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Favourite Variations

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Sorry, I didn't know where else to put this but what are your favourite variations in classical ballets? Mine would have to be:

1. The Sapphire Fairy from Act III of the Sleeping Beauty

2. Male Black Swan variation from Act III of Swan Lake (English Version)

3. Second Last Variation from the Pas de Six of Act III of Swan Lake

4. Raymonda's Scarf Variation Act I

5. Kitri's Variation from Act I of Don Quixote (Barishnikov's Version)

What are yours?!

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Mine are, in no particular order:

1. James's variation from Act II of La Sylphide

2. Désiré's variation from Act III of The Sleeping Beauty

3. Kitri's variation from the Dream Sequence in Don Quixote

4. 1st Shade variation from La Bayadère

5. Both variations from the Flower Festival in Genzano pas de deux

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In no particular order...

1. Raymonda - scarf variation and the one in the last act where she claps her hands. Ahhh...just gorgeous.

2. Kitri's variations from Don Quixote Pas De Deux and the variation in act I where she jumps with her leg almost touching the back of her head (is this a form of sissone?). Amour's variations in Don Quixote as well.

3. All three muses in Apollo.

4. Aurora's variation from the final pas de deux.

5. Female variation in the peasant pas de deux of Giselle.

Edited by lisinka1

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Dumb question: how does is a "variation" distinguished from an ordinary "solo"?

I was thinking of some solos in Balanchine, but suspect they are not variations. (On the other hand, the music in some of the dances listed above is not what I'm used to think of as "variation" music in the sense of "variation and fugue," for instance.

Help!

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1. Preghiera, Mozartiana, Suzanne Farrell

2. Odette's "I'm a swan again" exit, Act 2 Swan Lake, Natalia Makarova

3. Aurora, the Vision Scene from Sleeping Beauty, Ashley Bouder

4. Entrance to the Ball, Ashton's Cendrillon, Alina Cojocaru

5. Giselle's Act 2, as performed as one continuous variation by Amanda McKerrow

edited to reflect Hans's point that a variation is a solo

Edited by drb

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bart, a ballet "variation" has nothing to do with the musical term; it essentially means a solo dance (there may be more to that than I know). Could you give an example of the Balanchine solos? I would consider, for example, the muses in Apollo to each have a variation.

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Thanks, Hans. I was thinking first of all of The Four Temperaments. Melancholic, Sanguinic, etc., are described as "First Variation," "Second Variation," etc., though I would have considered them extended solos. Sanguinic as one of my all-time favorites -- especially since it is the only one I can visualize quite clearly in memory.

I was just looking at the Merrill Ashley Ballo della Regina (to compare with a DanceView review of the Miami City performance. Her "solo" (especially as Ashley dances it) has always been a very big favorite of mine. There are also smaller parts for 4 women, where the dancing of each flows into the dancing of the next. I guess these are "variations." I like the total effect very much, though the individual parts aren't much outside the larger pattern of four, each dancer's movements flowing into the movements of the dancer who replaces her.

I was also thinking of several of the variations involving Raymonda's 2 female friends -- and, the 2 lead spirits in Act I, scene ii -- and how each variation relates to the next. Each time they appear, one dances adagio and the other alegro or alegretto. They complement each other.

And how about the two Wilis who are Myrthe's seconds-in-command. Sometimes given names, sometimes not. Wonderful dancing -- and they provide a transition in scale and individuality between the dominatrix Myrthe on one side, and the anonymous corps of Wilis on the other. I've always liked the steps they do and where they are moved about the stage in relation to the others. Only once, however, in a long-ago performance by a company I can no longer recall, did I think that they were differentiated (touchingly so) as to personality as well as steps.

Great topic, and one which will make me look more closely and thoughtfully at the soloist and demi-soloist dancers who appear briefly (but often to mavellous effect) while the principals are taking a breather off-stage.

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I haven't heard the music for 4T's in a while, but I wonder if perhaps Hindemith called the different sections "variations" in the musical sense and then Balanchine kept that? :nixweiss:

My initial thought is to say that a variation is a separate dance with its own music, but Bournonville variations flow in and out of the rest of his choreography. Maybe one could say there's a difference between what is generally thought of as a "classical variation" (the type that often occurs during a pas de deux) and a "solo"? I'm not sure there's really a clear-cut answer.

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Women:

1. Turning girl in Who Cares? ("My One and Only")

2. Black Swan variation

3. Apollo- Terpischore

4. "finger" fairy variation from Sleeping Beauty (eek! anyone know what I'm referring to?)

5. Variation from Don Quixote, Grand Pas de Deux

6. A few from Raymonda, don't know how to describe

7. Mercedes' variation from Act One, Don Quixote

Men:

1. Variation from Don Quixote, Grand Pas de Deux

2. Slave from Act Two, Le Corsaire

3. Male variation from Theme and Variations

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The lead male variations in Chaconne and Mozartiana.

Oberon's Scherzo in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The female soloist in the Grand Pas Classique and the two female soloists in the Dream Sequence in Raymonda. (I've only seen the Bolshoi/Grigorovich production, and I'm not sure whose choreography they are.)

Aurora's variation in the Vision scene.

The piano solo variation from Harlequinade.

The Four Seasons variations in Kent Stowell's Cinderella.

The "jumping" variation from Ballo.

One from Divertimento, but I'm not sure if it is Adams' or LeClerq's.

All of them from Balanchine's La Source.

Edited by Helene

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One ballet is common to every (enumerated) list so far, "Sleeping Beauty." And only a couple of times is it the same variation! Maybe it is not such a bad ballet after all!

