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News & Information

Ballet: May 2008 Archives

The Psychological Ballet

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Antony Tudor

Under Analysis: The Psychology of Tudor's Ballets

By Alastair Macaulay
New York Times

When the choreographer Antony Tudor, whose centenary is being celebrated this year, moved to America in 1939, the moment could not have been more right. He was known as the psychological choreographer, and he arrived when psychology entered American popular culture. In 1938 Fred Astaire played Ginger Rogers's psychoanalyst in "Carefree"; in 1942 Claude Rains steered Bette Davis back from a nervous breakdown in "Now, Voyager." Later Martha Graham would become yet more famous for the Greek myths she turned into modern-dance psychodramas, but that phase – like Hitchcock's (notably in "Spellbound," 1945) – had not yet arrived.

Back in 1936, however, in none-too-psychology-friendly London, Tudor created "Jardin aux Lilas" (sometimes called "Lilac Garden"), often labeled the first psychological ballet. Nobody played a psychiatrist in it, but its steps, gestures and phrases showed flickering aspects of repression, denial, private longing, heartbreak, personal conflict and hypocrisy, all against a setting both romantic (a garden with lilacs in full bloom at twilight) and conformist (with characters in Edwardian dress, middle-class and formal).

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/arts/dance/11maca.html

Ballet Thriving in San Francisco

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Is ballet's future in America?

San Francisco Ballet's New Works Festival has been warmly received by an eager public. It makes English ballet look secretive and cautious

By Judith Mackrell
Guardian

I was in San Francisco last week for the launch of San Francisco Ballet Company's New Works Festival. The levels of adrenaline and enthusiasm that were buzzing around put British ballet culture to shame.

It wasn't just that SFB were premiering an astonishing 10 new ballets over three successive days (compared to the two being offered by the Royal Ballet during their entire next season). It was that the city as a whole appeared to embrace ballet so energetically. This ambitious and expansive festival included choreography by Mark Morris, Paul Taylor and Christopher Wheeldon and a newly commissioned score from John Adams – yet most of the funding had been raised from local sponsors.

Read more about this at the Guardian website:

   http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/theatre/2008/05/ballets_future_is_in_america.html

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