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What's your favorite "Ballet Waltz"?summer trivia


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#16 4mrdncr

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 07:53 PM

Don't know why, but whenever I'm anxious or troubled about something, I always start humming the princess' waltz from Act III of Swan Lake. (but without all the stop-starts, fanfares and repetitions!)

#17 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 04:46 AM

Don't know why, but whenever I'm anxious or troubled about something, I always start humming the princess' waltz from Act III of Swan Lake. (but without all the stop-starts, fanfares and repetitions!)


Ah...because you're humming the '95 uninterrupted Drigo's revision... :)

#18 Cygnet

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 01:01 PM

It's very hard to choose. My favorites waltzes are:

Prokofiev: "Cinderella" - the Grand Waltz from Act 2 and Slow Waltz from Act 3; "The Stone Flower," the Mistress Waltz from Act 1 and the Precious Stones Waltz from Act 3."
Minkus: "La Bayadere" - the Act 2 wedding waltz, and Act 3 Shades' opening Waltz, 2nd Shade variation, and Shades' Waltz Coda.
Chopin: "Chopiniana/Les Sylphides," waltz.
Ravel: "La Valse"
:huh:: Tchaikovsky: "Yevgeny Onegin" Waltz, Valse Mélancolique from Suite No. 3., Valse from Symphony No. 5, and the first movement from Symphony No. 4; (it's in 9/8 time 'moderata con anima,' but it's still a discernable waltz).
Back to topic: Waltz of the Snowflakes, Valse Bluette and Farewell pdd from Act 3 of the '95 "Swan Lake," (the Farewell pdd "Un poco di Chopin," is actually a mazurka, but it could pass for a waltz). "The Sleeping Beauty," the Lilac Fairy prologue variation, Act 1 Garland Waltz, Act 3 Gold Fairy and Cinderella variations.
Glazunov: "Raymonda" - Act 1 opening Waltz and Dream Waltz.
Delibes: "Coppelia" - Swanilda's Act 1 variation and Act 3 Hours Waltz
Delibes: "Sylvia" Waltz
Adam: "Giselle" Grand pas des Wilis Act 2
Pugni/Delibes/Adam et.al. "Le Corsaire" Le jardin animé waltz Act 2

#19 bart

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 05:12 PM

It's very hard to choose.

I agree completely, cygnet. So many choices, all of them wonderfully danceable.

I have two off-topic questions regarding Chopin. Ballade No. 1 is in 6/8 time (mostly). It's exquisite, with mood and tempo variations that make it quite suitable, I think, for a pas de deux.

Does 6/8 constitute a "waltz"?

Has any ballet ever used Ballade No. 1 -- or indeed any of the Ballades?

While I'm at it -- and thinking of "Dances at a Gathering" -- does a mazurka qualify as a "waltz." Both are in 3/4 time, after all.

#20 papeetepatrick

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

I think G Minor Ballade is 6/4, which is somewhat different from 6/8, not often used and I think probably never for fast music (as tarantellas, and much else). I don't know if it's ever been used for ballet or dance. 6/4 would have more to do with phrasing, so that the two groups of 3 are bound together in some sort of kinship; although in some hands, it would sound very much the same if just changed to 3/4. Maybe some think Ballade No.1 could be used as a waltz, I don't think it's possible, although I've no doubt it could be danced to effectively if the right choreographer came along, just as Liszt was to 'Marguerite and Armand', and Liszt wasn't to 'Mayerling'.

No, a Mazurka is not the same thing as a waltz. There are many pieces in 3/4, 3/8, and 6/8, and 9/8 that aren't waltzes. It has to do with the character of the work as well as the meter. It may be that there have been some pieces in 3 (all forms of it) that have been choreographed as waltzes, but which weren't intended as waltzes in their original, purely musical form. I could think of a lot of examples along all these lines, but somebody else help me out (historians, please) until the humidity subsides a bit.

And although 'A Month in the Country' uses Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, that easily demonstrates that any of the ballades could be used effectively, although I don't know if anybody currently choreographing would have the sensitivity for Chopin that Ashton had. The exquisite A Flat Ballade is one of Chopin's most French works (you won't hear the Polish roots in this one), and it seems ideal for use in ballet to me.

