Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Question about arms in Corsaire


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#16 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 21 August 2003 - 02:13 PM

I did a little further research, too. I found that most machairai had blades offset from straight from the sword's grip. Sort of like a Nepalese kukhri. The blades could be curved or straight, but offset seems to be the common thread. What is pictured in the David Leonidas is actually a Roman spatha from about the first or second century CE. But hey, what's few hundred years and a thousand kilometers among friends? :wink:

#17 R S Edgecombe

R S Edgecombe

    Senior Member

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 21 August 2003 - 02:47 PM

And he needs a straight blade to reduplicate the line of the crucial mountain pass above Leonidas (the spear on the left has the same function). Anything off the straight (while no doubt suiting both Leonidas and David himself VERY well!) would have looked a little squiff. I hope that's intelligible. It might be a South Africanism! Thanks again for all this info.

#18 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 24 August 2003 - 03:13 PM

About Princess Florina, if I recall correctly, the only time her hand is anywhere near her shoulder is during her "listening" ports de bras--because the bluebird is supposed to be teaching her to sing. RS, I'm afraid I don't quite see the logic in placing a bird on her wrist when she just danced a pas de deux with the bluebird :wink: and is about to perform a coda with him.

#19 R S Edgecombe

R S Edgecombe

    Senior Member

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 26 August 2003 - 03:27 AM

Sorry, Hans, I have only just come across your post, having failed to activate the notification button. Ballet is never very logical nor very conscious of scale. Snowflakes danced in Casse, but they also carried wands with snowballs on them. They are snow personified, and yet snow literal falls from the flies, and snow literal is bobbing in their hands. Non sequitur logically, and non sequitur spatially--snow on three different scales. Ditto the roosters and hens in Fille in relation to the hawk that Mere Simon has so brutally nailed to the barn. It's enough to make the snowflakes and Osbert Lancaster's seem positively Picassan in their telescopic play with space! The answer to this and all other such dilemmas is to acknowledge that ballet requires a suspension of disbelief in all but its abstract manifestations, which, are in MacLeishian terms, pure being, not meaning. If Florine were listening to the bluebird, she would surely cup her ear as the Prelude Sylphide does. For me that main a l'epaule is not a mimic gesture. However the smiling up and warding off does seem to have a mimic content, and I think a bird at the wrist would make sense of it. Though it would probably be advisable,as you suggest, to remove it for the rest of the pas de deux.

Mel--and this is the reason I have come back to this thread--I think I have found the source of my confusion regarding Eros and the crossbow. It's Caravaggio's Amore vincitore, which I happened to consult this morning. Amor doesn't have any weapon--only his arrows--but in the background is a viola d'amore with its bow laid across it. Clearly a visual pun, and a sort of paraphrase of swords being beaten into ploughshares.

#20 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 26 August 2003 - 03:35 AM

Oh yes, I know that painting. A friend of mine is fascinated with Caravaggio, and painted a full-size copy of it. And yes, I remember the viola d'amore. I agree with you.

#21 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 26 August 2003 - 07:28 AM

If Florine were listening to the bluebird, she would surely cup her ear as the Prelude Sylphide does.


But Princess Florina does that--several times as I recall, and she doesn't ever do main a l'epaule. Maybe we're referring to different versions? I'm thinking of the Sergeyev, in which the "warding off" motion also doesn't occur.

#22 R S Edgecombe

R S Edgecombe

    Senior Member

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts

Posted 26 August 2003 - 08:07 AM

We could be talking about different versions though she does what I describe in my Bolshoi tape, and she did the same in the Cape Town version that David Poole based on the RB, and she did in the one RB performance I saw, except their she tended to brush her hands over her shoulder instead of planting them.

I have just stumbled across a picture of Preobrajenskaya in Petipa's Bluebeard that might be the unconscious source of my Florine fantasy. She has a white dove (stuffed, I'm afraid) slung between her index and middle fingers, and two white wings on her head, making her both a bird and a bird observer at the same time (Cf. earlier post.) What is striking is that fact that her free hand is a l'epaule, which makes me think that the echappe moment in the var might have a representational meaning after all. The arched line of the hand as it touches the shoulder is like a bird's wing, especially if it droops slightly as Preo's does. It has also occurred to me that Ashton attempted a similar winged profile, much less successfully, through the hands-on-hip line in Les Deux Pigeons.

#23 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 26 August 2003 - 08:30 AM

The hand on the shoulder may be a character move, but it IS actually used in technique class in Cecchetti. Cunningham also has exercises that use it. It helps seat the shoulder-blade and rotate the humerus, I think. (It was never explained.)I've had to do grand battements in that position and pirouettes.

#24 citrus

citrus

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 04 September 2003 - 02:36 PM

I think the St Petersburg signifier for China is the index finger held vertically and pointing palm outward (whereas Violente's indices point palm inward)--and I base this on stills from the traditional Benois-designed Festival Casse that was staged, I think, by Beriosova's father. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyhow, they show a huge teapot and danseuses en attitude devant on either side, fingers pointing heavenward.

Excuse me for going off the topic. But why does the index fingers pointing upward mean China? Where does it come from? Being a Chinese, I've been wondering about it for quite some time.

#25 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 04 September 2003 - 05:10 PM

Chinoiserie was a stylized sort of European imitation of actual Chinese art. In the 17th century, there are engravings of dancers doing a "Danse Chinois" with highly stylized makeup and index fingers pointed upward. I don't know this for a fact, but it is my opinion that it had something to do with the makeup from Chinese opera, and the fingers relate to the long fingernails of the mandarins, who cultivated them to demonstrate that they did no physical labor.

#26 grace

grace

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts

Posted 05 September 2003 - 01:49 PM

In the 17th century, there are engravings of dancers doing a "Danse Chinois" with highly stylized makeup and index fingers pointed upward.

fascinating! really?! i too wonder where this oddity came from - it never seemed an oddity when i was a child - one 'knew', that that sort of carry-on, onstage, meant that a dance was 'chinese' - but as an adult, one really wonders! :shrug:

#27 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,258 posts

Posted 05 September 2003 - 02:21 PM

A Chinese company visited DC about 15 years ago -- I believe it was the Central Ballet of China, but I dont remember, unfortunately. They did a 20th century Chinese ballet, based on a Chinese folk tale, and there was a dance in which.....drum roll, please......a man came out and positioned his arms at his side, with hands raised, one finger pointed. As he danced, his head -- wearing the "traditional" hat -- bobbed back and forth. He could have been doing the Chinese dance from "Far From Denmark" or "Nutcracker."

After the performance one of my colleagues went back stage and asked if it was a traditional dance or taken from Western sources and was assured that it was an ancient, traditional Chinese dance. That may or may not be true, but there's one anecdote to support the traditional theory.

I hadn't thought about the pointed finger being related to the long fingernails of the mandarins, Mel, but I like the thought :) I read a quote once that I'm sure you've heard too: "We let others do our dancing for us." (from the Wit and Wisdom of the Mandarins, or something like that)

#28 citrus

citrus

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 9 posts

Posted 05 September 2003 - 06:17 PM

Fascinating, indeed! Thanks, Mel Johnson and Alexandra. I'll link this page to a Chinese Ballet forum to see if someone will recognize the dance.

Edited by citrus, 05 September 2003 - 06:31 PM.


#29 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,258 posts

Posted 05 September 2003 - 06:48 PM

Thank you, citrus -- it would be very interesting to see what the Chinese view of this is.

#30 grace

grace

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts

Posted 06 September 2003 - 05:07 AM

good for you, citrus - what a good idea!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):