HomeMagazineListingsUpdateLinksContexts

 


 Ballet.co Postings Pages

 Some Special Threads:
  GPDTalk about George Piper Dances ! NEW !
  NBTTalk about Northern Ballet Theatre
  SBTalk about Scottish Ballet
  ENBTalk about English National Ballet
  BRBTalk about Birmingham Royal Ballet
  TodaysLinks - worldwide daily dance links
  Ballet.co GetTogethers - meetings and drinks...

  Help on New Postings


Subject: "Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February" Archived thread - Read only
 
  Previous Topic | Next Topic
Printer-friendly copy     Email this topic to a friend    
Conferences What's Happening Topic #2519
Reading Topic #2519
Suzanne McCarthy

23-02-02, 07:49 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Suzanne%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Suzanne%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
"Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
 
   LAST EDITED ON 23-02-02 AT 08:12 AM (GMT)

The concept is great. Give choreographers from outside the Royal Ballet a chance to work with RB dancers and then let the public have a chance to see their “works in progress”. Leaving aside Cathy Marston’s piece, “Unstrung Tension”, the result was more or less a disaster. The evening was akin to letting amateur jockeys ride racehorses.

The programme started, as many do at the ROH these days, with apologies due to rehearsal fatigue, illness and injuries. In essence, the “horses” are knackered! Therefore we only saw a small extract from Lisa Torun’s “Larynx” and a limited amount of Kenneth Tharp’s “Danger! Men at Work Play”.

“Larynx” was sandwiched in the first half between Fin Walker’s “The Self” and Ben Wright’s “TRI”. The first piece was described in the programme note as “a moment”, and that was a pretty apt description given that it took longer for the accompanying percussion instruments to be taken off stage afterwards. During the 180 seconds we had of the piece Jenny Tattersall and Lee Clayden alternatively clung to each other while intensely moving or stood still. The programme note continued by saying that “this is the beginning of a longer duet”. To be fair, until that is finished it is impossible to know where this piece might go. It is a cop-out, however, to say, as the note does that, “The experience is brief. No expectation…it is what it is!!!” If the choreographer doesn’t have a clue of what the work is about, how can we!

The notes for “Larynx” tell us that the piece was created for five dancers, and is about “the body deconstructed under a magnifying glass”. I wish it had been named “vocal chords” since then it would have spoken to me. Instead it was a dance to a cavity in the throat, and, leaving aside some nice movement, about as empty.

The first half closed with the worst of the lot, Ben Wright’s “TRI”. Considering the lack of any rigorous choreography, Bennet Gartside, Tom Sapsford and Thomas Whitehead did rather well to perform something out of nothing wearing frilly, misshapen purple shirts. Somebody should give Mr Wright a ticket to see the George Piper Dancers perform “Critical Mass” so that he can get some idea of what is possible with male dancers.

With the end of the first half I was left to ponder over my much needed drink for whom exactly this programme was intended. It certainly seemed not for us, the audience. If choreographers want to create work that speaks only to them, then they should go away and indulge themselves in a private room, but not ask me to come and watch what is essentially artistic masturbation. And why does every young choreographer seem to reject the fluidity of movement? Does virtually every step they create have to be a sub-standard imitation of Forsythe’s movements?

The second half was better. Kenneth Tharp’s work, (explained in the notes as needing “no explanation”), was about boys at play, and Ernst Meisner, Johannes Stepanel and Michael Stojko, certainly looked like they were having fun jumping about. I don’t know what Jane Dudley, to whom the work seemed dedicated, would have made of it, but it appeared to me to be a cross between Rodeo and West Side Story. At least it held your attention, although I gave up counting the supposedly 400 jumps in the first five minutes at number 157.

