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thing
25th Feb 2013, 19:54
Call me a philistine but in my 56 years I've never seen a ballet. I'm familiar with ballet music but not with the actual prancing around bit.

So I noticed that the Nutcracker was on Sky Arts the other night with the Royal Ballet. I thought I'd give it a go as I'm familiar with the music and story.

I was absolutely captivated. What have I been missing all of these years? I've just sat through the whole thing again. Fabulous dancing, stunning choreography. I just wish I'd bothered a long time ago. Anyone recommend anymore apart from the usual suspects?

Worrals in the wilds
25th Feb 2013, 20:36
I love ballet. :ok: They're so pretty, and often have beautiful music as well. It's total escapist entertainment.

Obviously there are the Big Ballets like Swan Lake, but IMHO whenever there's a classical ballet in town it's worth going (unless it's a story you hate). I do think they're much better live than on TV, but TV's better than nothing. Of course small local companies aren't as polished as the big guns, but even a ballet school production is enjoyable if you can forgive the odd wobble. :\

I'm not personally a fan of contemporary ballet but to each their own.

thing
25th Feb 2013, 20:41
I'll keep an eye out at the local theatres, would love to see a live one.

Tableview
25th Feb 2013, 20:44
I'd also never seen a ballet, although I love classical music and know most of the famous ballet pieces, until a couple of years ago.

In a moment of weakness I promised my god-daughter I'd take her and her friend to see Swan Lake. I too was quite enthralled and thoroughly enjoyed it.

G-CPTN
25th Feb 2013, 20:54
Yes, ballet can be a most entertaining spectacle, particularly when there is a strong underlying story.

Whilst I'm not a great lover of men in tights, I have to admit that the overall effect of a well-produced ballet can be delightful.

The same applies to (some) opera - the popular ones with a strong storyline can be worth watching.

I'm talking about proper theatre performances, not simply watching on the gogglebox.

Some theatres have bargain price tickets that will appeal to beginners.

Try it - you might like it.

thing
25th Feb 2013, 21:41
Actually I'm much the same with opera. I know all of the overtures but the wailing bits leave me a bit cold. Although there are some exquisite pieces I'll grant you that. I have Callas singing Carmen which to me is pure heaven; a supernatural singer and a fabulous composer. IMO of course.

Stockpicker
25th Feb 2013, 21:57
I sort of like ballet - and enthusiastically attend Scottish Ballet performances when I get the chance, they've yet to disappoint.

And on the other hand, they have totally taken my breath away. They performed a "Streetcar named Desire" setting last year, which was simply superb.

You only have to remember how competitive an industry it is to realise why you're rarely going to go wrong with a ticket to the ballet. And (outside London at least) around half the price of a ticket to a footie game!

spInY nORmAn
25th Feb 2013, 22:08
I have to admit that I was never much of a ballet fan - that is until I saw this video. I was actually searching for something else (once you hear the music you can probably guess what it was) and I stumbled across this. The fluidity of Semenyaka's movements starting at 1:57 is sublime, and the strength of Mukhamedov is unbelievable. Check it out.

"Adagio" from "Spartacus" (Aram Khachaturian) - YouTube

Tankertrashnav
25th Feb 2013, 23:12
If you can, try and catch Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Although he uses all of Tchaikovsky's music he has adapted the story and even introduced vampires instead of wicked fairies! The sets and costumes are fabulous, although purists might complain that the choreography, although superb, doesn't follow strict ballet rules (the girls are hardly ever up on pointe). Great show - you won't be disappointed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VikwwOcRONw

La Fille Mal Gardee is very funny in parts, Giselle is creepy, Coppelia is another great one - there's loads of good stuff to see.

Glad someone has exploded the myth about ticket prices making ballet elitist. Premier League footie and most big pop concerts are way more expensive - that's the elite culture these days!

thing
25th Feb 2013, 23:13
I don't know, we can drop bombs on people, let kids in other countries starve without batting an eyelid yet we can produce stuff like that. We're a bit strange we humans.

radeng
25th Feb 2013, 23:16
The only ballet I've been to was Sleeping Beauty. At the Bolshoi in Moscow. I've always like the music, but that was something else - plus the Russians are the most hospitable and friendliest people.

