cubanmiamiboy

The Alonso-Youskevitch Black Swan.

8 posts in this topic

Hi :tiphat:

From company to company, at the Black Swan PDD coda we're used to see Odile's standard 32 fouetees. Then, right after, the most of the stagings set Odile performing a backward series of sautees in a plie,plie,plie/releve/pointe sequence and so on. That was very surprising for me the first time I ever saw it back in Cuba done by a foreign ballerina in a Havana Ballet Festival for which I was used to see instead a series of sautees sur le pointe en arabesque penchee fallowed by balance en attitude derrière and followed by a sequence of pique/chainees to a final climatic fish dive.

My question is :

Has anybody seen this version? Where does it comes from?

Mel? :dunno:

Share this post


Link to post

I guess i found the answer to my own question :D

"I have mentioned already that this version of the pas de deux started basically with what was done at the American Ballet Theatre since the 40s, and my work with Fedorova, Romanoff and Dolin ."

:shake: Mme. Alicia Alonso

And it's from the following article:

http://www.cubanow.net/global/loader.php?s.../num6/alice.htm

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry I didn't catch this on its initial post. I was a bit distracted that day.

There are really two primary versions of Black Swan about. The first "after Petipa" and the second "after Gorski." The latter has more dramatic lifts to it, and the timing of the mimes different. When the Cuban Ballet was being partially supported by Bolshoi dancers, Dona Alicia held her own and more. They did it her way. Heroic political courage and integrity.

Share this post


Link to post
Sorry I didn't catch this on its initial post. I was a bit distracted that day.

There are really two primary versions of Black Swan about. The first "after Petipa" and the second "after Gorski." The latter has more dramatic lifts to it, and the timing of the mimes different. When the Cuban Ballet was being partially supported by Bolshoi dancers, Dona Alicia held her own and more. They did it her way. Heroic political courage and integrity.

:shake: Mel for your always wonderful and accurate information! I i said before, that's the choreography i remember from all my years watching Mme. Alonso's version. Is there any complete SL that i can buy that follows this choreography? CNB doesn't have a whole SL on DVD, and I only have a 1965 Alonso/Plisetsky BSPDD . I also found in Amazon the DVD "Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina Assoluta" that contains a 1958 BSPDD Alonso/ Youskevitch, but i haven't bought it, so i don't know which choreography was used, (although i would assume that is either what it was being danced at ABT or Ballet Russes at the time, as it was and still is her choreographic mantra).

:D

Share this post


Link to post

I somehow missed this thread. (Is "View New Posts" working properly?)

But I wanted to thank you for the link to the Alonso article. I can't think of another major performer still in a position of cultural power whose experience goes back so many decades. Alonso really was "present at the creation" of serious classical ballet in the Americas.

Her description of the formation of her approach to Swan Lake is a fascinating introduction to her artistic life, for those -- like myself -- who know very little about it.

I was especially impressed by the centrality she gives to classical technique -- as something without which the deepest drama cannot be created. (It's in the section devoted to comparing the White and Black Swan pas de deux):

The technical virtuosism is of major importance in the pas de deux of the Black Swan: it is part of the seduction. But it has to be exquisite, of an extreme classical perfection. You have to watch the lines, the academic faultlessness and exquisiteness. In a way, there is a technical-aesthetic competition with the White Swan. And one has to be very much aware of a fundamental truth: with technique, the ballet dancer can create an atmosphere. But if you don't have or don't master technique, you don't have the instrument, you don't have the words with which to create that ambiance, you don't have color, don't have light, or life, or line, you have nothing.
Italics are mine.

:) We've had a lot of talk about White Swan/ Black Swan issues on many threads. But that phrase "... there is a technical-aesthetic competition with the White Swan ... " is one of the real gems of ballet insight and ballet writing. Very cool.

Share this post


Link to post
I can't think of another major performer still in a position of cultural power whose experience goes back so many decades. Alonso really was "present at the creation" of serious classical ballet in the Americas.

:tiphat: bart for your aknowledgment of Mme. Alonso :rofl:

:)

Share this post


Link to post
There are really two primary versions of Black Swan about. The first "after Petipa" and the second "after Gorski." The latter has more dramatic lifts to it, and the timing of the mimes different.

It's a shame that only the Adagio is available, but at least one can appreciate by this 1958 clip how well preserved has this version survived to the present days at CNB. (Mme. Alonso was 38 at the time)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAPuE3VNso

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, Cristian. It's marvellous to have the chance to watch these dancers at something like their prime, even within the constrictions of what appears to be a small tv studio.

An older friend who saw virtually everything in NYC from the late 40s through the 70s has made me aware of a time when Alonso and Youskevitch were THE partnership in American ballet. Before the visits of Nureyev and Fonteyn, or the teaming up of Baryshnikov and Kirkland, Alonso and Youskevitch were "it."

On a negative note, I was shocked by the murky and poorly-located lighting. On at least one occasion, Alonso appears to have been decapitated when, during a lift, her head completely disappears against the dark curtain. There are also times when extended arms and other body parts vanish in a similar fashion. What could the film-makers have been thinking?

A question for those whose viewing experience comes primarily (or only) from recent decades: what do you think of performances like this? Are they still as impressive as they seemed at the time? Or do they seem limited and dated, of value primarily as historical records?

Share this post


Link to post