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Dancers/Performances that hold up over time


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#1 vipa

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

I was looking at some youtube videos of Peter Schaufuss and thought that this guy would be considered a great performer by today's standards - what is it 30 years later? He out dances some of today's virtuoso dancers. Here are some links.





A surprising number of dance fans have never heard of Peter Schaufuss.

I'm curious about other dancers whose performances hold up as technical standards change.

#2 Amy Reusch

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:19 PM

Well... Baryshnikov does....







And that clip of Gelsey Kirkland rolling down out of piqué arabesque is still breathtaking...





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#3 Amy Reusch

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:19 PM

Soloviev almost does on all counts... I wish elevation was still the focus, I'd rather see a grand jeté climb to these heights than legs whip open in an oversplit.




Vladimiroff's line doesn't hold up well to the lens of time, but i think his elevation does:



#4 Amy Reusch

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 08:21 PM

Sylvie Guillem's flexibilty has become almost commonplace now, yet no one seems to have quite her movement quality... There is a chic 1980s nonchalance to her performance of "in the Middle" that none of the hyperflexible followers have quite caught:





#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:27 AM

When thinking and talking about sharpness and brisk movements, I always point to Raisa Struchkova...I think this Kitri variation is the most perfectly executed-(and fastest)-I've ever seen live or in video. My standard for "sparkling", that is...



#6 aurora

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:16 AM

When thinking and talking about sharpness and brisk movements, I always point to Raisa Struchkova...I think this Kitri variation is the most perfectly executed-(and fastest)-I've ever seen live or in video. My standard for "sparkling", that is...


And for me, that is one that most certainly does not hold up. I'd rather have less speed and have turn out, pointed feet (for me, those are the point--no pun intended--of a series of passees) and straight knees.
Sorry, this does have its charms (including her adorable demeanor) but it also shows everything I find problematic in some earlier dancers.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:46 AM

We definitely have to agree to disagree here, Aurora. One of my biggest complaints on current ballet is the lacking of that brisk quality, the fast accent, the energetic approach and fast tempo so characteristic of mid-century dancers, nowadays so lost by giving way to a perfect placement/position/pose that takes foreeeeeeeeever to complete sometimes. Of course, there were exceptions of great technicians that were able to achieve both. I never saw, of course, Mme. Markova's dancing, but from all accounts, she was one of those rare examples. They say Alonso was capable to get both approaches too. The old videos of the Soviet ballet contains countless examples of what you see as a minus-(included Vladimirov and Struchkova above)-but I see the end product, after the pros and cons as a very enjoyable performance rather than a perfectly placed/posed one. Basically, the balance goes, for me, to the good side. The point of the series of passes in Kitri's variation, rather than showing straight knees, as you say, should be, for me, to show Kitri's sparkling personality. When that is lost, even with the straightest of knees, everything is gone, and the performance becomes a boring, robotic, lifeless class exercise. Kitri, then, blends and dissolves in pure technique and becomes everyone else: Giselle, Odile, Raymonda...who knows, who cares...it's all the same. I mean...let's just compare next...



#8 Kerry1968

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:27 PM

Maximova is a dancer who has stood the test of time.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:35 PM

Maximova, definitely...


Markova...?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl8qskS2ZIM

Alonso...?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXdarXu2sn8

#10 vipa

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

Interesting postings. When I started this topic I was thinking of performances that were great ones in the past that could be put on the stage today. I believe that the Shaufuss that I posted and the Baryshnikov, Kirkland & Guillium posted by Amy fit that.

Amy thank you for posting Soloviev and Vladimiroff, I hadn't seen those before. I agree totally with your comments about them.

The other way to think of it is qualities of past performances that we still appreciate today. I see that in the Alonso, Makova, Maximo performances, but despite their good qualities, those performances would never make it to the stage today.

I have one more to post for now. Speed, musicality, performance quality.

Helgi Tommason 1969



#11 aurora

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

The other way to think of it is qualities of past performances that we still appreciate today. I see that in the Alonso, Makova, Maximo performances, but despite their good qualities, those performances would never make it to the stage today.


with regards to Alonso, technically, when in her prime (not when she kept performing after she ought not to have) she has always struck me as someone who COULD hold their own against modern dancers. Her extensions aren't the same, but I see that as as mucha matter of choice as ability perhaps. I wonder if in her case its a sense of DRAMA--writ large, that seems out of keeping with modern sensibilities. Because her technical abilities really were ahead of her time.

#12 Helene

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:59 PM

There's a reality between film and rosy memories, but even if dancers we see on video were always shot in the best quality in their prime, it reflects overall quality for a lucky few. I don't "get" Fonteyn from film, and when the people I most respect say "You had to be there.", I believe them. I could have picked apart this or that turn or balance or landing in all four performances of "Don Q" I saw this weekend if I watched the videotape, but that's not how I experienced them in the theater.



