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To dance it or not to dance it......if can't be danced as it was meant to..or as we know it..


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Poll: Trinidad Sevillano's Spessivtseva's Pas Seul (16 member(s) have cast votes)

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

  1. Yes (12 votes [75.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 75.00%

  2. No (4 votes [25.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#16 bart

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 05:51 AM

Great topic -- videos -- and introduction to a ballerina I have never seen, even in video. Thanks, all.

I'm with those who feel that the hops on point are essential (at least by this point in the ballet's performance history) They fit the music and are simply TOO "iconic" to replace, especially with something as simple as the step Sevillano chooses. Their absence becomes a major choreographic statement in itself. Sevillano, by leaving them out, leaves us with an unintended impression: that she cannot do them.

I'll wager that Mme. Hermine is right -- this was most likely a matter of injury on that particular performance.

It's clear this was a fascinating and very talented ballerina. I agree with Simon that it is unfair to take this Giselle performance out of the larger context of her work.

As for the other videos: love the Fracci and don't really understand the criticism that she is "too mannered." I read the peformance as charming. Giselle strikes me as one of those girls who knows how to charm, despite her basic naivete.

Markova is a revelation; it's good to see that more videos of this dancer, whom few of us could ever have seen, are becoming available. Let's hope for more videos of Sevillano, too.

#17 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 06:01 AM



#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 09:57 AM

Edited: double post

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:00 AM

Edited: double post

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:01 AM

For some reason I suspect that the diagonal ending was another of those difficult additions done by Spessivtseva, even if the pas was created before her-(just as the three fish dives of Beauty)-and then picked up by the western world via Markova, Alonso etc...whereas I notice that the Russians always do the round of pique turns-(as in Ulanova's video). ABT probably ceased to include the diagonal when Misha was in charge. MCB probably will get some coaching from someone out of Misha's years. I still think it is a pity that this diagonal doesn't get performed more often over here... :(

Anyway...back to the sautés on pointe...



Corsaire...? Isn't this DQ's Dryad Queen variation...? :dunno:

#21 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:30 AM





#22 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:47 AM

CMB, have you never seen this variation done in this pas de deux?

#23 Simon G

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:48 AM

The Medora section in the Corsaire PDD & the Queen of the Dryads section from Don Q in the Kirov productions are the same, or rather in certain productions the same enchainement is used, though in the Corsaire it's a principal role in Don Q, a first soloist/soloist role.

This just illustrates how fluid ballet actually is and how open to change, interpolations and especially in the classics the notion of a set in stone way of doing things is fallacious.

#24 Quiggin

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:27 PM

As for the other videos: love the Fracci and don't really understand the criticism that she is "too mannered."


It looked more like an equivalent to a lieder performance or bel canto opera – my own bias is to more stripped down performances – more inward turned inward outward. Markova's and Spessivtzseva's, on the heels of Ballet Russes modernism, seemed purer.

A member of the Berlin Philharmonic horn section, in a master class here, said that there were no tricks to being musical – the question was about Dennis Brain – that he simply played all the the notes cleanly. The students had picked up all sorts of mannerisms and both he and the bass cellist in another class had to help them eliminate all the "personal touches" they had added along the way. Kyra Nichols has commented about having to pare back all the ornamentation that came with the roles she inherited from Suzanne Farrell.

Yes, I've gone way off topic.

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:31 PM

CMB, have you never seen this variation done in this pas de deux?


True...the Sizova video has it, Mme. But live I've only seen it with the other variation...the one danced by Kurgapkina in the next clip.




But back to the OT. Someone here mentioned Radestsky's TPDD variation as an example of how a step can be changed along the way according to the dancer's weaknesses or strengths. BUT there are steps AND steps...some more iconic than others, and some in some more iconic ballet than others. If you get me to see "In the Upper room" with the 85% of the steps changed I probably won't even realize about it. I'm not familiar with the ballet and there is so much happening all the time that I doubt many people can account for its complete choreographic knowledge, at least on the audience side. But this is Giselle...and the sautés are probably one of the most bare, exposed, naked series of steps in the whole history of balletic choreography. EVERYONE is watching her...both audiences on and offstage, and somehow this feels as the climax of the ballerina's level of technique. For some reason I doubt Sevillano acted out of a moment's injury...it looks to me as if the substitution had been carefully choreographed and rehearsed in advance. This is very different from a "night off".
And back to the iconic steps and Tchai. PDD. What about if instead of the variations-(which is well known Balanchine allowed in life to be reworked many times by different dancers)-the dancing couple decides that the two killer fish dives of the coda are simply too dangerous to do and instead decide to do something else...? Would we be as satisfied...?

