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Entrance of the Shades

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#1 MinkusPugni


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Posted 13 July 2005 - 11:06 PM

I know it is traditional and you can't remove it but the entrance of the shades with the penchees is SO BORING! From a dancer's point of view, watching it may be slightly interesting as you can see who has a bad technique but from everyone I have ever talked to who doesn't dance finds it boring. If I was ever staging it, I would have two ramps from either side of the stage, not just one and have the shades coming on in pairs holding the same hands as their supporting leg and always alternating between legs. This means four people are coming on at one time and it would be over four times as fast (maybe even in time for the next phrase of music) and then you could have a proper dance of the shades.

What do you think? Would it be too risky?

#2 carbro


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Posted 13 July 2005 - 11:23 PM

That's one way to do it, and you could also up the tempo a bit, but how would it suggest the hypnotic quality that reflects Solor's drug-induced stupor?

#3 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:52 AM

I've watched it with people who weren't dance-knowledgeable, and they said they found it quite hypnotic, and were fascinated.

#4 Kate B

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 01:32 AM

I love the entrance of the shades, and I'm not exactly new to ballet, although I'm no big expert.

It's probably because it is hypnotic that I love it, a time you can just sit back and relax and reflect on things. Of course, some companies do it better than others.

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 03:31 AM

And while we're at it, why not replace those tatty white tutus with red leather bustiers and sequined thongs. That wouldn't be boring either. :blink:

#6 Hans


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:26 AM

:blink: Mel!

I saw the Kirov perform Kingdom of the Shades live with someone who is very quick to point out anything boring. She loved the whole thing; it moved her to tears. Said the entrance of the shades was delicate and beautiful.

#7 Farrell Fan

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:39 AM

With apologies to John McEnroe: MINKUS PUGNI, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! :blink:

#8 rg


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 05:14 AM

the entrance of the shades is unquestionably structured with repeated effects, but the most notable of the moves/postures doesn't really qualify as arabesque penchee. such penche moves take the dancer's torso lower in equal measure to the raising of the arabesque leg, a sort of strong leaning, tilt - think of such moments and moves in the Act 2 of GISELLE for both Giselle and Myrtha. what the corps de ballet does in the 'entrance' sequence climaxes more in a pose that could be called arabesque allongee, plie a quart.

#9 Mireille



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Posted 14 July 2005 - 05:17 AM

And imagine how much more boring it must have been in the original version: 64 shades instead of "only"32!!

It think that Lopoukhov mentions in his chapter on the shades scene that the collective frontward and backward movement is reminiscent of the waves movement, and add to this a new wave at the horizon for each new measure, it could not be more perfect.

#10 brivagook


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 09:06 AM

The very first time I saw this ballet, it was on tv. I was probably about 10 and watching it with my mom, and neither of us had seen it or knew anything about it. We didn't find this section boring at all. On the contrary, we found it absolutely hilarious. After about 10 girls came out, it became "Look mom! ANOTHER one! Surely that's the last one!" and then 4 counts later, out popped girl number 11. And then 12, and so on. Each time another girl came out, we laughed even harder. By the time girl number 32 made her appearance, I don't think either of us could even see the tv anymore. :blink:

Of course, that was in a much different environment than a theater. The first time I saw this done in a theater, it definitely was not boring. Nor was it funny. I was, as several of you have said before, absolutely mesmerized. It's now one of my favorite scenes in all of ballet. But still, every time I watch it, I have to smile and remember my first experience with the scene, and think "Look mom! Another one!"

#11 bart


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 09:10 AM

I've only seen this twice --once live (ABT), once on video (Royal). The effect was completely different. On video, I did -- as MinkusPugni says -- spend much of my time looking for technical variations and problems. Couldn't help myself. :blink: With repeated viewings, I began to "see" what was really there and found it beautiful.

On stage, the effect was mesmerising. I found myself thinking that these women were trapped in a kind of purgatory where their penance was to do this repetitive move -- and their reward was to be able to dance the beautiful corps material that comes immediately after.

#12 dirac


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:02 AM

Not to pile on MinkusPugni (and thanks for starting the topic and expressing yourself freely), but I agree with bart -- "mesmerizing" is exactly the word. It could go one twice as long as I'd be perfectly happy.

I first saw it as a kid going to see "The Turning Point" -- it's a great start to the movie, as each girl steps in to the camera frame, and then you see them all in full stage view. I thought it was beautiful. I saw it live later with San Francisco Ballet, and it was even more impressive -- moved almost to tears.

#13 oberon


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 12:55 PM

Well, to me it is one of the signature moments of classical ballet...of dance in general...of the arts altogether!

I was told about it by the person who "introduced" me to ballet and thought it sounded intriguing; I finally saw it {as BAYADERKA - National Ballet of Canada @ NYS Theatre...late 1970s...Mary Jago (hurrah!) and Frank Augustyn (bravo!)} and it made a profound impression. Now even hearing the music brings tears to my eyes. Hypnotic? I'll say!!

And yes, that opening shot of TURNING POINT is a very beautiful way to draw a movie-going audience into the world of ballet.

If there are wobbles or flaws, I just don't care. It is the structure of the piece, the idea behind it, and the bloody gorgeous music that speaks directly to the heart and soul.

#14 mohnurka


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 01:12 PM

I think an important component to whether one enjoys this or not is how it is performed. If the dancers do it as if they're robots, and just keep repeating, of course it's boring! But watching the Kirov entrance always places me in a state of trance...Each penchee is so short, and I love the music, so only by the end I'm satisfied. That said, I agree with the way everyone else explained it -- mesmerizing, hypnotising...

#15 pj


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Posted 14 July 2005 - 01:15 PM

Personally, I LOVE this part of the ballet. The last time I saw this done by Kirov, there were a number of company members out with the flu and the stage was a bit cramped with the ramp that they had brought on tour with them, so I am kind of remembering that they did this with fewer dancers than normal. I felt cheated!

oberon, I totally agree with you!

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