MinkusPugni

Entrance of the Shades

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I confess to having the Entrance of the Shades on my screensaver, so I can watch it over and over again. It is one of the loveliest moments in ballet, IMHO. Taking some of the shades out would be like removing stanzas from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, on the grounds that it is repetitive, and some of the stanzas don't relate to the story, as it's just the narrator describing what he sees.

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I confess to having the Entrance of the Shades on my screensaver, so I can watch it over and over again. It is one of the loveliest moments in ballet, IMHO. Taking some of the shades out would be like removing stanzas from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, on the grounds that it is repetitive, and some of the stanzas don't relate to the story, as it's just the narrator describing what he sees.

The Makarova version (which I actually do love) only has 24 Shades, and there are different theories why she reduced the amount. The original is supposed to be 32. It is incredible when you see 32, but 24 is okay too.

Check out the Bolshoi's Bayadere, if you can find a copy. It has 3 levels of ramps, so when you count the shades that arrive on the stage floor at one point there are four levels of shades. It is so gorgeous. Now that I have seen that I actually want to see it that way all the time, but no other company does it that way, and I am scared the Bolshoi's new Bayadere (I think there is a new one coming out this season) will get rid of some of the ramps.

But I definitely do not want to see them come down two ramps facing each other and then holding hands!

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I found it--in a very pixel-y video on YouTube, but the effect was ethereal, nonetheless. (why was there a Justin Beiber video listed underneath? yucky.gif I very clearly typed "Bolshoi Entrance of the Shades"!) I can see why you love it! Oh, I hope they keep it the same way for the new Bayadere! I'll be able to see it via Ballet in Cinema, and to see the three levels of ramps with the shades clearly would be incredible.

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The Entrance of the Shades in La Bayadere is one of the great iconic moments in all ballet and certainly one of the greatest scenes ever choreographed for the corps de ballet. It is just so pure and beautiful in its simplicity ... why tamper with artistic and choreographic perfection? It is completely hynotic and mesmerizing as it is, and to see the Mariinsky corps de ballet in it, with their wonderful unity and precision of movement is truly tear-inspiring.

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I found it--in a very pixel-y video on YouTube, but the effect was ethereal, nonetheless. (why was there a Justin Beiber video listed underneath? yucky.gif I very clearly typed "Bolshoi Entrance of the Shades"!) I can see why you love it! Oh, I hope they keep it the same way for the new Bayadere! I'll be able to see it via Ballet in Cinema, and to see the three levels of ramps with the shades clearly would be incredible.

Glad you found it! Yes, let's hope the Bolshoi keeps the 3 ramps.

I laughed about the Justin Bieber comment. I notice some oddball videos come up when I search YouTube also! Not sure how that happens!

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The Entrance of the Shades in La Bayadere is one of the great iconic moments in all ballet and certainly one of the greatest scenes ever choreographed for the corps de ballet. It is just so pure and beautiful in its simplicity ... why tamper with artistic and choreographic perfection? It is completely hynotic and mesmerizing as it is, and to see the Mariinsky corps de ballet in it, with their wonderful unity and precision of movement is truly tear-inspiring.

I agree, Tiara! I am wondering if this topic was created as a joke just to see how shocked we can all get!

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Perhaps not...in this day and age of short attention spans and instant gratification, I can see how some people wouldn't have the patience to sit through something like this that is pretty much the same in every version you will ever see (Bolshoi version mentioned above excepted).

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?

That said, the original poster almost seems to be missing the point of the whole scene...dunno.gif

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I've just been reading the Wikipedia article about La Bayadere, which says that when Makarova made her version for ABT in 1980 she had to change the way the corps de ballet stood at the side of the stage during the solos from tendu derrière effacé to tendu derrière croisé because western dancers didn't have the Russian "arched back, torqued hyper-extended supporting legs, and severely arched feet".

Please could someone explain why she would need to do that? - and also, would she still need to do it today, 30 years later?

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one can't speak for Makarova, to be sure, but i wonder if in '80 when she was staging her BAYADERE for ABT, she still had unshakable views of her Kirov-heritage Shades in her mind's eye and couldn't see how to get ABT's differently (and less homogeneously) schooled female corps de ballet to approximate Kirov schooling.

there often seemed an especially striking 'torque' to Kirov Shades standing in a row, in a way that ABT couldn't approximate by way of rehearsal. to the Kirov corps de ballet the look was second-nature, perhaps, in Makarova's way of seeing.

as to whether or not Makarova would make similar adjustments nowadays, again, one would have to ask her, but maybe her eyes have now become accustomed to other ways of seeing BAYADERE's Shades stand and pose.

somewhat off topic, i rem. asking a ballet mistress at ABT when MacMillan was staging his SLEEPING BEAUTY why the cabrioles for the nymphs in the vision scene were taken out and replaced with another step.

if mem. serves my question went:

Why did MacMillan take of the cabrioles out of this scene?

and the answer was:

Because he saw them!

meaning if tone is lost here that he didn't like the way they were done, which may mean that while the women were capable, surely, of executing cabriole steps, their execution wasn't to the visual 'effect' MacMillan expected and/or was used to from, say, Royal Ballet corps de ballet women.

