... it looks like Danilova danced it with Frederic Franklin in 1945. She didn't come over with Balanchine, did she?... I used to have her autobiography, but it was borrowed and not returned... When did she arrive here to stay?
, Danilova recalls:
was pearls of pure dancing, a long strand of beautiful steps strung together by the music, Tchaikovsky's orchestration of four pieces by Mozart.......Balanchine had choreographed this music before, for his company Les Ballets 1933
in Paris, and he choreographed it again later, for the New York City Ballet. But I think ours was the best version."
She continues that the version made on her (and Franklin) was more "vivace" in comparison to the Paris version which was more "triste" to reflect the mood of Paris at that time, in which the ballet had opened with a funeral procession. By contrast, the Ballet Russe version opened with the Gigue (danced by a boy in a tricorne hat, which, Danilova said, transported you to the right period instantly).
After the Gigue, The Prayer (danced by Lubov Rostova), and the Minuet (for six girls), all short sections, she and Freddie Franklin came out.
Interesting bit of history mentioned next in Choura
: The following year Balanchine made Night Shadow (La Sonnambula)
for Danilova. The composer, Vittorio Rieti, wanted her for the Coquette and debated back and forth with Balanchine about this, who wasn't sure which female role she should dance. Danilova was asked to make the choice herself. "Well..... I always do coquettes, and for a change I would like to do the dramatic part." Balanchine replied with "All right.....then you will do it". Guess who danced the coquette? Maria Tallchief, who always danced the dramatic roles! Danilova wrote that "Night Shadow
was mine, and the Sleepwalker came to be one of my signature roles."
As to Danilova's arrival in America, she doesn't give as precise information in Choura
as she does in I Remember Balanchine
"When I first appeared in America with the De Basil Ballet Russe at the St. James Theater in 1933, Balanchine did not come to see me. We were finished as husband and wife. .....But I did see him at the School of American Ballet later, where I always went for class. At one lesson there at the barre were all the wives and ex-wives: Geva, Zorina, Tallchief, Tanaquil LeClercq, and myself."
Of course, history tells us that Danilova was never officially married to Balanchine, but we know that she always considered herself one of his wives. They did live what now is called "common-law", in Paris.
Why Balanchine did not come to see her when she danced in New York is explained in I Remember Balanchine
. To not take this thread further off-topic I will not go into that.
Thanks, Amy, for giving me a reason to delve back into these two books! Every time I do I rediscover something fascinating that I had forgotten from previous reads.