Giselle's "Initiation" scene
Posted 16 April 2010 - 09:13 PM
1-Is the Cuban practice of raising on pointe with the working leg in attitude to finish the last three-(and sometimes four)-pirouettes done in other companies...?
2-Is it common to see the supporting leg flat during the turns-(as in the Cuban version)-instead of doing it in relevé...?
3-(This is probably more difficult to answer, but still let's try...) Does anybody remembers how were these steps done in the pre-Makarova times....?
Thank you in advance...!
Posted 17 April 2010 - 10:06 AM
2- That's the standard original choreography.
3- Sure, I did my first Giselle in 1964. Makarova didn't work that much change into the part, at least none that have stayed.
Posted 17 April 2010 - 10:39 AM
Posted 17 April 2010 - 01:35 PM
Posted 17 April 2010 - 01:42 PM
Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:13 PM
My question rose after reading a comment from a Youtube poster who seems to have followed Alonso's career very close since the 50's, according to all that he usually recounts. In one "Initiation" clip he wrote:
"Since the late 50's Alicia has kept this version of Giselle's graveyard exit, where she executes the last three pirouettes in attitude rising on pointe. Alonso-who for many years was a leading exponent of this role-maintained this technical difficulty during her performances, even when vision problems made much more difficult for her to maintain the shaft during the rotations. But if the technique is said to keep staring at a distant point and head back to that same point while turning in order to keep the balance, how is it possible that Alonso having no vision in her last 20-year career kept those turns on pointe? I read an interview years ago with Erik Bruhn, who said that he was surprised to see Alonso try to pirouette from fourth position with eyes closed, maintaining control of her body, and that when asked how he could do that, she had responded that she had found that the distant spot would not work with her specific limitations, so she had develope this form of exercise to keep the speed of the head, and that the point had to be found within one's body, instead of a physical object on the outside. It is true that with the passing of the years, those attitude/turns on pointe of the "Initiation" have been refined in the CNB, having been ballerinas to do them with excelled virtuosity..."
Then, I started watching all the clips that I could find to compare, and even from the oldest ones I watched of this scene-(Makarova, Mezentseva, Bessmertnova, Fracci)-to the very recent ones -(like Cojocaru or Zakharova)- they all just finish the turns by lowering the working leg and spinning some more before the diagonal, but with both legs on the floor...(sometimes even in demi-pointe). Also, some of them seem not to be totally flat on their supporting leg while turning-(which I suspect gives them more speed, like the clip with Osipova).
That piece of information on how it is notated in Stepanov is priceless...after that there's really no more to add. Thanks!
It is funny, but on my way from work tonight I was thinking on how silly that I forgot to ask Miss Serrano a couple of questions that I had elaborated about old pieces of choreography when she was recently here to receive a lifetime achievement prize during the last Miami Ballet Festival. I knew that she started dancing all those roles in Ballet Theatre right after Alonso left the company for Cuba in 1960, so she might have remembered some details. Well, I just got her autograph on my playbill and forgot to ask her anything...
Also, it is interesting to note that Dolin-(and Markova sometimes)- coached Alonso during her lifetime, even for the 1980 performance with Vasiliev...
Here's another example: Miss Barbara Garcia doing the attitude turns on pointe...
vs. Makarova spinning her final three with both legs...
to Mezentseva just omiting the whole thing just to go straight to the diagonal of jumps...
Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:58 AM
As for multiple pirouettes on pointe in attitude in a Romantic ballet, I think that falls into the category of "Just because you can do it doesn't mean you must."
Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:37 AM
Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:35 AM
But again...this falls, I guess, on Macaulay's recent "bizarre" clasification of the company's dancing and takes on choreography...probably not for eveyone.
Posted 18 April 2010 - 03:19 PM
Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:40 PM
Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:13 PM
Ah, but is it truly necessary for a dancer to be off the ground to appear incorporeal? I think to the extent that she can make the spin look like milkweed in an eddy of wind, she's probably better off on the flat-footed, fondu level.
Oh, of course Carbro...if you look at my original post, I actually questioned the use of the slightly releve position used by some dancers during the grand pirouettes, instead of the full flat one done by the Cubans. The incorporeus detail came from me explaining how do I justify the use of the attitude turns on pointe after the grand pirouettes.
About the bravura...weeell, a little dose here and there has always been a part of Giselle...starting with S's solo and Act I to the very grand pirouettes that we're discussing now, right...?
As Mel and Hans have indicated, bravura is not the point here.
Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:17 PM
Divine Lorna, iczerman. No, of course I didn't forget her-(haven't been able even to fall under the spell of a ballerina ever again...Jeanette Delgado from MCB very close, but not there yet). I was just saving that clip for a future thread I want to open for the one and only "Queen of Accents", but hey...glad that you found her anyways...
Don't forget Lorna Frijoo doing the attitude turns on point..this clip shows it a little closer to the action!
And here's her sister Lorena during the same sequence.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 07:53 PM
Oh...and the sequence was filmed 62 years ago, BTW...so talk about a modernism..!
Does anybody want to guess where does the sequence come from...? (It is quite a famous source, BTW )
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