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What would a reconstruction be like?


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#1 trieste

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:02 PM

Recently, I went to show my non-balletomane friend Swan Lake for the first time. I wanted a version that was loyal to Petipa, included mime so the story made sense...basically, I wanted an ideal Swan Lake to show her, but I found that most versions of SL are not for the uninitiated. True, the ballet is almost cliche...but not to those who know nothing about it! (For those wondering, I showed her the Nureyev/POB version with Letestu, since I know she likes the French style and finds Russian dancers extreme and jarring. She loved it. :) )

I started fantasizing about what a loyal academic reconstruction woukd be like. What variations would we get or lose? Would the story and characters resonate more, making SL less an abstract backdrop for the choreography? I feel like it would hardly resemble some current Lakes in terms of mood and overall aesthetic (Purple Rothbart, I'm looking at you...) Also, would it even meet modern expectations of what Swan Lake should be, or would it be a museum piece for dance historians, a novelty? I, personally, wish Vikharev would be given the reins here, so that we would get Russians dancing Swan Lake like only they can, but with the mime and drama that they've stripped from their productions...

Forgive me if this has been addressed specifically or extensively.

#2 Birdsall

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:04 AM

I wouldn't mind seeing a reconstruction of Swan Lake either. That is the fun of ballet (to compare and contrast not just dancers but the choreography in different versions). However, like you mention (or imply) it is always a compromise. In reconstructions we sometimes lose a variation or sequence that was later added but so beloved. The reconstruction of Bayadere is fascinating but how you miss the Golden Idol, for example!!!!

Have you seen the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake dvd with Nunez? I believe it contains more mime than any other version I have seen, if I remember correctly. However, it is not a reconstruction. The sets are a bit unusual and weird. But Nunez is a very sexy Odile.

I have a feeling these reconstructions cost a lot of time and money and are a labor of love and then they aren't always successful with audiences. I think the recent Raymonda reconstruction is fabulous. I think the Bayadere reconstruction is a bit long winded. The final "lost" act somehow doesn't work dramatically (maybe I am just too used to the Makarova version). However, it is quite fascinating to see how much music was taken from the last act and stuck into the engagement party scene! I like the Sleeping Beauty one in some ways and in some ways I prefer the more traditional versions. But without a doubt it is always fascinating to see a reconstruction.....to see what it might have originally looked like....I am surprised there is no Swan Lake reconstruction.

I think the Mariinsky version and the Royal Ballet versions include black swans dancing with the white swans in the last act. This is before the movie Black Swan came out, so they didn't do this to capitalize on the movie. But in many productions the only black swan is Odile and all the others are always white. I wonder if the black swans in the last act were originally part of Swan Lake. Does anyone know?

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:02 PM

K. Sergueiev's choreo is engraved too deep already. There's no way out I think...(but then so it was his Beauty, and still the reconstruction went on)

#4 Amy

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 04:24 PM

I would love to see a Swan Lake reconstruction! In fact, if I was ever somehow given the chance, I would love to make a film version of Swan Lake with the notated choreography restored 100%.

 

Forgive me if I sound crazy guys, but I just think that would be so awesome! Lol what do you think?



#5 Amy

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 04:27 PM

I think the Mariinsky version and the Royal Ballet versions include black swans dancing with the white swans in the last act. This is before the movie Black Swan came out, so they didn't do this to capitalize on the movie. But in many productions the only black swan is Odile and all the others are always white. I wonder if the black swans in the last act were originally part of Swan Lake. Does anyone know?

And yes Bart, black swans were used by Ivanov in the original final act and only the Royal Ballet and Mariinsky use the music to which he choreographed the Waltz of the White and Black Swans.



#6 FauxPas

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 06:50 AM

Roland John Wiley in his book "Tchaikovsky's Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker" goes into the original "Swan Lake" (by which you mean the 1895 Petipa/Ivanov Mariinsky version rather than the 1877 Bolshoi).  

