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Balanchine and the history of chaine turns (?)


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#1 bart

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 04:31 PM

I have just come across the following, in Charles M. Joseph's Stravinsky and Balanchine.. It deals with Balanchine's choreography for new (1925) version of Stravinsky's Le Chant du Rossignol, which the young man made for Diaghilev's company:

[Boris Kochno] remembers that Balanchine would arrive at a rehearsal as though he had nothing preconceived in mind. He gave the distinct impression that he would simply improvise as he went along. Balanchine demonstrated the many "inventions" he was to incorporate into Le Chant -- inventions [Alicia] Markova claims later choreographers stole from him. Alexandra Danilova added to this list chaine turns, which Balanchine introduced: they had never been seen in any previous ballet. (p. 63)

Is this possible? :crying:

What does "never seen in any previous ballet" mean in this context? Joseph's ordinarily thorough footnotes are silent on the Danilova attribution. They do have a reference to Boris Kochno's and Alicia Markova's interviews in Francis Mason's I Remember Balanchine, a book I do not have. The reference come in a note to the next paragraph, and it's not clear to what it refers.

Ballet historians, please :flowers: explain this extraordinary statement.

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 05:36 PM

Of course, "Rossignol" passed from the active ballet repertoire even before I was born, but tours chaînés déboulés are old, old as the hills. There's even a chaîné papillon, allegedly dreamed up by Marie Taglioni for her student Emma Livry. It would have to be a distinctive use of the step which can be very tiny in terms of travel so you can use them as great little time-killers if you have a ballerina who can do lots of turns, which Markova could indeed do.

#3 rg

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:51 PM

i suspect danilova is making reference to some particular 'twist' or position with/for chaine turns. or at least some 'odd' rate of performing them. she can't likely have meant that no one saw chaine turns as we know the classroom step today before ROSSIGNOL? can she? i think it's safe to assume that there's something missing here, to explain what precisely danilova was referring to.


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