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Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet
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Author:  Michael [ Tue Oct 26, 1999 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

In response to Azlan's request to start a new topic, I thought I would pass on this information from "Lucy" - "(Balanchine) choreographed a dance for the elephants in the Ringling and Barnum Bailey Circus... <BR>Is that a pop ballet?"<P>Good question: Anyone care to answer this one?<P>------------------<BR>

Author:  Albrecht [ Fri Oct 29, 1999 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

As I recall the music was written for Stravinsky and was used also in a ballet for human dancers but my memory is faulty.

Author:  Lucy [ Sat Oct 30, 1999 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

I have to get my friend in NY who saw it to post. I do know that he also did a ballet back in the late 60's called PAMTAG.or "Pan Am Makes the Going Great". I think he might have needed corperate sponsers. Wasn't a hit.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Oct 30, 1999 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

Lucy, you actually know someone who saw the elephant ballet? Let's interview him!

Author:  pmeja [ Thu Nov 18, 1999 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

thought this was the ballet 'circus polka' and that supposedly stravinsky agreed to write the music if they were very young elephants....must look in my nycb book for you but this is off the top of my head. impression is that it was done as a lark and not for any serious purpose.

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

pmeja, is this the same music used in the ballet with child dancers? Wasn't this the ballet that an older Balanchine performed in, cracking his whip behind the children?

Author:  pmeja [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

now i'm going to have to get that book...just a minute....<P>circus polka is listed as a ballet by robbins, not balanchine, with music by stravinsky, which had its new york city ballet debut on june 21, 1972 at the state theatre, with jerome robbins as the ring master and children from the school of american ballet.<BR>the text states: <BR>"Circus Polka" (1942) (which is probably the date of the balanchine version for the elephants thereby the confusion but i can check) involved fifty-four baby ballerinas from our school, organized into waves of entrees under a ringmaster in riding breeches, tailcoat and top hat. this was the marshall of the rout, jerone robbins himself, snapping a whip, dragooning the children into enormous cursive initials signedo n the stage floor: I. S., with two tots crouched into two dots.<P>so my theory is that balanchine did one in the 1940s for elephants and that robbins did one later for children but i can check this for you if you like!<P><BR>

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Nov 20, 1999 9:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

pmeja, thanks! Yes, I think I do recall it was Robbins who did that other version. In fact, I remember now seeing SFB do it with Helgi Tomasson as the Ringmaster. It was very funny...

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanchine Barnum & Bailey Big Ballet

It would be interesting to see this ballet performed... (The Cheval Theatre thread reminded me of this one).

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

There is a new book available by Leda Schubert, "Ballet of the Elephants." Copies were available in the gift shop of McCaw Hall in tandem with the performance of "Circus Polka" that appeared on the PNB Gala program in September. Here is a book review by Jenny Sawyer in the Christian Science Monitor:

CS Monitor

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