#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:48 AM


The other way to think of it is qualities of past performances that we still appreciate today. I see that in the Alonso, Makova, Maximo performances, but despite their good qualities, those performances would never make it to the stage today.


with regards to Alonso, technically, when in her prime (not when she kept performing after she ought not to have) she has always struck me as someone who COULD hold their own against modern dancers. Her extensions aren't the same, but I see that as as mucha matter of choice as ability perhaps. I wonder if in her case its a sense of DRAMA--writ large, that seems out of keeping with modern sensibilities. Because her technical abilities really were ahead of her time.


Definitely, Alexandra. The best example of your statement is the clip I just posted. I've seen that very variation danced countless times by countless ballerinas, both live and in video, and the ONLY one I've seen up to that level of technique-(particularly during the final speedy diagonal, almost now difunct I suspect due to its difficulty)-has been Mme. Fracci in the video with Bruhn. NONE of the dancers I ever saw in Cuba, from the late Josefina Mendez to Miss Viengsay Valdes were able to achieve such perfection in that variation as Alonso does. And I suspect that THAT particular video wasn't an isolated case, IMO...



#14 leonid17

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:54 PM


When thinking and talking about sharpness and brisk movements, I always point to Raisa Struchkova...I think this Kitri variation is the most perfectly executed-(and fastest)-I've ever seen live or in video. My standard for "sparkling", that is...


And for me, that is one that most certainly does not hold up. I'd rather have less speed and have turn out, pointed feet (for me, those are the point--no pun intended--of a series of passees) and straight knees.
Sorry, this does have its charms (including her adorable demeanor) but it also shows everything I find problematic in some earlier dancers.



[size=4][font=Arial]Raissa Struchkova (born 1925) was more than, ”adorable..." she was a highly accomplished technician whom I saw dance on a number of occasions both in full length works and in a highly successful Pot-Pourri tour of the UK.[/font]

[font=Arial]If you are comparing modern ballet dancers that you have seen, with a dancer you never saw dance and is shown in a Soviet cabaret style performance, I can understand your point of view.[/font]

[font=Arial]See http://www.for-ballet-lovers-only.com/biographies-struchkova.html[/font]

[font=Arial]As an 18 year old teenager I particularly remember her performances with the Bolshoi at Covent Garden. Here is silent footage of her as Juliet. http://www.britishpathe.com/video/macmillan-at-the-moscow-bolshoi-theatre[/font]


[font=Arial]Raissa Struckhova not only wowed me she also got praise from the tough London critics of the early 1960's as she did with New York critics on the 1959 Bolshoi visit.[/font]

[font=Arial]Struchkova was in that category of dancers whose expression in performance fulfilled the aim of storytelling through dance adding an ability to touch people in ways that many leading dancers of today never can.[/font]

[font=Arial]Film of Struchkova in Walpurgis Night starts at 1.53 [/font]

[font=Arial][/font]

[font=Arial]Seasoned ballet enthusiasts and critics from Covent Garden pursued her last tour around Britain to capture the possibility of experiencing the expressive dynamics of dance in performance that Struchkova fulfilled. [/font]

[font=Times New Roman]http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1083/is_9_79/ai_n15674559/[/font]

[font=Times New Roman]Ps[/font]
[font=Times New Roman]Doris Hering described Raissa Struchkova as. “glorious.”[/font][/size]

#15 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:20 PM

The way Leonid talks about Struchkova's dancing from so many decades ago, the very fact that someone is capable to describe certain performances from the past with such vivid recollection is, for me, the very key, the essence and center of the title of this thread. "Holding up over time" doesn't happen with a lot of frequency. I'm sure the majority of balletomanes here have seen hundreds, if not thousand, of performances by countless companies, and then, at the end, you can always detect just a handful of names that come up as having stood in people's mind more than 20, 30, or even more than half century ago, as we've seen in this very board. I'm sure those same balletomanes have also seen a gazillion of technically achieved-(and probably superior, I'm not saying the opposite)-bailarines and ballerinas who have danced with impeccable technique, but only those who have managed to have that other inner quality to wow and to stay engraved in our brains and in paper via formal critic have made the cuts. As I say..I detect just a handful of names that gets to be repeated over and over in BT's threads, whereas they belong to the old BT, BRdMC, RB, NYCB, ABT and so on...
I think two classical examples of this are Fonteyn and Danilova. How many times we've heard and read, even by some of their contemporaries, that they were ballerinas who were not able to achieve a certain technical level that others had around them at the time, but still somehow managed to go down on history as two of the greatest...?

Edited to add: If the title of the thread would have contained the "in the technical level" phrase as a modifier, then probably many of those big names would not be able to make the final cut.


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