duffster, on May 1 2010, 09:16 PM, said:
[ ... ]and also Les Algues by Janine Charrat. We learned it at the Harkness, but never performed it. It was very bizarre, we were all inmates in a lunatic asylum. It was one of the first ballets that I had to learn, after just getting into the company and being a trainee in the school. At the time, I seriously questioned my choice of career.
duffster, that sounds like something worthy of a thread of its own.
The title "Seaweed" suggests many things, including sinuous entanglments. Do you recall anything like that?
Googling this ballet is not easy: lots of short references, but no full-length account, at least so far in my searches. Nevertheless, here is some of what I found. (I LOVE Google.)
First of all, I didn't realize how important Janine Charrat was in the post-World War II ballet world in France. The plans for the Harkness production were in 1967. The ballet itself -- created by (Louis) Bertrand Catelli, later producer of Hair in the US and worldwide -- had premiered in 1953. Charrat herself was burned seriously when a candle set fire to her costume during a performance of the ballet in 1961. The only summary I can find goes something like this: "a young man feigns madness in order to free his beloved from an insane asylum"
(or something like that))
There's a documentary about Charrat:
JANINE CHARRAT L'INSTINCT DE LA DANSE - réalisation Luc Riolon et Rachel Seddoh - 2001 Documentaire de 54 minutes. portrait de la chorégraphe Janine Charrat Née en 1924, Janine Charrat est un enfant prodige de la danse dès 7 ans. Dès son plus jeune âge, elle crée et invente des chorégraphies. On l'appelle le "Mozart" de la danse. A 12 ans elle tourne le film de Benoit-levy "La mort du Cygne" et devient une star. Elle devient le partenaire de Roland Petit pour des duos réglés par Serge Lifar ou Jean Cocteau puis monte sa compagnie "les Ballets de France" et fait le tour du monde. Coproduction ARTE - LES FILMS PÉNÉLOPE - RTBF - TSR. Diffusion ARTE le 14 novembre 2001.
This was screened in NYC in 1998 as part of a film festival devoted to French ballet. Another film shown was "La Mort du Cygne," (1937) in which 12-year-old Charrat co-starred with Yveette Chauvire and Mia Slavenska, then both in their early 20s. Charrat and Chauvire were on hand in NYC for a panel discussion, moderated by -- here's a coincidence -- our own rg
Does anyone know about the availability of Mort du Cygne on cmomercially available video?
It sounds, in Kissselgoff's review, as a ballet drama definitely worth watching and owning.