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Compare and contrast ‘Ghost Dances’ and ‘Rooster’ by Christopher Bruce.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Ghost Dances' and 'Rooster' by Christopher Bruce. Christopher Bruce was born in 1945 and at the age of 13, he was awarded a scholarship to the Ballet Rambert School. His inspiration to start choreography came after he danced the leading role in Glen Tetley's production 'Pierrot Lunaire' in 1967. His choreographic career has now spanned more than 30 years and he has been hailed as 'The Nureyev of contemporary ballet.' Bruce remained closely related to the Ballet Rambert School, choreographing and dancing for the company until 1987. He continued choreographing for a wide range of company's, including the 'Australian Dance Theatre Cullberg Ballet' the 'English National Ballet,' 'Houston Ballet' and 'London Festival Ballet'. He created 'Ghost Dances' in 1993 for the 'Geneva Ballet Company' and 'Rooster' in 1991, which was an instant hit. He has choreographed for musicals, plays, operas, television and video and he was awarded a C.B.E in the Queen's honours list in 1998. 'Rooster' is an example of a chorographer creating movement which directly links to the musical lyrics; in this case, the dance was inspired by the music of the popular 60's group, 'The Rolling Stones'. ...read more.

Middle

The blueish tint creates a sensual mood which adds to the charisma of the dance. The lighting for 'Ghost Dances' bears some similarities and adds to the theatrical style and characterisation of the newly -dead passing through a cold, mountainous purgatory, highlighted by the dim green light. Unlike 'Rooster' however ,the mood created is one of mystery and apprehension. Unlike the undecorated stage of 'Rooster', 'Ghost Dances' has a backdrop of the typical South American countryside. This and the tunes used in the piece, immediately presents the audience with the folk influence on the dance, together with the steps of folk dancing used in conjunction with classical and contemporary dancing. Bruce creates his own folk steps based on general understanding of the folk form; the steps are universal as they are not tied to any specific culture. In contrast to 'Rooster', which is all on one level 'Ghost Dances' has several rocks on the set providing levels. These rocks are used by the Ghosts to stand on and hide behind. The costumes for 'Rooster' are simple but effective. They emulate rather than copy exactly the 60's fashion scene. The women wear combinations of black and red which is themed throughout the various costume changes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The dancing in both of these ballets reveal the nature of the characters. The set positions and stiff upright stance often adopted by the three ghosts in 'Ghost Dances' reveals their strength and power. Similarly, the men in 'Rooster' give the impression that they admire themselves by their continual combing of their hair, adjusting their ties, the stylised posing and brushing specs of dust off their suits. At the end of the first duet in 'Ghost Dances', two of the ghosts lift up one of the men whose body convulses and then lies still, characterising the suffering and death of many of the Chilean war victims. In contrast is the amusing, light-hearted characterisation of the young men in the 60's. The continual use of character related motifs in both dances also helps to emphasise character traits and expresses their mood and feelings. Despite the fact that 'Ghost Dances' depicts a moving narrative, I personally prefer 'Rooster.' This is because, like Bruce, I happen to love the pulsating rhythm of 60's music and more particularly, that of the 'Rolling Stones'. I think that 'Rooster' has a greater variety of expression and I find it a far more entertaining theatrical piece of dance. I believe it evokes a feeling of well being in the viewer which I personally think to be an essential aspect and ingredient for a successful dance. ...read more.

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