cubanmiamiboy

To dance it or not to dance it...

Trinidad Sevillano's Spessivtseva's Pas Seul   16 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you satisfied with the whole pas after the missing sautés?


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75 posts in this topic

Maybe it would take an established ballerina with an important position in a given company to be given such range of liberty to be able to substitute such a flashy step in such a flashy ballet...? For some reason I don't think every dancer would have that kind of chance...meaning to do it in advance...(nor out of an extreme measure in the middle of a sudden injury mid-performance...)-which is where the mentioned examples of Sibley and Plisetskaya with the fuettes apply.

you see, cmb, the implication in your first sentence is that she wasn't important enough to make such a decision,and you really have to remember that she was, in every way. she was really really really something special. by the time she came to boston ballet she had been a star for years.

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Re Albrecht's brises, there is much more film available in the past decade and Albrecht was dancing brises in the 1950s, at least. I remember when Baryshnikov staged Don Quixote fir ABT there were some who thought that Baryshnikov had taken Medira's variation from the Corsaire pas de deux and gave it to Dryad when, as noted above, was not what happened. It's natural yo think that what one sees first is the accurate choreography. I thick we've gotten much more demanding about accuracy in variations in the past 30 years. Before that, it was more about giving a performance, or making the ballet work. (this is being sent by iPad so please forgive the typos. )

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When the very young Lynn Seymour was emerging as a ballerina in the touring arm of Sadlers Wells she was given Swan Lake & Sleeping Beauty even though she didn't yet have the technique to pull off the fouettes or the rose adagio. She was given the roles because De Valois knew Seymour was a ballerina and whatever it took for her to build up the technique the investment in her talent was worth it. And bear in mind at this stage she was almost a total unknown and had only been in the company just under two years.

In Swan Lake the deal was that she would try as many as possible and when she couldn't go any further Donald Macleary would step in and do a series of jetes en tournant around the stage. In her first performance she only managed 8, she eventually managed the 32 at her third performance and the galvanising force to get her to complete them was that in the afternoon dress rehearsal Macleary had become so tense watching her and waiting to come in that he fainted and Seymour was afraid that he'd be so stressed in a performance proper he might faint onstage.

In Sleeping Beauty she simply didn't have the strength to hold her arms in fifth in the Rose Adagio in unsupported balances when she first came to the role, so she worked out a dramatic story where she was eyeing up each prince as he presented himself to her and she would immediately take the hand of the next prince as he presented himself.

The thing is at this stage in her career she wasn't a ballerina, though she had become MacMillan's muse and had Ashton create Two Pigeons on her too, they knew she was going places, they just had to let her get strong enough to develop the technique, that she was a ballerina no one doubted.

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I have never judged an 'Aurora' by how long she can hold a balance, an Odile by how many turns she can spin, nor a Giselle's hops.

Exactly my feeling. I may very well admire and enjoy a ballerina who does the above mentioned sequences brilliantly, especially if she integrates them into the totality of her performances (and does so beautifully, musically, movingly), but these seemingly "iconic" moments should never (as I think) become fetishes. Indeed one of my objections to youtube (along with those already expressed by Simon, Alexandra, and others) is that it encourages a fetishization of isolated moments in a performance...And, of course, it entirely loses whole dimensions of the performances in question.

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I've seen Giselles who did not complete the hops on pointe, but would stop and go to Plan B, as Cristian put it, sometimes just skipping and skirt fluffing for the final few seconds.

...and don't you get some mixed feelings about it...as if telling yourself "Ah, you may get away with it with those who DON'T KNOW the choreography, but no with me girl..!"...?

...in almost every ballet there are steps that we think are necessary to the role, or our enjoyment of it, but weren't part of the ballet originally.

Wise words. I must confess that one of my biggest excitements EVER of Swan Lake was the Black Swan section...yes, I LOVED the exaggerated, femme fatale, Queen Grimhilde designed and inspired Odile....and then the pinnacle of her physical powers...the backward traveling penchee/sautés on pointe. Some ballerinas even did some fantastic port de bras signaling to Siegfried as if to attracting him, to which he would walk as if hiptonized...all this while Odile was all the way down...face and steely eyes on him. Ah, it was WONDERFUL!-(Madame Bosh and Madame Mendez were just spectacular on this). One day I saw my first Swan Lake out of Cuba...and poof...the magic was gone...forever. Dissapointing...VERY disappointing indeed, even now realizing that this was not a Petipa step.

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A superb story, Simon. I love her sympathy for Macleary. That quality of caring for, paying attention to, one's colleagues: it's something I always felt about Seymour when I watched her (admittedly only a few times) on stage. Thank you.

