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Is Raymonda the most exhausting ballet for the principal


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#1 whetherwax

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:46 PM

I've been enjoying my new DVD of Bessmertnova and Taranda ( and marvelling at the size of the Bolshoi stage - my first Bolshoi DVD) and I thought that it looked to be THE most physically demanding ballet. Bessmertnova is hardly ever off stage. Previously Kitri would have got the guernsey for the most demanding from me, or perhaps Sleeping Beauty. I imagine that Giselle would be the most emtionally demanding but what do dancers think? Is Raymonda exceptionally demanding? What is the most demanding role?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:38 PM

Raymonda is a very taxing role, at least in part because of her omnipresence. But there are some ballerinas who absolutely thrive on that kind of variation-every-time-you-turn-around evening of ballet!

#3 Hans

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 04:13 PM

My ballet teacher told me that in Russia, dancers always have the day off after performing "Giselle," and one famous ballerina (Fonteyn?) mentioned that "Swan Lake" was the only ballet she never felt strong enough to perform twice in one day, but I haven't heard anything similar about "Raymonda," although it does look quite taxing.

#4 carbro

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 05:07 PM

I recently heard Kolpakova (Works & Process?) noting that although Raymonda had five variations, it did not test the limits of her stamina. She failed to say what roles, if any, did, though. :o

#5 Helene

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 05:08 PM

The Bolshoi version has extra pieces that the Mariinsky version doesn't, but I am always :o realizing that Bessmertnova was in her late 40's when that performance was taped.

#6 bart

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 06:15 PM

whetherwax asked another question: if not Raymonda, what is the "most demanding role"?

I'd love to hear what people think about this. Maybe, however, we need to resolve a prior question: What does "demanding" or even "exhausting" mean in this context?

Technically difficult bravura dancing, broken up by periods of rest on- or off-stage, might be less exhausting for the dancer in good condition than sustaining a character like Giselle, with all the nuances and subtleties which that role demands.

#7 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 10:25 PM

whetherwax asked another question: if not Raymonda, what is the "most demanding role"?

I'd love to hear what people think about this. Maybe, however, we need to resolve a prior question: What does "demanding" or even "exhausting" mean in this context?

Technically difficult bravura dancing, broken up by periods of rest on- or off-stage, might be less exhausting for the dancer in good condition than sustaining a character like Giselle, with all the nuances and subtleties which that role demands.


Olga Chenchikova of the Kirov once mentioned Raymonda as the role demanding most stamina, not only because of the endless variations and dancing, but also because when she is not dancing the positions and the way she stands need to be correct. In other words there are no real periods of rest. By contrast, Kitri leaves a lot more freedom in this respect.

#8 Sacto1654

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:46 AM

Olga Chenchikova of the Kirov once mentioned Raymonda as the role demanding most stamina, not only because of the endless variations and dancing, but also because when she is not dancing the positions and the way she stands need to be correct. In other words there are no real periods of rest. By contrast, Kitri leaves a lot more freedom in this respect.


I have the DVD with Ludmila Semenyaka and Irek Moukhamedov in the lead roles and I have to agree with that--once the character of Raymonda comes on-stage she rarely goes "off stage" right through three Acts! I wonder what active ballerina right now could dance the role well (I would arguably include Ulyana Lopatkina, because she's talked about dancing this role several times in the past).

#9 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:13 PM

Sacto -- I REALLY liked Maria Allash (I think it was Allash, I can't find the program, but it was a first soloist, not a ballerina) when the Bolshoi came through here a few years ago with it -- I saw two performances and preferred hers to that of a dancer of higher rank....

She was not the most diamantine technician, but she was the most alive -- a warm and lovely heroine she inflected everything -- and there's a lot of variety in her variations and pdd -- with a cantilena, a singing expressiveness that made the whole house fall in love with her.


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