Edited to add: There are a number of reasons Chopin would choose 6/4 for the ballade, though, one of which is that 3/8 or 6/8 would somehow indicate something slightly more rapid, whereas the quarter notes (of the 6/4, or even if it was written in 3/4) give the notes a weight that eighth notes just don't have. And that first section (after the muscular intro) is nothing if not sober and very serious.

Not that writing in 3/4 always makes conductors keep from speeding up to way beyond any 3/8 or 6/8 we're used to. The Nutcracker I saw at NYCB in 2006 had Waltz so speedy it was quite absurd, and that's quarter notes. So glad I got to see Ms. Mearns as Odette/Odile after that yeomanry as DewDrop: after that, there was no way I could ever dislike Ms. Mearns as Odile (even though you're supposed to): She is a good sport.

#21 bart

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 11:59 AM

Thanks, patrick, for explaining the distinction between 6/4 and 6/8, and mazurka-waltz. Listening again to the entire piece, I realize that the "waltz-like" beginning (after the introduction) does begin to shift a bit as the piece goes on.

There are a number of reasons Chopin would choose 6/4 for the ballade, though, one of which is that 3/8 or 6/8 would somehow indicate something slightly more rapid, whereas the quarter notes (of the 6/4, or even if it was written in 3/4) give the notes a weight that eighth notes just don't have. And that first section (after the muscular intro) is nothing if not sober and very serious.

Fascinating. It's precisely this quality of weight and deliberation that I like so much -- with the more tempestuous contrasts -- and which made me think it would work as choreography for an especially expressive pair of dancers.

Perhaps, on second thought, it would be TOO sober, too dull for a ballet? A common quality of most of the danceable waltzes mentioned on this thread is the feeling they give of driving forward (sometimes gliding, sometimes bouncing). 3/4 time is perfect for making one feel that.

#22 papeetepatrick

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 01:48 PM

Perhaps, on second thought, it would be TOO sober, too dull for a ballet? A common quality of most of the danceable waltzes mentioned on this thread is the feeling they give of driving forward (sometimes gliding, sometimes bouncing). 3/4 time is perfect for making one feel that.


My feeling is that it wouldn't be too sober, just because of the way Ashton used Chopin in 'A Month in the Country', as I noted (I think the use of Chopin there is peerless, by the way, definitely up there with the Fokine). It just wouldn't need to be 'waltz-like' or necessarily light. Not all of Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze is light, either, or even much of it, and that's just one of hundreds or thousands. Of course it's not a 'danceable waltz', but there's a big world of movement and music combinations to be tapped out there. The most likely explanation for not using it or more dramatic Chopin (or maybe even any) is that doesn't seem to the fashion any more, does it--you know, the grand Romantic manner which Ashton was still capable of doing, and Balanchine in s different way as well, of course (not necessarily talking just about Chopin, of course.)

#23 nijinsky1979

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 10:11 PM

Some that haven't been mentioned (I don't think!) include the waltz between the Ballerina and the Moor in "Petrouchka," and two from "Coppélia": "Valse de la poupée" in the second act, and "Valse des heures" in the third act.

#24 DanceActress

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:33 AM

It's very hard to choose.

I agree completely, cygnet. So many choices, all of them wonderfully danceable.

I have two off-topic questions regarding Chopin. Ballade No. 1 is in 6/8 time (mostly). It's exquisite, with mood and tempo variations that make it quite suitable, I think, for a pas de deux.

Does 6/8 constitute a "waltz"?

Has any ballet ever used Ballade No. 1 -- or indeed any of the Ballades?


Chopin's first Ballade is used in Neumeier's "Lady of the Camellias". It's a dramatic pas de deux for Marguerite and Armand after she has seemingly abandoned him.

If I'm not mistaken, Jerome Robbins made use of the third Ballade in "The Concert".

#25 bart

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:47 AM

Chopin's first Ballade is used in Neumeier's "Lady of the Camellias". It's a dramatic pas de deux for Marguerite and Armand after she has seemingly abandoned him.

Thank you for that information, DanceActress. I had forgotten this (or, worse, never noticed it :excl: ), despite my love for the piece.

If I'm not mistaken, Jerome Robbins made use of the third Ballade in "The Concert".

You're right! (I checked the play list on Wikipedia. :) ) It's the last selection -- , which should be, if I recall correctly, the change-of-pace number after the Mazurka when the husband acts out his fantasies.


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