Fun Fact: Ballet Class Isn’t What it Used to Be…Thank Goodness!

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I need an ice pack just thinking about this…

A ballet barre from the 1820s:

“48 pliés followed by 128 grand battement, 96 petit battement glissé, 128 ronds de jambes sur terre and 128 en l’air, and ending finally with 128 petit battement sur le cou-de-pied. One inevitable consequence of this extreme training was a sharp rise in injuries.”

– Jennifer Homans, Apollo’s Angels, 2010, p. 129-130

Oh, and all of this was repeated in center. Yikes. Do not try at home.

Extreme Ballet Training Image Clara's Coffee Break
Created with Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image – Not a Painting of an 1820s Ballet Class, in Case You’re Wondering 😉

The Impact of the Color of Costumes on Balanchine’s Waltz of the Flowers…

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Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Image.

Balanchine’s Waltz of the Flowers is my favorite version of this dance I’ve seen thus far. In my 2015 artsBHAM review of Alabama Ballet‘s production I wrote:

“The “Waltz of the Flowers” is the choreographic highlight of the ballet — a continual folding and unfolding, circling and whirling, drawing together and drifting apart. […] In Dewdrop, Balanchine may well have created the most choreographically memorable character in the ballet with her springing, gliding, at-home-in-the-air movements.”

Beyond the masterful choreography, the color of the costumes and the warmth or coolness or exuberance or reserve or anything in between that their palette evokes unavoidably plays a role in the overall impact of the dance.

Here are videos of different wardrobe interpretations of the Waltz of the Flowers from six productions of Balanchine’s Nutcracker. (Not among these videos are Alabama Ballet since their costumes are based on the Karinska designs used by New York City Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet because I couldn’t find a clip of their Waltz of Flowers, but here’s a photo.)

What do these hues suggest to you? What do they help highlight in the music and choreography? Which do you like best? Or least? Are there colors that you think would work better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments…

New York City Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet

Miami City Ballet

Oregon Ballet Theatre

Pennsylvania Ballet

Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet