CriticalDance Forum

George Balanchine
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Author:  Buddy [ Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  George Balanchine

Many folks here are probably familiar with George Balanchine's famous quote....

"Ballet Is Woman."

Still, I never knew how strongly he felt about this. Apparently he may have really meant -- 'Life Is Woman.'

From "Apollo's Angels" by Jenniffer Homans comes this insight.

"Balanchine famously said, "Ballet is woman," and many of his dances openly idealized the "eternal feminine." The ballerina was on a pedestal and the male dancer was cast--in Balanchine's own image--as her devoted chevalier. Writing to Jackie Kennedy in 1961, Balanchine explained: "I mean to distinguish between material things and things of the spirit--art, beauty...Man takes care of the material things and woman takes care of the soul.

Woman Is The World And Man Lives In It." (my capitals)

She then goes on to mention Jacques d'Amboise, who stated in one of his interviews about his autobiography that George Balanchine created characters for him that were the idealization of George Balanchine, himself. This was a way for George Balanchine to actually have a physical presence in the world of love for womankind that he created.

In the next paragraph Jenniffer Homans writes,

"....the romantic yearning he [George Balanchine] felt for the women he loved (including many he did not marry) was reflected, like so much else in his life, in his ballets."

[typo corrections made]

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: George Balanchine

So if Woman represents an Ideal in the dance and world of George Balanchine, then what is this Ideal ? How do you best represent Woman (or Humanity in general) in dance ?

"Ballet was also, as de Lauze was careful to point out, an ethical code: "the science of behavior toward others." It was respect, manners, breeding. This was an idea that had, for so long and in so many ways, resonated with Balanchine."

("Apollo's Angels," Jennifer Homans, page 527)

I haven't yet found any further development of this concept in the book, but it is something that seems very interesting to think about. Perhaps it's the combined Beauty of Sensuality and 'Earthliness' with the Ideal, that makes Art so fascinating and meaningful.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: George Balanchine

Suzanne Farrell

"Though he was a brilliant man, Balanchine never acted like he knew everything about everything. He was also a very good listener. It was that kind of connection — with his dancers, with the music and with himself — that made working with him so extraordinary. At the same time, he would say to me, “It’s you on stage” — not him."

"When Mr. B started working on a ballet for me, there would be no one in the room except Gordon Boelzner at the piano, George and myself. He would show me a little something and I would try to imitate or shape or decode what he indicated.

Choreography is not born as choreography; it grows out of a suggestion and then it gets shaped into choreography. Rarely would he say, “That’s not what I wanted.” Our collaboration was very special and filled with trust. He would put the ball in my court and allow me to run with it....

This is all part of my personal history, and I knew these were significant ballets, but I was living in the moment (busy trying to improve) and never thinking of history." ... ine-legacy

(thanks, Francis)

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