CriticalDance Forum

The mature vs. the young: Who has the advantage in ballet?
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Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  The mature vs. the young: Who has the advantage in ballet?

Maturity, experience add depth to ballet roles

IT'S COMMONLY held in the ballet world that, just as a dancer is reaching maturity artistically, his or her body is in swift decline physically.

The younger members of San Francisco Ballet offer an appealing zest -- no one makes watching multiple pirouettes more exciting than Vanessa Zahorian -- but the air changes palpably when Muriel Maffre steps onto the stage. If veteran ballerina Tina LeBlanc's Cowgirl in "Rodeo" walks and acts exactly like a kid, maybe it's because she has two of her own.


This is actually a favorite subject of mine. I love young dancers, but to really get a satisfying performance, you need a dancer with some maturity and life experience.

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Not only do I agree, LMCTech, the older I get, the more I agree.

Author:  leftyvaldes [ Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  The older the better.........

I find a well thought out performance by any artist satisfying. But, that usually occurs with a more mature artist. An exception would be a very young Nureyev, who started to stir things up, especially after he defected to the West in 1961. For example, just the idea that a dansuer wanted and got equal billing and status with a prima ballerina was revolutionary enough. But , of course, Rudi's interpretations and dancing would also revolutionary in many respects. For example, the entrechats(?) he inserted for Albrecht's second solo in the 2nd act, was certainly shaking up the balletic standards of the day.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:54 am ]
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the entrechats(?) he inserted for Albrecht's second solo in the 2nd act, was certainly shaking up the balletic standards of the day

An interesting idea when he first danced them, but sadly this is now becoming standard outside of Russia, I much prefer the original solo.

I've always felt that ballerinas are like champagne, with a good vintage it’s almost the older the better. Male dancers are more Beaujolais nouveau - best enjoyed when young.

Author:  mehunt [ Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:35 pm ]
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LOL -- Cassandra, your post gave me a good chuckle for today! I love it!

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:37 pm ]
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But even that youth should be tempered with maturity. As exciting as a 19 yr old Albrecht could be, I'm not sure I would walk out of the theater feeling like I had seen a complete performance.

Conversely, I don't think an "old" Giselle is necessarily a good thing. If they seem too "wise" you start to wonder why she's with that jerk, Albrecht.

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:03 am ]
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Now that’s separating dance and acting, after all it's not impossible to act young; take a look at the film of Ulanova's Giselle, how old was she when that was made, 40?

A 19 year old Albrecht wouldn't give me a problem: even if he couldn't act you could put his behaviour towards Giselle down to teenage hormones and the 2nd act remorse would make a lot of sense. He'd be a kid that didn't know any better. As for the dancing I think you'll find a 19-year-old male dancer is generally completely fearless and at least he'd have the stamina for the role.

If you read Catherine Pawlick's excellent review of the Kirov's latest Giselle on another thread, you'll see how dangerous it is to let a very young girl loose on that particular ballet.

Author:  LMCtech [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:37 pm ]
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I've seen an old Giselle and a young Albrecht and it was a little ...icky. A little Hamlet and his mom.

I just don't want to see a 40 year old Giselle. At least not up close. Maybe from the balcony.

Now a 40 yr. old Odette would be ok. Or a 40 yr. old Sugarplum.

Author:  christie1dancer [ Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:56 pm ]
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Yes! Sugarplum for sure! It is true - different ages and personalities a like will suit different roles...but then again there are quite a few young dancers who come off as extremely mature and vice versa. I can see a more mature daner in La Sonnabula - so somber. I wish someone would revive it again like Balanchine did...with Darci Kistler. She was pretty young in that role but I can see a more mature dancer doing it the uttmost justice... And Coppelia - a more naive dancer sould suffice as always! When will they revive the Red Shoes?? That's what I want to know!

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