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Subject: "Live versus TV ballet" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #536
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Jonathan

22-02-00, 10:47 PM (GMT)
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"Live versus TV ballet"
 
   This is really a continuation of the Coppélia thread which was veering toward this subject.

There's something about telly that dulls even the sublimest of communal experiences. Church on TV for example - all those close-ups of candles and vaseline-lensed daffodils, worthy librarians singing vaguely about God, love and nature to synthesised strings. It could be Lenor, it could be Jesus Christ if it weren't for the subtitles.

Likewise the sense of community and of unrepeatability of the experience - of exclusivity to the people who were there, that night in those seats, with those people next to them, is all part of what makes live theatre special. For some reason, TV makes commodifies the arts in a way which live theatre doesn't, and I think it would be rather horrid to think that people's response to live theatre was conditioned by their experience of video; like one or two opera buffs I know who were shocked and disappointed, on their first trip to the opera, to find that they couldn't "get" CD quality sound from the gallery. The fact that "CD quality" is a ludicrous artifice from many points of view does nothing to mitigate their feelings.



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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Live versus TV ballet Eugene Merrett 23-02-00 1
     RE: Live versus TV ballet Ann 23-02-00 2
         RE: Live versus TV ballet jonathan 23-02-00 3
             RE: Live versus TV ballet Bruce Madmin 23-02-00 5
                 RE: Live versus TV ballet Caz 27-02-00 19
                     RE: Live versus TV ballet Bruce Madmin 27-02-00 20
         RE: Live versus TV ballet Trogadmin 24-02-00 9
     RE: Live versus TV ballet Anneliese 23-02-00 4
     RE: Live versus TV ballet Bruce Madmin 23-02-00 6
         RE: Live versus TV ballet Ann Williams 23-02-00 7
             RE: Live versus TV ballet Bruce Madmin 23-02-00 8
                 RE: Live versus TV ballet Eugene 24-02-00 10
                 RE: Live versus TV ballet Catherine 24-02-00 11
                     HELP: IN SEARCH OF CORSAIRE Bruce Wall 25-02-00 12
             RE: Live versus TV ballet Anneliese 25-02-00 13
                 RE: Live versus TV ballet Anneliese 26-02-00 14
                     RE: Live versus TV ballet Bruce Madmin 26-02-00 15
                         RE: Live versus TV ballet jonathan 26-02-00 16
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet Eugene Merrett 26-02-00 17
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet jonathan 27-02-00 18
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet Anneliese 28-02-00 21
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet Eugene Merrett 28-02-00 22
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet Carly Gillies 29-02-00 23
                             RE: Live versus TV ballet August Bournonville 29-02-00 24

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Eugene Merrett

23-02-00, 00:04 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #0
 
   CDS and ballet viedos are not perfect but it is a good approximation. The only different between myself and Bruce is the degree of appoximation. To me ballet videos are a very good approximation, to others it is not close enough yet

Furthermore serious art often has a considerable intellectual aspect to it. To appreciate this particular aspect one does not need theatre atmosphere or the need to rub shoulders with the audience. it can be done in the comfort of one home. In fact thea advantage of using a convieniant medium because you can pause rewind repeat etc. If you are studying a work then this really does help.

To be honest I care little for the experience of going to the theatre. I find it inconveniant and expensive. Whate ever the experience of the theatre is not in proportion to inconveniance. I would give a lot for virtual opera and ballet!!

I would also add that a studio recording/filming has the advantage of a technically more accomplished performance. That in itself is not a bad thing. And it is extremely welcome in opera where singers can tire out easily. I hate most of all live recordings of opera. It has all the disadvantage of live performance with none of the advantages of recorded sound.

But no single argument does not fit all. I would be first to argue that large scale orchestral or stage works are poor approximations of the real thing. But Mozart, Bach suffer little from being on CD.


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Ann

23-02-00, 06:31 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #1
 
   For me no video can replace a full scale ballet live on stage. What I find more interesting are videos of dancers in rehearsal, where the sweat, slog and contributions of the dancers are revealing. A few of these have been on TV, eg. Southbank show of Matthew Bourne's preparations for Cinderella, Deborah Bull's 'Dance Ballerina Dance' a couple of years ago, another to do with the Trocks and some glimpses of a Sue Davies production at the ROH opening fest. I'm sure there are more.


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jonathan

23-02-00, 07:03 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #2
 
   Eugene said:
"Furthermore serious art often has a considerable intellectual aspect to it. To appreciate this particular aspect one does not need theatre atmosphere or the need to rub shoulders with the audience. it can be done in the comfort of one home. In fact thea advantage of using a convieniant medium because you can pause rewind repeat etc."