 

Some ideas: supposedly in Act II when Odette entered she had a retinue of baby swans performed by young students.  The Act II pas de deux would be a pas de trois with Benno helping out.  Also, in the grand pas there were hunters that followed Siegfried and Benno to the lakeside and partnered the swan corps.  I think that maybe the elimination of all of this leaving us with just Siegfried and Odette and the swan maiden corps is a good idea.

 

Here is Doug Fullington reconstructing the original Black Swan PDD:

http://www.youtube.c...N3cfGc#t=26m10s

 

 

Also Act IV of the Royal Ballet version staged by Anthony Dowell uses the Sergeyev notations to reconstruct Ivanov's original choreography.



#7 Amy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:11 AM

Roland John Wiley in his book "Tchaikovsky's Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker" goes into the original "Swan Lake" (by which you mean the 1895 Petipa/Ivanov Mariinsky version rather than the 1877 Bolshoi).  

 

Some ideas: supposedly in Act II when Odette entered she had a retinue of baby swans performed by young students.  The Act II pas de deux would be a pas de trois with Benno helping out.  Also, in the grand pas there were hunters that followed Siegfried and Benno to the lakeside and partnered the swan corps.  I think that maybe the elimination of all of this leaving us with just Siegfried and Odette and the swan maiden corps is a good idea.

I would actually really like to see that; I would like the original Act 2 Pas de deux because I'd like to see how the group of hunters partnered the Swan Maidens. I think it sounds really interesting.

 

And here is a clip from the Royal Ballet's 1960 production starring Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes with Ivanov's original scheme for the pas de deux:

 

I think this is a really interesting scheme for a Pas de deux, but I wouldn't use it today because no dancer today does what the great Pavel Gerdt did. I'll just stick to following the great Nikolai Legat's example, as he was the one to turn the pas into a Pas de deux when he succeeded Gerdt in the role of Prince Siegfried.



#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:51 AM

There are productions in which Siegfried's friends stand onstage at times during the PDD, each of them with a pair of swans leaning on them, a la Chopiniana's first tableaux-(I believe Balanchine's staging has it, as I recall from the MCB production...?).

 

Me, I would like to see a company actually staging the whole '77 ballroom Pas de Six, with all its variations, in which Odile apparently danced the Danse Russe.   On the other side, I've always considered the '77 Act IV sequence of music way more fitting and logic than Drigo's '95 reworking.



#9 Amy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:01 AM

There are productions in which Siegfried's friends stand onstage at times during the PDD, each of them with a pair of swans leaning on them, a la Chopiniana's first tableaux-(I believe Balanchine's staging has it, as I recall from the MCB production...?).

 

Me, I would like to see a company actually staging the whole '77 ballroom Pas de Six, with all its variations, in which Odile apparently danced the Danse Russe.   On the other side, I've always considered the '77 Act IV sequence of music way more fitting and logic than Drigo's '95 reworking.

Yeah I think she did because Tchaikovsky composed that Russian dance for Pelageya Karpakova, who was the first Odette/Odile. Unfortunately, she didn't get very good reviews.

 

I like Drigo's reworking of the Act 4 music, but I'm always going to love Tchaikovsky's original orchestration and dynamics for the finale.



#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:50 AM

 

Roland John Wiley in his book "Tchaikovsky's Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker" goes into the original "Swan Lake" (by which you mean the 1895 Petipa/Ivanov Mariinsky version rather than the 1877 Bolshoi).  

 

Some ideas: supposedly in Act II when Odette entered she had a retinue of baby swans performed by young students.  The Act II pas de deux would be a pas de trois with Benno helping out.  Also, in the grand pas there were hunters that followed Siegfried and Benno to the lakeside and partnered the swan corps.  I think that maybe the elimination of all of this leaving us with just Siegfried and Odette and the swan maiden corps is a good idea.

