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Author Rizzo, Laura Katz
Title How "The Sleeping Beauty" awoke in Philadelphia: Classical ballet in the modern American context, historicizing the canon of classical ballet
book jacket
Descript 239 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-01, Section: A, page: 0009
Adviser: Kariamu Welsh
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Temple University, 2008
In this dissertation I historicize the concept of a classic or authentic work from the canon of classical ballet. I ask if one pure or definitive version of a classical work exists, and seek to modify the very concept of an authentic or "pure" reconstruction of such a classic. In this study I look at a ballet considered by many to be the jewel of the classical canon, The Sleeping Beauty, and examine that work in some of the many contexts in which it was performed. By examining the ballet (as well as the narrative from which the ballet was derived) in multiple contexts, I highlight both the variations and consistencies of meaning and content in the ballet's long history. Philosophical questions that I pose are about the nature of reconstruction, and I seek to answer some of these questions by looking specifically at the American premiere of The Sleeping Beauty, which took place in 1937 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Ballet, under the directorship of Catherine Littlefield, performed this production. I examine two subsequent productions of the ballet---often cited as the most perfect work of the classical ballet canon---that also took place in the city of Philadelphia. These performances, in 1965 and 2002, were danced by the Pennsylvania Ballet, with Barbara Weisberger directing the former and Roy Kaiser the latter. The study places these three performances within the industrial northeastern American context of the 1930s, 1960s and the 2000s, asking how this shifting context of the work affected---or did not affect---the aesthetic, meaning and experience of dancing in the ballet
I pursue this topic because of my fascination with classical ballet and its ongoing life in the 21st century. As a scholar, performer, teacher and choreographer of ballet, I am deeply concerned with how best to keep this art form alive and viable. By examining the ways in which a revered piece from the classical canon has been adapted to suit the changing contexts of its performance, I make concrete some of the complex philosophical ideas surrounding the idea of reconstruction of canonical classical works
I base some of my research on oral interviews conducted with dancers. I also analyze written documents such as newspaper reviews, book and magazine articles, scholarly essays and other commentary. In addition, I rely on iconographic evidence such as costume and set designs, photographs and clips of videotape from the historical performances in question. Lastly, I draw on my own embodied understanding of The Sleeping Beauty derived from dancing and staging sections of it, as well as my experience of observing two productions of the performances in question. These performances, danced by the Kirov-Maryinsky and Pennsylvania Ballet Companies, both took place in 2002. This multi-disciplinary approach to qualitative research helps me generate new insights into both The Sleeping Beauty and classical ballet in general
School code: 0225
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 69-01A
Subject Dance
Women's Studies
Alt Author Temple University
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