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Nutcracker Grand Pas De Deux

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With it being Nutcracker season, I'm curious to know what version or versions of the grand pas de deux are Ballet Talkers' favorite -- would never grow tired of watching. There are so many out there...

I personally like the versions by Baryshnikov, Nureyev, Vainonen, and Petit.

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Mary Day's version is my favourite, but I also like Wright's.

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Nureyev's version. Breathtaking! When he tossed Merle Park into the air - twice - I was in shock. His entire choreography was the best and most exciting that I've ever seen.

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My favorite Grand Pas goes back many years to the first version I saw,--the Ballet Russe version staged by Alexandra Fedorova. It was a truncated version, to say the least, and done on a shoe string--but, that Grand Pas has remained with me all these years and I have warm memories of Danilova and Krassovska. I loved the choreography and I generally wince when I see other versions to that glorious music.

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That's my favorite, too, probably because it was the first one I learned. It's based pretty faithfully on the Ivanov, and funnily, it uses a cut in the "big music" because that section was devoted to "stage magic" in the original, only I think that they cut the wrong eight bars. The third restatement of the theme, with the woodwind arpeggios and crashing cymbals is much grander than the version that BR used.

Also, the original SPF, Antonietts dell'Era was described by Petipa as "Madame no good"! But she could do pirouettes into arabesque, so that's why there are so many of those packed tightly together. Because she was not at the top of her technique and strength, having been dancing (and singing!) in comic operas for the years leading up to the new ballet, her technical material is relatively easy, so a ballerina can concentrate on perfection.

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My favorite Grand Pas goes back many years to the first version I saw,--the Ballet Russe version staged by Alexandra Fedorova. It was a truncated version...
That's my favorite, too...

Interesting that Fedorova's was my first thought to the original question. I've said many times how fond I am of this version, for which is the one I grew up with. (Actually, tomorrow I will see it, in its CCBM re-incarnation). The thing is, I often wondered why was its grand adagio score chopped off in its most beautiful climax, so when I saw Sir Peter Wright's-(which is basically the same one, PLUS the missing bars, PLUS that lovely passage of the ballerina being carried on pointe on top of the musseline wrap)-..well, then I loved it even more.

Interesting too, the music is still chopped off in Cuba, so it is in the CCBM's version. Talk about being faithful to the past! :thumbsup:

Fedorova's in Havana. CNB. Lorna Feijoo and Osmay Molina

Fedorova's in Miami. CCBM. Jordan Elizabeth Long and Miguel Angel Blanco

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQIc-G5GGQY

Sir Peter Wright's . Dowel and Collier

Fonteyn and Somes, at the very end of the clip.

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Ballet Theatre also did this version as a divertissement with the likes of Markova, Hightower and Alonso.

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Right, and it's written out in letterpress form in Dolin's book, Pas de Deux: The Art of Partnering.

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Thanks, Christian for those links -- I'm particularly grateful for the Fonteyn one (and Feijoo -- as you know I adore her)...

The Fonteyn is new to me , and very interesting: I love the way she does the flourishes, there's something Spanish to them (and of course she is a Fontes, it's her birthright), her hands are like flowers, she's not embarrassed by the personal emphasis the phrasing calls for but understands that it's what the public deserves, she should be WONDERFUL!

The interview with Shearer, ABOUT her is worth something, too. Wonder what this is a clip FROM?

My favorite Grand Pas goes back many years to the first version I saw,--the Ballet Russe version staged by Alexandra Fedorova. It was a truncated version...
That's my favorite, too...

Interesting that Fedorova's was my first thought to the original question. I've said many times how fond I am of this version, for which is the one I grew up with. (Actually, tomorrow I will see it, in its CCBM re-incarnation). The thing is, I often wondered why was its grand adagio score chopped off in its most beautiful climax, so when I saw Sir Peter Wright's-(which is basically the same one, PLUS the missing bars, PLUS that lovely passage of the ballerina being carried on pointe on top of the musseline wrap)-..well, then I loved it even more.

Interesting too, the music is still chopped off in Cuba, so it is in the CCBM's version. Talk about being faithful to the past! :clapping:

Fedorova's in Havana. CNB. Lorna Feijoo and Osmay Molina

Fedorova's in Miami. CCBM. Jordan Elizabeth Long and Miguel Angel Blanco

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQIc-G5GGQY

Sir Peter Wright's . Dowel and Collier

Fonteyn and Somes, at the very end of the clip.

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Here's a shocker: My favorite is Balanchine's, even tho it doesn't have a male variation (which I regret). There isn't much in ballet that's more thrilling than the supported pirouette into the backbend on the crescendo.