That is precisely what I view as the inherent "danger" of videos of ballets; that they become two-dimensional texts for aestheticians. Ballets (unless choreographed for the camera, which is different) are inherently communal, social affairs. The element of transience - by not being able to stop and rewind - is part of the art form itself.



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Bruce Madmin

23-02-00, 09:43 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #3
 
   Ballet and dance is just another form of entertainment and I think analysing it in great detail as odd as the PHds on West End Musicals one occasionally hears about. To be honest I don't see how one calls some art serious and some not. I think Ballet is called serious because its expensive and those who like it have power and influence to get it subsidised!

Wasn't it Fonteyn who hated having her picture taken in performance, because dance is continuous movement and to freeze it takes it totally out of context?


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Caz

27-02-00, 01:55 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #5
 
   >Ballet and dance is just another form
>of entertainment and I think analysing
>it in great detail as odd
>as the PHds on West End
>Musicals one occasionally hears about.

Ummm.... what did you think dance students spend their time doing....?


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Bruce Madmin

27-02-00, 08:14 AM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #19
 
   >>Ballet and dance is just another form
>>of entertainment and I think analysing
>>it in great detail as odd
>>as the PHds on West End
>>Musicals one occasionally hears about.

>Ummm.... what did you think dance students
>spend their time doing....?


Understand that practioners need to be trained - but I think we have really been talking about the audience. Ultimately we all draw from ballet and dance performances what we want and no one view is perfectly right of course... but I think companies have problems when they forget that many go to performance for overall entertainment value and not as something more academic - all of that is merely a means to an end. I guess that was the point I was making.

<& mallows please!>


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Trogadmin

24-02-00, 10:35 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #2
 
   >For me no video can replace a ballet live
I concur fully. All dance is much better live.
The problem with seeing dance live is accessability (cost, convienience, etc.)
Only sport is better on tele than seeing it live (cus I can turn it off, or more usually not turn
it on in the first place.)



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Anneliese

23-02-00, 09:34 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #1
 
   I can't believe you repeated your earlier comments! You philistine! A true PERFORMANCE will come over whatever the medium (I remember being moved to tears by Tony Pay's Mozart clarinet concerto at the Proms about 17 yrs ago, listened to on a tinny tranny - the slow movement got an ovation and I could hear why) but a cut and paste job for digital recording has no soul. This is more apparent in chamber music than elsewhere. Mozart and Bach are not music by numbers !!!!!


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Bruce Madmin

23-02-00, 10:02 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #1
 
   LAST EDITED ON 23-Feb-00 AT 10:07 PM (GMT)

>To be honest I care little for
>the experience of going to the
>theatre. I find it inconveniant
>and expensive. Whate ever the
>experience of the theatre is not
>in proportion to inconveniance. I
>would give a lot for virtual
>opera and ballet!!


I think this is the base difference between us. I love going to the theater and the complete event - which for example is why I often talk about the audience that goes to see different companies.

I love seeing a stunning pdd or clever dance, but I also like looking into the pit to see what is happening, like seeing what the corps are doing when some soloists are out front of them, like studying the set or costumes or lighting, love seeing into the wings, or the kids down the row lapping it all up in wonder... there is so much to a live performance. And the nights when it all comes together and you were there and it will never be done the same way again. That's the wonder of it. And video captures so little of this.

>I would also add that a studio
>recording/filming has the advantage of a
>technically more accomplished performance. That
>in itself is not a bad
>thing.


.... but it is unhelpful if it leads to disapointment in the real thing...




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Ann Williams

23-02-00, 11:24 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #6
 
   How beautifully you have put this, Bruce, and I couldn't agree more.

I have had some of the best moments of my life at live theatre, and especially at dance theatre. In particular I remember seeing an early performance of 'Manon' by Sylvie Guillem, and being dazed by her performance and thinking how lucky I was to be on the planet at the same time as she was (and I'm not even a slavish Guillem-worshipper!). Nothing, just nothing, I could have seen on video could ever match that experience. And I've seen dancers fall over, pick themselves up and just get on with it, which makes you love them and their art form more dearly than ever. Do you get that on video? I don't think so.



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Bruce Madmin

23-02-00, 11:55 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #7
 
   I always remember seeing Guillem and Cope do some early R&J's. There were doing 3 in a run and I was lucky enough to see them all (I thought it wise to educate some clients as I recall.... !). What amazed was how Sylvie played with it every night - constantly adjusting. She died 3 different ways for example. It was such a privilege to see.


