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style in Paquita vs Don Q


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#1 silvy

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 06:01 AM

Hi

I was wondering about the real differences in style between these 2 ballets, particularly regarding the grand pas (on both). I would like to know what a ballerina should know of these differences in order to show she is truly dancing Paquita, instead of Don Q.

I think it is very important to know differences in styles when you are learning a new role, that is why I ask.

thanks
silvy

#2 Hans

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 08:45 AM

Some background info on the two: Paquita is a noble girl who was kidnapped by gypsies as a baby. Kitri is the daughter of an innkeeper in a small village in Spain & is therefore not nobility. I think some of that comes through in the choreography, though--Kitri is more brash than Paquita, who is naturally refined (because all nobility is born with refined manners, at least in ballet:rolleyes: ). Kitri just wants to have fun :D.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 08:48 AM

I hope more dancers will answer to give you an inside view, but from the outside, looking at it, I see "Paquita" as a divertissement -- that's the way it's come down to us. I know the full ballet has been reconstructed, but the Paquita that's now "traditional" is a grand ballet classique that Petipa inserted in the original Romantic ballet and that's performed on its own.

And so for that, you need to be the Queen Bee -- noble, as Hans noted above. I think there's a tradition of doing "concert versions" of the big pas de deux, NOT being in character -- Kitri doesn't have to look like an innkeeper's daughter in the grand pas de deux. But I think one does have to be grand.

#4 mbjerk

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:21 AM

Both Alexandra and Hans have hit the nail on the head. Kitri has a sense of flirtatious obstinence where Paquita takes her nobility with a "gypsy" fire attached. In relating to her partner, Kitri is more competitive and playful and Paquita less competitve and more romantic. Think a young Kate Hepburn as Kitri and Meryl Streep as Paquita. Sorry to use American tales.

Even in concert, without the surrounding story, I enjoy it when the dancers make this difference. One does tend to see the same interpretation for both - Spanish with attitude. My partner and I used to have a fight before Don Q to get the juices flowing and treated Paquita as a "classical" work with stylized port de bras, but more mature in carriage.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:41 AM

Mbjerk, I think what you wrote in the last sentence would be exactly what I'd like to see as a viewer.

#6 silvy

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 09:48 AM

Oh, thank you everybody!!!

so, would you say that all the variations in Paquita's grand pas should be in that "noble" vein?

It is interesting to contrast Kirov's and ABT versions on video. Kirov is just like nobility: Paquita even wears a tiara!!! However, Cynthia Gregory (and Susan Jaffe, Leslie Browne, and all the other dancers in the ABT Makarova's version I have seen) are dressed more like "Don Q" (I mean, red tutus, flowers on one side of the head, etc).

silvy

#7 Hans

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 03:33 PM

I am pretty sure the variations in the last act of Paquita should be danced nobly as well.

Presumably the three (depending on the version) flower girl variations in the last act of Don Quixote should be danced in a similar manner to Kitri's, but perhaps not as flamboyant.

#8 grace

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 05:37 PM

One does tend to see the same interpretation for both - Spanish with attitude.

mbjerk: good post! i agree.

wonderful thread. i didn't know this, and i appreciate being told. :)

i also appreciate someone *asking the question* ~ 'big smile' to silvy, and 'wink' to cabriole...

#9 vanniai

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 02:16 PM

hi! :lol: I have noticed in a Marynski Ballet video (I think, Im not sure) that there is a variation in Paquita with the same music as the variation of the cupid in Don Q (ABt version)... Does anybody know who is the choreographer and why they used the same music? Im not sure from whom is the original piece, from don q or paquita :D
Vannia

#10 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 02:32 PM

Vannia, strangely enough I have just posted my response to this question in Le Corsaire thread. The music for Amor is almost certainly by Minkus, and was probably taken into the Paquita grand pas at a much later date, at a time when even variations that were written after Petipa's death were finding their way into that fruit salad of odds and ends. The grand pas was written in 1881, and, at the start almost certainly had a uniform score by Minkus. It was only later that it received all its patches and gussets.

Amor's variation doesn't feature in either the 1869 (4 act) or the 1871 (5 act) versions of Don Quixote, but because the Enchanted Garden act is so short, it is highly probable that Petipa inserted it some time during the 1870s. On (very shaky) musical grounds, I would argue that the Queen of the Dryads variation (which you will have seen Fonteyn dance in the RB film of the Corsaire pas de deux) entered the same act of DQ only in the 1890s, at a time when Petipa was around to choreograph it, but when Minkus wasn't there to write the music. This might very well be by Drigo, but I couldn't begin to prove that.

#11 vanniai

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 03:03 PM

:sweating: wow, Thanks!
I have to send information about the Paquita variation (the one with the music of Amor in Don Q) and Im not sure how to refer or name this variation:
Paquita Xth variation from Grand Pas?
Music: Minkus
Choreography: Petipa,
is it ok?

Thanks again
Vannia

#12 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 10:00 PM

I'd have to back up the difference in "breeding" -- Kitri is a heroine, Don Quixote puts his lance at her service because he recognizes that magnificent capacity for defiance of any evil, which suits his understanding of nobility -- but she was not bred under gentle conditions.

I think the difference between the two women is that Kitri is a heroine but not genteel, and her shoulders need to be squared, like a man's -- whereas Paquita's lines should be all spirals, and her shoulders should curve -- magnificently -- and her chin-line should be high but not defiant.

Like in Shakespeare's WInter's Tale, where the princess is raised by shepherds -- in this kind of story, "native" refinement shines through. Kitri has done her own laundry, she's killed and cooked her own dinner, she's met many indignities, and it colors her manners; Paquita may have done hte same things, but it should not have colored her sensitivity more than slightly. It's as if her sheets have never turned yellow. (My own aunt Virginia called her mother a few weeks after her marriage and asked "what to do, her sheets were turning yellow...." Do you have such genteelisms in Uruguay, Silvy?)

#13 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 04:51 AM

Vanniae, your info about Minkus and Petipa is about as accurate as one can hope to be in the present circumstances, but I'd be careful about giving the variation a sequence number since there doesn't seem to be a stable format for the grand pas. You will find fewer variations in some productions, and more in others. Or perhaps your X was an algebraic X, and not the Roman version of 10! What nationality is your name, by the way? Is it Greek?

#14 vanniai

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:12 PM

My X was an algebraic X, you were right... and my name it's from Russia, I think, the meaning is God's gift... but other people also in Greek means a butterfly, like Vanessa. --- But, in fact, I'm peruvian... :)
Well, thanks for your help, I'm a little confused yet about how to name this choreography. Maybe I'll simply name it "Paquita variation"

#15 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 15 August 2003 - 02:57 PM

Well, Vanniai, your name is just another of many interesting things that I've learned at this site. The only Russian name for God that I know is Bozhe, and I often recite Tatiana's pained line from Eugene Onegin--O Bozhe, kak obidno e kak balno--when I embarrass myself! In English the name Vanessa was invented by our rather strange writer Jonathan Swift (he was very upset to discover that his girlfriend went to the lavatory!!), and he made it up from ESther VANomrigh. I wonder if you get the butterfly that we call "The Painted Lady" in Peru. It's very widespread, occurring both in Europe and in South Africa, so you might well know it, though it would have had to cross the Atlantic on a boat rather than with its wings, I imagine! Its wings are speckled brown and white and orange, with a pinkish flush near its body, and its zoological name is Vanessa cardui, cardui meaning "of the thistle" because that's the food its caterpillars like. Anyhow, Vanniai is a very good name for a ballerina to have. I bet you will flutter across the stage to great applause when you do your Paquita variation!


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