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Act I. Spessivtzeva's solo. Coda's diagonal.The who's, where's and when's.


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:33 AM

While increasing my Giselle video collection with my latest adquisition-(Natasha/Misha)-I started to notice how common is the substitution of the final diagonal of pirouettes by the pique turns sequence at the coda during Spessivtzeva's solo. Then I started to review all my videos and clips and realized that the diagonal is almost nowhere to be found anymore. Besides the Cuban company, only Fracci appears performing it on a clip. This are fragments from a dialogue from a fellow Youtube poster on the topic.

CMB: "Everything is fine, but WHY DO THEY KEEP IGNORING Spessivtzeva's diagonal...?! (given the fact that pique turns sequences are just in every other Petipa variation, from Dulcinea's solo to Odile's)"

QD: "What is interesting is that the Russians themselves never adopted the tradition of the famous Spessivtzeva diagonal. It took 2 great non-Russian Alicias to honor the great Olga!!!Markova,and Alonso.

CMB: "I wonder if the diagonal is still performed at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma."

QD: "From what i know, at Scala they do the piques. Alessandra never did the Spessivtseva diagonal, even in CUBA when she danced Giselle there".


So, I have some questions. :

1-Does anybody remember how was this coda performed back in the days?-(In America or anywhere else)
2-Is the diagonal still performed in any other Company, aside from Alonso's ?
3-Is it still performed at Fracci's Company?

Thanks in advance! :bow:

#2 carbro

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:29 PM

1-Does anybody remember how was this coda performed back in the days?-(In America or anywhere else)


It isn't lost. This clip shows how :) The Original performed it. :bow:

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:09 PM

1-Does anybody remember how was this coda performed back in the days?-(In America or anywhere else)


It isn't lost. This clip shows how :) The Original performed it. :bow:

Oh, I know it is VERY alive. This is precisely the starting point in my thoughts about the coda. I never saw the pique-turns substitution until I came to US-(by ABT). Among all the videos and live performances that I've seen of S'Solo, just Markova, Alonso-(along with all her ballerinas until present day)-and Fracci seem to have followed the diagonal. I just wanted to find out when and where the substitution started.

#4 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:14 PM

Trinidad Sevillano did it that way as late as 1991.

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:47 PM

Miss Sevillano had learned the role from Gelsey Kirkland, while at the London Festival Ballet-(and Kirkland did the pique-turns, as one can see from her clip),but later on she went to dance the role in Havana, where she was coached and tought the diagonal.

#6 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:55 AM

One beautiful rendition of the Pas Seul. Ah, Hayna...if only things would had been different and you would had stayed in MCB and dance for us here...Posted Image




#7 Birdsall

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

Maybe some ballerinas will learn it and decide to substitute this version into their performances one day. Sometimes it just takes one person to do something and others will follow, but currently from what you say hardly anyone does it. Maybe no teachers are teaching this version of the variation.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:23 PM

Maybe some ballerinas will learn it and decide to substitute this version into their performances one day. Sometimes it just takes one person to do something and others will follow, but currently from what you say hardly anyone does it. Maybe no teachers are teaching this version of the variation.


It is, sadly, quite "lost" already...

#9 Paul Parish

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:37 PM

Thank you, Christian, for posting haina -- beautiful in every way. the sharp precipite, the arabesques so pure and so light, perched like a bird on a bough -- everything about it, lovely generosity in performance.

This diagonal is taught by Frederick Frankilin when he sets Giselle. oakland Ballet does it. I haven't see n Dance Theater of Harlem's in some time, but I believe they did it. It's the Ballets Russes version.

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:03 AM

This diagonal is taught by Frederick Frankilin when he sets Giselle. oakland Ballet does it. I haven't see n Dance Theater of Harlem's in some time, but I believe they did it. It's the Ballets Russes version.


Oh, Paul...how WONDERFUL! I wonder if I could ever see that company.. I would be very interesting to compare both versions. One thing i notice from Fracci to Johnson to all the Cubans is that they, unlike the Russians and Americans, don't get the initial arabesques into penchees. It still kind of shocks me a bit to see the amplitude of the Russians in this step in Giselle.

Thanks so much for the clue on the Harlem company! I will rent the DVD.

#11 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:09 AM



#12 aurora

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:27 PM


This diagonal is taught by Frederick Frankilin when he sets Giselle. oakland Ballet does it. I haven't see n Dance Theater of Harlem's in some time, but I believe they did it. It's the Ballets Russes version.


Oh, Paul...how WONDERFUL! I wonder if I could ever see that company.. I would be very interesting to compare both versions. One thing i notice from Fracci to Johnson to all the Cubans is that they, unlike the Russians and Americans, don't get the initial arabesques into penchees. It still kind of shocks me a bit to see the amplitude of the Russians in this step in Giselle.

Thanks so much for the clue on the Harlem company! I will rent the DVD.


The funny thing is, just as for you, it has to be the diagonal, for me, it should be a penchee.
The difference is, I can appreciate the variation done well either way.

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

The difference is, I can appreciate the variation done well either way.


You're right. I can't. My bad. Posted Image

#14 Paul Parish

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

I love love LOVE the way Spesssivtsiva opens her arms on the pique arabesque - -from high fifth the upper body blooms as he arabesque endures -- her arms are so soft and "natural," Blasis-esque in every pique, the finger-tips are so alive. I don't think I've ever seen this quality in any other GIselle, not in this solo -- they usually "hold" the arms-- "drier," as Fonteyn would say.

This is all so radiantly simple -- she looks like Snow White, if I may say that without prejudice.

Thank you Mme Hermine.

#15 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

CNB Primera bailarina Barbara Garcia dancing the variation in her early 40's.




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