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Subject: "Dead End" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2804
Reading Topic #2804
BrynJns

11-06-02, 06:46 AM (GMT)
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"Dead End"
 
  
Western ballet has gone two ways. The work of Diaghilev and the British ballet tradition of de Valois, Ashton & MacMillan represented the multi disiplinery theatrical approach. The deliberately ascetical ballet developed by Ballanchine rejected this.

Viewed positively, the latter “neo classical” approach represented a new dance form. At the very least, it was an intelligent use of Ballanchine’s own resources. Viewed negatively, it was a pointless restriction preventing dance from being placed in full theatrical context. Certainly it suited many choreographers who did not wish to (or were not able to) bring the full range of theatrical capabilities to their work.

The “neo classical” tradition continues to produce occasional fine works, but it is inherently limited. Arguably, the excessive commitment to this form by both artistic directors and choreographers is now holding ballet back. In many cases, it is no longer sufficient for an artistic director to merely commission an individual choreographer to create a new dance work.

Major theatrical works need to be “scenario led”. Artistic directors need to commission creative writers (who understand the structural dance requirements of classical ballet) to produce scenarios which they can then use as their artistic management objective. In classical management tradition, they can then assemble the artistic team (including the choreographer) to create the work, and progress the project to its final completion.

Far from representing the future of classical ballet, neo classicism is now a dead end.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  Dead End katharine kanter 11-06-02 1
     RE: Dead End BrynJns 13-06-02 5
  Dead End katharine kanter 11-06-02 2
  RE: Dead End Paul A 12-06-02 3
     RE: Dead End BrynJns 13-06-02 6
         RE: Dead End Paul A 13-06-02 8
  RE: Dead End Robert 12-06-02 4
     RE: Dead End BrynJns 13-06-02 7

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katharine kanter

11-06-02, 03:55 PM (GMT)
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1. "Dead End"
In response to message #0
 
   Bryn,

How right you are. If you check the interview with Lloyd Riggins of the RDB on this Website, I think you'll find he says something very like that.

Noverre (Lettres sur la Danse, 1740s, translated into every European language) has several chapters on suitable Scenarios, that are 100% relevant to our times. He himself put up several ballets based on ancient Greek theatre. He wanted to do one on

saint Bartholomew's Night


but perhaps backed down owing to its highly controversial nature.

My husband (geologist's prejudice ?) suggests a scenario entitled The Conquest of Space. He thinks dancers flying through the air are the closest thing to astronauts, and he may have something there.


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BrynJns

13-06-02, 05:52 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #1
 
   Thank you for your supportive comments. I have found your interview with Lloyd Riggins using the search facility. It makes very interesting reading.


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katharine kanter

11-06-02, 03:56 PM (GMT)
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2. "Dead End"
In response to message #0
 
   Bryn,

How right you are. If you check the interview with Lloyd Riggins of the RDB on this Website, I think you'll find he says something very like that.

Noverre (Lettres sur la Danse, 1740s, translated into every European language) has several chapters on suitable Scenarios, that are 100% relevant to our times. He himself put up several ballets based on ancient Greek theatre. He wanted to do one on

saint Bartholomew's Night


but perhaps backed down owing to its highly controversial nature.

My husband (geologist's prejudice ?) suggests a scenario entitled The Conquest of Space. He thinks dancers flying through the air are the closest thing to astronauts, and he may have something there.


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Paul A

12-06-02, 11:00 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #0
 
  
>Artistic directors need to commission creative writers (who
>understand the structural dance requirements of classical >ballet) to produce scenarios.

Surely that is the job of the choreographer or the AD.


>Far from representing the future of
>classical ballet, neo classicism is
>now a dead end.

Not appreciating neo-classicism well enough I can only detect glimmerings that neo-classicism may yet be the synthesis of "classical" and "contemporary" work that may yet take us forward.

I am far from convinced that the inheritees of the Diaghilev-de Valois-Ashton-MacMillan route you describe can lead us out of the cul-de-sac in which we seem stuck. But the way in which that umbilical is being so vigorously ruptured at the RB at present is still painful.

It's interesting that Matz Skoog says ENB's competition is now the likes of The Lion King not the RB. (And Deane's defence of his populist approach as resuscitation of a dead form).

Less conspicuously Bintley has managed to position BRB as a purveyor of popular entertainment quite seamlessly. Choreographically they are far less rich a company than they were 25 years ago. Today they offer good theatre, not memeorable choreography.

Whither the future?



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BrynJns

13-06-02, 06:05 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #3
 
   Paul, there is no reason why the artistic director should not write an appropriate scenario if he / she has the ability to do it well. Likewise, the choreographer can present such a scenario to the AD for his / her consideration.

But how many choreographers are there creating new works in "scenario isolation". Could it not be that some choreograhic talent is being wasted for lack of scenario support from understanding directors? Is that not one potential blockage to progress?

Your subsequent comments relate to specific companies. They may be valid, but I am deliberately trying to keep the discussion to general principles.

Bryn Jones.


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Paul A

13-06-02, 12:03 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #6
 
   >But how many choreographers are there
>creating new works in "scenario
>isolation".

This ties in with Bruce's thoughts elsewhere on holistic programming (specifically for the three venues at the ROH).

More generally, we seem to have many pockets of activity, many disparate and separate. How mainstream were the early years of English ballet when there was so much new work being created? Was the SWB (sorry I can't discuss this without being specific) recognised as a classical company or as just one of several, somewhat alternative furnaces of new work? Or put another way, was there a sense that this is what ballet is/ here is where it is at?

Nowadays we have many pockets of diverse activity. I can't see a coherent consistency to much of this work or know what is "significant" (can't think of a better word, but don't like it) that will carry "ballet" forward. But perhaps we shouldn't try to find such consistency - the arts are hugely fractured all round.


>Your subsequent comments relate to specific
>companies. They may be valid,
>but I am deliberately trying
>to keep the discussion to
>general principles.


I can't get my head round the principles without looking at the evidence of how companies put them into effect.

I am intrigued that Matz Skoog feels his audience more readily consumes musicals than classical ballet. Again, going back to the early days of SWB/RB or LFB for that matter, was this always the case? Did ballet then have an opera house, rather than a palace of varieties type of audience? And what was their reaction - were they looking at something popular or something considered esoteric.

Somehow I feel ballet has missed a turn. For an art form that is capable of so much direct connection with the audince and it is so expressive in itself, how come we have such a small audience, in whichever cul de sac of classical, neo-classical or contemporary?


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Robert

12-06-02, 06:13 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #0
 
   I am so pleased to read this, I thought I was on my own. I get the impression that the Diaghilev/British ballet tradition was being trampled on and discredited. David Bintley appears to be one of the few clinging on. What happened to the De Valious stuff that the Royal Ballet said they would put on this year? Ross Stretton probably does not know who she was. I hope she haunts him!


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BrynJns

13-06-02, 06:09 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Dead End"
In response to message #4
 
   I, too, was beginning to feel a bit lonely!

Regards, Bryn Jones.


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