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Moustaches in Mazurkas


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#1 whetherwax

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:05 PM

I guess this is an aesthetic question. I was recently watching my Australian Ballet Sleeping Beauty with the sweetly delicate Christine Walsh and I noticed that in the last act all the males dancing in the Mazurka had moustaches. I remembered noticing the same thing - I think - in the ABT Swan Lake saw on the tv recently in the dances of the the princesses' entourages. The Hungarians (?) had moustaches too. Is it de riguer to apply a moustache to all male corps dancers when doing such national stomps?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:15 AM

It largely has to do with the designer's approach to the costumes in regard to time/place. If they're of the horsy set, cavalry uniforms, including the dolman and shell jacket, then the mustaches would be appropriate. I certainly hope that no designer goes so far as to incorporate the most famous of the Polish cavalry features, the winged lancer. Ten-foot frame wings on the back of a five-foot-tall man. That way, facial hair would hardly be noticed!

#3 rg

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 06:08 AM

the attached scan of an undated, imperial ballet photocard shows Marie Petipa and Sergei Legat in a SWAN LAKE divertissement.
i am hopeful Mel will be able to confirm that it's the (Polish) mazurka from the ballroom scene. [i suppose it could also be the (Hungarian) czardas?]
in any case S.L. sports a 'decorative' moustache.

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#4 Farrell Fan

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:34 AM

The men in the Tales from the Vienna Woods section of "Vienna Waltzes" click their heels and occasionally finger their false moustaches, but nothing comparable to what is seen above.

#5 Andrei

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:25 PM

It looks like Hungarian dance to me. :)

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:43 PM

I'm with Andrei.

Since this has to be ca. 1900, I'd say that there's a good chance that they were working with the original or near the original costume designs. If I recall correctly, there's a nice photo of Felix and Mathilde Kschessinsky/a in the 1895 costumes, which were rather dark. They were the first couple (down right corner) in the Mazurka. In fact, Kschessinska started popping off the bijoux on the costumes, and went for the real thing! Marussia followed suit, and pretty soon the women were in a geology war to see who could get more rocks onto her costume. I've seen and heard estimates of everything from 100,000 to 1,000,000 Rubles being onstage while this was going on!

#7 rg

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:06 PM

thanks to all, i'll try to rem. that this shows a version of the 1895 czardas.

#8 rg

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 06:13 AM

indeed wiley confirms - i should have looked in the beginning here - that MMP danced the '95 czardas (w/ A.Bekefi), and, as noted above, Felix Kshessinsky, the mazurka.

#9 whetherwax

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:29 PM

I think that ballet moustaches are an intelligent life form. They follow Mazurkas and Czardas around and adapt to the culture that they find their hosts in.I have just purchased the Merry Widow of the Australaian Ballet and I see that the flight of moustaches has settled on the cast. Stephan Heathcote's moustache, and those of the (male) corps are definitely Pontrevedrian, however David Mcallister's moustache is definitely French.

#10 carbro

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 02:48 PM

Stephan Heathcote's moustache, and those of the (male) corps . . .

Thanks for specifying.

#11 whetherwax

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:07 PM

Well , it could have been a disaster! Shows how intelligent they are.


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