silvy

Alicia Alonso

105 posts in this topic

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :) organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:

Mme.Alonso on "Theme and Variations":

"In 'Theme and Variations" Balanchine kept testing me all the time, stablishing a kind of fight between my technical strenght and his choreography. So he would ask me, for instance:

G.B-'Do you think you could do entrechat-sixes here...?'

A.A-'I'll do them!'

...and then he would say...

G.B-'So, could you do now pas de chat en tournant..?'

A.A-'If you want to, i'll do it!'

...and so he would keep torturing me , adding new steps, new dificulties, to see if i would say 'No, i can't ', but i never gave up! That's why the version of 'Theme and Variations', as it was presented on the premiere, was technically and musically very, very complicated. When other ballerinas danced the role later on, some of them that were my friends-(among them Maria Tallchief, who was Balanchine's wife)-would tell me 'But Alicia, how did you let him put this ...?!, or that ...?!, now we are in trouble!', and I would answer: 'Well, it was Balanchine who put it there!...'Another thing that i can't forget is that with 'Theme and Variations' Balanchine made his debut as orchestra conductor, and aside for the importance of it, I will always rememer this because the tempo was madly fast. We all ended up breathless!"

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I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :speechless-smiley-003: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:

Mme.Alonso on Balanchine and "Theme and Variations".

Youskevitch's variation:

"The variation that Balanchine made for Youskevitch, so celebrated by the critics, had its evolution during the stage phase of the work. Initially, i remember that he created a variation very par terre, technically simple, based on positions and designs of diferent angles of [Y] body's line. Then he overheard that Youskevitch wasn't pleased with the variation, because he considered that i had too little technical complexities. B. acepted the challenge and said:

G.B: 'All right, we will do a variation based on three brilliant choreographic themes', and it resulted in what probably is the variation with the highest technical virtuosism among all those that he created for men"

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Thank you for your translations of these notes, Cristian. Let me say, as a long-time devotee of Ms. Farrell, how much I am struck by and admire your devotion to Mme. Alonzo.

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Thank you for your translations of these notes, Cristian. Let me say, as a long-time devotee of Ms. Farrell, how much I am struck by and admire your devotion to Mme. Alonzo.

Thank you for your aknowledgment...and it'is an honor and a pleasure to write them... :speechless-smiley-003:

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I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :devil: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go]

Mme. Alonso on the staging of the White Swan PDD by Balanchine for her and Youskevitch:

AA- "I remember that it was Balanchine who made me realized of a characteristic thing of my dancing that i had for instinct without realizing. One day, after watching me dance the II act of Swan Lake, he said to me:

GB-'You, your arms...they dance the melody more than the rythm'

Youskevitch and I had the wonderful experience that the master personally rehearsed us on that II Act. Of all those rehearsals i haven't forgotten one little detail from him : the importance he gave to trying to keep inmaculate the ballerina's tutu. That means that, during the performance, one have to treat the costumes in a technical way which, in general, express the extreme attention that the partenaire should give to the ballerina."

Mme Alicia Alonso :bow:

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I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :devil: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:

Mme.Alonso: "Tribute to Balanchine".

"In 'Theme and Variations' Igor [Youskevitch] and i developed a hard and passionate work. We both were achieving our own particular concept of the PDD, with an essentially expressive feeling, like a dialogue, very warm and personal and way far from the usual form established by Balanchine. That's why we couldn't avoid , on the execution of the new choreography, to interpret it in our own way, as much as what the enormous technical demand would allow to. To give a sense of dancing to a melody, to express a sensibility, to follow a theme, to achieve a humanization, or in other words, to make a duo between a man and a woman. As it was expected, Balanchine noticed, but for some reason, he didn't criticized us; he stared at what we did, silent, but he respected it. He only told us:

G.B-'Is not exactly what i'm asking , but i like it..."

