Do you know of a group that would like to learn more about ballet in a fun-filled, not intimidating or elitist way? I give talks to seniors' residences, lifelong learning programs, and more. Even those who think they don't like ballet come away loving it! Please get in touch if you think your group would enjoy one of the talks listed below.
"Katherine Barber is a gem and you really need to keep her coming back. I have liked most of the lecturers I have encountered through LinR but she really is tops! She knows her subject so well and uses a variety of means to really make it come alive. The 2 hours just fly by and leave you wishing for more." -- Carleton University Learning in Retirement student
BALLET LAUGHS: THE SURPRISING COMIC SIDE OF A CLASSICAL ART
1-hour talkRomance, escapism, beauty, athleticism -- those are ballet's acknowledged fortes. But comedy? Surprisingly, there are more hilarious moments in ballet than you might expect.
MORE BALLET LAUGHS
More proof that ballet can be a laff riot
BALLET GOES POP!
Ballet isn't always performed to classical music. From ragtime to the Rolling Stones, from the Andrews Sisters to Sinatra, some of ballet's most enjoyable repertoire has been inspired by popular music.
JOY OF DANCE
The most joyful moments in the ballet repertoire, which will make you feel as elated as the performers.
JEWISH CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD OF BALLET
4 x 2-hour lectures
In the high-art world of ballet, Jewish dancers, choreographers, composers, designers, and company founders have all left a significant mark. Find out how ballet as we know it would not have been the same without them. These lectures, illustrated by entertaining video clips focusing on the huge variety of what constitutes “ballet”, will introduce you to some of the well-known and less-well-known Jewish contributors to this art form.
Classical ballet as we know it was ushered in to the music of one Jewish composer, Giacomo Meyerbeer, in the 1830s, and then sustained to the music of another, Ludwig Minkus, through its classical flowering in Russia in the late 19th century.
The early 20th century brought the radical reforms of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, with the sumptuous designs of Leon Bakst and the sultry dancing of Ida Rubinstein.
|Bakst design for Scheherazade|
As the century unwound, many strong Jewish ballerinas – Marie Rambert, Alicia Markova, Celia Franca, and Sonia Gaskell, founded ballet companies in countries having no tradition of the art form. In the second half of the century, Jerome Robbins brought Broadway pizzazz and American flair to the art form.
BEST OF BALLET
10 x 2-hour lecturesBallet, one of the world's greatest life-enhancing high art forms, beautifully combines visual arts, music, drama, and movement in one package. If your experience of ballet begins and ends with Nutcracker, you will be surprised and elated to discover how rich, varied, exciting, and downright enjoyable ballet is. If you are already a ballet fan, enrich your experience with insights into its history and all its aspects as developed over 200 years by the great choreographers whose works form the backbone of the repertoire. Video clips and demonstrations will help you identify distinctive choreographic styles and understand the physical challenges inherent in ballet. If you think you don't like ballet, you literally do not know what you are missing.
Not sure you like ballet? You will like ballet if you like....Art. Ballet is like a beautiful painting or sculpture -- in motion.
Music. Ballet is performed to everything from Bach to Broadway.
Drama. Ballet's stories, heart-rending or funny, will move you deeply and entertain you.
Sports. Ballet offers some of the most exciting athleticism there is.
Sex. Beautiful people with beautiful bodies – a sensual experience.
Beauty. Ballet transports you out of the everyday into a magical, poetic realm.
Everything you like – all in one package. If your experience of ballet begins and ends with Nutcracker, you will be surprised and elated to discover how rich, varied, exciting, accessible, and downright enjoyable ballet is. Find out what you've been missing. Ballet: what's NOT to like?
Week 1 - Women in White: French Romantic Ballet (Giselle, La Sylphide)
19th-century Romanticism and its obsessions – emotion, the supernatural, the individual, an idealized view of women – have left their mark on ballet to this day.
Week 2 - Jumping for Joy: Danish Ballet (Napoli, La Sylphide)
Denmark owes its own particularly ebullient style of ballet to its great 19th-century choreographer August Bournonville.
Week 3 - Impressing the Tsar: The Grand Imperial Russian Style (The Sleeping Beauty)
When you think "ballet", you see a regal-looking ballerina in a short tutu performing feats of virtuosity, and you owe that vision to Marius Petipa and his late-19th-century ballets.
Week 4 - Swans and Sugarplums (Swan Lake, Nutcracker)
The collaboration between Tchaikovsky and the choreographers of the Russian Imperial Court takes ballet to new heights as a serious art form.
Week 5 - Ballet discovers sex (Les Sylphides, Scheherazade)
At the beginning of the 20th century, the radical reformer Michel Fokine insists that dance, music, and design be equal partners in ballet and that they all serve the cause of authenticity in story telling.
Week 6- Seeing the Music and Hearing the Dance (Jewels)
The great 20th-century Russian-American choreographer George Balanchine creates a new, plotless style of "neo-classical" ballet in which the dance serves great music, and reinvents ballet as a vigorous, athletic North American art form.
Week 7 - English Charm (La Fille mal gardée, The Dream)
Frederick Ashton puts an indelibly English stamp on a French-Italian-Russian art form in ballets that celebrate love and warm the cockles of the viewer's heart.
Week 8 - Freeing the Women to be Women and the Men to be Men (Onegin)
John Cranko liberates ballet from storylines dependent on fairytales and disembodied spirits by focusing on human dramas.
Week 9 - The Dark Night of the Soul (Mayerling, Manon)
The 20th-century British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan pushes ballet in new directions, exploring its ability, like all great art forms, to portray the darker side of the human condition, in ballets renowned for their heart-wrenching duets.
Week 10 - Broadway and Ballet: (West Side Story, The Concert, In the Night)
Jerome Robbins, famous for such Broadway hits as West Side Story and The King and I, brings pizzazz to ballet.
MORE BEST OF BALLET
Week 1: The Girl with the Enamel Eyes
Perennial favourite Coppélia, with its beautiful lilting music by Léo Delibes, marks the last heyday of the French Romantic ballet.
Week 2: Swans, Sylphides, and... Sex
At the beginning of the 20th century, the radical reformer Michel Fokine insists that dance, music, and design be equal partners in ballet and that they all serve the cause of authenticity in storytelling. His ballets for the famous Diaghilev's Ballets Russes take a definite turn to the erotic.
Week 3: More Sex, with a French je ne sais quoi
Roland Petit explores the femme fatale with his wife, the long-legged Zizi Jeanmaire.
Week 4 - Broadway and Ballet
Jerome Robbins, famous for such Broadway hits as West Side Story and The King and I, brings American pizzazz and everyday body language to ballet.
Week 5 – Going Dutch
Holland discovers ballet in the mid-20th century, epitomized by the minimalist movement of the “Piet Mondrian of Dance”, Hans van Manen
Week 6 – Mermaids, Marguerite, and the Man from Milwaukee
John Neumeier, the creative genius of the Hamburg Ballet, keeps the art of the story ballet alive and pays homage to the history of ballet.
Week 7 – More Warm Fuzzies
Back by popular demand, we look at more of the masterpieces that Frederick Ashton has contributed to the repertoire.
Week 8- Ballet, by gum!
Yes, even hearty Yorkshiremen can do ballet. English choreographer David Bintley continues in the narrative tradition of Frederick Ashton, with classical choreography, comedy, and great characters, including the unforgettable Humboldt's Hog-Nosed Skunk Flea.
If you love ballet, please check out my season of outstanding ballet trips by clicking here.
GET MORE BALLET OUT OF LIFE WITH TOURS EN L'AIR
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