magnifying glass which he used to great comic affect. Facade was certainly amusing as was Pineapple Pol. I thought the Matt Eck ballet that Rambert toured last year very funny. Matthew Bourne has done some amusing ballets and I liked and found very amusing Scottish Ballet and Robert North's Offenbachia (despite the critics!)


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timpow

17-01-01, 03:00 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #13
 
   Kenneth Macmillan danced the role of Sherlock Holmes
in a ballet called The Great Detective. The choreographer was in fact Margaret Dale.


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Paul A

17-01-01, 05:03 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #14
 
   The Concert is so well observed that it is genuinely funny. The take off by The Trocks of those mood ballets, complete with piano, is amusing if not so inspired.

Fille is a tonic - uplifting.

Unintentionally - all the flummery of narrative three act ballets, particularly those by MacMillan where ballet cannot cope with the demands of narrative, is downright ridiculous.


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Richard J

17-01-01, 06:49 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #15
 
   Away from the strictly classical repertoire, there's Christopher Bruce's 'Rooster'; anyone who has seen the male of the species in that piece strutting like a cockerel in the general direction of his female prey will know what I mean.

Back to ballet, I seem to remember some nice lighthearted bits in 'Les Biches', but a really wacky piece from that era is 'Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel' (1921) - though I've not seen it. Set on the first platform of the Eiffel Tower, it's a farce (libr. Cocteau; music by five composers) in which the attempts of a hunchbacked photographer to photograph a wedding party are constantly frustrated. Sounds as if audiences had some fun in those days.


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Karen R

17-01-01, 07:06 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #16
 
   Bourne's Sptifire makes me LOL. Hilarious.


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Trog Woolley

22-01-01, 00:40 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #17
 
   Humbolt's flea from Still Life At The Peguin Cafe is a real chuckle, as a previous poster said. I guess the impact is wearing off a bit, as I have seen the ballet lots of times. The Floreadore scene in Nutcracker Sweeties is a bit of a hoot too. Shame that we won't see Chenca Williams in it any more.

As to ballets that I have only seen once, Facade is very funny, as are the chickens with the shopping baskets in Pictures At An Exhibition. The BRB did this about five years ago. One of the best audience reactions was Dog Suite as danced by the Central Ballet School in the early part of 2000.


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Chris Hampson

23-01-01, 00:30 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #18
 
   As for making me laugh out loud...

THE CONCERT
PAQUITA/MERCE CUNNINGHAM/LES SYLPHIDES by the Trocks... Sorry but I grew up in ENB!


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Chris Hampson

23-01-01, 00:31 AM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #19
 
   And yes Trogg,
Dog Suite!


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eugene merrett

23-01-01, 01:15 AM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #20
 
   It is not easy to make ballet funny as there is no dialogue!

But I still find La Fille very funny. It is the little things that make it funny e.g

When Simone returns and Lise has to hide Colas - Lise plays innocent by sweeping the floor. Simone is astonished to see her less then hardworking daughter actually doing some work and check her head! I am sure many mums with teenage daughters can relate to that. And of course the fly scene makes me laugh if it done very well.

But what WOULD make me laugh really loud is if Sylvie Gulliem was forced play Lise. Think of it as punishment for annoying me and Clement Crisp with those 90 degree leg extensions!!


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Jim

23-01-01, 07:10 AM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #21
 
   >But what WOULD make me laugh really loud is if Sylvie
>Gulliem was forced play Lise.
>Think of it as punishment for annoying me and
>Clement Crisp

But Eugene, why would that be punishment? I think Sylvie would make a lovely Lise. I check the new schedules every time they come out to see if she has been given the rôle. I'd like to see her as the Sugar Plum Fairy, too. And the Firebird.



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Jane S

23-01-01, 09:21 AM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #22
 
   Well, Jim, she is on record as describing Fille as 'too long, too difficult, too stupid'...


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Jim

23-01-01, 09:46 AM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #23
 
   >Well, Jim, she is on record
>as describing Fille as 'too
>long, too difficult, too stupid'...

I'd be surprised if she found it difficult!



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eugene merrett

23-01-01, 10:10 AM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #24
 
   Seriously I think she would find it difficult - Ashton is really made for small nimble, fleet footed dancers. And whatever one says about Gulliem she cannot be classed as small, nimble or fast. She even said she was unsuitable for Rhapsody as she was "Slow" (her description).


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Robert

23-01-01, 01:56 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Which ballets make you laugh?"
In response to message #14
 
   Thank you Timpow for putting me right. The Sherlock Holmes Ballet(The Great Detective) was quite a long time ago, and unfortunately I have lost the programme. Who danced Dr. Watson?


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