Finally we come to the saviour piece of the evening, Cathy Marston’s “Unstrung Tension”. Its simple virtues were that it recognised that dance is theatre, that you have to entertain as well as lead your audience to new pastures, and that clear, well considered and lyrical movement is beautiful to watch and opens up a work to both the eye and the brain. Wearing simple but effective outfits, Gemma Sykes, Jenny Tattersall, Ricardo Cervera, Bennet Gartside and the riveting Edward Watson wove a quiet, magical spell of calm, contemplation and longing. A good end to not a very successful evening.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 23-02-02 1
     RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Richard Jones 23-02-02 2
     RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February alison 26-02-02 13
         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Mike 26-02-02 14
         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Bruce Madmin 26-02-02 15
         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February alison 28-02-02 16
             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Richard Jones 28-02-02 17
  Review: ADI Outside In at the Clore - 22/2 Bruce Madmin 23-02-02 3
  RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Penny K 23-02-02 4
     RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Bruce Madmin 23-02-02 5
     RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Suzanne McCarthy 23-02-02 6
         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 23-02-02 10
             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Penny K 24-02-02 11
                 RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Richard Jones 24-02-02 12
                     RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February James W 03-03-02 18
                         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 03-03-02 19
                         RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Bruce Madmin 03-03-02 20
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Pete 04-03-02 21
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 04-03-02 22
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February cathy marston 04-03-02 23
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February James W 05-03-02 24
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 05-03-02 25
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February susiecrowmoderator 05-03-02 27
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Brendan McCarthymoderator 05-03-02 28
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Richard Jones 05-03-02 30
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February Bruceadmin 05-03-02 26
                             RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February sylvia 05-03-02 29

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Brendan McCarthymoderator

23-02-02, 08:07 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #0
 
   The good news from last night is that Cathy Marston gets better and better. She is a fluent dance-maker with a clear theatrical imagination. She has something to say and she knows how to use space and light. Unlike anything else on offer last night, there was a clear organising principle. It must be near time for Cathy to show her work in a bigger space.

The programme raises a number of issues about the ADI. It is early days, it is finding its way, and it has no money. But it is really difficult to see the point of last night's programme. There should be some quality threshold for any invitation to work at the Clore. In addition, the work needs editing. Perhaps Deborah Bull might consider showing some work in pre and post-production guise to demonstrate how second and third opinions can sharpen up a piece.

One other thing: 'angst' should not be permitted to any dance-maker under 35. It is a test neither of intellect nor of imagination. A more real measure of long-term talent is the ability, demonstrated early, to entertain and to hold attention. Once a choreographer has demonstrated that basic skill, then s/he has earned the licence to do as s/he will.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Richard Jones

23-02-02, 09:18 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Richard%20Jones Click to send private message to Richard%20Jones Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #1
 
   It's good to hear that Cathy Marston's work made an impact; the first time I saw work by her was for a Dance Bites tour at the time of the ROH closure. Mention of Dance Bites leads me to comment that the heirarchy at the ROH has had experience of managing small scale work in the past, so it shouldn't be difficult to establish criteria for inclusion in a Clore event. It sounds as if the rest of this programme was a bit like post-Beckett improvised student drama: the triumph of concept over technique.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

26-02-02, 01:23 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
13. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #1
 
   Going off at a slight tangent here, can I give a plug for one of Cathy's new works, Facing Viv, which forms part of English National Ballet's Tour de Force! tour in April/May. It's based on the relationship between TS Eliot and his wife, and also his poem The Waste Land. It might well be touring to either Swindon and/or Cheltenham, Richard, if you're interesed, but I can't remember which tour it's on. You can find details at http://www.ballet.org.uk.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Mike

26-02-02, 02:30 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Mike Click to send private message to Mike Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
14. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #13
 
   Sounds interesting, Alison! I've got tickets to see this here in Cambridge at the end of April (which will make a nice change from the trek by train to London each time I want to watch ballet!). I'll post my comments afterwards, if anyone's interested


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruce Madmin

26-02-02, 03:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce%20M Click to send private message to Bruce%20M Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
15. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #13
 
   >Going off at a slight tangent
>here, can I give a
>plug for one of Cathy's
>new works, Facing Viv, which
>forms part of English National
>Ballet's Tour de Force! tour
>in April/May.

