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Robert Gottlieb reviews the Maryinsky's Balanchine


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#31 Alexandra

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 10:39 AM

That makes sense, but Balanchine isn't the first person to think that "the lower body was as capable of expression as the upper." (Not that she's saying he was.) Tudor springs to mind, others as well. I can't speak to Vaganova training, but I don't see that kind of heart/legs split in Russian dancers in performance.

Thanks for the Chujoy quote, atm.

#32 vrsfanatic

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 12:16 PM

Thank you all for your explanations. Things are making a bit more sense now.

It is a most important point in Vaganova training that the legs have equal expressivity as the upper body. Character of movement and expressivity is always a major portion of every movement. In our examinations, as teachers (as well as for the students) this was always a major portion of the answer. Saying that the body is split horizontally is only a portion of what a student/dancer must physically understand.

Perhaps Ms. Farrell did not understand what Ms. Kolpakova was saying? Perhaps the translator was not someone well versed in translating for ballet, which is a very specific thing? I will also check with I. Kolpakova the next time I see her. Perhaps Ms. Kolpakova got side track and was not able to complete her thought. I do not know, but I can say that the training of dancers in Vaganova method is three dimensional at all times. In fact, one could even say there is a 4th dimension of the soul (thank you Kevin). I would like to read both the Farrell book, as well as the essay by Balanchine. I hopefully already have the correct addition of the A. Chujoy Dance Encyclopedia.

"All ballet positions are based on two principles: the horizontal alignment of each movement in space, and the vertical balance of the human figure. The alignment is an invisible horizontal line on which the dance is built; it extends unbroken from the point where the dance b egins to where it ends. Upon it the movements of the dancers exist, as upon a thread or a string of pearls is held.


I seems to me that Balanchine was stating that both the horizontal and the vertical are necessary in ballet. Although in this quote the horizontal is not clarified, he does seem to state that it is necessary. It only makes sense for all forms of dance, not just ballet. :)

#33 Herman Stevens

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 12:39 PM

Perky quoting Suzanne Farrell: "He would often close one eye and optically split the body down the center, leaving each half with all the necessary components-head, arm, body, leg, and foot. To him, the lower body was as capable of expression as the upper."

Which is where I guess the pelvis comes in, as an expressive part of the lower half.

Many European (not the mention the Asian) dancers have a problem sticking the pelvis out in Balanchine.

However I have a hard time believing this story about Balanchine shutting one eye to split Suzanne Farell down the middle (vertically). Try it yourself.

#34 Ari

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 06:47 AM

He would often close one eye and optically split the body down the center, leaving each half with all the necessary components-head, arm, body, leg, and foot. To him, the lower body was as capable of expression as the upper."

If I understand Farrell correctly, she's saying that Balanchine wanted the body to work integrally, without the north/south divide. But then why did he "optically split the body down the center?" What was the point of that?

#35 Thalictum

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 02:32 PM

Too bad Anna Pavlova and Olga Spessivtzeva are not here to be told that at the Mariinsky their legs were not expressive since Balanchine had not yet begun to choreograph.

#36 perky

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 04:39 AM

The quote I posted from Farrell is not exactly my viewpoint I just thought it would add to the discussion. :wub:

Herman, you mentioned that European dancers have a problem with sticking the pelvis out in Balanchine. How do they look dancing The Four Temperments with it's very pronounced forward pelvis?


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