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Paquita


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#16 Herman Stevens

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 12:09 PM

I agree with you about the talent, Silvy. The dancing is perfect technically. The performing however is not so great IMO. Have ever you noticed not one dancer ever smiles throughout the whole show - not once? They all look like they're in Swan Lake 2nd Act, except the blue's turned brown.

It's Paquita for xsake! The beauty is it's all fluff. It's a wedding, and they're doing party tricks, and Petipa wrote the tricks.

And now I'll shut up about this.

#17 Dale

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 12:21 PM

I like both videos, sort of for the reasons Herman mentioned - the perfection of the Kirov style and the verve of the ABT cast.

Regarding the full-length Paquita video, I found it a mixed bag. The true Petipa (or at least what we know as the Petipa Paquita variations) stick out amongst Lacotte choreography. Lacotte's work seems very "Danish" to my eye and very similar to his work in the Bolshoi's Pharaoh's Daughter, which is similar to his work on the Bournonville "reconstructions" he's done. What I'm saying is, I feel Lacotte has his own "old" style and it's all the same whether he's reimagining Petipa or Bournonville. The performances on the video are good (although I don't think it's the best of Letestu), but the ballets themselves (Paquita and Pharaoh) seem constructed without a heart, so the work either seems like a series of endless divertissments of dancing or running around like a silent picture with no real clear mime.

However, I'm happy that it is available on DVD. TDK and the Paris Opera have managed to put out several releases in the last few years, really the only ones out there except the recent Dance in America appearances by ABT. Although the disc has a few extras such as interviews with the lead dancers, POB director and Lacotte, there is not a full cast list in the booklet. I'm not sure who does the pas de trois and other variations, which is annoying.

#18 silvy

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 08:10 AM

Ref Kirov's Paquita video: I believe that the whole conception of the work is different from what is seen in the ABT video. Kirov's rendering is truly aristocratic, not Spanish- like (there is barely NO hint at Spanish character in the dancing - maybe in SOME variations the dancers use the hand-on-waist position). Even the setting is that of a palace: chandeliers, the crown Mahkalina is wearing, the jewelled costumes. As such, I understand there is a more restrained smile in the dancers: after all, aristocrats are not highly spirited peasants.

That is my honest opinion, anyway.

#19 Herman Stevens

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 03:49 AM

I've given this some thought, after perusing the discussion of Paquita vs Kitri styles too.

I think there is plenty of space between aristocratic, as in tiara on the head, and the peasant girl shaking her tambourine, and that's where the Paquita Grand Pas belongs.

OK, so there's the back story, i.e. Paquita can have her love because it turns out she's a noble lassie after all. But the music should be our guide too, and most of the music used in Paquita is pretty jolly, and has a distinct Spanish flavor. There's nothing like the stately polonaises and sarabandes of Sleeping Beauty.

Beaumont quotes a contemporary report which praises Grisi's grace and her 'piquancy' - I think the latter may be an indication of what I miss in the Kirov version.

Another thing with the two videos is, even though one can never have too much of a good thing, my feeling is the interpolated pas de trois kind of throws the Petipa structure out of whack in the Kirov. The grand pas starts with the corps girls, after the pdd there's another corps intermezzo (with the castagnets and the delightful oblique jumps, which are straight up and down in the Kirov version) and then there are six variations till the next round of the corps. To me this is a characteristic Petipa rhythm (correct me if I'm wrong) that is rather broken up by the interpolation of the long pas de trois, after which the six variations come. Ideally you would have had a corps intermezzo between the pas de trois and the six variations.

I think that's the way they do it with Dutch National Ballet, which revived Paquita two years ago, under direction of its long-time dance mistress Maria Aradi who danced the title role with the Bolshoi.

#20 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 04:06 AM

The whole thing is pretty odd, because the whole thing is about 90% interpolation of variations from just about everywhere.

