rg

Toumanova, Youskevitch, Krassovska

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besides the dancers names, this undated Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo publicity photo has the following handwritten on the back:

<<"Grand Jete"

from

"Magic Swan">>

if the Magic Swan ident. is correct, i suppose the date would be 1940.

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The dancer in the awkward position on the left doesn't look much like Krassovska.

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undoubtedly these handwritten captions can be wrong. and many have been.

i don't know krassovska well enough to say one way or the other.

as toumanova and youskevitch were the first couple to dance THE MAGIC SWAN and if this IS "The Magic Swan" it would make sense, perhaps that a 'second cast'/understudy might be depicted secondarily.

but i have no idea what the point of the publicity shot was meant to be. sometimes these old photos have the captioned version of the way the pic ran in the paper pasted onto the back, but such is not the case in this instance.

hrmmmmmm.

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Youskevitch looks good, doesn't he? We don't hear him discussed as much as his partners, Alonso, et al..

My only experience of seeing Youskevitch was from a distant seat in what I seem to remember was Central Park. It was probably in the late 40s. Enduring a humid Manhattan summer, being up past your bedtime, and no doubt whining about it all to your mother: none of these are ideal conditions for appreciating Swan Lake. :thumbsup:

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One of my most deeply etched ballet memories is the Giselle pdd by Alonso & Youskevitch at the ABT Umptieth Anniversary Gala. To call what they had chemistry is to trivialize it. They were two persons as one spirit. Nothing since, even the Carreno-Jaffe pairing, has created magic like that. I am very lucky to have seen it.

And he looked darned good there, too! Even past 60, with his silvery hair, and in tights!

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...and a true Danseur Noble is there ever was one. He had a wonderful little habit (or maybe it was a tic) during his variations...as he came downstage in preparation for his entrechats and Tours he would tilt his head to one side (as though he was listening to a far off voice). It was a charming touch especially in his Siegfried variation and in Theme & Variations. I was delighted to see this same movement recently during Hallberg's recent performance with Part in Swan Lake; again during Siegfried's variation. History repeats itself in a most delightful way.

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ATM711 or Bart or...

Did anyone see Yousekevitch's Apollo--and how was it different than Eglevsky's or Jacques D'Amboise's later on? I'm sort of interested in how the four parts were transmitted and modified over the years. Christensen's (a tiny bit) and that of D'Amboise are on film but I think the other's exist only in the memories of the audiences.

I like the description "as if listening to a far off voice." That listening is what pulls great performances out of dancers.

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a scan of Youskevitch and Alonso as Giselle and Albrecht in the marguerite moment from GISELLE (the Dolin, etc. prod. revised by Ballet Theatre in '46 with designs by Eugene Berman) .

ususally for the few photos i have of this production, this one shows the setting, on stage, framing the costumed dancers. the other pictures i have show the dancers in costume and posed in the photographer's studio.

perhaps the tilt of IY's head is reminiscent of the moment mentioned in this thread.

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another scan of Youskevitch (as Paris), this time with Diana Adams (as Helen) in a portrait/publicity shot from HELEN OF TROY - the ident. on the back of the print simply says the dancers' names, BALLET THEATRE and "8th Season"

the ballet dates from '43 as follows:

Helen of Troy : Chor: David Lichine; mus: Jacques Offenbach (La belle Hélène) arr. by Antal Dorati; lib: David Lichine and Antal Dorati; scen & cos: Marcel Vertès. First perf: Mexico City, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Sept 10, 1942, Ballet Theatre.//First U.S. perf: Detroit, Nov 29, 1942, Ballet Theatre.//First NY perf: Metropolitan Opera House, Apr 3, 1943, Ballet Theatre.//Revived: New York, City Center, Dec 3, 1967, American Ballet Theatre.

i'm unsure of the frequency of Ballet Theatre's seasons beyond its 1940 launch. if they were annual then this might be from '48, if they were more frequent, the photo would be from an earlier date, tho' not likely the premiere. it's also possible that the print was made for a later season after being taken on the occasion of the premiere.

post-848-1214146349_thumb.jpg

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ATM711 or Bart or...

