CriticalDance Forum

'6 o'clock' extensions
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Mar 24, 2001 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  '6 o'clock' extensions

'Here are the six o'clock views - To the purists, it is more like a gymnast's pose. But for many others, says Ismene Brown, the ballerina's perfect vertical line is one of the most breathtaking positions in modern dance.'<P>I think we may se a range of views on this one.<P><BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><P>

Author:  Basheva [ Sat Mar 24, 2001 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

I,too, find the "6 o'clock arabesque" quite, quite lovely. But it has to be in context. <P>In my opinion, it is not lovely when it is done by the sylphide in La Sylphide, first act, as she bends over James. And, I feel the same about it in Les Sylphides. To my mind it does not "fit" in those ballets.<P>The 180 degree arabesque is one of many nuances - inflections if you will - of the arabesque vocabulary. Each has its place, purist though I am. Sorta.

Author:  trina [ Sat Mar 24, 2001 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

I'm with you guys....but the "6 o'clock" arabesque" and "6 o'clock" side tilt in modern (equivalent to ecarte) have become commonplace. Expected even. At least in most big ballet and modern companies in the US. I find it sad. As my former mentor and teacher Hanya Holm used to say, the quickest way to tell if a choreographer had nothing to say, or couldn't figure our what he/she is trying to convey, you'll see a lot of legs flying up into the air!! I think this statement speaks volumes about the occasional "black hole" in the middle of a lot of choreographic projects. It seems like it's about gymnastics rather than any human/aesthetic statement or point of view.

Author:  tura [ Sun Mar 25, 2001 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

It's very much like the tag line on a Citibank commercial I've seen recently -- "just because you have the power, doesn't mean you should use it." Over the years dancers have certainly pushed the limits of their flexibility, but loading down a dance piece with flexibility/balancing "tricks" just because the dancers can execute them creates a superficiality that negates artistic vision. When placed correctly, a six o'clock extension is stunning, but when a dance is filled with trick after trick . . . well, I feel like trina, that it's a choreographer's cop out. It's much harder (and more respected in my book) to "wow" the audience with artistic nuance.<P>tura

Author:  OdileGB [ Mon May 21, 2001 8:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

I think it is very sad that 6 o'clock extensions have become so common that you see <BR>them pop up everywhere even in ballets like Giselle or Swan Lake where they are simply not approbriate. All to often I get the feeling that dance is in danger of deteriorating to acrobatics. Dancers are competing with each other to see who can do the most thrilling tricks.<BR>Last autumn I went to see a couple of different casts in the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake and there I witnessed a clear case of "Anything she can do I can do and better!"<BR>Have dancers forgotten that a lot of people in the audience want to see their interpretation of a role and are not really that interested in acrobatic tricks but in artistic nuances? Any thoughts anyone?<BR>

Author:  Basheva [ Mon May 21, 2001 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

Another place where it is entirely inappropriate is in "Les Sylphides"....<P>oh...and another is when the sylph leans over James' shoulder in "La Sylphide" 6 o'clock extensions, please.

Author:  Cathy [ Mon May 21, 2001 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

I'm agree with you Basheva, If some ballets are able to allow Six o' clock like Swan Lake (white swan variation) or Don Quichotte, or Rose Adagio again in Sleeping Beauty, I don't love it in Giselle or Sylphide or all the romantic roles. It breaks the line. And 6' o clock is more modern attitude. It's perfect for Forsythe, BĂ©jart, and all this modern choreography. It possible to raise very high the leg without touch your ear !!!!<BR>

Author:  Terry [ Mon May 21, 2001 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: '6 o'clock' extensions

Well, here's my own verrryyy personal thoughts on the 6-o'clock:<P>I think Mademoiselle Sylvie Guillem revolutionized the ballet world with her 6-o'clock. Yes, other famous principals before her time had their legs up high as much as her, but it was not her flexibility, but her physical capibility, which brought about this new revolution. Some people have disliked this grotesque, acrobatic use of body, but in my (egotistic) opinion, I must say that I like it when it's the done the "Guillem" way. Has anyone seen her in her black tutu "Grand Pas Classique" with the incredible 6-o'clock balances? Her muscle tone, her extensions that seem to touch the ceilings make this pdd extremely exciting. I prefer not to see them in the Romantic ballets (and I don't think many ballerinas use this technique in those ballets...or at least, I haven't really seen any) but I think the "Guillem" way is often times, quite entertaining in some pdds. I also think it's a way to attract non-ballet goers to the ballet world because people find it a lot more entertaining when seeing something like this. But of course, the downside to this is that, some people forget about the more important qualities in dance. <p>[This message has been edited by Terry (edited May 21, 2001).]

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