- Rep Power
A ballet queston
I'm watching Ovation's "Battle of the Nutcrackers"--a week of various interpretations with a vote for your favorite at the end.
This triggered a very old question that bugged me for years. Somewhere around junior high (way back when school was elementary to junior high & senior high) I read about Petipa's original choreo. The book stated he choreographed the dances & then told Tchaikovsky
he needed exactly so many bars of music for waltz or whatever rhythm.
In my old age this concept is driving me bats--how can anyone choreograph without music?? And how could ANYBODY tell Pyotr Ilych what to compose???
To any one whose interest is ballet: has anyone choreographed non-existent music & then told the composer what to write???? Or am I merely delusional?? I think the book was histories of the great ballets--or great ballet companies. If it strikes a chord with anybody, I'd really appreciate a reply.
I'm not a ballet person but I am a modern dancer/choreographer. People choreograph "to" music that hasn't been written yet all the time. Generally there is discussion about what mood the dance is meant to have, sometimes ideas about where certain elements should be, but the composer creates their own music. Composer brings drafts of music in throughout the creation process so the dance is evolving just as the music is.
There are some choreographers/composers who work more separately, of course.
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It can be that a choreographer choreographes without music. When there is a concept, a drama, a story to tell, steps and moves can be found only based on the message the choreographer wants to address. It's like theater. The music can be added and composed at the same time to follow the steps / mood requirements.
It's an artistic work, music doesn't have to prevail necessarely, although it's not common and done only for a case where the choreography needs to follow a very precise idea of the moves and the mood to translate.
It can be done the same for figure skating when the skater has planned specific elements to fulfill athletic issues and wants the music to enhanced those specific moves. It was done for Candeloro whose musics were several times made specifically for his programs.
It's a costly process since one has to have a composer working for oneself vs an already composed music that is totally free of charge. So that's why IMO it's not common to create a music after the choreography is done.
Did T&D sometimes have music written to fit a program they had already created? I seem to recall a tv special before Lillehammer that followed the process of developing their programs in this way.
It's also done for movies all the time - music is composed (or cut) to enhance the action, rather than making the action fit an existing piece of music.
I have been watching Ovations Nutcracker battle also. Could someone explain tonights (Tues) Cassa Noisette Circus performance? Did it have anything at all to do with the original story? What was with the guy in 'penis pants'? Parts of it were entertaining, but some of it was disturbing or just plain wierd. Although I have never danced, I have watched a lot of ballet (season ticket holder for over 20 years at the Pennsylvania Ballet) and this production left me scratching my head!