Hoping for another business meeting in Moscow before I retire.....

Slasher
26th Feb 2013, 00:32
...Not into ballet but I remember seeing a film yonks ago of a bunch of ballerinas
all complicatingly twirling on tippy-toe together - but once the camera zoomed in
on their feet you could see they were all in absolute perfect unison. May've been
Swan Lake but dunno.

Must've taken a hell of a lot of practice but the end result was bloody impressive!

One question - are bloke ballerinas gay? I know they have to be very fit buggers
to toss those girls sideways and over their heads - but you don't see any Arthur
Dunger or Strop types prancing around in tights for a living.

Brian Abraham
26th Feb 2013, 01:34
are bloke ballerinas gayRudolph Nureyev was one of the most celebrated male dancers of the 20th Century. Defected from Russia to the west and both he and his partner Erik Bruhn died of AIDS.

handsfree
26th Feb 2013, 03:11
We have a division of duties in this household .Mrs HF does the ballets, I do the beer festivals. That's not saying that I can't see the skill in ballet it's just that it does nothing for me.
I do like opera though, especially Verdi.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
26th Feb 2013, 04:19
Unlike many artists, the few ballet dancers I have met were all delightful people. I guess it's because they know what hard work really is.
I had the good fortune to be presented my degree by Dame Margot Fonteyn - who really took her duties seriously and stayed to chat for hours afterwards.

Slasher
26th Feb 2013, 05:08
Defected from Russia to the west and both he and his partner Erik Bruhn died of AIDS.

Fair enough BA but it mightn't be indicative of bloke dancers in general.

Worrals in the wilds
26th Feb 2013, 05:43
One question - are bloke ballerinas gay? I know they have to be very fit buggers to toss those girls sideways and over their heads - but you don't see any Arthur Dunger or Strop types prancing around in tights for a living. No, but a lot are. Straight male ballet dancers tend to do very well with the girls, because there's not a lot of competition. :cool:

So says a friend of mine who was a lighting tech for one of Australia's state ballet companies, anyway. Being a very heterosexual skater type, he was a key part of the competition so he did some serious research into the question. :E

Both male and female ballet dancers have to fit very narrow physical requirements, though it's easing up a little bit these days. They have to be a particular height and body shape to be in the Corps de Ballet (the chorus). That's where all dancers start, so the principals have the same physical characteristics. That's why you don't see any really tall women, really boofy blokes or anyone that varies too much from the ballet norm.

The movie Center Stage is meant to be a fairly realistic behind the scenes ballet movie, set at the American Ballet Academy in New York. The leading male (Ethan Stiefel) is a ballet dancer in real life not an actor, and the movie has some great ballet scenes. It's a bit of a chick flick but a watchable one.
Center Stage (2000) - IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210616/)
He's not gay, either.

Erwin Schroedinger
26th Feb 2013, 06:19
Les Ballet Trockadero. Superb. :}

Les Ballet Trockadero - Swan Lake parody - YouTube

Captivep
26th Feb 2013, 07:51
I love ballet too and, in fact was a trustee of a ballet company for some years. The straight male ballet dancers do wery well indeed...

I would recommend the Birmingham Royal Ballet production of the Nutcracker (by far the best) and another good one to start with is Hobson's Choice.

Much as I love it, I don't doubt that part of the attraction, to quote Inspector Grimm from the Thin Blue Line, is that it's mostly "posh birds in their knickers"...