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The Entrance of the Shades in La Bayadere is one of the great iconic moments in all ballet and certainly one of the greatest scenes ever choreographed for the corps de ballet. It is just so pure and beautiful in its simplicity ... why tamper with artistic and choreographic perfection? It is completely hynotic and mesmerizing as it is, and to see the Mariinsky corps de ballet in it, with their wonderful unity and precision of movement is truly tear-inspiring.

I agree, Tiara! I am wondering if this topic was created as a joke just to see how shocked we can all get!

Not at all I would say. Actually, a this point I seriously believe-(and I'm NOT joking AT ALL)-that Miamian audiences, for instance, not only wouldn't mind or care if little by little the company starts making seasons out of 100% of works by the likes of Morris, Taylor or Cunningham, or to be more direct, sans pointe. Maybe the Arsht Center would probably be even fuller sans pointes...

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one can't speak for Makarova, to be sure, but i wonder if in '80 when she was staging her BAYADERE for ABT, she still had unshakable views of her Kirov-heritage Shades in her mind's eye and couldn't see how to get ABT's differently (and less homogeneously) schooled female corps de ballet to approximate Kirov schooling.

Thank you, rg - from the wording ("she was obliged to modify the poses" was the exact quote) I'd thought it meant that for some reason the western dancers couldn't stand in that position for a long time, but I guess your explanation is far more likely.

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ah, i see the crux of your question better now, Jane.

"was obliged" - maybe my hunch isn't so much to the point after all.

maybe someone who knows Makarova will see your question and ask The Source.

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Check out the Bolshoi's Bayadere, if you can find a copy. It has 3 levels of ramps, so when you count the shades that arrive on the stage floor at one point there are four levels of shades. It is so gorgeous. Now that I have seen that I actually want to see it that way all the time, but no other company does it that way, and I am scared the Bolshoi's new Bayadere (I think there is a new one coming out this season) will get rid of some of the ramps.

They kept the multiple ramps--all four of them, you'll be gratified to hear. The effect was ethereal.

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Thank you for the report!

It is not playing in cinemas here until Feb. 17 and 19, and I have a conflict with both dates unfortunately!

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When I first saw them coming down the first ramp, because it is much shorter than two-ramp versions and only has room for 3 dancers before the first one has to turn the bend, I thought it looked truncated, but when all 4 ramps were full with people arabesquing and cambreing, it looked like some fancy movie special effect. Very cool!

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The Makarova version (which I actually do love) only has 24 Shades, and there are different theories why she reduced the amount. The original is supposed to be 32. It is incredible when you see 32, but 24 is okay too.

According to Katerina Novikova in the Bolshoi "La Bayadere" broadcast today before Act III, there were originally 60 or 60-something -- I missed whether there was something after the "sixty" -- shadows, but that Petipa himself cut it down to 30-something.

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Incredible! How did they fit 60 dancers on the stage? Was the arabesque in those days more upright (less forward), so less space needed? Wouldn't 60 dancers have to move at a faster pace so all of them arrive on the floor before the music ends, or maybe the music was longer and cut short only when Petipa cut half the dancers? This creates so many questions in my mind!

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Novikova said there was no scenery for the third Act back then. She also didn't mention whether Petipa cut them before the premiere, because of logistics, or after the premiere.

Do they roll the ramp offstage after the entrance? In the HD, they did a close-up on a couple of the dancers, and then suddenly the stage was full of the Shades.

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Do they roll the ramp offstage after the entrance? In the HD, they did a close-up on a couple of the dancers, and then suddenly the stage was full of the Shades.

That sounds like a big flub by the cameramen or person in charge of editing/directing the HD......the magic of the entrance is to see them coming out one by one and I always thought it represented Solor's hallucination/dream/memory/etc. of Nikiya......

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We did see that. It was only at the very end when there was a close up, and then they did that sublime scurry into lines on the mostly empty stage.

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Petipa used 48 women as Shades in the December 1900 production that was notated. The Shades scene was also performed at the Hermitage; I have no details about the Hermitage performance(s), but perhaps numbers were cut for that stage.

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If someone posts the full transmission to YouTube, like they did for a few others, I'll post an exact quote from Novikova. (An elderly woman was having trouble getting past our end of the row in the dark when Novikova spoke, and I didn't catch everything she said.) Not that what she said was necessarily correct...

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This is hysterically awful.

This reminds me of the David Gordon piece to the Shades music in 1972 at the Judson Church. It was excerpted in a 1980 PBS special on post-modern dance. Last year he recreated some of this. Here's a NY Times story about it:

http://www.nytimes.c...oject.html?_r=0

He commented in 1980 that he loved the repetition of that music as much as ballet audiences did. He used ordinary people walking across the stage, with a "janitor" busily sweeping in the background. One of the performers was an NYCB dancer, Bart Cook.

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