Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ballet Movies - Like Steampunk Movies?

I love ballet movies. The abundance of movies available now is of great interest to me, and I'm sure it is for most dancers.

It is not possible to get around the world, see all the dance festivals, or travel to catch all the ballet touring companies every year. Yet, while collecting ballet movies, I feel like I just lucked out.

I bought a "deal" package of 4 ballet movies recently. Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. I only bought it because The Nutcracker is Maurice Bejart's production, which I had not seen. The others...well I can always watch another one, whoever.

The "Swan Lake" was special because Evelyn Hart danced Odette/Odile. I had not seen her in that role, so it was a nice surprise for me.

Secondly, I watched "Romeo and Juliet", choreography by Angelin Preljocaj, with the Opera National De Lyon, filmed in 1992. Cool. That's a company that has not graced my neighborhood. I knew it was a neoclassical style.

Steam punk movies? I may have seen three before - "Dune" designed by Tony Masters and Carlo Rimbaldi; City of Lost Children" designed by set designer Jean Rabasse and artistic director Caro (and coincidentally both scores were by Angelo Badalamenti); and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" with set designer Andy Thomson - all steam punky designers...

Well, this "Romeo and Juliet" has the flavor of steam punk movies and it is moody and powerful. None of the lush Italian wealth of the power families, but very strong emotionally. I did not think I would like the modern choreography - having been partial to John Cranko's - yet with the Prokofiev score, it was captivating.

I did not assimilate what I was looking at immediately. This production re-invents some of the characterization, trimming down the cast and events.

When I realized I was watching a Steam Punk Movie I sat back and enjoyed it. The wall guards with the German Shepherd were a chilling touch.

I love old movies - probably all ballet movies!