I must confess that one of my biggest excitements EVER of Swan Lake was the Black Swan section...yes, I LOVED the exaggerated, femme fatale, Queen Grimhilde designed and inspired Odile....and then the pinnacle of her physical powers...the backward traveling penchee/sautés on pointe. Some ballerinas even did some fantastic port de bras signaling to Siegfried as if to attracting him, to which he would walk as if hiptonized...all this while Odile was all the way down...face and steely eyes on him. Ah, it was WONDERFUL!-(Madame Bosh and Madame Mendez were just spectacular on this). One day I saw my first Swan Lake out of Cuba...and poof...the magic was gone...forever. Dissapointing...VERY disappointing indeed, even now realizing that this was not a Petipa step.

Another great story. Thank you, cristian. What we observe at a performance is so often conditioned by what we've learned in the past to see (and not see). The same holds true about what we love (and do not love). I guess the trick is to hold on to those early experiences -- but not to be frozen in place by them. In ballet, I've certainly had to submit myself to a lot of re-education, even though I would probably have been quite happy spending my life looking at Balanchine ballets at the NYCB. (With Balanchine still alive, well, and presiding over it all, of course!!! :wink:)

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I would probably have been quite happy spending my life looking at Balanchine ballets at the NYCB. (With Balanchine still alive, well, and presiding over it all, of course!!! :wink:)

And...don't you find yourself waiting for a super-deep 6 o'clock suported penchee, ballerina touching her supporting leg with her forheadhead in the slow movement of certain, beautiful "tutu-ballet" of him...? (Now, talk about "iconic"! :FIREdevil:)

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I would probably have been quite happy spending my life looking at Balanchine ballets at the NYCB. (With Balanchine still alive, well, and presiding over it all, of course!!! :wink:)

And...don't you find yourself waiting for a super-deep 6 o'clock suported penchee, ballerina touching her supporting leg with her forheadhead in the slow movement of certain, beautiful "tutu-ballet" of him...? (Now, talk about "iconic"! :FIREdevil:)

I can't quite tell how much you are serious and how much you are kidding, but for myself...not remotely. That's a decorative elaboration of the adagio in Symphony in C, not at all fundamental to the second movement's beauty. Iconic AND essential for me would be the the various great arching and bending drops into the man's arms that punctuate the ballerina role throughout. In this very integrated (modernist) plotless ballet, I would be dismayed if somehow it were re-choreographed without those movements...that would not be the adagio of Symphony in C. But that's very different from dancing a variant of one section of a variation in a more loosely constructed nineteenth-century ballet--and one that is already made of up of elements from different eras by different choreographers set to different composers. (As Alexandra said above: there is a reason they were called variations). And in Symphony in C I can easily live without the head to knee...

Let me add quickly, that like Cubanmiamiboy, I too 'expect' the hops in Giselle and enjoy them especially when beautifully done--but if from time to time I were to see a performance in which the ballerina left them out or had to change it up midway (I saw the latter once), that alone would not make or break Giselle Act I for me.

The first performances of Sleeping Beauty I ever saw that seemed to me worthy of the ballet's reputation were danced by the Kirov some years ago (Sergeyev version). As mentioned already in this discussion: No fish dives! I was surprised and, I admit, 'disappointed' especially as I did not anticipate the change (to my eyes 'change'): but I still thought it was the best Sleeping Beauty I had ever seen.

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I've seen Giselles who did not complete the hops on pointe, but would stop and go to Plan B, as Cristian put it, sometimes just skipping and skirt fluffing for the final few seconds.

...and don't you get some mixed feelings about it...as if telling yourself "Ah, you may get away with it with those who DON'T KNOW the choreography, but no with me girl..!"...?

Actually.....no :)

I agree with what Drew wrote above. I'd add that I don't care about the technical perfection except A) at a ballet competition or B) when technical perfection is the point of the piece. (Recognizing that there are many others who would have undoubtedly hated Pavlova's "Dying Swan" because it was not a bravura piece :) )

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Very long thread, and much that;s not about Sevillano....

I'm with those who're grateful to have been introduced to Sevillano, who seems a dancer of very great talent, modesty, imagination, delicacy, modesty, and charm. The pirouettes in attitude, which she turns superlatively well, are all the evidence I need of sturdy technique, and the little dance she makes out of the pizzicato section is I find wonderfully Giselle-like, modest and dancerly, and just as pretty as the ballonnes. After all, Giselle loves to DANCE, she's not someone who goes to class to 'do ballet."

