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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 1:29 pm 
I say risk ruffling feathers by using Desmond--and its most likely FOR the sake of the art AND THE STORY.<BR> Even though SFB has dancers who can perform the part just as well,I dont believe the point of the story will be as sharp if a White dancer in Blackface(and the audience KNOWS its a White dancer in Blackface) is chosen for the part-whether the dancing is fine or not.<BR> Though many ballets are fantasies and make believe(we all know that a human being dancing the Firebird is not a bird),Othello deals with some real and timely issues(like I mentioned in the ISSUES FORUM).<BR> Its not as if they are picking a LOUSY Black dancer over more talented(White)dancers.Desmond is a powerhouse!And,knowing the play its important to see the physical contrast(against a much lighter skinned Desdamona,whether Asian or White)just as much as great dancing.I feel that the ballet will be far more potent by using him.IN THIS CASE,using a male lead who nearly resembles the female lead in coloring would be playing it safe-and this is not a story meant to be safe.<BR> Something tells me the co.members wont be angry for long for this choice-particularly if it adds to SFB already fine reputation!<BR> <P> <p>[This message has been edited by angela (edited February 20, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: San Francisco
Good point Angela. And aren't SFB dancers cast in every other role is this taping? And isn't this a "joint" production as well? And Desmond Richardson was an original Othello right? AND he's no slouch either. So what's the big deal? <P>Back to the Olympics where important soap operas are taking place! hehe<P>Cy


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 4:19 pm 
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Location: New England
If choreographers are like composers, then maybe they need to act more like composers. Composers have not historically had the type of control to stipulate who will perform their works, especially not after they die.<P>And yes, all the great musical works have been re-interpreted time and time again after the composer's death.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 7:59 am 
It think taking the racial aspect out of Othello though is like putting water in whiskey. Its too crucial to the story/play to remove it.<p>[This message has been edited by angela (edited February 21, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 12:23 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Okay, I've stayed out of this til now.<P>Although I think it is the politically correct thing to do to put a black dancer into the role of Othello for a archival taping of this nature, I also think the male principal dancers at SFB have a right to be miffed. Especially because they are more technically skilled than Mr. Richardson, who is a great performer, but is not a ballet dancer.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 12:30 pm 
Better technicians arent neccessarily good actors nor expressive.This role was create ESPECIALLY for Desmond Richardson, by him,who not only has way above average ballet technique but plenty of the dramatic skills needed.<BR> Maybe the ABT ALONE should have done this instead of SFB( for PBS). <BR> <BR> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 2:31 pm 
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Angela, perhaps SFB and KQED (the PBS affiliate in SF) should have ditched "Othello" and performed another ballet instead.<P>Keep in mind that both SFB and ABT comissioned the ballet with the idea that the role of Othello be danced by several male principals. The role was not created for one dancer only -- that would be very myopic on the part of the choreographer for a full-length ballet comissioned by two major ballet companies. And make no mistake about it, the SFB principals who have danced Othello were cast by the choreographer -- he has no problems with them performing the role on stage.<P>BTW, by your token then, who should dance "Swan Lake" if it were to be filmed? I'm afraid all the originators have died -- therefore no one else should dance it for film.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
When choreographers or their deputies come to set works at the Royal Ballet they have the say as to who will be cast. As lara said, in the case of 'Onegin' Reid Anderson brought some dancers in from outside, including Robert Tewsley from Reid's Stuttgart Ballet. If the Royal wanted the piece that was the deal.<P>I am not surprised that Lubovitch wanted to have the filmed record of the work, which may well be the only one to be made, feature the dancer who is his favourite in the role, for whatever reason. I support choreographers having final control over the works they have created.<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:00 pm 