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MEN

Conrad's in Le Corsaire

Albrecht's second act in Giselle

Male Solo in Balanchine's Square Dance

The Melancholic section in Balanchine's The Four Temperaments

Basil's solo in the Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote

Apollo's variation after the Muses

The Blue Blue solo in Sleeping Beauty

WOMEN

The Violette Verdy's solo in Emeralds

Suzanne Farrell's solo in Tzigane

Fascinating Rhythm solo from Balanchine's Who Cares?

Odette's second act solo in Swan Lake

Odile's solo from the Black Swan Pas de Deux

Polyhymnia's solo in Apollo

All of Kiti's variations in Don Quixote

Giselle's mad scene (not sure if that could be called a variation, but she is dancing by herself)

The Mazurka variation in Les Sylphides

The Prelude variation in Les Sylphides

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Cupid (Amor) -- Don Q (same variation in Paquita, done without the "hushing" finger)

Dulcinea -- Don Q

First shade -- La Bayadère

Third shade -- La Bayadère

Peasant, version with attitude pliés -- Giselle

Canary fairy -- Sleeping Beauty

Kitri w/fan , part of Grand Pas de Deux-- Don Q

Lise -- La Fille Mal Gardée

Third Odalisque -- Le Corsaire

Aurora, First Act, ending with backward diagonal w/pirouettes -- Sleeping Beauty

Most variations -- Paquita

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Dumb question:  how does is a "variation" distinguished from an ordinary "solo"?

I was thinking of some solos in Balanchine, but suspect they are not variations.  (On the other hand, the music in some of the dances listed above is not what I'm used to think of as "variation" music in the sense of "variation and fugue," for instance. 

Help!

Bart, a variation comes after a "Pas de..." or a "Grand Pas...." or something similar where there are a certain number of people who all perform variations after the main dance (sometimes including an introduction) and then perform a coda at the end of the variations which finishes the pas. (eg. a "Pas de Deux" / "Pas de Trois" / "Pas de Quatre" etc, "Grand Pas" / "Grand Pas Classique", etc) A "Pas Seul" or solo is a solo that comes for the entertainment of people or another reason that isn't linked to any other dances. For example, "Dawn" and "Prayer" from Coppelia or Giselle's act I Pas Seul.

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Cupid (Amor) -- Don Q (same variation in Paquita, done without the "hushing" finger)

Dulcinea -- Don Q

First shade -- La Bayadère

Third shade -- La Bayadère

Peasant, version with attitude pliés -- Giselle

Canary fairy -- Sleeping Beauty

Kitri w/fan , part of Grand Pas de Deux-- Don Q

Lise -- La Fille Mal Gardée

Third Odalisque -- Le Corsaire

Aurora, First Act, ending with backward diagonal w/pirouettes -- Sleeping Beauty

Most variations -- Paquita

I love all the Sleeping Beauty Fairies! And I also love all the Odalisque variations! You have some great choices there.

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Women:

4. "finger" fairy variation from Sleeping Beauty (eek! anyone know what I'm referring to?)

Yes the "Finger Fairy" variation is the Fee Violente (Violent Fairy - 5th Variation).

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This is a good topic and it's been years--should be revived.

ergo--

Polyhymnia from Apollo

the 'polka' variation from Ballo della Regina

the man's variation from the 'Baiser' Divertimento

My One and Only from Who Cares?

everything from La Source

Oberon (the Scherzo) from Midsummer (Balanchine)

the 'jumping variation' (Nerina's) from Birthday Offering

the Third Shade from Bayadere

the sixth variation (the presto, more or less) from Divertimento no. 15

Verdy's (La Fileuse) from Emeralds

LeClercq's (third, I think) from the first Valse-Fantaisie

the 'alternative' Black Swan variation (minor, oboe or perhaps EH solo, far more brilliant) often done by Russian ballerinas in place of the 'Sound of Music' one

everything in Glinka Pas de Trois

Balanchine's Dewdrop and Sugar Plum

Romeo's Act I solo at the ball (MacMillan)

several from Winter Dreams (MacMillan)

ballerina in The Concert

Flower Festival (both)

etc....

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Women:

4. "finger" fairy variation from Sleeping Beauty (eek! anyone know what I'm referring to?)

Yes the "Finger Fairy" variation is the Fee Violente (Violent Fairy - 5th Variation).

That's my favorite fairy too! Love the 2nd Shade in Bayadere also. Raymonda's scarf and also her final Hungarian dance are favorites too. There are so many. Kitri variations, Aurora's Rose Adagio (if that can be considered a variation), etc. Hard to choose just one favorite!!!

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Of course, Sppessivtzeva's variation-(Giselle's Pas Seul). What else...? flowers.gif

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What a fun topic!

Kitri Variation Act III - Maximova circa 1963-64

Raymonda Scarf Variation & Clapping Variation

Violette Verdy Emeralds Variation

Tchaikovsky PDD Violette Verdy Variation

Most of the Paquita Variations

Ashton's Cinderella Variations

Macmillan's Juliet Variations

Aurora Act I and III

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Neat thread!

*'alternative' Odile variation

*Odette Act II variation

*Raymonda's entrance, Vision and Act II variation

*Désiré's Act III variation (The Sleeping Beauty)

*Cinderella's second Act I variation and ballroom variation

*Fairy of Summer's variation (Cinderella)

*Aurora's entrance, Vision variation

*Two Wilis's variations (Giselle)

*Almost all the Sylph's variations (La Sylphide, POB version)

*Siegfried's Act I variation (Nureyev)

*Sylph's Mazurka variation (Les Sylphides)

*Gamzatti's Act III variation

*Rose's Act I variations (Prince of the Pagodas)

*Caterpillar's variation (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Wheeldon)

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