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PNB Co-Presents "Balanchine's Petipa"October 5, 6-7:30 at the Phelps Center


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#1 Helene

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 11:25 PM

PNB is co-producing this great lecture demo, and it is being presented by Doug Fullington (aka doug) on October 5, 6-7:30pm at the Phelps Center, next to McCaw Hall. I've added emphasis in blue below.


PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET CO-PRESENTS LECTURE-DEMONSTRATION

BALANCHINE'S PETIPA

October 5, 2007 ~ 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Phelps Center



SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet and dance historian Doug Fullington present Balanchine’s Petipa, a lecture-demonstration exploring the influence of choreographer George Balanchine’s training and performance experience in Russia on his subsequent choreography. Excerpts from essential 19th-century ballets by choreographer Marius Petipa and his colleagues, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Paquita, will be performed alongside excerpts from key Balanchine works, including Apollo, Theme and Variations, Divertimento No. 15, Emeralds and Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fee’. The Balanchine works will be staged by PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell. Doug Fullington will revive the 19th century dances from century-old notation in the Stepanov system, now housed at the Harvard Theatre Collection.

PNB Company dancers and students from PNB School will dance the excerpts, accompanied by pianist Dianne Chilgren, and Boal and Fullington will lead a discussion focusing on Balanchine’s training and 19th-century Russian ballet and how it may have influenced Balanchine’s own choreography and development of classical ballet vocabulary in the 20th century. Choreography for men, including pas de deux partnering, will be a particular focus.

The Balanchine's Petipa lecture-demonstration in sponsored in part by 4Culture.

Balanchine's Petipa - Friday, October 5, 2007 ~ 6:00–7:30 p.m.

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle 98109

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at (206) 441-2424, online at www.pnb.org or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.


Program

Introduction
Flora's Awakening (Drigo/Petipa; 1894) – Zephyr coda
Theme and Variations (Tchaikovsky/Balanchine; 1947) – First male solo
Performers: Lucien Postlewaite, with Carla Körbes, Kaori Nakamura, Jodie Thomas & Mara Vinson

Choreography for boys
Raymonda (Glazunov/Petipa; 1898) – Dance of the Arab boys
Performers: Students from PNBS Intermediate Boys class

Male variations
Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky/Gorsky; 1895?) – Act III variation
Performer: Benjamin Griffiths
Divertimento No. 15 (Mozart/Balanchine; 1956) – Variation 5
Performer: Lucien Postlewaite

Pas de deux and character dancing
La Bayadčre (Minkus/Petipa;1877/1900) – Kingdom of the Shades pas de deux
Performers: Kaori Nakamura & Lucien Postlewaite
The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky/Ivanov; 1892) – Harlequin & Columbine
Performers: Jodie Thomas & James Moore
Apollo (Stravinsky/Balanchine; 1928) – Pas de deux
Performers: Carla Körbes & Lucien Postlewaite

Pas de trois
Paquita (Delvedez/Minkus/Petipa; 1881) – Pas de trois
Performers: Kaori Nakamura, Mara Vinson & James Moore
Emeralds (Fauré/Balanchine; 1967) – Pas de trois
Performers: Carla Körbes, Jodie Thomas & Benjamin Griffiths

Late male variations
The Sleeping Beauty (Tchaikovsky/Legat?; 1892/circa 1900) – Act III variation
Performer: Lucien Postlewaite
Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la feé” (Stravinsky/Balanchine; 1972) – Male variation
Performer: Benjamin Griffiths

Program and casting subject to change. For further information, please visit: www.pnb.org.

#2 SandyMcKean

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for the heads up Helene. What an opportunity. I just got off the phone with PNB to buy my wife and I tickets. I've always been impressed with how Doug does his educational programs. His thoroughness together with actual dancers doing examples has my expectations high.

#3 printscess

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 11:31 AM

Darn, just 3,000 miles will keep me away from what seems to be an wonderful evening. I love lecture/performances.

#4 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 03:43 PM

I am so envious -- this is such a well conceived and well put together program. It is like the kind of thing that Joe and Dan Duell used to present for NYCB. It shows that they respect the audience's intellect and taste.

Congratulations to all involved. Maybe it will be videotaped and put online??????