I would actually really like to see that; I would like the original Act 2 Pas de deux because I'd like to see how the group of hunters partnered the Swan Maidens. I think it sounds really interesting.

 

And here is a clip from the Royal Ballet's 1960 production starring Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes with Ivanov's original scheme for the pas de deux:

 

I think this is a really interesting scheme for a Pas de deux, but I wouldn't use it today because no dancer today does what the great Pavel Gerdt did. I'll just stick to following the great Nikolai Legat's example, as he was the one to turn the pas into a Pas de deux when he succeeded Gerdt in the role of Prince Siegfried.

 

 

What a beautiful clip.  Oh, I wish ballet would revert to this beautiful short, high waisted crispy tutus..! I really dislike very much the huge, bell shaped, low waisted Pavlova-like ones, now very much in vogue....



#11 mimsyb

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 02:56 PM

 

 

Roland John Wiley in his book "Tchaikovsky's Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker" goes into the original "Swan Lake" (by which you mean the 1895 Petipa/Ivanov Mariinsky version rather than the 1877 Bolshoi).  

 

Some ideas: supposedly in Act II when Odette entered she had a retinue of baby swans performed by young students.  The Act II pas de deux would be a pas de trois with Benno helping out.  Also, in the grand pas there were hunters that followed Siegfried and Benno to the lakeside and partnered the swan corps.  I think that maybe the elimination of all of this leaving us with just Siegfried and Odette and the swan maiden corps is a good idea.

I would actually really like to see that; I would like the original Act 2 Pas de deux because I'd like to see how the group of hunters partnered the Swan Maidens. I think it sounds really interesting.

 

And here is a clip from the Royal Ballet's 1960 production starring Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes with Ivanov's original scheme for the pas de deux:

 

I think this is a really interesting scheme for a Pas de deux, but I wouldn't use it today because no dancer today does what the great Pavel Gerdt did. I'll just stick to following the great Nikolai Legat's example, as he was the one to turn the pas into a Pas de deux when he succeeded Gerdt in the role of Prince Siegfried.

 

 

What a beautiful clip.  Oh, I wish ballet would revert to this beautiful short, high waisted crispy tutus..! I really dislike very much the huge, bell shaped, low waisted Pavlova-like ones, now very much in vogue....

 

I agree.  A beautiful clip.  Much to love.  While Fonteyn's legs are very much lower than today's dancers, she seems more birdlike than some of today's super ballerinas.  I love the deep forward curvature of her upper back in the later developpes in the pas. She bends and then totally unfolds.  She truly looks like a swan here.  And she uses her head in small ways to keep that image.  And what exquisite port de bras!  Even her fingers are effortless and without tension often seen today.  And then there's that face!  Oh my!  Her attention to Seigfried is unlike any other we see today. And what about that exit?  Today we've come to expect the rippling "swan arms" as she exits, but this version seems more emotional, more tragic. There was no-one like Fonteyn!!   I'm not a huge fan of the Benno/Siegfried/Odette pas se trois concept.  It seems cluttered and un necessary.  Benno's exits and re-entrances are distracting to the story.   He's just in the way of the beauty of the love story.  I thought in general the corps looked quite good, considering the year when this was filmed.  They seemed quite together and stylistically of a piece.  And I noted that the four little swans landed all their pas de chats on the music. (take note current ABT little swans!)  Perhaps because the legs are lower in the jump.  Sometimes some things are sacrificed when we try to make things more revealed.  Short tutus on the corps contributes to that.  When I danced "Swan Lake" we wore the longer tutus.   One final note.  The tempo in general seemed faster than we hear today.  That could be just the film.  But it certainly bounced along at a good clip!   But, what a wonderful film!  (I wonder why they eliminated Odette's solo though)



