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betrothal dance


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#1 John-Michael

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 02:49 PM

I've always wondered... who are the people in the character dance in the betrothal scene supposed to be? Or are they just generic ballet exotica characters?

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 03:15 PM

Good question! I think they're just entertainers, but I think, too, that they may be descendants of the old ballets a entree from the Baroque era. If you just take the structure of that act, with its grand entree (procession) and then each "variation" or entree, it's exactly what one reads was done at the court of Louis XIV. Different dances are plugged into that basic structure that Louis wouldn't recognize, but I think that's the idea.

Is that too fanciful?

#3 John-Michael

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 07:12 PM

Makes a lot of sense to me. I always thought that the last act of Sleeping Beauty was a ballet a entree, especially with it being set in a faux Louis XIV court, and the fairy tale characters were courtiers in a court spectacle. If the scene in La Bayadere is a ballet a entree, it somehow seems a little out of place in ancient India but then so do waltzes and point shoes.

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 07:54 PM

I've always felt the same about Sleeping Beauty! I've been watching the Nureyev one for Paris (on tape) and that is so Baroque. It's the only one I know where it's clear that the fairy tale characters are courtiers. And at the end, like in the old court ballets, the dancing courtiers and the watching courtiers come together on the dance floor and dance.

I agree that a ballet a entree seems out of place in India, but I think Petipa took old forms and plunked new dances down in them. Like the 17th century ballets, they were loosely related in theme, but didn't tell a story, and that fits the dances in that act. (Presuming that what we see, from the parrots to the girl-with-a-jug, are Petipa's.)

#5 John-Michael

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 08:30 PM

I think the format seems a little less out of place in the Kirov reconstruction without Gamazatti and Solor dancing. Not only do the interpolations not match up stylistically but I don't think the rajah's daughter would dance for the pleasure of her guests at her own engagement party.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 10:00 PM

Yes -- I think that pas de deux was moved from the now lost 5th act. I don't think the rajah's daughter would dance for her guests, either, and (as in Raymonda) that pas de deux makes more sense as a wedding duet than a betrothal one. Solor has barely had time to get used to the idea!


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