Mme. Alonso. :bow:

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I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:

Mme.Alicia Alonso: "Tribute to Balanchine"

"I didn't have a chance to see Balanchine towards the end of his life, but i often received his messages. I remember,for example ,in 1976, when i was dancing at the Matropolitan Opera House as a guest artist of the American Ballet Theatre, doing "Carmen". Back there, i was receiving some physical therapy by an ex ballet dancer friend of mine, Bill Weslow. Balanchine also was having some treatments with Billy, so he gave him this message to me :

GB-'Please, tell Alicia that many years have passed but so far nobody has ever danced "Theme and Variations" the way she did'. I appreciate a lot, coming from the master, that judgment and that he still remembered me. "

Mme Alonso :bow: "

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From Irina: ballet, life and love. Viking 2005

Irina Baronova writing about a memory from the tour to Havana where they performed at the Pro-Arte Musical.

"One day Mr Yavorsky asked Jerry and me to come and watch a young girl in his class whom he considered very, very talented. Tania and Lichine came as well, as they were always interested in seeing new talent. The young student was just fourteen, beautiful to look at, already quite strong technically, and possessed that elusive special quality that a person is born with--either you have it or you do not. That young girl had it all. Her name was Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad dei Cobre Martinez Hoyo". page 206

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The young student was just fourteen, beautiful to look at, already quite strong technically, and possessed that elusive special quality that a person is born with--either you have it or you do not. That young girl had it all. Her name was Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad dei Cobre Martinez Hoyo".

aka my beloved Mme. Alicia Alonso :bow:

Thank you, Innopac!

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Try fitting Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martinez Hoyo and Igor Youskevitch on the same marquee. :bow: (Does anyone know Youskevitch's patronymic, so that he could demand additional space?)

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aka my beloved Mme. Alicia Alonso :bow:

Here also is a beautiful photograph of Alicia Alonso taken around 1945

Alicia Alonso

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Here also is a beautiful photograph of Alicia Alonso taken around 1945

Alicia Alonso

Alas! I had that same photograph autographed to me by Alonso --if my memory serves, it said---un carinoso saludo--- Unfortunately, about 20 years ago (during a move) I sold part of my old memorabilia to the Ballet Shop in NYC. :bow:

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Silvy, Alonso was remarkable in every way, not least as a virtuoso. There was also (some time ago) a video on YouTube of Alonso dancing Black Swan on a checkerboard (black and white, probably) floor; as the squares are vividly delineated, it is possible to see EXACTLY how little the ballerina travels in her fouettes. Quite stunning, and may still be up.

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Silvy, Alonso was remarkable in every way, not least as a virtuoso. There was also (some time ago) a video on YouTube of Alonso dancing Black Swan on a checkerboard (black and white, probably) floor; as the squares are vividly delineated, it is possible to see EXACTLY how little the ballerina travels in her fouettes. Quite stunning, and may still be up.

This clip is material from a fimed documentary. The piece with the fouettes is from an odd but complete Black Swan pdd. In her varation she executes 2 two pirouettes, each with 5 revolution. There are also extended portions of a Pas de Quatre, Giselle and Carmen.

There are also extended interviews .

I dodn't know if the program has been released on DVD. My copy (which I can't seem to locate) was on VHS.

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Silvy, Alonso was remarkable in every way, not least as a virtuoso. There was also (some time ago) a video on YouTube of Alonso dancing Black Swan on a checkerboard (black and white, probably) floor; as the squares are vividly delineated, it is possible to see EXACTLY how little the ballerina travels in her fouettes. Quite stunning, and may still be up.
Not only on a checkerboard floor, but against backdrop of columns. :)

Alonso, to me, illustrates how it is possible to incorporate the "tricks" to artistic purpose.

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quote]Not only on a checkerboard floor, but against backdrop of columns. :jawdrop:

Not only the checkerboard floor and the columns backdrop...but all this at 46 and blind! :)

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I don't know, I just watched the Alonso clips to refresh my memory, and I have to say I prefer Beriosova. The way Alonso slowed down the music to accommodate her pirouettes in her variation (the changes in the choreography could have been due to a lack of space) as well as her long preparation time for them signifies what was apparently more important to her. Maybe one really needed to see her live for her magnetism to come across.