#12 Amy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 03:31 PM

I agree.  A beautiful clip.  Much to love.  While Fonteyn's legs are very much lower than today's dancers, she seems more birdlike than some of today's super ballerinas.  I love the deep forward curvature of her upper back in the later developpes in the pas. She bends and then totally unfolds.  She truly looks like a swan here.  And she uses her head in small ways to keep that image.  And what exquisite port de bras!  Even her fingers are effortless and without tension often seen today.  And then there's that face!  Oh my!  Her attention to Seigfried is unlike any other we see today. And what about that exit?  Today we've come to expect the rippling "swan arms" as she exits, but this version seems more emotional, more tragic. There was no-one like Fonteyn!!   I'm not a huge fan of the Benno/Siegfried/Odette pas se trois concept.  It seems cluttered and un necessary.  Benno's exits and re-entrances are distracting to the story.   He's just in the way of the beauty of the love story.  I thought in general the corps looked quite good, considering the year when this was filmed.  They seemed quite together and stylistically of a piece.  And I noted that the four little swans landed all their pas de chats on the music. (take note current ABT little swans!)  Perhaps because the legs are lower in the jump.  Sometimes some things are sacrificed when we try to make things more revealed.  Short tutus on the corps contributes to that.  When I danced "Swan Lake" we wore the longer tutus.   One final note.  The tempo in general seemed faster than we hear today.  That could be just the film.  But it certainly bounced along at a good clip!   But, what a wonderful film!  (I wonder why they eliminated Odette's solo though)

 

 

 

Indeed, it's hard to beat the wonderful Margot Fonteyn! The reason for her low leg extensions and the cygnets being so musically accurate is because back then, the dancers worried more about the speed of their dances and being on time with the music than how high they got their legs up, which is also what Petipa's dancers worried about the most. That's why if you look at photos of Imperial ballerinas such as Pierina Legnani and Olga Preobrajenska, you may notice that their legs aren't up as high as today's ballerinas, but they're still very well turned out.

 

Unfortunately today, dancers worry more about how high they get their legs up and how many twirls they do, so they slow the music down to such monstrously slow speeds. Ulyana Lopatkina and Olesya Novikova are prime examples of this - if you've seen Novikova in the record for DVD performance of Sergei Vikharev's Raymonda reconstruction, she dances almost every single one of Raymonda's variations at monstrously slow tempi! And in the recorded to DVD performance of Swan Lake starring Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev, she dances Odette's variation in Act 1, scene 2 way too slow!

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...



#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 05:26 PM

 

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...

 

 

And if you add to the dragging tempi a bad orchestra, then the experience is excruciating...



#14 mimsyb

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 06:58 PM

 

I agree.  A beautiful clip.  Much to love.  While Fonteyn's legs are very much lower than today's dancers, she seems more birdlike than some of today's super ballerinas.  I love the deep forward curvature of her upper back in the later developpes in the pas. She bends and then totally unfolds.  She truly looks like a swan here.  And she uses her head in small ways to keep that image.  And what exquisite port de bras!  Even her fingers are effortless and without tension often seen today.  And then there's that face!  Oh my!  Her attention to Seigfried is unlike any other we see today. And what about that exit?  Today we've come to expect the rippling "swan arms" as she exits, but this version seems more emotional, more tragic. There was no-one like Fonteyn!!   I'm not a huge fan of the Benno/Siegfried/Odette pas se trois concept.  It seems cluttered and un necessary.  Benno's exits and re-entrances are distracting to the story.   He's just in the way of the beauty of the love story.  I thought in general the corps looked quite good, considering the year when this was filmed.  They seemed quite together and stylistically of a piece.  And I noted that the four little swans landed all their pas de chats on the music. (take note current ABT little swans!)  Perhaps because the legs are lower in the jump.  Sometimes some things are sacrificed when we try to make things more revealed.  Short tutus on the corps contributes to that.  When I danced "Swan Lake" we wore the longer tutus.   One final note.  The tempo in general seemed faster than we hear today.  That could be just the film.  But it certainly bounced along at a good clip!   But, what a wonderful film!  (I wonder why they eliminated Odette's solo though)

 

 

 

Indeed, it's hard to beat the wonderful Margot Fonteyn! The reason for her low leg extensions and the cygnets being so musically accurate is because back then, the dancers worried more about the speed of their dances and being on time with the music than how high they got their legs up, which is also what Petipa's dancers worried about the most. That's why if you look at photos of Imperial ballerinas such as Pierina Legnani and Olga Preobrajenska, you may notice that their legs aren't up as high as today's ballerinas, but they're still very well turned out.