Its part of the Piano tour and the date are here:
http://www.ballet.org.uk./schedule/index.html#midscaledates

So who else is going to the opening in Scunthorpe?! (btw I think its where BRB's Robert Parker comes from)

a John Admas score as well I notice.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
alison

28-02-02, 01:31 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
16. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #13
 
   Sorry, I checked up last night, and of course it's on the tour which goes nowhere near that area.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Richard Jones

28-02-02, 07:57 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Richard%20Jones Click to send private message to Richard%20Jones Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
17. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #16
 
   >Sorry, I checked up last night,
>and of course it's on
>the tour which goes nowhere
>near that area.

Thanks for the thought, Alison. Your message made me check the ENB site for the orchestra tour (which comes to Cheltenham and Swindon). Some interesting stuff there, with Square Dance, a bit of Raymonda, and something new especially for the ENB men.



  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruce Madmin

23-02-02, 10:44 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce%20M Click to send private message to Bruce%20M Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "Review: ADI Outside In at the Clore - 22/2"
In response to message #0
 
   Ta to Suzanne MaCarthy for starting the thread - but haven't read it yet 'cos I like to get my own thoughts down in solitary.

ADI must be coming of age when you go and find yourself tut-tutting a bit. It is of course a splendid initiative that we have all wanted for a long time, have generally revelled in as it limbered up and now it's starting to get more into its stride you inevitably get good, and less good, nights.

Last night was certainly a struggle at times as very young choreographers mixed it with slightly older ones against a backdrop of RB dancers under terrific pressure with all the new work going on on the main stage. Dancers always complain of course, and they will get though the current peak, but injury is a constant worry. And so the evening started with the news that 2 of the 5 pieces could not be given properly because of injury. There were however part-performances though it's hard to know how to review them.

The evening started with 3 works by younger choreographers. Fin Walker's "The Self" to a a modern percussive score is a fight or grapple between her and him or him and her and a flavour of something being developed. I found it a bit too stop-go and athletic rather then dancerly. "Larynx" by Lisa Torun was devised for a posse of RB dancers but in the end came down to Lisa herself improvising from bits of the work. The 'music' was by Lisa as well - playing around with her voice and spoken prose. I'm not sure any of these ingredients do her justice or should be pursued.

The last piece before the interval was TRI by Ben Wright for 3 men. They seemed to be having an argument and there was much running around in vaguely lumpy dark costumes. The choreography seemed rather muddy, unclear and much too long. My mind wandered and I did my tut-tut about the youth of today.

After the interval Kenneth Tharp's "Danger Men at work Play" was for 3 men again but much more focussed and upbeat - rather commercial indeed. It had the feel of West Side Story - three lads capering about on the town - when would the Jets arrive?! Buoyant and nicely executed but this was one of the pieces where dancer workload had forced some changes: would I have enjoyed the proper piece more or worse?

Last up was Cathy Marton's "Unstrung Tension". Can I be trusted to write sensibly about Cathy I wonder - of course I can! By some margin this was the most grown-up and masterful piece on the night with clear and incisive movement of blistering speed at times. I love the mixture of balletic and ground based dance and the way at times she frames a solo with other dancers stretched and posed a-line. It is athletic and physical but always, always, athletic. This was well up to standard, if too short, and the dancers involved including Edward Watson and Jenny Tattersall looked good the more so in the stripped down costumes - Marston again. It's a busy time for Cathy with 3 other premiers coming up in the next 3 months.

