National Dance Week 2012


Get on board … or maybe Get on the Floor … for National Dance Week!

April 20th to April 29th

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Discussion of the Most Popular Ballets # 2 Swan Lake from The Cleveland Ballet


Swan Lake The Cleveland BalletIn our Discussion of the Most Popular Ballets we move to #2 Swan Lake:

Swan Lake was composed by Tchaikovsky in 1875 through 1876.  It premiered on February 20, 1877 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow under the name “The Lake of the Swans”.  There is some controversy concerning the exact origins of the story: the libretto is loosely based on “Der geraubte Schleier” (The Stolen Veil) by German author Johann Karl August Musäus but the story is also close to the Russian folktale “The White Duck”.

Swan Lake is the most technically and emotionally challenging classical ballet. Its music far exceeded its time, noting that many of its early performers claimed it was too difficult and complex to dance to. Much is unknown of its original production, but its revised production by the famous choreographers Petipa and Ivanov is the base of the many versions we see today. Swan Lake will always be held as the standard of classical ballets and will be performed throughout the centuries to come.

THE STORY:  Swan Lake is the story of the Man-Bird and Evil Sorcerer Rothbart who turns the Princess Odette into a swan.   Meanwhile, Prince Siegfried’s birthday is to be celebrated at the Palace with much fanfare and entertainment.  During the birthday celebrations the Queen gives her son a crossbow and also tells him that he is now of age and expected to marry.  Later Prince Siegfried sets out to hunt swans with his mother’s present.

At the lake Rothbart disappears into the forest as he sees Prince Siegfried approaching the lake.  There the Prince encounters Odette, Queen of the Swans, whose captivating beauty him.  Rothbart reappears causing Odette to flee with the Prince following her.  The Prince again returns to the lake still seeking Odette; he finds her and promises his love for her forever when Rothbart again appears and steals Odette away.  Prince Siegfried is left abandoned and saddened at the lakeside.
Now a formal celebration is held in honor of Prince Siegfried’s birthday with guests from everywhere and the presentation by the Queen of six princesses from whom to select a bride.  Prince Siegfried’s heart remains loyal to Odette.  The evil Rothbart disguises his daughter Odile as Odette and presents her to the Prince.  Among many dances and the celebration, Siegfried and Odile dance together.  Siegfried come to think that Odile is his true love and pledges his love to her breaking his promise to Odette.  Rothbart shows Odette that Prince Siegfried’s promise has been broken and Rothbart and Odile leave.  Prince Siegfried’s desperately searches for and finds Odette and begs for her forgiveness and the entire court is confused and bewildered.

Odette returns to the lake followed by Siegfried who begs her forgiveness.  Then Rothbart again appears reminding Prince Siegfried of his promise to Odile followed by a terrible fight.  Odette can no longer accept the confusion and turmoil and throws herself into the lake followed by Siegfried where together the lovers both drown.  The act of Prince Siegfried and Odette destroys Rothbart and his evil and eternal love prevails.

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Discussion of the Most Popular Ballets – 1 The Nutcracker from The Cleveland Ballet


The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.  The story is of a young girl who has dreams of a Prince, a Nutcracker, and a terrible battle against a Seven-Headed Mouse King.  The ballet, though following the Hoffman story, more closely follows the revised story by Alexander Dumas.

The Party Scene: On Christmas Eve in a palatial home The Nutcrackerthere is a Christmas tree as beautiful as any has ever been.  The Stahlbaums, including their children, Clara and Fritz, are welcoming their family and friends.  One friend, Drosselmeyer, arrives with two life-sized dolls adored by everyone in attendance.  The children are given presents and Fritz, jealous of the “more beautiful” present given Clara, grabs her nutcracker and breaks it to Clara’s great consternation.  Drosselmeyer however mysteriously repairs the Nutcracker like a magician with a handkerchief. The party ends and everyone is off to bed but Clara who returns to the tree and falls asleep holding on to her Nutcracker.

The Fight Scene: The clock strikes midnight, Clara shrinks, the toys around the tree find life and soon the Mouse King and an army of mice are at battle with the Nutcracker and his army of toy soldiers.  The Nutcracker and toy soldiers cannot resist the onslaught of the mice and are captured.  Clara comes to the rescues throwing her slipper and, with great precision, striking the Mouse King in the head.  The mice retreat with the body of their king.

The Land of Snow: Dancing snowflakes in an enchanted forest welcome Clara and the Nutcracker who has turned into a Prince.

