The huapango was more than a dance for two people or groups of pairs; the term was also used to describe a genre: a type of dance party popular in South America.
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Taking its name from the guitar "Six string" which accompanies it, the seis is an accompanied vocal piece in several stanzas of varying numbers of 6- or 8-syllable lines. The binary structure includes brief instrumental interludes performed usually by a guitar in strict V-I harmony with percussion accompaniment, followed by often unaccompanied, unmeasured text delivery. Anita then extends her own reportage of life in Puerto Rico with 4 extra bars of punctuated outcries Bernstein instructs them to be performed "rhythmically" about the downside of life in the old country.
Although the vocal line is certainly set in notated rhythm, the "unmeasured" aspect of this slow prelude does resemble the spirit, if not the letter, of the seis.
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Bernstein has also scored the piece fairly authentically: Spanish guitar, claves and guiro the latter two essential to Latin American music, both in its authentic form and its North American counterparts. The purpose of "America" is clearly to provide an opportunity for a dance number, and, although ostensibly addressing cultural problems, it would be ridiculous to imagine that it attempts to address social ills any more than "I Am Easily Assimilated" is a commentary on the Diaspora.
However, the big comic number in this recurringly serious musical is "Officer Krupke," and it remains interesting that the cleverness of the lyric, the cynicism yet worldliness and insight presented in the song is the domain of the male, the white gang, not the Puerto Rican females. The Dance at the Gym , another ripe site of Latin American influence, is even more intriguing, in that it performs its dramatic and emotional function without the aid of the ubiquitous Broadway lyric.
Here we see Bernstein and Robbins create a framing device within which the mystical meeting of the two lovers takes place.
Although the Dance scene begins in the "Puerto Rican" locale of the bridal shop, the musical segue both in the stage version, and simulated through cinematic effects in the film version takes us immediately into the "white" jazz world of the dance hall. From here on we see layers in which one Hispanically tinged section gives way to one which is even more so; the emotions of the characters and their conflict becomes more intense as they become more Hispanic. The "Promenade" marked in a Tempo di Paso Doble opens with a fanfare which seems clearly to mock the pompous attitude of the Master of Ceremonies, a character named appropriately Glad Hand.
The heavy, repetitive, monotonous nature of this vamp-like interlude Bernstein has even marked it "pesante" seems to be almost "pseudo-Hispanic. Robbed of the rhythmic vitality and color of Latin jazz and Hispanic pop music, the drudgery of this section is clear both from the dull instrumentation and the plodding steps of the youths.
It is Latin music as their parents might listen or dance to it.
The decision to buck authority leads the two gangs suddenly into the "Mambo" section, and here we find the most vital and, in many ways, most Hispanic sections of the score. The instrumentation bongos, cowbells, trumpets takes its inspiration from the Latin jazz band. The interpolated cries of "Mambo! A "Cuadro Flamenco" is a kind of dance party in which groups form a semicircle and take turns performing as soloists. Although the predominantly minor mode of the section has resonances in the "Spanish idiom" scale, the Hispanic is most clearly embodied here through the complex rhythm of the mambo.
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When we reach the moment of the deepest, though also restrained, emotion, the Cha-Cha serves to represent the awakening feelings in the couple. Although not by nature a refined dance, the Cha-Cha here is stylized to such an extent that it has almost a "minuet" feel in this context. The spare orchestration, the periodic phrase structure; even a binary form with open and closed cadence points, is mirrored in the courtly dance style adopted by the young lovers.
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The tune, of course, we will hear only minutes later as "Maria. All Hispanic influence is gone, and we suddenly hear a very laid-back, cool "Jump. The freely rhythmic opening section even marked "slowly and freely" in the score follows the same procedure that we later hear in "America"; and the accompaniment to "Maria" is identical although the scoring is completely different : dotted "habanera" rhythm in the bass, combination of duple and triple meters in the melody and inner voices.
At the same time, like "I Am Easily Assimilated," the song adheres to a fairly standard song form with the exception that the orchestra takes over some of the inner repetitions from the singer. The whole combination of elements beautifully reflects the way in which Maria and her Hispanic world have infiltrated the predominantly "white" milieu into which Tony fits.
In a similar vein, the GAP clothing company launched a print and television ad campaign in the spring of , featuring versions of "America," "Cool," and "Mambo. The advertisements at no point make any explicit reference to West Side Story.
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Even for the uninitiated viewer, the music and dance are presumably sufficient to conjure s "cool. The music is similarly edited to render the most distinct musical themes within the time constraints of a television commercial. One of the most interesting aspects of the ads is how closely they correspond to the film as opposed to the stage musical. The reference in the print ad is bolstered by the inclusion of a dead ringer for film principal Richard Beymer Pictured with Natalie Wood.
The lighting of scenes, as well as the camera angles, simulate the analogous scenes in the film West Side Story.
The ending to the number "Cool" provides a perfect example. In a departure from the stage musical, this relocated number in the film features the character View the "Cool" GAP ad. Candide was American in its eclecticism and its worldly, cynical, yet hip world view, but not in its overall sound. One problem was the locale, or plethora of locales in Candide; West Side Story stays very firmly in one, uniformly American, locale.
Everyone could "understand it," as Bernstein had hoped, but not everyone could relate to it. The presence of the Sheela-Na-Gig in the vicinity of some holy wells in Ireland does suggest a connection with the vagina.
But what does wisdom have to do with the pregnant earth-mother and the fluid symbolism of springs and wells? To get a coherant picture we need to look to the Tibetan tradition, where ancient teachings have survived into modern times with no intervening attempts to masculinise everything at least not until the appearance of Mao Tse Tung. In Tibetan Buddhism, wisdom is very definitely feminine.
Lady Tara is a wisdom Goddess. Wisdom is primarily the understanding of the ultimate nature of reality - Sunyata - which is sometimes translated as emptiness, but in fact comes from a Sanskrit root meaning 'pregnant' or 'swollen with possibility'. This interpretation may account for the metaphysical significance of the pregnancy symbolism. Sunyata is the ground of all being. Sunyata is the primary fountainhead of the flow of free-will non-determined action, intuition and creativity.