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Levaillant: La Petite Danseuse [DVD] [2011]

2 customer reviews

Price: £24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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£24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 2 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 26 April 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004TWOX44
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,579 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Choreographer Patrice Bart and composer Denis Levaillant's ballet, centred on the life of the girl who posed for the famous statue by Edgar Degas. Koen Kessels conducts the Paris National Opera Orchestra, while dancers featured include Clairemarie Osta, Dorathee Gilbert, Mathieu Ganio and Jose Martinez.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thomson on 15 Jun. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just to give a slightly different opinion: I thought the music was the bravest thing about the production. The choreography is largely unsurprising the musical accompaniment is very surprising. Don't expect easy-going C19 lilting melodies somewhere around Massenet or Tchaikovsky. You get dissonance, loud bursts of sound, uncomfortable textures, brass ostinati. There is an apparent conflict but you have to take it on its own terms: you do get used to it and things do fit together. It's a modern, different, interesting mix and casts a harsher, more uncertain, less glowing tone on proceedings than you'd otherwise get. There is some modernist, angular choreography alongside the more classical-based movement. I wish the music were through-composed though: it's broken up regularly and there are many short scenes.

Ballet is however always much better live than on film. I wish ballet DVDs would include at least 2 viewpoints of a production. The director's version (which necessarily focuses in and misses much of the stage, the action and the flow), and an unedited version taken from the centre stalls (or 1st balcony) showing everything.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Two-on-the-aisle on 27 May 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The choreography, dancing, sets and costumes in this production are great, but for me the whole was ruined by the score. For most of the time the music seemed to bear no relation to what was happening on stage or even to the period that it was set in. It was too fussy, too often rambling and irrelevant and afterwards I could not recall having heard a single pleasant melody.

Perhaps I will try it again with the sound off and my own choice of ballet music - after all, in this production the music and the dancing seldom seemed to belong together. Maybe a lover of more modern classical music will have a very different opinion, but for me it was a big disappointment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Very Classical Modern Ballet 9 Jun. 2011
By J. M WILINSKY - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This ballet is surprisingly classical in its choreography while the music is quite the opposite, but more about that later. Patrice Bart has once again expressed his love for the classical style in the way he choreographed this homage to Edgar Degas and his sculpture of "The Little Dancer"(a figure of a young dancer standing in fourth position with her hands behind her, as in the pose on the cover of this DVD). Every aspect of the dancing is classical, including the distribution of solos among both male and female(on pointe) dancers, as well as pas de deux, and larger group dances, and arrangements for the corps de ballet. To add to the classicism, the setting itself is the late 19th century world of Parisian ballet class, whose traditions and structure are well depicted in the settings, and nicely explained in the interviews, which are included as a bonus. So, in effect, this is a ballet about ballet! The level of the choreography is what we would expect of the Paris Opera Ballet: superbly stimulating! The costumes are stunning and colorful. The sets are interesting, but display the simplicity and linearity for which the Paris Opera Ballet is famous.
Since this is, after all, a modern ballet, we must expect modernism to be part of it, and we experience that in the music. The score is a masterpiece of eclectic, contrasting styles, expressing the full spectrum of mood. It varies from atonality, bitonality, polytonality, neoclassicism, and theatrical jazz. The music contrasts and complements the classical choreography marvelously. But there is one slight criticism about the score: it is basically a theme and variations form based on a single theme. This is not the first modern ballet that has used this musical idea. But why are composers doing this? For one thing, the variations are so extreme in this case that they are barely recognizable as variations of the theme, but they are, nevertheless. This form is sometimes confused with the use of a leitmotif(a theme that represents a particular character or other element in a story) but there is a big difference. A theme can only be a leitmotif if it is reserved only for that character so we can associate the theme with the character. If a theme is used throughout the story, it no longer can be used as a leitmotif. It is simply the basis for a theme and variations, which is the case here. It would be more balletic and interesting to use a variety of themes. But, this objection notwithstanding, the score is still a fascinating kaleidoscope of musical textures and colors. Another interesting aspect of the score is the use of some unusual instruments, including in some solos. These include the oboe d'amore(an oboe midway between the regular oboe, which is actually a soprano oboe, and the cor anglais, which is an alto oboe), the contrabassoon(sounding an octave below the regular bassoon), the saxophone, accordion, harmonica, as well as a piano.
So, if you love classical ballet with lots of dancing by both men and women(and a few children thrown in), and appreciate modern music, you should enjoy this ballet very much, and will like to view it over and over again. By the way, the image and sound are perfect as well.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Visually Stunning 9 Jun. 2011
By Erika - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The story of Marie Van Goethem, the 14-year-old ballet dancer from the Paris Opera Ballet and the model for the famous sculpture "La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans" by Degas, has always interested me. Unfortunately though, very little is known about her life after she left the Opera House.

As a devoted fan of the Paris Opera Ballet, I was very excited to see this DVD release and add it to my vast collection of performances. The sets, lighting, costumes, dancers and choreography were absolutely gorgeous...like a painting in motion. The musical score is quite another story though and is barely tolerable. Picture an orchestra pit full of 5-year-old children banging away on musical instruments and that's about what the music sounds like. As a former dancer myself, I can't even imagine having to listen and rehearse to that music for hours on end...yikes. I've rated this 4 stars, but would have given it 5 had the music not been so grating.

