Taking a swing at ballet with a golf club
Never thought that I would see a ballet dancer wield a club during a performance, but this is a Gatsby-inspired performance with creative flair making it jazzy and graceful. I like the way that this report is written, so I can’t do much to make it better. Just better find a good photo.
“Septime Webre betting Washington Ballet's 'Gatsby' resonates in recession times
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It took F. Scott Fitzgerald three years to write "The Great Gatsby," the Jazz Age novel we all read in high school, the one that breaks your heart as it sends the American dream through a shredder of greed, carelessness, dishonesty and false hope. But Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, doesn't have an author's luxury of time as he distills the novel into an evening-length dance production.
The world premiere of Webre's "The Great Gatsby" -- the biggest creative project Webre, 48, has ever undertaken -- opens Thursday at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater and runs through next Sunday. It's a half-million-dollar gamble, a test of his ability to pull off what other dance companies may do only rarely, if ever: produce a brand-new, full-length story ballet.
"The Great Gatsby" is not Webre's most expensive production -- that would be his 2004 "Nutcracker," which cost twice as much -- but it is by far the most artistically ambitious. Webre is bringing it forth virtually from scratch. Unlike a reworking of such standard fare as "Swan Lake" or "Giselle" -- what most ballet companies resort to in the way of full-length productions -- there is no set "Gatsby" libretto for a ballet (Webre wrote his own), no established musical score (he cobbled one together with jazz musician Billy Novick), no boilerplate choreography passed down over the years. (He's making that part up, too.)
Creating a "new" production of, say, the timeworn "Nutcracker" is essentially traffic control and rearranging furniture. Creating "The Great Gatsby" is something Fitzgerald's super-confident hero, Jay Gatsby, himself might savor: a great big optimistic bet.”
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St. Louis, Missouri, United States