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Entrance of the Shades


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#46 hydraulix

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 06:16 PM

I <3 Shades. :huh:

I've never seen Bayadere performed live, but watching the Nureyev production for POB on video was a life altering experience. Haha, not really, but like everyone else has said, I also find the entrance hypnotic and mesmerizing. Watching the POB corps girls coming down the ramp one by one with their lovely hyperextended knees and high insteps creating those beautiful lines was enough to convince me this must be one of the most brilliant moments ever created in ballet, regardless of the repetition.

Well said and I couldn't agree more. The video from POB with La Bayadere is also one of the reasons I really have to see this Nureyev production live (my goal is next year in Paris!). I love the entrance; the slow beautiful music and the unison movements of all the dancers; just perfect. It truly reflects the hypnotizing, hallucinating effects of the opium pipe from Solor.

#47 pherank

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

I will echo the sentiment that the Entrance of the Shades is one of the classic moments in traditional ballet. When I was just starting to take an interest in ballet performances, and wondering what was what, and who was who, I happened upon a DVD of the POB's "La Bayadere". (This was before I had seen any Balanchine ballets, and other 'modernist' choreographers.) And I thought, "the pseudo-Indian stagings are impressive - reminds me of Leon Bakst", but, it was the Shades processional that really hooked me, and then I thought, "So this is what can be done".

I do find it to be a lovely marriage of music and choreography (the only Minkus music that IS lovely to me). It strikes me as being very 'pure': similar to the kind of pure dance Balanchine often tried to achieve in his abstract ballets.

Calling the Shades processional boring is like calling the POB's Grand Défilé boring - I suppose you are either moved by this type of thing, or you are not. Although some find it necessary to explain that this dance depicts Solor's opium dream, I don't think the context particularly matters. The choreography either grabs the attention of the viewer, and transports them to a 'spiritual' place, or it doesn't, and for me it works in a big way as a standalone ensemble dance.

#48 dirac

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:42 PM

Calling the Shades processional boring is like calling the POB's Grand Défilé boring - I suppose you are either moved by this type of thing, or you are not. Although some find it necessary to explain that this dance depicts Solor's opium dream, I don't think the context particularly matters. The choreography either grabs the attention of the viewer, and transports them to a 'spiritual' place, or it doesn't, and for me it works in a big way as a standalone ensemble dance.


Thanks for reviving this thread, pherank. I agree with the above (and also with Farrell Fan's absolutist stand upthread).

#49 pherank

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:02 PM

Thanks for reviving this thread, pherank. I agree with the above (and also with Farrell Fan's absolutist stand upthread).


Thanks Dirac. ;)
There is of course no one way with art, or feelings. I tend to think that it is as much the viewer's job to find something, anything, worthwhile in an art piece, as it is the job of the artist to create something 'significant'. Much of the time, as viewers, we are just lazy, and wait to be entertained, but art of any depth usually requires work on the part of the viewer...

#50 Birdsall

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:14 AM

Posted Image This topic makes my jaw drop, but not in a good way!!!! LOL I had never noticed this topic thread. But everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. To me the Kingdom of the Shades is one of the loveliest moments in all of ballet. I want it to last forever!

#51 ascballerina

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:14 AM

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.

#52 Birdsall

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

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!

#53 ascballerina

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:59 AM

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? Posted Image 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.

#54 Tiara

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:03 AM

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.

#55 Birdsall

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:38 AM

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? Posted Image 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!

#56 Birdsall

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:56 AM

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!

#57 ascballerina

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:22 AM

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...Posted Image

#58 Jane Simpson

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:40 AM

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?

#59 rg

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

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.

#60 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:34 PM


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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