The diagonal that Christian mentions is something the Russian companies never do -- Bolshoi and Kirov ballerinas do a manege of pique turns, usually VERY fast, and usually with one hand holding the skirt. All the versions staged by Freddie Franklin and I suppose Ballets-Ruses derived, have the diagonal, which is considerably more difficult and not IMHO lovelier.

"A little learning is a dangerous thing." The toe hops are not iconic there are many ways of doing them. Look around, you'll see them with rond de jambes, straight ballonnes, ballonnes alternating with 4 little hops in attitude devant.... The music is not wonderful, it's just a nice little interpolation by Burgmuller.

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The diagonal that Christian mentions is something the Russian companies never do -- Bolshoi and Kirov ballerinas do a manege of pique turns, usually VERY fast, and usually with one hand holding the skirt.

Here's a clip of Osipova doing the hops (at 1:21), while guesting in Siberia.

Here's a clip of Osipova in another Russian production; the hops start at 4:07:

Did she add them because of Western influences?? Do other Russian women do the hops now, too?

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Giving this thread a bump in the hope someone will respond to California's question.

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The diagonal that Christian mentions is something the Russian companies never do -- Bolshoi and Kirov ballerinas do a manege of pique turns, usually VERY fast, and usually with one hand holding the skirt.

Here's a clip of Osipova doing the hops (at 1:21), while guesting in Siberia.

Here's a clip of Osipova in another Russian production; the hops start at 4:07:

Did she add them because of Western influences?? Do other Russian women do the hops now, too?

California...there are two diagonals being discussed here, actually one right after the other one. The sautes on pointe are done by all ballerinas, both in Russia and the Western world. The other diagonal, the one I am so fond of and only survives in a handful of companies-(mainly after stagins done by Dolin and Alonso)-is the one that concludes Giselle's Pas Seul, when she runs back to her starting point to her back left wing and starts a madly fast diagonal of pirouette/passe/chainee. It's generally believed that this diagonal was incorporated by Spessivtseva.

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Sorry, California, I need to "disambiguate" -- I was not referring to the diagonal of toe-hops, but to the VERY END of the variation, which in Ballets-Russes-style settings is a difficult diagonal of pique turns alternating with emboites on pointe;

as seen here, 1:14-end, danced by ALicia Markova in 1951

it's THAT diagonal that hte Russians don't do, but instead do a circle of very fast pique turns holding the skirt -- as in the clip of Osipova you posted (which is lovely, by the way, THANK YOU, I've never seen that one before, it's simple, delicate).

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This debate reminds me of the debate over differences in one of Albrecht's solo. I just did a little googling and discovered that a full decade ago this discussion board was debating Nureyev's entrechats sixes vs. Baryshikov's flying brises:

I guess because I've seen the tape of Baryshnikov's version so much (the 1977 Live from Lincoln Center, with Makarova, later released on VHS) that I am jolted when I see Albrecht's doing something different.

I can't find a clip of Nureyev, but here's Baryshnikov (at 2:02):

I don't think I could find the source back, but I remember an interview with Baryshnikov right after his defection when he asked if the brises were "too much," suggesting he knew he was changing the usual choreography. (Indeed, it appears not all of Albrecht's solos appeared in the original versions.)

I just found a clip of Erik Bruhn from 1969. Perhaps this is what Nureyev did? The same passage starts at about 2:20:

Rudolf Nureyev was highly influenced by Erik Bruhn and changed his variations in the second act Giselle seemingly

under Bruhn's tutelage or was it vice versa?

In this film and from memory, the first two variations are virtually identical to what Nureyev danced although I do not remember him exactly matching the 32 entrechat six of Bruhn, but Nureyev's feet, were more beautifully stretched.

The next two danced sequences were not performed in the same choreography, but the final dance sequence was.

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I've always been under the impression that many changes and substitutions and bravura additions have been Soviet-born, being instituted by ether Rudy or Misha post defection. About Albrecht duality of steps during his pre-floor collapse # 2 all could add, if this is of any relevance, is that as long as Dolin was still visiting Havana and restaging and refreshing with Alonso the ballet, neither step was ever part of the section. At this point Albrecht usually gets out and keeps circling the Willis territory asking for mercy, and then dances a little in between the begging, but always in circles with a heavy load of miming until Giselle gets out to join him in the diagonal of little traveling lifts in arabesque. As long as 1980, when Alonso danced with Vladimir Vasiliev-(and Dolin again coached her)-he didn't do neither brises nor entrechats. He was coached then by Ulanova, but they decided to follow the Dolin-Markova version once again.

