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Marie Petipa's Lilac Fairy Variation


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#1 leonid17

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:24 AM

[Admin note: this post appeared originally in the "The Sergeyev Collection" thread located here.]


Although it is a matter of some record that Marie Petipa was not strong in pointework, I feel that it is unwarranted to assert that, because she was a well-known danseuse de caractère at the Mariinsky, she never worked on pointe, or that the Lilac Fairy variation was originally danced en demi-pointe.  The notations (both versions) don't seem to bear this statement out, at least as I recall them.

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When I wrote that "possibly never danced on point" it was an unanswered question, not an assertion. Marie Petipa was already nearly 33 years of age and was of a full figured stature in 1890, as a photograph of her in the Prologue costume shows(Compare Lubov Egorova photographed in same costume design). There are two extant notated versions of the Lilac Fairy variation the first marked M.Petipa according to Wiley is technically less demanding, "Marie's choreography is based on the plainest of floor plans and requires very little pointe work......" By the time the 'Sergeyev' notation of her(supposed)version was recorded, Marie Petipa was 46 years of age, very plump in the body and had not danced the Lilac Fairy for a good number of years. Is it possible that she collaborated with Sergeyev given her fathers antipathy towards the Stepanov notation? It it has been stated that Petipa re-choreographed his own variations for particular dancers, did this happen when other dancers succeeded to the role of the Lilac Fairy? Perhaps Doug Fullington who knows the Sergeyev notation well, could at some time give an indication how clearly demi-pointe work is shown compared to full pointe work? Is the Marie version in Sergeyev's hand, as Mr. Fullington's earlier writing on the Kirov reconstruction talks about a ' scribe ',rather than directly crediting N.Sergeyev notating the Fairy variations?

#2 leonid17

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 04:10 PM

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[Admin note:  this post appeared originally in the "The Sergeyev Collection" thread located here.]


Although it is a matter of some record that Marie Petipa was not strong in pointework, I feel that it is unwarranted to assert that, because she was a well-known danseuse de caractère at the Mariinsky, she never worked on pointe, or that the Lilac Fairy variation was originally danced en demi-pointe.   The notations (both versions) don't seem to bear this statement out, at least as I recall them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


When I wrote that "possibly never danced on point" it was an unanswered question, not an assertion. Marie Petipa was already nearly 33 years of age and was of a full figured stature in 1890, as a photograph of her in the Prologue costume shows(Compare Lubov Egorova photographed in same costume design). There are two extant notated versions of the Lilac Fairy variation the first marked M.Petipa according to Wiley is technically less demanding, "Marie's choreography is based on the plainest of floor plans and requires very little pointe work......" By the time the 'Sergeyev' notation of her(supposed)version was recorded, Marie Petipa was 46 years of age, very plump in the body and had not danced the Lilac Fairy for a good number of years. Is it possible that she collaborated with Sergeyev given her fathers antipathy towards the Stepanov notation? It it has been stated that Petipa re-choreographed his own variations for particular dancers, did this happen when other dancers succeeded to the role of the Lilac Fairy? Perhaps Doug Fullington who knows the Sergeyev notation well, could at some time give an indication how clearly demi-pointe work is shown compared to full pointe work? Is the Marie version in Sergeyev's hand, as Mr. Fullington's earlier writing on the Kirov reconstruction talks about a ' scribe ',rather than directly crediting N.Sergeyev notating the Fairy variations?

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Given all the interest shown in postings on the 'Sergeyev Collection post', I had hoped that a contributor might have answered the questions put, as they relate directly to that body of work, the attributions appended and their veracity as a record of Petipa's choreographic productions.

#3 Hans

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 09:05 PM

Doug has described the notated choreography for the Lilac Fairy's variation before on this site, but I'm not sure where the post is. It was quite different from the Lopukhov.

#4 leonid17

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 02:02 AM

Doug has described the notated choreography for the Lilac Fairy's variation before on this site, but I'm not sure where the post is.  It was quite different from the Lopukhov.

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Thank you Hans. I have read Doug Fullington's description of the choreography in his, "The Kirov's reconstructed Sleeping Beauty". The point I am trying to make (see earlier posts) is, that I find it difficult to see how any notated version of the Lilac Fairy Variation as danced by Marie Petipa, could either be in existence or completely authentic given the questions I have raised in earlier posts. Doug Fullington also pointed out that the so called Lopukhov(born 1886) choreography for the Lilac Fairy is of doubtful accreditation . Lopukhov had yet to graduate from the Imperial Theatre schools when the notations were made in 1903.

