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La Fille Mal Gardee

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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 09:19 PM

The Ashton version has the company singing "la, la, la" as they dance to their exit at the finale. This was a vestige of the original concept of the ballet, which in 1789 had songs, dialogue and of course, dancing. Like the "olé"s in "Le Tricorne", I don't think it entitles anyone to an extra stipend.

#17 rg


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Posted 15 March 2006 - 08:16 PM

re: the mime scene in FILLE.
the attached photo of preograjenska in FILLE shows her i assume in the famous mime scene where she appears to be holding a hank of wool from the distaff as a prop to suggest her smallest child.

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#18 fendrock


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Posted 17 March 2006 - 05:58 AM

We saw the March 11th matinee with Rie Ichikawa as Lise, Roman Rykine as Colas, Christopher Budzynski as Alain, and Viktor Plotnikov as the Widow Simone.

We also saw La Fille when Boston Ballet did it several years ago. The casting for Alain and the Widow was the same for both performances. Budzynski is excellent in this role; his zany smile adds to the character.

This is the first time I've seen Rykine in a major role. He has the looks for a romantic lead!

Thanks for posting the historic pics, rg. It is interesting to see how dancer physiques have changed.

#19 ViolinConcerto


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Posted 18 March 2006 - 07:23 PM

re: the film of the first cast, more or less in tact, yes, linc.cent.lib. has a copy, as follows:
La fille mal gardée 1962. 88 min. : sd. b&w. NTSC. ; 3/4 in. (U-matic)
Telecast on BBC-TV, London. Produced by Margaret Dale.
Choreography: Frederick Ashton. Music: François Joseph Hérold, arranged, re-orchestrated and augmented by John Lanchberry; conducted by John Lanchberry. Decor: Osbert Lancaster. Performed by the Royal Ballet.
Cast: Nadia Nerina (Lise), David Blair (Colin), Stanley Holden (Widow Simone)

RG, did Stanley Holden also do theater? I seem to recognize the name and vaguely attach it to something I read done in theater in England in the 60's. Of course, I could be confusing him with Stanley Holloway.....or...??

#20 leonid17


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 02:40 AM

hi amy,

the dance w/ sticks is a rendering of typically english morris dancing. david vaughan's book FREDERICK ASHTON AND HIS BALLETS tells much more about all this.

The use of sticks in (folk) dancing is generally given to symbolise swords.
Sword/stick dances have been a feature of social activities from ancient Egyptian times to the present time and can be found in writings and practice across Europe, Iran and China among other places.
Given the French history of 'Fille' and showing no disrespect for our home grown Morris dancing there is in a French town near Briançon, a historical record of a sword(stick) dance which recalls elements of Ashtons stick dance and was recorded as early as 1731. It is performed by unmarried men, and singers (unmarried girls). It starts with the formation of the hilt-and-point chain, each dancer saluting his neighbors; then comes La Lève, where a lock is formed and placed over the shoulders of one of the dancers; the next part is Les Figures, where various different shapes are formed with the swords. I have seen the 'Sabre dance' from 'Gayane', but does any contributor know of other uses of sword/stick dances(not sword-fighting) in ballet? I know that Louis the 14th thought that learning to dance would improve the balance and maneuverability of his soldiers, are their examples of sword/stick dances in French Baroque ballet?

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 03:34 PM

I do know that the ballets de cour often figured in a stylized battle, and toward the end of the sixteenth century and beginning of the seventeenth, they would include at least a battalion of pikemen for a different sort of "stick dance". Pikes were up to 20 feet long in those days, and a regiment of pikemen marching down the road would look like a small woods on the march. Pike drill is rather ornate, and entertaining to watch. Today, the English Civil War Society and The Sealed Knot provide much the same sort of spectacle, with rather less stylization, at their battle reenactments. After 1649, this kind of show went away, because the side that won the Civil War disapproved of dancing. By the time the Restoration took place, tastes in court entertainment had changed.

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