87Sigfried87

Le Spectre de la rose...?

57 posts in this topic

This has gotten me curious, so I checked the Nureyev (1979, Joffrey, with Denise Jackson) version and viewed it alongside Malakhov's.

Nureyev's technique was already ragged, but I was impressed by the way he related to the girl. He expresses a kind of urgency -- he has to reach her, somehow. Not to wake her, but to allow her unconsciousness to be touched by the dance. "Do not forget," he seems to say. "Let yourself relive what happened tonight because it's going to change everything."

This is actually rather moving, if you look at it with dancerboy87's question in mind. I've never seen an interpretation like it before. The approach is assisted by Jackson, who seems to be deeply asleep, almost catatonic, in the first part of the ballet -- more like la Sonnambula than a girl just home from her first ball. Her "awakening" (or half-awakening) in the middle of the partnering portion of the ballet, when the music crescendos and becomes faster, is especially effective.

(Malakhov, on the other hand, acts too much with his face. It fills up with an intense though generalized kind of Russian soulfulness. You either like this look or you don't. If you don't, you focus on Malakhov's port de bras, which is beautiful.)

I would think that a dancer preparing for the role might try to imagine the Spectre as something like a real characater -- not just a mood or a figment of the girl's imagination. Her dream has summoned him, but he has his own existence and his own agenda. Nureyev conveys this, I believe.

Arlene Croce, reviewing Nureyev with the Joffrey in the same year, also sees the Spectre as a character with his own motivation. She is more critical of Nureyev's acting, however, than I have been.

Born into an age of resurgent male dancing, Nureyev the cavalier demands Nijinksy roles as his rightful legacy, but Nureyev is as out of place in Nijinsky's repertory as Nijinsky would have been in his. Nureyev's career may be understood in part as an attempt to gain ad hold center stage without a repertory that places him there. [ ... ] In Le Spectre de la Rose, he dances a part that Nijinsky himself came to loathe as "too pretty." { ... } The evening I saw him, Nureyev did his most vigorous and sustained dancing in this. His energy was higher than it had been for some time; he connected his phrases; he didn't sag in a landing or reprop himself after a finish. [ ... } yet his port de bras was sketchy, and he danced almost totally without reference to the girl. The lack of arms ... is less crippling to the role than the notion that the Spectre, supplicant, imploring, seductive in every move, could be dancing by and for himself. Nureyev's insularity reached its peak when, while Dense Jackson waltzed around the stage, he held a high releve in fifth with his gaze fixed on her empty chair.
[The boldface is mine.]

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps he was musing on the American Civil War tearjerker, "The Vacant Chair"?

Share this post


Link to post
I still have some doubts on the facial expression i am supposed to keep.During the rehearsals i found myself smiling softly at my partner and i'm wondering if I should keep a neutral/deep expression.In the videos i've seen they look kinda sad for the whole piece.That's i think not good in the pas de deux parts.Yes,he's a ghost and can't look to happy and too much "alive" but he's anyway dancing with the girl.This thing doesn't make me sad....I am wondering if a soft sweet expression on my face would be senseless....The coach is not yet worrying too much about the expression,but still on the technique.I'll ask in the right moment but before that tell me,as audience,if you'd think a not sad expression would puzzle you or not.Thanks.

Izzy Petipa sez: "Try rehearsing it stoned. If Twyla becomes more accessible when you're drunk, think what pot could do for Fokine! (That is, if you don't start giggling.)"

Share this post


Link to post
Izzy Petipa sez: "Try rehearsing it stoned. If Twyla becomes more accessible when you're drunk, think what pot could do for Fokine! (That is, if you don't start giggling.)"

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
The part requires a bit of perfume, a androgynous, feline quality. Misha simply doesn't have them. He looks too boyish.