Worrals in the wilds
26th Feb 2013, 08:22
That's how it started, wasn't it? A bit of 'phwoarh, check that out' before the opera? :E
In our modern culture that's immersed in porn and scantily clad babes/hunks I think we forget how revealing ballet would have been two centuries ago, even though tutus were longer then. Apart from the circus, it was probably the first modern cultural activity that glorified the human figure and athletic skill. :ok:

603DX
26th Feb 2013, 14:36
I was looking for a video of Swan Lake by the Boshoi or the Royal Ballet, to see whether Slasher's comment about being impressed by the bunch of ballerinas with their tippytoes in perfect unison might have come from one or other of these companies, generally accepted as being amongst the best. But instead I found this performance by the American Ballet Theatre, which astonished me by how good it was:

gP132E-xABg

I watched it all the way through, and enjoyed it, but PPRuNers with less enthusiasm can be excused from the whole 10 minutes or so - just watch the first part, and marvel at the precision of the Dance of the Little Swans! ;)

Slasher
26th Feb 2013, 15:05
Yep the first 1min 40sec what I was talking about 603 - except the camera focused on their feet during the few
seconds when they tippy-toed and twirled in mid air for a split second then landed on their tippy toes again.

The film I saw was in B&W yonks ago before color was invented, but that one you posted is virtually the same
choreography. As I said I'm no ballet fan but that is true talent!

Limeygal
26th Feb 2013, 16:44
Love Les Troc-you have to be a good dancer to be able to muck it up like that, and of course they are all men. Victor Borge was same way with the piano. Always wanted to be a dancer, but my mother told be I was too clumsy and it would be unfair to the others if I was crashing about in the chorus (always the confidence builder my Mum) Had the opportunity to see Swan Lake while we were in St. Petersburg. Fabulous old theatre. We got to sit in the royal box. :ok:

Slasher
26th Feb 2013, 19:54
Who the hell is Les Troc? :confused:

There's a Les Troca but I see bugger-all
in why you'd love him!

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6S9b4-4FwhYdzkurpdP_mM74uklSzeMOgDumHNfrUazkWwNi7fA

He's not a ballerina either.

Limeygal
26th Feb 2013, 20:15
Oh, I don't know-he has a certain je ne sais quoi :yuk::yuk:

Milo Minderbinder
26th Feb 2013, 21:29
around 20 years ago, an ex-nearly Mrs Minderbinder took me to some big theatre in Nottingham to see one of the Russkie ballet teams prancing around. Kirov maybe? Anyway, front row seats up on the balcony. She volunteered to drive, so I had a couple of pints of Hardy & Hansons best before the show started. Soon the lights went down......within 30 minutes I was asleep. Next thing I knew was the lights back on, elbows in the ribs, the nearly Mrs Minderbinder in tears calling me a noisy selfish bastard and a few other choice words.
I seems I had been so taken with the prancing that I was snoring in time with the music and was putting the dancers off......at least thats what she said.

The romance didn't last long after that ....."incompatible interests" I think she muttered one night. Well, I was never in favour of blokes in tight pants, and the girls all looked like boys anyway they were so emaciated

Tankertrashnav
26th Feb 2013, 21:55
Never mind Milo -we're all different. Activities which impress some leave others cold. Personally I find Formula One racing stultifying boring and soporific (I'm usually well away by lap three), and I've never seen the appeal of football (the round ball type). That said I can appreciate the skill and dedication of those at the top of any form of human endeavour, whether it grabs me, or not.

Well, I was never in favour of blokes in tight pants

Reminds me of the old Paul Hogan Fosters ad when he takes his girl to the ballet - "Strewth, there's a bloke down there with no strides on!"

Worrals in the wilds
26th Feb 2013, 21:55
Always wanted to be a dancer, but my mother told be I was too clumsy... same, though Mum didn't have to tell me; I knew all too well. I'm a girl who was literally told off for stomping too much in a flamenco class, so delicate pointe work and swan outfits were never going to be me :ouch:.

I did do some ballet as a kid and enjoyed it anyway :ok:. A local school are offering adult beginner classes and they've been really successful, because a lot of women wanted to do ballet as kids and either weren't allowed or didn't have the chance.

Tankertrashnav
26th Feb 2013, 21:58
Ah, Flamenco - that's something Ive never got - all that stamping, pouting and shouting. I think it's supposed to be sexy, but I just want to laugh, which I dont think is the required reaction!

