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Who do you think is the best Odette/Odile?


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#1 Ballet fan

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:41 PM

Odette/Odile is one of ballet's most difficult roles. Like a holy grail for the ballerina. But I see that a lot of people mention such a variety of dancers as the best in this role. Of course, part of this question is subjective. But aside from personal preferences, I'm curious as to whom people would name as the best Odette/Odile, trying to be as objective as possible.

I'd like people to list very specific reasons for naming that particular dancer or dancers.


As for me. I've seen three Odettes on video: Margot Fonteyn (Vienna Ballet with Rudolf), Maya Plisetskaya (1957), and Galina Ulanova (Stars of Russian Ballet).

I'm still relatively new to watching ballet, so I find it very difficult to choose from these three great dancers.

But I can say what I liked about them.

In the case of Margot, the video with the Vienna Ballet is not the best Swan Lake to have as your introduction to the masterpiece, like I did. The choreography by Nureyev still isn't up to par with the original Petipa/Ivanov. Bravura technique was never Margot's forte, however she possesed such a magical lyricism that you truly believed she was a noble and pure woman condemned to live as a swan. I still think she's a good Odile because she has dramatic flair, even if her technique isn't suited for the role. She still exuded the danger and sexiness required of the role.


Maya is simply incredible as Odile. She's a hurricane that leaves nothing but ruins and devastation. She also has lyricism as Odette but it isn't such a virginal lyricism as Margot and Galina's. Her Odette is more luscious that people expect from the role, but she still has that required lyricism that makes the role resonate with people.

Galina had such delicacy and enchanting legato. But again, she's not a bravura dancer. She didn't even portray Odile in the video that I saw her in.

I can't choose just one from these wonderful ballerinas. But I'd like to hear people's opinions, wether they have a firm favorite or have various dancers that they thought were exceptional in the role.

#2 Hans

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 04:05 PM

Video is very different from a live performance, but the bits of Fonteyn I've seen make me wish I had seen her in the role live, particularly her Odile. Alexandra has described her Odile as a very glamorous, sophisticated woman in a little black dress and diamonds, and most of the Odiles I've seen have appeared rather cheap.

The best live Odette/Odile I've seen is Veronika Part, with her gorgeous upper body and soulful portrayal. As Odile, she has a devilish charm that she uses to marvelous effect.

#3 vipa

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 05:57 PM

Video is very different from a live performance, but the bits of Fonteyn I've seen make me wish I had seen her in the role live, particularly her Odile. Alexandra has described her Odile as a very glamorous, sophisticated woman in a little black dress and diamonds, and most of the Odiles I've seen have appeared rather cheap.

The best live Odette/Odile I've seen is Veronika Part, with her gorgeous upper body and soulful portrayal. As Odile, she has a devilish charm that she uses to marvelous effect.



I think there might have been another discussion about this to link to, but I'm not sure.

I saw Fonteyn live with Nureyev. It had moments that were glorious, but I suspect that this was never her best role.

My all time favorite - Cynthia Gregory. To me she had all the elements to make it work.

I don't want to make this a Part love/hate discussion, but for all her beautiful moments, her technical failings ruin it for me. That is just me, and I understand how others can disagree

#4 kfw

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 06:40 PM

I think there might have been another discussion about this to link to, but I'm not sure.

You can find that discussion here on the Who's Your Favorite Odette/Odile? thread. Thanks for your question, Ballet fan.


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