Friday, October 18, 2013

Shanghai Ballet's "La Sylphide"

Last night a friend of mine and I went to see the Shanghai Ballet's performance of "La Sylphide". For those who are not balettomanes, this is one of the oldest ballets, first staged in 1832. That version's choreography is lost to history, but the Danish version from 1836 is still performed today.

Compared to some ballets I've seen, this one seemed rather simple. Very few lifts (I remember ONE). That's not to say it was bad by any means, and there were some really nice individual performances. Some of the combinations performed by the corps were simple enough, though, that I could see us doing them in our Beginner II class. I kept finding myself distracted from the beauty of the ballet by trying to figure out each of the steps. Developpé devant, tendu, close fifth. Repeat once. Developpé derièrre to attitude with a demi-plié, close fifth. Repeat the sequence.

Some of that is useful to me, though. We've done some sequences of steps that seemed to me to be clumsy, as if taken from a vaudeville comedy song-and-dance routine. Seeing a similar sequence (in this case, a series of coupés) performed by professionals made me think, "So that's what that's supposed to look like!" I work from mental images of how something should look, so seeing it done properly as part of a longer combination helps me know how the step should be done.

Oh! I forgot to mention: it was fun! Sometimes details like that get lost in my analytical approach to this blog. But my friend and I enjoyed the performance.

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