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Rose Adagio balances

The Rose Adagio balances   84 members have voted

  1. 1. Is it necessary for Auroras to make the "crown" 5th position over their heads?

    • Yes - an Aurora who can't hold the balances shouldn't dance Aurora
      54
    • No - it's only 5 minutes out of a 2 hour ballet
      15
    • I don't care either way
      15

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131 posts in this topic

Another thing I've noticed in the color video is how Margot Fonteyn allows her cavaliers to stay 2 steps away from her when she does the "crown" pose. All the other ballerinas I've seen in the videos have the cavaliers stand in such a way that the hand of the previous cavalier and of the next cavelier are immediately next to each other (within inches), so that when Aurora needs to switch hands, she can do so almost instantly. Fonteyn, OTOH, allows her next cavalier to be but a short distance away so that she must hold the balance without the parachute of the next cavalier's hand in close proximity. I'm impressed.

P.S.. Thank you for the reference to Sizova......I didn't know.....what a gift.

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Sandy, check out "sizova" on the Ballet Talk search engine. You'll find entriy points leading you to a number of very illuminating discussions. She's also mentioned several times on the "most beautiful ballerina" thread. :yahoo:

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Hans, do you know anything about that great clip?

I understand it was filmed by Keith Money. Wonder what the date would be.

And
is the rest of Fonteyn's Rose Adagio (apparently later in her career than the video Bart posted), including the balances at the end, which I think she does perfectly. The arm stays in 3rd long enough to tell us that she is perfectly on balance, it moves up and down calmly, without any desperate grasping, and she appears to always be looking at her partners' eyes, although it is a little bit difficult to tell given the film quality.

Edit: Ok, I just watched two of my favorite ballerinas (Zhanna Ayupova and a very young Larissa Lezhnina) dance the Rose Adagio, and I would really like to hear from someone who knows more about how this role is generally danced at the Mariinsky because while both ballerinas were extremely courteous with their partners throughout, they both distinctly looked away from them during the balances. Is it just a matter of different characterization?

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the following credits likely come for the film in question here:

Margot Fonteyn / a Degamo production ; directed and written by Keith Money ; produced by Adrian Gaye and Keith Money. [1970]

i was taken to a small-scale screening of this film, as a film, on my first ever trip to London, to see the Kirov Ballet, by a member of London Ballet Circle in July of '70.

british television (BBC?) restored the film not that long ago for a program called THE SLEEPING BEAUTY REDISCOVERED (if i've got the program's title correctly), and framed it with commentary by the such british writers as Judith Macrell and other black-and-white footage the Messel production when it re-opened the Royal Opera House after the war.

very likely british BT members can expand on or correct what i'm posting here.

if mem. serves Money hoped to film the complete ballet but his act was all he got to do.

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I don't have anything to add regarding the clip, unfortunately--I just wanted to see the rest of Fonteyn's Rose Adagio, and it came up in the search results. The youtube member who posted it might have some information.

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I did find this posting from Jane Simpson in February 2003, when this subject had come up in a previous posting. I didn't know how to "quote" it here, so I just cut and pasted it if that is all right:

rg, the programme was made in 1990 and was called Sleeping Beauty Rediscovered. The voiceover says the SB film was made '22 years ago, when Fonteyn was 50' - I'd guess 1968. It was to be part of a complete Beauty directed by Keith Money, but they ran out of cash and this is all that survives. It's filmed on a rather small stage, and I think it's the RB's touring company. There is no casting given apart from Fonteyn, but David Wall is the first prince.

It's more or less the complete Act 1 except that it starts straight into the Garland dance (Ashton's) so there are no 'knitting ladies'; and it doesn't include Aurora's solo. The intro includes shots of Fonteyn rehearsing, and some comments from Fiona Chadwick, who was coached by Fonteyn at one time.

I think it's a better performance than the b&w one referred to above, which is hampered by a truly awful costume.

