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The Art of Maria Tallchief


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#1 kfw

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 05:54 PM

Can anyone recommend or recommend against this DVD? I'm particularly interested in how well Allegro Brilliante is represented since I've never seen it. Can one tell from this disc that Tallchief was a special dancer, or is everything danced on a tiny stage and constricted?

#2 Helene

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 06:13 PM

It's not the same as seeing it onstage, and you would have to make allowances for the constriction, but I really liked Allegro Brillante. My favorite cut on the DVD, though, is Pas de dix, with music from Raymonda. The Scotch Symphony excerpt is also on the Balanchine bio DVD.

I love seeing Eglevsky, Magallanes, and Fernandes as well.

#3 atm711

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 05:44 AM

I have the DVD---and it is worth it just to see Tallchief in 'Allegro Brilliante'. She was so successful after she left NYCB that we sometimes have to be reminded of what a great Balanchine interpreter she was.

#4 kfw

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 07:03 AM

Thanks, folks. I'm going to order it tonight.

#5 rg

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:12 AM

also it's probably important to bear in mind that ALLEGRO BRILLANTE is not complete; it's a substantial excerpt, but it's the entire ballet, which includes an opening segment not included in this filming.
still, there are no other versions of this work on the market to the best of my knowledge.

#6 Jack Reed

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 08:26 PM

kfw, when you've seen it, would you like to let us know how you like it?

I haven't seen all of it myself yet, but after one look at most of it, my initial impressions are that some of the tempos are much faster than anything I ever heard in my time watching Balanchine's company (1968-1986); that a few times the frame is much too tight but, luckily, only briefly; that there is often the sense of dancing in too small space that you feared; that her pirouettes are a little wobbly sometimes, but that she dances the Flower Festival pas de deux beautifully (with a very young-looking "Rudy"!).

For many years I've been able to remember a little bit of some of Tallchief's dancing I saw myself in 1955, her spectacular entrance in Firebird which apparently Balanchine took out later on (it brought the house down, and that may have been more reaction than he wanted). So now I can get more, longer sequences of her dancing, allowing for the reduced effect owing to technical circumstances, and I'm glad for it.

#7 kfw

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:51 PM

kfw, when you've seen it, would you like to let us know how you like it? 


Gladly, Jack. I'm happy I bought it.

These are all television performances dating from '54 through '66, and the charming formal introductions to the ballets can be a hoot: "tonight The Telephone Hour celebrates 21 years of music, but only two years of ballet -- no one ever danced for us on radio"; Tallchief and Eglevsky, introduced separately before Pas de dix, each move into the frame for smiling closeups; Florence Henderson introduces Allegro Brilliante standing beside some sort of marbelized pillar wearing a white caftan with a fur collar, and a gold necklace of many strands that extends halfway down her torso.

I think of Tallchief chiefly as a bravura dancer by reputation, but I'm knocked out by her lyricism here, especially in the Pas de deux from The Flower Festival of Genzano with Nureyev, where she shows off the fleetness of her Balanchine training, but also displays lovely ballon and a sweet feminine air. Funny, she makes Nureyev look taller here than he is. I've always been something of a heretic on the subject of Nureyev -- I see what the fuss is all about but I'm bored anyhow -- but I could watch this technically thrilling and, at least to my mind, atypically unaffected performance all day long.

A couple of times in Allegro Brilliante Tallchief pirouettes forward so far that all we see are her head and torso, but she bowls me over with radiant and expansive and serenely secure dancing, and I fell in love with all four of of the female corps members, whoever they are.

Especially in the black and white selections here -- Pas de Dix, the Pas de deux from Les Sylphides, and scenes from Act II of Swan Lake -- the camera focus is too tight and often cuts off pointes and hands and even heads. At one quick moment during Pas de dix the soloists dance out of the frame except for a couple of hands arms gracing the left and right edges of the screen. Perhaps the cameraman was a Cunningham afficianado -- one view is as good as another! But seriously, the camerawork throughout these selections is at least unobstrusive and calm, with none of the jumpcutting that mars The Kirov Dances Nijinksy disc.

For someone who never saw Tallchief dance, it's a treat to see her in so many moods, and to have all this Balanchine choreography on disc as well. I hope others will comment.

#8 atm711

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 06:25 AM

I remember how excited I was seeing 'Flower Festival' the first time it was broadcast, I think, in 1962. It was the first time we got a glimpse of Nureyev. He is a charming country bumpkin in this, something I fully realized later when I saw Bournonville trained dancers do this PDD. (He was a r eplacement for the ailing Erik Bruhn). and weren't those Chaine turns of Tallchief in "Allegro Brilliante' something to see? She pulled out all the stops.


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