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 Post subject: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Utica, Michigan, US
My boyfriend has been bemusedly watching my day spent here in front of the computer during my discovery and participation in your website. He is new to ballet, but just loves it. (You don't know how wonderful this is since, I was previously married for over 17 years to a man who would not go to the ballet with me and whose idea of a good time was a truck and tractor pull.) My boyfriend's introduction to the ballet was Giselle (what else?) in a production by a Russian touring company with recorded (ugh!)music in Flint, MI. We next saw The Merry Widow by ABT in the Detroit Opera house with a full orchestra. He was enven more enraptured. To my mind there is no more romantic evening than sitting with the man you love watching a beautiful ballet and knowing he is just as enthralled as you are. He can't wait to go with me again. This leads me to another question. When introducing someone to the ballet what ballets are best, what preparation is good--i.e. listening to the score, giving a synopsis of the story, or background of the ballet's history? These are all of the things I did prior to the Giselle we saw. Is all of that necessary or even advised? I don't know if I just lucked out with my boyfriend or if my tactics were responsible.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Good question....depends on the age, perhaps, and the person's general appreciation of the theater arts.<P>I was just newly married when the Bolshoi came to Philadelphia and I insisted (I was a bride then, so he was still listening - just kidding!!) that we go to see them. He told me - ok - I could watch and he would spend the time taking a nap. Ha ha<P>They did Walpurgis Night and when Raissa Struchova threw herself across the stage into the arms of her partner and the very sophisticated audience (think Main Line, Philadelphia) in the Academy of Music gasped, my husband was captured. <P>So, perhaps something exciting like that - along with a Giselle. Perhaps a mixed bill.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Utica, Michigan, US
Wow, Raissa Struchova, what a legend! I've only seen her in the film (not video) version of Cinderella that I was lucky to see on the big screen. (They actually used to offer such things in movie theaters, imagine.) Glad to hear that it "captured" your husband. Alas, my Ex was deaf to the muse. Happily, though my boyfiend has the soul of a poet.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17499
Location: SF Bay Area
Tractor pull, you say, Kathy? Well, perhaps your ex will enjoy this:<P><a href=../../../ubb/Forum2/HTML/000083.html target=_blank><B>Tractor Square Dancing!</B></a><P>Now, in regards to introducing beginners to ballet watching... that's a hard one. What I tend to do is find something that the newbies can identify with. For someone who loves fairy tales or romance, I choose a classical/romantic story ballet. For someone who is used to theater, something more theatrical, whether it be classical or contemporary, usually works fine. And for those not into the arts at all, something modern, fast and sexy would be the ticket.<P>Whatever it is, I usually start them with something accessible and then make my way to more adventurous productions.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited July 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 6:55 pm 
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Don Quixote might be an excellent choice...


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2001 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I wonder about MacMillan's 'Romeo & Juliet' as it is one of the most successful story ballets with a strong score, emotional intensity and much fine dancing. <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 2:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: UK
MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet worked very well for my two sons, who couldn't be persuaded to go to ballet until they were in their 20s. They both loved it, and realised what they had been missing all these years! I think the fact that it is about real people, not enchanted swans or princesses, helped a lot. Anyone can identify with the story, the music is wonderful, and the costumes and sets magnificent. One of them is showing interest in Swan Lake now!


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
HelenB, how wonderful that R&J did the trick for your sons! Mac Millan's version is indeed powerful.<P>Onegin did it for the husband of one my adult students. He then went back enthusiastically to see Swan Lake later in the season! He's a convert now. He had been "tolerating" rep programs on their subscription from time to time, but these full-lengths were the answer for him.<P>For my husband, before I met him, it was an ABT rep program. I don't remember all the pieces he saw, but one was The Moor's Pavane (Limon) and my husband was amazed at the dramatic power of dance. From there he bought himself a subscription to NYCB, where Gelsey Kirkland was dancing at the time. He fell in love with Gelsey. Luckily, she wasn't available; I was!<P>The ones I usually recommend staying away from at first, are Giselle (yet I know some people who were first happily introduced to ballet thru this full-length) and Sleeping Beauty (unless it's a quick version, such as Peter Martins', because three hours of lots of "just because" variations can be difficult if you have no perspective on ballet).<P>For children, depending on age and level of sophistication, I often recommend Coppelia, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Just took a group of students to "Dream" a couple of weeks ago. They were enchanted. Also Don Q, and La Bayadere for somewhat older kids. Lots of action, lots of drama. Yet my son, who saw many classics when he was young, really came alive at a NYCB rep program that was heavy on stark, contemporary pieces. Variety is the spice of life?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 5:13 pm 
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Location: Virginia
May I suggest ABT's Le Corsaire? It's really fun, and widely available on video on DVD. Not too long, colorful, with a good balance of action, and beauty. Julie Kent is just gorgeous. <P>And just another note of praise for MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Years ago I taped it, from the Live From Lincoln Center series on PBS. Natalia Makarova and Kevin MacKenzie danced the leads. It was then that I fell in love with Makarova. Unfortunately, I believe that one of my sisters taped over it during my travels. I am sad.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 5:43 pm 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
Dulcinea, yes, Le Corsaire would be a good candidate for first intro to ballet. Come to think of it, I popped in the video to show my boys' class a bit of it (they had challenged the possibility of a ballet about pirates...), and they were totally captivated. I love the ABT video, with the interviews at the beginning, of the dancers and others trying desperately, hilariously, to describe the story. I think I'd use that, to prepare someone for their first trip to this ballet.<P>As for the MacMillan R&J with Makarova and McKenzie, that would be the performance with one of the most embarrassing moments in dance -- where Kevin left on his woolies after Intermission, going into the final act, right? Oh, I still cringe at the memory of him removing his cloak to reveal this wonder. And of Makarova awakening and having to play those final moments to his leg warmers. Yikes! Talk about an acting job!...


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2001 9:49 pm 
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Location: Virginia
Oh yes! I remember that! That was really embarassing, but hardly cast a shadow over Makarova's dramatic interpretation of Juliet.<BR>And Johan Renvall- what a Mercutio!! Maybe I have an emotional/nostalgic connection with this performance... I don't know. The warm-up thingie didn't ruin it for me.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2001 4:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have that tape of McKenzie/Makarova dancing R&J. Added to the fact that he had left on his leg warmers, was that they seemed to be threatening at any moment to come down. And the look on Makarova's face......<P>But, it did not distract from wonderful performances from both these marvelous dancers.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2001 5:48 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I understand what you mean about 'Le Corsaire', but if the newcomer is of a literary/intellectual bent, then it's probably not the best choice. <P>It's a theme discussed in the recent Kirov Corsaire thread:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum16/HTML/000038.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum16/HTML/000038.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2001 10:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 11:01 pm
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My first thought when I read the question is to say that you have, at least, very good leads and a good solid company to look at. <BR>For children...6-12- A very good rep. evening. Examples: Corsaire PDD, Tch.PDD,<BR>Etudes, Diana & Actaeon PDD, Don Q. PDD, <BR>Black Swan PDD, and any other PDD's.<BR>6-12- Full Length: Don Q. and Nutcracker.<BR> 12 and over: All of the above, along with:<BR>Swan L.,Giselle,La Sylphide,and Spartacus<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: What is a good intro to ballet for those new to the art?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2001 11:10 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Perhaps somewhere in there for children Coppelia? <p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited July 20, 2001).]


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