Bolshoi's "Swan Lake"
Posted 01 September 2003 - 08:05 AM
I approached it with mixed feelings, but have to confess having been captivated by some of the changes introduced by Grigorovitch, notably in Act III (the palace part). I very much liked the idea of each princess being from a different country, and dressed as such (stylistically, of course), dancing her national dance in POINTE SHOES (not in character shoes as in the Kirov's version). I felt that it gave a logic to the plot that is missing in other versions (in my opinion), because the waltz with the prince came only after the princesses danced their national. Also I loved the costumes
I am wondering if this is the version currently performed by the company??? Or have they returned to the more traditional one?? Also would like to know what the critics thought about these changes, on the premiere????????
Posted 01 September 2003 - 09:28 AM
I think it's safe to say the production was controversial. There are two ways to look at Swan Lake stagings, I think. One is that it's a 19th century ballet and it should be staged bearing that in mind. The other is that it's a score, and it should be choreographed fresh.
For those who like the Grigorovich version, it's a more contemporary reading and they like the "all dance" aspect of it, as well as the psychological approach. For those who don't, it cuts out every bit of Petipa as well as the mime and adds psychological undertones that are anachronistic. Putting the character dances on pointe changes the character of the original ballet -- not a concern if you take Approach #2 above -- because ballets of that era mixed classical and character dancing (and mime and processions).
Posted 01 September 2003 - 09:37 AM
So yes, the Bolshoi is again dancing this same Grigorovich production of "Swan Lake". I'd be curious to hear what the critics thought about it back in 1969, when Grigorovich was still reigning supreme at the Bolshoi, but I guess their comments weren't much different from ours.
Posted 01 September 2003 - 10:01 AM
Editing to add an afterthought:
I'd imagine most, or at least many, dancers would like the Grigorovitch version, because there's so much dancing. In Russia, there were (and I hope still are) specially trained character dancers and it's an honorable profession. Unfortunately, elsewhere there isn't the same tradition, and often dancers without a strong technique are put in the character pieces. It gives everyone -- viewer and dancer -- the impression that character work is second rate, or not "real dancing."
Edited by Alexandra, 01 September 2003 - 10:48 AM.
Posted 06 October 2003 - 10:07 PM
Alexandra, in some Australian dance schools character is taught. My daughters attend one of those schools and are taught by a specially trained, Russian, character teacher. AND my daughters would say that character IS real dancing!
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