Things Twice

"Moonshine" is a dance choreographed by Christopher Bruce, set to early Dylan
songs. The stage production was filmed and has been shown in many countries.
Compiled: November 9, 1996

Subject: Dylan Ballet - "Moonshine"
From: ("Lorna Spenceley")
Date: 1996/05/10

 These extracts are taken from The Independent, May 10 1996.


Christopher Bruce created 'Moonshine' for the senior citizens of dance (or 40-plus-year-olds) who make up NDT3, the sister company of Netherlands Dance Theatre. Three years later his own younger dancers in Rambert Dance Company now take to it with alacrity. To whom, though, will Moonshine appeal, as it tours round the country? IT IS SET TO EARLY SONGS BY BOB DYLAN, which is fine by me, but does mark me out as middle-aged. I hope younger spectators like it... Walter Nobbe's backdrop seems to extend the stage into a rocky canyon that fits the disaster-prone story of Dylan's TALKIN' BEAR MOUNTAIN PICNIC MASSACRE BLUES; or it suggests a perespective between awesome American skyscrapers that matches the lyrics of MAN ON THE STREET. The four dancers carry suitcases: perhaps they are the dispossed who so often feature in Dylan's songs. Steve Brett's gestures echo the first-person account of Dylan's MOONSHINE; Didy Veldman balances on her suitcase and draws sweeping curves to NO MORE AUCTION BLOCK, ending in a hangman's noose - a conclusion so shocking that the stunned audience hesitated to clap...


Nick (quoting Nadine Meisner)


Subject: Dance to Dylan - Moonshine ...
From: Andra (
Date: 1996/08/08

Andrew Muir ( wrote:
: Yeah, I came upon it on BBC 2 in the UK some time back (and posted about
: it then). Pretty good, isn't it? Fascinating song selection.
: Daniel Luth ( writes
: >I just turned on SBS in Australia and got a surprise. There's people 
: >dancing to Bear Mountain Picnic! I checked the guide and its a program 
: >called Moonshine. Next song sounds like House Carpenter. Has anyone 
: >ever seen this before? More details after I see the rest of it.
This was on in the US earlier this year--some cable station, I believe. Absolutely fantastic music, but I didn't particularly care for the dancing too much (not that they weren't "good"--I'm just not into that sort of thing). Anyway, I bet some people in this group have it on video.



From: (Jim Brown)
Subject: XREF alt.arts.ballet: Ballet Rambert
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 96 17:56:27 GMT

Subject: Ballet Rambert, 9/29 mat. NYC
From: Miki Casalino (
Newsgroups: alt.arts.ballet
                *       *       *
Having seen Moonshine performed last February with its original cast (Nederlands Dans 3, Sabine Kupferberg, Jeanne Solan, Gary Chryst and Gerard Lemaitre) I felt the much younger Rambert cast acquitted themselves well, though at a disadvantage in a piece where aging and loss is a major subtext. I find the choreography by Bruce, like the accompanying songs by Bob Dylan, both awkward and somehow haunting. Bruce is at his most awkward when he is at his most literal, using movement to tell the stories of the songs. At those moments, he relies on Dylan to do the bulk of the work, and one feels cheated. After all, one could merely purchase the album if the experience is to be primarily musical, and not one of choreographic design. A duet of a drowned husband returning to claim his remarried bride is thrashed out but the literalness of the choreography distances one, rather than letting one feel the immediacy of the dilemma. It is when Bruce leaves the songs to present their own stories, and he presents us with a congruent one (a journey of four people, in a chasm somewhere - laden with luggage, but heading where?) , rather than the same one that the piece starts to resonate.



 [Anybody know anything about this? --Jimmy Brown, Newsboy]


Subject: XREF alt.arts.ballet: Ballet Rambert
From: Patricia Jungwirth (tricia.j@AARDVARK.APANA.ORG.AU)
Date: 1996/10/11

                *       *       *
Yes, having seen this on tv I must agree with this reviewer, the literalness of the choreography was a drawback. With a few exceptions (and acknowleding the Nederlands Dance Theatre's dancers are very good), I felt one would rather just listen to the music. Using music with vocals is pretty unusual for a ballet, though, and deserves some commendation. The fact that the principal was an older man was one interesting thing about the Nederlands company's performance - he has a fabulous face, great to watch in his characterisations.

 Patsy Anne Pavlova

Subject: MOONSHINE the ballet
From: jerry.tenenbaum@UTORONTO.CA (Jerry Tenenbaum)
Date: 10 Feb 1999 09:03:50 -0800

Moonshine, the ballet was shown at 3am on feb 9 in the Toronto area
The Nederlands Dans Theater 3, a group of 4 dancers, interpreted the following  Dylan songs.
I believe these were all from the Bootleg Series (Volume 1-3)domestic:
1. Paths of victory
2. Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues
3. House Carpenter
4. Ha Va Na Gila (sic)
5. Quit Your Low Down Ways
6. No More Auction Block
7. Man on the Street
8. Moonshiner

The overall effect was interesting but not overwhelming.
It's clear that there are many ways to interpret Dylan's work.
Perhaps the Nobel committee will see it that way too.

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