|No matter where the protagonist goes on stage
or elsewhere in the theater, a narrowly focused rain shower falls on his
Onto the stage come bulls, or other imposing animals, whose presence drives the audience to the exits.
In a dance lasting at least twenty years, a company of a dozen performers do things they would normally do.
The prima ballerina returns to the dressing room where the other female dancers, angry not only about her show-stealing but also her unexpected departures from the script, set upon her viciously.
On a large blackboard three performers write messages of love to one another one letter at a time, backwards.
Set in the control tower of a small airport, this ballet portrays the anxieties and relationships of the flight controllers with the dancers flying gliders or hooked into self-propelled harnesses.
On stage is brought an upright piece of ice, roughly the size of a coffin that, as dancers chant and stomp around it, proceeds to defrost, revealing the anointed leader of the people.
A young man, engaged to a young woman of a higher class, goes abroad to seek a sufficient fortune. Entering an alien underworld he finds attractive, the young man forgets about his fiancé, who dies of neglect. When the young man walks through a sleeping town that he comes to recognize as his home, he inadvertently steps on her grave and is confronted by her ghost. Witches dance around him as he drops dead at their feet.
A number of skunks are let onto the stage one at a time.
An ordinary soldier is lectured by his Captain, who despises him. Gathering sticks with his girlfriend, with whom he has fathered a young daughter, the soldier is alarmed by strange sounds and visions. The girlfriend flirts at a party with a passing military musician. The soldier is examined by an incompetent doctor who, his professional insufficiencies notwithstanding, seduces the soldier's girlfriend. The Captain teases the soldier with accusations of his girlfriend's infidelity. The soldier finds her kissing the musician and accuses her. When the musician boasts of his success, the soldier beats him. Though his girlfriend is reading the Bible, the soldier stabs her by a pond, into which he throws his murder weapon. Wading into the pond to retrieve the murder weapon (and, by extension, the memory of his lover), he accidentally drowns. The daughter born of their union initially doesn't understand what is meant when older children tell her that her parents are dead.
Contemporary Ballets consists only of a large message screen, probably a liquid crystal display, on which appear the texts published here.
Onto the stage comes a man who leaps into the air, where he hangs suspended for the duration of the performance.
A prince, falling in love with a blacksmith's daughter, courts her in both his own person and disguised as an apprentice blacksmith. When she tells the prince that she really loves the apprentice, the blacksmith disapproves, because he wants his daughter to marry the prince's principal man-servant. When the servant identifies himself as homosexual, the daughter is allowed to marry the apprentice, who reveals his true royal identity.
A chorus of leprechauns poke at one another, apparently trying to discover who among them might be an imposter, which is to say a man.
A young man, saved from death at the hands of three hoodlums, believes his rescuer to be instead a garbageman, who is in turn harassed by the hoodlums for lying. Happening to see a picture of the hoodlums' sister, the young man falls in love. The hoodlums' mother tells of her daughter's capture by yet another hoodlum. To facilitate her rescue, the young man is given a magic flute and the garbageman magic bells. The daughter is guarded by a dumb servant who, mistaking the garbageman for the devil, flees. The young man learns that the purported kidnapper is really a good guy; it's the hoodlums' mother who is evil. The garbageman and the girl are prevented from escaping until the garbageman's bells, no joke, cause the kidnapper to dance helplessly. Now free of encumbrances, the young people are able to marry.
A music-hall singer has an affair with a philanderer before returning to her bartender lover.
A military officer makes his girlfriend a Vestal Virgin while he is fighting abroad. Upon his return home, he breaks into the temple to win her back. As she allows the holy fire to be extinguished, she is condemned to death. When she is led to her execution, a flash of lightning rekindles the fire. Spared from death, she rejoins her main man.
This ballet follows Homer's account of Odysseus's return after the Trojan wars and tells, in a series of flashbacks, of his sexual encounters abroad.
An hereditary vampire can satisfy Satan only with the sacrifice of three young women within twenty-four hours. He thinks the first killed, but does not know that she is revived supernaturally in the moonlight through the help of the vampire's assistant. He successfully seduces and kills a second, whose fault is a fascination with vampires, and nearly succeeds in claiming his third victim until she is successfully rescued by the first woman.
Two athletic male dancers do triple jetes in alternation until one of them can jump no more.
One performer appears to negotiate a series of mazes whose walls must be precisely mapped in his mind because they are invisible to the audience.
A shady businessman wanting to impress young women is continually pulling shiny gold bars out of his jacket pockets; the women in turn, one after the other, each draw baby crocodiles out from under their skirts.
Ice hockey is played not with a standard puck but a whiffleball.
While spasms of circumscribed movement break out among isolated groups crouching around the stage, the protagonist, surrounded by an entourage, makes expansive movements that apparently consecrate the ground. Maidens enter, looking anxious, as though programmed to participate in an undesirable fate. An orgy ensues until the maidens' anger transcends their religious humility. How this conflict is resolved is left to the discretion of the choreographer.
Two young lovers, sunbathing nude on an ocean island, sink beneath a rising tide.
