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Toumanova, Youskevitch, Krassovskatrio rehearsing


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#16 Amy Reusch

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 07:43 PM

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?

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 08:33 PM

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

#18 carbro

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 09:45 PM

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!

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 10:44 PM

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 !

#20 rg

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 03:49 AM

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.

Attached Files



#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 04:05 AM

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."

#22 bart

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 07:04 AM

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?

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:03 AM

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.

#24 Paul Parish

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:46 AM

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.


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.

#25 bart

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 10:33 AM

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.

#26 Amy Reusch

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 10:34 AM

Interesting lighting experiment in that Youskevitch Alonso Black Swan pas de deux! Not sure it worked... I imagine they were trying to make up for TV's flatness... Youskevitch make those supported cabriole's look like so much fun! :)

#27 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 10:37 AM

They do look lovely, indeed...both great technicians, jet black hair and the perfect all femenine/ all masculine yuxtaposition...PERFECTION. :)

#28 Mel Johnson

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

Interesting lighting experiment in that Youskevitch Alonso Black Swan pas de deux! Not sure it worked... I imagine they were trying to make up for TV's flatness... Youskevitch make those supported cabriole's look like so much fun! :)


Well, they are! Once you learn how to do them, they can be surprisingly easy, and look like a million bucks in the bargain!


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