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 Post subject: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 6778
Location: Estonia
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Innovation vs tradition in Battle of Swan Lake

by LOUISE JURY
the Independent

Yet both [Matthew Bourne's and ROH's Swan Lake] venues insist they are complementary, not rivals, and the diversity of offerings can only encourage interest. The Arts Council agrees. "Our view is that critical mass helps," Jacqueline Rose, its senior dance officer, said yesterday. "We are now in a situation where people have got a choice."
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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:35 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Really a case of the battle that wasn't. It is one of the joys of being a dance lover today that one has so much to choose from and these two radically different versions of "Swan Lake" are a case in point.

Any other "same, but very different" duos taking place around the world?


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 3:42 pm 
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Any other "same, but very different" duos taking place around the world?

Well, obviously, all the different Nutcrackers!
San Francisco this year unveiled its new Nutcracker which clearly is based on, but different from, the old. Then there are the clear take-offs like Hard Nut. The Nutcracker Movie that PNB did some years ago, which is still frequently on TV, is supposedly closer to the original story and quite different from the usual Nutcrackers: the Arab dance is a bird of paradise, the Russian is pirates, and so on. I think of them as alternates rather than as wars.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
There was also Australian Dance Theatre's "Birdbrain."


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:33 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Is more choice in art neccessarily a good thing? Is diversity always a plus, or is it sometimes best to stick with the classics?


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:21 am 
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Location: New England
An art form that religiously sticks to the classics, no matter how good those classics are, will surely die.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:41 pm 
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Location: San Ramon High School
I think that "classics", by their very definition, are timeless in their ability to be reinterpreted, revisited and continually expanded upon. New and fresh renditions to the classics keep them alive in the now, secure in the past, and forever open to future interpretations.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 131
Location: Southwick, MA, USA
Thoughts on Swan Lake

Once upon a time Swan Lake named a ballet. Over time Swan Lake grew and multiplied and for many became synonymous with the ‘beautiful.’ At present and following a famous philosopher’s comment that, “ ‘beautiful’ is an adjective,” one fancies that the modifying power of this word changed Swan Lake into something resembling itself. Now as much adjective as noun and hence always in motion, the numerous offspring of Swan Lake each find as do the countless iterations of beautiful their effective force in a particular use or production. To get a sense of what one means compare the use of beautiful in such phrases as beautiful sunset, beautiful body, and beautiful music then think: Swan Lake Boston Ballet, Swan Lake Pennsylvania Ballet, and Swan Lake ABT.

Whether noun or adjective, however, Swan Lake in contrast to beautiful holds a range of perceptual features that act, figuratively speaking, like a concrete definition. When the Swan Lake includes, at least in the Domain of Ballet, such features as Tchaikovsky’s music and choreography ‘after’ Petipa and Ivanov then competent viewers of ballet know how to look at the production the presenting company claims to be a Swan Lake. And because competent seeing includes evaluation, that is judging whether the company’s use of Swan Lake was ‘correct’ or not, the discussion on the substance of Swan Lake shifts from the realm of the abstract, such as Classicism vs. Postmodernism or other, to the untidy particulars of living. For the appeal of Swan Lake, one thinks, lives in the human values embedded within the perceptual features that define it- values mere words(not poetry)would trivialize. If the use or production of Swan Lake, its grammar, looks correct to a viewer, then it takes that viewer smiling where she or he wants to go. If incorrect, then Swan Lake might look “scary” or even disgusting.

Swan Lake, any Swan Lake then embraces when one wants to enter and releases when one wants to exit. And so, the length of a Swan Lake’s life depends upon a viewer’s willingness to see its content or ‘definition’ or grammar as necessary and complete and to surrender to it. And given the abundance of its progeny, Swan Lake yet holds this compelling force. Is this a problem?

<small>[ 08 January 2005, 02:11 PM: Message edited by: S. E. Arnold ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:26 am 
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Location: San Ramon High School
For S.E. Arnold:

Masterfully composed...but what is a "competent" viewer?


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:47 pm 
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Location: Southwick, MA, USA
Thank you for your kind words, Shallot.

And one hopes this response goes some way to answering your question.

Borrowing from the ergot of ‘political correctness,’ the idea of competence used in the phrase ‘competent viewer’ is a wonderfully ‘inclusive’ one. It accommodates any viewer willing to make the effort to figure out, in this instance, ballet. Moreover, neither formal test nor official certification announces either the entry into or the level of a viewer’s competency. While one embraces the idea that “the more you know, the more you get,” one wonders how the getting, described generally as pleasure or discomfort, could be measured. More importantly, what would be the point of the measuring? Recall the variety of responses over heard or exchanged with fellow ballet goers at, say a performance of Swan Lake. (Perhaps, one should include too the more candid discussions between patrons observing the “six blocks” rule.”) There will be those that can do little more than stutter out fragments rather than sentences while gesticulating with arms and hands and making faces. Others will name every step, comment on the ballerina’s feet, turnout, line, placement, and note that she was a tad off the music and that a diamond flew off her tiara. None of the responses described, however, would be possible if the speakers were strangers to the Domain of Ballet. Whether by stutter or gesture or fine word picture viewers show that they have in their own way figured out ballet. (Isn’t it interesting how this idea of competence relates to the topic of DI’s expulsion from the Garden?)

<small>[ 12 January 2005, 01:09 PM: Message edited by: S. E. Arnold ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:50 am 
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Location: Birmingham Uni / UWM Milwaukee
Classics always need to be updated or 'modernised' to appeal to younger generations. most people i know my age prefer matthew bourne's swan lake to the classical version.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 207
Location: Lighting Heaven
Quote:
Classics always need to be updated or 'modernised' to appeal to younger generations.
Why? How can the younger generation even know the difference until they're exposed to the original?

I remember, in my college days, hearing a rock album and thinking it was the most phenomenal piece of music I'd ever heard. I was so impressed with it that I played it for one of my professors and was a little taken aback when he sniffed and said, "Well, it's alright, but I prefer the original."

The album was Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's Pictures at an Exhibition, and my professor was absolutely right; the original is better.

...And that's how I began to fall in love with classical music.

Quote:
most people i know my age prefer matthew bourne's swan lake to the classical version
Well, it's hard to address that without knowing how old you are, but have the people you're talking about actually seen a first-rate classical production of Swan Lake?

_________________
"A man's speech must exceed his vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:58 am 
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Posts: 270
Location: Birmingham Uni / UWM Milwaukee
I didn't say that the classics should be stopped, i was responding to the view someone made about choice being a bad thing. i agree exposure to the originals is a good thing, i was making the point that having the choice of seeing a newer version was a good thing too.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:53 am 
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Location: San Ramon High School
Thank you, S.E. Arnold.


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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Swan Lake
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Do classics like "Swan Lake" deserve "faithful" (i.e., in the spirit of Petipa and Ivanov) revivals by dance companies of some stature? The answer is yes, of course. How else would they sell tickets? More to the point, how can they maintain key artistic ties to the roots of classic dance?

At the same time, they need to ditch their obeissance to perceived limits and push the envelope as far as possible. It *IS* possible to distingiush between routine commuters and authentic artists, and these folks should work to get their excellent work recognized.

Hey, Balanchine himself revisioned "Swan Lake," and his successor later re-staged this one-act version with black tutus and, shall we say, "expressionist" decor.

Type at you soon.


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