Date Of Production
"Monotones" is a ballet in two acts, choreographed by Frederick Ashton to Erik Satie's compositions Trois Gymnopedies (1888) and Trois Gnossiennes (1890). Monotones II was premiered by the Royal Ballet on March 24, 1965; Monotones I premiered the following year.
This video represents a rehearsal of Ashton's work by the Chicago Ballet on December 7, 1973. Original container notes indicate that the ballet was staged by Robert Mead, and that the dancers rehearsing Monotones I were Orrin Kayan, Anna Baker, and Janine Granger; the dancers rehearsing Monotones II were Dolores Lipinski, Robert Sullivan, and a Stephen (last name illegible).
The video begins with nearly 20 seconds of static and talking in the background. Then, a dark shot of a stage appears, where three dancers (two female, one male) are congregated, apparently preparing for rehearsal. After another bit of static and a cut, one of the dancers scurries offstage (perhaps turning on a tape of the music) and runs back; all three stand in an opening pose, begin their movement before the music, and then continue dancing as the music joins them. As the trio dances, the two females sometimes take turns partnering with the male; often all three dance in unison. In the middle of the pas de trois, the sound on the video cuts out but then returns.
After awhile, the video cuts away (to static, and then to the dancers simply milling about onstage) before cutting to what appears to be the beginning of Part II of Monotones; this trio (two males and a female) dances more of an adagio. As the movement seems to comes to an end, all three sit on the ground for a final pose. The video then cuts to black. After a few moments, it returns to the dancers, who re-rehearse the end of the previous portion and continue on.
Before long, the image cuts out (to black/static) but the audio continues for awhile. At one point, the music stops and voices giving notes are heard, but it then returns after rewinding a few bars. Later, another pause in the music seems to indicate a new movement. With only about 3 minutes remaining, the audio cuts out once again, before returning and bringing the image with it: the three Monotones II dancers are visible for just a few moments before the static returns. Images of their movements cut in and out a couple more times before finally returning in the final 1.5 minutes of the video. The three then strike their final pose together, as the music ends. They begin to break character as the video ends.
Language Of Materials
Has Been Digitized?
Open Reel ➜ 1/2" EIAJ
Participants And Performers