Several performers vigorously play nothing on familiar instruments, making a ballet of their moves over the sound of their physical efforts.
A large man spits directly on his enemies, apparently blinding each of them in a single eye. They spit back, to no avail, while the protagonist stands apart, stoically satisfied.
Several pairs of men, dressed to resemble roosters, imitate as closely as possible the mechanics of a cockfight while the audience is invited to make bets.
Two men run in place, with microphones amplifying their breathing and their pounding feet, until the pace of their increasingly heavy breaths becomes quicker than the beat of their footfalls.
Finding that her lover, nominally a schoolmaster, has accidentally killed a cat owned by a mafia capo, a woman volunteers to intercede for him, taking responsibility for the accident. Though the schoolmaster at first discourages her, she insists, because, unbeknownst to him, she is the capo's niece. Entranced by the niece he has not seen in years, the capo wants to introduce her to his henchman and excuse her from killing the cat in the course of coercing her to become engaged to someone else. Hysterically wanting to escape from a circumstance so distasteful, she tells the truth about the cat's death; both she and her fiance are killed by the henchman.
One performer mimes as closely as possible the moves and dress of another directly opposite him, as though the former inhabited a slightly delayed mirror.
The performers scan the audience for past loves. Finding none from the stage, they go out in the audience, looking for any reasonable semblances.
Several performers fire guns at one another and become increasingly frustrated when they have no visible effect.
From springboards on both sides of the stage performers soar through the air in crossing directions, landing behind side curtains that are eventually pushed aside to reveal trampoline-like nets.
From various points in the audience bushels of ripe tomatoes are thrown directly at two naked performers who try as hard as they can to catch the fruit. Once all the tomatoes have been thrown, the performers must clean the stage back to its pristine condition.
A credible man becomes a credible woman by any means available without ever leaving the stage.
Four performers, initially suspended head down by their feet, try to crawl up the ropes holding that are them until all of them disappear behind the top of the proscenium.
A group of skilled mechanics completely takes apart a car (or other complicated machine) and then puts it back together, regardless of whether any spectators stay to the conclusion.
A woman disappears behind the door, center stage, where to the sound of giving birth two adult-sized daughters emerge. After dancing for a while in front of the door, they too go behind it and, to the sound of giving birth, each generates her own set of adult daughters, who in turn dance in front of the door, etc., until the producers run out of available performers.
Several dancers appear to be walking through a rainstorm that changes to a snowstorm, though nothing visible falls on their heads.
Well before the performance of purportedly erotic dancing is meant to begin, the auditorium is filled with a disagreeable odor that drives out all but those who cannot smell. No one should apologize for the odor, while the person selling tickets should conveniently disappear.
Above a sleeping young man expands and contracts a balloon whose skin reads "riches, women, and power."
Several experienced jugglers toss baseballs until one is dropped, at which point that weaker juggler leaves the stage. The other jugglers continue. The piece ends when all the jugglers have crashed.
A group of women drive kiddie cars resembling those found at amusement parks. They crash into each other until their cars are disabled or they run out of fuel.
While three performers execute whatever traditional balletic movements they wish toward the back of the stage, two men, appropriately garbed, have a serious fencing match in the front of the stage,
Several performers along with available props behave as though they were caught in a tornado.
On the back wall of the theater are posted instructions for physical movements that correspond to the numbers two through twelve. With each throw of a pair of dice, one or more of the performers execute the prescribed movement(s). The more dice that are used, the more throws that are made, perhaps by members of the audience, often simultaneously, the more densely kinetic the stage activities become.
Several performers try to mime the movements suggested by the most dissonant, abrasive contemporary music available. While the music ends, they leave the stage.
A glamorous young skinny woman, resembling a runway model, tries as hard as she can, by any means possible, to resemble a butch lesbian before leaving the stage.
Five chihuahuas race in low-walled tracks from one side of the stage to the other. The first dog to win five races gets a well-deserved prize of more food than it can eat.
Several performers on stage follow with their index fingers the trajectory of imaginary objects above the spectators' heads.
Two teams of naked performers, each with three members whose bodies are painted from head to toe in the same color, play two-handed touch football with a balloon that must be deposited intact on the other side of the stage to register as a score.
In this performer-less ballet, a machine generates chartreuse suds that fill the stage and flood the audience that is forced to evacuate the theater.
As spectators begin to exit early, disappointed that the scheduled performance has not yet begun, they are waived along by sneering performers waiting in the lobby.
Performers come up the aisles, producing small pornographic photographs that they ask spectators to pass carefully from seat to seat down the rows. If one photo fails to arrive at the end of its row, the performers collect the remaining images and exit through the lobby.
What to all appearances resembles a puppet is suddenly revealed to be a man.
One naked performer jumps repeatedly off a stepladder or platform into an aquarium whose water, perhaps including fish, spills over the stage and perhaps into the audience.
Several performers dressed only with flypaper hug one another until they become a single blob of humanity incapable of movement.