As a totality it might not have been the greatest of nights but it is 'good' to see new work and to see choreographers at various stages of development and trying new things. There is natural variability at this stage in some of their development and while we need to say when things don't really work we also need to encourage and foster creativity at this level. ADI is all about that and it's not as if the main Covent Garden stage is knock-out all the time either. So, tut-tuts aside, roll on the next ADI programmes and may there be very many more of them.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Penny K

23-02-02, 06:27 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Penny%20K Click to send private message to Penny%20K Click to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #0
 
   I would like to state (particularly in case any of the dancers/choreographers involved with ADI's 'Outside In' are reading these pages) that I have spent 2 very enjoyable evenings at the Clore this week. And I know for a fact that I am not the only member of the audience to go back for a second (or more) helping. As with all mixed programmes, some parts will appeal more than others, but I have left the theatre on each occasion feeling uplifted and hopeful for the future of dance in this country. The beauty of the Cathy Marston piece was an excellent way to finish the programme and I found Ben Wright's 'TRI' full of originality and interest. A choreographer/performer of some considerable experience and great integrity, he hardly needs to be given a ticket for GPD, excellent though they are!

I am excited by the opportunities provided by ADI to bring together the worlds of ballet and contemporary dance and am saddened when it seems that there are still those who regard the latter as somehow second-class. I realise that there have been problems with the practicalities of rehearsal time, injuries, etc., but I hope the organisers will not be discouraged. I for one would be happy to see further work at the Clore by any of the choreographers taking part this week.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruce Madmin

23-02-02, 07:05 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce%20M Click to send private message to Bruce%20M Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #4
 
  
Thanks for posting re the Clore performances - its nice to have such a positive contribution and I was at pains in recording my own thoughts not to rubbish the endeavor or condemn out of hand those involved.

For what its worth last year I supported work in the Clore with real folding stuff and I'm very committed to the new as well as the less new. But that commitment of course does not mean every piece is a winner and every night one of rapture for me! But a great thank you for posting and giving some balance overall - the last thing we want is to encourage ghettos anywhere.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Suzanne McCarthy

23-02-02, 11:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Suzanne%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Suzanne%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #4
 
   Penny, There is good choreography and there is indifferent or mediocre choreography and it is irrelevant whether it is classical or contemporary. My view was that the first half of last night's programme was not up to scratch. Your view is that it was. We might be able to have a meaningful debate about the relative merits of the pieces if you gave some critical justification for your opinion. For what it's worth, I hold no special regard for ballet over contemporary dance.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

23-02-02, 11:41 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
10. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #6
 
   Penny,

As you seem to imply that I somehow consider contemporary dance to be second class, you may like to know that I took classes in Graham technique for a number of years, was a regular at The Place right through the 1980s until my work took me away from London, and chose only two years ago to spend my summer holidays at Jacob's Pillow, that great sanctuary of contemporary dance. It simply will not wash to characterise fair comment on this week's programme at the Clore as somehow privileging ballet over contemporary dance. There is good dance and there is bad dance. End of story.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Penny K

24-02-02, 08:16 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Penny%20K Click to send private message to Penny%20K Click to add this user to your buddy list  
11. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #10
 
   With regard to attitudes to ballet and contemporary dance, no personal criticism was intended of any posters here - I was just commenting in general on opinions I have heard voiced at events such as the ADI ones.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Richard Jones

24-02-02, 12:03 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Richard%20Jones Click to send private message to Richard%20Jones Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
12. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #11
 
   Suzanne and Brendan - thanks for your most recent comments. Like you, I am a fan of both ballet and contemporary dance, and am always interested to know what is going on in both fields regarding new work. For what it's worth, I sometimes find that contemporary dance makes more enterprising use of the possibilities offered by new music (as well as existing concert music) than ballet.

Those of us who live 100+ miles from London depend on informed criticism from those who live in the London area to know what is happening, and what is worth looking out for on visits to the capital. Such criticism can, of course be found in the press, but the comments of posters on this site can be helpful as well; it's as if there is a friend in the London area who let's you know what's happening.

My concerns after reading Suzanne's piece are that the Clore should, I believe, be a place where a certain standard of work can be expected. Of course there will inevitably be dross in experimental work, but surely there are other places besides the Clore where experiment can lead to dross being filtered out.

