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How important are Odile's 32 fouettes?and what do they add to the ballet?


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#91 Helene

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:26 AM

I understand the context, although very often Siegfried is catching his breath and thinking about his next part of the coda, but I don't think it's the only option, and there are other ways to be mesmerizing/dazzling and there are other classical ways to be a seductress and sexual and to close the deal with both Siegfried and his mothet, especially since he's desperate at that point -- his mother is impatiently, emphatically, and publicly insisting that he pick a bride, any bride right then and there -- and is ripe to be convinced and half convinces himself. 

 

Regardless of context, I don't think it's the most important part of the ballet -- it wasn't even the original music, which is quite different in character -- but even if it was, that doesn't explain why few care about the rest of the text and how it's been changed.  British audiences used to get Mozart operas with chunks of Mozart cut out and Bishop interpolated in between.   Why no outcry about the changes to Petipa/Ivanov?



#92 pherank

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:12 PM

When I came across the "Amazing Fouettés" videos on YouTube, I couldn't help but be reminded of this thread. Many well known dancers are shown, and it is interesting to see their different approaches one after another.

So for your enjoyment (or displeasure):

 

Begins with Yuan Yuan Tan, Evgenia Obraztsova -

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=MtJ2R_i6Too

 

Includes Viengsay Valdés and Mathilde Froustey -

https://www.youtube....h?v=O4NVP-tjKk8



#93 bart

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:43 AM

Thank you so much, phrank, for those links.  They're educational ... and fun.

 

I've only watched the second video and already I have a much greater respect for the fouette-sequence as an index of differences among ballerinas.  Among the American dancers I know best, my preference was for Gillian Murphy (though the sweet face of Cynthia Harvey, caught (oddly) in close-up,  brought back nice memories).  Tiler Peck is remarkable, considering that multiple fouettes aren't a big part of NYCB's training.

 

So many differences in the details.  Doubles or not?  If doubles, arms held en avant? or hands on waist? or one arm up, one to the side?  Should they try triples, like Ana Sophia Scheller, if the price is a loss of grace and elegance?  And then there's speed:  some are awfully slow, though these allow for the leg to be extended a la seconde and do have a kind of grandeur if you're good at it.  Some are impressively fast, though the price paid may be (as in the case of Zakharova) the impression of floppiness when the moving leg is oding its whipping.  Then there's the difference between shorter, more compact ballerinas (eg., Bouder) and tall ballerinas with long legs and arms (eg., Kent).  You can see all of this in 9:48 minutes.  It's fascinating.

 

For me, the key to the success of the fouette sequence is still the finish.  It should be secure (no major adjustment of feet), well-placed in relation to the audience, and should radiate triumph.  It should not require the intervention of the partner to provide stability (as in the case of Mathilde Froustey).  A surprising number of the dancers in this video managed to accomplish most if not all of these feats. flowers.gif

 

Can't wait for this afternoon when I'll get the chance to watch video #1.



#94 Helene

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:51 AM

The most brilliant fouette sequence I've seen in "Swan Lake" was danced by Carrie Imler, but it was the chaine turns that signaled entrapment for me.  That was taking a basic turn and by executing it as perfectly as it could be done, enlarged her character and told a story.

 

This is a rehearsal video:



#95 pherank

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 12:05 PM

For me, the key to the success of the fouette sequence is still the finish.  It should be secure (no major adjustment of feet), well-placed in relation to the audience, and should radiate triumph.  It should not require the intervention of the partner to provide stability (as in the case of Mathilde Froustey).  A surprising number of the dancers in this video managed to accomplish most if not all of these feats. flowers.gif

 

Agreed, although in the video segment of Froustey, she's doing just fine until her partner intercedes and throws off her balance and speed. In the Valdes segment (same video), her partner handles the situation beautifully. And Valdes does something fascinating with her right arm, and I can't tell if it is designed to increase momentum , or if it is intended as a kind of visual detail to trick the eye. Murphy has a tendency to drop her right shoulder/arm and that muddies the look a bit in her pyrotechnics.

 

It is fascinating how individual looking some of these fouettes are. I realize that it depends on the particular role/ballet being danced, but in these videos most of the dancers keep their arms out straight to as this seems to be the better way to maintain balance and gather momentum (dancers please feel free to comment). The POB dancers share a common approach, whereas the Russians appear more eclectic to my eye.



#96 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 12:40 PM

I think a ballerina decides to give up Swan Lake when she's no longer able to accomplish the fouettes, given that she might manage well the rest of the production-(first appearance by act II and mostly partnering stuff, with the exception of the batteries moment during her Act II's solo. That would be different from, let's say,  Don Quijote, where there are at least two iconic difficult bravura segments...the fouettes in Act III and her diagonal of traveling pirouettes with the toreadores in Act I.  Giselle would be another tricky ballet for a bravura moment to be thought over when taking or giving up the task, for which there's the famous Spessivtzeva's solo in act I and her demanding adagio in act II. 



