dancerdee

"Le Combat" By William Dollar

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I was wondering if anyone had recently seen a performance of "Le Combat", also called "The Duel"? It was premiered Feb 24, 1950 with NYCB. Have recently read about it and would like to find out more. If you have seen it recently, who danced it, and when.

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"Le Combat" was based on the Metrical Romance by Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered, which also made a pretty good silent movie. Before that, it is credited as a probable source for parts of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. When it was produced with its "corps" of male soloists, It was usually called "Le Combat", but when only the introduction, central pas de deux and final duel was shown, it was usually called "The Duel". I haven't seen it in over 40 years.

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It became a signature piece for Melissa Hayden. I can't recall any recent performances, but am I totally off base in thinking that Dance Theatre of Harlem did it back in the seventies?

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Didn't Dennis Wayne's short-lived company do it in the late '70s, too? I think I may have seen it there.

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If you're curious to see it live, I just noticed New York Theatre Ballet is mounting it in April:

April 11-12, 2008 at 7:30 pm

A mixed repertory of works by Antony Tudor, plus William Dollar's Le Combat

and a premiere by Matthew Neenan.

http://www.nytb.org/season_repertory.htm

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Didn't Dennis Wayne's short-lived company do it in the late '70s, too? I think I may have seen it there.

Pittsburgh Ballet did it as late as 1986-88. The complete ballet. Not fun to dance, btw!

And I believe Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet (under Tallchief) did it in the late 70s/early 80s as well--I remember hearing from a friend who was involved in excruciating rehearsals for it. (Which makes me ask, since most of the old Chicago rep was based on her personal repertory experience, did Tallcheif ever dance it?)

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I believe I saw "The Duel" performed a few times by Pennsylvania Ballet, probably late 60s or early 70s....

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Wow! Thank you, Cristian, for those photos. A great set of images of the ballet -- and (parenthetically) a wonderful chance to look at another side of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

I put The Duel on my wish-list on an earlier thread (late 2007) and Leigh replied, as follows:

Le Combat - or the Duel - I saw for the first time this year; New York Theatre Ballet performed it. I think it is also being done in December in Buenos Aires (I noticed it a year ago on the schedule of the Teatro Colon - though being performed "in exile" as the Colon is closed for renovations)

Here's a video of a pdd from this ballet performance: I'm not sure of the company -- is it the NY Theater Ballet? Tancred, the Cristian Crusader, has fatally wounded Clorinda, in who has masked herself and fought in in a duel. The story comes from Tasso's long 16th century poem, translated in English as Jerusalem Delivered. Walter Terry, quoted in Rep in Review, wrote: "The death scene is touchingly realized; the placement of the mortal wound, the unmasking of the girl,k the comprehension and despaire of the Crusader who has caused the death of the beloeved, are all realized in unpretentious but highlyi expressional dance terms."

Here are still photos from that New York Theatre Ballet production:

http://lucaskrech.livejournal.com/133368.html

Here's Kansas City Ballet's page on the ballet:

http://www.kcballet.org/aboutus/repertory/...s/lecombat.html

Here are Melissa Hayden and Francisco Moncion in an early performance (1949 or 1950) by NYCB. I can imagine how great Hayden, one of the most expressive dancers I've ever seen, must have been in this role. I don't know if it was revived, but I never saw it at NYCB, much to my regret.

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital...p;pos=2&e=r

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Le Combat (The Duel) by Dollar is on the recently-released DVD titled Asami Maki Ballet Group. It was filmed in 1990 during the Japanese troupe's visit to the Kirov-Mariinsky. Also on the program is Dollar's Constantia, to Chopin, as well as four ballets by the troupe's founder, Ms Asami. It is a rather low-resolution film but definitely watchable; invaluable for these two rarities.

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I seem to remember seeing this with ABT ca 1970 with Lupe Serrano not long before she retired. My memories are pretty dim though .

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There used to be a week of dance performances after the end of the Shakespeare season in Central Park sponsored by The Harkness Foundation. It was a mixed bill, ballet, modern, ethnic, and Free! I saw Lupe Serrano do The Duel, and still remember how powerful she was, with astonishing elevation. It was a wonderful setting for it too, outdoors, with the castle in the background.

Id love to see ABT revive this.

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I seem to remember seeing this with ABT ca 1970 with Lupe Serrano not long before she retired. My memories are pretty dim though .

ABT ll did it probably in the mid to late 70's and it was popular in regional companies for a while around that time.

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Does anyone have any memories of any of these performances that they can share with us?

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Pennsylvania Ballet did perform The Duel in the late 60's and early 70's. I remember it being danced by Barbara Sandonato and her husband [the now deceased Alexie Yudenich] I was in the school at the time. It was beautifully done and quite moving. I'm surprised that more companies have not performed it.