I wouldn't be so unrealistic as to expect everything to be fine all the time; look at the recent responses to what's being offered by ENO. However, it does seem as if the good is rather too heavily outweighed by the bad in this latest offering at the Clore.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
James W

03-03-02, 10:16 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail James%20W Click to send private message to James%20W Click to add this user to your buddy list  
18. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #12
 
   "the Clore should, I believe, be a place where a certain standard of work can be expected."

Yes some of the work I have seen in the Clore has not been worth writing home about and at the same time some of it has been fantastic. I know of no other place in the world where contemporary choreographers get to work with members of a world scale classical company like this and vice versa for the dancers.
Please do not start imposing standards on this work, there is no other place offering this sort of opportunity to "filter out the dross". I thought the Clore Studio and ADI were about experimentation, which is not always going to lead to success. It would be far better to support this sort of initiative than crticise the results.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

03-03-02, 10:40 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
19. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #18
 
   Sorry James, I don't buy that.

The Clore is an adjunct to the leading national lyric stage. It is a laboratory and yes, failure is allowed. That's intrinsic to any understanding of managing creativity. But I expect the failure to be heroic, or spectacularly misjudged, not mediocre.

Also this was not a student show. There was a paying audience and reviewers had been invited. It would dishonour any of the participants to pull punches and somehow to pretend that everything was alright when it clearly was not. And if these people are grown-ups, they should expect criticism to be part of the learning process. Is James seriously suggesting that we maintain a respectful "politically correct" silence? James also asked that we "not impose standards". Where's the creativity in that?

The other thing is that this show was called 'Outside In'. If the exchange is to be on equal terms, the people coming in should be of proven excellence in their own fields - and should be very clearly bringing something to the party. A Wayne McGregor or a Mark Baldwin, or one of the emerging Rambert choreographers: that is the calibre I would look for. Or a West End theatre choreographer who has not worked with ballet dancers. I think the sifting should be quite exacting.

Another thing: while I think that ballet needs to cross-fertilise with other dance forms, it also needs to rebuild some of its relationships to the other arts. That is one of dance's real issues - and it is being shirked. Not just here, everywhere.

I would expect the Clore to be building links to designers, theatre directors, writers, television producers - lots of very diverse people. And yes fail, fail often. But please, fail big-time, not half-heartedly.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruce Madmin

03-03-02, 11:35 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce%20M Click to send private message to Bruce%20M Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
20. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #18
 
   >Please do not start imposing standards
>on this work, there is
>no other place offering this
>sort of opportunity to "filter
>out the dross". I
>thought the Clore Studio and
>ADI were about experimentation, which
>is not always going to
>lead to success. It
>would be far better to
>support this sort of initiative
>than crticise the results.

I think everybody does support the Clore - I certainly do and demonstrably too. But you don't say what happens about poor work - you seem to imply it should not be criticised or talked ill of. If that's so what good does that do? How do choreographers judge if what they are doing is right and a constructive use of resources? And if you say the audience doesn't really matter I think we really do depart significantly. Yes we should be supportive, but that does not mean we should not say when things don't work.

I do accept that some work will fail heroically and some will just be mediocre - there is no telling at times what the outturn will be. I also think it great to have a variety of levels of interaction in the Clore - experienced external choreographers using more senior RB dances and younger ones younger ones. Overall I do come down in favour of the Clore as a more experimental place rather then a place that has to constantly mind its P's and Q's.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Pete

04-03-02, 01:39 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Pete Click to send private message to Pete Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
21. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #20
 
   Very valid points brought up by this post. The Clore should be experimental but should not be used as a fringe theatre for inferior dance. Those in management have the responsibility to pull the plug if things aren't looking too good. Brutally, the 'Outside In' programme turned out to be mediocre at best and perhaps going ahead with it was a mistake given the circumstances of injury and of the heavy burden faced by the RB dancers given their exhausting schedule of late.

