Some More Light

“It is not so much upon the number of exercises, as the care with which they are done, that progreses and skill depend.”
August Bournonville


Some More Light

Let us look at another piece by the same group, Jiri Kylian and the Nederlands Dans Theater. Before we saw emphasis on detail, we wanted to see the shapes of the hands and the sculpting of the bodies.

Now we see straight up Modern Ballet. It is 85% Ballet with a sprinkling of Modern influence. We see the Modern side when the strict Ballet is broken; perhaps in the wobbly legs or the lift that ends with a broken move. This is ideal because the piece is a funny piece.



The back drop is something called a “cyclorama”. Called a “cyc” for short and never “psyche”, this separates the vets from the noobs. That piece of fabric is huge with no seams! Typically it is a sheet with a scrim in front hanging on the same pipe.

The lighting breaks the Ballet rules as well with a Modern twist to help the humor. In color, we have advancing and receding colors. Blue is receding, red is advancing and green is neutral. We don’t use green much, it makes people look sick. The rule broken is that typically we use a sky blue background to give us receding depth and then warm colors (pale amber, maybe) to warm up the bodies so they advance and seem bigger, healthier and more to the front. In this piece, we don’t see the warm colors; instead we see a lot of lights cranked up to help push the humor.

We understand advancing and receding colors when we wear a red shirt and blue jeans. We want our top to look bigger but our butts to look smaller! We know now one reason why a red top or even a red dress can be so eye-catching; it is visually advancing right at you.

The lighting does follow basic rules. The more people you have on stage, the brighter it should be. Ballet is traditionally lots of side-light (high, middle and low positions) with a cyc to make it feel out doors. One follows the rules until we break them to make a point or to point out something. We can see how much side light there is by the darker line down the middle of the bodies or how bright their sides are which defines them in the space.

What a great piece to watch!

2 thoughts on “Some More Light

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