#5 bart

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 03:57 PM

Congratulations to all involved. Maybe it will be videotaped and put online??????

I'll second those congratulations and the question. Something via the PNB website or the like? The national/international audience might not be huge, and it might be scattered. But I'll bet it would would add up to something great for PNB and even better for classical ballet as a whole. :speechless-smiley-003:

#6 printscess

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 04:00 PM

I am so envious -- this is such a well conceived and well put together program. It is like the kind of thing that Joe and Dan Duell used to present for NYCB. It shows that they respect the audience's intellect and taste.

Congratulations to all involved. Maybe it will be videotaped and put online??????


The Balanchine Trust is very strict about videotaping any Balanchine ballets. I doubt that it will be taped and put online. If it is taped, it will probably be for archieve purposes and teaching purposes

#7 SandyMcKean

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 05:39 PM

I'll "record" it in my mind when I see it. Now all we have to do is figure out an access scheme :speechless-smiley-003:

#8 sandik

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 08:05 PM

I'm really looking forward to this program. I've seen some of Doug F's reconstructions from Stepanov notation and they are stunning.

I imagine that the company will record this, but I doubt that it will be available publicly -- copyright is indeed a twisty issue.

#9 Helene

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

sandik wrote a short article on the program in Seattle Weekly:

http://www.seattlewe...calendar/171417

There's a lovely photo from rg's collection, but I'm too bad-sighted to be able to read the caption.

It's this Friday!

#10 rg

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:49 PM

i'm surprised the paper didn't try to print a caption that identifies the dancers.
the photocard, c. 1912, shows the Pas de Trois from PAQUITA with (left to right) Elza Vill, Pyotr Vladimirov and Elizaveta Gerdt.

#11 Helene

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:48 PM

I just attend "Balanchine's Petipa."

:bow: doug.

#12 Helene

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 09:05 PM

"Balanchine's Petipa -- Choreography for Men" began with an introduction by Doug Fullington to Stepanov and his notation system and to Petipa, to the participating dancers -- Benjamin Griffiths, Carla Korbes, James Moore, Kaori Nakamura, Lucien Postlewaite, Jodie Thomas, and Mara Vinson -- and an overview of the approach for the demonstration.

The presentation took place in the Studio C, the large studio, where the cannons and the Peacock's cage from The Nutcracker were already stowed. With the exception of the "Dance of the Arab boys" from Raymonda, which was performed twice by the intermediate boys class, after Doug gave an introduction to the pieces that were about to be performed, and discussed the structural and musical similarities and differences between the reconstructed Petipa and the Balanchine excerpts -- sometimes followed by comments and anecdotes by Peter Boal -- there were demonstrations of the works by the dancers.

The pairings were
  • "Zephyr solo with four nymphs" from The Awakening of Flora and "First male variation with 4 demi-solo women" from Theme and Variations
  • "Male variation, Act III" from Swan Lake and "Variation 5" from Divertimento No. 15
  • "Kingdom of the Shades Pas de Deux" from La Bayadere/"Harlequin and Columbine" from The Nutcracker and "Pas de deux" from Apollo
  • "Pas de Trois" from Paquita and "Pas de Trois" from Emeralds
  • "Prince Desire variation, Act III" from Sleeping Beauty and "Male variation" from Divertimento from "Le Baiser de la Fee"
Doug explained that the male variation from Swan Lake Act III was choreographed and performed by Alexander Gorsky, who was the second man in the Act III Pas de Deux, much like Benno was the third person in the "White Swan Pas de Deux." He pointed out the influence of the French style and Bournonville on this variation.

A common thread was a discussion of structure and architecture, and how patterns and symmetry played an important roles in the works. Doug also noted that both Petipa and Balanchine were notable character dancers. While not all of the choreography demonstrated was done by Petipa -- Gorsky did the Swan Lake variation and Ivanov completed Nutcracker after Petipa did the notes and overview -- it must have been liberating to approach choreography as a character dancer. A Prince who choreographed might have been locked into line and have been limited in scope and imagination, but to a character dancer, Prince was just one more shade of male. The Swan Lake variation was beautifully danced by Benjamin Griffiths.