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Eugene

24-02-00, 12:03 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #8
 
   Sorry Bruce and Jonathan but I cannot wait for the day when virtual ballet becomes a reality! You would probably have to wear a special helmet which has a 360 degree view of the stage. The immersian will be so complete that you would not be able to tell whether you are in real theatre. Except that you can stretch your arms without interefering with the imaginary person sitting next to you

Perhaps in the later future we would not even need the dancers! Computer graphics can create a dancer specific to your taste.

May I refer to the Schwarzenegger film Total Recall (I think it was Sky last weekend) where this actually happens.


But a more realistic level I would love to see a grand ballet like Swan Lake or La Bayadere on the big IMAX screen in the National Film Institute. Imagine a giant size Sylvie Gulliem nearly a hundred foot tall!!


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Catherine

24-02-00, 12:33 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #8
 
   I prefer live version because how says Bruce, to see each performance of one ballet it's really fasciniting but the video is interesting for remember the "Soirée".
I know that my biggest emotion are on POB Stage when I saw all the ballets with Loudières and Legris. Because the feelings they play and the public reaction is great. It's extraordinary to live with public reaction, the silence during the ballet and in one second heard a Show room shout, applause, it's great.
But I think video could be interesting for the person who never can go to Ballet. A kid can want to dance after seeing a ballet or can want to go to performance.
I think we need videos but live is absolutely more important.
We don't judge after a video, it's more a "témoignage" from a company, a choreographer. it's like a CD for an Opera.
Video has also an historic rule making know the old dancer of all the troupes, it's interesting to see Fonteyn, Nureyev, Plissestskaya, and so on


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Bruce Wall

25-02-00, 06:05 PM (GMT)
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12. "HELP: IN SEARCH OF CORSAIRE"
In response to message #11
 
   Am I going Mad? Did I or did I not hear Deborah Bull say at the end of the Coppelia broadcast last Saturday night that ABT's Corsaire would be broadcast on Sunday at 3.00 p.m? Can someone give some guidance. Perhaps just too much wax in the ear drums.

As to video, anyone who's been to the Dance Collection at the New York Public Library know what an extraordinary resource it can be. Bless Jerry Robbins for starting it all.

Cheers and thanks from a bewildered (as opposed to beWildored) Bruce!!!!


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Anneliese

25-02-00, 10:13 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #7
 
   I'd like to echo Ann's "Hear, hear" to this. I love the whole "going out" experience - and when you go to the ROH you really feel you've "gone out"!

However, video is all I'm likely to get for the forseeable future (baby Tim happily took a bottle for 8 days and has screamingly, thrutchingly refused it for 3 days - today he ws babysat by my sister and wouldn't even accept mashed banana at her hands, never mind a bottle - please can I have a life outside the nursery?) and so I'd like more, more, more filmed ballets! I don't know why they're not done more often anyway. There are far more opera videos, for some strange reason! However unsatisfactory compared with reality, a ballet vid is still good for a rainy afternoon!

BTW, I notice that the ROH reopening gala is available on vid - the closing gala was a thousand times better and I don't think that's available!


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Anneliese

26-02-00, 05:42 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #13
 
   Interesting piece in the telegraph today by Howard Gooddall talking about the live concert experience. Relevant to this debate I think.


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Bruce Madmin

26-02-00, 05:59 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #14
 
   Here you go:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000148269364269&rtmo=glGlrbru&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/2/26/bmconc26.html

(now off to read it!)


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jonathan

26-02-00, 06:33 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #15
 
   Interesting that Howard Goodall says of music concerts in the 21st century "There should be ceremony and ritual, a visual feast to accompany the ear; colour, light and warmth and a priority given to addressing the people sitting there with them". This sounds suspiciously like a ballet to me.

Back on the live/video subject, I agree with Bruce - it's all in the going out. I've sat through some pretty dire pieces in the theatre, which had they been on telly I would have turned off; in live performance, the proximity of the next interval and the opportunity to slag off the performance with one's well-chosen companion and anyone else you happen to meet makes it all worth while. If it's that bad that you have to leave, at least you're probably near a pub with some friends.

I also agree with the person who said you don't get to see the things that go wrong. That feeling that it could all go horribly wrong adds to the exhilaration and excitement of the performance.

One of my most memorable experiences was when Lynn Seymour did Onegin at the Coli, and the audience just jumped to their feet as one in rapturous applause almost before the curtain had come down. That euphoria was dependent on the feeling of the crowd, and to a large degree, I expect that Lynn Seymour's performance was also influenced by the feeling from the audience. These are things which are difficult to qualify or quantify - but you cannot get them on a video.