Worrals in the wilds
26th Feb 2013, 22:01
It's supposed to be a dance/song of lament, but some people find it sexy. I'll grant you that it's a very acquired taste.

There was certainly a lot of lament from the business next door to the flamenco school. Their bean counter used to stay back after work to do the books sometimes, and reckoned that we made more noise than a rifle range.

thing
26th Feb 2013, 22:08
That said I can appreciate the skill and dedication of those at the top of any form of human endeavour, whether it grabs me, or not.

Well said sir, I agree. I'm reminded of a line from the Flashman books where he says

'I love to see someone who is good at doing something actually doing it.'

ChocksAwayChaps
26th Feb 2013, 22:48
There's nowhere quite as atmospheric as the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden but if you don't fancy their prices go to see any ballet.
Don't just watch it on screen. Like any live event, sporting, musical etc, there's nothing like being at a live event. In the case of ballet, if you're near the front you can hear their toes thudding on the stage. Ouch.
I loved the Nutcracker Sweeties at the Birmingham Royal Ballet a few years ago and it was part of a triple bill of modern ballet, nothing like the traditional stuff.
I've just read Carlos Acosta's autobiography, he's an ex principal dancer at the ROH, he's Cuban and his dancing is perfection.
Tamara Rojo, Carlos Acosta - Swan Lake - YouTube

Worrals in the wilds
26th Feb 2013, 23:39
The National Ballet of Cuba did a wonderful Don Quixote here recently; it was absolutely fabulous. :ok:

603DX
27th Feb 2013, 17:14
The ballet clips shown so far have been "mainstream". But almost a century ago, this one was regarded as quite shocking ...

adDhN12KG5M

radeng
27th Feb 2013, 19:26
thing,

You want to watch Slasher in action then?

axefurabz
27th Feb 2013, 20:00
Spiny Norman - great clip! Moved me to tears.

thing
27th Feb 2013, 21:16
You want to watch Slasher in action then? I've been trying to think of a clever way of saying no, but it's such a resounding no that I'm afarid no will have to do.

Captivep
1st Mar 2013, 12:43
A bit of Hobson's Choice:

Hobson's Choice - YouTube

mini
1st Mar 2013, 15:14
Straight male ballet dancers tend to do very well with the girls,

What age is considered too old to train in this art? just curious... :E

Slasher
1st Mar 2013, 18:03
What age is considered too old to train in this art? just curious...

When chucking ballerinas over your head starts making you look like a dirty old perve...

vulcanised
1st Mar 2013, 20:01
Or when you lift them up and there isn't enough bulge in your tights for them to stand on.

Milo Minderbinder
1st Mar 2013, 20:12
this is more of the kind of dancer in a tutu that I prefer to watch

Hawkwind - Out Of The Shadows / Night Of The Hawks - YouTube

Moira
1st Mar 2013, 20:57
I personally love this one:

Dance of the Blessed Spirits - YouTube

Hydromet
1st Mar 2013, 22:03
I'm fascinated by the way ballerinas can balance, first on one leg, then on the other, and between them make a living.:E

RedhillPhil
1st Mar 2013, 22:52
...Not into ballet but I remember seeing a film yonks ago of a bunch of ballerinas
all complicatingly twirling on tippy-toe together - but once the camera zoomed in
on their feet you could see they were all in absolute perfect unison. May've been
Swan Lake but dunno.

Must've taken a hell of a lot of practice but the end result was bloody impressive!

One question - are bloke ballerinas gay? I know they have to be very fit buggers
to toss those girls sideways and over their heads - but you don't see any Arthur
Dunger or Strop types prancing around in tights for a living.

There are no more gentlemen who are light on their feet in ballet than anywhere else. The classical singing world however is full of 'em.

G-CPTN
1st Mar 2013, 23:04
There are no more gentlemen who are light on their feet in ballet than anywhere else. The classical singing world however is full of 'em.
Did you mean Pavarotti? :E