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: "Ashton - is it of date?" Archived thread - Read only
 
  Previous Topic | Next Topic
Printer-friendly copy     Email this topic to a friend    
Conferences What's Happening Topic #2591
Reading Topic #2591
eugdog

28-03-02, 06:13 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail eugdog Click to send private message to eugdog Click to add this user to your buddy list  
"Ashton - is it of date?"
 
   Maybe the RB and in particular Ross Stretton is taking the view that to get new audience in - we need new modern choreography with more energy, sex, power and grittier commentary then Ashton.

I do not wish to stir up unnecessary controversy but I am of the opinion that most of Ashton is rather out of date for today audience.

His full length ballets are bit too gentle and Edwardian English for todays audience. Many younger people might cringe at the silly pantomine in Cinderella! La Fille is very sweet and gentil. But I think that to attract new people to ballet we need grittier, more hard nose ballet like MacMillan.

Moreover his style of dance lacks the ferocious physical aspect which is really "in" today. Even the fast moving Rhapsody has little really high energy jumps and leaps for the female dancer.

As a middle age Brit (ie 35) I very much appreciate Ashton's style and mannerism. But that is just me!!!

There is no point in the Ashton brigade to post a spirited defence of Ashon. His genius is not in doubt. But what is in doubt in whether the next generation of dance viewers are going to so enthusiastic about him.

We cannot pretend that attitudes have not changed. Look at our comedy - in the 70s we had the gentle sunshine of Morecombe and Wise and Mike Yarwood etc. Now we have Ali G, Men Behaving Badly etc. People just want more bite now!!

My view is that as life has become better - people want to have some experiance of the harsh world outside.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Ashton - is it of date? AEHandley 28-03-02 1
  RE: Ashton - is it of date? AEHandley 28-03-02 2
     RE: Ashton - is it of date? eugdog 28-03-02 3
         RE: Ashton - is it of date? Alexandra 28-03-02 4
             RE: Ashton - is it of date? Alexandra 29-03-02 5
                 RE: Ashton - is it of date? Flight 29-03-02 6
                     RE: Ashton - is it of date? Bex 30-03-02 7
                         RE: Ashton - is it of date? Flight 31-03-02 8
                             RE: Ashton - is it of date? Mary Cargill 31-03-02 9
                             RE: Ashton - is it of date? Paul A 02-04-02 10

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic
AEHandley

28-03-02, 06:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail AEHandley Click to send private message to AEHandley Click to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #0
 
   I am now going to have a little lie down having discovered that I'm older than Eugene!

Interesting points; but re. your last, my own feeling is that life has become worse and people want some gentle escapism! Must be my age...


  Printer-friendly page | Top
AEHandley

28-03-02, 06:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail AEHandley Click to send private message to AEHandley Click to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #0
 
   I am now going to have a little lie down having discovered that I'm older than Eugene!

Interesting points; but re. your last, my own feeling is that life has become worse and people want some gentle escapism! Must be my age...


  Printer-friendly page | Top
eugdog

28-03-02, 06:52 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail eugdog Click to send private message to eugdog Click to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #2
 
   LAST EDITED ON 28-03-02 AT 06:55 PM (GMT)

You really think life has got worse it the past 20-30s years. I would take the opposite view. It is not just that incomes has risen. But technology has made entertaiment so much better- we have cds, DVDS, 200 channels on TV, X-boxes, internet,. 20 years ago the only thing to entertain us at home is 4 channel tv and books! I could go on listing all the ways life has improved which could never be measure by economic statistics. In every walk of life there is more choice and variety then in the world I grew up in (except perhaps Ballet!!)! Things that were unimaginable or totally beyond the reach of middle England are now affordable - remember when the prawn cocktail was the hight of class and sophistication!!!


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Alexandra

28-03-02, 08:23 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Alexandra Click to send private message to Alexandra Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #3
 
   Did I hear the name Ashton

I have an anecdotal experiment that bears on this question. This winter, Itaught a course at Washington's Smithsonian Institution and on the last day I showed them films of Balanchine's "Theme and Variations" and Ashton's "Cinderella" and "Enigma Variations." I was a bit worried about "Enigma" -- I thought it would look old-fashioned to them.

They loved it. There were people of all ages, several in their 20s, most in the 30s to 50s, and three retired couples. I asked them if they thought it was old-fashioned. No, they said, and they looked as though they meant it. I had planned to show them only three variations and they asked for more. (One did say, during the telegram scene, "They're all happy for HIM, happy for someone else. Now that IS old-fashioned!" But that's not what the Let's Toss Out Ashton people mean.)

They loved Beriosova -- most had never seen her. They loved Dowell's "Troyte" variation. They laughed at the character dances. They noticed the way Ashton began each variation with a walk, and you didn't quite know when the walking started and the dancing stopped. Many had never seen classical ballet danced in period costume -- only in leotards or tutus -- and they were interested in that. They "got" the point of it (the relationships among the characters) immediately. They were touched by the ending. They all noticed that this was a very unusual ballet, touching on subjects and themes usually not dealt with in ballet.

