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October 06, 2010


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i am curious to know what prompted this post...the choices of a specific dancer, the direction of a company, or a performance you attended/are planning to attend? couldn't help but wonder...
i do love your statement "Craftless art product that utilizes no acquired basic skills and disciplines, but hurls into being like some creative vomit, is cheered by its makers as the true art of our times." But I also do think that there exists the rare case in which what may appear to be creative vomit on the surface, upon deeper investigation, is actually brilliant. Rare, but it does exist. That being said, "new" is not always "better," just as you pointed out...it doesn't always take us forward, as it should if we are going to even bother indulging both it and ourselves.

Hi "a" and thanks for your comment.

The above post was not prompted by anything specifically, but perhaps a collection of happenings over the past year or longer.

Haglund agrees with you that there are rare cases where an initial glance at a creative performance product may not yield the underlying brilliance of its art and craft.

Bourne's Swan Lake is so annoying!!! It is so self-satisfied and annoying.

Hi Andrew. Thanks for reading Haglund's Heel. Have to agree with your comment.

More than a few friends who are never interested in dance and the ballet have asked me to go see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Mostly, this makes me sad. I couldn't get anyone to watch Alina Cojocaru with me this spring, and yet my dear friends are lining up to see this "reinterpretation."

In fairness, I haven't seen Matthew Bourne's production. I know that in general, I don't like spoofs--I am a Star Wars and not a Spaceballs fan and I still haven't seen the Trocs (perhaps I should let up a bit on that last one). I want my high art to be my high art. And a theatrical experience--like Cirque du Soleil--to be just that. And I find the retelling of Swan Lake to be almost calculated.

I could be wrong. The dancing and choreography could be truly unusual. But I suspect a night at BAM would do a better job of stretching my chops than this show.

The one silver lining would be if said friends would start to support real ballet. But I don't know if that will happen. I'm old enough not to be and feel so disillusioned. But I think that the high arts are not always easy for people to grasp.

I always enjoy your posts, Haglund (and the never-ending supply of fabulous footwear).

Hi Marie and thanks for your comment. FYI there are clips of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake on YouTube if you're interested in getting a taste of the production.

Haglund agrees that it can be difficult to introduce adults to ballet, particularly if they are not already fans of classical music or opera or art. You have to be devious. For men, oftentimes a few judiciously placed or emailed photos of Veronika Part will perk the ears. For women, photos of Marcelo Gomes as Othello or Bocca and Ferri in Manon can stir them into allowing you to buy a ticket for them. But Haglund has found that he nearly ALWAYS has to buy the first couple of tickets for any newbie. Sometimes you just have to put the person in a cab and not tell him where you're going. Take a circuitous route to Lincoln Center; then throw a hood over his head, cuff 'em, and drag him into the theater. You do what ya gotta do.

If it wasn't for seeing Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake", I wouldn't be typing in your comments section. I first encountered it at the end of the movie "Billy Elliot" where the title character as an adult dances the lead in the MB production.

I saw it on tour here in Los Angeles was blown away by the last 10 minutes (I liked the rest too but not to that degree). The image of all those hunky male swans devouring the Swan on that huge bed as the Prince watches helplessly is seared in my memory.

MB's SL was my gateway drug to becoming the casual ballet queen that I am.

Hi Henry. Thanks much for your comment. Love the metaphor of SL being a gateway drug. I hope you get the opportunity to see the (Angel)Corella Ballet Castilla y Leon which will be in Los Angeles Nov 5-7 and in Santa Barbara on Nov 8. It is one of the most musically diverse and choreographically diverse programs to be touring the U.S. right now. Unfortunately, the company passed up NYC this year - they were here last year to great acclaim. If you get the chance to see them, let us know what you think.


I remember now that I have seen snippets of choreography on Youtube. Promptly forgot about the experience till you reminded me. I'll still be skipping the "show."

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