Apollinaire, with help from Amy Reusch: a few preliminary questions on fairy tale ballets
Later this week, I'll post the promised piece on variations on the classics. My prompt is James Kudelka's "Cinderella," which American Ballet Theatre premiered this summer at Lincoln Center, and such questions as: Can an individual make a fairy tale or can only a folk? What would count as a contemporary fairy tale?
Dance videographer Amy Reusch sent me these intriguing questions:
Regarding making fairy tales: Are the Oz stories fairytales? How about the Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings? Made up fairytales, such as Cinderella, seem to depend much more on having interestingly developed characters than on elaborately embroidered mythologies. If the main character doesn't grab you, there's little patience for the mythology. Is it difficult for modern ballet choreography to develop interesting characters?
The distinction Amy makes between well-developed characters and embroidered mythologies got me excited.
Psychoanalysts such as Bruno Bettelheim argue that fairy tales deliver their audience, children, to primal emotions not only to prepare them for the terrors of life but also to inoculate them against those terrors. When we bowdlerize the fairy tales, we destroy their purpose. But Amy is offering the possibility that the ballet can't go that deep--or only via character, not the story itself.
Characters in written fairy tales are often very schematic. The plots are rigged to excite deep emotional responses, but are schematic as well. In theater perhaps, predictable plot is okay as long as the characters complicate it. .... I could go on and on. Anyway, there's a good deal more to think about, and I hope we'll get to.
I may also consider such remade classics (not all from fairy tales) as Matthew Bourne's "Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake," Mats Ek's "Sleeping Beauty," Mark Morris's "Hard Nut," all to Tchaikovsky scores with well-known original choreography by Petipa-Ivanov of the Imperial Russian ballet.
Another note: I should say--as I haven't yet--that, this being a blog, it's likely to be badly written. I hope I write well enough to convey some of the meat of a topic, but it will depend for nuance on YOU.
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