The Land of Sweets: Clara is taken to the Land of Sweets where she and the Nutcracker turned Prince encounter the Sugar Plum Fairy who, after hearing of the great battle, honors them with the rewards of dances: the Spanish Dance, the Arabian Dance, the Russian Dance, the Chinese Dance, the Mirliton Dance and the Waltz of Flowers.  The final dance is a handsome Pas De Deux by the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier.

The Dream Ends: Clara wakes up from her sleep, still under the Christmas tree with her cherished Nutcracker.

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Cleveland School of Dance Spring Performance


Cleveland School of Dance
Cleveland School of Dance Spring PerformanceSpring Performance
Sunday May 15, 2011
3:00 p.m.

$10.00 General Admission
(call 216-320-9000)

Kulas Auditorium at the

Cleveland Institute of Music
11021 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Cleveland School of Dance is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization offering quality dance training and intensive instruction in the highly structured and disciplined techniques of dance, ballet in particular, and its related arts creating a refined sensitivity and appreciation for the unique art of classical ballet among the students of both the Community Ballet Division and the Professional Ballet divisions.

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National Dance Week 2011


National Dance Week 2011

National Dance Week 2011

Get on board … or maybe Get on the Floor … for National Dance Week!

April 22nd through May 1st 2011

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Visit Dance Bloggers … bringing dance bloggers together


http://www.dancebloggers.com is a great place for all things dance!  Dance Bloggers … bringing dance bloggers together.

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The Most Popular Ballets of All Time …


In the coming posts we will have commentary on the ballets listed below.  For starters, hHere are the most popular ballets of all time:

1. The Nutcracker  –  Composed in 1891 by Tchaikovsky, this timeless classic is the most performed ballet of the modern era. It wasn’t until 1944 when the first production of The Nutcracker was performed in America by the San Francisco Ballet. Since then it has become a tradition to perform during the holiday season, as it rightly should. This great ballet not only has some of the most recognizable music, but its story brings joy to children and adults alike.

2. Swan Lake  –  Swan Lake is the most technically and emotionally challenging classical ballet. Its music far exceeded its time, noting that many of its early performers claimed it was too difficult and complex to dance to. Much is unknown of its original production, but its revised production by the famous choreographers Petipa and Ivanov is the base of the many versions we see today. Swan Lake will always be held as the standard of classical ballets and will be performed throughout the centuries to come.

3. A Midsummer’s Night Dream  –  A Midsummer’s Night Dream has been adapted to many styles of art. However, in 1962, George Balachine premiered his first full length (entire evening) ballet. A Midsummer’s Night Dream, a Shakespeare classic, served as the base of Balachine’s ballet. He gathered the music of Mendelssohn who composed an overture for A Midsummer’s Night Dream and subsequent incidental music in 1843. A Midsummer’s Night Dream is a popular and enjoyable ballet that almost anybody will love.

4. Coppélia  –  Coppélia was composed by Delibes and choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon. The story was written by Arthur Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter after E.T.A. Hoffman’s Der Sandmann. Coppélia is a light hearted tale portraying man’s conflict between idealism and realism, art and life. The comic ballet features bright music and lively dancing. Its world premier with the Paris Opera was successful in 1871 and remains successful today; it is still in the theater’s repertoire.

5. Peter Pan  –  Peter Pan is a marvelous ballet fit for the entire family. The dancing, scenery and costumes are as colorful as the story itself. Peter Pan is relatively new to the world of ballet. Because there is no “set in stone” way to perform the piece, it can be interpreted differently by each producer, choreographer and music director. Although each production may be different, the story remains without much variation – and that’s why it’s a classic.

6. The Sleeping Beauty  –  The Sleeping Beauty was Tchaikovsky’s first famous ballet. His music was just as important as the dancing! The story of The Sleeping Beauty is a perfect match for ballet – royal celebrations in a magnificent castle, the battle of good and evil and the triumphant victory of everlasting love. What more could you ask for? The choreography was created by world renowned Marius Pepita who also choreographed The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. This classic ballet will be performed as long as the world turns.

7. Cinderella
Many versions of Cinderella exist, but the most common are those that use Sergei Prokofiev’s score. Prokofiev began his work on Cinderella in 1940, but paused during World War II. He finished the score in 1945. In 1948, choreographer, Frederick Ashton staged a full-length production using Prokofiev’s music which turned out to be a huge success. Cinderella isn’t just a movie, it’s a ballet too, and it deserves equal amounts of attention.

Taken from http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/classicalmusic101/tp/topballets.htm

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