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Snow Queen Pas de DeuxOrigin and accuracy of the choreography.


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13 replies to this topic

#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 02:35 PM

Once I had the privilege to assist to a conference offered by Mme Alonso on the subject of her version of the Nutcracker after the version she had danced, a product of Alexandra Fedorova for BRM. Among other things, Alonso stated that she had been very careful in her staging of the ballet, taking what she had learned with Mme. Fedorova and comparing it with the choreography that she had danced earlier in her Ballet Theatre period taught by her by Alicia Markova. Then she proceeded to talk about the "Snow PDD". She stated, that it required a "particular characterization work" and that it was a shame that it had been neglected by the majority of the companies. My question is: What's the origin of this PDD...? Is it another chunk preserved from Ivanov original like the Sugar Plum Fairy PDD...?

Any info will be very appreciated.
Thanks!

#2 Hans

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 03:14 PM

The Libretto does not mention a Snow Pas de Deux, so I do not think it was in the original production. However, it is performed quite frequently in productions of the Nutcracker, at least in the US, either by a Snow King and Queen or by the Nutcracker-Prince and Marie/Clara. Each company usually has its own choreography for this dance, which is listed in this Synopsis of Dances as a "Transformation Scene."

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 04:14 PM

Actually, the Snow pas de deux dates back to the Pavlova Touring Company's repertoire from the nineteen-teens. The choreography was, I believe, the product of Ivan Clustine, who also partnered Pavlova. It was a "number" that would include grand music for an adagio, and then be joined by a corps de ballet for the Waltz of the Snowflakes. It was kept in productions of Nutcracker partly in tribute to Pavlova, and partly to avoid the expensive and complex transformation which is supposed to go with that music.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 10:26 AM

Actually, the Snow pas de deux dates back to the Pavlova Touring Company's repertoire from the nineteen-teens. The choreography was, I believe, the product of Ivan Clustine, who also partnered Pavlova. It was a "number" that would include grand music for an adagio, and then be joined by a corps de ballet for the Waltz of the Snowflakes. It was kept in productions of Nutcracker partly in tribute to Pavlova, and partly to avoid the expensive and complex transformation which is supposed to go with that music.



Thanks for your clarification, Mel. I have great memories of this beautiful piece of choreography, and would love to see it again-(it won't be here in Miami, as MCB has Balanchine's version).
Is there any DVD that contains this Pas...?

#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 11:19 AM

does it even exist, mel?

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:12 PM

If I recall correctly, it's in the San Francisco Ballet's old William Christiansen staging, which followed the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo version, and also the National Ballet of Canada's old version in a rather different version as staged by Celia Franca. The London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) had a version staged by Alicia Markova, whose earliest career was built on copying Pavlova. I don't think that any of these is commercially available.

#7 richard53dog

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:38 PM

If I recall correctly, it's in the San Francisco Ballet's old William Christiansen staging, which followed the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo version, and also the National Ballet of Canada's old version in a rather different version as staged by Celia Franca. The London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) had a version staged by Alicia Markova, whose earliest career was built on copying Pavlova. I don't think that any of these is commercially available.



What about the Snow PDD from the Nutcracker on the Dambois DVD with Melissa Hayden? Is this the same piece?

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 05:15 PM

If it's the one I'm recalling, that's from around 1965, and was Jacques' own choreography.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 10:25 AM

I just found this article about the Nutcracker well preserved choreography within the Fokine family, which talks about the the Snow Pas and also the Sugar Plum Fairy PDD, the same one I know from Alonso-after-Fedorova staging for CNB, which comes in direct line from Russia by two ways, via Sergueev/notations-Markova/Vic-Wells and then Fedorova-BR/BT.

http://www.encyclope...1-94672003.html

#10 rg

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 10:50 AM

indeed: the 'snow' pas de deux w/ J d'Amboise & M Hayden has choreographic credit to d'Amboise, it was shown as such at the tribute gathering held by NYCB w/ d'Amboise as moderator.

#11 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 04:18 PM

Alexandra Fedorova was Mikhail Fokine's sister-in-law, and was "little sister" to Anna Pavlova in the years leading up to the former's graduation from the Maryinsky School in 1902. She may have been involved in the production of Nutcracker which was preserved in the Sergeyev notations. Her version was what toured with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo for years. It was abbreviated in order to make it tourable and the technical requirements easier, as when they would have to dance in courthouses because there was no theater in the town! It was often made a two-bill with Ballet Russe's slightly padded "Act II Swan Lake", so it would make for a full-evening show worth the ticket!

#12 bart

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 08:00 AM

I couldn't resist bumping up this 3-year-old thread -- especially since we now have a new subforum devoted to Nutcracker.

It's a fascinating topic, which brought some questions to mind ----

Given the proliferation of videos on YouTube, have any examples of this version been posted there in the last few years?

Does BNdeC still perform this Alonso version?

Is it a good idea, or a kind of over-kill, to have a formal pdd at this point in the story and music? My own hunch is that it would slow the action and detract from the subsequent Sugar Plum Fairy pdd.

#13 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 08:22 AM

i don't think it does, i always saw it as a bridge and a great way to go into an intermission. :)

#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 05:28 PM

I couldn't resist bumping up this 3-year-old thread, especially since we now have a new subforum devoted to Nutcracker. It's a fascinating topic, which brought some questions to mind. Does BNdeC still perform this Alonso version? .


Definitely. Mme always said that the three things she had reproduced with no changes from Fedorova's take during her BT/BRM years had been the Snow Queen PDD, the SPF PDD and the Three Ivans/Trepak.

Is it a good idea, or a kind of over-kill, to have a formal pdd at this point in the story and music? My own hunch is that it would slow the action and detract from the subsequent Sugar Plum Fairy pdd.


I strongly believes that it works but then remember that I-(as probably the majority of Cubans who grew up with Fedorova's)-am used to see this ballet in the same level as the other T/P's. Having a "formal" PDD in both acts with two Primeras Bailarinas-(plus Clara, another dancing character usually done by a First Soloist or a Principal)-definitely helps a lot to conform to this notion, plus having that old dilemma of "having to wait to the second act to see some classical dancing" resolved. Actually, the Snow Queen/Sugar Plum Fairy/Clara affair became the reason for which I saw so many times this ballet..who will dance what...? who will be better..? who will outshine who...? This is an old, well thought formula that ALWAYS works, as it does with Giselle/Myrtha or Aurora/Lilac.

In general, I HATE to get bored at the ballet, and this character's inclusion in the Cuban version definitely makes for an exciting Act I...and for a more motivated Fairy in Act II...I think... :wink:

Given the proliferation of videos on YouTube, have any examples of this version been posted there in the last few years?


No by Alonso's company, but there are clips by SFB and some other troups. I found some of pics of the Cuban version though...

http://danzahoy.com/.../critica/02.jpg
http://www.havanatim...scanueces11.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot...1600-h/bal2.jpg


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