Monday, 20 June 2011

The Green Table

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5.

Via MetaFilter, an example of the excellence of the Internet:

The Green Table: A Dance of Death
Kurt Jooss' lament for the futility of war, The Green Table: A Dance of Death in Eight Scenes is a masterpiece of modern dance that premiered in 1932--just month's before Hitler's rise to power would propel Europe inexorably toward chaos for the second time in as many generations. A performance by the Joffrey Ballet is available on YouTube in five parts.

The Green Table is an astonishingly innovative ballet for its time. Accompanied by a fairly minimalist single-piano score, it broke many ballet conventions (for instance, by avoiding points, and dancers making use of flexed feet).  It begins with politicians (Gentlemen in Black) posturing around a green table, before proceeding to six scenes of war presided over by a barbarously-dancing skeletal Death (The Farewells, The Battle, The Partisan, The Refugees, The Brothel, and The Aftermath), before finally returning to the politicans.  I'm by no means a ballet fan, but I recommend it; I've only seen it once before, on TV decades back, and find it gripping. (I'm also chuffed to have found a dance piece that Clare, who knows about these things, had never seen).

- Ray

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