The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Chicken Leg Ballet

OK - so can we just say that I so am going to do an opera/ballet of Swan Lake at some point? Just came from watching the Kennedy Center's latest offering of Swan Lake - which was essentially two hours of what Kate might call set-costumes-and-dance-porn - which was well done but left me with a few thoughts:

  • In dance, we're really just waiting for the Next Cool Move, or surprise or "stupid circus trick" - whatever you want to call it. Give us lots of leaps, lots of jumps, lots of kicks and interesting moves to make the audience say, "Wooooow."

  • However, the caveat of the above is that each trick ought to be different from the one before. Aka - do not repeat any grand gestures!

  • The only exception to this is for storytelling purposes - establish certain grand gestures as specific to a certain storyline or motif - essentially use grand gestures like leitmotifs. Hence, if the Prince and Odette need to show they're in love have them do a specific move which is then repeated by the Prince and Odile, and then perhaps almost repeated in Act IV between the Prince and Odette once more. Because....

  • Variation still remains the spice of life. When doing any movement - grand, small - the most a trick should be repeated in a row ought to be NO MORE than TWO. If a third time for x-action occurs, it should be with a differentiation - just like any joke: set up, confirm, blast away.

    On story in ballets:

  • Where is it? I have decided I hate divertisements (sp?). Bah bah bah. One might be able to get away with one per act - y'know, just a breather from plot to enjoy sheer movement - but every other dance ought to be obviously imbued with plot. Peter suggested about musicals that "so long as one sings, no time or plot passes," and then after tonight suggested that with ballets "so long as one dances, all plot occurs off-stage."

  • Which is why an opera/ballet might be a more ideal form of theatre than, say, just ballet. That latter form cannot tell story sufficiently well to the theatre-goer who has just happened in - who hasn't elitely studied the obscure (off-stage!!!) plot previous to viewing the show. Plot should be clear - plot may be simple or complicated, but it should be clear. And to clarify, words are simply necessary.

  • However, I know that for say, Bearskin it was a little difficult for some people to follow as to re: the Soul and the Body of the two characters. However, this might be rectified with a rewrite using words rather than just motion to clarify?

    Thoughts on the point of theatre in general:

  • Theatre ought to be like Mozart's music: accessible yet subtle; simple to listen to but complex in essence - it ought to be catholic (in both senses!). It ought to entertain as well as enlighten - it should be numinous.

  • There should be more of it. FINIS.

    Mood: Pas mal - mais maintenant, il semble que je n'ai pas le travail que sufficit. C'est une mal idee, je sais - mais, voila.
    Music: Amelie - oh, play that musette!
    Thought: Sleep or Nutcracker?

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