But please, please let's not forget those who gave so much to this programme, in particular Jenny Tattersall who gave up a great deal of her time and also donated her Arts Club bursary, which she was awarded, to this project. I dearly hope that she and other talented young artists will not be put off by critiques such as this. What desperately unfortunate timing!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

04-03-02, 10:01 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
22. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #21
 
   LAST EDITED ON 04-03-02 AT 10:28 AM (GMT)

A further thought on the laboratory question. Perhaps some work ought not to be shown to audiences at all. Other work might be shown to non-paying audiences, the deal being that the audience is not too judgemental. But when you charge at the door, you make a statement.

If the Clore is a laboratory, the audience is rather like a focus-group. Why shouldn't they say what they think of the product? They too are part of the creative process.

Perhaps the Clore might consider a new charging convention. The price would be understood as a contribution to the work of the Clore. There would be an explicit understanding that what is shown might be wildly variable. Reviewers would not be invited, and audience-members would be asked not to be judgmental in forums such as this one (rather as happens with Friends' rehearsals in the main house).

A few weeks ago we went to another evening at the Clore: it was a follow-up to last year's First Drafts by Vanessa Fenton and Alastair Marriott. Neither of us wrote about it, but now I'm rather sorry I didn't. Vanessa Fenton took questions from the audience at the end and was very willing to debate the pluses and minuses of her piece. It was a recognition of the audience as a partner in dialogue. Wayne McGregor was similarly ready to mix it with the Sadler's Wells audience on Friday night. On both occasions the questioning was friendly: but both Vanessa and Wayne, I felt, would have been resilient in the face of more robust contributions. One admires them for it, and wishes that more choreographers were like them.

The thing about the Clore is that the prosc-arch falls away. We sit just feet from the dancers, sometimes even surrounded by them in the audience seats. It seems extraordinary that we should be mute spectators. Deborah Bull might acknowledge this anomaly by building in an element of talkback at performances.

It is a problem in many areas of the arts that the only opinions people value are those of their professional peers. Dancers place high regard on the opinions of other dancers. They pay attention to the national critics when they are approving, and not when they are not. Audiences are almost completely discounted, I sometimes feel. Dancers are not unique in this - we were similarly at fault in my own area of work. But the public does matter. The BBC has had to face that fact, the Royal Opera House is corporately facing it, and artists on the studio floor need to recognise it too.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
cathy marston

04-03-02, 10:59 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail cathy%20marston Click to send private message to cathy%20marston Click to add this user to your buddy list  
23. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #22
 
   Just wanted to mention that Deborah, the choreographers and many of the dancers/musicians did hold a post-performance chat/question-answer thing after the first night of Outside In which I, for one, enjoyed and found very interesting. I shall do the same after the first night of Cohabitants in May.

Also, as far as the pricing of the Clore goes; in my experience of putting on ballets there, the box office is a significant contribution to the budget of the new work. I appreciate that people are willing pay to see what may or may not be a succesful piece, although considering that The Place charged £12 to see Resolution performances this year I don't think our charge of £10 is unreasonable. Even so, thank you very much for attending and contributing.

I'd also like to say thank you for the compliments and friendly criticism that I've received in the wake of Outside In! Booking for Cohabitants will be open soon!!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
James W

05-03-02, 00:11 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail James%20W Click to send private message to James%20W Click to add this user to your buddy list  
24. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #23
 
   I do believe that a paying audience has every right to pass judgement on what they see but to suggest that the works not up to a certain standard in the Clore should be pulled goes against every ideal of an experimental studio.
As other people have pointed out here, the Clore receives very little funding and a £10 door charge to see dancers of The Royal Ballet performing in such close proximity is more than worth it.
Pass judgement by all means but imposing standards is what I do not agree with.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

05-03-02, 07:19 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
25. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #24
 
   LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02 AT 09:30 AM (GMT)

I hadn't appreciated that Cathy and her fellow participants in Outside In had taken questions on the opening night. All credit to them for it.

