Marcmomus

Karsavina's Torch Dance on Film

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For me the most striking thing -among many- in the V&A's superb current exhibition on Diaghilev was the newly-discovered film of Karsavina dancing Fokine's Torch Dance. This film was described in Forster's new book on Karsavina, but I never thought I'd see it so soon after reading about it. It is incredibly early film from 1909, taken in Paris at the start of her international career. The technical quality is excellent and motion is smooth. There were no over-emphasized facial expressions as seen on the 1913 film of Ekaterina Geltzer and Vasili Tikhomirov on the The Glory of the Bolshoi DVD. I was enchanted to see Karsavina dance, the only other snippets available seem to be her exercises from about 1920 on the The Glory of the Kirov DVD, although Forster also mentions 'a brief glimpse' of her partnered by Vladimirov in the Sylvia pas de deux. Does anyone know if this glimpse can be viewed anywhere?

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the film in question is the following as described in the NYPL Dance Coll. cat. listing below, like the Torch Dance, a.k.a. as Assyrian Dance, it's silent but unlike the Torch dance, this b&w film does not have post-syc'd music, which Foster helped the film archive find to apply to the '09 Karsavina film:

The golden road to health and beauty [192-?].88 min. : si. b&w

Notes: English version of the motion picture Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, made by the Cultural Dept. of the UFA (Universum Film Aktien Gesellschaft), Germany. Director: Wilhelm Prager. Scenario/scientific preparation: Nicholas Kaufmann, M.D. Music: Dr. Giuseppe Becce. Photography: Weinmann, Hrich, Paulmann. Silent, with English titles.

SUMMARY: Documentary on the value of physical fitness. Includes recreations of ancient Greek athletics and health practices, which are contrasted to modern neglect of the body. Survey of current exercise systems, including gymnastics for children, crawling exercises, Jaques-Dalcroze's eurythmics as practiced at the Hellerau school, the Loheland-Schule, Bess M. Mensendieck's exercises, and other athletic activities. Dance contents include: glimpses of dances from Africa, Hawaii, Japan, Burma, Bavaria, and Spain; Niddy Impekoven in The decadent doll, The life of the flower, and as a München tea-cozy; Rudolf von Laban and his company in a men's dance and the final scene of the dance-drama The living idol; Dussia Bereska in The orchid; Baku Ishii in The prisoner; Jenny Hasselquist in The white rose; Tamara Karsavina exercising at the barre and in a pas de deux from Sylvia with Pierre Vladimiroff; and Mary Wigman and her students in the final scene from the dance-drama The exodus.

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This sounds wonderful -- I've got to see it the next time I'm in NYC!

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the film in question is the following as described in the NYPL Dance Coll. cat. listing below, like the Torch Dance, a.k.a. as Assyrian Dance, it's silent but unlike the Torch dance, this b&w film does not have post-syc'd music, which Foster helped the film archive find to apply to the '09 Karsavina film:

The golden road to health and beauty [192-?].88 min. : si. b&w

Notes: English version of the motion picture Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, made by the Cultural Dept. of the UFA (Universum Film Aktien Gesellschaft), Germany. Director: Wilhelm Prager. Scenario/scientific preparation: Nicholas Kaufmann, M.D. Music: Dr. Giuseppe Becce. Photography: Weinmann, Hrich, Paulmann. Silent, with English titles.

SUMMARY: Documentary on the value of physical fitness. Includes recreations of ancient Greek athletics and health practices, which are contrasted to modern neglect of the body. Survey of current exercise systems, including gymnastics for children, crawling exercises, Jaques-Dalcroze's eurythmics as practiced at the Hellerau school, the Loheland-Schule, Bess M. Mensendieck's exercises, and other athletic activities. Dance contents include: glimpses of dances from Africa, Hawaii, Japan, Burma, Bavaria, and Spain; Niddy Impekoven in The decadent doll, The life of the flower, and as a München tea-cozy; Rudolf von Laban and his company in a men's dance and the final scene of the dance-drama The living idol; Dussia Bereska in The orchid; Baku Ishii in The prisoner; Jenny Hasselquist in The white rose; Tamara Karsavina exercising at the barre and in a pas de deux from Sylvia with Pierre Vladimiroff; and Mary Wigman and her students in the final scene from the dance-drama The exodus.

This film can be downloaded at http://www.vo2ov.com/Path-to-the-power-and-beauty-Wege-zu-Kraft-und-Schonheit-by-Wilhelm-Prager-1925-_1080909.html

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hi Marcmomus

i just uploaded one of the bits of footage you mention - Tamara Karsavina and Peter Wladimiroff (German spelling) performing part of a pas de deux from 'Sylvia' (1925).

It comes from the German naturist documentary 'Wege zu Kraft und Schonheit' (1925), variously known as 'Ways to Strength and Beauty' and 'Path to the Power and Beauty'.

The film was directed by Wilhelm Prager, with Nicholas Kaufman as the screenwriter.

The aim of the piece was to contrast the hopeless of life in the cities in the 1920s with an idealised existence of the countryside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6e7yZeUVY4&list=UUE2E47z60O23-Z0Dd6zJKjA&index=1&feature=plcp

hope you like it as much as i did

cheers from Sydney

Nick

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Torch Dance, 1909



‘Exercises’, 1920 - I love the whole look of this film ;)

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