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Authenticity in Ballet Revival
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Authenticity in Ballet Revival

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Authenticity in Ballet Revival
By Gerald Dowler for the Dancing Times

We all know that the provenance of an antique makes all the difference to its value in the auction room, and so it is with ballets: just as a proven inventory of ownership will send the price of a work of art soaring, so a clear, unbroken performing tradition raises the ‘stock’ of a piece of choreography. Why this should be so, given that ballet has always relied upon the creation of the new, more often than not by the very young, and so should be the art form least bothered with precedent, tradition and authenticity? And yet, ballet, in its classical guise at least, exists through the most bizarre of paradoxes: simply by virtue of its very form, what is newly created instantly becomes part of its tradition – the present automatically becomes the past.

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<small>[ 06 October 2003, 05:38 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  djb [ Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Authenticity in Ballet Revival

This is a very interesting article.

Schéhérazade is a difficult piece nowadays. It is, in a way, a far more difficult ballet to mount than Les Sylphides because the Orient is no longer exotic for audiences and because it has been dismissed as ‘clapped out’ for decades. The great American critic Edwin Denby described it in 1944 as “a foundering warhorse....”
[Arlene] Croce, I believe, was closest to identifying what is essential in a successful revival of a work when she observed (of Schéhérazade) that: “The most one asks of a that it not embarrass history too much and that it furnish a few particulars of the sort that eyewitnesses always seem to leave out.”
This, surely, must be the key to successful revival: that the contemporary audience be given an impression of what the choreographer wanted, even if we are impossibly distanced from the reality of the moment of initial creation.
Having learned some of the choreography from Scheherezade as a student, I already know that the ballet is kitsch. It'll be interesting to see whether the Kirov dancers can give an impression of what Fokine wanted.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Authenticity in Ballet Revival

In my opinion the Kirov version of Scheherazade is the least successful I've seen and the death of the Golden Slave is a complete botch.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Authenticity in Ballet Revival

I'm seeing this tommorow night and won't offer an opinion until then.

Author:  Failli [ Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Authenticity in Ballet Revival

djb, what does kitsh mean?

Author:  djb [ Wed Oct 08, 2003 2:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Authenticity in Ballet Revival

Failli, here’s the American Heritage Dictionary definition of kitsch.

And here’s one I came across somewhere but forgot to document: “Something that aspires to have artistic integrity but is judged to be pretentious, sentimental, or out of step with current notions of good taste.”

Here are some more comments about kitsch from someone’s introduction to psychoanalysis. I think these are pretty interesting.

And, having just seen Scheherezade, I can vouch for its kitschiness. But the duet, as performed by Uliana Lopatkina and Igor Zelensky, transcended the kitsch.

<small>[ 08 October 2003, 04:49 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  Failli [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:31 am ]
Post subject: 

Funnily enough, 3 years on and I just danced the role of Golden Slave in Scheherezade with the Australian National Theatre Ballet School. Go figure.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:29 am ]
Post subject: 

Did you die upside down with a shoulder spin?

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