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rg is right about it being Keith Money's film; it was made when Fonteyn was 50, and she's dancing with the touring section of the RB (the first Prince is David Wall) - on a Sunday in Bournemouth, if I remember rightly - and Money never found the cash to film the rest of the production. The film was forgotten about and he found it in his barn, years later.

(Posting at the same time as Mme. Hermine - slightly different from what I said before so I'll leave it here!)

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I voted "no" for two reasons: 1) I gather I am the only person on the planet who feels this way, but I just don't care much for those balances as choreography and 2) I'd much rather see a ballerina who flubs the balances but can do full justice to the Vision Scene than the other way around. Like Odile's fouettés, Aurora's balances seem to me prone to devolve into a sort of graded exercise -- or worse, a circus trick -- where execution is more important than expressiveness and whole performances are reduced to whether or not they were held for the required number of seconds. (Let me hasten to add that none of the contributors to this thread are at all guilty of that -- the comments thus far have been uniformly thoughtful and enlightening.)

I've only seen one performance in which the Aurora looked genuinely radiant executing her balances; since I find the radiance more important than the balances, I'd be perfectly happy to see them replaced with something more-or-less equivalent that the ballerina and her Cavaliers could execute radiantly. (By "more-or-less equivalent" I mean something that would have the same narrative and expressive effect, but that sn't a walk in the park either, of course.) Ditto for Odile's fouettés: Odile is all about seductive glitter and there are surely other ways to convey that than 32 fouettés.

I am a total hypocrite when it comes to the fish dives in the wedding pas de deux, however -- leave those out, and I'm going to march right down to the box office and demand my money back! :clapping:

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Ditto for Odile's fouettés: Odile is all about seductive glitter and there are surely other ways to convey that than 32 fouettés.

No! There are NO other ways. The 32 fouettes are lodged in my brain and I'm going to leave them there. :P Basically, I also feel that way about the balances, and want them

:innocent::wub: . With all this new technique from gymnastic types 'ruining ballet', the least we can expect is new specimens who are 'good at the balances and radiance' in brand new brave-new-world wonderful ways! Maybe the problem is ballerinas not knowing how to do the 'seductive glitter PLUS the 32' and the 'radiance PLUS balances', because there is no dearth of athletic ballerinas able to execute the difficult technical feats. It's like in opera, Kathleen--there are NOT any Maria Callases anymore, and we ought to figure out why this is, not, say, why bel canto florid writing ought to be simplified. In other words, the problem is not a scarcity of fouette- and balance-doers, it is a scarcity of radiance- and seductive-glitter doers. More FIRE and passion, not less ridiculous technical demands! :clapping:

Now, I originally voted that I didn't care either way, but I have changed my mind, and think all Auroras must strive to do radiance PLUS all the balances. I realize this vote change causes a difficulty for Diebold Voting Machine vote-fixing and hanging chads, but there it is...

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I realize this vote change causes a difficulty for Diebold Voting Machine vote-fixing and hanging chads, but there it is...

:clapping:

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I think it's important to keep in mind that even if the ballerina simply transfers her hand from one partner to the other (which, if I have this right, is how Brianza did it originally--can anyone confirm whether that's correct?) she still has to balance, so the balancing is not going anywhere no matter what.

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And why is that not all the Auroras turn around in Promenades by the Suitors, but rather stand still during the balances...? (Fonteyn does it in the color clip, as well as Sizova, but not the totality of ballerinas I've seen)

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I'd much rather see a ballerina who flubs the balances but can do full justice to the Vision Scene than the other way around.
This thread, and especially Kathleen's comment, reminds me of Darci Kistler. She gave an unsteady Rose Adagio, but oh! What a Vision! Fresh, absolutely transcendent and very much her own.
I think it's important to keep in mind that even if the ballerina simply transfers her hand from one partner to the other (which, if I have this right, is how Brianza did it originally--can anyone confirm whether that's correct?) . . .
Mel? Were you there? :clapping:
By the way, there are two sets of balances in the Rose Adagio. One in the beginning, without promenades, and another toward the end with a promenade (a.k.a. 'tour lent') in between each balance.
That's part of the building to a climax, much as in the adage of the Don Q Act III pas.