#97 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 02:38 PM

When I came across the "Amazing Fouettés" videos on YouTube, I couldn't help but be reminded of this thread. Many well known dancers are shown, and it is interesting to see their different approaches one after another.

So for your enjoyment (or displeasure):

 

Begins with Yuan Yuan Tan, Evgenia Obraztsova -

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=MtJ2R_i6Too

 

Includes Viengsay Valdés and Mathilde Froustey -

https://www.youtube....h?v=O4NVP-tjKk8

 

Thank you for the links, pherank. Very instructive.

 

I confess! Odile's fouettés make my eyes glaze over. In fact, just about everyone's fouettés-and-nothing-but variations make my eyes glaze over. Now I know why: often as not there is absolutely no relationship between what the music is doing and what the ballerina is doing, and I find it as boring as all get-out.  What is the point of dancing to strongly accented music if nothing in particular is happening on the accents? Ideally, the leg should be whipping out (or alternatively snapping in) right when the cymbals crash, no? -- and not a beat and a half later or a beat and a half before. Some of the ballerinas featured in these videos did look like they were attempting to coordinate their movements with the music, but most seemed intent on filling up however many bars of music they were given with however many turns they could manage (or mis-manage as the case might be). I'd be happier with a couple of bars of well-timed (and well-executed) fouettés followed a few bars of something else when the music changed. 

 

That's why I was so delighted with Ashly Isaac's fouettés in Midsummer the other evening. If I'm not mistaken, they were all singles except for the last one, but they were all beautifully timed with the music, and all the more fun to watch for that. 



#98 bart

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 03:43 PM

I'd be happier with a couple of bars of well-timed (and well-executed) fouettés followed a few bars of something else when the music changed.

 

Balanchine did this on at least one occasion.  I can't remember which ballet  but I do remember 10  or so fouettes followed by the ballerina spinning away in a series of chaine turns.   It made sense in terms of the music. But the 32-fouette tradition is so entrenched that even I felt let down when it was bypassed.



#99 Helene

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 03:52 PM

The "Midsummer" fouettes are not only perfectly timed and in character for that particular stretch of music, they also invoke Hippolyta whipping up a forest windstorm.



#100 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 04:21 PM

 What is the point of dancing to strongly accented music if nothing in particular is happening on the accents? Ideally, the leg should be whipping out (or alternatively snapping in) right when the cymbals crash, no?...

 

Wich is why I always show to whomever wants to really see what a perfect sequence of single fouettes look like, the brilliant Rosario Suarez, whom I had the pleaseure of watching doing them countless times...

 

@ 3:19

 



#101 lmspear

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:44 PM

Look Mom, no hands!

http://m.youtube.com...h?v=COAiNdWepkw

I'm trying to post this from my phone and don't know if the link will work. It's Maximova doing Kitri's fouettes, hands on hips for the whole ride and a wonderful grin on her face.
I've never come across any mention of her performing Odette/Odile. Did it ever happen?

#102 Barbara

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 05:48 AM

I'm partial to the ones that smoothly sweep forward from the front to the side, maybe because I'm familiar with the RAD method. To my eye the ones that snap from the side have a jerky quality to them.



#103 pherank

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 12:03 PM

Perhaps this is too "cute", but Masha Kochetkova happened to post this video:

"My first fouettés on the Bolshoi Theater stage when I was 15"
https://www.youtube....h?v=GjBpuURJDUQ

 

That must have been the last time it took 2 danseurs to lift Ms. K. ;)

Presumably it demonstrates the Bolshoi Academy's approach to fouettés.



#104 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 02:32 PM

The "Midsummer" fouettes are not only perfectly timed and in character for that particular stretch of music, they also invoke Hippolyta whipping up a forest windstorm.

 

They do indeed work as choreography, but I did also want to make a little fuss about Isaac's execution of them, which I enjoyed very much. It looked as if she was listening to the music, not just counting. 

 

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I don't think much of Odile's fouettés as choreography. To me, the music sounds like it's straight out of the circus and the fouettés -- or at least the fact that there must be 32 of therm -- are within a hair's breadth of being a circus stunt themselves. But I do like what Gillian Murphy does with her fouettés in this video (which I believe was also in one of pherank's compilations). In the "A" section she's interleaved her singles and multiples in a way that emphasizes what's happening in the music -- the multiples are reserved for the "ta-di-yum-bum-bum" fiddly bits. When she gets to the "B" section, she switches to all singles so that her heel can hit floor in time with each strongly accented beat. 



#105 leonid17

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 01:02 AM

Look Mom, no hands!

http://m.youtube.com...h?v=COAiNdWepkw

I'm trying to post this from my phone and don't know if the link will work. It's Maximova doing Kitri's fouettes, hands on hips for the whole ride and a wonderful grin on her face.
I've never come across any mention of her performing Odette/Odile. Did it ever happen?

According to Russian sources Yekaterina Maximova appeared in Swan Lake on at least two occasions first in Dance of the Little Swans (1958), secondly asOdette-Odile (1968).




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