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Giselle's act one solofirst Giselle to dance this

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#16 rg


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Posted 22 April 2011 - 06:39 AM

i don't think anyone here is criticising Dolin's efforts to help situate Spesivtseva in Nyack's Tolstoy residence.
the point here is the filmed interview with her in Nycack about Giselle and specifically, in the case of this thread, about Giselle's act 1 solo, which is notes, accurately, as not being in Adam's score, but which in the presentation of a casual exchange for "Portrait/Giselle" leads one to believe that Spesivtseva was the first to have danced it, calling it "her solo," which we know is not so.
a good deal of the conversation turns out to be Dolin's talking about Dolin.

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:07 AM

That last is what Dolin was like. He'd tell stories about things he'd been present for, whether they were favorable to him or not. His telling of being presented to the Queen Mother made him look VERY bad, but he relished telling it as much as any story that made him sound very good. Raconteur, I guess, would be the best title for him. I think this quality compromised the documentary, as they needed to edit him.

#18 leonid17


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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:26 PM

Alonso always talks of Dolin with such reverence, and considers him her main source of her learning of the romantic style, alone with her other idol Markova. Agree with Leonid about remarking of his efforts leading to Miss Spessiztseva's placement in the Tolstoy's state to end her life in a dignified way. A lovely action.

Thank you Cristian.

As I did not introduce Sir Anton Dolin into this thread, but knew and liked Sir Anton when others were unsure of him,
I would like to add some further comments arising from my experience.

There was an effort by Sir Anton Dolin to bring Olga Spessitseva back into the limelight with the film in question. There is no doubt as to his sincerity in this matter, but we find ourselves today evaluating a former aged ballerina in a state of confusion, making statements within a context that was problematic.

Having had some experience with former dancers and those associated with dance in states of dementia, it is always difficult to keep a conversation flowing without prompting. What follows, can be confused response in some areas but entirely accurate statements in other areas.

I have found such an experience may seem to be an invasion into a world which the subjects have retreated from, sometimes by their own volition, but also because cognitive impairment is present.

It becomes difficult when all one wants to achieve is to resurrect the subject’s earlier life, not for ones gratification, but to illuminate their achievements and this, in the hope, that they will recognise them and somewhat rejoice in them.

When elderly persons are institutionalised, their language dysfunction is exacerbated by inabilities in their retrieval
functioning. I have found that proactive interference works in some respect, but not necessarily over periods of time.

When Doug states, “This variation, including the hops on pointe, is included in the Stepanov notation of Giselle Act One, which was made circa 1903, the year Pavlova first danced the role. The music is included in both the piano score (a manuscript interpolation) and full score of Giselle that are also part of the Harvard Collection.

When rg wrote, “somewhere on ballettalk of late mention was made of Bessone? - as in Emma Bessone? - and in connection with her, the non-Adam-composed act one solo, probably? by Minkus.” There should be no assertion that Minkus wrote the music, which Cristian has clarified.

Far from being sad as RG suggests when he writes, “Dolin qualifies as another sad and sorry example of chatty celebrities posing as authoritative commentators.” Dolin has in fact, a status beyond mine own and no doubt many other commentators.

As to,”GISELLE with a history that is still being revealed and studied to this day by scrupulous historians and scholars,“ my breath is bated.

Edited 28.04.2011

#19 Dunham16


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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:06 AM

What seems interesting in this regard is the way the 1956 commercial film of the Bolshoi London Ulanova/Fadeyechev GISELLE was edited into a commercial Paul Czinner film before the era of videotape or VHS. One gathers the entire ballet was filmed but not included in the final print. The edited version includes multiple cuts, one this solo. It was assumed that because UIlanova danced with Sergeyev at the Kirov/Maryinsky as early as 1930, years before this solo was standard choreography in GISELLE, it is possible Ulanova did not dance this solo in her many GISELLES in Russia and later when the Bolshoi just began touring.  If anyone has the takes for this film before the final version was edited researching this might be valuable to statting this particular solo. 

#20 Lidewij


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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:57 AM

Ulanova did dance the solo, I found this little snippet on video:


It is the Bolshoi's production.

#21 sandik


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Posted 26 June 2014 - 09:19 AM

How lovely -- thanks so much for the clip!

#22 Ashton Fan

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 04:08 AM

I think that there is a very simple explanation for the variation being described as "Spessivtseva's variation" by Dolin which has nothing to do with any suggestion that she had been the first to dance it. Years ago I saw a programme in which Markova  said that when the Vic Wells Ballet were preparing to stage their first performances of Giselle  (late 1933) with Nikolai Sergeyev as Ballet Master, he had discussed the variations that she might dance at this point in Act 1. There were two variations recorded in the Stepanov notation. Sergeyev  let her choose the.variation that she would like to dance. She unhesitatingly selected the one that she had seen Spessivtseva dance which is why it is that version that is invariably danced in the West.


I do not recall that she described it as the "Spessivtseva variation" but it would have been understandable had she done so.It seems quite natural to me that any one who had seen Spessivtseva dance it;someone who had danced with her in Giselle or who knew that Markova had chosen the variation in preference to other options and the reason for her choice might come to describe it as Spessivtseva's.

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