The List

Similar to those “Books I’ve read lists” I’ve seen (and even attempted, but was way too embarassed about my literary preferrences…), except about ballet. The ballets I’ve watched (yes, youtube counts) the ballets I would like to watch and perhaps a few sentences on each.  I’ll update as I watch more ballet!

Ballets I’ve Watched. (The whole way through, not just part of it. Live or youtube.)

Swan Lake

Clearly my most watched, ballet. I’ve watched it literally countless times ( I have lost count, but I’ve got parts of it memorized. Not all of it – yet – but a good amount (particularly the lake scene, and much of act 1 as well. Like, play me the music and I know what they’re dancing.), mostly on youtube so far. I’ve also watched it broadcast live on Fathom Events, and once live by the Grand Russian Ballet.

Anyway, I’ve watched different versions (Bolshoi, Royal Ballet, ABT, Marinsky, Matthew Bourne) on youtube, and have enjoyed them all.

The live version by Grand Russian Ballet was excellent. It was a smaller theater production than what I’ve seen before, so it was scaled back a little. Meaning, during the first act party scene there were much less dancers on stage. I kind of liked this about it – more focus on the dancers who were actually dancing. And yes – the jester was absolutely amazing!

The scene by the lake was ruined by an inconsiderate woman in the audience who seriously pulled out her cell phone and started recording and taking pictures (with flash!) of the show. So distracting and annoying!  She started doing this from the first moment Rothbard appeared up until the Dance of the little Swans. Luckily, security finally was able to intervene after the act ended, and the rest of the ballet went on without incident. But obviously some people don’t know how to behave in the theater…

Another thing I liked about this live performance was that durig the part where the prince realizes that Odile is not Odette, rather than having her appear in a screen behind they had another dancer play the part in an upstage corner. I thought that was kind of cool.

It was also one of the versions where Rothbard gets defeated by getting his “wing” broken or pulled off. Honestly, I don’t like that version – I feel like it’s ridiculous for such a powerful character to be defeated so easily. I’m actually partical to the version where Rothbard emerges victorious, or Odette and the Prince jump off the cliff.

Gissele

Watched it on youtube, once, and Fathom Events broadcast, also once.  At first, all I could think is that the story irritates me. I watched it with Boyfriend and he said he totally understood  why the rich cheater guy got to live while the poor guy died – because he was a gossip and drama starter. Ok… but that other guy still seriously messed up… Anyway, the whole second act just depressed me, honestly. I know this is a somewhat popular ballet, so there’s got to be something I’m missing here. The dancing itself was good, so there’s that.

The second time I watched it  (by the Bolshoi, broadcast), I feel like I was able to understand a little more. I got it that it was about Giselle’s love, and how she was so pure of heart that her love crossed the boundaries of life and death. So, in a way, I could aspire to be more like Giselle, to show forgiveness in the face of betrayal and all that.

The first act is still not that exciting to me, although the Peasant Pas de Deux was impressive.  From the second act, I really enjoyed watching the Queen of the Willis, and how imposing and commanding she appeared. The corps dancing is very good as well, but romantic tutus are not really my thing – I like to see legs and footwork more.

Don Quixote

Watched it a couple times (youtube), though I do see myself watching it again. Would love to watch this live! I’d say it’s up there in my top three favorite ballets. Previously to watching it the whole way through I’d watched clips of variations, and they were always impressive. The nice thing is, even if you’ve seen clips of variations, there’s still plenty of other amazing dancing to watch. Even what the corps does looks super impressive. The men specially demonstrate their incredible jumping technique in this ballet. I guess what I’m saying is I’d definitely recommend it….

Some favorite parts include: this dance where the female dancer is dancing around these little goblets on the floor that keep being rearranged, the entire dream sequence, and the whole last act.

Coppelia

Watched once. Decided to watch because I was curious, and wanted to broaden my ballet-horizons. Let’s see… it reminded me of pinocchio a little bit. The story, I mean, the dancing itself was good. I should probably give it a rewatch at some point.

Beauty and the Beast

Watched it live by a small local company, and was very impressed.  The dancing was amazing (lots of partnering lifts I’d never seen before), specially the second act – practically non-stop solos.  Would go watch it again…

A part that really impressed me (not really dance-related, more costume-related) was when the Beast “transformed” to human onstage. As the Beast he had been wearing a large headpiece/mask, and whe he took it off it was like “where did it go?”

The Dying Swan

Watched it on youtube, with different ballerinas dancing the role.  I tend to prefer the more classical dancers more in this role. I mean, Svetlana Zakharova’s incredibly flexible back is impressive and all, but I love the way Maya Plisetskaya danced this role better. Oh, and it annoys me when people think this ballet is a part of Swan Lake and they’re willing to argue about it!

The Nutcracker

Watched a performance live (small local company), as well as a couple times on youtube (can’t remember which versions. Oh, and the Matthew Bourne version as well).

I like the second act, specially the Arabian Dance, Russian Dance, Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Waltz of the Flowers – I guess pretty much the whole second act. The first act… I could do without it, but then I guess the ballet wouldn’t be a story, just awesome dancing completely without context.  The weird thing is, I felt the same way about it live. I found the majority of the first act dragged on, then the Waltz of the Snowflakes came on, and it was really good, but I was almost about to get restless.

Then in December 2015 I watched a performance from a different small local company. Even though their dancing may not have been as skillful, I actually found the first act to be quite entertaining. Instead of a Rat King there was a Rat Queen (en pointe), and so many cute little kids as mice. Also, instead of 1 doll in the party scene there were four and they all danced very impressively.