There were people who thought that Ashton was old-fashioned during his lifetime (Balanchine, too). That complaint isn't new (and they're certainly entitled to that opinion). If one reads over and over again that that other thing that I don't want to do is old-fashioned and my thing is new and wonderful and you'll love it, you begin to believe it. That's what advertising does


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Alexandra

29-03-02, 06:06 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Alexandra Click to send private message to Alexandra Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #4
 
   A small correction: I didn't realize this garble until after it was too late for me to edit the post. I wrote:

> They noticed the
>way Ashton began each variation
>with a walk, and you
>didn't quite know when the
>walking started and the dancing
>stopped.

I meant to write, "They noticed the way Ashton began each variation with a walk, and you didn't quite know when the walking stopped and the dancing started."

I also forgot to add that four of the people in this small class of 35 had never seen a ballet before this year, so there were all ranges of experience in the class. For what that's worth


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Flight

29-03-02, 07:08 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Flight Click to send private message to Flight Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON 29-03-02 AT 07:12 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 29-03-02 AT 07:12 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 29-03-02 AT 07:08 AM (GMT)

But the 2002-2003 season already HAS MacMillan! As a fifteen-year-old who enjoys Ashton tremendously - yes, even 'Beatrix Potter' - I think the age-related comments are somewhat unjustified. Isn't there enough grit in the real world? (not that I don't love MacMillan. I'm in exctasy that 'Manon' is being performed next season.)

Anyway, I think its wonderful that the Royal are beginning to 'do' Ashton again. BRB's Ashton season, and 'Fille', were lovely.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Bex

30-03-02, 02:56 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bex Click to send private message to Bex Click to add this user to your buddy list  
7. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #6
 
  
I first came to ballet ten years ago via the Macmillan ballets of Mayerling, R&J & Different Drummer. Admittedly his ballet tend to be exciting, dramatic & tackle difficult & thought provoking themes & to be honest I love them & hanker after the lesser performed works. remember being totally blown away by my first experiences of Ashton choreography in the 1994 tribute season programmes; Daphnis, La Valse, Symphonic Variations, The Dream, Month in the Country, Air, Birthday Offering, Raymonda pas de deux & the La Chatte solo & since then Ondine, Fille & Cinderella etc.

Ashton ballets are not just pretty confections, he was the first to admit that he seeked approval from the audience about his works & wanted them to be liked, but technically they're extremely difficult, isn't Dowell on record as saying that the role of Oberon is still challenging for todays dancers as it was for him. I love the beauty of his dances & the range of music, its perfect escapism, in my experience young people already know just how gritty the real world is & his ballets can offer some respite from that, after all Enigma is a lost world, but the ballet is entrancing & still appreciated as Petipa has demonstrated good choreography is timeless, sometimes it simply needs a (good) redesign.

I think the RB is lucky to have a treasure chest of Macmillan & Ashton ballets they are complementary to each other & both need to stay in the rep. Just hope Stretton feels the same.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Flight

31-03-02, 09:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Flight Click to send private message to Flight Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
8. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #7
 
   I seem to remember there was a conference in America a few years ago, with David Vaughan and others talking about Ashton's legacy and the fact that it seemed to be getting forgotten.

I'm probably wrong,and I'm certainly wavering from the topic, but haven't the RBS stopped training in the Cechetti style, in favour of the Vaganova? If so, then I imagine that the RB will gradually lose its ability to do all the Ashton torso/arm things.


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Mary Cargill

31-03-02, 10:24 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Mary%20Cargill Click to send private message to Mary%20Cargill Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
9. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #8
 
   Count me as one who votes that Ashton, being a truly great artist, will never be out of date. He is hard to dance, and even harder to dance correctly, but just because his ballets aren't always well performed doesn't mean they aren't great. There are so many facets of so many of his works--not just the technical dancing, but they often call for wit and sophistication. Themes like friendship and affection and beauty are just as grownup (and even more so, I think) than the sex and violence of Macmillan. Just because his comic characters tend to be danced now as broadly as possible (the Widows in Fille last summer in Washington were apalling) is not his fault--he created real, believable, and subtle characters that require artistry and taste. It is truly distressing to think that there are people in England who dismiss their greatest choreographer. Of course, it is their company, and they can do what they like, but it is like watching the Acropolis be bulldozed for a Gap, on the grounds that more people buy jeans than know what the Parthenon is.

Mary Cargill


  Printer-friendly page | Top
Paul A

02-04-02, 09:06 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Paul%20A Click to send private message to Paul%20A Click to add this user to your buddy list  
10. "RE: Ashton - is it of date?"
In response to message #9
 
   I think we suffered from inadequate performances that made Ashton look out of date - or twee, or polite, whatever.

I think it is to Dowell's credit that revivals in more recent years have shown the crackle and sparkle that inform Ashton's work - and actually how demanding these classics are.


  Printer-friendly page | Top

Conferences | Topics | Previous Topic | Next Topic

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