Cult Blog Post of the Week

Hot on the heels of the ballet reconstruction trend which hit London this summer (thanks to the Bolshoi and the Mikhailovsky Ballet), You Dance Funny’s Steve Ha brainstorms about authenticity in ballet. He illustrates his point with Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and the changes this piece has undergone throughout the years:

…what exactly does authenticity mean to the world of ballet?  Rather than lead you to believe I have some coherent answer stewing in me brains, I’m just going to say up front there really doesn’t seem to be one.  Some ballets do well with change while others simply can’t be touched.  There’s no clear formula to decide what’s allowed and what isn’t and it seems no great choreographer’s work, whether classical or contemporary is completely invulnerable to change.  There’s no gauge to say whether any of the changes are good or bad, but we discuss these changes anyway and that friends, is what makes art history so special in comparison to plain history…

Nobody knew the importance of change better than Balanchine (which is so ironic since the Balanchine Trust champions authenticity, terrorizing the masses with an iron fist).  In my own obsession with (or as I like to call it, “amateur studies”) of the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, I’ve seen many of these changes and not just in historic versus contemporary performances, but within older performances that included changes made by Balanchine himself…

Read the full post at You Dance Funny, So Does Me

1 Comment

  • August 26, 2010


    Yeah it can be hard to know whether a performance can be re-worked to suit a new audience etc…I have seen some AWFUL interpretations in my time.