I was revisiting my "Spectre..."clips on my Youtube account, admiring once more time my favorite Misha's performance

Baryshnikov here seems to be seducing and inviting the girl, rather than protecting and guiding her. He is 100% boy, even in this piece and his style may not be adequate for this particular role, but God bless him for not being the second ballerina on stage!. :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
"Baryshnikov here seems to be seducing and inviting the girl, rather than protecting and guiding her. He is 100% boy, even in this piece and his style may not be adequate for this particular role, but God bless him for not being the second ballerina on stage!". :blush:

Yes.Misha is a real man;but this is not a piece in which you have to be very masculine.And anyway a ghost should be compared to a spirit,so not necessary sexually characterized.A more androginous look would maybe be better.The problem of his Spectre is not to me his way of being masculine;it's that if you continously put duble assemblé en tournant,pirouettes and too much technique,it becomes the Spectre of Turns.It deviates in a certain way and distracts.It's more a role of beautiful port de bras and style.Stop.

Today I've ended to study the Spectre solo parts.I am still puzzled about the expression.I don't know whether to take example from Ariel in "the Tempest" by Shakespeare or Puck in "Midsummer night's dream"and make it as a fairy....so maybe a little childish and strange.Or again being sad as Malakhov's as the ghost doesn't have to look to much alive,or again being neutral-sweet and to guide the girl and protect her,or again being seductive.Being seductive anyway is not the attitude i like most in this piece.I am afraid it would look ridiculous and wrong.I'll probably do a mix of different attitudes depending on the difference between the solo and the PDD parts.The stage will let me know the right way.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, not being a dancer, I'm not sure I have any very useful advice to give about performance, but it seems to me that Puck and Ariel are not ideal models for the Spirit. He exists in the girl's dream - the dream of a young woman after a ball, a happy social occasion filled with intimations of courtship and growing up. Certainly a partner to whom she is attracted gave her that rose she's wearing when she comes in. So the Spirit, while not human, is not completely genderless - he probably should have at least a whiff of masculinity, a sense that he/it is also inviting her to a sensual awakening. Not sexual, but very delicately and suggestively romantic. The entire role is a balancing act of androgyny at the edge of a whole new world of the masculine for the dreaming girl. After all, she sees them as waltzing - the most daring of 19th century ballroom dances - men and women in each other's arms, with him leading. That balance and suggestiveness are the role's greatest difficulty I think, and letting Fokine's choreography express that. Baryshnikov erred too far on the side of the masculine, Malakhov perhaps a little too far on the side of the androgynous. I'm also reminded of an irate French critic who saw Nicholas Leriche in the role and snapped that the part did not need Burt Lancaster in Trapeze. It's a mine field of a part.

Share this post


Link to post

Using Shakespearean spirits might not be a good choice for the Rose. I can't, for example, picture him masquerading as a stool, then "slip I from her bum".

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a lot about "faerie", in which he approaches the topic of otherworldly creatures as having great powers, like the Elves of Middle-Earth. Perhaps those would be near cognates to the Spectre.

Share this post


Link to post

I still think Legris comes close to the ideal -- the quality of his attention to her is above all the finest thing. And he is personally so beautiful.

More beautiful than Malakhov. His jumps are so much airier than Malakhov's, whose sautes in arabesque remind me of Alicia Alonso's in Pas de quatre -- they're TOO SMALL.... Legris's are generous without being in any way show-offish, in fact he keeps it a refined but large version of a simple and lovely thing. he's SKIPPING -- the main thing it should have is the feel of skipping. It's not big and heroic, it's fun -- it requires natural sensuality, unconscious sensuality -- like the softness of the rose petals, andthat quality of having depth to htem that roses have.

RUb a rose against your cheek; get a friend to blindfold you and hold a rose and move around and make you find it with your sense of smell. See what expressions come into your face and neck as you actually smell a rose that's over your left shoulder....

If you've never done any social dancing -- many ballet dancers haven't -- try actually dancing with a partner and see what it feels like to share a center and move as one. Waltzing would be good, but ANY form of partnered dancing will teach you something about how to pay little attentions to the person you're leading and responsible for.

Share this post


Link to post
He exists in the girl's dream - the dream of a young woman after a ball, a happy social occasion filled with intimations of courtship and growing up. Certainly a partner to whom she is attracted gave her that rose she's wearing when she comes in. So the Spirit, while not human, is not completely genderless - he probably should have at least a whiff of masculinity, a sense that he/it is also inviting her to a sensual awakening. Not sexual, but very delicately and suggestively romantic.

Very well put.

I'm also reminded of an irate French critic who saw Nicholas Leriche in the role and snapped that the part did not need Burt Lancaster in Trapeze.

