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Questions on Simone/Kronstam Sleeping Beauty pdd(Voice of Firestone, 1963)


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#1 bart

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:21 PM

I was rewatching one of my favorite dvd's, Firestone Dances: Historic Ballet Performances and noticed a couple of things that made me curious.

(1) The fish-dives: Kirsten Simone's legs during the pose are pointing higher up than I ever recall seeing them -- almost vertical, in fact. Was this something characteristic of the Danish style at the time? Was it peculiar to Simone (and possibly Kronstam)? Have others performed this particular pose in the same way?

(2) The tempo: this is the peppiest Sleeping Beauty pdd I've ever seen. (Others -- including an ABT performance I saw last season -- seem positively sluggish in comparison.)

Both dancers handle the speed easily and with great precision. Was the tempo possibly selected to highlight particular allegro strengths of the dancers. What should the tempo be at this point in the ballet? IS speed really desirable or appropriate? (I love it in this particular video, but am not sure how it would come across in the context of the full ballet.)

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:34 PM

Have others performed this particular pose in the same way?

Josefina Mendez-(RIP)-used to hold her poses like that...but it was only her...I've never seen this in anybody else...Usually the ballerinas try to curve their body and legs close to their heads as much as they can...But the vertical position looks interesting as well...

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:47 PM

I can't answer either, I'm afraid. All I know is that they were coached in this by Vera Volkova (who also coached Fonteyn in her classical roles in the 1940s). I was also told, by Simone, that the floor of that studio was extremely slippery. The stage crew proudly told them when they arrived: "We've waxed the floor TWICE just for you!!!" How nice of them!

From several videos, both of Western and Russian performances of that period, I think the tempi were faster generally before the 1970s. There's one Bayadere Shades from about 1940 that's positively peppy. As we've become obsessed with line and stretching and extensions, we've slowed down.

I'd point out one aspect of Kronstam's dancing on this tape that it took me several viewings before I saw it, and then I became fascinated by it -- watch his arms, the way they cross the chest, and how musical the arm movements are.

#4 Paul Parish

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:23 PM

Wow, Christian --

That's beautiful!

PS --There's NOTHNIG of Henning Kronstam on Youtube. Now what's up with that????

#5 bart

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:36 PM

Thank you so much Cristian and Alexandra. You've answered my questions.

I wish someone could answer Paul's:

PS --There's NOTHNIG of Henning Kronstam on Youtube. Now what's up with that????



#6 Alexandra

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 05:01 PM

There's almost nothing available of Kronstam on film. He's on the old "Black Tights" tape as the Toreador in Carmen and in the Disney "Ballerina" film, but he missed videotape, as he was finished as a classical dancer in 1969. He's on a few Danish TV programs in mime roles, and there are a few private shot-from-the-wings tapes, but that's it.


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