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Suckage at the Kennedy Center.

Hey, emzebel (and anyone else who cares)! We saw the Kirov Ballet doing La Bayadère, and it was NOT GOOD.

Why, you ask? Because it was so racist, or culturally insensitive (as A put it), or both. The story is based on a Sanskrit legend, so it was this horrifying caricature of the Indian caste system. The costumes were pretty awful (shiny, shiny, cheap satin), the sets were bleh, and the dancing was not terribly inventive. There were some great, athletic, spinny bits, but overall it was just lackluster. Very sad.

Then we were more saddened, when upon arriving back to our neighborhood, we found that all the restaurants were closed by 11. Boo!

Hopefully our next trip to the Kennedy Center will be better.


Jan. 29th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
La Bayadere
I saw La Bayadere this summer, the Bolshoi version. I was able to overlook the cultural moronicness of the show, because it's all this 19th century "orientalism" thing where they didn't know anything about the East, really, and just thought of it all as one big jumble, but they were excited by it all and its newness and wanted to reflect it in their shows. Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shinto, it was all just one big pile of "them what is not Christian European folk." So when I see a 19th century show about an Eastern culture (The Mikado, Madame Butterfly, Turandot, Le Corsaire, Lakme), I just have a little laugh about their ignorance, and enjoy the art as it is - a fantasy about a culture they know nothing about any more than Shakespeare knew about fairies when he wrote "Midsummer Night's Dream."

I loved La Bayadere although I was having a hard time dealing with the fact it just wasn't any real Asian culture - I tried to make things match up and just had to finally give up and figure it was more likely drawing for Thailand than India no matter what it pretended to be doing. I loved the dance of the golden idol (nice YouTube video here, though it reminds me of the horrid "little black children" costumes) and of course the land of the dead thing at the end is great, the most famous scene from the ballet.

BTW there was also a thing for "exotic Scottish culture" in the 19th century, with Lucia di Lammermoor and Les Sylphides (I think) as some of the works that came out of it, and they're both profoundly clueless about how Scotland actually was ... it's just a big ol' fantasy version.
Jan. 30th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Re: La Bayadere
I see your point, but this was just too painful to be believed. I did like the dance of the golden idol (but case in point, ours slipped twice while doing the "landing on the knee" bit), and we didn't have the distraction of little black kids running around.

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