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And why is that not all the Auroras turn around in Promenades by the Suitors, but rather stand still during the balances...? (Fonteyn does it in the color clip, as well as Sizova, but not the totality of ballerinas I've seen)

Cristian, there are two sets of balances in the Rose Adagio. One in the beginning, without promenades, and another toward the end with a promenade (a.k.a. 'tour lent') in between each balance.

I think it's important to keep in mind that even if the ballerina simply transfers her hand from one partner to the other (which, if I have this right, is how Brianza did it originally--can anyone confirm whether that's correct?) . . .

Mel? Were you there? :clapping:

Haha, I ought to have phrased that better. :wub: I meant to ask whether it's documented.

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Ditto for Odile's fouettés: Odile is all about seductive glitter and there are surely other ways to convey that than 32 fouettés.

No! There are NO other ways. The 32 fouettes are lodged in my brain and I'm going to leave them there. :P Basically, I also feel that way about the balances, and want them

:innocent::FIREdevil: . With all this new technique from gymnastic types 'ruining ballet', the least we can expect is new specimens who are 'good at the balances and radiance' in brand new brave-new-world wonderful ways! Maybe the problem is ballerinas not knowing how to do the 'seductive glitter PLUS the 32' and the 'radiance PLUS balances', because there is no dearth of athletic ballerinas able to execute the difficult technical feats. It's like in opera, Kathleen--there are NOT any Maria Callases anymore, and we ought to figure out why this is, not, say, why bel canto florid writing ought to be simplified. In other words, the problem is not a scarcity of fouette- and balance-doers, it is a scarcity of radiance- and seductive-glitter doers. More FIRE and passion, not less ridiculous technical demands! :angel_not:

Now, I originally voted that I didn't care either way, but I have changed my mind, and think all Auroras must strive to do radiance PLUS all the balances. I realize this vote change causes a difficulty for Diebold Voting Machine vote-fixing and hanging chads, but there it is...

Of course in the best of all possible worlds every ballerina who danced Aurora could execute perfect radiant balances with both arms above her head every time and dance a rapturous vision scene to boot! (And they should strive for that -- life is short and I for one get cranky when I have to squander time and money on slackers.) But we don't live in that world, and so I am happy to accept honest alternatives; the whole ballet doesn't (and shouldn't) ride on 60 seconds of choreography -- but sometimes it seems that that's what ends up happening with these iconic passages. In any event, I'm certainly not suggesting that the choreography be dumbed-down to accommodate declining technical standards.

And yes, Maria Callas is indeed dead. Fortunately there are many excellent singers on our stages today who can do full justice to the bel canto rep, both in terms of technique and expressiveness -- more than there were when Callas was singing, I think -- so there's no need replace all the gruppetti with half notes just yet. :wink: Now if only we could unearth a few good Verdi baritones ...

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I'm certainly not suggesting that the choreography be dumbed-down to accommodate declining technical standards.

You just have resumed the whole point. Good.

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And why is that not all the Auroras turn around in Promenades by the Suitors, but rather stand still during the balances...? (Fonteyn does it in the color clip, as well as Sizova, but not the totality of ballerinas I've seen)

Cristian, there are two sets of balances in the Rose Adagio. One in the beginning, without promenades, and another toward the end with a promenade (a.k.a. 'tour lent') in between each balance.

I think it's important to keep in mind that even if the ballerina simply transfers her hand from one partner to the other (which, if I have this right, is how Brianza did it originally--can anyone confirm whether that's correct?) . . .

Mel? Were you there? :angel_not:

Haha, I ought to have phrased that better. :FIREdevil: I meant to ask whether it's documented.

Actually, I could comment, if I'd been reviewing that part in the Sergeyev notations at Harvard, but my time was limited, so I stuck to the parts I knew best, the fairy variations and the various Act III pas de deux. Odds are, those notations would have instructions, in longhand, if not in the symbology.