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Quite a surreal performance...as if Odile decided to drop by Confiturembourg!

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I love Baryshnikov's Nutcracker PDD. I overlook the unnecessary inclusion of Drosselmeyer and focus on the magnificent music, the lovely choreography and the magic Misha-Gelsey chemistry.

Also, I hate to admit it, but I also like Grigorovich's. It's pedestrian, as so much of his work is, but Vasiliev's and Maximova's gifts raise it to a beautiful level.

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. . . Also, I hate to admit it, but I also like Grigorovich's. It's pedestrian, as so much of his work is, but Vasiliev's and Maximova's gifts raise it to a beautiful level.

I agree. Grigorovich's "Nutcracker' pdd was just one of their show-stoppers. Grigorovich's version was child's play for them. In Misha's version, Drosselmeyer intruded, and in Grigorovich's version the corps intruded. But this didn't matter. Only Katya and Volodya could clock in +10 min. ovations after the adage, and in between the variations and the coda. There was such kinetic energy in Maximova's languid, then lightening fast series of piourettes, you could feel it. She gathered such momentum at the end of the adage . . . they were awesome. They were the music. I can only imagine how they would have interpreted the Ivanov pdd had they had the opportunity.

Hans wrote:

Quite a surreal performance...as if Odile decided to drop by Confiturembourg!

Bejart's version: (:unsure: ?) IMO it's not the version that you can take your children and grandparents to see. The pdd is beautifully danced but it seems so out of "context" with the rest of his conceptualization. I think that a black tutu is visually at odds with the delicate chimes of a celeste, but I think that was his aim. The ballerina isn't supposed to be the SPF.

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I recently saw on youtube with Noella Pontois and Denis Ganio and I was wondering which version it was... anyone know?

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According to the video information, it is by Roland Petit.

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Here's a shocker: My favorite is Balanchine's, even tho it doesn't have a male variation (which I regret).

I have to agree. When you compare Balanchine's version with the traditional text as it's performed by English companies, you realize that he wasn't choreographing in a vacuum. Balanchine's pas de deux is like a commentary on the original. A year ago Alastair Macaulay wrote: "Actually, though Balanchine did take considerable liberties with music and scenario, his proves closer to the original 1892 conception than almost any other."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/arts/dance/01nutc.html

Here's the other thing I love. Apparently Hanya Holm would say that once a movement was initiated, it would continue in space along its trajectory to infinity. This idea is most clearly visualized in Alwin Nikolais' Tensile Involvement, but I also can't help think of it when watching the intersecting limbs in Balanchine's Nutcracker adagio.

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I also agree with carbro, for her reason, in a general way: The Fedorova adagio begins well enough, but Tchaikovsky builds a crescendo we don't see. Where the ballerina makes a little hop on toe and raises an arm, facing her partner, the choreography and the music diverge, it seems to me. We may see something very authentic in these several clips (thanks again to Cristian for posting them), but don't we read somewhere that Petipa found himself with a dancer of limited ability to work with in the first place? Regardless of that, for my approach to theatrical-dance watching, at least, what I see ought to seem to derive in some intuitable way from what I hear, or at least relate to it more closely, and Balanchine's musical perception does it again here.

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Nureyev's version. Breathtaking! When he tossed Merle Park into the air - twice - I was in shock. His entire choreography was the best and most exciting that I've ever seen.

Yes toeprints I too love Nureyevs version. That throw up into the air and the way he catches Merle Park was so spectacular, and cleanly executed. The final position when he supports her on his extended leg is quite something, he is rock solid and does not wobble or put his leg down quickly like some other Male partners do. Imagine the strain to hold the leg with the whole weight of the Ballerina along it and staying grounded. It is wonderful how it looks effortless.

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Nureyev's version. Breathtaking! When he tossed Merle Park into the air - twice - I was in shock. His entire choreography was the best and most exciting that I've ever seen.

The whole pas de deux looks fiendishly difficult, but the first 50 seconds or so -- simple, perfectly placed arabesques -- are stunning. If a solo dancer wobbles it's not nearly as noticeable as it would be with dancers in tandem like that. And the complementary lines of the two - exquisite.

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My favorite is the Balanchine, too.

It was great to be able to contrast Lorna Feijoo and Jordan Elizabeth Long in the same (Fedorova) choreography. Long's sunny quality reminds me of a young Darci Kistler.

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Mine is Peter Martins "Barbie", mostly because my daughter forced me to dance it with her so many times.

Martins Barbie and Balanchine's Nutcracker Grand Pas De Deux are the ones that still bring tears in my eyes

Maria Kowroski did Barbies dancing

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