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Okay, I've "lurked" on this one, but I feel compelled to put my two cents in. I have lived my life as a dancer AND a choreographer, and I have been on both sides of the fence, so to speak. Unless it is stated otherwise in some legal contract, the choreographer has the absolute right to cast whomever he wants, in my opinion. Of course, if he/she goes in and starts bringing in a ton of outside dancers, that's not right. I'm sorry if the dancers are miffed or their morale suffers; but if they are in dance to massage their egos, they're in the wrong field. I know that sounds harsh, but that's the way I was trained; the dancer's job is to serve the vision of the choreographer. Telling a choreographer whom to cast would be the equivalent of standing next to a painter and saying-"no, we dont' want you to paint it that way, we prefer it this way, and since we're paying you, we have the final say". Casting issues should have been worked out before we got to this point. If they havent', the choreographer has free rein. This is not new; when Baryshnikov and Nureyev defected, many "home grown" male dancers suffered. Oy!! What are we to do...tell them, "don't be so good, it makes everybody else feel bad". I don't think so. Artists/choreographers have to do what they think is right, unless there is a legal or abuse issue involved, which I dont' see in this particular case. I know some folks out there are going to vehemently disagree with me...folks who are close to the company. But...I felt funny not saying what I felt.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited February 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:18 pm 
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But, Trina, the point I'm making is that the other dancers were also picked by the choreographer -- they weren't forced on him and he has no problems with them dancing the part on stage.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 7:10 pm 
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Location: Barstow CA USA
Azlan,<P>Obviously it means something to the choreographer to have Desmond dance for the taping and that is how it should be. Like someone else said, the dancers should just get over it, get on with dance and make the best possible production possible. It sounds too much like children squabbling.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 8:09 pm 
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Um, who said anything about children squabbling? Image<P>As far as I know the dancers are getting on with it and are being very professional about it. They will be dancing next week and they will be dancing their best.<P>I'm the one raising the question, not the dancers.<P>Part of my question pertains to whether this is wise on the part of the company. It's not something I would ever do to the teams of people I manage. Once when it was suggested by a client that I replace one of my people with one of his on a special project, I checked with my people first to see if it was okay. Although everyone claimed it was fine (they were trying to please me), I read between the lines and realized it wasn't. So I turned the job down. My people were my greatest assets -- they were all good people capable of doing the job. It wasn't worth it to me to demoralize them.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited February 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 9:57 pm 
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I understand what you're saying Azlan. But unfortunately, "dance is not a democracy". (who said that Balanchine, I'm not sure?)It's not "one for all, all for one". (aplogies to the Three Musketeers!!) I'm sure there's a reason Lubovitch picked Richardson. I would venture to guess it's because he thought he was the best person for the role, even if we don't agree. The choreographer is like the "CEO" of the piece, they make the executive decision. It's not necessarily to make the team feel better, it's to make the best work of art possible, as they envision it. I'm not speaking for anyone else here, it's just my opinion.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited February 22, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 10:03 pm 
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Azlan, tsk,tsk! You know better....'<P>No way, no how, not in a million years will the casting of any ballet even remotely resemble what goes on in the corporate world. And mind you it's rarely as democratic as you imply. <P>It's Lubovitch's ballet and he can do whatever he wants. It's not as if NO ONE from SFB is doing the dang thing. And quite frankly this particular work isn't really good enough (IMHO) to warrant this endless discussion. <P>Now, back to the Olympics where everthing is fair and square! Wah hahahahahahha..<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2002 10:49 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Your point Azlan seems to be that once the casts have been selected and have proped themselves on stage, then the choreographer's control is at an end. In fact, they or their representatives will come back and check that a work has stayed on course and quite often the contract for a piece will be time limited. <P>In this instance, it looks as though Lubovitch has contracted that he has the choice of who will perform in the filmed version. Although I'm sure that a number of the SFB men would do a terrific job, it seems entirely reasonable, and in keeping with choreographers' control in other areas, for Lubovitch to have his preference for casting in this probably unique record of the work.<P>In the recent BBC's 'Stravinsky Staged' programme, only 'The Firebird' and 'Les Noces' were recorded and not 'Apollo'. The strong rumour, not refuted, is that the Balanchine Trust refused permission for it to be filmed, so it's not unusual for the choreographer or their inheritors to exercise control over the filming of their work. <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 22, 2002).]


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