If you are a fan of the Paris Opera Ballet, then I recommend this DVD. The performances by Dorothee Gilbert as The Etoiles Dancer and Mathieu Ganio as The Ballet Master were excellent and worth the price of the DVD. It's just a real shame about the music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A New Classic for the Paris Opera Ballet 11 Oct. 2011
By danrubin06 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
La Petite Danseuse de Degas, with choreography by Patrice Bart and music by Denis Levaillant, is a stunning addition to the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire.
The story is of the girl who posed for the famous statue by Degas, La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans. The sets, though somewhat minimalist, are stunning; the costumes are beautiful and completely appropriate for this ballet. The formations that are made throughout the ballet, combined with the sets and costumes, display living Degas paintings. One of the scenes in the first act, a ballet class, is a model of one of the famous studios at the Paris Opera Ballet, where Degas painted. Seeing the dancers take a class in their costumes, which of course correspond to those of Degas' paintings, give me goosebumps.
The principal dancers are all stunning and portray their dramatic roles very well. Most notably, Clairemarie Osta, as the The Little Dancer, and Benjamin Pech, as The Man in Black, an ominous, omnipresent, complex, and dramatic figure that represents destiny and perhaps, Degas himself. The Man in Black has the job of showing the audience that destiny always catches up with people. In this case, destiny wouldn't let The Little Dancer achieve her dreams. Instead, she would be frozen in time and be immortal, as a work of art. The corps de ballet of the Paris Opera shine in this production as well, as the choreography gives everyone room to flaunt their perfection in a slightly new format.
The music is perhaps the most modern thing about the ballet. A blend of harmonious classical rhythms with xylophones, little-used instruments, and jazz, they complete the portrait of late 19th-century upper-class Paris, and the people, such as The Little Dancer, that must suffer the loss of their dreams due to the hierarchy.
In total, the ballet is a real gem. Classical works can still be made and be successful, and this has been displayed wonderfully in the case of Le Petite Danseuse de Degas. In addition to the ballet, the DVD provides a series of interviews, lasting around 20 minutes, that describe the creative process behind the ballet, and are very interesting to view. This DVD is a must-have for fans of ballet, it's a new classic which will make a lasting historical impact in the repertoire of the Paris Opera Ballet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
French Artist Degas Painted A Portrait of A Fourteen Year Old Ballet Dancer 3 Jun. 2013
By Zarathustra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Choreographer Patrice Bart and musician Denis Levaillant created this Ballet "La Petite Danseuse de Degas" for the National Opera of Paris, in effect turning the whole process inside out to create a new ballet that we see on a Blu-ray disc with ClaireMarie Osta.
The ballet is a new creation which may be quite different from the one the fourteen year old girl danced, but is well worth watching for the music and dancing that may be similar to the one that Degas saw which led to his painting.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Common Man's Point of View. 17 Dec. 2011
By Richard Rawls - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Ballet Lovers, don't believe every word you read in these reviews, as they are all debatable points of view, and sometimes they are written after only one viewing by someone who rented it from Netflix. A ballet needs to be viewed several times before forming an opinion. I liked this ballet the first time I viewed it, and every time I watch, it I see something beautiful that I missed the first time. The same thing applies to the music, It does not sound like five year old children in the orchestra pit. Yes, there are some dissonant notes played, but played where dissonant notes need to be played, like for instance, when the mothers are in a tizzy competing for thier daughters a place in the ballet masters repetoire, or in the Cafe des Ambassadeurs where a raucous crowd has gathered. Most of the music is quite beautiful, especially during the pas de deux with the Etoile and the Ballet Master, and during moments when the artist is forming an image of the Little 14 Year Old Dancer.

As usual the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet is exceptional, and much of their dancing is unsynchronized strutting around, and striking poses one might find in a Degas painting of a ballet class scene, but when it was called for, the corps was beautifully synchronized as they are so famous for. I love to look at the corps members to see if I can find faces of dancers who were, at one time or another, featured as a soloist in other ballets. Included in the corps is a beautiful young dancer I first saw in a production of Coppelia by the Paris Opera school of dance when she was a teenager, Charline Giezendanner. She was so good in Coppelia, I was surprised to see her in the corps, but I guess every dancer has to pay his or her dues. Also in Coppelia was Mathieu Ganio as Frantz, and now dancing the Ballet Master in this production of La Petite Danseuse.Delibes - Coppelia / Giezendanner, Ganio, Lacotte, Paris Ballet

As noted by another reviewer, this ballet ends on a bit of a sad note. The little girl was sent to prison (I'm not so sure that actually happened) and she is shown encased in a glass prison at the end, but remember, this little girl is now immortal. This is a true story. Her name was Marie Van Goethem, and her story is told in this ballet and a bit of her history is told in the bonus material.

This is a wide screen version, available in BluRay or DVD, very good quality sound in both PCM stereo, dts-HD 5.1, and 20 minutes of bonus material w/ English (and other) subtitles.
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