Apollinaire responds: good and bad violence in dance
In the post below, Eva writes,
I am willing, however, to see violence in dance if there's some significant point to be made, larger context to be drawn, and maybe something about what inner or outer forces give rise to our violence or what arises as a result of our violent natures and violent acts.
An example for me of justified violence is the scene in Jerome Robbins' "Fancy Free" (ABT is currently performing it at City Center) where three sailors on furlough play catch with a lady-bypasser's purse.
It starts in fun--she's enjoying herself. But eventually she's not in on the fun, she's the object of it. Robbins perfectly captures how a game can turn on its players, how the force of a group even as small as three can be stronger than the judgment of any one of its members. The dance needs to toy with danger: when this scene is played as pure comedy, it doesn't amount to much. But it doesn't need to act out the violence. The sailors come to their senses right at the point when they've almost gone too far.
The rape that concludes Kenneth MacMillan's "Manon," on the other hand, is so gratuitous, you're stuck concluding that the choreographer is getting off on poor Manon's ravaging. (ABT subjected us to this ballet last year--and it's back again in the spring! Why, oh, why?)
Maybe the question we should ask when squirming in our seats is: what would be lost without the violence? In "Fancy Free," a good deal. In "Manon," it would still be a lousy ballet, but not quite so lousy.
[addendum: Eva's review of the performance she refers to below has been published. Click here.]
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Joe Horowitz on music
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary