Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Bad performance or good performance?

Guest dragonfly7

Recommended Posts

Guest dragonfly7

I am being treated to Swan Lake this Sunday at the Kodak Theater (LA) with the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet. Being new to ballet myself after a hiatus of 10 years, (two classes a week for 8 months now), and not being that young, I expect to be wowed by the performance. My question is, how do you tell if a performance was worth seeing -- what do you look out for, and how do you develop a critical eye? All these pro dancers earned their right to be onstage (and get paid for it!) but is there such a thing as a BAD performance by a professional company?


Just wondering.

Link to comment

Oh wow, what a lot of really hairy questions! The last is easiest. Yes, a professional ballet company CAN give a bad performance, and boy oh boy do audiences get sore about it when they see it. Fortunately, they are rather few and far between, and the ballet masters are generally peeved long before an audience picks up anything sour, and set it straight.


The Stanislavsky Nemirovitch-Danchenko Company is an old established Moscow organization and they can be counted on to give an exciting performance. You may not be seeing them to best advantage, as they often are not able to bring the full sets with which they perform in Moscow, but use a simplified "touring set". That should not compromise the dancing at all, however.


How do you develop an "eye"? Keep using it! If it tells you that you are pleased by what you see, then that's good. When it tells you that you are displeased by something, that's just as good. Your opinion is formed out of things with which you agree, and those with which you disagree. So keep going to ballets!

Link to comment

So many questions!


Oh yeah, even the best dancers/companies have bad performances, though it is a lot more noticeable if you have seen the same dancer/company many times (see below).


Was it "worth seeing"? Well, this is all in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes it is "worth seeing" a bad performance b/c it makes you appreciate the better ones and know the difference. Sometimes only one or a few dancers/parts are "worth seeing" but that makes it all worthwhile.


Example: in class recently we were doing turning sauts de basque, which were new for me and I was just not getting it. Soon after, I saw a performance in which there were lots of them, and voila! We did them last night and the memory of that performance just made it work. The funny thing is that I have no idea which performance it was.


Another example: the first time I saw Nina Ananiashvili dance (with Boston Ballet in Swan Lake ~10 years ago), my instant reaction was, "now I know the difference between a really good dancer and a star--she is a star". Saw her in DC 2x in one week a year or 2 ago. The first time I thought she was _awful_, though one of my teachers, seeing her for the first time (I think) thought she was great. The second time she was her "usual self" IMO. So it all depends on your perspective...


People are different in how much they can absorb from any one performance (not much, in my case). You could choose to try to focus on one thing or a few things (eg, arms, heads, upper body, feet, corps unity, jumps, whatever), or you could just watch and see what really stands out.

Link to comment

Dragonfly, some of these questions have been taken up in previous threads on the Discovering Ballet board, and if you haven't found them yet I wanted to draw your attention to them. (As you will see, I share many of your questions!) Many of our very knowledgeable and reflective members have posted their thoughts. Here's a link to the most recent one. The first post in that thread contains another link that is probably even more relevant to your questions.

Link to comment
Guest dragonfly7

Treefrog, I just read those threads, they gave me the answers I was looking for, thank you for posting the question in the first place...

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...