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 02:27 AM

The "standard" Lilac Fairy variation we see today is neither of the two versions which exist on the Sergeyev notations.

#6 Solor

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 12:27 PM

QUOTE Leonid - "When I wrote that "possibly never danced on point" it was an unanswered question, not an assertion. Marie Petipa was already nearly 33 years of age and was of a full figured stature in 1890, as a photograph of her in the Prologue costume shows(Compare Lubov Egorova photographed in same costume design). There are two extant notated versions of the Lilac Fairy variation the first marked M.Petipa according to Wiley is technically less demanding, "Marie's choreography is based on the plainest of floor plans and requires very little pointe work......" By the time the 'Sergeyev' notation of her(supposed)version was recorded, Marie Petipa was 46 years of age, very plump in the body and had not danced the Lilac Fairy for a good number of years. Is it possible that she collaborated with Sergeyev given her fathers antipathy towards the Stepanov notation? It it has been stated that Petipa re-choreographed his own variations for particular dancers, did this happen when other dancers succeeded to the role of the Lilac Fairy? Perhaps Doug Fullington who knows the Sergeyev notation well, could at some time give an indication how clearly demi-pointe work is shown compared to full pointe work? Is the Marie version in Sergeyev's hand, as Mr. Fullington's earlier writing on the Kirov reconstruction talks about a ' scribe ',rather than directly crediting N.Sergeyev notating the Fairy variations?"


According to Roland John Wiley's "Dances from Russia: An introduction to the Segeryev Collection" -

(Im not quoting this exactly) In February of 1891, a special commission of senior dancers (Marius Petipa, Ekaterina Vazem, Pavel Gerdt, Lev Ivanov, and Christian Johannson) certified the Stepanov Notation as a practical way of notating ballets. But in February of 1892, Marius Petipa turned against it, saying in a letter "I am completely convinced that important ballet masters will not use the method of notation that Mr. Stepanov, by the way, was not first to introduce".

I have seen many photos of Mare Petipa in her Prologue Lilac Fairy costume wearing pointe shoes. Wether she was Marius' daughter or not, I dont think he wouldve cast her in a role where she would have to dance a formal Pas de Six on half toe.

Ive never read anywhere if Petipa re-did the Lilac variation, but Im sure he did, as he always reworked solos for ballerinas.

#7 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 12:32 PM

And as the west did not see the Prologue pas de six until the 1921 Diaghilev production, would it be too much to raise a possibility that the choreography was either "juiced up" or created from whole cloth by Bronislava Nijinska, as she did with so much of the Wedding scene?

#8 doug

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 03:13 PM

Hi everyone,

Sorry to be silent. I do have copies of the notations in question, and I would love to be able to give definitive answers to these questions based on their content. However, I don't have time to delve into it just now. I can answer that the notation system's markings for pointe vs. demi pointe are clearly different. Also, the notations of Beauty - like the notations of many ballets in the collection - were made over a period of years, not at one single point in time (some of the Beauty notations, for example, date from Sergeev's years with the Vic-Wells Ballet - of course these are less reliable with regard to earlier performances in Russia).

There are arguments both ways about Marie Petipa. Did she or did she not dance on pointe - in Beauty or ever? We have photos of her in pointe shoes, we have notations (more than one) of dances containing pointe work that have her name on them, we have written history that states she was only a character dancer.

I'll state again that I don't subscribe to - and will not discuss - any sort of conspiracy theory with regard to the contents of the Stepanov notations from the Maryinsky. Thorough research of the collection does not support it. I'm not implying that the current discussion wants to move in that direction, but simply stating my position.

cheers,

#9 leonid17

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 05:59 AM

Hi everyone,

Sorry to be silent. I do have copies of the notations in question, and I would love to be able to give definitive answers to these questions based on their content. However, I don't have time to delve into it just now. I can answer that the notation system's markings for pointe vs. demi pointe are clearly different. Also, the notations of Beauty - like the notations of many ballets in the collection - were made over a period of years, not at one single point in time (some of the Beauty notations, for example, date from Sergeev's years with the Vic-Wells Ballet - of course these are less reliable with regard to earlier performances in Russia.


Interestingly, whilst Doug Fullington has been working on the reconstruction of Le Corsair for the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich to be premiered in the new year, he aslo staged choreography for a special performance, two variants of the Lilac Fairy variations and other period variations using the Sergeyev notation .


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