printscess

Your favorite variations

36 posts in this topic

I think the solos in "Dances at a Gathering" could plausibly be described as variations, but I wouldn't call them classical variations in the Petipa sense.

Share this post


Link to post

Hans--thanks for your excellent tutelage, I've learned a lot already. Would you say that what you say about the 'Dances at a Gathering' variations applies to all Balanchine and many others neo-classical or Romantic Revival, et alia, so that Petipa variations are therefore the originary sense of the ballet variation, as it were, and that there then grow these other kinds up to the present, that are still very recognizable relatives? I noticed people talking about variations for City Ballet dancers and others, 'Ballo della Regina', 'Apollo' and others.

Share this post


Link to post

That sounds like a logical progression to me, papeetepatrick. I can't claim to be an authority on the subject, but your post makes quite a bit of sense.

Share this post


Link to post

Papeetepatrick's post does seem to describe the way the term "variation" has expanded its meaning over time. It's a kind of verbal imperiallism.

If we start using "variation" for a large variety of solos -- applying it to virtually any memorable solo which isn't a repeat of something that happened before -- aren't we losing precision in terminology? How useful is a term which describes so many things?

P.S. Thanks, Klavier, for that very interesting post on the uses of "variation" in musicology.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, when applied to Romantic or Bournonville ballets the term "variation" can also be rather imprecise, as variations in such ballets aren't always composed of separate pieces of music and don't always have definite beginnings and endings. The way the female 2nd variation in the Peasant Pas de Deux just flows into the coda is an example of this. It seems variations are being used less formally now, more as they were in the past. This can be a good thing as it makes it harder to interpolate a variation that is totally out of character and in a jarring musical key, but if a particular step or phrase is difficult for a dancer, it can be harder to substitute something else.

Share this post


Link to post

Male: Lacotte's variation for James in La Sylphide, 2nd act and Bounonville's variation for James also in the second act (Nureyev danced it superbly). Well, being a woman I also liked to dance these two because of the battery.

Female: 1st, 2nd and 4th variations from Le Grand Pas de Quatre.

Share this post


Link to post

I like Gamzatti's betrothal variation and -- very similar in feeling and rhythm -- the Flower Girl variation (which has sometimes been danced by Kitri at ABT) from the wedding act of Don Q with the back cabrioles.

I'm also a big fan of James' variation (B'ville version, Act II).

Another of my favorites is the piccolo variation from Balanchine's Raymonda Variations -- brise-grand jete X 3, etc. . . .

Share this post


Link to post

I fell in love with the "Ribbon PDD", and the solos connected to it, in Ashton's La Fie Mal Gardee. Beautiful, but pretty difficult to dance. That one arm tushie lift at the finish sure must be painful for the Colas(?)!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post

Over the last weekend I saw BRB doing Galina Samsova's production of Paquita in Birmingham. Since then the male variation as performed by Chi Cao has become a firm favourite. He has a razor-sharp classical technique and performed 8 double tours in alternating directions at the three performances I saw him do. The audience could not help but gasp in amazement at the ease with which he performed these turns.

Share this post


Link to post

Raymonda -- I like ALL of her variations and LOVE the one with scarf and the grand Hungarian one.

Terpsichore's variation is Dance itself.

Odette's variation, though it's beautiful, is impossible to make moving-- Semyonova's is the best I 've ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Odette's variation, though it's beautiful, is impossible to make moving-- Semyonova's is the best I 've ever seen.
Which Semyonova? Marina or Polina?

Share this post


Link to post