:blush:

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that the Spectre exists in the young girl's dreams. But, as Freud and others have demonstrated, young girls' dreams are not always as innocent as we would like them to be. While the Spectre should not of course be sexually assertive, why shouldn't he have a a certain amount of masculine sensuality? Croce says the Speactre should be "supplicant, imploring, seductive in every move." This doesn't exclude romance, humor, gentleness, or even pulling a disappearing act after a brief flirtation.

Share this post


Link to post
An interesting interpretation of the work, if your idea of a curse is, "May you live in interesting times," was Red Skelton's version with Patricia McBride. He entered by trampolining off the window-seat, and things just went downhill from there. In particular, this rose had rose fever, and when he sneezed, half the petals fell off his costume. McBride played it ever, ever so straight, thus making Skelton's cavorting seem even more outrageous. Oh, and I also can recall Jimmy Durante doing a sort of La Sylphide pas de deux with Lynn Seymour!

There was also an Saturday Night Live version in the long ago with Steve Martin, refulgent in pink, opposite a languishing Gilda Radner, both of them shadowed by paranoid Russian agents. It didn't make you fall off your chair but Martin was funny.

Share this post


Link to post
As i'm going to play this role very soon for a gala,i'd like to ask you a question:is this famous pas de deux a part of a whole ballet that is no more danced as a whole,or is it only the pas de deux on his own?as i've always seen the pdd,so i was wondering...just as for "Diana and Acteon" etc.

I'm also working on the style and expression,as the steps themselves are quite easy.I've understood that i have to be ethereal and my movements have to be very aerial.About the expression i am a bit perplexed....i am trying to have a deep expression but looking evanescent and calm especially in the pdd moments.Anyway i don't wanna be banal and taken for granted.How do you think one should depict the character?Thanks for your answers.

I wish you well with your performance. The two best performance I have seen on video are by Maris Liepa who I always thought the best until I had seen Andris Liepa who is for me the best of many performances I have seen live and on film. Yes, it was a great shock for me to see Andris so perfect in THIS role.

Share this post


Link to post
The two best performance I have seen on video are by Maris Liepa who I always thought the best until I had seen Andris Liepa who is for me the best of many performances I have seen live and on film. Yes, it was a great shock for me to see Andris so perfect in THIS role.

Do you know if there are performances with Maris or Andris Liepa dancing Le Spectre de la Rose available on dvd or video? I just tried a lengthy google search without any luck.

ps.

I am with cubanmiamiboy on this

"I know...BTW, i miss Leonid's posts... "

Share this post


Link to post

I saw what I believe were some of the first performances of Spectre that Nureyev gsve after having learned the proper choreography. This was with the company that is now English National Ballet at the Kennedy Centre, many, many years ago. They were amazing. All at once the piece made sense to me and I can only sum it up by saying that he was masculine and sensual without being sexual. And technically it was fine, but it wasn't the technique that you noticed, rather the complete identification with the role in the way that popularlibrary summed it up so aptly.

Alas, all that had vanished the next time I saw him in the role, and it was Nureyev giving a Nureyev performance from then on.

I saw Barishnikov with Lynn Seymour in Spectre at a gala in Hamburg, and while it was beautifully danced, it was a classical pas de deux we saw rather than Spectre. Much the same could be said of Misha in the pas de trois from Pavillion d'Armide which he danced on the same programme

Share this post


Link to post
While the Spectre should not of course be sexually assertive, why shouldn't he have a a certain amount of masculine sensuality?

For some reason, i don't see any shadow of "over-masculinity" in Misha's performance. On the contrary, the first time i saw his "Spectre", it made me smile to see his softness and sensuality...And then, considering that his portray is not as androginous as some like the dancers to be on this role, what's wrong with it...?, I mean, the girl is dreaming of a rose who has taken the human form of a boy, not of that of another girl, and boys can be masculine, right?...If Fokine's idea would had been that of "confusing" a little bit the audiences, he could had created the role for another ballerina, given the simplicity of the steps...I simply see this lovely duet as a little love story between, perhaps, two adolescents, perfectly defined in gender: the male one soft, yes, ethereal, yes, delicate, yes, but not androginous at all...