 

Unfortunately today, dancers worry more about how high they get their legs up and how many twirls they do, so they slow the music down to such monstrously slow speeds. Ulyana Lopatkina and Olesya Novikova are prime examples of this - if you've seen Novikova in the record for DVD performance of Sergei Vikharev's Raymonda reconstruction, she dances almost every single one of Raymonda's variations at monstrously slow tempi! And in the recorded to DVD performance of Swan Lake starring Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev, she dances Odette's variation in Act 1, scene 2 way too slow!

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...

 

It's why I loved dancing Balanchine!  Those tempos!



#15 Amy

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 03:41 AM

 

 

I agree.  A beautiful clip.  Much to love.  While Fonteyn's legs are very much lower than today's dancers, she seems more birdlike than some of today's super ballerinas.  I love the deep forward curvature of her upper back in the later developpes in the pas. She bends and then totally unfolds.  She truly looks like a swan here.  And she uses her head in small ways to keep that image.  And what exquisite port de bras!  Even her fingers are effortless and without tension often seen today.  And then there's that face!  Oh my!  Her attention to Seigfried is unlike any other we see today. And what about that exit?  Today we've come to expect the rippling "swan arms" as she exits, but this version seems more emotional, more tragic. There was no-one like Fonteyn!!   I'm not a huge fan of the Benno/Siegfried/Odette pas se trois concept.  It seems cluttered and un necessary.  Benno's exits and re-entrances are distracting to the story.   He's just in the way of the beauty of the love story.  I thought in general the corps looked quite good, considering the year when this was filmed.  They seemed quite together and stylistically of a piece.  And I noted that the four little swans landed all their pas de chats on the music. (take note current ABT little swans!)  Perhaps because the legs are lower in the jump.  Sometimes some things are sacrificed when we try to make things more revealed.  Short tutus on the corps contributes to that.  When I danced "Swan Lake" we wore the longer tutus.   One final note.  The tempo in general seemed faster than we hear today.  That could be just the film.  But it certainly bounced along at a good clip!   But, what a wonderful film!  (I wonder why they eliminated Odette's solo though)

 

 

 

Indeed, it's hard to beat the wonderful Margot Fonteyn! The reason for her low leg extensions and the cygnets being so musically accurate is because back then, the dancers worried more about the speed of their dances and being on time with the music than how high they got their legs up, which is also what Petipa's dancers worried about the most. That's why if you look at photos of Imperial ballerinas such as Pierina Legnani and Olga Preobrajenska, you may notice that their legs aren't up as high as today's ballerinas, but they're still very well turned out.

 

Unfortunately today, dancers worry more about how high they get their legs up and how many twirls they do, so they slow the music down to such monstrously slow speeds. Ulyana Lopatkina and Olesya Novikova are prime examples of this - if you've seen Novikova in the record for DVD performance of Sergei Vikharev's Raymonda reconstruction, she dances almost every single one of Raymonda's variations at monstrously slow tempi! And in the recorded to DVD performance of Swan Lake starring Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev, she dances Odette's variation in Act 1, scene 2 way too slow!

 

And the problem with dancing to such slow speeds is that it makes the choreography drag and as a result, the dancers don't actually look like they're even dancing...

 

It's why I loved dancing Balanchine!  Those tempos!

 

Yeah, Balanchine is the only 20th century choreography whose works follow and pay homage to the style of Imperial Russia. Well done George! lol

 

So you're a former dancer then? Which company did you dance with?




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