Did anyone see Yousekevitch's Apollo--and how was it different than Eglevsky's or Jacques D'Amboise's later on? I'm sort of interested in how the four parts were transmitted and modified over the years. Christensen's (a tiny bit) and that of D'Amboise are on film but I think the other's exist only in the memories of the audiences.

beautiful photos rg! actually i think the first one does look as though that were krassovska, just with little or no makeup!

the NYPL has this little fragment in an entry for a film of short fragments:

André Eglevsky (Apollo ; repetition of pas d'action and remainder of ballet), Alicia Alonso (Terpsichore), Nora Kaye (Polyhymnia), and Barbara Fallis (Calliope).

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The Youskevitch/Adams photo is a stunner. It as an element of spontaneity, especially in IY's expression, that is often missing from staged ballet photos of this period.

I'm always amazed about how different Adams looks from one photo to the next. She's recognizably the same person, but the look -- whether vulnerable or tough, beautiful or plain -- can vary so much. I wish I could remember her on stage. Unfortunately -- or fortunately, as the case may be -- I only have a strong visual memory of Agon with Mitchell.

I know this is :dry: more or less, but did anyone see her on stage in the Ballet Theater days? She seems so different from Alonso and Kaye. How did Youskevitch fit with each of them? Was he one of those natural partners who can connect with almost any good female dancer?

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I took pas de deux classes from Youskevitch in NY in the 70's. He gave lovely combinations and I was often used to demonstrate with him- nice person also!

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THe puzzling figure in the first photo (the woman on hte left, who looks rather like Toumanova in the face but not in the body) makes me think (since both legs are turned-in and she's in second position, not fourth) that they are not doing grand jete at all but a sissonne (perhaps sissonne failli) or grand ecarte, since her position is just not plausible as any stage in a grand jete.

Photos of Nureyev in grand-jete moments that look peculiar turn out to be of him in a grand failli, which is usually more a preparatory spring leading to a big-deal step than the big deal itself -- grand jetes are almost always the big deal in the phrase, and are (usually -- sorry, this is a kinda-big generalization) given more care to mold their form.

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You could be onto something there, Paul.

The shot looks as though it was carefully set up to be in front of that hanging bit of drop, and spacing of the figures would have been critical. There's not a lot of room to play with, and a grand jeté would eat up space something awful, and be hard to catch in the right place and time.

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re: which sort of temps d'elevation is being executed here, i think it's a toss-up - no pun intended.

the dancers could have been asked to get a flying start and cap their jumps in front of the black curtain, and maybe the krassovska(?) dancer stayed in place and flew up from sissone?

meanwhile what moment in THE MAGIC SWAN do we suppose is being recalled here w/ regard to either of these jumps?

hrmmmmm.

and was krassovska really a second cast to the 'black swan' in this suite? or did she have some other role in the staging?

so many questions....

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The Magic Swan? ... okay, this time I did scan the net before asking... Curiosity strikes: Who choreographed this ballet? And did the story line involve making a princess laugh?

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Actually, it was only Act III of a regulation Swan Lake as set by Alexandra Fedorova.

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Skipping back to the photo atop this thread, was any choreography from Act I interpolated into The Magic Swan? Because at the end of the Act I pd3 coda, the trio repeats a step-step-grand jete sequence on a short diagonal, alternating directions. The change of epaulement is supposed to happen a terre, but here it looks like the dancer identified as Krassovska may be adjusting en l'air, esp if she had marked the transitional steps. This was, after all, a rehearsal. Otherwise, it almost looks like she should be headed in the opposite direction to TT & IY.

I agree with bart that the Youskevitch-Adams photo captures a spark -- unusual in still photos. Stunning!

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Was he one of those natural partners who can connect with almost any good female dancer?