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Cristian, there are two sets of balances in the Rose Adagio. One in the beginning, without promenades, and another toward the end with a promenade (a.k.a. 'tour lent') in between each balance.

No, I know about the two sets of balances-(as standard as they can be). My question was why is it that I've seen sometimes BOTH sets WITHOUT promenades...(or actually why is that they allow anyone to do so... :angel_not: )

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I can't explain that--I've never seen the second set done without a promenade, and I've watched a lot of performances of SB.

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I guess there's no explanation...just plain choreographic killing. (Actually I saw this happened in Festival, and it was strange to watch)

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Papeetepatrick, in my opinion, the ballerina doesn't actually have to lower her arm slowly so much as calmly. One can be both calm and swift, and in addition to the practical concern of staying on pointe, there is also that of the music, which has to be slowed down if she is going to raise her arm to 3rd because it takes more time to get to that position, and also she will need more time to prepare for each balance. If we add to that the prescription that the arm must move slowly up and down, the music would be a dirge! :dunno: I do think that the ballerina with the calmest, most regal movement in this section is Sizova. Her movements are not really slow, but there is a secure regularity to them. The arm goes up, the arm goes down, without any hint of either insecurity or showing off.

Hans! I got around to the pleasure of watching this again, and all three times are different. And it's as much the movement away from the suitor's hand as it is the often too anxious movement back. With Sizova, there is never the anxious movement back to the next hand, but on the first one, I thought that even she began with slightest nervousness as her hand left the first man (but it works when this only happens once!). Then with the second, she becomes more confident in both moving up and back, but it's the third which is so impeccably self-assured and at totally commanding ease that just knocks you out. And, although the Fonteyn you linked to a few weeks ago is no longer available, I didn't think she came even near what Sizova achieves here: The movement in a few seconds (perhaps twenty?) from slightly nervous to serenely confident is one of the most incredible achievements I've ever seen, because it works physically in such a way that there is no separation from the physical, the musical, and the dramatic. Paul had mentioned the 'she has to become the queen', and here you see her make the transformation in these three movements of the arm, which may themselves make the balance have three different and progressively stronger 'personalities', even though it is itself almost stationary (correct me on this, I imagine, there may be slight movement with each hand change, but it's hard to see on film), but it surely has had to grow in strength and confidence, and the arms may both lend strength to them and their growing strength also allows the arms to really flow. In fact, by the 3rd one, there is not even the slightest speeding of the 'dancer-music', because there doesn't need to be any further consideration given to security. So I agree Sizova's is by far the most regal, but I also think she really does not do them so much 'slowly', but does not speed against the music, and progressively becomes exactly bonded with it. It's really been worth it to concentrate on this single moment, because it's very brief the transformation Aurora makes, and the initial first slightly nervous move away makes the 3rd movement up and back this kind of miracle.

Edited to add: I just watched it yet again, and the 3rd time the hand comes back down, Sizova really does take a little extra time, a kind of leisure--and that has the effect of making you even forget that it's a balance going on. Oh, MAN!!! she had what it takes.

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I just watched Sizova again, and you are right about the progression--and what's more, she does it during both sets of balances. Now that is technical security! And of course her entrance is unparalleled.

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Well-done, Papeetepatrick! Bravo.

It's great to have film to confirm that instantaneous impression.

Once you've seen sovereignty in a gesture like this, you never forget it. The effect is as you say not just a technical achievement but a dramatically appropriate one -- and the communications made non-verbally like htis affect everyone. A cat would understand this and acknowledge her authority.

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For some reason, this old thread keeps popping up in my "View New Content" list. :unsure: It's an excellent thread. So, for those who haven't voted in the poll or weighed in with their thoughts .... here's a second chance to do so.

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For some reason, this old thread keeps popping up in my "View New Content" list. :unsure: It's an excellent thread. So, for those who haven't voted in the poll or weighed in with their thoughts .... here's a second chance to do so.

I noticed the same thing. It's been popping up a lot in the last few days. Maybe someone is bumping it up for some reason???

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