Using a wider palette also allowed for a more varied approach to the role of the cavalier. Doug spoke about the difference between the long, stretched lines of the typical Prince style, compared to the work in plie like in "Variation 5" from Divertimento No. 15, which had similarities to the Gorsky Swan Lake variation. Lucien Postlewaite, who performed both and the solo from Theme and Variations, has a fundamental grasp of the emphasis on demi-plie in these variations, and his own geometry, with his beautiful turnout, reflects the diamond patterns that are found on the floor in many of the Petipa and Balanchine ballets. (This was one of the highlights of his performance in Rubies.) Peter Boal spoke about how ending/staying in plie, usually a transition step, was emphasized in the choreography.

Postlewaite could be the Prince, too. Doug's approach to the Sleeping Beauty variation was to break it down into sections which Postlewaite performed. The variation straight through would have been like competing in the decathalon, but performed as JavelinHurdlesShotputHighjumpDiscus1500metersLongjump400metersPolevault100meterd
ash. Postlewaite also danced Apollo to Carla Korbes' Terpsichore, the role in which Peter Boal discovered the 14-year-old Korbes. He has the uncanny ability to focus on the ballerina in such a way that you see her through his eyes. I hope this pairing isn't a tease, and that we get to see them in this ballet soon. Dianne Chilgren, the accompanist for the program, gave an almost haunting rendition of the score.

There was a fascinating part where Doug described a lift in the La Bayadere Pas de Deux, which Postlewaite and Kaori Nakamura, who excelled in this and the Paquita, demonstrated: he lifted her to his waist, so that she was practically horizontal, while he extended his other arm to the side, while walking backwards. It was an incredible lift, but it was replaced with a different one in the actual performance, a lift that Doug noted Balanchine used in a number of his ballets. I know that the large full-length ballets are an issue for casting, since the number of Principal and solo roles are limited, but watching Nakamura made me long for them.

Doug spoke about how Petipa's era was Victorian, and bit about the conventions of the time, and how Balanchine's Apollo Pas de Deux broke those conventions; he also mentioned how Balanchine's experimental troupe, which performed the overhead lifts Balanchine devised that caused an uproar. Several times he noted that the partnering in both Petipa and Balanchine was open, and how the Russian style later developed with closer partnering conventions. I had always thought the openness was a temperamental preference on Balanchine's part, and didn't realize how much direct influence there had been.

Postlewaite might have been spared the decathalon, but Benjamin Griffiths was not. The last work on the program was Helgi Tomasson's great solo in Divertimento from Baiser de la Fee. Boal spoke about how as Tomasson was close to retirement, he taught Ib Andersen and two other dancers, including the 18-year-old Boal this solo. From Tomasson to Boal (who I'd never seen in it) to Griffiths; what a pedigree. I'd always heard this was one of the great solos for men; from the Fourth Ring of the New York State Theater, it never resonated for me. In the studio, as danced by Griffiths, it was breathtaking and, at the end, a complete heartbreaker.

One of the things that was striking about watching these dancers is that they can bear any critical scrutiny from ten feet away.

It was a wonderful and enlightening presentation.

And I got to meet Sandy McKean and his wife, which was a delight; he did not exaggerate a bit when he described her, and he is, indeed, a lucky fellow.

#13 sandik

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 09:35 PM

The best thing about waiting to write here until after Helene has posted, is that I can just say

"what she said"

Doug F is really an exceptional dance history scholar -- able to analyze the structures of the work in a deep and thorough fashion, but present them very clearly, so that you see those connections naturally. This was a wonderfully rich evening, the compare/contrast nature of the programming was so smart and so graceful -- he made it very, very easy to be smart.

#14 bart

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 04:28 AM

Helene, you definitely make me wish I were there.

You in Seattle are so fortunate to have ballet people who care -- and THINK -- about these matters and know how to present and explain them to audiences.

It's an approach that ballet in America -- especially when it is involved in doing the job of preserving its heritage -- could use a great deal more of.

Congratulations to Doug Fullington and the dancers, and to Boal for caring enough to put the resources of the company behind this.

#15 carbro

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:15 AM

I, too, am so grateful for your summation, Helene. Wish I'd been there, but since I wasn't, your post is a good second-best.

I imagine that, as valuable as this is to those who came to watch (and made them more astute audience members), the dancers involved have new insights into some of the works they dance, giving extra depth to their performances over time.


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