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I've always been under the impression that many changes and substitutions and bravura additions have been Soviet-born, being instituted by ether Rudy or Misha post defection. About Albrecht duality of steps during his pre-floor collapse # 2 all could add, if this is of any relevance, is that as long as Dolin was still visiting Havana and restaging and refreshing with Alonso the ballet, neither step was ever part of the section. At this point Albrecht usually gets out and keeps circling the Willis territory asking for mercy, and then dances a little in between the begging, but always in circles with a heavy load of miming until Giselle gets out to join him in the diagonal of little traveling lifts in arabesque. As long as 1980, when Alonso danced with Vladimir Vasiliev-(and Dolin again coached her)-he didn't do neither brises nor entrechats. He was coached then by Ulanova, but they decided to follow the Dolin-Markova version once again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD1vYmfMSmk

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I've always been under the impression that many changes and substitutions and bravura additions have been Soviet-born, being instituted by ether Rudy or Misha post defection. About Albrecht duality of steps during his pre-floor collapse # 2 all could add, if this is of any relevance, is that as long as Dolin was still visiting Havana and restaging and refreshing with Alonso the ballet, neither step was ever part of the section. At this point Albrecht usually gets out and keeps circling the Willis territory asking for mercy, and then dances a little in between the begging, but always in circles with a heavy load of miming until Giselle gets out to join him in the diagonal of little traveling lifts in arabesque. As long as 1980, when Alonso danced with Vladimir Vasiliev-(and Dolin again coached her)-he didn't do neither brises nor entrechats. He was coached then by Ulanova, but they decided to follow the Dolin-Markova version once again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD1vYmfMSmk

I cannot see who is dancing but if it Miss Sevillano it is a very laboured effort at times, lacking flow and interspersed with pirouettes totally out of keeping with a Romantic ballet.

Sadly I remember her in London where she was extremely popular as a much better artist.

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I voted "no." Just as weak as the 1978 Don Q pdd during an ABT Live from Lincoln Center telecast in which Makarova replaced Kitris's 32 fouettes in the coda with pique turns around the stage or something similar. Do not replace the iconic steps unless it's with something even more difficult/grander/showier, e.g., Olesya Novikova replacing Raymonda's diagonal of hops on pointe in Act 2 with hops in entrechats-quatre.

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Natalia, I agree with you in part, but would say that in "new" steps, the ENERGY that comes across has to be greater than or equal to the iconic combination's. With respect to codas -- which is where the fouettes always go -- they are mini-finales and as a general rule must be corruscating, so the substitution must be dazzling.

But dazzle isn't always the quality that's wanted. In other cases, there could be another aspect of the ballet that the artists want to bring to he fore -- some aspect of the character, or a heightening of a mood that's NOT a brio-mood, or some aspect of hte dancer that is telling and appropriate. For example, Markova was astonishingly adept at stillness, and her version of Giselle's solo is remarkable for the piques in arabesque in which she perches suddenly, like a bird lighting on a branch, in a perfectly placed arabesque. She could stop and start -- Denby noticed this -- with more clarity than any other dancer of her generation. And clips still show this.

Mme Alonso also had this gift of stillness to an astonishing degree (and she has said that when she was young, she modelled her performances on Markova's) -- it's a feature of Romantic style, most noticeable perhaps in Pas de QUatre. Osipova's lovely arabesques in hte clip posted by California have a lovely arrested quality to them, but she does not produce them as sharply as Markova, nor does she attack the attitude turn with the alacrity of Markova -- it's really stunning, Markova's attitude turns are launched and sailing before you can see the impetus.

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I voted "no." Just as weak as the 1978 Don Q pdd during an ABT Live from Lincoln Center telecast in which Makarova replaced Kitris's 32 fouettes in the coda with pique turns around the stage or something similar.

If it's good enough for Maya Plitsetskaya, it's good enough for me ;)

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Not for me. :) Lovely Dying Swan and a powerful presence, in general..but Maya was hardly a paradigm of technical excellence. Ever.

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Not for me. :) Lovely Dying Swan and a powerful presence, in general..but Maya was hardly a paradigm of technical excellence. Ever.

Time to confess we're both traveling in the same boat here, Natasha...

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Sorry, California, I need to "disambiguate" -- I was not referring to the diagonal of toe-hops, but to the VERY END of the variation, which in Ballets-Russes-style settings is a difficult diagonal of pique turns alternating with emboites on pointe;

as seen here, 1:14-end, danced by ALicia Markova in 1951

it's THAT diagonal that hte Russians don't do...

The diagonal done by;

Miss S.

Miss F.

and Miss V.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bAy7zA535s

:clapping:

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