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Favorite pas de deux?


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#1 dirac

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 01:31 PM

printscess' thread on favorite variations made me want to solicit similar thoughts on pas de deux. Do you have a favorite or favorites, and why do you like them? Do you have a Most Heartily Disliked Pas de Deux (and perhaps we can have a special subcategory for Most Superfluous Pas de Deux)? Opinions, please.....

#2 ngitanjali

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 02:31 PM

Oooo, this should be fun :), but honestly, dirac, you should have started us off :)

Well, my Pdd favorites depend on the couple dancing. A Gillian Murphy/David Hallberg Manon isn't going to pack the same punch that a Ferri/Bocca or Vishneva/Malakhov one will

Well, there's one: Manon Bedroom Pas. So...sweeping, yet so intimate.

Giselle pdd, espec. when done with TASTEFUL dancers. Even though the subject at hand is quite sad, it's so...peaceful, and for that brief moment in time, we feel calm when watching the ballet, though the rest of it is frentic Act II "Save me from death!".

Bayadere Act III. Same as Giselle, just a moment of calm after the craziness of Act II.

Black Swan: Naturally! Where else does the girl put her foot down and dictate the show?? :D

Don Q Act I. This one is ignored in favor of Act III (which is just as fine!), but I love the one-upmanship and flamboyance displaced here, that is somehow missing in Act III. Act III is focused more on the two in love and being a little more restrained, but Act I is "Go flirt with them all you want, it doesn't bother me!" *stunning jump of frustration* and all that flirting and banter :D

#3 printscess

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 06:30 PM

I am sure I will log in on this question a number of times because I cannot remember all of them in one sitting.
The first that comes to mind is the pas between Jock Soto and Wendy Whelan in Chris Wheeldon's "After the Rain". It moves me to tears.

Christopher Stowell (AD of Oregon Ballet Theatre) choreographed a wonderful Midsummer Night's Dream this past fall season. The pas was beautiful and intimate. I felt as though I was seeing a private moment (but in a nice way) between 2 lovers. Did anyone else see his Midsummer?

#4 JMcN

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 05:39 AM

Some of my favourites are:

The Grand Pas from Sleeping Beauty
Oberon and Titania's duet from The Dream
Butterfly and Pinkerton from David Nixon's Madame Butterfly
Cinderella and Prince (I'm an ordinary man) from Christopher Gable's Cinderella

All the above are, to me, so beautiful that they bring tears to my eyes

And finally the greatest and happiest tear-jerker of them all - the final duet from Two Pigeons (especially as danced by Nao Sakuma and Robert Parker on a sunny afternoon in Birmingham a couple of years ago and in the same weekend to similar effect by Ambra Vallo and Chi Cao)

Does this cover just the pdd itself or particular performances that have elevated the dance to the status of unforgettable. In this case I would also add two perfornances of the final duet in Manon - one danced on a Bank Holiday afternoon by Alina Cojacaru and Johan Kobborg and the other on a cold February evening by Caroline Cavallo and Andrew Bowman.

#5 PeggyR

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 05:52 AM

I've got to go with Giselle Act II. I don't remember if I heard it or read it, but somebody, somewhere, sometime said that when Albrecht lifts Giselle, it shouldn't look as if he's lifting her, but as if he's holding her down, keeping her from floating away from him. If the performance has that quality, that's it for me: get out the Kleenex!

And I'd have to add the Les Sylphides pdd. Haven't seen that in years (come to think of it, does anybody even still perform the ballet anymore?).

Edited to add: At SFB I'm seeing the pdd from After the Rain this weekend, although not with Soto/Whelan, of course. I loved the Summer pdd from Wheeldon's Quaternary (although I think the extraordinary Muriel Maffre had a lot to do that) so I'll be curious to see how After the Rain measures up.

#6 MakarovaFan

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:18 AM

Favorites:

Diamonds
Emeralds
Tchaikovsky PDD
Spartacus Act I
White/Black Swan PDD
Robbins: Afternoon of a Faun
Robbins: Other Dances
Plisetskaya in Shuraleh

Dislikes

Grand Pas Classique: lots of razzle dazzle but emotionally dead.

#7 printscess

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:47 AM

Wendy Whelan is not one of my favorite ballerinas. I find her cold. When she is dancing in story ballets, I find them hard to watch. However, in "After the Rain", she nails it. Of course Jock makes everyone look wonderful.