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Maybe one really needed to see her live for her magnetism to come across.

Amen. That's totally right.

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To Cristian and other fans of Ms. Alonso, I got a link today that may be of interest -- it is possibly up on the "Links" thread, but I thought I'd pass it on directly.

http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2007/12/03/74...ears_later.html

I hope to read and collect all of Cristian's translations of Ms. Alonso's remarks about Mr. B. soon -- but am now in the midst of some very intense personal (good) preparations, etc. Thank you for those in advance!

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having been priviledged to witness Alonso perform regularly in Havana in the 60's and 70's I can assure all that she was capable and regularly opened her Black Swan fuettes with 6 piruettes, counted, 32 single fuettes and close with 6 piruettes, granted, since the music cannot accommodate all these turns at the speed she did them, it would only kick in when she came down from the piruettes and stop reight on the 32nd until she completed her closing turns. And she did not travel, in any direction.

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I hope to read and collect all of Cristian's translations of Ms. Alonso's remarks about Mr. B. soon -- but am now in the midst of some very intense personal (good) preparations, etc. Thank you for those in advance!

Always a pleasure !... :clapping:

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this VAI release includes much of what was on the video cassette originally marketed as ALICIA

And now called "Prima Ballerina Assoluta". Thank you rg for the link. This is its content:

Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina Assoluta

A compilation of performances from 1963 to 1985 includes many of Alonso’s most celebrated roles. These range from Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote & Coppélia, Romeo & Juliet, and others. She is joined by members of her company, The Ballet Nacional de Cuba. As bonuses are performances from the CBC (with Igor Youskevitch,1958) and Bell Telephone Hour (with Melissa Hayden, Nora Kaye & Mia Slavenska, 1960). 74 min., Color, B&W. Playable in all regions.

Swan Lake: Black Swan Pas de Deux

Music: Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Alicia Alonso, after Petipa

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Azari Plisetsky, Hugo Guffanti

1968

Romeo & Juliet: Bedroom Scene

Music: Berlioz

Choreography: Alberto Alonso

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Azari Plisetsky

1970

Giselle: Act II Pas de Deux

Music: Adam

Choreography: Alicia Alonso, after Coralli & Perrot

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Azari Plisetsky

1963

Coppélia: Dr Coppélius and the Doll (Swanilda)

Music by Léo Delibes

Choreography: Alicia Alonso

(after the original by Arthur Saint-Léon and the version by Marius Petipa)

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, José Parés

1968

Don Quixote: Act III Pas de Deux

Music: Minkus

Choreography: Alicia Alonso, after Petipa & Obukhov

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Azari Plisetsky

1968

Pas de Quatre

Music: Pugni

Choreography: Alicia Alonso, after Perrot

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Mirta Plá, Loipa Araújo, Aurora Bosch

1968

La Fille Mal Gardée: Lisette Keeps Her Love a Secret

Music: Hertel

Choreography: Alicia Alonso, after Dauberval

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, José Parés and Alberto Méndez

1968

Oedipus Rex; Bedroom Scene

Music: Brouwer

Choreography: Alicia Alonso & Jorge Lefebre

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Jorge Esquivel

1971

La Peri

Music: Burgmüller

Choreograhy: Alberto Méndez

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Jorge Esquivel

1985

Carmen Suite: Variations & Habanera

Music: Shchedrin, after Bizet

Choreography: Alberto Alonso

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Azari Plisetsky

1968

All with Ballet National de Cuba

National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba

Manuel Duchesne Cuzán conductor

Bonuses

Black Swan Pas de Deux (First Adagio) :clapping:

Music: Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Petipa

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Igor Youskevitch

Orchestre de Radio-Canada, Jean Beaudet

December 4, 1958

Pas de Quatre

Music: Pugni

Choreography: Anton Dolin, after Perrot

Dancers: Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Nora Kaye, Mia Slavenska

Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra/Voorhees

April 1, 1960

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