Flower Power: 6 Famous Flower Scenes in Ballet

April showers bring May flowers…What’s your favorite ballet flower scene? Here are some memorable ones:

Rose Adagio—The Sleeping Beauty

Are flowers the way the to the heart? Not in this case. Princess Aurora doesn’t find true love with any of her rose-bearing suitors, but her dance with them is one of the most famous in all of ballet.

Garland Waltz—The Sleeping Beauty

Flowers, flowers everywhere! Presumably the village people didn’t suffer from allergies. Or perhaps some good fairy freed them from that curse… (This clip doesn’t show the entire stage, but I do like the close-up view of the Mariinsky’s version.)

Lilac Fairy’s Variation—The Sleeping Beauty

What floral-inspired magical creature saves the day and rocks a purple wig at the same time? The Lilac Fairy, of course! But, before all of the drama—a dance.

“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…”—Giselle

Spoiler alert: the flower tells the truth.

Le Jardin Animé—Le Corsaire

If you didn’t get enough flowers in the “Garland Waltz,” this scene in Le Cosaire basically blossoms into balletic botanical garden.

Waltz of the Flowers—The Nutcracker

Beautiful any time of year… Besides, there’s a good chance this music dances through your head all year anyway.

 

Scary Beautiful

Interesting observation about the Wilis

“Skeaping’s production is not necessarily less scary than others, but it conveys terror through beauty: the implacability of the Wilis is all the creepier when they are so soft and sylph-like.”

– Hanna Weibye, Giselle, English National Ballet, London Coliseum,

Paris Opera Ballet (another beauty-is-creepier version)

Fun Fact: What is “Gisellitis”?

Gisellitis Clara's Coffee Break 3
Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

What does George Balanchine’s term “Gisellitis” mean?

Robert Greskovic writes:

“Some observers choose to apply the word soft to ballet from the Romantic era. It’s not an inappropriate distinction, but it can be a trap, leading in the extreme (of both expectation and execution) to a limpness and/or droopiness that borders on the absurd. (Balanchine scoffed at a certain lugubriousness around the Old World ballet, and even created the term Gisellitis to describe the “disease”).”

Ballet 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet, p. 301

Super Ballet Ads

Since the Super Bowl has everyone talking about ads, I thought I’d be interesting to consider what makes super ballet ads. Advertising is an art, after all, just like dance. So, here are the qualities that I believe create strong, memorable video ballet promos-

  • Insightfully condensed – Captures the essence of the ballet in a couple of minutes or less.
  • New footage – Offers something different than a montage of past performance clips – not that performance montages can’t be effective – but I like the fresh feel of something filmed specifically for the ad.
  • Accurate tone – Doesn’t drift into overly-dramatic-epic-movie-trailer territory or make the ballet seem like something it isn’t.
  • Uses music from the ballet itself – It just offers a more authentic representation of the production.
  • No voice over – For ballet ads, visuals and music just seem to speak louder than words.

Here are a few examples below. What do you like in ballet ads? What are some good ads I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Giselle, Queensland Ballet

George Balanchine’s Nutcracker, Alabama Ballet

Swan Lake, Nashville Ballet