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 Post subject: Is French culture in decline?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1638
Location: London UK
I think this makes interesting reading although there is no mention of dance.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7131951.stm

I was particularly amused by the American view of France as:

Quote:
De Gaulle + Sartre + the baguette + Sophie Marceau's breasts = French culture.


On the whole I tend to agree with the French argument that culture means a lot more than just 'popular culture' and cannot be seen simply in terms of economics. My own quarrel with the French though is the apparent diminishing importance of classical ballet in that country.

Perhaps our French based posters have a view.


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 Post subject: Talk about knee-high to a grasshopper...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:57 am 
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Posts: 358
Location: Paris
I find that rich, coming from what a weekly that Charles Dickens would have dismissed as a comic book, a weekly that in terms of political and international news lies well below Tintin - I mean, Time Magazine, really!

Talk about knee-high to a grasshopper...


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 Post subject: Re: Is French culture in decline?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:21 am
Posts: 72
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cassandra wrote:
My own quarrel with the French though is the apparent diminishing importance of classical ballet in that country.


If one looks at the views of someone of significance for French classical dance, oh, say, like Ms Brigitte Lefevre, one would think she believes in the dismissal of classical ballet in that country, not just diminishing its importance.

My question is: replaced with what? With Trisha Brown, et al.? Where is the continuity, or perhaps evolution, between the 19th and 20th century trajectories and classical dance today?

The irony is that 'modern dance' [whatever that is: maybe no pointe shoes,
no tutus?] doesn't seem to be flourishing in its birthplace, the United States. [I know, I know about the earlier expressionism in Europe, specifically in Germany].


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:55 pm 
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Posts: 3373
Location: Canada
Quote:
The irony is that 'modern dance' [whatever that is: maybe no pointe shoes,
no tutus?] doesn't seem to be flourishing in its birthplace, the United States. [I know, I know about the earlier expressionism in Europe, specifically in Germany].


Really?! Which is why there are such diverse and thriving modern/contemporary dance communities in places like New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area... For Ballet-Dance Magazine done foci on small, modern/comtemporary dance companies in these locations and were literally overwhelmed with choices. And publications like the NY Times are reviewing as many performances from non-ballet companies as from ballet companies.

Given the limited arts funding in the US, there are never going to be a huge number of large contemporary companies, but there is certainly a healthy and thriving community of companies ranging from the large (Alvin Ailey, Trish Brown etc) to the small (Misnomer etc).

Kate


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Posts: 72
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
ksneds wrote:
Quote:
The irony is that 'modern dance' [whatever that is: maybe no pointe shoes,
no tutus?] doesn't seem to be flourishing in its birthplace, the United States.

Really?! Which is why there are such diverse and thriving modern/contemporary dance communities in places like New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area...
Kate


You are quite right Kate; dance is thriving.
Dancers today, everywhere, are better trained than their predecessors, and are out there (as you correctly pointed out) in greater numbers, in the US, in companies small and large, with diverse styles.
But all that activity doesn't necessarily mean that more vital art works are produced.

My pessimistic remarks about modern dance not flourishing in the US today refer to my, unrealistic most likely, expectation for replacements of creative forces of the 20th c., the Isadora Duncans and Martha Grahams and the many others, with those who would produce the meaningful works for the dancers of today.

Being older, I'm probably indulging in a common enough fantasy of seeing the past as a golden age, which it probably never was.

Another delusion I hold, is that the dancers I see performing today, whether in a small company or large are -save in works of 20th c. giants, like Balanchine, Ashton, Cunningham, Taylor, or Morris- much better than the works they interpret.

I still go to performances whenever I can, hoping to see choreographies of the 21st c. the dancers surely deserve.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
And yet, this discussion is about France, so my question is this. Is classical dance being replaced by something in France? Is there an emerging culture of modern dance in Paris?


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 Post subject: Pull on the boxing gloves
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
One of these days, little K will have to take the kid gloves off.

And pull on the boxing gloves.

But not today. No, for today, we will be diplomatic.

Since Mitterrand and Jack Lang came to power, this country has been massively, and I would suggest, deliberately, dumbed-down. By EVERY government, "right" and "left".

Behind the scenes, certain people remain in power, in the financial and cultural institutions, INDEFINITELY. Life appointments.

Radio news is conducted like a punk-rock concert, Le Figaro's "cultural" pages are 95% devoted to cinema, and there are now entire bookshops, hundreds of them, where the only "book" that is sold, are comic books and video games.

Vivendi, a "French" firm, has just become the world's largest video- game purveyor - and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Or I hope you do.

Space everybody out, or Myspace-'em, and you know what happens, politically. Or I hope you do.

Anyway, all this includes a systematic onslaught on the classical dance, by cutting off all funding, and replacing it with the Centres chorégraphiques nationaux (CCN).

Virtually every classical troupe in the company has been closed down, save for Bordeaux and Paris (and at the POB, 75 % of the repertory is now post-modern, post-industrial, post-something).

The twenty or twenty-five (make that 125?) CCNS are, perhaps with an exception here and there, hang-outs for cronyism, where individuals that I personally consider to be egregiously untalented and incompetent, AMUSE THEMSELVES.

Generally "en petit comité", because public interest in this sort of thing, can only be "aroused", if that is the word, when the individuals concerned take their clothes off. Or worse. Which they often do.

More's the pity, given what they look like.

And so Jan Fabre, whose main line of trade seems to be sado-masochism, is a cult figure in the French "art" world at the moment, and has even been given a special programme at the LOUVRE, for blankety-blanks' sake.

The Théâtre de la Ville, a large, state-subdised theatre at the Place du Châtelet, has been run for FORTY, count FORTY years, by a man who, year in and year out, puts stuff on stage that used to have the piglets snorting amongst the Brussels sprouts in the Théâtre des Cochons at Pigalle.

In a nutshell, don't put your foot in the Théâtre de la Ville - someone might photograph you, and use that photo, later!

We have now got to the point where National Theatres are being run by NON-DANCERS.

Thus, the Ballet national de Marseille has been run for the past three years by the Belgian Connection - an architect or videast from Charleroi called Frédéric Flamand. He does installations or something, and ol' Eric Vu An is in there, somewhere, trying to weave himself around the pillars and posts, as ballet master.

Does that help to answer your question?

Now, as for asserting that things be brighter in the US of A, or Great Bruton ... No.

Boccaccio would have more to say. And somewhat more pithily than the author of these lines.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:36 am 
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Posts: 1638
Location: London UK
That made very depressing reading Kanter, it sounds as if the practice of dumbing down has become global and that even in France there is no escape. Are you also suffering from that strange phenomenon known as 'celebrity culture' there?

Here in the UK popular culture is all pervading to the exclusion of anything else. It doesn't bode well for the future.


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 Post subject: As a choleric, rather than a depressive ...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:43 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
As a choleric, rather than a depressive, I should prefer to describe the situation as an incentive to anger, rather than depression.

Calm and quiet anger, hohoho, but quite enough to do something about it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Quote:
Vivendi, a "French" firm, has just become the world's largest video- game purveyor - and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. Or I hope you do.

Space everybody out, or Myspace-'em, and you know what happens, politically. Or I hope you do.


Ummmm, I don't know what that means...

Maybe because I like video games and movies?


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