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Eugene Merrett

26-02-00, 07:36 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #16
 
   I do think that some contributors are guilty of the one size fits all arguements.

There is always a trade off between videos/cds and live performances. But some areas the trade off is more to the advantage of videos and cds.

I think that solo performances in dance and music are quite satisfactorily captured on video. But corp de ballet scenes really shows up their weaknesses. No video can capture the breathtaking beauty of the Shade scene in La Bayadere!

But even live performances have weakness. The most serious is that if you sit close to the stage in the stalls all perpective is lost. This is quite disastrous in Balanchine. But if you sit in the upper levels you are too far to really see the facial expression the dancer.

Very intimate dramatic ballets like Manon suffer less from the disadvantages of video then say Sleeping Beauty. I am sure I would rather see a video of Durante in Manon then experience the same performance live in the cheap seats.

Moreover many of the arguments against videos are a matter of personal preference. I do not put the same value on the overall theatre experience as Bruce does.

When I was in management school so many theories were put to me as to the ways to run a business. Even then I realized that not every theory is suitable for every type of business. It all depends on the specific circumstances. It is the same for videos/cd - some works are suitable for this type of media but some are not. The only thing I do believe in without contradiction is that for all ballets a video is better then nothing at all! For many people that is the reality.


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jonathan

27-02-00, 00:45 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #17
 
   >But even live performances have weakness.
>The most serious is that if
>you sit close to the stage
>in the stalls all perpective is
>lost. This is quite disastrous
>in Balanchine.

I'm quite certain this a problem all but the greenest choreographer is well aware of; if it were that disastrous to lose perspective, why would they bother choreographing at all, theatres being designed the way they are?

I don't think anyone is trying to extrapolate future arts policy from this discussion - it's just that, a discussion and exchange of views. I find it interesting to hear people's unbridled enthusiasm about their own point of view.



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Anneliese

28-02-00, 08:51 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #18
 
   Jonathan said:

"I find it interesting to hear people's unbridled enthusiasm about their own point of view."

I think I'll shut up now!

Actually, I have walked out of opera performances on 3 occasions - all 3 times I had two more late nights coming up, which influenced me somewhat, but I think the facts that (a) I was on my own and could please myself (b) I had a subscription and hence discouted tickets (c) I had stayed on after work not gone up specially had a significant part to play. But none of these performances had I expected to dislike that much; conversely, I had gone to other performances expecting to want to leave but had been totally entranced. I'd never have bothered to switch the radio or TV on for them, but having decided that I'd go to everything in a season I really widened my tastes. I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered to study something on vid/cd before going to see it - I would always go for seeing something live to decide whether I like it.


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Eugene Merrett

28-02-00, 10:22 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #21
 
   The problem with the lack of an ideal place to sit is unavoidable. As there is a requirement for a large theatre then there can never be an ideal place to sit.


I am afraid Annaliese that I have walked out just about every opera I have seen at the ENO. I no longer go anymore because of this. They boast opera in our language but as far as I am concerned it might as well be in chinese. The huge hall and its poor accoustics are too much for the singers.


BTW I have my ballot for Glyndebourne. I should get something for Janufa but need a bit of luck for Marriage of Figaro!


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Carly Gillies

29-02-00, 12:30 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #22
 
   I've only just watched my video recording of Coppelia.
I set the video, and subsequently enjoyed seeing it so much, for the following reasons in order of importance
1. To see the Royal Ballet. Acosta, Benjamin and Heydon were superb, and geography will prohibit me and countless others from ( probably ) ever seeing any of them perform live.
2. The all too infrequent chance to see televised live dance. Never the same shared experience as actually being there, but surely the next best thing, and I would love to see many more live broadcasts of dance, opera and theatre.
3. The opportunity to see dance at all.
4. ( and least important ) The opportunity to see Coppelia again. Not my favorite ballet although it is charming. I'd forgotten it was such a one woman show, with little for the wonderful Acosta to do until Act 3 except for one tantalising leap off stage in Act 1.
Yes, live is best, but please lets have more of this sort of thing.


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August Bournonville

29-02-00, 04:51 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Live versus TV ballet"
In response to message #23
 
   Bruce wrote:

"Ballet and dance is just another form of entertainment and I think analysing it in great detail as odd as the PHds on West End Musicals one occasionally hears about."

ET BLOT TIL LYST!!!!


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