My friend Steve sent this terrific musical dance video. Enjoy. Please notice how deeply you see ballet training in so many of the dancers we recognize.
Here it is: https://youtu.be/GC9tnARzIbU
The second time I watched it, I thought more particularly about ballet and, then, memories of performances unfurled in my mind.
With all the turmoil in the world, this secondary flood included a memory of seeing The Green Table, or Der Grüne Tisch, performed by the Stuttgart ballet during a period when John Cranko, director and choreographer of the Stuttgart Ballet, was exploring the expression of profoundly important political views through the company’s repertoire. This ballet was created by German ballet dancer and choreographer Kurt Jooss. Its roots are in the times of the early 1930s when Hitler was coming to power. Jooss was fascinated by the medieval dance of death. He saw the destruction of war as a folly. He believed that the only victor was death itself. Jooss himself danced the role of Death for a number of years.
The Green Table depicts a generic, archetypical war, one in which those whose posture at the green table precipitate conflict, while those who fight are the casualties. They meet death before the process comes full circle. The ballet won first prize in 1932 at the International Competition of Choreography in Paris.
To this day I can still visualize the dance of war when I saw it the first time on stage in Stuttgart.
Wikipedia and the New York Times can offer helpful introductions to The Green Table, if readers are inclined to watch or would simply like to know more.
“The Green Table,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Green_Table
“The Green Table: Jooss’s Anti-War Ballet,” https://www.nytimes.com/1982/12/13/arts/tv-the-green-table-jooss-s-antiwar-ballet.html
This video captures an entire performance of the ballet by the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Fair warning: It is 37 minutes long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxJsITxObU4.
For some folks, ballet finds a way to implant memories. For others, so does music in general. So do certain paintings. For some, a poem does the same. We hope you partake in the power of artistic expression in some form today. Revive a memory. Implant a new one.
To end this dedication, we invite you to take just two minutes and view Spanish prima ballerina Marta Cinta González Saldaña, an Alzheimer’s victim, as music enables her to reach deep into her implanted memory and relive her dancing in Swan Lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlAXKJfesBM.
The video was posted by Música Para Despertar (Music to Awaken), a Spanish charity that uses music therapy to help patients with dementia (“‘A Dancer Will Always Be a Dancer’: Prima Ballerina With Alzheimer’s Remembers Swan Lake,” https://www.beingpatient.com/marta-gonzalez-saldana-prima-ballerina-alzheimers-swan-lake/).
Please be safe during this Thanksgiving Week. Happy Sunday.
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