As many women as can be made available look and sound as though they are giving birth, though no babies appear. (The performers could include men capable of executing the choreographic instruction.)
Several performers repeatedly fall to the floor and push themselves up until all of them can rise no more.
On stage are as many chess matches as can be accommodated. The performance ends when the last match is finished, regardless of whether anyone remains in the audience. (This is best performed in a theater whose audience sits high above the stage, like a chemistry laboratory, rather than on a platform physically above an audience.)
A man falling from behind the top curtain brakes in mid-air, never touching the floor.
Once applause ends, curtains are closed, forever hiding the secret behind his suspension.
When a young woman appears in her nightgown at the door of a local hotel, her fiancé renounces her in public; but when he finds her sleepwalking over to his own house, he escorts her, apparently still asleep, directly to the church, with the hope that once they reside together, the woman's somnambulation will cease.
A young woman albino living in a northern climate falls in love with a man from a sunny country; and once she follows him home, she tragically succumbs to a sunstroke, melting away much like the snow-maiden of traditional myth.
Meant to be a parable of masochism, this ballet confines several athletic performers to a single space open at the front but otherwise five feet on each side.
The Baseball Game is a ballet divided into nine sections that the program note calls innings. The large company is divided into two groups, each with nine dancers. Each performance has such variable results that stagehands can be observed going through motions that resemble the making of wagers.
The princess goes from her father's coronation to join her true love at his home, a cave in the woods.
A woman tells of her sister and alter ego, a dancer who tours seven American cities to earn sufficient money to build a house for her family back home; in each city she mimics a different tempting sin.
Two dancers who should be rehearsing instead don masks of familiar movie stars and imitate physical mannerisms peculiar to each.
In an unannounced performance on a green lawn, twenty-eight dancers, dressed in slightly different shades of green, blend into the natural surroundings as they move about.
Surplus/B-Sides, an anthology of disconnected sequences that a fecund choreographer could not use in his previous ballets, is performed continuously in the aisles while his major works are presented on the stage.
While a young man, lying on a warm beach, picks up a conch shell to discover its sound, a sea nymph, watching him from her hiding place, emerges to meet him, and the dance they do together resembles coition in the buoyancy of water.
In an entr'acte resembling a television commercial, the development of the prima dancers is portrayed through showing first beginning children at the barre, then adolescents in class, and finally soloists exhibiting their bravura techniques, against a continuous background of their eating a proper dancer's diet.
A young man, unhappily engaged to marry a woman chosen for him, succumbs instead to a lady drug dealer and her exotic potions.
The solo dancer portrays, through a series of highly emotional movements, the desires and thus frustrations of women left at home while their men are away at war.
This ballet portrays a mysterious fertility rite in which first an old dog and then a young woman are sacrificed on a surrogate phallus.
The protracted conflict between two feuding families is resolved when a grandmother of one falls in love with a grandfather in another and, realizing what problems their relationship makes, the septuagenarians commit suicide togther, prompting a reconciliation over the tombs of the star-crossed lovers--a tragically "happy" end.
Summoning back to life several nuns who had violated their vows, a wicked protagonist gets them to dance with him, first clothed and then nude.
The cowboys working on a ranch flirt with every woman within sight until their boss dies. The successor is his daughter whom, as their employer, they must respect. (Now they flirt with every women except one.)
This ballet portrays not courtship but the diffidence of a man and a woman in the wake of an emotional and sexual relationship, apparently of some duration.
Three male performers, roughly twenty, forty, and sixty, represent generational differences in dealing with worldly opportunities, including women, jobs, art, politics, and religion.
Two young people flirt, embrace, and make love in a changing landscape of projected images from classic paintings.
The young female protagonist gives her life to save the leader of a crowd of revolutionaries from an assassin's bullet, thus becoming a heroine immortalized in song and, here, in a dance that reenacts the fateful moments in several ways and at different speeds.
From a group of women, imprisoned on an island during a civil war, emerges a handsome peasant girl who becomes, successively, a representative of her peers and then, thanks to her sexual attractiveness, their leader in attempting to get back to the mainland.
Several individuals, representing various sexual persuasions, attempt to comfort one another in a socially encroaching world.
When a woman who fears she might lose her lover to her younger sister gives herself to a stranger, whom she finds disgusting, her lover accepts her apology, responding with sympathy and understanding.
Several escaped prisoners, living in a remote forest, survive on captured butterflies for nourishment until one of the prisoners suffers hallucinations and thinks that he has become a butterfly.
This contemporary adaptation of the Adam and Eve story introduces more possibilities for that mystical seduction than generations of exegetes had ever considered.
The owner of a puppet theater brings to life his favorite female dancer, his favorite clown, and his favorite strong man, only to discover that the clown falls in love with the ballerina who prefers the strong man who, dummy that he was, kills the clown.
In Pas de trois the dancers, each of a different sexual persuasion, do the erotic moves normally done by two.
A young man wanting a career in law enforcement
proves his mettle, in spite of his grandfather's warnings, by single-handedly
capturing a notorious criminal who mugged his grandmother.
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