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Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=21552
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Author:  citibob [ Tue Aug 12, 2003 6:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

The word "modern", I thought, always meant something like "contemporary". So it's no surprise to me that every generation would call its new stuff "modern".

Yes, I think that Balanchine did say that. Specifically, he said that as soon as you put a man and a woman on stage, you've created drama. There's a story behind those two characters, even if it's not being acted out right now.

Author:  djb [ Tue Aug 12, 2003 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

If you accept that as true, you could say the same of two men or two women together on stage (or any two people of any age).

Author:  ballet gorilla2 [ Sun Aug 17, 2003 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

True, I agree. Thanks Citibob and DJB for answering my question.

Author:  citibob [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

I think it's easier to make drama with a man and a woman because the natural story of romance can come out. With two men or two women you end up with a story of homosexual romance (and the plusses and minuses that come with that), or a non-romantic story (which is harder to portray).

Author:  djb [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Citibob, do you mean easier in the sense that there's more of a story to tell, or in the sense that you won't get as much flak from certain viewers as you would if you brought out a homosexual romance?

<small>[ 21 August 2003, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  citibob [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

I didn't mean either one. I meant that romance of any kind is an easier story to tell in dance than is some other subject matter.

Author:  djb [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Then why would heterosexual romance be easier to tell? (From your wording, that's what came across to me.)

Author:  citibob [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Sorry DJB, that's just not what I was saying. In the post above, I am saying that non-romance (of any kind) is harder to tell than romance (of any kind). Or put another way, romance seems to be the easiest (and one of the most common) themes in ballet.

Author:  djb [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Oh, OK. I guess it was "I think it's easier to make drama with a man and a woman" that made me think you meant something else. And you could wind up with a non-romantic story (or non-story) with a man and a woman, just as easily as with two men or two women (IMO).

<small>[ 21 August 2003, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  ballet gorilla2 [ Thu Aug 21, 2003 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Well, the traditional view of classical dance historically has always been the relationships between man and woman. And, it is not just showing the romantic side of the relationship, but all aspects of the relationships between man and woman. In my opinion, modern ballets today can be about all relationships, as djb explains and they can be storyless too. I do understand what Balanchine meant but, as a choreographer, I have choreographed about subjects other than relationships. I have also viewed the works of many others who have done the same. Today, there is so much freedom and latitude in what can be choreographed. Maybe this is why modern ballets are sometimes storyless. Any other thoughts anyone?

Author:  citibob [ Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

This all makes me think of the Martha Graham ballet I saw with a mass polical theme. It involves groups of people marching down the stage again and again in various formations.

Author:  ballet gorilla2 [ Fri Aug 22, 2003 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Good point Citibob. And, Martha Graham called her modern works "ballets" because a "ballet" is simply a "theatrical presentation." Of course, ballet also means "dance." Classical just refers to repertoire. So, the question of modern ballets being storyless might be...modern dance ballets or modern ballet ballets? It is no wonder that there is so much confusion. Anyone else feel this way?

Author:  djb [ Fri Aug 22, 2003 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Here's the "theatrical presentation" definition of ballet from the American Heritage Dictionary (2d College Ed.):

Quote:
2. A theatrical presentation of group or solo dancing to a musical accompaniment, usually using costume and scenic effects and conveying a story, theme, or atmosphere.

Author:  ballet gorilla2 [ Fri Aug 22, 2003 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why are Modern Ballets Storyless?

Great djb, that pretty much answers the questions, doesn't it! Thanks.

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