This is not to say that I loved it through and through. I didn’t like how they changed the choreography of the Russian Dance way too much (they had female dancers only do it), though Arabian was excellent. I really liked the Sugar Plum Fairy’s dance, but during the pas de deux the cavalier almost dropped her during a lift.

I got to confess, something I really like about these small local shows is that afterwards the cast will hang out in the lobby and you get to accurately see what size the dancers are.

Manon

Very long ballet, though I did enjoy myself. Watched it on the big screen, technically “LIve”,but not in person, by the Royal Ballet (broadcast live).  Very good story, and the dancing was amzing. Not the kind of ballet I’d watch with my mom though… but I would recommend it.

I wrote a blog post about it back when I first watched it:

https://balletandorbust.wordpress.com/14/10/17/an-evening-at-the-ballet/

– Ballanchine’s Jewels

Watched a Fathom Events broadcast, and it was my first time seeing it in it’s entirety. My favorite part of the three was Rubies, followed by Emeralds. I really, really, really wanted to like Diamonds (especially since the music is by Tchaikovski), but with the exception of the finale it just didn’t draw me in the way the other parts did. Rubies was amazing though. Even my Boyfriend found it entertaining, and he’s definitely not a ballet watcher (though I make him!).

The Four Seasons

The very first ballet I watched the whole way, actually. It’s pretty short, just the length of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi – which I love – so that made it a logical choice of what to watch.

The Lady of the Camellias

Watched this on a Fathom Events broadcast, by the Bolshoi.

It was amazing. It reminded me a lot of Manon, which apparently the story is based on? The dancing was excellent, both the principal dancers and the corps. This was also some of the best acting I’ve seen during a ballet as well. Svetlana Zakharova really put on an excellent performance in this ballet. I think I prefer her in these kind of ballets as opposed to more classical ones.

– The Taming of the Shrew

Another one of those Bolshoi broadcast events. I was somewhat familar with the story (meaning: I read the play in high school, or at least parts of it…) but even then I had some troublefollowing along, who was who and all that. That said, the dancing was amazing! The ending was somewhat anticlimatic – Boyfriend and I were like ‘Is that it?’ – but I still had an enjoyable ballet watching experience.

– Spartacus

When I saw the trailer for this I knew I had to watch it.  I didn’t even know previously that this was a ballet, but I loved Spartacus the movie (I remember watching it in sixth grade during history class and for whatever reason I thought it was the most romantic thing ever…) and I’m a big fan of choreographed fight scenes in ballet, which I figured there would be, so yeah…Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

There are a lot of male roles in this ballet. I mean, compared to how during most ballets I’ve watched there’s like two or three male roles and the rest of the guys just kind off stand around and watch. Not this ballet, lots of guys dancing in this one.

The scenes with the Roman guy (the theater did not provide a program this time, so I forget the names of characters) and his wife (danced by Svetlana Zakharova – seems like almost everything the Bolshoi broadcasts of Fathom events has her dancing in it) were especially interesting because, as Boyfriend noted, the pas de deux between them seemed to be focused on him, as opposed to the female character. I really liked how he stayed in character during his bows and everything, he kust had such a commanding presence. Ok, I thought he was super hot…

The dancers dancing Spartacus and his wife were also amazing. The acting by the dancer who played his wife was also incredible. In short, this ballet is definitely on my rewatch list.

– Sleeping Beauty

So, I finally got around to watching this, all two hours plus of it (I watched the Bolshoi version).

It’s definitely growing on me. But then, I’ve found that pretty much all ballet eventually does.

Anyway, I love Act 3, with all the cute fairy tale characters variations (little red riding hood and the cat dance, especially), and the dance of the jewels. The pas de deux at Aurora’s wedding is just gorgeous – the music (so beautiful), the costumes (so sparkly), everything. I found a version by the Royal Ballet (just act 3) that is just lovely,  in addition to watching th Bolhoi version.

Act 1, all those fairy variations are so fun to watch (and look super hard to do). I have to admit, I still feel a little bored during the parts when there’s no actual dancing, just the dancers entering the stage as some form of parade or something. And the costumes (I’m talking everyone wearing those 17th or 18th century white wigs and tricorner hats) are still somewhat distracting for me from the whole experience. The dancing itself is great though, very classical.

Still, I’d love to watch the Matthew Bourne version.

Want to watch

Alice in Wonderland

Saw the trailer for the movie theater screening and it looked really good. Didn’t have the opportunity to go watch it though.

La Sylphide

Started to watch this on youtube a while ago, but got caught up on something and didn’t get to watch it all. Now that I tried looking for it I can’t find it! Will keep looking…

Romeo and Juliet

Was actually about to watch this (Royal Ballet version, I believe, but could have been Bolshoi) at one of those live screening things. We showed up and the theater and they canceled it at the last minute, said there was a problem with the projector. They gave us free tickets in to use for our next visit (that we used eight months later to watch Giselle), and said we could watch anything for free that day (I declined, as I’m not really interested in watching movies at the theater).

That said, I’ve read/heard good things, so I will put this on my priority list.

-Midsummer’s Night Dream

My junior high put on the play version (I didn’t get to be in it), so I am just the tiniest bit fixated…

Cinderella

Want to watch, if only because we kept dancing to music from it during ballet class, and I want to put a picture to the music.

La Esmeralda

Saw a clip from a variation and was impressed. Would like to watch the whole thing.

Sleeping Beauty?

Watched it. See above.

I’ve tried watching this ballet several times on youtube, and have never gotten past the beginning.  I don’t know why, it just bores me (and honestly, I’m not really a fan of all of the nobility party scenes in the first act of ballets). I have watched some variations, like Rose Adagio or Bluebird variation and enjoyed them, so I would like to one day get through the whole thing.

Someday.

 

Got any suggestions for me? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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