Share this post


Link to post
All at once the piece made sense to me and I can only sum it up by saying that he was masculine and sensual without being sexual.
Exactly. In the later Joffrey version, although you can see the effort Nureyev has to make in some of the dancing (using arms for lift, etc.) he still has the quality.
For some reason, i don't see any shadow of "over-masculinity" in Misha's performance. On the contrary, the first time i saw his "Spectre", it made me smile to see his softness and sensuality.
That was my impression, too.

Share this post


Link to post
His jumps are so much airier than Malakhov's, whose sautes in arabesque remind me of Alicia Alonso's in Pas de quatre

:(

Share this post


Link to post
try actually dancing with a partner and see what it feels like to share a center and move as one. Waltzing would be good, but ANY form of partnered dancing will teach you something about how to pay little attentions to the person you're leading and responsible for.

Try salsa... :(

Share this post


Link to post
...it's that if you continously put duble assemblé en tournant,pirouettes and too much technique,it becomes the Spectre of Turns.

:)

The two best performance I have seen on video are by Maris Liepa who I always thought the best until I had seen Andris Liepa who is for me the best of many performances I have seen live and on film. Yes, it was a great shock for me to see Andris so perfect in THIS role.

I can imagine that Spectre would suit Andris Liepa very well. Like innopac, I'd love to get a DVD/video of him in Spectre, if anyone has any info.

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry if I disappeared for a while but I didn't have my web connection during the last week.I'll tell you now how it went the performance.I've had some troubles with finding a good costume,as this piece is not very much played.I've tried in many specialized places but,maybe i'm too fussy when it's about my job and the Aesthetic taste i pretend when i'm performing something.It's a vice,sorry.Not being able to find anything I had to order it. 85 euros and they had the courage to give me a whole tight suit,from the chest to the feet,skin coloured....without anything!Just a very tight suit.I don't even know why I paid it.Then,as usual I had to make the costume myself....at least I was sure about the result.I used the suit as the starting point.I had to add myself the petals of the rose around the neck,front and back,around the sleeves and around the left leg at the beginning of it.Then it stilled missed something.Like a thunder a genial idea came to my mind.Why not giving the idea of dewdrops on the petals?the problem was how to give back the illusion.How? light gluedrops on the external part of the petals covered in a few glitters,the most sober possible.The result was great,you should see it.Everybody said to me:"but you made it yourself?How good you are!you could have been a stylist!".I could maybe but i'm a dancer;-).Coming to the performance.I told you that i didn't know how to interpret the role and that the stage will let me know in the right moment.I just stepped on stage and become a spectre.I've found myself being softly seductive and a bit malicious in the moments of solo and when trying to wake up the girl,protective in the PDD moments.Don't know if this was the right way,but it was my way.The girl was perfectly in the role and pretty in her "degas".Everything went alright,but a moment in which I forgot a little part but nobody noticed...i just invented a few steps which i think worked.The only thing I didn't like was that it was an Opera gala and you surely know how the Opera audience is absolutely not interested or a little interested in watching a ballet moment.They asked me to go and bring a Waltz piece and i brought the Spectre but it wasn't the warm audience of ballet.They applauded very little and not very much concerned about what was going on.I could have danced better(as always...we can always be better!)but i'm satysfied,as i had only a week to prepare the piece and had also to make the costume on my own :thumbsup:.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for the report, dancerboy.

Sounds like you came up with a very effective costume! And I'm glad to hear you were generally satisfied with your performance. Too bad you didn't have a better audience.

I hope you get to perform the role again. You deserve a chance to continue to grow in it.

Share this post


Link to post

dancerboy--I liked this a lot too, it was like going through the whole process with you in getting work together, envisioning it and developing it in the mind; and then completing it. The description of the costume and performance is first-rate--so that this turns out to have been one of the nicest threads I've seen on Ballet Talk.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, dancerboy. It's so interesting and refreshing to read about ballets being discussed from the point of view of the performer, as you have done here.

Working out problems of interpretation, costume, and audience differences make the dancer's achievements seem even more miraculous to me.

I hope that you'll continue to bring these matters to Ballet Talk. All best wishes ...

Share this post


Link to post