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Dance of the Hours (La Gioconda)The ballet featured in Fantasia


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#1 Marie Adelaide

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 05:42 PM

I'm having trouble finding information on this ballet (Dance of the Hours, or Danza delle Ore). I'm pretty sure it was preformed in the 30s or 40s. The music is the same as that of Amilcare Poncelli's opera La Gioconda. You probably know it as the ballet danced by animated ostriches, hippos, elephants and crocodiles in Disney's Fantasia (my all- time favorite Disney movie!). Also, I read an obituary of a famous Russian ballerina a few years back (1998?) that said her movements were portrayed by the hioop in Fantasia.

If anyone has any info on the choreography, when and where was preformed, and who preformed it, that would be great!! :D

#2 rg

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Posted 16 December 2003 - 07:53 PM

i suspect any number of opera-going and knowledgeable balletalerters will respond more authoritatively but, as the music you refer to is from a rather well-known opera, any number of productions of LA GIACONDA would have choreography, often by the house choreographer.
the new york public library has, surprisingly, only 4 specific, choreographic references to the dance music, these in addition to any number of references to the sequence in FANTASIA, that you have already mentioned.
here are the 4 library references:

Dance of the hours : Divertissement from La Gioconda. Chor: Ivan Clustine; mus: Amilcare Ponchielli; cos: Konstantin Korovin. Anna Pavlova Company repertoire.[oddly no date is given for this entry, but clustine died in '41.]

Dance of the hours : Chor: Andreas Pavley and Serge Oukrainsky; mus: Amilcare Ponchielli; scen & cos: Serge Oukrainsky. First perf: Brazil, São Paulo, Teatro Nacional, May 1924, Pavley-Oukrainsky Ballet Russe.

Dance of the hours : Chor: Ruth Page; mus: Amilcare Ponchielli (La Gioconda); cos: Nicolai Remisov. First perf: Milwaukee, Wisc., Pabst Theatre, Oct 29, 1949; Chicago Grand Opera Ballet.

Ze ballet : Chor: Iva Kitchell; mus: Amilcare Ponchielli (Dance of the hours, from La Gioconda). First perf: New York, Barbizon-Plaza Theatre, Feb 4, 1940.


on the odd occasion a russian/soviet troupe will put on a staging of the dance and give it a petipa credit. the last troupe to do this in a repertory i saw was one run by vyacheslav gordeyev, who ran a ballet company called, something like the moscow ballet, which was a small-scale touring ensemble (i saw this particular ballet done by gordeyev's troupe in trenton n.j. some years back.)
according to lynn garafola's invaluable listings of petipa ballets in her Studies in Dance History: THE DIARIES OF MARIUS PETIPA, petipa choregraphed his version of the dances in 1883 for st. petersburg's italian opera company, then regularly appearing at the Maryinsky Theater.
more recently, some years after the gordeyev troupe's staging of the ballet, the ballet academy of japan staged a version of this work, also with a 'petipa pedigree' on a 'lost ballets' bill.

hope this helps, good luck with your research.\

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 05:22 AM

I could be wrong here, but I seem to recall that Irina Baronova came in to the Disney studios and demonstrated for the animators. There was a short film made of her and the cartoon people working out the particulars of ballet, and one of the animators comes up with the ostriches. The artists all gather around the drawing and begin to compliment it on the gawkiness and geekiness of the bird, and Baronova thinks they're talking about HER! She stomps out in middle-high dudgeon, nose aloft. Staged, of course, but funny!

#4 Marie Adelaide

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 04:10 PM

I could be wrong here, but I seem to recall that Irina Baronova came in to the Disney studios and demonstrated for the animators.  There was a short film made of her and the cartoon people working out the particulars of ballet, and one of the animators comes up with the ostriches.  The artists all gather around the drawing and begin to compliment it on the gawkiness and geekiness of the bird, and Baronova thinks they're talking about HER!  She stomps out in middle-high dudgeon, nose aloft.  Staged, of course, but funny!

YES! I do believe it was Baranova as the ostrich, now that I think about it. Now, I wonder who the hippo was? Riabouchinska, perhaps?

Thanks for the information, RG, and Mel!

Edited by Marie Adelaide, 17 December 2003 - 04:11 PM.


#5 oberon

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 07:50 PM

If you can find a videotape of the San Francisco Opera's televised GIOCONDA from 1979 you will see a very entertaining performance of the ballet featuring Martine van Hamel. This is not available commercially but many collectors will have it, taped off the air. It was a famous night as the leading singers, Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti, were having an on-going battle backstage.

#6 Paul Parish

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 09:29 PM

I believe the Fantasia ballet was choreographed, in its basics, by Baronova's husband, David Lichine, and the animators created a very shrewd parody of his work. If you want odo some research, Marie Adelaide, I think there's been a fair amount written about this, and you COULD find out quite a lot. Lichine may have had a BIG hand in it, down to the fine details -- I don't know, but he DID had a gift for comedy -- he choreographed Graduation Ball, which is still widely popular, and evne after all these years, it can still be very funny.....

RG, I wish I'd seen the Moscow Classical Ballet do the Dance of hte Hours. They came to San Francisco in 1990 or so, played in a little Broadway-style house on Market Street, but they were quite marvelous. Ekaterina Maximova was dancing with them -- the only time I've ever seen her live, she was probably nearly 50 but looked like a CHILD..... She danced some Bejart Romeo and Juliet pas de deux in a white unitard and just tore me UP. I took Sally Streets with me, and she was crazy about her, too, said Balanchine would have been very interested.

And on hte same mixed bill Vladimir Malakhov played ADam in the Creation of hte WOrld, and HE was simply visionary.

#7 rg

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 07:48 AM

just to clarify: gordeyev's 'moscow' co. was called 'moscow ballet' in '87 anyway.
moscow classical is a diff. co. led by kasatkina/vasiliov i think.
i BELIEVE moscow classical is still on the boards and pre-dates gordeyev's moscow ballet, which dispanded i suppose when he was working at the bolshoi post-grigorovich.
hope this makes sense.

#8 Paul Parish

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Posted 18 December 2003 - 10:52 AM

Thanks for clarifying that, rg--

Gordeyev's company never made it here; though we heard about it (an dhe of course was famous), we never saw them.
Vasiliov's company is the one we saw.

Thanks again.


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