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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:38 pm 
Ballet Girl

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 308
Street-acro dancers seem to me to be a dime-a-dozen amongst young boys and can be seen throughout the living rooms, play grounds, and street corners most anywhere. This in no way negates the extraordinary and thrilling performances of the likes of Lex, Harrison, Ali, et.al., whose all around talents have so captivated us. It certainly is a style which blunts the kind of ridicule and verbal bullying from peers which often characterize boys who might be interested in "Ballet."

I may be way off target, but it would also seem to me to challenge the authenticity of what the Royal Ballet may be looking for in their potential charges in terms of the beauty, majesty, and elegance of classical ballet movement. One of the messages that Billy brings to us is his determination to fight through the criticism of his special talent in pursuit of his balletic dreams. Those special and iconic movements of Billy at the conclusion of "Solidarity," I believe, is an emotional and pivotal moment of a young boys processing a special talent few of us ever witness from young boys, and thoroughly wets our appetites for what is to proceed in "Electricity."

It is Billy's talent and persistence which provides the musical's core message of rising above the ridicule and "suspicion" of his family and community. Obviously, Ms. Wilkinson joins him in that battle. He seems determined to resist the conventional reaction to ballet both in his day and in ours. Combined with an element of tap, an occasional acro, to provide color to his new found talent, it is "classical ballet" which carries the day. Of course, we have the good fortune to observe the different interpretations of our Billy's depending on what day we see them perform. No wonder I can't count high enough to recall the number of times I've watch him and Michael perform. I'll be seeing the magic again the first weekend in December.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:01 pm 
George

Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:11 pm
Posts: 525
Location: Austria
As Ryan was "my first Billy" I always think I love the "Acro-Billy-Style" more: I think it`s absolutely fantastic how they perform, especially Angry Dance but also Electricity... But when I see a "Ballet-Billy" I love this way the same way especially Dream-Ballet and Electricity ... - so I can`t make up my mind ;) I love both ways of dancing because I like BETM and the boys who perform - I don`t have to decide and that`s great (for me!) :D

_________________
London: 27 shows (Ryan 2* - my first Billy, Dean, Kaine 4*, Adam, Redmand 4*, Harrison 3*, Harris 2*, Tade 3*, Ali 2*, Matteo, Ollie, Bradley, Nat, Euan - my last Billy)

I can´t really explain it, I haven´t got the words
It´s a feeling that you can´t control ...


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:22 am 
Audience Member

Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:50 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Merrickville, Ontario, Canada
Thinking about it, the director may be wanting to try and get the biggest "wow" factor from the audience with the solo dances. By basing the choreography on the strengths of the individual Billy they can get the most out of each particular kid. e.g. a street Billy doing a ballet Electricity may not work as well as that same Billy doing the street version. And ditto in reverse.


Allan.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:14 am 
Billy

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 5:52 pm
Posts: 2573
Location: (near) London
Personally, I do not think we should be pitting our wits as to whether a Billy should be 'Ballet' or 'Street'. It is the dancing that is the important thing. I always think of the words from the show. Mrs Wilkinson says, '' The Royal Ballet School, they'll teach you the ballet''. Then in the Audition scene the panel asks Billy what it is about dancing. Billy cannot really answer this, but knows that dancing sends sparks like Electricity through him. The word, again, is 'dancing', not 'ballet'.
I have seen the show countless times during the last four years or so and have seen some excellent ballet Billys, Adam, Scott ( who is at the RBS), Tade, Kaine, to name just a few, but similarly the street Billys, Ryan, Harrison and now Ali have brought a different dimension to the role of Billy. They have been exciting to watch with their fast moving, acrobatic movements. It just proves that the show isn't all about ballet, it is about dancing.
In summary, therefore, I do not have a preference, I just marvel at the skills these boys show ( and have shown) when up on stage.


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 Post subject: Re: Street versus Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:35 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6807
Quote:
It is the dancing that is the important thing.


I entirely agree.

My view is this: Electricity is the moment Billy opens his heart and emotions to the world for the first time (until then, his passion was shared with only Mrs W, Michael, Dad, family and local community, who were not entirely supportive). Electricity is the moment when Billy's hopes are at their lowest - the audition was a disaster and it is his moment to rise up or slink back. It is the moment Billy declares to the world who he is. Whatever the world thinks.

I think it is an appropriate moment for the boy playing Billy to dance as he prefers. It is a moment that connects the passions of the boy playing Billy with the passions of that character, in a loose Strasberg method way. It is a unique moment when the boy who is cast as Billy is as important as the fictional character. By this point in the musical, the audience has become as invested in the boy playing Billy as in Billy himself - perhaps more so. You see that in the ovation that follows every Electricity.

Is it not the moment when that Billy - that boy playing Billy - can do whatever style of dance is closest to who he is? Is it not the moment of triumph for both the character and the actor?


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