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Tristan Zvolensky

Ballet 1, 10270

Madame Butterfly

22 November 2016

Concert CritiqueMadame Butterfly

For my assignment, I chose to watch Madame Butterfly, which

was put on by the Houston Ballet. The ballet was choreographed by

Stanton Welch AM and the ballet masters included Steven Woodgate

and Barbara Bears. I attended the ballet on October 2nd, 2016. The

dance I chose to discuss was the dance after Cio-Cio (Butterfly) and

Pinkerton get married, which is when they first get intimate.

The first thing I noticed before the dance even began was the

lighting and music. There was a single spotlight on Cio-Cio and

Pinkerton (because they danced together the entire dance) and the

music was long and dramatic, which fit the mood they were trying to

set up. The two ballerinas danced as one the entire dance because it

represented their love and marriage. As with most ballets, Pinkerton

(the principal male ballerina) mainly just supported Cio-Cio during this

dance, along with the rest of the dances in the performance. When she

was in the air, she would make grand movements with her arms and

feet; she seemed like she was almost doing an arabesque in the air.

Cio-Cio spent most of the time in releve, which made her look more

elongated and really demonstrated her eagerness to be wed and to be


in love. The costumes of the dancers were white yet translucent and

very flowy, which paved the way towards a graceful and calming

setting. Although there was only one spotlight, the stage was bright

and helped contribute to the cheerful and romantic atmosphere. The

dance was clearly narrative which was shown by the story being told

through the ballerinas graceful movements.

The genre of this dance is classical ballet, which is shown

through the fact that there is a storyline and pantomime. The intent of

the choreographer is to illustrate the love between the two principal

ballerinas. The medium of movement is the message because when

watching the performance, it is clear that the two people are in love, so

the dance just decorates the affection among the two.

The choreographers intent seems to be to express the new

-founded love between the two dancers, which is very well-executed

through their grand movements and use of the stage. I do believe that

the dance was successful in conveying the central message because

the pantomime seemed to be relatively universal, meaning that the

ballerinas gestures made it obvious that this was a dance about love

and affection. Although I appreciated the dances simplicity, more

complex dance moves could have been added that were more specific

to the story they were trying to illustrate.

I have watched the Nutcracker many times growing up, and

these two performances are similar in that they are classically-styled


ballets. Last year, when watching performances of contemporary

dances, I noticed that they used many techniques that stemmed from

ballet. I probably would not recommend this to someone under the age

of twenty because it is kind of hard to follow because you have to know

some history before watching it. This dance did not really move me in

a way that I know think of ballet differentlyI still love ballet as much

as I did before I watched the performance.