I don't think I am a million miles distant from James. But I disagree with him on the issue of pulling work if it does not seem as if it will fly. Remarkably most of what we know about the management of creativity comes not from the world of the arts but from that of business (A very senior BBC manager told me last year that she had found more reflection on how to manage creativity at a firm such as 3M, than she had ever heard in her years in her organisation). There many experimental ideas routinely bite the dust. We need to get away from the idea of somehow being awestruck by the words 'experimental' and 'creative', and honouring anything presumed to have these attributes with our respectful silence.

I would insist on a threshold, that of previous accomplishment. Ross Stretton has the right to expect that his dancers are risking injury in a vaguely good cause.

I don't really intend to quibble with the admission charge. I was rather impatient with the idea that we paid at the door and took a vow of silence on the issue of what we had come to see.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
susiecrowmoderator

05-03-02, 10:17 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail susiecrow Click to send private message to susiecrow Click to add this user to your buddy list  
27. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #25
 
   >LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02
>AT 09:30 AM (GMT)

>
>I hadn't appreciated that Cathy and
>her fellow participants in Outside
>In had taken questions on
>the opening night. All credit
>to them for it.
>
>I don't think I am a
>million miles distant from James.
>But I disagree with him
>on the issue of pulling
>work if it does not
>seem as if it will
>fly. Remarkably most of what
>we know about the management
>of creativity comes not from
>the world of the arts
>but from that of business
>(A very senior BBC manager
>told me last year that
>she had found more reflection
>on how to manage creativity
>at a firm such as
>3M, than she had ever
>heard in her years in
>her organisation). There many experimental
>ideas routinely bite the dust.
>We need to get away
>from the idea of somehow
>being awestruck by the words
>'experimental' and 'creative', and honouring
>anything presumed to have these
>attributes with our respectful silence.
>
>
>I would insist on a threshold,
>that of previous accomplishment. Ross
>Stretton has the right to
>expect that his dancers are
>risking injury in a vaguely
>good cause.
>
>I don't really intend to quibble
>with the admission charge. I
>was rather impatient with the
>idea that we paid at
>the door and took a
>vow of silence on the
>issue of what we had
>come to see.


I am worried by any suggestion that participating in such evenings put the dancers at risk of injury. It is arguable that there are other aspects of current programming that may put dancers at risk, and it would ultimately be a far more serious problem if such valuable forays into new territory were curtailed on the grounds of potential risk. It seemed to me watching the evening that there is a core of RB dancers interested in exploring new work, and that it includes some of the most versatile, individual and watchable artists in the company. This is crucial work however "successful" or "unsuccessful" individual items may be in performance. Such evenings perhaps need to be seen as part of a long term creative process rather than finished product; they raise useful questions about what avenues such dancers can explore and what particular skills, attitudes and approaches choreographers from other genres or traditions can bring to ballet. This is the future of the company in the making; £10 a ticket should be seen as a small investment which will ultimately pay big dividends.

My gripe was that the upper bar was closed when we came out so that it was not possible to remain in congenial surroundings and discuss what had been seen either with other spectators or the artists involved, which is what should ideally happen after an evening like that, part of the learning and communication process for everyone involved. An environment needs to be cultivated which facilitates such events and ensures that they have positive outcomes. I am sorry that I missed the first night chat.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Brendan McCarthymoderator

05-03-02, 10:55 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Brendan%20McCarthy Click to send private message to Brendan%20McCarthy Click to add this user to your buddy list  
28. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #27
 
   LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02 AT 10:56 AM (GMT)

My point about injury was something of a throwaway, and not one to which I would wish to be shackled. I had in mind the combination of workload and injury that seems to have been an issue for the company lately, and that has been referred to repeatedly at events in the Floral Hall and the Linbury.

As for Susie's other points, I would be hard put to disagree. Posting on a thread like this has many elements of thinking out loud about it, and I would not wish to have to justify every point that I made and in every detail.

