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 Post subject: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2001 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 36
Location: Heaven,NoState,NoCountry
Being a spirit, I get to travel the world and enjoy every production from any seat I choose. Recently, I watched the Royal Ballet’s /94 production of Sleeping Beauty on a big screen TV with home theatre. It didn’t simulate actually being there but I could envision many ballet fans settling for this experience rather than pay $50 to $100 plus to see live ballet. There’s no crinkling of wrappers, no coughing, no snoring.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 12:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
It seems to me that there are a number of ways that video can play a valuable part in a dance lover's life:<P>- For fans who live a long way from a ballet centre or have a cash-flow crisis or an aversion to standing, videos are a great boon.<P>- It's also a chance to see work that is infrequently performed, which is why I tend to buy videos.<P>- There are also those interesting works that have been made for camera and provide an experience in their own right rather than a second hand theatrical one.<P>On the downside:<P>- It ain't the same. With a good video I sometimes think its a 60-70% of the theatrical experience, which is not bad. But some works die the death on film. I think the best I have seen on video is the straight-forward recording of 'Swansong' with the brilliant oriiginal cast of 3, so there were no problems of little people in the far ndistance.<P>- I sometimes wonder about fans and critics watching Margot Fonteyn perform a work 200 times and what effect this has on them. Sometimes when I read criticism it seems to be saying, 'It's not like the version I know,' as if the critic has got locked into a particular performance by an artist. <P>Overall I'm pleased that these recordings exist and just wish we had good recordings of some of the great artists and works of the past. However, I recently saw a programme about Pavlova and i have to say came away with a diminished view. The key thing about her work, her stage personality, did not come across on film to me, but what was clear was her lack of interest in choreography. The sample of pieces she was seen performing were universally naff and we learned that she had declined to perform 'The Firebird' as the music was too complicated for her taste.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 6:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I must immediately agree that tape can never replace the excitement of live performance.<P>That being said, I am one of those who has watched Fonteyn 200 times dance something on tape - and will probably do so again. Each time I do see something new. However, it does not prevent me from enjoying other artists in the same role.<P>I have also used tapes as a teaching tool. Students can see it is possible to do what I am requesting in class. They are seeing how the "finished product" looks. I found that it inspired them.<P>Tape is also an essential record - as close as we can come - for a very ephemeral art form that dies the moment it is born.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 36
Location: Heaven,NoState,NoCountry
I wish all ballet videos rated between 60 to 70% of the theatrical experience. More often than not they rate about 25%. I was very pleased with the Royal Ballet’s version of Sleeping Beauty (80%) and with their opening night gala celebrating the Royal Ballet’s return (75%). Kudelka's TV version of the 4 Seasons loses everything on the boob tube.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2001 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I have to admit that the taped experience is a very dull one for me. Many a times I have fallen asleep watching a Balanchine ballet on tape or skipped past a dance program on TV, even as passionate a dance fan I am. The only times I stay awake watching dance on tape is with my significant other, who is herself a passionate fan as well as a performer; it is enjoyable listening to her running commentary and critique and then to compare mental notes afterwards.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet on TV close to the real thing?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2001 7:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
My husband is in the process of entering our fairly extensive catalogue of dance tapes on the computer (we already have a paper catalogue) and he often puts on a tape to re-check the information we have listed. He has been working on this for months - its a big collection.<P>Most of the time, instead of just checking the information, however, we end up being captivated by the tape and watching the entire thing. Many we haven't looked at for years. And many times it is fascinating to see how the technique compares with the technique of today, and also our memories of it.<P>I have some tapes of the young Fonteyn and I love to compare her early technique (surprisingly turned in- well, ok - just not very much turned out) with her later technique which was much improved. <P>Olga Spessivetsiva doesn't look dated at all, dancing in the 1930's - what a marvel she must have been.<P>And Pavlova's charm shines through, iffy technique notwithstanding. Her Dying Swan is still a wonder. Some of the dancers doing it these days, look more like a migration than a death. Pavlova seems to have hit it just right, in my opinion. <P>All of these I would never have gotten to see if it were not for film and tape.


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