#26 bart

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 02:34 PM

OFF TOPIC --

Thanks, Quiggin. I am in agreement about the virtues of simplifying. It was just that I am not sure that this is something needed for Giselle, Act I. (Act II -- yes.)

Kyra Nichols has commented about having to pare back all the ornamentation that came with the roles she inherited from Suzanne Farrell.

Ouch!:smilie_mondieu::wink:

#27 Helene

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:26 PM

Mme. Hermine posted a link to video tribute on YouTube to the late Berezhnoi in this thread.

http://balletalert.i...post__p__290326

In the section from the Wedding Pas de Deux from "Sleeping Beauty", Berezhnoi and Terekhova do not perform the fish dives. I don't think this takes anything away from their performances.

#28 bart

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:49 PM

I'm no expert on this, but isn't the fish dive an interpolation dating from the early 20th century? It is "iconic," indeed. But ... of what?

What Berezhnoi and Terekhova DO in this peformance is elegant, beautiful, and quite suited to the music.

The same cannot be said for Sevillano's set of pas de cheval, which create a choreographic dead spot in the midst of some of the most familiar music in the score.

Edited to add: This comment is not to criticize Sevillano. It's meant to address Christian's original question about what we think about changed choreography. Most dancers, at some point in their careers, have had to make last minute shifts in the choreography -- whether due to injury or other circumstances. The long history of "what to do after failing to complete the 32 fouettes" is an example of this.

#29 Simon G

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:58 PM

But this is Giselle...and the sautés are probably one of the most bare, exposed, naked series of steps in the whole history of balletic choreography. EVERYONE is watching her...both audiences on and offstage, and somehow this feels as the climax of the ballerina's level of technique. For some reason I doubt Sevillano acted out of a moment's injury...it looks to me as if the substitution had been carefully choreographed and rehearsed in advance. This is very different from a "night off".
And back to the iconic steps and Tchai. PDD. What about if instead of the variations-(which is well known Balanchine allowed in life to be reworked many times by different dancers)-the dancing couple decides that the two killer fish dives of the coda are simply too dangerous to do and instead decide to do something else...? Would we be as satisfied...?



1. There are many who saw Sevillano complete the hops, myself included on numerous occasions. You're basing your whole damning of her on 10 seconds of amateur film shot years ago. There's ample evidence of her technical virtuosity posted & on youtube, but that doesn't fit what seems to amount to a hustings against Sevillano.

2. You can't base a thorough knowledge of any dancer from one clip on youtube. Especially not great dancers who all have their off nights, off moments or in the case of late stage Alonso off decades. But I know that there's ample attesting to how great Alonso was and don't take certain phases of her career or performances as all she's about. I mean if that were so there's ample to damn Alonso as a deluded blind old woman who got it into her head that Giselle is Baby Jane Hudson with brittle bone disease. But let's not go there.

3. If the whole purpose of this thread was to say you think Sevillano is crap. Just come out and say it, it could be a good point for discussion about a beautiful dancer who you may not happen to like, again based on 10 seconds of film. But that's an honest point of departure for discussion.

4. "The Whole History of ballet choreography" that's a rather subjective and bathetic claim and implies you know every school and piece and choreographer and their work over several hundred years, all contemporary ballet choreographers and have done an academic comparison.

5. Ballet is live performance, people have off nights, off days. Sometimes they change stuff in advance to accommodate an injury, sometimes they do it onstage, sometimes new partners do ommit fish dives and dangerous lifts if they feel unsafe or uncertain, or one is injured, no you don't see the choreography complete, but that's not what dance is about, nor is it what great artists are about.

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 04:02 PM

Mme. Hermine posted a link to video tribute on YouTube to the late Berezhnoi in this thread.

http://balletalert.i...post__p__290326

In the section from the Wedding Pas de Deux from "Sleeping Beauty", Berezhnoi and Terekhova do not perform the fish dives. I don't think this takes anything away from their performances.


I notice that the Russians never perform the fish dives. According to Danilova the steps were added for Spessivtseva in the Diaguilev production of Beauty, a production that took place out of Russia, and then again the western hemisphere adopted them as one of the most iconic ones, this time thanks in part to Fonteyn. Apparently the steps were never incorporated into the Russian/Soviet production. The Sizova/Soloviev video and the reconstruction show exactly the same sequence of Aurora throwing herself in her back into Desiree's arms.


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