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Washington Ballet did it in the 1980s sometime -- I remember, at the time, wondering why this long-unperformed ballet suddenly popped up, and imagined some grand, underground fair of old ballets that only those in charge of companies knew about.

It looked very dated to me. That's really all I remember about it. Without star personalities, and dancers in minor roles who can wring every ounce of character out of them, this type of ballet often looks negligible -- but I'd love to see someone try it again. Keep 'em around long enough, and one day they'll meet the right cast.

(lots of horsey movements, bart: pawing the ground, pawing the air, pattering about in pas de cheval. I know there's much more to it than that, and I don't mean to be disrespectful to the ballet or the dancers I saw.)

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It became a signature piece for Melissa Hayden. I can't recall any recent performances, but am I totally off base in thinking that Dance Theatre of Harlem did it back in the seventies?

Melissa Hayden appeared in London in Le Combat The Duel with both the NYCB and Ballet Theatre. I have been talking this morning to a friend who saw both performances said she was extraordinary with both companies.

Sadly I only saw her in Sylvia and La Fille mal Gardee with Fleming Flindt. Ashton loved her I think because of her background in Russian training which showed.

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at a gathering to celebrate Hayden after her death in the NYSTheater, Jacques d'Amboise made specific reference to Hayden's success in LE COMBAT w/ NYCB in London.

re: SYLVIA - by this i trust Balachine's SYLVIA PAS DE DEUX? is indicated?

the F.Flindt connection is curious. did Hayden dance SYLVIA PdD w/ some co. other than NYCB? i'm unaware of Flindt's ever appearing w/ NYCB.

did both Hayden and Flindt dance w/ the Royal Ballet as guests in LA FILLE MAL GARDEE?

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at a gathering to celebrate Hayden after her death in the NYSTheater, Jacques d'Amboise made specific reference to Hayden's success in LE COMBAT w/ NYCB in London.

re: SYLVIA - by this i trust Balachine's SYLVIA PAS DE DEUX? is indicated?

the F.Flindt connection is curious. did Hayden dance SYLVIA PdD w/ some co. other than NYCB? i'm unaware of Flindt's ever appearing w/ NYCB.

did both Hayden and Flindt dance w/ the Royal Ballet as guests in LA FILLE MAL GARDEE?

Miss Hayden and Mr Flindt guested with the RB Touring Company at Covent Garden in the full length productions of "Ashton's " Sylvia" and "La Fill mal Gardee" .

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Ashton loved [Mellissa Hayden] I think because of her background in Russian training which showed.
This is wonderful to know. Thanks, leonid.

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I saw Le Combat performed by Les Ballets de Paris in 1949 in NYC with Colette Marchand and Milorad Miskovitch. Marchand was one of those long-legged beauties that are so prevalent today, but rare back then. She later appeared in Hollywood movies. Their PDD with that pulsating music was gripping, to say the least. I did see it later at NYCB but it did not have the same effect on me.

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I seem to remember seeing this with ABT ca 1970 with Lupe Serrano not long before she retired. My memories are pretty dim though .

ABT ll did it probably in the mid to late 70's and it was popular in regional companies for a while around that time.

Does anyone know WHO does the stagings of this ballet? William Dollar has long since passed away. I would assume people who have danced it in the past. Kansas City Ballet does not list who staged it. I only know Paul Sutherland staged in for NYTB but does he do them all?

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Richka-

I sent emails to a number of company's that have staged this ballet asking who staged it for them, as a friend of mine would like to acquire it for his company. I received nothing back, nothing!

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I don't believe it has been shown since the early 1950s, which is a shame, as it was a striking ballet and a coveted role for a ballerina. Roland Petit did the first version, with Colette Marchand, and later William Dollar did a new version, which ABT took on. It was shown on their first Russian tour with Lupe Serrano in the part, and the locals praised it to the skies, whereas

other western ballets were scorned or misunderstood.

NYCB took on Dollar's version, with Melissa Hayden dancing the role of Clorinda. U.S. critics were never kind to it, comparing the style to European kitsch. You can get the score on EMI cd restored with 1 other American ballets recorded in the 1950s.

Another writer on this topic suggestss that Dance Theate of Harlem had production a bit later in time. But nothng for the next 50 years. Pity. I t would be an excellent addition to current rep and requires only 5 dancers (4 M, 1 F)

LW

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Actually, New York Theatre Ballet performed Dollar's Le Combat as recently as last year (see here), and Dance Theater of Harlem, where I also saw it, is just commemorating (without a main company :( ) only the 40th anniversary of its founding.

Dennis Wayne had a small company called Dancers in the 1970s, and I saw them perform it, too.

And that's just New York City! I wonder if it's been staged elsewhere.

Welcome to BalletTalk, lwindreich! :dunno:

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