#8 richard53dog

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 07:11 AM

Ok, I'll play too:

Sugar Plum Fairy (Balanchine)
Theme and Variations PDD
Tchaikovsky PDD (Balanchine)
Giselle Act 2
R&J Balcony Scene (Macmillan)
Sleeping Beauty Act 3 (the western version, with the fishdives)


There are more, but these are the first few of the top of my head.

#9 dirac

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 10:47 AM

honestly, dirac, you should have started us off


I'm sorry, I was a bit pressed for time yesterday and I wanted to get the topic started before I forgot about it -

My two favorites off the top of my head are Giselle Act II and the “Diamonds” pdd, which is like a story in itself and so gorgeous, especially in the Farrell-Martins video (although I liked Julie Diana in it when she was with San Francisco Ballet and Uliana Lopatkina, too, when she was here on a visit).

My favorite bonbon pas de deux is “Le Corsaire” in the filmed version with Fonteyn and Nureyev. The two of them are such a classic contrast in style, and nobody can perform the ending with the boffo flourish that Nureyev gives it; he makes his ballerina a goddess, and no other dancer looks so at home in harem pants.

Well, my Pdd favorites depend on the couple dancing. A Gillian Murphy/David Hallberg Manon isn't going to pack the same punch that a Ferri/Bocca or Vishneva/Malakhov one will


Interesting point, ngitanjali. How do others feel? Are there pdd you think are dependent on who's dancing them, or are some dancer-proof?

Thanks, everyone. Keep talking!

#10 bart

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:37 AM

I have to go with dirac --the pinnacle for me are ...

-- Giselle Act II (which fuses the story element so beatifully and subtly) and
-- Diamonds (which exists in a lofty realm in which stories seem irrelevant). My most recent Diamonds, with Catoya and Sarabia, is still running visually in my head.

Some pdds stand out for one or two reasons, if not for the entire package. If we're allowed to included pdds that don't fit the classic format, I'd go with Balanchine's
-- Agon (for the inventiveness and brilliancy of movement),
-- Firebird (for the music),
-- Sonnambula (for eeriness),
-- the "Who Cares?" pdd from Who Cares? (for attitude),
-- the second pdd in Stravinsky Violin Concerto (see Agon above),
-- the second pdd from Baiser de la Fee (for unpredictability) ....

:smilie_mondieu: it's hard to stop.

For the inexpressible joy of excess: Spartacus and Phrygia from Spartacus. I love the video which cross cuts the original cast (Vasiliev and Maximova, 1968) with Makhamedov and Semenyaka from 1989. It's included in thhis clip:


#11 ngitanjali

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 02:53 PM

honestly, dirac, you should have started us off


I'm sorry, I was a bit pressed for time yesterday and I wanted to get the topic started before I forgot about it -



No worries dirac :smilie_mondieu: I was just teasing!

#12 aurora

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:03 PM

someone asked earlier whether any are dancerproof. I don't think they are--my enjoyment is always dependent on who dances.

So...a few from me:
Balcony pdd from Macmillan's R&J--especially with ferri and bocca
white swan pdd when danced by Part and Gomes--I like this one normally, but I've never been brought to tears except by them
Corsaire--it is trite perhaps, but it really is a fabulous one--any bravura dancers will do. I don't have specific dancers for this one.
black swan pdd--because how can I not include it. It is a show stopper and rightly so.

#13 popularlibrary

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:53 PM

No one has mentioned what I've always thought one of Balanchine's most sublime duets - from the Act 2 divertisement in Midsummer Night's Dream. The epitome of perfectly balanced, perfectly shared love and deeply felt passion, it presents the ideal of love to set against all the hopelessly imperfect loves of the other characters. He sets the primal, selfish world of the forest against the achievement of a civilized ideal, and (when well danced, which it isn't always!) one of the most powerful and moving moments in ballet.

#14 carbro

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:19 PM

Several members cited it on a similar thread, pop. It's one of mine, and maybe I'm underestimating it, but I wonder if it would affect us as much without context of the full ballet as, for example the Don Q does.

#15 popularlibrary

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:41 PM

Several members cited it on a similar thread, pop. It's one of mine, and maybe I'm underestimating it, but I wonder if it would affect us as much without context of the full ballet as, for example the Don Q does.


I think it would be a gorgeous pas de deux anywhere, but you're right - it is intensified greatly by the context. Unlike Don Q or similar great duets, it's not a display piece in spite of the divertissement label; it's a carefully placed piece of drama, the climax of this portrait of the aspects of love, and I think its moving splendor of male-female union would be lessened without not only all that's gone before, but the quiet irony of the ballet's anticlimactic return to the primal woods and its male-female elements dispersing into separation.


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