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 Post subject: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2000 10:39 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
For those of us who enjoy story ballets - what stories would we like to see? <P>The ballet has presented slices of history, fairy tales, folk tales, Shakespeare, other literature. <P>What favorite story do you think would be appropriate for ballet?<P>I would vote for "Jane Eyre". Reasons later.<P>I'd like to see other ideas first.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2000 2:13 pm 
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Well how's this for completely "outside the box"?<P>The title is "Metropolis 2: Scenes from a Memory." I am not sure if in the presentation I should start from the story or the background. SO I choose the story.<P>The story is a murder mystery involving past lives and regression therapy. One of the key questions though, at least as I ponder it, is determing <I>which</I> of the past lives the primary character acted out.<P>So now the background. This is really a soundtrack without a film. It is a concept album by a group called Dream Theater. Dream Theater is a "progressive metal" band-which is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome. But I cannot stress enough the musicality of this band. There are some blazing sections that would be a choreographer's nightmare/dream challenge, but I think the selection and arrangement of songs would be very well balanced for a performance.<P>I had actually thought to try an novelize the story as an exercise. I even have a few bits and pieces worked out in my head. I have also thought about how it might be staged, more in terms of backdrops and general flow of the action.<P>Definitely on the more experimental side.<P>Enjoy,<BR> Bob/"Red"<P><P>------------------<BR>"Learn from the Past.<BR> Prepare for the Future.<BR> Act in the Present."<BR> -the Rogue Wolf<BR>

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"Learn from the Past.<BR> Prepare for the Future.<BR> Act in the Present."<BR> -the Rogue Wolf<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2000 2:35 pm 
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Would be interesting to see the outlines of a libretto for that, Wolf.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2000 4:26 am 
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Batsheva,<P>I am interested in doing a ballet on Parsifal, the story of the innocent knight who grows to maturity through a series of encounters, based on the French account and the book by Richard Johnson called "He", I have begun a new link for anyone interested on this site. I am a composer from Australia.<P>regards Nigel.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2000 5:45 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've been thinking about this theme without coming up with anything. I was wondering why and then realised that what I think is neither here nor there. The key point is what catches the imagination of a choreographer or composer to inspire them to produce interesting work.<P>Within that criteria, any story will do from the nonsense narrative of 'Les Biches' to the rich story-telling of 'Giselle' or 'Manon'.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2000 7:22 am 
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It could be a nonsense story like Giselle - that is certainly true - because despite almost two centuries of faulting the ballet for being nonsense it has certainly maintained its popularity. But it could also be a story with which people are very familiar such as "Romeo and Juliet".<P>I think Jane Eyre has many possibilities. Some great scenes and roles for children in the early school years and for Adele. The mad wife hidden in the garrett, the interrupted wedding - and the final denouement when Mr. Rochester is blind and Jane returns. <P>Nigel - composing is a subject of which I know nothing! but it would seem to me that you need to find a libretist to set the scenes that are necessary - and then perhaps a choreographer. I know that several composers for the ballet have worked very closely with the choreographer - Balanchine and Stravinsky, Petipa and Tchaikovsky come easily to mind. <P>But, then, of course, many composers have worked completely separately from the choreographer. But I would think that a libretist would be essential - unless you do it yourself. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2000 5:47 pm 
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Grace - as long as dance doesn't fail you - .......... LOL - and it doesn't.<P>I am NOT giving you MY opinion of Giselle as a nonsense story - I am merely repeating what I have heard many people say of the story line of Giselle. <P>Actually I think Giselle has a rich underlying story on many levels. But when one tells this story to a newcomer to the ballet - well one often gets a different viewpoint. <P>Giselle is the quintessential story of betrayal of the romantic era. I think the anger of the wilis in the second act is an interesting shadow of our century.<P>Anyway - (sorry I shocked Grace LOL) (I can be shocking at times) - I still think that Jane Eyre would be a great ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 5:25 am 
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Thanks Basheva for your advice. I will try getting a librettist, but I also have to get a translation of the French version of the story which is the oldest and most direct. <P>That gives me some ideas, but interaction with a choreographer is also important, especially capturing the vision and possibilities for the story in the medium. Of course I could write the libretto myself, but then again how do you write a ballet libretto?<P>Cheers Nigel

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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 6:28 am 
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Hello Nigel - well it seems to me - though I have absolutely no experience in this field - that you would need to think about the story as a series of scenes. And what scenes would they be? What would happen in those scenes? How would each scene further the story in a way that dance could encompass it? <P>For instance if you were thinking of the story of the Wizard of Oz - it seems like the first scene would be the storm (tornado) and then waking up in a strange place.<P>Then the scene meeting the characters of the strange land - and the two witches. <P>Then a scene meeting the three characters she travels to Oz with.<P>Then arriving at Oz and meeting the wizard - and finally defeating the wicked witch and Dorothy returning home.<P>It's almost like an "outline" of the story - but it has to be in a way that it could be shown in dance.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 3:03 am 
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Thanks Basheva,<P>I think the points you make are excellent and I will take them on board. There is one thing though and that is your comment about making something work in dance form. This seems to me to be the key to the process, the dance and the music go together to convey the storyline, the only thing is how do you do that exactly? Image I understand that mime and "acting" play their part but how do you writethe music or describe the narrative in dance form on paper, if you know what I mean?<P>Grace, no, I don't have any particular choreographer in mind. I really don't know any choreographers. Image<P>Cheers, Nigel.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 7:34 am 
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Nigel - Have you ever seen the ballet Romeo and Juliet with the music by Prokofiev? Get a tape of it and study it - would be my recommendation.<P>As I listen to - even in the overature - the action and tragedy of the story is foretold in the music. You can hear the music scream out the coming tragedy. There is no part, at least to my ear, in the music that doesn't have this underlying theme. Even in the happy scenes - like the ballroom - there is an undertone of tragedy about to happen.<P>As for the dance forms - you can see in the tape (Fonteyn and Nureyev dancing) how differently she dances with the men in her life. At first with Nureyev she is hesitant - then more trusting, and finally she is completely his. At the same time when she dances with Paris - her movement quality with him is stiff - and icy.<P>But those things are the responsibility of the choreographer, however, the composer has to give the choreographer the scaffold of the music. I do believe that the music for Romeo and Juliet was written long before a ballet was conceived for it. And, for many years that music was thought to be "undanceable" - until Lavrovsky and then MacMillan came along. <P>Just sit and listen to that music and hear the oncoming tragedy - even in the first note - it is a scream ......a warning.......<P>I have so little knowledge of composing - I hope I haven't confused you........


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 Post subject: Re: Story Themes for the Ballet - what would you like?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2000 3:06 am 
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Dear Basheva,<P>Thanks once again. I have a copy of the music on a CD set. My favorite piece is the Knights' Dance. In fact this work is the best thing for gym work. I haven't seen it done in the Theatre though. I have only seen the version using the Tchaicovsky music.<P>It is important to get the story in my head before the music is written. As you say, the first note supplies the clue to the Tragedy of the whole. Naturally it pays to have this in mind when writing music. Your comments on how Prokoviev wrote the music before it was choreopgraphed are helpful, I think I won't need to worry too much about it after all. There does need to be a clearer sort of rhythm in ballet music though, and it does seem to have its own form and 'sound' which cuts across style.<P>Many thanks,<P>Nigel.

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