What I would hold to is this: robust discussion of an evening like 'Outside In'is absolutely necessary, is just as essential a part of the creative process as is the substantive work, and that we should not tiptoe around some of the issues raised.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Richard Jones

05-03-02, 11:22 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Richard%20Jones Click to send private message to Richard%20Jones Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
30. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #25
 
   LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02 AT 11:37 PM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02 AT 11:25 PM (GMT)

>
>I hadn't appreciated that Cathy and
>her fellow participants in Outside
>In had taken questions on
>the opening night. All credit
>to them for it.
>
Remarkably most of what
>we know about the management
>of creativity comes not from
>the world of the arts
>but from that of business
>(A very senior BBC manager
>told me last year that
>she had found more reflection
>on how to manage creativity
>at a firm such as
>3M, than she had ever
>heard in her years in
>her organisation). There many experimental
>ideas routinely bite the dust.
>We need to get away
>from the idea of somehow
>being awestruck by the words
>'experimental' and 'creative', and honouring
>anything presumed to have these
>attributes with our respectful silence.
>
>I would insist on a threshold,
>that of previous accomplishment.


I'm with Brendan on this. Also, Susie has mentioned the important point of audiences being able to chew over what they have seen and exchange ideas. The development of new work needs audience development too!- otherwise we'll be eternally putting bums on seats for a diminishing repertoire.

We all need to experiment, whatever our involvement in the performing arts. I've just been watching members of The Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment presenting work prepared with a group of school students as a result of a three-hour workshop. I was struck by the way in which the professionals gained from the experience as well as the students.

Creators of new work obviously need the benefit of audience appraisal, though this can be unpredictable. It is often forgotten that, after the riot which accompanied the first performance of The Rite of Spring in Paris, the London premiere a few weeks later was a different matter. Nijinsky's wife, Romola, wrote some years later that "finally tremendous applause broke out. Part of the audience did not take part in it. But everyone felt that they had heard something quite unusual and far-reaching, only they could not quite comprehend it yet, and their reaction was of expectation of what this new creation would lead to. They responded intellectually and not emotionally, as had Paris". Of course, the London audience knew what had happened in Paris, and it is said that some had already seen the work there.

One newspaper report said: "Nijinsky in this ballet is freeing the dance from its perennial taint of mere conventional prettiness". Amen to that (and that was in 1913).

Ballet needs to discover new paths, we all know; and - as Brendan says - we need robust discussion. However I think he's right to suggest a threshold of previous accomplishment for the Clore.

One further point; we can be too timid and not give real talent an early chance to fly (should we spot it). Balanchine produced his first choreography for Diaghilev at the age of 21, and Apollo when he was 24. He didn't need some kind of rite of passage lasting till he was 30.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bruceadmin

05-03-02, 08:36 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
26. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #24
 
   I've never much paid attention to titles, but when ADI - Artists Development Initiative - was fist unveiled I thought it not a very catchy tittle at all! Really rather pedestrian in fact and not something that sounded exciting and visionary. And I then kind of forgot about the words and just used 'ADI' as a shorthand for work in the Clore.

But I now see the words are actually highly descriptive of what this is about - its is about artists and it is about development. The audience are welcome and needed but the focus is on growth and we are spectators of it. We can comment on it but its not 'yer average paying performance. The main stage is all about the customer.

I would however say that anybody doing work in the Clore would be advised to think about those out front. Nobody can play the Clore forever and winning an audience for what you do is the surest way to fund your future growth.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
sylvia

05-03-02, 02:17 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
29. "RE: Outside In, Clore Studio, ROH, 22nd February"
In response to message #26
 
   LAST EDITED ON 05-03-02 AT 02:18 PM (GMT)

Don't mind me. Unrrelated to the discussion but there are some lovely photos of Oustide In (as well as new ones of Marguerite & Armand) on the http://www.performingartslibrary.co.uk website if anyone's interested.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

 
Questions or problems regarding this bulletin board should be directed to Bruce Marriott