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A modern "reference" version of Swan Lake?


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#61 Hans

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 08:51 AM

Wasn't partnering mostly what Gerdt did toward the end of his career?

I hadn't realised that the Act II pas d'action didn't always end with a penchée. I think it might work better finishing with the lunge, as the dancers usually seem rushed trying to fit the écarté devant, lunge, and penchée in there, and the penchée is generally no longer a beautiful line but rather a split.

#62 canbelto

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 09:33 AM

Gerdt partnered but by 1895 he was over 50 years old and needed "help." But point is seems that the pas de trois was turned into a pas de deux rather quickly at the Mariinsky with different dancers.
If you want a good idea of how the Swan Lake pdd probably looked in 1895, there's a video with Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes that has Benno in the pas de deux and the pas de deux ends with the lunge into Benno' arms.
Oops actually you can see it here:


#63 Hans

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 09:37 AM

Yes, but in the original Petipa version of the pas d'action, Siegfried does the lifts (according to what I've read here on BT) and Benno does the promenades. Doesn't seem like much help to me.

I've also been told that the lunge is ballet symbolism for a kiss, but it doesn't seem appropriate that Benno would perform the lunge, then. Can someone explain this?

Edit: I just watched the video canbelto linked to, and I really need to know why it is not performed that way anymore! There is so much about that choreography that makes sense, I don't see why it was altered. It also makes clear that Siegfried really gets barely any partnering assistance from Benno, and as Benno is not onstage most of the time, I don't understand why people felt the need to eliminate him totally.

Also, this is the first clip of Fonteyn as Odette that has any complete dances in it, and I can finally see (hopefully) what people mean when they talk about her Odette. She is THE swan queen, from her acting to her port de bras, épaulement and the first-rate technique of her legs and feet. Breathtaking. She really makes me see Swan Lake in a new light, as does the excellent staging.


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