Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Green Table

I have never been a dancer, but I love the ballet.  This year for the first time, I secured season tickets to the Joffrey Ballet, thanks to an excellent groupon deal.  Their first production was Human Landscapes, a series of three shorter ballets that included The Green Table, described as "a dance of death in eight scenes."

While I have seen some less traditional productions, such as Rites of Spring, most of the ballets have been traditional - think Swan Lake and Giselle.  The Green Table was a different experience for me: an overtly political, anti-war ballet. Beginning and ending with ghoulish political theater, the ballet focuses on the human consequences that result when futile negotiations lead to war.  One-by-one, Death dancing with the war's victims, soldiers, civilians, and refugees.  Striking piano music accompanies the dancing, creating an overall effect of chilling beauty.

The Green Table was first produced 80 years ago, between the First and Second World Wars. Unfortunately, the symbolism is just as fitting for our modern day circumstances, with its drone strikes and Gaza Strip.  The clip below shows the "negotiations" and the entrance of Death (opening credits end at 40 seconds).  The rest of the production is also available on YouTube.