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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 sautÚs?

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

    Percentage of vote: 75.00%

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

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

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#46 ksk04

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:27 PM

About this particular point in Giselle. Has anyone seen OTHER examples of dancers choosing not to do the hops on point? What did they do?


A few years ago on tour out here, Maria Riccetto slipped off pointe mid-hops and finished off the rest of the counts with traveling fondu releves. It was a seamless transition and if she came up with it on the fly I say bravo!

The fondu releves looked a lot better than Sevillano's replaced steps, but I would hazard the issue for Sevillano was her ankle, and she was probably trying to avoid excessive work on it so the fondu releves would not have been a feasible substitution.

#47 Simon G

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:32 PM


jane, i thought she had also danced ondine? but i don't recall that she was a regular member of the company.


MH, I can't find any reference to her doing Ondine, or - so far - anyone who can remember her doing it. Of course that doesn't mean it didn't happen, so I'll keep asking, but I'd be surprised if such a potentially memorable piece of casting had made so little impact!



I have a feeling that maybe Mme Hermine has mixed Sevillano up with Gelsey Kirkland who was supposed to dance the revival of Ondine for two performances at the ROH in October 1988, but pulled out at the eleventh hour due to tendonitis and was replaced by Maria Almeida.

Sevillano worked closely with Kirkland on Giselle and stated in several interviews that the two biggest influences on her and her dancing were Kirkland and Lynn Seymour.

#48 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:35 PM

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.

#49 Alexandra

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:42 PM

I wonder what "Giselle" did before that solo was added (by Petipa, way after the premiere)? I don't mean to suggest that anyone today would be trying to be "authentic," but 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.

I can't remember seeing a ballerina not do the hops on pointe, but 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.

#50 California

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 03:46 PM

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:
http://balletalert.i...hats-or-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:


#51 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 03:46 PM

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.

#52 Alexandra

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:03 PM

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. )

#53 Simon G

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:21 PM

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.

#54 Drew

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 09:34 PM

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.

#55 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:04 AM

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.

#56 bart

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:21 AM

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:)

#57 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:27 PM

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:)

#58 Drew

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:03 PM


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.

#59 Alexandra

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:11 PM

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 :) )

#60 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:45 AM

Boo...I give up...! (just kidding...I'll keep trying... :D )


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