Every time Mme. Alonso talks about Y., she does it with an almost mystical veneration . She always said that the feeling of security transmitted by his hands while partnering her had no rival altogether...

Thanks rg for that wonderful pic !

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if memory serves there have been a number of exchanges about this SWAN LAKE excerpt on ballettalk.

Fedorova-Fokine's work came on the heels of a good number of years when "Swan Lake, Act 2" was a well-known repertory item.

i don't know how long THE MAGIC SWAN lasted on the boards.

as noted here, THE MAGIC SWAN is likely the main reason nowadays Odile is known as the Black Swan - this at the time to distinguish Fedorova-Fokine's ballet from the already familiar one with Odette as the White Swan.

here is the cat. entry from the NYPL:

Swan lake (Choreographic work : Fedorova-Fokine after Petipa, M). Act III.

Chor: Alexandra Fedorova-Fokine after Marius Petipa; mus: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky; scen & cos: Eugene Dunkel; under title The magic swan. First U.S. perf: New York, Metropolitan Opera House, Oct 13, 1941, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

the attached scan would appear to be a subsequent reduction of THE MAGIC SWAN (known as "The Black Swan Pas de Deux"?). all the undated, uncredited photo gives by way of indentification is the handwritten names of both Youskevitch and Nora Kaye.

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It was a practice in BR sometimes to interpolate the pas de trois from Act I into the freestanding Act II, but I don't know about into Act III. Anyway, if they're doing that, then somebody's a good two beats ahead in the jeté diagonals, an eternity when the music's vivo.

Youskevitch was funny. He was charming, and he knew what HE had done in a given ballet, or what his partner had done. Soloists? Corps? "I dunno - I wasn't watching."

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Youskevitch was funny. He was charming, and he knew what HE had done in a given ballet, or what his partner had done. Soloists? Corps? "I dunno - I wasn't watching."
I love this! :):)

It reminds me of the big opera stars of that day, travelling around and giving their own personal Tosca or Siegfried regardless of the production.

How common, I wonder, was this among the ballet greats of Youskevitch's time? And ... is it true today as well, with all the international guesting that goes on?

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I think that you see all sorts in any genre of theater. Some just know their own material, others, like Anton Dolin, had seen so many productions of so many ballets that he'd just have to dip into his memory to find the appropriate match for whatever you wanted to do. Of course, he was a quick study, like most old showmen, and could accurately pick up and reproduce original material immediately. Helpmann was like that, too.

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To see how EXTREMELY attractive Youskevitch was as a man, an actor, and as a dancer, check out Gene Kelly's movie "Invitation to the Dance," which is kinda dated of course but was a noble, brave attempt to make a whole movie that was 3 one-act ballets. Youskvitch has a big role in the first one. It's kinda backstage, and his style is too big for the movies -- BUT you get a great idea of what a stage animal he was.

And to see him in a version of the Black Swan pas de deux -- which looks to me like it might have some touches of Fokine in it -- check out this clip from 1958 with Alicia Alonzo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAPuE3VNso

They're both wonderful, and he's so much her cavalier you might have to watch it again to see how high he lifts her in those cabrioles without giving any evidence that he did anything at all to help. It's a really beautiful, poetic performance; I'd never seen it before just 5 minutes ago, and I am quite under its spell. It's actually very tender.

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They're both wonderful, and he's so much her cavalier you might have to watch it again to see how high he lifts her in those cabrioles without giving any evidence that he did anything at all to help. It's a really beautiful, poetic performance.
I'm 100% with you, Paul.

I have seen this video before, but concentrated on Alonso rather than Youskevitch. Watching him in silhouette at the beginning, you notice so much about the way he uses his head and arms to project both courtliness and growing passion. There's a subtle but strong erotic element, as when he kisses her shoulder at the neck as she leans back against his chest. It's the whole package.

Somethow, it's great to know how wonderfully classical ballet in America could be performed -- even before the arrival of Bruhn, Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and the many, many ABT starts who followed them.

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