Limon's The Moor's PavaneKirov tape and Original 1956 Limon Dance Co. DVD
Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:54 PM
Posted 12 January 2009 - 05:55 AM
The time to revive this work at ABT is NOW since the artistic staff would be able to cast this from strength. Alas, they appear to be besotted with staging every here today/gone tomorrow trend that comes along rather than buckling down and reviving masterworks from their own past.
Posted 12 January 2009 - 10:29 AM
An interesting observation -- my experience watching several different productions of this work over the years is that it works best when the cast does not emphasize their technical facility. In the tape of the original cast, Limon does not have much flexibility in extension -- those grand battement to second really hit the top of his range, and the jumps in second land with a thump, adding to the sense of frustration in the moment. He made excellent use of his own physicality in creating the role. More contemporary dancers, whose technique might be much more extensive and whose range of movement might be much more fluid, do not make the same impression as their legs sail up and their jumps land with an easy bounce.
There's further discussion about this work
in a conversation about the Limon company and their celebration of Limon's centennial year.
Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:45 AM
I've seen the Limon company perform this work in 2006, 2007 and 2008. If you were to put any of these performances side-by-side with the performance from the Three Modern Dance Classics DVD, it would be immediately apparent (as you note) that the technical facility of the current male Limon dancers is superior to what Limon and Lucas Hoving were capable of in the 1950s.
BUT, as you also correctly note, these technical advances may have come at a price. Watching the Limon company today, there is a certain "lightness" to the dancers. (This is not a surprise given the kind of cross-disciplinary training these dancers received at Limon feeder schools like Juilliard, SUNY-Purchase and the Boston Conservatory.) As the dancers have trended more toward the international mean (lean and light), the sense of weightedness in the suspensions, falls and rebounds which powers the Limon repertory and gives it its Expressive force has lessed ever so slightly. The effect of these competing trends is that the dances look more "fluid" but they are also less Expressive.
Posted 14 January 2009 - 06:38 AM
Dreaming about casts is always fascinating. I don't know Hammoudi or Stearns and can't easily visualize Wiles or Murphy in those roles. Gomes, absolutely!
It's difficult to cast a ballet unless you are very familiar with dancers in live performance and also get to see them regularly in a variety of parts.
If I were casting for Miami City Ballet, my "home troupe" for this stage of my life, I'd go with: Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez (no longer with company, unfortunately) as the Moor, Jennifer Kronenberg as his Wife, Jeremy Cox as the Friend, and Deanna Seay as the Friend's Wife. Garcia-Rodriguez, Kronenberg and Seay are ready for this right now. The Friend would be an extension of range for Cox -- a very promising Prodigal Son a few years ago -- but I'd bet he would be smashing.
Anyone have any other casting throughts? (Maybe the ballet would be performed more frequently if today's dancers knew what a wonderful showcase these roles can be, if you're right for the part. )
Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:10 AM
Posted 17 March 2009 - 09:22 AM
We have been discussing the "outdoors" version w/ Nikita Dolgushin as the Moor's Friend. But on YouTube, there is a 1:42 extract from an "indoors" version which also features Dolgushin. But this time, he is playing the Moor. (Gabriella Komleva appears in both versions as the Friend's Wife.)
So, I take it Dolgushin commissioned two separate films of The Moor's Pavane? I wonder when he would have seen it -- the Limon Company's tour of the then-Soviet Union in 1973??
Posted 10 September 2010 - 08:01 PM
if mem. serves the Limon foundation etc. was much against this appropriation of Limon's work more or less second-hand from video(s) and insisted that work be staged by someone directly connected to Limon or not at all.
the Shakespeare bill is typical of Dolgushin's eagerness to give late Soviet ballet a modernist 'twist' etc.
tho' the video cassette was released after the fall of the soviet union, i believe it was all filmed before that, or at least the stagings were arranged sometime before the filmings themselves.
here are the NYPL credits for the bill in question:
Shakespeare dance trilogy/ presented by FPA Ekran, Gosteleradio, Czech TV Bratislava, and Directfilm ; director, A. Murgazin ; producer, Felix Slidovker. New York, NY : V.I.E.W. Video, 1993, c1991. (70 min.) :
Notes: Performed by dancers from the Kirov Ballet [and other companies?].
Music for Tchaikovsky scores performed by the State Academic Orchestra of the USSR, conductor, Eugene Svetlanov ; music for Purcell score performed by the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg Conservatory, conductor, V. Chernushenko.
Romeo and Juliet (ca. 22 min.) / choreography, Nataly Rizhenko and Viktor Smirnov-Golovanov ; music, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky ; performed by Svetlana Smirnova (Juliet), Aleksandr Semenchukov (Romeo), Nikita Dolgushin (Master Lorenzo), and others.
The moor's pavane (ca. 24 min.) / choreography, José Limón ; music, Henry Purcell ; performed by Andres Williams (Othello), Svetlana Semenova (Desdemona), Dolgushin (Iago), and Gabriella Komleva (Emilia, Iago's wife). [Although attributed to Limón, the choreography has been somewhat revised, as have the characters' names.]
Hamlet (ca. 24 min.) / choreography, Rizhenko ; music, Tchaikovsky ; performed by Vlastimil Garalis (Hamlet), Smirnova (Ophelia), Dolgushin (Claudius), Komleva (Gertrude), and others.
Camera, Alexander Taffel ; art direction, Eleonora Vinitskaya.
Three ballets based on plays by William Shakespeare, recorded on location at a medieval castle, and linked by the framing device of a troupe of traveling players.
The Moor's Pavane with Andres Williams, Svetlana Semenova, Nikita Dolgushin and Gabriella Komleva.
Jose Limón's The Moor's Pavane (excerpt)
Posted 10 September 2010 - 09:34 PM
Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:10 AM
Oh God, it's so bad -- even worse than I thought it was! One star out of ten to Dolgushin for admiring this work and trying to stage it without access to Limon master stagers but, really, this is a travesty. Rather than stating 'Choreography by Jose Limon', the DVD should read: 'Dolgushin, after Limon' or 'Inspired by Jose Limon'. I don't mind that the dancers bring a different technical/stylistic base to work as I enjoy alternate readings of classic works. What riles me to no end is that Dolgushin (in conjunction with the dancers) adds all kinds of steps, effects, etc. so that, basically, it's a whole new work that only vaguely resembles The Moor's Pavane. Add to this the hammy overacting of all concerned and this version of The Moor's Pavane comes DOA.
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