#21 rg

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Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:40 AM

mel's description of PAQUITA's GRAND PAS CLASSIQUE as "pretty odd" is most polite.
to refer to the variety of PAQUITA GRAND PAS stagings we get here, there and everywhere as petipa's work is something of a stretch.
it was, acc'd to a perceptive suggestion of alastair macaulay's in THE DANCING TIMES (a letter to the editor, if mem serves), likely Mathilda Kshessinska who gave 'birth' to the string of variations now seen in stagings calling themselves PAQUITA. apparently it was M.K. who, when she was scheduled to lead a performance of the petipa/minkus divertissement, asked her contemporaries of the imperial ballet to dance in the performance and to 'bring' for the purpose their favorite variation. in some cases not even nec. a petipa variation, as in the semi-'tradition' to dance a variation from the PAS DE TROIS of fokine's PAVILLON D'ARMIDE.
the season n.y.c. had the opporunity to see two different stagings during the same period, A.Danilova's for dance theatre of harlem and N. Makarova's for her own Makarova Ballet, arlene croce had an observation in her discussion that was most memorable. she found danilova's staging 'choreographically bald' whereas in makarova's 'they split hairs.' o'course her commentary was filled out beyond such contrasting phrases but the descriptions noted a clear difference between presenting this 'petipa' showcase.
discussions might be most valuable of the work under discussion by identifying them as, say, Danilova's Petipa or Makarova's Petipa, etc. etc.

#22 mohnurka

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 01:27 PM

The dancers from pas de trois from the Kirov Paquite are Elena Pankova, Irina Sitnikova and Gregory Checherin.

Oh and in Chopiniana, Polikarpova is magnificent as well :dunno:

#23 Dale

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 10:11 PM

The dancers from pas de trois from the Kirov Paquite are Elena Pankova, Irina Sitnikova and Gregory Checherin.

Oh and in Chopiniana, Polikarpova is magnificent as well :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks. Actually, I meant the dancers in the pas de trois from the full-length Paquita with the POB are not listed.

#24 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 12:12 PM

Dale, the pas de trois on the POB-DVD is danced by Mélanie Hurel (1st variation), Nolwenn Daniel and Emmanuel Thibault.

#25 Dale

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 07:28 PM

Thanks Marc.

#26 atm711

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:06 AM

After seeing the POB 'Paquita' I found the story so convoluted that I want back to Beaumont's Complete Book for clarification :thumbsup: . What impressed me most about the production was the recreation of a romantic ballet costume I have always loved. Just below the bodice of the dress is a few inches of open netting; a design I have come across many times in the old lithographs. In spite of the story I was so pleased to see a recreation of Act 1; these are treasures we should not lose. Thibault was outstanding in the pas de trois (is he an etoile yet?). In Act 2, the fouettes performed by Letestu are among the most beautiful I have seen. I actually did see Danilova's version of Paquita in which she performed. If the production seemed 'bald' to Ms. Croce perhaps it was because the Ballet Russe operated on a shoe-string in those days. :cool:

#27 mohnurka

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 09:47 AM

A bit :thumbsup:, but also,

There's Assylmuratova doing the ballerina variation on Backstage at the Kirov, (unless I am fuddled), and she completely nails it.

It is actually in "The Leningrad Legend" narrated by Makarova.
:cool: I admit to be guilty of watching Assylmuratova in this tape almost every day...
She is indeed absolutely pure in this excerpt.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Elena Pankova, in another excerpt from Paquita on the same video is also a delight to watch. :D

#28 Ari

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 12:48 PM

This is Croce's comment about baldness & split hairs in context (from "Makarova on Broadway," a 1980 review of Makarova & Company, reprinted in Going to the Dance):

Not long ago, the Dance Theater of Harlem gave us a Paquita divertissement that was a triumph.  But Alexandra Danilova's staging is so different from Makarova's as to amount to a different work.  Two Russian ballerinas from the same school forty years apart teach two different Paquitas.  The conflict isn't between student and professional levels of performance [Makarova's company was composed largely of students]; it's between Petrograd and Leningrad.  The way American dancers understand Russian classicism&mdash;"Petipa" for short&mdash;is the way the St. Petersburg-Petrograd generation of &eacute;migr&eacute; Russians has taught it to them.  With these Russians, it has always been the rule that the teachings of the academy are shaped by the findings of choreography.  Of all the numberless differences between our local accent in Petipa and the current native one, I should say the greatest derives from the Russian academy's loss of its choreographers&mdash;first Fokine, then Balanchine&mdash;to the West.  When the choreographer succession was weakened, the academy fell under the rule of the pedagogues.  The most immediately striking discrepancy between the post-Imperial-style Paquita set by Danilova and the latter-day, Kirov-style one set by Makarova is that Makarova's has a great many more complicated and difficult steps (further complicated by difficult tempos).  Danilova's version has dance architecture; Makarova's has none.  Danilova's has buoyancy; Makarova's has drive.  Danilova's looks choreographically bald; in Makarova's, the dancers split hairs.




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